I'm currently building my startup, and I see other companies having great copywriting, for instance basecamp, Dropbox etc.. Who does their copywriting? How do I find a good one? I have tried a few copywriters but it seems that I know it better then them. I like copywriting to be 'transparent', a little 'funky', with slight humor.
Kudos to you for seeing the value in great copy. I love that you mentioned 37signals, which is an organization that's made copywriting part of almost everyone's jobs (or so they've shared on their blog). MailChimp and Zendesk are two others that people often point to re: great copy that builds a brand and differentiates; Groupon is another awesome example of really, really tonal copy that people actually read (which is more than half the battle).
MailChimp has in-house copywriters, including Kate Kiefer (https://twitter.com/katekiefer), and so does Groupon. I'm not sure who writes for Dropbox or Zendesk, though searching companies on LinkedIn can often reveal little-known in-house geniuses.
The startups you mention have a certain style and tone that I have to say is different from what you'll normally get with a "direct response" copywriter, though by all means check out the link David Berman submitted to you because you never know. I recommend that, to achieve the slightly funky, funny-ish copy you're looking for, you seek out a conversion-focused copywriter with a creative and UX background. You need someone who's totally at ease adopting a new voice / tone and using it appropriately across your site and in your emails; less experienced copywriters might be heavy-handed with the tone, which often gets in the way of the user experience (e.g., button copy that's tonal can lead to confusion). Be careful, of course, not to push your writer to be exceptionally creative -- because a little touch of tone goes a loooong way for busy, scanning eyes.
Here are some great freelance copywriters you could consider: http://copyhackers.com/freelance-copywriters-for-hire/
The link to Neville's Kopywriting peeps is also great.
Before hiring, ask to see a portfolio or get a) links to websites they've written and b) a zip of emails they've written; if a writer is accepting clients, they'll usually showcase their work on their website. Check out their blog and tweets to see if their voice comes through in their own writing. Don't hire bloggers or content creators for a job a copywriter should do. Don't hire print copywriters for web work unless they do both. And when you find a great copywriter, trust them... and don't let them go - because 10 bucks says, they're in demand or about to be.
1. Determine your budget based on the cost of acquisition of a customer
2. Determine your venue (i.e. web based copy for a landing page; direct response mailing; email autoresponder series; etc)
3. Determine your desired outcome (i.e. metrics you will use to monitor your ROI)
Then either ask for references in your network or try posting an ad here: http://www.directresponsejobs.com/
The more specific you are about what you are looking for - the better your chances of finding it. Hiring a copywriter is just like hiring for any other position.
And remember the wise advice of "Hire slow, fire quickly."
Best of luck!
Create a "small copy-test".
"Our company is creating a new home page. Our goal is to optimize conversions. Write 'above-the-fold' copy you believe will optimize 'Start Trial' button click-throughs. Please complete within 96 hours."
Give this "small copy-test" to anyone you're considering to hire. Some agencies/freelancers/people will be offended Forget them. The people that know copy 'better than you' will not mind proving it if you have a good opportunity.
The key to a great copy-test is to keep it small and relevant.
Adding to David's answer, here's another good bet: http://kopywritingkourse.com/copywriters-for-hire/
Network with other marketers and see if they know of anyone who can write the copy you're looking for your sales process/funnel.
The hiring process is the most difficult part of a company, because if the right person is not hired for the right job at right time it may result in heavy losses to the company. The hiring process starts with job posting. Creating the perfect job posting (i.e. advertisement) is where it all begins. You’ll be using the job posting as your marketing piece to post the job and to share with passive candidates. The key will be making sure you’ve created a job posting that markets the job and the company successfully to that perfect candidate. The first place to start is with an accurate job description. A job description defines the nitty gritty of the job – all the boring details that must be defined. If this is a new position, work on identifying the role of the job including a summary, list of key duties, and requirements (i.e. education and experience). This process will clarify what you are looking for in the perfect candidate, plus, it will ensure you are sharing the right details with the candidate throughout the entire process. Because you have a job ‘description’, it doesn’t mean you have a job ‘posting’. The two tools are entirely different and serve a different purpose. The job description is an internal tool meant to provide details about the functions of the job. The job posting is the marketing tool that is meant to attract the attention of and sell to the perfect candidate.
It is important to note:
A. a job description is an internal tool providing the details of the job
B. a job posting is an external marketing tool to attract the perfect candidate.
The basic elements of Job Posting are as follows:
1. Job Title – Often the actual internal job title is NOT the job title that should be used to market the job to a wider audience. The title may be too long, confusing, not adequately describing the job or is not recognized in the industry. This can be tricky.
