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Many companies hire freelance copywriters when they receive too much work for their in-house copywriters to handle or when they don't have in-house copywriters. Copywriters’ backgrounds vary widely, but there are several qualities that good copywriters share. When you're searching for copywriting help on a freelance basis, a creative and critical mind, attention to both details and deadlines and an ability to compel the target market to action are crucial qualities you should look for in a freelance copywriter.
Although many copywriters have a bachelor's degree in English, communication, journalism or advertising, education alone is not the only thing you should look for in a freelance copywriter. David Ogilvy, the king of copywriters, stressed that the "well-furnished" mind is what is important in copywriting. Someone who is both a creative and a critical thinker can usually adapt well to any copywriting task. You want someone who is both a thinker and a creator so that the work is not simply a creative piece, but a well thought out marketing piece that features strategy that grabs hold of your target market and doesn’t let go.
Attention to the details is as important as attention to deadlines, although both are crucial. You don't just want copy on time, but you want good copy that covers everything it's supposed to so that it does what it's supposed to do. For example, if you have a unique new product, but the ad copy doesn't explain how to use the product or what great results consumers can get from using this product, the ad is a waste of time. Copywriters need to reach consumers by communicating the benefits of the product in a compelling way.
The main quality to look for in a freelance copywriter is that the copywriter must be able to get the target audience to take the action that you need. This is what you are paying for. No copywriter can, or should, guarantee results, but should be able to provide past results and portfolio samples.
Persuasive skills that are overwhelmingly compelling are a must to look for in a freelance copywriter when you expect good results. When applying for the job, how does he or she get your attention and compel you to want to hire him or her? And look at the end of the cover letter to see if the call to action — in this case for you to contact the copywriter — is really effective. Good copywriters know how to sell themselves, and not just products and services!
1)There wasn't a big demand for copywriters to have a degree when many of these "A-List Copywriters" started. The reality is that most companies that hire writers today expect at least a 4 year degree. It also helps the pay level of copywriters when so many people still seem to undervalue the work of writers and want to pay much less that the amounts suggested by writer's associations.
2)Copywriting does "sell products or services" and sales IS definitely the most important skill here. I totally agree. Yet, oftentimes copywriting must also inform and research is required. Also, being exposed to different kinds of writing and subjects in college tends to open the copywriter's mind and encourage both the creativity and critical thinking skills needed to really be a stand-out copywriter.
Ultimately, copywriting is not just selling products and services, but ideas!
1) Many of the A-List Copywriters don't have any kind of degree. Not in English, Marketing, or Advertising. Some never attended college.
2) Writing compelling copy is an art, its sole purpose is to sell product or service. One does not need a degree of any kind if one is a true salesman/woman.