Unicorn – rare mythical horse like creature with magical powers that my 8 year old daughter insists are real.

So you’ve decided to outsource the content writing for your website to a professional copywriter. Now how do you find the rare magical unicorn like copywriter for the job?

When I’m looking for a tradesperson around the house I usually run with the rule of three – three quotes that is. It somewhat guards against being completely ripped off. When I just need something straightforward done in a hurry and there is only one way to do it – unblocking a toilet for example – I just book whoever is available!

Hiring a copywriter is different again. Your copywriter is going to be representing your business, not just doing some behind the scenes work. Their words are likely to be the first impression a potential client has of your business.

You really want a unicorn – someone who can write like you – if writing was your thing! The key is connection. If you can connect with them, they can most likely write almost as if they are in your shoes, providing customers with a consistency from initial introduction online to booking with you by phone or making a purchase.

Ask around for referrals

Start by asking around. If you have friends in business who have used a copywriter to write their web content, start there. If you are part of a network for local business, ask there. And remember to ask these people what it was they liked about their copywriter or if they had any suggestions on important questions to ask up front.

If you are really stuck, try google. But I would caution that google is more about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rankings than linking you with the right person. So keep in mind that the top hits on google will be the writers who really focussed on their own website SEO not necessarily the writers who will best suit your business needs.

Review the websites of your shortlisted content writers

Is your first impression positive? Remember, this person will be representing your business, so they should also be representing themselves well. Within a few seconds on their page you can assess their attention to detail regarding spelling, their overall presentation and their true writing style.

Assuming your first impression is good, delve deeper. Find their blogs and articles and have a read. Does the style reflect the way you want your business to read? Most writers can adjust a little but they are likely to write your work in a similar style because that’s just who they are! And that’s ok. You are looking for a match, it’s not a judgement, it’s a connection. As they say in the Castle, it’s the vibe. You are looking to vibe on the same frequency as your writer.

While you are on their website, check out their testimonials, or for a more neutral reflection of their work, check out their Facebook or Google reviews if available. Everyone starts somewhere and I like to read beyond just a star count because the real juice is in the written review. ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ can be correct of negative and positive feedback too. So look in the comments for things that would or would not suit you rather than just for a number of stars.

Talk to the writer

This is truly the most important step. Pick up the phone or email them to arrange a time. You will learn so much more from a 5 minute conversation than you will from multiple email exchanges. If you like the way they write but dislike the way you feel talking to them – look elsewhere. If you like the way they write and vibe with them on the phone – you have yourself a match!

Yes, it is personal!

I repeat – your copywriter will be representing your business. It is personal. I know it’s becoming my catch phrase, but it’s about connection. If you can connect with your copywriter – your copywriter will likely connect with your audience. Connection leads to engagement, engagement leads to clients.

Good luck finding the copywriter for you. Contact me if you think I might be your unicorn.