2. Duties and Requirements – Using the job description of the job, list the most important responsibilities and requirements that need to be communicated upfront in the job posting. Keep it extremely focused on the most important aspects of the job. Remember, many job seekers are searching on their mobile devices, so using targeted bullet points makes for an easier read. However, you should apply the KISS (Keep It Short & Simple) approach. You will lose a candidate if you provide a lengthy laundry list – such as one with 25 bullet points. Later in the employment process, you can provide the candidate with a copy of the job description that includes all of those details.
3. Sell the Candidates – Not only are you evaluating applicants, but they are also evaluating you. As in the example above, you need to sell applicants on why they should work for you. Why is your company a great place to work? What sets you apart from other similar jobs or companies? How does applying for this job better the candidate’s career?
4. Provide a ‘Hook’ – Find a way to grab the job seeker’s attention. In our example above, Are you a Microsoft Office guru with a talent for creating spreadsheets? is a little more interesting than “Must be able to use MS Office”. The key is to differentiate your job and company from all the other postings that are out there for similar jobs. Also notice that we referenced both “Microsoft Office” and “MS Office” in the job posting to increase our keyword search relevance.
5. Make it Personal – Speak directly to the candidate in the job ad. For example, “You will be the “air-traffic controller” of everything sales.” Using “you” in the description helps the candidate envision being in the role and relate more to the opportunity at hand.
6. WIIFM/What is in it for Me? – Unfortunately, most candidates do not really care what you want – they want to know what they will get out of a job. What are the perks that will appeal to your candidates? Are they looking for competitive pay, excellent benefits, and a 401K? Do you offer flexible work arrangements? Does this role come with the opportunity for advancement?
7. Company Information – You know who your company is but not everyone knows who you are, what you do, where you are located, and definitely not why you are a great place to work. Make sure you include some details about your company to help the candidates get to know your business and culture. This is a good place to include a link to your website to provide them with more information than you can put in a posting. Next process that comes up in the hiring is Sourcing Candidates. With a job posting, most candidates you will reach with your posting are ‘‘active’’ in their job search or currently unemployed and seeking employment. You want to include this pool of candidates, but you don’t want to miss or overlook the passive candidates that are currently working and might ‘consider’ a job change for the right opportunity. You will need to ‘source’, or find, these candidates who may or may not have their resume on the ‘open market’. The key to successful sourcing is to identify the keywords that will help you find your candidates; most sourcing is conducted online. When sourcing, it’s a good idea to try a different combination of keywords until you find the best matches. It may take a few tries to get the right combination of keywords for each source you use to search, so be patient. Once you find the right keywords, save the list so you have the magic combination for repeating the search on that source for future needs.
A few sourcing resources are as follows:
1. Internet – The World Wide Web is a huge database just waiting for you to tap into –and it’s free. Using your favourite web browser, along with your identified keywords and Boolean search operators, you can use the Internet to dig up resumes, publications, presentations, announcements, directories, employee lists, etc. that will identify possible candidates for you to consider for your openings. Once you find a name and contact information, you can reach out to share your opportunity.
2. Resume Banks – Major job boards (i.e., Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, DICE) and even professional associations offer resume banks – most often at a cost to users. Candidates looking for jobs can upload their resume for prospective employers to review. All you have to do is to search the site using the keywords you have developed for your opening. Both a pro and a con, often these resumes stay in the system “forever”. It’s possible when searching a resume bank, you will find a candidate that is no longer available or their resume may be out of date and missing relevant experience. But if you find a potential match, you can often reach out to obtain current information and to ascertain interest.
3. Social Media – Social Media is another ever-growing tool at your fingertips, and like the Internet, it’s a free resource. As social media applications are always being added and fall out of popularity, it will be important to stay on top of the latest and greatest ones to ensure you are connecting with the “hot” social tool of the moment. Keep in mind the characteristics of the candidate you ideally want to locate – that will help you decide which social media outlets to target. Like other resources, utilize your keyword list to search through subscribers to find a potential match.
