What do you need to look for in a copywriter?
Good credentials? A portfolio of decent work? Testimonials from happy clients? Ideally, all of the above. But should you also be looking at whether or not they specialise, or have experience in, your industry or field of business?
Certainly niche copywriters are a thing. Do a Google search for any type of business, say real estate, followed by copywriter and you’ll get a handful of results for writers who work solely with property clients. The majority of the results, however, will be for copywriters who do write real estate, but not exclusively.
This is because a lot of us copywriters are generalists, by scope at least.
While knowing an industry certainly helps, our speciality is being able to write great copy that has the desired effect on the intended audience – whether that’s peaking interest or inciting action. What we’re writing about is almost secondary, and easily accommodated with the right research – something we do as standard.
It’s all in the research
This typically involves lots of online searching to find credible sources of information – articles, whitepapers, studies – and to suss out who the competitors of our client are, what they’re writing and what kind of language they’re using. It also means probing the client for info on their business, their products/services and their audience.
Voila! Now, we know what we need to know and are ready to do what we do – write some informed, engaging copy for your business – whatever type of business it may be. Well, almost ready. First there’s the constant re-reading of the brief and the obligatory brainstorming and internal idea-chewing to complete.
So basically yes, with the right amount of research, a copywriter can write about anything, for any business.
It’s on us, not you
But the question is do we want to write about anything? You see, if you enlist the help of a copywriter who doesn’t specialise in your industry, the onus falls on us, not you (unless you didn’t pay attention to their credentials, portfolio and references and the person you chose can’t write for toffee – then that’s kind of your bad).
If we write for any business, we’re committing to more research than when writing for one in an industry we’re familiar with. That’s our time suck, and we can’t, or at least shouldn’t be, charging clients for those extra hours. So essentially, we’re making it harder and less profitable for ourselves. Hmmm. Maybe I should specialise?
Variety fosters creativity
I won’t, at least not for the time being. Why? Because I enjoy the variety of work that being a ‘write about anything, for any business’ copywriter brings. One week I might be working on web copy for a dentist clinic, the next crafting an infographic for a tech client, and the next writing a blog for an online fashion retailer. Plus I think it keeps my writing fresh.
We all have our niches
But while I’m not a niche copywriter, that’s not to say I haven’t developed some niches over the years. For five years I was a copywriter for a well-known travel company in the UK, so I’m pretty well-placed to knock out a holiday brochure or two and have worked with a number of companies in the industry since.
In addition, as a freelancer I started out working for a selection of digital marketing, tech and business to business clients and because of this I now know a lot about these industries – and tend to attract a lot more of this type of work. Which is kind of what happens, often you fall into a niche by proxy, and by referral.
However, my portfolio is much broader. I’ve written for food retailers, property developers, law firms, career coaches, to name a few.
Anything is possible, with the right writer
Basically, my point is, if you need a copywriter don’t put all of your efforts into finding one who specialises in your business type or industry. Instead focus on finding a copywriter who knows how to write great copy and has a solid portfolio, plus happy past clients sharing positive testimonials.
If we specialise, or have experience in your industry – great! But with the right skill and the right research, a good copywriter should be able to write about anything, and get results.