You may not realise that it’s actually possible to employ someone, either internally or externally to your MSP business, who can take on the responsibility of writing blogs and supporting you with creating written content. In the final blog in this series, we explore the reasons for engaging a professional writer, what the process might be like, how you can make the process smoother for both of you, and how to find the right person for your MSP.
Why Should you use a Copywriter?
- To save time: whether you’re a solopreneur trying to everything yourself, or it takes you days to write 500 words, it’s much better to hand the task over to someone else. The posts will get written and published and you can concentrate on working in the business, or event taking some time off
- To write for your audience: You’re undoubtedly and expert in your field, but your audience is more likely to be a small business owner, not another MSP. It’s hard to write for another audience, so let a copywriter do this for you – they can still be authentic to your voice
- Clarity and concision: when you know your company and offering inside out, it can be hard to explain what it is you do in a straightforward, easy to understand way. Sometimes you can be too close to your subject and forget that not everyone is as familiar with it as you are
- A coherent overall look: when you first set up your business, you wouldn’t hesitate to use the services of a web developer and a designer to create your logo and branding. But having a slick website isn’t much use if the content is full of typos, rambling sentences and too much (or too little) information. A copywriter ensures that doesn’t happen
The Process of Working with a Copywriter in Your MSP
If you’ve never worked with a copywriter before, you might be unsure of how it works. Firstly, they should get a good understanding of your MSP business – what you do, how the business operates and who your customers are.
They should familiarise themselves with your existing copy and speak to the marketing, sales or PR support if appropriate. It’s important that they get to know you and your team, so they can communicate in your tone of voice and understand the core messages you’re sharing.
It’s also essential that you agree exactly what they’ll do for you. A copywriter may be an expert in home or landing pages, have experience in your industry or be more of a generalist. Make sure you’ve found someone who can provide what you need, so you both have the same expectations.
Agree how long the project will take – is it a one-off with a specific deadline, or is it ongoing support that you’ll review periodically? When will the copywriter deliver the work, and how often? If they’re producing blogs or articles, do you have a rough word count in mind? Do you want to use images? Will you supply these, or does the copywriter need to source them?
Finally, agree a price. You should expect a detailed discussion document which breaks down tasks and costs, but also be mindful that they may need to charge more if the requirements of the project change, or if there are any delays from your end.
Tips for Working with a Copywriter
- Give them access to all the appropriate documents and marketing materials that can help them get a clearer idea of your company and what it stands for
- Provide contact details for people you’d like them to speak to for further information or to create new testimonials, and signpost them to additional resources
- Give them a point of contact so they can ask questions and clarify anything they’re not certain about
- Know your audience, and your subject. The copywriter’s job is to talk to your MSP’s customers, not your employees, suppliers or executive board. Clearly communicate who the target market is, and the problems your product or service solves for them
- Give them plenty of time. This is especially important if they’re new to your business or if they’re writing about something that requires a lot of research. The writing process will be easier for them and you’ll get the blog when you need it if you give them enough notice
Finding a Good Copywriter for Your MSP
So, now you’ve decided to hire a copywriter to take over your MSP content, how do you find one? Reading the text on your website is often the first interaction a prospective client has with you, so it’s vital that this is easy to understand and helps them quickly understand what you do.
Many good copywriters are recommended by existing clients, so speak to other MSP business owners and people in your network to ask if they can refer a writer to you. Have a look at their website, and ask them for some writing samples so you can get a feel for their work.
You could also have a look at the Pro Copywriters website. This is a national (although not accredited) body which offers advice and support to professional writers. It also has a database of copywriters and freelancers looking for work. Members of PCN use its logo on their websites, so keep an eye out for it. It shows the writer is professional in their approach.
We’ve also touched briefly on technical writers, who often have an IT or technology background. Most will also be members of PCN, but you can also search online or ask for recommendations.
Where possible, avoid content mills and sites such as Fiverr or People per Hour. These companies create a race to the bottom, undermining and undervaluing the skills and qualifications writers (and other creatives) have. There is a focus on word count and fast turnaround times, and the pay is very poor for the writer.
You may feel like you’re getting a bargain, but if you have to spend a lot of time briefing the freelancer or editing the copy they’ve produced for your MSP, that’s a cost too. As an employer, you’re looking for someone to complete a task that you either haven’t got time for, or more likely, the skill for. You’d expect to be paid well for your work, so why shouldn’t freelancers?
There’s also a concern that, particularly for writing, people who accept a lower rate aren’t native English speakers. While their living costs are lower and they’re no doubt good at what they do, there’s a risk of miscommunication on the brief, or the need for you to correct their grammar.
I’d recommend you do some research and speak to any copywriters to see if they have experience of writing for IT or MSP companies. If not, do they show an interest and willingness in learning quickly how to talk competently about your industry? The answer should be yes.