The Independent Copywriter
By Justin P Lambert
Some businesses have enough communications going around, both internally and externally, to consider the idea of hiring a full-time staff copywriter. If your business does not have that much work for a writer, then the answer is obvious: you need to hire an independent writer to take on the projects as they come up.
But if you have enough work for a staff writer to stay busy, is there any reason to still consider a freelancer?
Yes. As a matter of fact, there are at least four reasons I can think of:
1. Outsider’s Perspective – The very nature of a successful freelancer’s business means that she is going to be exposed to many different businesses, many different products and services, and over time she will have absorbed and learned from this melting pot of ideas. You and your staff, on the other hand, are much more likely to be dealing almost exclusively with your own products and services, and probably with the “way things have been done” for years. Just imagine the breath of fresh air an outsider with that kind of breadth of knowledge and experience can bring to your marketing: fresh ideas, fresh insights, possibly the impetus to take your marketing in a whole new, highly successful, direction!
2. Independent Attitude – A successful freelancer got that way because he focused on marketing and promoting himself and his skills, including making sure each and every customer was completely satisfied with his work. He HAS TO do that, because referrals and word-of-mouth advertising are the most important factors for his success. He can’t rely on someone else in the department picking up the slack if he feels like skating for a day or two. He can’t expect the Big Machine to keep on running if he pulls his cog out for a day. As a freelancer, he knows his constant push to be the best of the best is what’s going to keep food on his table, so he goes into every job (including YOURS) with the attitude that it HAS TO BE THE BEST.
3. Interdependent Attitude – No, this isn’t in conflict with point #2. While a freelancer has to be fiercely independent to push themselves to succeed, at the same time, the best of them know their strong interdependence with each client will only enhance that effort. In other words, a freelance copywriter is not going to come in, get their contract signed and disappear, firing off a finished project and an invoice, to never be heard from again. In order to accomplish what we discussed in point #2, it’s imperative that the freelancer develop strong working relationships with the client: work with them, converse, brainstorm, tweak the copy as needed… in short, make sure the client is 110% satisfied THRILLED with the finished product. They become a valued part of the team rather than just a hired gun.
4. No Overhead Costs – Probably the most practical reason why an independent copywriter may be your best choice is the fact that when you’re making out the check to pay her, you’re paying strictly for her time in creating the finished product. You’re not paying her sick time, or medical benefits, or dental coverage, or matching her 401K contributions, or covering her payroll taxes, or Social Security, or Disability, or… or… or… You get the picture. You don’t have any of the hassles and expense of bringing on another employee dependent on you and the health of your company for survival. You’re just bringing on a talented professional who can dramatically improve the health of your company by turning in top-notch copy at a reasonable price.
So, let’s hear it for “Independents’ Day”! A freelance copywriter could be the best choice you ever make!