Tips to Avoid Hiring Freelance Copywriters That Lied On Their Resume

Augustinas Venclovas
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Great freelance copywriters are hard to come by these days. When hiring for a position 85% of employers found the applicant lied on their resume. That’s a 19% increase from five years ago. Even a former CEO of Yahoo! had lied about his education. So how can you trust the person you are hiring?

Good question. There are a few things you can do.

You can run extensive background checks, ask for references and stalk the applicants on social media. Yes, you can do all that and it will help to weed out those who “spice up” their resumes to get hired. The problem is that all this extensive checking takes time.

Time you don’t have. If you are looking to hire copywriters, chances are your job is to generate leads and make sales. You are the rainmaker of the company - not a Facebook stalker or FBI investigator. To make matters even worse, while it is true there is a lack of great freelance copywriters, there is an abundance of mediocre ones. So how can you find the right person you can trust and rely on?

"Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you." - Warren Buffet

Well, there is no magic pill, but there are some tips that will make it easier. Here are 5 types of freelance copywriters you’ll want to avoid hiring for your next project:

1. Freelance Copywriters that Focus on Copy Length

Imagine you are talking to a copywriter about your next project. They don’t need much to give you an estimate. All they need is a copy length from you. Then, BAM! They can tell you right away how much it will cost you. Are they excellent copywriters?

No. And here’s why.

If all they need to give you a quote is the number of words, it means they are charging by the word. The more words they write, the more money they make. This presents us with a problem.

These freelance copywriters base their performance on the number of words they write. To them, if they write a lot of words, they did well. Meanwhile, you don’t care how long the copy is as long as it produces results - or revenue. It could be the longest sales letter in the world and it will still be of no use to you if it doesn’t bring in the revenue. Can you see how there is a fundamental mismatch between how they do their job and what you need?

It is best to avoid freelance copywriters who charge by the word unless you don’t care much about how the copy performs. But if generating revenue is important to you, read on.

2. Freelance Copywriters that Charge Everyone the Same Rate

You may think there is nothing wrong with charging everyone the same price. Many other businesses do it. Plus, you don’t want to get charged extra because you’re a bigger business. Charging the same rates for all clients must be a good thing, right?

Well, not quite.

You see, your business is different from other businesses. The industry you are in is different from other industries. And the market you are serving is different from other markets.

All these differences matter a lot for a good copywriter. This is because they know that to produce great copy, this knowledge is a must. The good news is some freelance copywriters are already familiar with some markets and industries. And they already know how to sell certain things very well. This does not mean they cannot sell what they are not familiar with. In fact, when they started they were not familiar with anything. They learned. They spent a lot of time researching so they could write great converting copy. And all this research takes time.

So if the copywriter charges the same rate for every client regardless of industry or market, this means one of two things:

  1. They are either completely disregarding the time it will take to do the job well

  2. Something much worse (for you). They don’t understand the importance of market, industry and business-specific knowledge. And this will result in the copy not performing as well as it could. In fact, such a copy is likely to flop. And you end up paying them the same rate but with no results.

Think twice when you see a copywriter charging the same rates. Ask them questions about their working practices and see how much research they are willing to do to get you the results you are paying for. The more research they do, the better the chances they'll succeed.

3. Rapid-Fire Freelance Copywriters

These are the cowboys of copywriting. You tell them what you need and BANG! You got your copy ready by high noon. Splendid?

It is true, great freelance copywriters can write fast. They have been writing for a long time and know how to write fast. But don’t be seduced by their speed. There’s a secret to copywriting (and you may already know it).

Writing copy is the fastest and the easiest part of the job. It’s true. The writing part is a breeze. Many people can do it in fact. And many do.

But writing alone is not what brings in those leads and revenue. It’s the research, the thinking and editing of the copy that makes the difference. The difference between a complete flop and a money-making machine. The flop is fast to write. The money-making machine takes time and effort to calibrate.

So whenever you get copy super fast - be wary. In contrast, if the copywriter already has a great understanding of your business, market, and industry then it’s all good. They are up to speed and can churn out copy fast. But if they are churning out without knowing all this - your copy may very well flop. Be sure to ask your copywriter about their research and editing practices. You can even help your copywriter by doing some research yourself. Copywriting can be wild but it’s not the wild west.

4. Freelance Copywriters that Are Good Because They Have an English Degree

Are you looking for someone to write an essay? If so then a fresh English graduate will be your best choice. But, chances are, you want your copy to make money. Here’s the sad truth. If all English majors were great at helping others make money, they would be well rewarded for it. But an English degree is not something that comes to mind when you think about lucrative careers, does it?

In contrast, freelance copywriters can make quite a killing. According to one study done in 2018, an average daily rate for a copywriter was 345 GBP. Convert it to dollars (~$450 USD) and that’s 6 figures ($450 X 20 X 12 = $108,000 USD) a year. And this is for average copywriters. Senior copywriters (according to this study) charge way more.

This is because an English degree alone does not give you the skills necessary to be a great copywriter and command a six-figure income. Writing is the easy part. The hard part is the psychology and strategy that go into writing persuasive copy. Persuasive copywriting isn’t taught in school and can only be mastered from copywriting mentors and studying legendary copywriters.

An English degree is not a bad thing for a copywriter to have, but if an English degree is their major selling point, you should shop elsewhere. You can always ask how they learned to write copy. If they had a copywriting mentor or took extensive courses, they might be skilled enough with or without a degree.

5. Freelance Copywriters With Secret Portfolios

These freelance copywriters tell you they are competent. However, they cannot show you their portfolio because all their big shot clients made them sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). It’s a tricky situation. Do you trust that this person did all this work you cannot see? Or do you skip them and go for someone who can show you what they’ve done?

As you may know, NDA agreements are common in the copywriting business. The fact that some freelance copywriters cannot show everything they’ve done should not worry you. It’s normal. But, if they cannot show you anything - then we have a problem.

Unless they are completely new to the business, they will have something to show. And even if you are their first client ever, they can still show you something they have written while practising their skills. An NDA might prohibit them from showing you some of their work but not everything. If they have nothing to show you, you have just saved some money and potential stress.

Summary

If any of the following matches what your freelance copywriter says, then you have a red flag:

  • If they give a quick quote

  • If they charge the same rate to all clients

  • If they are super fast at getting the job done

  • If they are a proud English major

  • If they cannot show you their portfolio

They may be lying to you or they are not a good copywriter. Always ask more questions to find out more about them and their work practices.

As hard as it may be to find a great copywriter, there is a shortcut. An easy way that will save you time and money. At copywriters.com, all freelance copywriters are handpicked and have undergone months of intense training. You can be sure you’re getting a trustworthy and competent copywriter. Get a dedicated copywriter that can help you generate more leads and increase sales.

Start by filling out this quick form here.

Augustinas Venclovas

Augustinas Venclovas is a revenue-focused copywriter based in Glasgow, UK. He is the ideal choice if you need help with a Facebook Ad to work on cold traffic, and to help you comply in order to avoid the risk of being shut down. He's great at sales copy.

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