Finding the right copywriter is not easy. Some write complete trash, some care only about the quantity and not the quality, and others simply rewrite articles. Only a few actually do exactly what an employer needs.
The problem is that it’s not easy to find a qualified IT copywriter who can write the high quality content that will attract leads.
Colleges and universities don’t educate professional copywriters. It is possible to study journalism, but journalists don’t study IT specifics.
IT specialists usually study engineering or IT development. A good average salary and a great working environment in the IT sphere don’t motivate them to shift their profession in order to become a copywriter.
So, the goal is to find or nurture a quality IT specialist and not to hire a cheap and ordinary copywriter and frighten all of your customers with poor content.
Before we go any further, let’s define some basic terms.
What is the Difference between a Technical Writer and Technical Copywriter?
A technical writer usually creates things like manuals, guides, instructions, and functional specifications.
These types of copy are full of technical terms, definitions, and details that can be hard to understand for non-professionals.
A technical (IT) copywriter makes persuasive marketing articles that promote IT products and services.
Copywriters strive to make their texts easy to read and simpler for a wider audience of potential clients to understand. Such articles can help a website gain organic traffic, attract visitors, and get leads.
Dropbox’s blog is a good example of well-written IT content. It is categorized, well structured, reader-friendly, and easy to understand.
So, technical writing is more field-specific. It aims to provide instructions along with technical details and insights.
Technical copywriting can assist a company with the promotion of its IT products and services.
What Does a Great IT Copywriter Look Like?
IT copywriters write persuasive marketing content on IT topics that help get organic traffic and attract leads to a website.
For these reasons, copywriters should be able to simplify the complexities of technologies and communicate them in an appealing way to potential customers.
Based on the expectations of Merit Mile Company and Dropbox, we’ve created an IT copywriter profile by putting their specification requirements together.
A copywriter should have the following essential skills and meet these certain requirements:
- Has information technology experience.
- Has worked in the IT or SaaS spheres as a writer and marketing communications professional.
- Is a great team collaborator.
- Is a good researcher.
- Has a lot of engaging ideas.
- Is a great storyteller.
- Writes texts for emails, landing pages, and blog posts.
- Is familiar with infographics and design.
- Writes SEO and SEM content (certificates are a plus).
- Is an excellent writer for a global audience.
- Knows the rules of grammar, storytelling, headline creation, and logical structuring.
- Is a great communicator.
- Is deadline-driven and detail oriented.
- Is aware of marketing strategies, branding and PR, lead generation, and promotion via social media.
- Is flexible, i.e. can jump into any industry and quickly grasp its complexities and pitfalls.
As you can see, there are a lot of requirements when it comes to finding an effective technical copywriter. The question is, where to find them, and whether it is possible to find them at all.
Experienced IT copywriters do actually exist. Here is an example of Cisco copywriter who has 18 years of experience.
We can predict that the payment for text written by such a qualified copywriter will be high. But it is worth the price.
Here is an example of how prices on IT copywriters’ texts vary.
Some copywriters charge $10 per hour, while others want more than $100. Moreover, copywriters from India, Pakistan, and other non-English speaking countries bid at a lower price.
However, there is always the risk of getting low quality content, no matter what the price, and no matter in which country your copywriter lives.
As for the prices, we should also mention that there are different options in terms of which kind of collaboration to choose.
Whom to Hire: In-House Copywriter, Freelancer, or Agency?
Let’s see how they differ and decide which one will be better for you.
Hiring in-house copywriters will cost you more than hiring freelancers because employers must provide good working conditions, perks, and privileges, which all involve additional spending.
Moreover, research from Bersin by Deloitte found that full-time employee recruitment costs nearly $4,000 per individual hire in the USA.
Karen O’Leonard, Vice President of Benchmarking & Analytics Research at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, says,
“At a cost of nearly $4,000 on average to fill an open position, U.S. companies are spending nearly three times the amount spent on training per employee.”
Together with recruitment spending it is of course also necessary to pay a monthly salary.
According to research conducted by Fractl and Moz in the content marketing sphere, an average monthly salary is $6,000 in the USA.
An average annual salary in the content marketer sphere
Spending on recruitment and providing great working conditions can influence your budget quite a bit.
But there are certain advantages to hiring an in-house copywriter.
For example, you will have more control over his/her work and results than when you work with freelancers. Also, remember that spending on in-house copywriters will be paid off after a while.
