When you are in need of a case study copywriter, you may not be sure where to start.
Okay. You know where to start. Google. But that’s not what I mean.
I mean: How do you find the best case study writer for your project?
Here are a few things to consider when searching for, and beginning to work with, a freelance case study copywriter.
Avoid Content Mills at All Costs – Seriously
Budget constraints might cause you to look for freelance writers on websites such as Upwork (formerly Elance and ODesk).
Don’t do it.
The primary reason to avoid content mills is that they are content mills. Freelancers who work on those sites are competing on price. Not quality.
And, when freelancers compete on price, the freelancers who produce the best work tend to abandon the platform. What you are left with are freelancers who simply can’t produce the level of quality you deserve because they can’t afford to.
They need to complete your project quickly and move to the next one in order to make money. It’s volume, volume, volume for them.
You want to find a professional writer who will take the time to conduct thorough interviews and produce a well-written document at a rate that you both believe is fair.
That brings us to your budget.
Decide on Your Budget, But Understand the Cost
Remember that each case study you produce is a valuable investment that will produce continual results. So, treat it as such.
Of course, you have an idea of what you would like to spend. But be realistic. You can expect to spend between $900 to $1,200 for a professional 2-page case study.
If you plan on spending any less than that, you run the risk of paying for sub-quality writing and/or service. Consequently, you will be frustrated and you won’t be able to realize the ROI that you expected.
Still, going with the lowest-cost writer in the range I mentioned may not be the best option. Be sure to take into consideration all of the other factors discussed in this article before making your final decision.
Study the Case Study Copywriter’s Samples
Always ask for samples as early as possible in the selection process.
For two reasons…
First, you want to be able to get a good understanding of the case study copywriter’s skills. Read the samples as though they were written for you. What do you think about the tone, the structure, and the overall quality of the piece?
Second, you want to see the type of organizations the freelancer is writing case studies for. Ideally, the writer will have a sample that is in the same business sector as the one your organization operates in. If you are an app developer, it provides a bit of comfort to know that the writer you are about to contract with knows something about app development.
This second point is not a hard and fast rule.
That’s because a writer with samples from a wide range of business sectors has demonstrated that they can quickly learn new subject matter and produce a quality case study. Even though you may prefer a specialist, you’ll find that a generalist who does great work across a wide range of business sectors will do an excellent job for you.
Evaluate Their Professionalism
How long did it take for the freelancer to respond to your request for information or a quote? Did they probe you with questions about your project instead of just giving you their standard quote? Did they present themselves well when you interacted with them on the phone or through email?
These are questions to consider when evaluating the professionalism of your case study copywriter. You have to go with your gut based upon rather brief interactions with the writer. So, go with your gut.
Sure, the writer you are considering may be working from home in their underwear. But, it shouldn’t seem that way when you interact with them. They should always project a professional image on the phone and through email.
Review Their Website
While I’m on the point of professionalism, it is essential that you review the writer’s website.
If you found them on Google, then you probably have already done this. The point here is that a freelance writer’s website is an important indicator of their level of professionalism. If they can’t create a professional website for themselves, then how can they create a professional case study for you?
While you are there, scan a few of the writer’s blog posts. When blogging, writers tend to write more casually. This can give you a sense of their personality.
Geography Doesn’t Matter
Don’t worry about where your freelancer is located. Under normal circumstances, it doesn’t matter where the freelancer is located. That’s because there is generally no need to have a face-to-face meeting.
Your only concern might be whether you need an English as first language writer. So, if you are researching a writer who isn’t located in North America, make sure that they meet your language requirements.
Consider Legal Issues
Lastly, you must consider relevant legal issues.
The primary legal issue is whether you are treating the freelancer as an independent contractor or employee.
According to the Small Business Association, an independent contractor and employee are defined below.
- Independent Contractor: Operates under a business name, has his/her own employees and maintains a separate business checking account; advertises his/her business’ services; invoices for work done; has more than one client; has own tools and sets own hours; keeps business records.
- Employee: Performs duties dictated or controlled by others; is given training for work to be done; works for only one employer.
Here are some ways to make sure you are treating them as an employee.
Ask whether the freelancer is incorporated. That is the best sign that they are running a business instead of looking for employment.
Ask for an IRS Form W-4 and issue the freelancer a Form 1099. This signals to the IRS that your freelancer is an independent contractor.
Plan on having the freelancer sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Whether or not they are incorporated, your NDA can explicitly state that the freelancer is an independent contractor.
If you keep these tips in mind, you are well on your way to finding and working with the right case study copywriter for your project.
Remember that Google is just the beginning of your search.