To hire a full-time copywriter or not to hire? That is the question. To dispense with your external ad agency to bring on dedicated in-house copywriting talent or not? That’s another one. No matter which end you’re coming from — lack of copywriting resources or issues with outside support — here’s a short guide. These top nine markers shine the light on the decision to make.
Consider hiring a full-time copywriter if:
You spend too much time briefing and revising your agency’s work.
If you find yourself frequently discussing and modifying the work you receive from the group you use, it’s time to press the pause button. Rounds and rounds of dialogues, debates, and do-overs are dealbreakers. They violate the main motivations for having an agency in the first place. And they likely mean the agency doesn’t “get” it. Your wants and needs are not being met.
The outside team you use is not capturing your brand voice.
This may be among the issues contributing to your countless requests to go back to the drawing board. You’re looking for a consistent voice, tone, and style that reflect the distinctive essence of your brand. You seek that sparkle, something that captures the crux of why customers should choose your products and services. It should set the imaginations of potential targets afire and, soon after, get them to open their pocketbooks. This is critical. There’s a certain personality that should underscore all that’s put out about your brand in the universe.
Your competition is flourishing, and your business is not.
What your organization offers is special. If that is not resonating with stakeholders through your ad copy, a dreaded situation occurs. You fail to arouse awareness and lose share to others in the same segment. The market data says it all. If the numbers show your competition is surging while you are losing ground, you must examine your creative approach. Is your outside agency failing to nail it? Do you need to install a committed internal creative focal point?
You are failing to attract the right customer.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of the cash register ringing up a customer’s first-time purchase of your product or service. Keep listening. Uh oh, there’s silence — no further ka-ching, ka-ching. In sales, repetition is the pot of gold that builds the future. If those follow-ups do not happen, something is amiss. Your ad agency copy may be addressing the wrong kind of customer. For the desired long haul buying cycle to kick in, your messaging must resonate with the right buyers to pinpoint and stoke their wants and needs. An expert who knows the product and your organization thoroughly may be the way to go.
The copy you’re receiving is feeling stale.
Is your agency delivering the same old, same old? What happened to that initial spark? Poof, it’s sputtered. Then again, was it strong enough in the first place? All told, the copywriting content presented to you and maybe even the enthusiasm surrounding is played out. It requires a reset, a strong shot of innovation. You need a fresh pipeline of ideas and executions. Sometimes, the well runs dry. It’s time for a tune-up, which likely comes with finding a new source of inspiration — another agency or a full-time internal resource that works solely in the copywriting domain for you.
You are not receiving the attention you require.
External ad agencies, to survive and thrive, need a book of business. What’s the likelihood you are the only page? With numerous clients to cultivate and cater to, an agency has to divide its time and efforts. Despite the best of intentions, conflicts may arise in the amount of care and responsiveness they can devote. If you represent a major account, perhaps you get a larger share. If not, you may have to wait. The same thing may occur if you use shared resources internally for copywriting. In both cases, there is only so much that can go around at once.
You have several major campaigns on the horizon.
You are on the cusp of an exciting time. Your organization is set to launch a new line of products or services in the coming months. Supporting this requires intense focus, vested interest, and peak performance. If you’re lucky enough to have some time before you get started, you need to put A-1 copywriting resource(s) in place, stat. The talent for this assignment has an active role in the all-out development process. That means participation in strategy meetings, access to essential players/teams, and interaction with subject matter experts. This resource maintains a critical role in the project and the workflow and close collaboration with you.
You want to embrace content marketing but don’t have the wherewithal.
It’s time to roll out a full-fledged strategy to enhance your brand and marketing clout. You not only want to create but also share content across channels. It’s no longer efficient and effective to put out individual snippets. The way forward is to mobilize and coordinate. Combine the best of your thought leadership, blogs, social media posts, videos, and internal/external content into an overall approach. This initiative has many moving pieces and contributors. The copywriter must work across the organization to bring this activity to life from the inside out and follow up with measuring and optimizing it.
Your copywriting is done by those with other full-time responsibilities or a freelancer.
The split resources model works at many times and in many situations. But not always! Your copywriting needs have expanded. For a while, the existing in-house hybrid team with a multiplicity of roles fulfilled your needs. But things have changed. This arrangement lacks the concentrated focus needed to meet your robust agenda. These require fast access, action, expertise, and turnaround. Clearly, it’s a job for full-time copywriting talent. Alternatively, you may have engaged freelancers. That too may have worked for some time. But it evolved into a revolving door of workers or part-timers. A top performer who can stay the course, live and breathe your brand, and grow with the business fits best.
Benefits of a Full-Time Copywriter
- Dedicated time and attention from the person you choose and personally vet for the role
- Deep understanding and interest of your organization and brand
- They’ll have immediate access to and interaction with a range of resources and stakeholders, including you. This talent is on the spot to participate in meetings and informal brainstorming sessions. He/she learns about new offerings in real time as well as changes in strategy/tactics.
How to Find the Best Fit
If you are in a niche business or specialized segment, seek someone with direct background in that field. Why? This person comes equipped with industry knowledge and experience right from the starting gate; a bonus is that this copywriter is familiar with the competition.
It’s likely that the employee in this position will have to wear several hats. For this reason, consider someone with a broad mix of skills. Straight ad copy? Yes, that’s imperative. But it’s just the foundation — add to it. Does this person have expertise in blogging, thought leadership, social media, website content, videos, results measurement, and optimization? Build a checklist based on your requirements.
One Model of Many
In the realm of copywriting arrangements for businesses, it doesn’t have to be a case of one way or the other. Needs evolve over time and how you obtain copywriting talent may change too. Alternatively, you may require an approach that combines the best of both worlds. For example, some organizations with the means employ a dedicated internal resource as a base of operations. They also contract with an external ag agency for specific tasks or campaigns.
We’re Here to Help
Need copywriting resources of any kind? Our active database is bursting with top performers in all fields and locations across the country. Contact us at Creative Circle. We make hiring exceptional talent simple!
About the author.
You name it, she covers it. That’s the can-do attitude Sherry M. Adler brings to the craft of writing. A polished marketing and communications professional, she has a passion for learning and the world at large. She uses it plus the power of words to inform and energize stakeholders of all kinds. And to show how all of this can make a difference, she calls her business WriteResults NY, LLC.