So how do you know when you’ve found an IT copywriter? and more importantly how do you know what to expect from them? the following 10 tips will give you a good understanding of the qualities to look for the things that make a copywriter an IT copywriter.
1) IT background
Perhaps the most beneficial quality in an IT copywriter is a solid background of some sort in the IT industry. If Your copywriter shares an understanding of Your domain, you’ll spend far less time explaining the benefits of Your product or service.
Remember the last time you watched someone glaze over as you waxed lyrical about the wonders of Your latest technology? you don’t want that to happen when you’re briefing Your copywriter. More importantly, you don’t want that happening when Your potential customers read Your copy!
Good technical writers are experienced in bridging knowledge gaps. This means they have to understand the technology, but they also have to be able to talk about it in the layperson’s language. A copywriter with technical writing experience in the IT industry is likely to have domain knowledge and an ability to hit the ground running.
of course, not every technical writer is a IT copywriter. you need to be sure they can write compelling copy not just dry instruction manuals. Take a look at their samples and testimonials before making a decision.
the other important consideration especially if you’re after a website copywriter is, do they have online writing experience? writing for an online medium is entirely different to writing for print. Readers have different requirements and objectives, and reading conditions are very different.
Many technical writers have written online help, so they should know how to cater to these differences. To be sure, ask them to recommend a maximum page length or word count per page. the correct answer should include some comment on the trade-off between the problems of scrolling and the need for a high keyword count for SEO.
3) Further Education
IT products and services are generally very complex in themselves. What’s more, the needs of the end-customer are also very complex and unique. This means there’s normally quite a steep learning curve for anyone new.
ask Your IT copywriter if they have tertiary qualifications. It’s not essential, and by itself its no guarantee of quality copy, but it’s generally a good indicator of someone whos been trained in the art of learning (i.e. researching, information filtering and modelling, knowledge retention, etc.).
the flip-side of that coin is to be wary of people who are technically qualified. Don’t discount them on sight (Many technical people have made great IT copywriters); just remember that technically trained people have a tendency to take a lot of things for granted when speaking to lay-people.
4) Management experience
Your IT copywriter needs to develop an understanding of the needs, influences, pressures, problems, work environment, and constraints of Your typical decision maker(s). the more understanding Your IT copywriter brings to the relationship, the less time you’ll spend schooling them.
Actual marketing experience is a big plus. It brings with it a broader understanding of strategic marketing and the realities of working with a range of challenging people and evolving products and services.
Anyone can call themselves an IT copywriter; few have the client testimonials to prove it. Testimonials are a great way to validate Your IT copywriters claims. ask to see some and read them carefully.
Don’t just look at the company name and logo. you need to determine if the clients words back up the copywriters claims. and make sure the testimonial relates to the type of work you’re commissioning (or something with similar requirements).
7) IT Samples
the proof is in the pudding. ALWAYS ask potential IT copywriters to send you samples of their work. and as with testimonials don’t be fooled by flashy packaging, big names, and recognisable logos. Read the words. are they relevant to Your project? Do they convey a clear understanding of the subject matter?
Do they convey benefits or just features? are they written in a style that you find easy to read, yet compelling? and after you’ve read the words, double-check exactly how much input the copywriter had in their writing. not all copy is written from scratch. Some copywriters work in teams, and others do more editing than writing.
8) Understand benefits
Your customers aren’t interested in what you do; they’re interested in what you can do for THEM. in other words, they’re interested in what benefits Your product or service will deliver. How will it make their day easier, more enjoyable, less stressful, safer, or more profitable? Identifying benefits is one of the hardest tasks in any advertising project.
9) Contributes value
A good IT copywriter should have solid professional experience. They should bring value to Your marketing push which goes far beyond the written word. Strategy, tactics, imagery, contacts, anecdotes, corporate identity Your IT copywriter must bring more to the table than grammar and punctuation. Expect them to make suggestions, not simply take notes and say Yes.
of course, Your IT copywriter must be able to satisfy all the normal copywriter requirements. ask for a contract of works to be completed, a time estimate, a plan of attack, a CV, and SEO copy skills (if search engine presence is important to you). for more information about what to expect from a normal copywriter, see http://www.divinewrite.com/websitecopywriter.htm.
Traditionally, copywriters have been seen as a small cog in the big advertising machine. As a result, most copywriters have risen through the ranks of generic advertising agencies. These days, however, more and more people are sidestepping the agency and going direct to the copywriter.
This approach gives them consistency across all of their written collateral, more compelling and engaging copy, and more responsive service. Within the industry, this change means that copywriters aren’t confined to ad agencies, and are able to specialise. the end result to you?