In my last post, I talked about ways you can get copy for your clients’ websites. If you had a chance read that post, you might have realized I feel strongly about the value of professional writing. (Go figure… I’m a writer.)
There are several advantages to working with a professional writer on a web project (less hassle, reduced chance of scope creep, avoidance of the Copy Trap, to name just three).
But many web pros—even ones who are outsourcing SEO—still don’t sell outsourced content.
Why is that?
You could chalk it up to poor sales technique, maybe, although I’m not here to lecture about asking for the close or conquering your fear of rejection.
But in my experience, the number one reason clients say “no” to writing is price, plain and simple. The cost of good writing sends most clients skittering away like roaches when you turn the light on.
Unless, that is, you’ve educated those clients on the value of good writing before you tell them how much they need to spend.
The Difference Between Good Copy and Cheap Copy
Humor me and read that sub-headline again. See what I did there? I didn’t say “good copy and bad copy,” I said “good copy and cheap copy.”
You can still pay too much for bad copy. I work with a couple of people who did so in the past.
But good copy almost always costs money, and cheap copy is almost always bad.
That’s because crafting good copy takes more time and effort than you’d think. In fact, I always tell people I spend the most time and do the hardest work on the stuff that looks like I wrote it in five minutes.
There’s no getting around it—if your client wants simple, easy-to-read, compelling copy, they’re either going to have to learn how to write and then practice for ten years, or else find somebody who has.
Now none of this is to say that you can’t find cheap copy. Head on over to any of the major outsourcing websites, and, in five minutes tops, you can dig up someone who’ll work for peanuts.
But you know how the whole “working for peanuts thing” works out, don’t you? (And if you don’t, ask that client of yours whose nephew built their last site on Joomla.)
The Benefits of Good Copy
See, many clients look at copy as just words on a page. Sure, that’s what they are, but good words on a page do so much more:
- Good copy drives conversions. When your writer really knows what they’re doing, they can actually increase lead generation by subbing in a word or two in a headline or tweaking a call to action.
The right words can mean the difference between a 1% conversion rate and a 3% conversion rate, which can make an incredible difference to your client’s bottom line.
Cheap copy, because it will less likely be as informed by reader psychology, probably won’t do that.
- Good copy enables sales. A good writer often knows as much about sales and marketing as the English language, and can actually help your client sell more.
When product descriptions pop instead of fizzle, more buyers spend more money. Similarly for clients with service businesses. The right words can help your client’s end-users visualize the benefits of working with your client, or dispel the fear of making a poor buying choice.
Cheap copy will more likely read like the same generic crap that every other company in your client’s industry is saying, and thus has a greater chance of failing.
- Good copy supports business strategy. The best writers know how to align web copy with your client’s strategic goals and objectives. They aren’t afraid to put up their hand and say, “Listen, I think your Services page is off-target. You should be saying this instead.”
When every word on a site is aligned and working to achieve the same goal, the result goes beyond brand continuity and achieves business continuity. And your client’s prospects will respond, either consciously or not, with their wallets.
Cheap copy… Well, I can’t even finish the sentence with a straight face. Do you really think you’re going to get that from someone who writes for 7 cents a word?
Using Good Copy as a Differentiator and a Profit Center
The thing is, though, your clients aren’t the only ones who can benefit from good copy.
I don’t want this to be a pitch for my writing services (although clearly I’m not above linking to my site), but I do want to say this: if you add outsourced copy to your service offering, I can nearly guarantee you’re going to stand out from the competition.
I don’t care whether you’re targeting a niche, or working in a particular local area, or whether your mission statement says, “RandomWeb exists to help all businesses everywhere.” The fact is that web pros that bundle content into their services are few and far between, so if you do it you’re going to be “The guy who’ll do the writing, too.”
Pretend you’re a potential client for a second, and you’re meeting with two web pros. One says, “I can design your site for $5,000, but you’re on your own for the content.” The second says, “I can design your site for $7,000, and that includes everything, even the content. You won’t need to worry about a thing because I’ve already got a professional writer lined up for you who’ll work with you to make sure every word reflects your business and your brand.”
Which one of those two is going to stand out? (Hint: if you’re saying it’s the first one because the price is cheaper, you’re playing the game wrong.)
That’s right. You want to be the second guy. Because the second guy is providing the client with an immeasurable amount of value for only an extra $2,000.
Think about all the extra work that client won’t have to do—think about how easy it’ll be for them to say “We need 6 pages” and have those pages written for them. Of course the guy offering copywriting services is going to look like the smarter choice.
But good copy doesn’t just help land sales… It can make you money.
What if the extra $2,000 you quoted to the client was actually $1,500 for the writer and $500 for you? Suddenly your $5000 project is a $5500 project… and all you did to make that $500 was connect the writer and your client.
Think about what that means. You could do absolutely nothing else but mark up outsourced writing and make an extra 10% in 2014. What would that look like? New computers? A vacation? Hell, sell enough and you could buy a car.
Suddenly good copy looks even better, doesn’t it?