Working with a copywriter can be expensive for small businesses, especially when you’re just starting up (click here to read more about prices), or you may feel that your writing is more than good enough to be shared online. Rather than investing in a professional to craft copy, you may choose to go ahead with what you’ve got, and ask a copywriter to improve or polish the text later on. But is this really a good idea?
The Problems with Copy
I’ve been asked many times to ‘tidy up’ a company’s existing copy, and in most cases, it’s harder and more time-consuming than creating things from scratch. If the client has written the text themselves, it can often be poorly written, with awkward sentence structure and mixed-up tenses.
It’s also likely to be full of jargon, which means I waste time looking up definitions online or contacting the client for clarification. The content may be outdated and no longer relevant to the business or industry.
It’s rare to be asked to update copy that’s been put together by another writer, and while it will be well-written, our styles will be different, and I may not be able to find the original source material used for background for the blog or case study.
Equally unhelpful is being given what’s optimistically described as a blog post which just needs ‘a few tweaks’ but requires extensive research time and rewrites. I made this mistake early on as a favour, and found the experience frustrating and disheartening – not something I’d like to repeat.
If you’re looking for someone to do a quick check for typos and grammar errors, to make sure you haven’t repeated yourself and that your copy makes sense, to update product descriptions or add the latest data to a post, then ask for help. Otherwise, you’re devaluing what a copywriter can do for you.
You might think you’re being helpful by giving them your rough notes and a first draft, but unpicking your scribbles to get to the real meaning risks the writer getting something wrong. It might save you some money, but I guarantee the final results won’t be anywhere as good as they could have been if the writer created their own copy. They also won’t be inclined to work with you again.
Save up so you can invest properly, or ask if they can help you get started with content creation by producing one or two short posts a month, and you save them research time by having background information and useful links ready for them.