5 Ways to Tell a Good Copywriter From a Bad One

Kevin K. recently wrote and asked me:


“How would you suggest I evaluate a copywriter?


“I am completely on board that copywriting is a valuable skill but being that I don’t have experience in the field I have no way to determine a $500 writer from a $5,000 writer.”

Kevin wanted to hire a copywriter to write a sales letter for his eBook. I had quoted him my price, which was more than he could afford. (Hey, it happens.) So he sent me a follow-up email, excerpted above.


I thought it was an excellent question.


Hopefully my answer to him will be instructive if you’re wondering the same thing:


1. If you’re an experienced marketer, or an avid reader of sales letters, ads, etc., you will have developed an eye for good copy. So trust it.


2. But if you don’t have that third eye, then read the samples the copywriter displays in his/her online portfolio. And if the style and voice strikes a chord, motivating you to consider opening your wallet for that product or service promoted, then you have a good indication the copywriter could be suitable.


3. Of course, if you’re not a discerning reader than you need to rely on those who are. In short, get recommendations.


4. Conversion stats are helpful, too, but there’s a lot more than copy contributing to a high conversion rate. The “list” certainly plays a huge role, as does the offer and the reputation of the marketer.


For example, if the list is super-targeted, the offer is irresistible, and the marketer is well-known and trusted, a dyslexic high school dropout could pen a sales letter that will pull in so much money so quickly it’ll shut down the marketer’s payment gateway and merchant account.


5. Price is an obvious determinate, too.


Anyone willing to write a long-form sales letter for just $500 is either a beginner, a hack or from Asia.


A copywriter that charges $5,000, on the other hand, either has the chops to do good work, or is great a poker player. Hard to tell if you don’t have that third eye.


6. Testimonials and recommendations provide some assurance, but anyone writing for a fair amount of time will have them (note the testimonials on my website ).


And then too, every copywriter will bomb occasionally, whether they’re an A list copywriter or a B list copywriter. I certainly have.


So how do you find the best copywriter for your project?


Bottom line: Trial and error. No way around it.


In any event, it’s always going to cost you money to make money — and sometime unnecessarily — as Kevin K. will surely find out. When I followed up with him, he said he found a whole bunch of impressive writers who will only charge him… $500. Me thinks his third eye needs a better pair of glasses.


So I won’t be too surprised if that eventual $500 sales letter costs him a fortune… in lost business.



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About Barry Densa

Barry A. Densa is a freelance marketing and sales copywriter. You can view samples of his work at Writing With Personality. To receive free blog post updates sign up here.

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