Working with copywriters 

(for startups)

Startup people,

Providing a clear message and quality content to your audience is critical to your business. You know that.

That means a lot of copywriting.

Although copywriting is so good for you, it is incredibly hard to master.

Here are a few tips to work best with copywriters.

The first thing you need to forget is:

Why can't you do it yourself?

Because you can't

Just because you write your own emails and tweets doesn't mean you can write a proper catchphrase or blog post.

<- and dat no exist

Just think ROI!

It takes you 3 days to come up 

with an article.

it takes a copywriter 3 hours.

There's a great chance yours is

 poorly written, 

with no angle, no particular style, 

no formatting, no SEO compliance, 

no sources or any idea how to distribute it.

copywriters know what they're doing.


for working with copywriters

when you're a startup

Don’t ask your copywriter to write crap. There is enough out there, really. Keep your crave for click-bait reasonable.

Follow this path:

Here is Techcrunch’s guest posting #1 guideline:

"Say something new. TechCrunch readers are particularly well-informed"

Consider yourself as the Techcrunch

of your industry and don’t take your customers / readers for dumba**es.

(like here) ->

#2 Acknowledge time

Does anyone ask you to draft a business plan in 15 min? 

That must be pretty annoying. 

Don’t do that to your copywriters, 

writing takes time.

Face the facts & figures:

#3 Choose your writers wisely

Copywriters know how to write, 

but they might not know all about 

the Quantum Mechanics you want them to write about.

Find copywriters who know a thing or two about your topic. 

And don't forget, there are always 2 sides of a copy:

for instance:

"I write about tech"

can mean pretty different things

"I write about tech" 


  • I write about business tech trends

  • I know trendy apps when they are launched

  • I can improvise a little something about Big Data

"I write about tech" 


  • I know what a race condition is

  • I know how node.js can make my apps predictably fixable

  • I wear a Linux t-shirt

Don't know anyone?

Ask your business partners for recommendations or use marketplaces:

#4 Take time to brief

Explain your goals, your philosophy, and share your priorities. 

Do this x 1000 if you're talking to a freelance copywriter. 

do something like this:

#5 Don’t push the button

It might seem a little over-dramatic, but copywriters need to be inspired. 

And sometimes they’re not. It has nothing to do with laziness: you just can’t push the “writing button”.

To avoid being late 

because of a lack of inspiration, 

build a task calendar way ahead. 

That way, copywriters 

(in-house or freelances) can work on what inspires them most.

for instance

This is our editorial calendar.

We use it at eFounders to schedule articles and illustrations for our 5 blogs. We try to plan our articles 3 to 4 weeks ahead.

#6 Give copywriters the right tools

(hint: a quill pen is not one of them)

Some copywriters are still using pen and paper to throw their ideas. However, there are many tools available to enhance copywriting: don't overlook them.

Here are 2 "Product Hunt collections" of tools that can come in handy

 when doing copywriting. 

Some are free, some require a monthly plan  (get one for your copywriter now!)

#7 Have a silent room

While some creatives enjoy working while listening to a podcast or a movie, copywriters can't. 

Since they work using words, they can’t listen to sentences while writing their own texts, it’s just disturbing. If you have copywriters in-house, please prevent yourself from having a loud meeting next to them.

for instance

that's a map of our offices:

#8 Look around (for inspiration)

While designers and developers have a lot of platforms where they can share their inspiring work (DesignerNews or HackerNews), copywriters lack them.

It doesn’t mean they don’t need to be inspired by others. Inspiration can come from opening a poetry book, listening to a quote on television, anything.

Don't prevent this soul-searching process, it's crucial for creativity.

by the way...

We’re thinking of launching a 

“HackerNews for copy”, 

with inspiring words, copy, nicely written pieces and interesting strategies.

What do you think of this idea? Tweet at @VanierRachel to share your thoughts :)

#9 Trust a copywriter’s UX instinct

Copywriters do not only write, they read a lot. Therefore, they have an obvious opinion on how their text should be integrated to a design.

for instance

This text is wrong


this text is fine

It’s N. Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter ‘s first chapter. The design, on the other hand, hurts my eyes.

#10 Don’t ask things like

  • Could you find me a word that’s like “contact” but, more fun?

  • Hey, I need a press release in 10 min, could you do that for me?

  • Could we use a “portmanteau word” for our product brand?

  • Could you sum up these 35 features in one catchphrase?

...or things could go baaad



Give feedback & discuss editions before publication. 

It's not a matter of ego, on the contrary. Copywriters usually think their copy as coherent, structured ensembles. If you pick and choose and tweak, it will just look as bad as if you did it yourself.

Here is a "feedback guideline" crafted by @pjrvs - applicable to most creative work, that means copywriting as well.

Here you go, startup, ready to copy!

Hope it was useful

Thank you!

We are eFounders, startup studio.


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Working with copywriters

by jordanchir


Public - 9/26/16, 7:54 PM