Curious about outsourcing your content to a copywriting agency? Here’s how to find the best fit for your business
If you’re worried that a copywriting agency is a cold, distanced, and corporate business, we’re pleased to inform you that that’s not always the case…
Businesses need copywriting for a variety of reasons. From product descriptions to blog posts, copy and content writing is everywhere! It’s a crucial part of your brand image and the customer-facing side of your company. From advertising your services and describing your products to communicating with customers via social media, words matter.
You may have been writing your content yourself but just don’t have the time anymore. Or perhaps you’re a start-up who’d love to hire an in-house writer but can’t quite manage the cost. Outsourcing to a dedicated agency could be an ideal solution. But how do you go about this?
In this article, we’ll explain how to choose the best copywriting agency for your written content and how they work.
What is a copywriting agency?
A copywriting agency can be a team of experienced writers who write high-quality copy for a range of businesses, platforms, and uses. They’ll keep all their orders in-house and work with you (or your marketing team) to create the perfect articles, press releases, website copy, and more for your business.
On the other hand, some copywriting agencies assign their content orders to freelance writers according to their area of expertise. The copywriting agency will vet their copywriters, proofread and quality control every piece. They’ll then submit the finished work to the client by the agreed deadline.
In both cases: you give them a brief, and they’ll deliver the copy.
At Zipcopi, we combine these two agency approaches. We have a dedicated team of experienced copywriters and content managers who organise all our copy orders and liaise with our clients. The in-house team take on a significant amount of our orders themselves. They conduct the research around their briefs, craft engaging copy, proofread work by other writers, and contact our clients directly should any issues arise.
At the same time, we recognise the value of having a network of skilled wordsmiths on hand to help us complete our larger content orders and assist with specialist areas. We have direct contact with our talented freelancers and want to make sure we team your business up with the best person for your unique job.
We’ve found that using both in-house copywriters and vetted freelancers allows us to deliver the highest quality work to our clients. To learn more about our copywriting services, take a look at our case studies or contact a member of our team.
Choosing a copywriting company for your business
So, you’re choosing a copywriting agency to help you with your copy needs. A quick search online shows that there are a lot of options out there, so how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
You should be able to learn about a copywriting agency through its website, but here are a few things to consider and look out for when browsing your options.
Past projects and testimonials
What kind of projects has the prospective agency worked on before? Have they worked with large, multinational businesses with strict brand guidelines and fierce competitors? Perhaps they’ve only worked with smaller, local businesses to help them get their marketing off the ground. Check that they have the experience and skills to help your business, whatever its size, industry, and existing marketing strategy.
A company that has only ever helped small businesses get their SEO just ‘up-to-scratch’ might not have the knowledge or resources to push your larger, established business to the next level. Knowing a company has successfully handled similar projects to yours will be reassuring!
Check the agency’s website for a list of their past clients and case studies.
Of course, just because they’ve worked with an impressive client doesn’t mean they did a good job. This is where testimonials come in! Have a read of the agency’s testimonials or reviews. Often, you’ll find these on their website or their social media feeds.
Experience and areas of expertise
This brings us to our next point — what is the agency’s area of expertise? Perhaps they have a niche, such as finance or eCommerce. Alternatively, they may have a large enough network of copywriters to be able to cover all industries and topics.
You should be able to get an indication of whether they are an industry-specific or a general agency from their website. Their list of past clients should be able to help with this too. If you’re unsure, you can always contact them to ask. If an agency doesn’t list any industries, you can assume that they handle a wide range of copywriting areas and writing formats.
How soon do you need your copy? Some companies will be happy to accommodate tight deadlines, whereas some just won’t have the resources to do so. A copywriting agency might have a standard working time frame but also offer a swift 24-hour turnaround option for a higher price.
Chat to the agency about your ideal turnaround and whether they can guarantee your completed copy by the deadline. If you need lots of technical copy extremely quickly, you might have a harder time finding an agency willing to take the order on. On the other hand, if you only need an 800-word blog post within 24-hours, most agencies will be able to accommodate you.
Capacity for long term or large projects
Are you hoping to use this copywriting agency for all your writing needs going forward or is this a one-off order? If a copywriting agency doesn’t have the capacity to create all your copy for you over the long term, it’s best to know this sooner rather than later. Agencies will want to know if you’re planning on using them frequently so they can be ready to provide a reliable service.
