As a photographer, you take hard drives upon hard drives worth of photos, meet with clients, edit images, prep galleries, nurture vendor relationships, manage your budget, curate your social media…and so much more! The life of a creative solopreneur is filled with endless challenges, so when it comes to the written content on your website, how can you share quality content without ripping your hair out?
Thanks to a growing trend among photographers, the answer has become abundantly clear: if you hate it, outsource it! And that’s where I come in…at least for your website written content, anyway.
But I have some unsettling news for you. Simply hiring a stellar copywriter won’t guarantee a stellar copywriting experience. We aren’t wizards (as much as we resent Hogwarts for misplacing our letters) and we aren’t genies (because we learned from Aladdin that’s not a road you wanna walk, Jafar!). So, with all of our human limitations in mind, you and I both know that, when it comes to creative work, it takes two to tango.
But, if you’re planning to work with a copywriter in the near future, how can you ensure you get the most bang for your buck out of the experience? How can you make sure you’re as ready as you can possibly be to tackle your written content?
Let’s break it down…
1. Get to know your ideal client
Before plunging into content for any photographer, I always start by discussing ideal clients. What’s the point, after all, in spending thousands to rewrite every page of your website, create email templates, and populate your blog only to discover that it could not appeal less to the kind of client you want to work with?
And while a copywriter can help you through the process of ideal client discovery, fine tuning and drawing out what you already know to be true, only YOU know the kinds of clients you love to work with. Only YOU know the story about the worst client you’ve ever had and hope never to encounter again. Only YOU can decide who you want in front of your camera.
So, before getting started with a copywriter, make sure you can at least picture the kind of client you want to work with. You may not know her favorite movies, songs, or ways to exercise yet, but if you can at least picture who she is, we can figure out the rest.
2. Solidify your style
Especially for budding photographers, landing on a single, consistent style that you can really own is such a headache. But until you know for sure how you want to style your images (at least for now), you’re probably not yet ready to work with a copywriter.
Why? Because, unlike photographers, copywriters don’t have a “style” when they write for clients. Sure, we have styles when we write for ourselves, but when are writing for you, our voice goes out the window. And what is it replaced by? Yours.
We draw from your style to tell your story. We draw from your style to make promises to your ideal clients. We draw from your style to inspire the tone and language we choose to write every word. Without that clarity of style, a copywriter will struggle to give you content that feels authentically you, often leaving you unhappy with the final product.
Copywriters aren’t mind readers even though it might feel that way sometimes. And I can assure you the last thing you want is for your writer to start guessing wildly at your style. It makes for a frustrating experience all around.
Before starting the copywriting process begins, practice describing your unique, consistent style in your own words. If you can’t, take a beat to reflect on it before jumping in.
3. Make time in your schedule
You know as well as I do the pressures of being a one-woman show. Not only are you managing many clients at once and delivering results, you also need to make sure the bills get paid on time. Copywriters are no different. We carefully plan our schedules to ensure we can deliver amazing results and live our best lives. But when we have unresponsive clients, that careful planning is thrown right out the window.
Because of that, before you make plans to work with a copywriter, make the time in your schedule to actually WORK with them the way you’d want a client to work with you. Firstly, because it’s just respectful of their time and craft, but secondly, because it will deliver better results.
Copywriting is a very interactive, hands-on process. To truly nail content you’ll love for years — content that is worth the money you’ve spent — you should plan to dig in, give notes, and make suggestions. And before you worry that you might annoy your copywriter by making too many comments, let me assure you: a responsive client is an AMAZING client. We love your notes and your thoughts (given in a timely fashion, of course), because we are driven to deliver perfection.
So, if you are in a phase of life or your career that means you can only respond to emails once a week, leaving piles of unread messages and unedited copy, it may not be the best time to book your favorite copywriter for a website revamp. Aim for a time when you can be invested and engaged in the process.
4. Set tangible, attainable goals
Finally, before you reach out to book a copywriter, hunker down with a journal or just your kitchen notepad and brainstorm your goals for the year ahead. How many sessions do you hope to book? How do you plan to improve your service and experience? How do you want to grow and change over the next 12 months?
And how will you know for sure if you’ve reached those goals?
When it comes to copywriting, we are always operating with a goal in mind. Aimless copy becomes lazy, uninspiring copy, and that just won’t fly! Whether your goal is to double the number of weddings you book, or just to finally, FINALLY commit to showing up as yourself on your website, set a goal and share it with your writer.
Then, they can make sure your written content catapults you toward achieving your dreams.
With a fleshed out ideal client, well-defined style, open schedule (or as open as it can possibly be with a business to run), and a goal to propel you into the future, you are as prepped for success with a copywriter as you can possibly be! And if you aren’t quite there in one of these four areas, let your writer know! She might have resources to help you prep in advance for a truly fruitful experience.