Evaluation of the candidates is the next step, here screening of the profiles/resumes is done. Now that you are starting to see resumes/applications, it’s time to review your candidates for the job. This is where you get to know whether a candidate will be a good fit for the job and the organization based on what they present on “paper”. Because you developed an updated job description, your solid understanding of the position will serve you well. Screening resumes or applications is no easy task, particularly if you receive hundreds of them. You owe it to your company and the applicants to carefully review each submission. Knowing your “must-have’s” and “nice-to-have’s” is the key to narrowing down the list of applicants into a more manageable group to scrutinize. As you review the candidates, you have a few options to help you with the evaluation process. At a basic level, you can consider the requirements and needs for the job and rate each candidate as A, B, or C. Your “A” candidates are the top ones you plan to take to the next step in the process. Your “B” candidates are the “maybes” (let’s see how the candidates in the “A” list pan out and we may go back to them). Your “C” candidates are just not a fit for your needs. The “C” candidates can be immediately dispatched; go ahead and inform these candidates they are no longer being considered.
Another option for screening incoming candidates is to create objective criteria to help you rate the candidates. You can then either use a rating scale for each of these criteria or a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ designation. Some example criteria might be:
1. Do they have the education or certification required?
2. Do they have the minimum years of experience needed?
3. Do they possess the XYZ skill that is a must have for the position?
Knowing what to look for as you review each resume will help. Consider the following:
1. Minimum qualifications/relevant skills/technical skills
3. Communication style/skills (writing, forming thoughts, clarity)
5. Quantified Results (i.e. for sales)
6. Work History – dates/gaps
7. Salary (cover letter)
8. Accomplishments – increasing responsibility
9. Career path
You are probably asking “how do I manage all of this information”? Many companies start out using current tools such as a spreadsheet and file folders. Depending on the volume of hiring you are doing, this may quickly become cumbersome. At that point, it is time to consider an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). There are many ATS solutions and they range in price from nominal to awfully expensive. You will want to think about what you need from an ATS and what other features are offered that might help you. Some typical features include:
1. Setting up each job opening
2. Posting the job to your website from the ATS
3. Importing every candidate that applies including their resume and matching them to the job
4. Tracking where a candidate is in the recruitment process
5. Creating templates to use to notify candidates through the process
6. A method for corresponding with the candidates and tracking those communications
7. Using the tools, you have, your key responsibility throughout the recruiting process will be ensuring the candidate has a great experience. Even if you don’t ultimately hire the candidate, they may become a client for you in the future or be a great resource to refer or NOT recommend you to other great candidates. Think about what would make the recruiting process great for you if you were a candidate. At a minimum, we recommend that you:
8. Provide a response/thank you to each resume submittal.
9. Give timely feedback and updates throughout the process
10. Roll out the red carpet when the candidate is on site interviewing
11. Do not treat the candidate as though they are “lucky you are considering them”
12. Express your excitement throughout all communications whether email or calls
13. Remember, the candidate’s experience starts with the first connection – reading an ad or being contacted and runs through onboarding. Keep your sales and marketing hat on throughout the entire process.
Pre-screening is the next step. A pre-screen is a brief list of targeted questions sent after the resume/application is received, intended to clarify qualifications. This is a great opportunity to find out if candidates meet the “must have” requirements of the position, as well as an initial attempt to address salary requirements. Yes, it is another step in your process, but it is not time consuming and can immediately eliminate non-qualified candidates ultimately saving you time and money. A pre-screen can be conducted by phone or in an email questionnaire. Since it is a pre-screener, it should be very brief, no more than about 5 key questions. Some possible questions to consider would be:
1. What are your salary requirements?
2. Explain your work history related to the job.
3. Do you have experience with X?
4. When are you available for an interview?
The phone screening may also be conducted. The phone screen, also known as a phone interview, is an opportunity get to know whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for the job and the organization based on a one on one phone conversation, before you invest both your hiring manager’s and the candidate’s time in an in-person interview. A phone screen can be anywhere from 15–60 minutes and serves as a deeper discussion than the initial pre-screen. This is an opportunity to find out about the candidate’s interest in the job, his/her qualifications skills, and abilities. It is also a great way to gauge communication skills. Asking behaviour-based questions that require the candidate to provide you with a specific situation, task or action taken and the resulting outcome will provide insight to whether they possess the required skills or experience. The key is to ask questions that help you determine if the individual is a good enough fit to go to the next step of meeting in person. Your questions will vary from job to job but at a high level should at least include work history, confirmation of qualifications, discussion on skills, salary, and availability. Do not just ask yes or no questions. Ask open ended questions that get the candidate sharing specific experiences. Use questions like:
1. Tell me about a time when you… (i.e. had to deal with a challenging boss).
2. Describe an example of… (i.e. your ability to work as a team player)
All questions on the pre-screen and phone screen should always relate back to the requirements for the job, e.g. leadership, communication, or other specific requirements. For example, instead of asking, “do you have someone to watch your kids while you work?” state the hours required and ask the candidates if they are able to meet that requirement.