If this is the case, just pick up the phone or drop them an email. They might even be able to offer you a trial piece if you’re looking to use them in the future.
Rate and add-ons
Before we forget, we have to mention rates! While cost isn’t the be-all and end-all when choosing an agency (it’s better to pay more for top-notch writing and reliable service), it will be a consideration if you’re working with a limited marketing budget.
Most copywriting services will charge per word (e.g. £0.10 per word) for their work. This might include keyword research, metadata, and image sourcing or they may charge extra for additional services. Alternatively, if you’ll be ordering a similar amount of copy from them month to month, they might offer you a competitive monthly rate.
Got an urgent need for copy with a tight turnaround? It might be wiser to pay a little more. This will help to ensure you receive usable, high-quality copy by your deadline. No one wants to order urgent copy only to discover that it’s not fit for use and needs to be edited (or even re-ordered through another agency).
Make sure you know what will be included in an agency’s rate. Some companies will seem more expensive than others, but they might include add-ons that other agencies bill for as an extra. What’s cost-effective for you all comes down to your needs. Always chat with a prospective agency if you’re unsure about what’s included.
Strategy and SEO skills
Does the copywriting company offer standard creative copywriting or are they focused on producing strategic, results-driven copy? Do their copywriters have an SEO background? If you’re hoping for copy that will help you achieve a specific goal — whether that’s boosting your online presence, making sales, or improving your website’s readability — check that they can help you achieve this.
Copywriting is an art and a science — and every copywriter will handle your brief slightly differently. This is to be expected, but make sure the agency is going to approach your brief from the right angle and understands the copy’s primary purpose. If the agency doesn’t seem confident in producing search engine optimised, keyword researched, goal-oriented writing, you may want to look elsewhere.
Initial emails, messages, or phone calls can tell you a lot about how a copywriting agency may communicate. Did the team reply to your enquiry promptly or did you need to send a follow-up? Agencies are busy but that doesn’t mean they should be slack with getting back to you.
Knowing that your copywriters will accept jobs quickly, keep you in the loop with progress, and get in touch with any queries about the brief will give you peace of mind knowing everything is running smoothly.
A little bit of friendliness doesn’t go amiss, either! Are they polite and welcoming in their communication? It’s always nice to develop a positive working relationship with your copywriting agency.
At Zipcopi, we’d like to think we have a unique balance going on — you can quickly and easily submit work via our portal. This is ideal for when you know exactly what you want and have headings, keywords, and tone of voice in mind already. However, if you’re looking for a little more guidance or want some support with content ideas and strategy, you can get in touch directly. We’ll happily schedule a meeting or call to discuss exactly what you need.
Level of research
Choosing to order your written content through a copywriting agency means you’re outsourcing your copy. This can be a weight off your shoulders as you’ll know that a professional is handling the task. Still, some people find this stressful — how do you know that they’ll do their research? How can anyone know your company as well as you do?
The best copywriters are just as much professional researchers as they are excellent writers. If you’re worried about how an agency will create your content, ask them about their research process. If you have lots of relevant information (e.g. about your company or industry), don’t be afraid to share it with them. They’ll be grateful to have client-verified resources to refer to and you’ll feel more confident that they’ll get the tone of voice (TOV) you’re looking for.
The expected amount of research also ties into the price. This isn’t a rule, but generally speaking, the more you pay for a copywriting service, the more time the agency will spend conducting research for your work. This is because research takes time — and with a greater rate, this is paid for.
This point becomes less important when you look at higher-end agencies. For example, an agency charging you £0.03 per word is unlikely to conduct more research than an agency quoting £0.25. However, this is something to keep in mind if you’re tempted to use an extremely cheap service (less than £0.06 per word).
Expert copywriting services from Zipcopi
Well there you have it — these are just a few things to keep in mind when choosing a copywriting agency.
Think of them as a future business partner, a new team in your marketing department. You wouldn’t hire a new employee without careful consideration. So why choose a copywriting agency without an in-depth look into their services?
For more writing and digital marketing advice, feel free to take a look at our blog. And if you’d like to learn a little more about our copywriting services, explore our services and pricing. We’re proud of our petite but effective team! Together, we have a broad range of experience crafting engaging copy for a variety of industries and clients.
We’d love to learn more about your project, so don’t hesitate to get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), LinkedIn or Instagram.