If you don’t want to employ additional staff, an excellent solution is to hire freelancers who work remotely.
Freelance copywriters tend to charge less for their work and have flexible schedules.
A freelancer working from home doesn’t have to pay for a lot of extra expenses. It is therefore possible for them to offer you more affordable rates.
Also, freelancers set their own working hours, and that can be of benefit to you.
If you work with copywriters from another time zone, they can handle their tasks after your working day is over, or even while you are sleeping. You will then have the completed work the next morning.
A disadvantage of freelance copywriters is that there is less control over their working process and results. So you need to be careful when choosing a freelancer.
If you cannot choose between an in-house copywriter and a freelancer, think about choosing an agency copywriter.
They are usually interested in project-based, long-term work. Also, they have a manager who controls the quality of the work.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to only one option.
The Smart Insight marketing research infographics below show that some companies hire agency or freelance copywriters together with in-house copywriters.
It helps cut the expenses of additional in-house copywriters, the companies don’t spend money on salaries, and they can have articles written on-demand.
How to Choose an IT Copywriter?
When choosing an IT copywriter, it’s very important to conduct an interview or a test that will show if the candidate is worth hiring.
At this stage, you should be able to tell whether it would be comfortable for you to work with a certain person, and whether he or she has an understanding of the specific nature of the work.
Give a test assignment
The best way to check a candidate’s expertise is to give him/her a test assignment. You could, for example, ask them to write a short article.
By doing so, you will see how much time a person spends doing the task, and how literate and competent he/she is. This will allow you to put any unqualified candidates aside.
Assign candidates a real project involving the type of content you will want them to write for you on a regular basis:
- Provide clear and adequate instructions so that the candidate knows exactly what to do.
- If you think that the person may not know specifics of the topic, provide access to the necessary information.
- Give the same project to each candidate in order to provide him or her with an equal opportunity.
- Provide appropriate deadlines and monitor how candidates cope with them to make sure that they will be able to meet your deadlines going forward.
When evaluating the submitted work, look at how clear, concise, persuasive, grammatically correct, and precisely executed it is.
Then, comment on the work and look at the response to your critique and the candidate’s ability to take into account your corrections.
Conduct an interview
Here are some questions that will help you get to know the person at the interview. Make sure the answers meet your needs and expectations. That will help you decide which person you need to hire.
#1. What are the specifics of IT copywriting?
People sometimes have problems differentiating between technical writing vs. technical copywriting.
Your task is to make sure that you are clear about your copywriting expectations in order to be sure that you will receive a good marketing article and not technical instruction.
#2. What are your strengths?
To provide high quality content you need a candidate to meet the following requirements:
- IT expertise
- Language and writing style proficiency
- User Experience understanding
- Understanding of target audience interests and needs
#3. How do you do the necessary research for your articles?
Since copywriters are not IT engineers or developers, they may have lack some knowledge of the relevant field. Proper research and the ability to analyze information can give copywriters a lot of useful information to use when writing their posts.
If a copywriter is a good researcher, he/she should know how to use Google efficiently and rely only on trustworthy sources of information.
Look at their portfolio
Don’t forget to look at their portfolio to see examples of previous work and to make sure that they meet your expectations.
Here are some additional points to check:
- Examples of previous articles. Look for IT text and check whether it is grammatically correct, compelling, and easy to understand.
- Ask for the number of comments on their posts, the number of shares, reposts, reviews, and so on. That information will show whether the article is sharable and able to garner public interest.
- Note the companies and clients a candidate worked with previously. Ask for references from the previous employer if you have doubts about whether to hire the candidate.
It is challenging to find qualified IT copywriters nowadays.
There are currently plenty of copywriters in the labor-market, but someone might claim that he/she will write perfect articles for $10 per hour and others will charge more than $100. But the price won’t always correspond with the quality of the work.
To begin, you need to decide what type of collaboration you want: in-house, agency, or freelance. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages regarding costs, control, and quality of work.
To make sure that you hire a qualified copywriter you need to assign a test assignment and conduct an interview.
This will help you see how quickly a person works, and check whether he/she is able to write grammatically correct text. It will also help you determine whether a person has the necessary experience in the IT field.
By conducting an interview, you will also be able to know if a person is pleasant to work with, and has a proper understanding of IT specifics.
If you do this, you will find a good candidate, and not waste your money.
What difficulties have you encountered while choosing an IT copywriter? Share your experiences with us.