An employment application should not be ignored. An employment application is a great tool to gather consistent information from each applicant. Depending on where your business resides, you may have extremely specific legal requirements about when in your recruitment process you can, should, or must have each individual complete an employment application. Plus, the regulations may also dictate what you can and cannot ask. Be sure to research your legal requirements to ensure your employment application is compliant. Some of the general information you could consider gathering on the employment application include:
1. Position Information:
i. Date of Application
ii. Position Applying For
iii. Salary Desired
iv. Date Available
v. Type of Position (full-time, part-time, temporary)
2. Personal Information:
i. Full Name
ii. Social Security Number
iv. Telephone Number
v. Best Time to Call
3. Education Information:
i. High School – Name, Address, Degree, Major (if applicable)
ii. College – Name, Address, Degree, Major
iii. Graduate School – Name, Address, Degree, Major
iv. Technical Certifications, Licenses, Registrations
v. Membership in Professional or Technical Associations
4. Military Service Record:
5. Employment History:
i. Dates of Employment
ii. Employer Name and Address
iii. Supervisor Name and Contact Information
iv. Job Title
v. Ending Salary
vii. Reason for Leaving
6. Professional References:
i. Name, Contact Information and Relationship with at Least 3 References
7. Certification and Authorization:
i. The legalities on what you have the candidate sign vary by your laws. At a minimum, you are asking the candidate to sign agreeing everything submitted is true.
Now we come to interviews. The interview allows you and your company to speak to a candidate in a face-to-face setting, probe further on his/her qualifications, observe his/her level of professionalism, and finally, observe communication skills.
How many face to face interviews you do with each candidate may vary depending on the job opening and your organization. For a management role, you may have multiple interviews with the candidate to allow different levels (reporting boss and direct reports) and different areas (people who will work with the person) engage with the candidate. For any job, you may want to consider at least two interviews to ensure you get a true perspective of a candidate and let the candidate really get to know you. The process is too time consuming and costly to repeat again simply because you didn’t take enough time during the interview stage. To ensure consistency and control of the interview, an interview guide should be created for each position. The guide will include the questions you plan to ask as well as provide you a way to evaluate the candidate after the interview. Some of the key pieces of information you will need to focus on gathering during the interview include:
1. Communication Skills
5. Career Goals
8. Work Ethic
12. Cultural Fit
Interviews can be of various types:
1. Telephone – As mentioned earlier, it is much more cost effective and timely to do a telephone interview first to help verify qualifications and assess the candidate’s interest.
2. Structured – A structured interview is a pre-established set of questions in a specific order. This is helpful if you have a lot of information to obtain and limited time or even more than one person doing the interviews for the same job to ensure consistency.
3. Unstructured – An unstructured interview is more a of a “discussion” interview that an unstructured interview is more a of a “discussion” interview that is more free flowing. This can be hard to manage but is a good way to see how the candidate is going to handle an open environment with little structure.
4. Behaviour Based – Conducting an interview that requires the candidate to answer questions based on previous experiences/behaviours can be very helpful to determine how they may perform in the future. In this type of an interview, the candidate is told to answer each question by describing a time he/she did what is being asked and what the result was.
5. Panel – A panel interview can be effective if you have a number of individuals that need to be involved in the interview but don’t want to take an entire day for the interview. Most often, the panel members take turns asking questions. Keep in mind this can be a very stressful interview for a candidate, especially if they are not a strong extrovert.
6. Stress – Remember the “good cop” and “bad cop” stories you see in the movies? Well, this is an interview format much like that. You will have an interviewer that will intentionally produce stressful situations or questions to push the candidate and see how they respond under pressure.
7. Task Oriented – Some jobs provide a situation where a candidate could be asked to do a working interview where the candidate performs a task, responds to a case, or even prepares a presentation based on a scenario provided. For example, a labour job may be easiest to just hire the candidate for a few days to see how they handle the role. Or for a sales position, the candidate may have to present or sell you a product or service.
Next step is verifying the candidates. Even if you have the best gut instinct, using other tools in the hiring process to verify if a candidate is truly a good fit is important. The more resources you use the better chance you have for making a good hiring decision. But don’t rely on one tool as the magic bullet. Assessments and tests can be used in the recruitment process as a scientific method to evaluate the potential fit of a candidate for a particular job. They can also be used to assess current employee strengths and weaknesses for development. Keep in mind, an assessment is one tool to consider in making your hiring decision, not a definitive answer. Timing of the assessment can vary depending on the role and type of assessment. Some assessments may be best completed concurrently with the application/resume submission while others are valuable at some point during the actual interview process. It is, however, critical that an assessment is used consistently for all candidates at the same stage in the hiring process.
Background and reference checks are valuable tools that provide information to the company prior to hiring the candidate. Generally, the last step or nearly the last step in the hiring process is when you should conduct the background and reference checks. However, it is crucial that the information obtained be considered appropriately. Any information obtained in a background check or reference check must only be considered as it relates to the candidate’s ability to perform the specific role for which they are being considered.
A background check is a formal investigation often performed by a third party to provide you with a summary of the following candidate information if requested by your company:
1. Employment history
3. Driving record
4. Criminal record
5. Credit report – contains more personal information about a candidate, including but not limited to whether a candidate has filed for bankruptcy and how a candidate pays his/her bills (typically used for roles related to financial tasks)
Be sure you are aware of your country’s legal requirements around background checks. For example, in the United States, background checks are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission who in turn enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In which case, it is absolutely imperative that you and your company understand all requirements as outlined by the FCRA before conducting or seeking a third party to conduct a background check. Certain release forms and communications must take place between you and the candidate(s) to ensure that you are protected should a candidate take legal action. A reference check is conducted after the candidate is requested to furnish a list of professional references that can be leveraged in the recruiting process. Essentially, a reference check probes the authenticity of the information provided by the candidate (work history, dates, and responsibilities). It also allows the employer a chance to probe the character of a candidate. Some candidates will try to give you “personal” references. For a job, you only need or want professional references; individuals that can share their experience of working with the candidate.
For employers who promote drug-free work environments, the use of a drug screen is an important recruiting tool to ensure a safe, secure and productive workplace. Conducting a pre-employment drug screen is recommended prior to making an offer of employment, and is typically outsourced to third parties who specialize in collection and analysis of biological samples.
Once you have selected the right candidate for your vacancy, you can present him the offer letter.
Offers can be presented in a variety of ways. We would recommend you start with the verbal offer. It is your opportunity to share exciting news with the candidate. Share your excitement with the candidate through the way you present the offer.
A verbal offer would be given over the phone. This is a great way to expedite the offer process, particularly if a candidate is speaking with multiple companies. Be sure you:
1. Communicate all details of the offer to the employee: salary, vacation, and benefits (medical, retirement or other) at a high level.
2. Be prepared to answer the question, “Is this offer negotiable?”
3. Follow up with a written offer to solidify the verbal offer
A written offer is the formal and legally binding method of presenting an offer. It contains all pertinent information relating to the employment offer, as well as all of the necessary and legally binding clauses that disclose the terms (including an “at-will” statement if appropriate to your location) of the offer to the employee. A written offer should contain the effective start date, pay rate (typically stated as an hourly rate or a monthly salary), pay frequency, vacation days, paid time off/sick day allowances, benefits (including but not limited to medical, dental, vision, and retirement), and finally, a signature line allowing the candidate to formally accept the offer in writing.
If the hiring manager can make the verbal offer and sign the written offer, it will be received best from the candidate. However, if time is limited, Human Resources can make the verbal offer. Be sure you excite the candidate about the company and the offer. Also, avoid emailing the offer if you can. If you’ve made it verbally, the candidate has the details they need. Mailing a written offer will arrive in just a day or two anyway. Plus you can make the written offer exciting and personal by sending more than a piece of paper (i.e. company logo wear, flower, signed card from the staff).
Next comes the process of onboarding. Now that your company and the candidate have agreed upon and accepted the terms of the employment offer, it is time to bring your new employee on-board. This is probably one of the most important steps of the entire recruiting process. Let the new employee know how excited the company is to have them be part of the team. For example, we had one client that created a poster board for the new employee with their picture. Using the picture helped other employees know who the person is. Plus, the employees would write welcome messages to the new employee on the poster.
Apart from this process keep these following points in your mind:
1. How Much Does It Cost to Hire A Copywriter?
2. Find A Copywriter with The Right Skills
3. Determine the Right Copywriter for Your Business Needs
4. Find & Attract the Best Freelance Copywriters Available
5. Price Each Copywriting Project Correctly
6. Set Up A Regular Writing Schedule with The Freelancer
7. Proofreading & Writer Feedback
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath