When should I hire a copywriter?

Writing during conversion copywriting

If you’re in the process of launching your business or product, there may come a time when you say to yourself, “should I hire a professional to write my copy?” And the answer, in many cases, is yes.

But how do you know when the time is right?

How do you know if you actually need a writer or if you should write the copy yourself?

How do you know if it’s too early to hire a writer….or worse, too late?

This article is meant to give you complete clarity into the different scenarios and phases of your business in which hiring a copywriter makes sense and when it absolutely does not make sense.

Let’s start with the former.

You should hire a copywriter when…

1. You have Product Market Fit

If your product is fully developed and you have paying customers, then YES, now would be a good time to study your customers, hone your message, inject your copy with persuasion techniques, and all that other good stuff we copywriters do to make your copy more effective.

If you haven’t hit PMF yet, I would recommend holding off on hiring a copywriter because it will probably be a waste of time and money.

Here’s why:

Instead of helping you hone your message and make it more effective, you end up leaning on the copywriter to help you figure out what your product is (which is really the founder’s job or the job of the executive team).

This leaves the writer caught in a web of divergent opinions from various stakeholders (“I would describe it more like this…” or “I don’t see it that way…”) and constant rewrites that never go anywhere or just end up changing shortly thereafter.

The result? Lots of time, money, and energy spent, but you’re not actually closer to where you want to be, at least in terms of messaging.

2. You’re launching (or relaunching) something

Whether you’re launching a new product, feature, website, lead magnet, email sequence, social channel…it doesn’t matter.

A copywriter can help you clearly explain what it is, how it works, what’s included, and sell it in the most persuasive way possible.

Plus, we can help you create a cohesive narrative across your marketing channels, making sure your website, landing pages, emails, blog post, social posts or whatever you’re using are all connected and telling the same consistent story in the same style and tone.

3. You haven’t hired a designer or a developer yet

The #1 mistake I see startups and small businesses make over and over again is working with a designer or a developer before hiring a copywriter.

The result? They end up with a website or landing page that “looks good,” but is ineffective in communicating with their audience, and therefore, does not perform the way it should.

Why does this happen?

Most businesses don’t realize this, but copywriting is not just writing words. In fact, the writing part is the last part of the process.

Before any words are written, any good copywriter will spend time running tests, conducting customer research, completing audits, and developing wireframes, ensuring every piece of your website or landing page is backed by research and aligned with your goals.

Here’s just some of the stuff you can expect any good copywriter to bring to the table:

✓ User testing

✓ Usability testing

✓ Customer research

✓ Competitive analysis

✓ User Experience

✓ Wireframing



✓ And so much more!

Beyond collecting the information, a good copywriter also knows how to translate customer data into an experience that not only delights users, but persuades them to take action.

As you can imagine, leaving out the crucial knowledge a copywriter adds to any project is like opening a restaurant without any prior knowledge of the food, customers, or location.

Maybe the restaurant will look attractive, but if people don’t like what you’re serving or how you present it, you won’t be in business very long.

4. You want your website, email, blog post (or whatever) to do more than just “look pretty”

I get it: when you’re first launching a business, sometimes it’s all about the MVP and there’s no time to conduct customer research, optimize your copy, or do any of the “fancy” things people put off until real money is coming in.

And in many cases, that’s a smart move.

But at some point — especially when you start making money — your website, emails, blog, social media channels, etc, need to do more than just look nice or just “be there” for the sake of being there.

This is when it makes sense to hire a copywriter who can help you understand who your customers are and how to effectively communicate with them, which is truly the foundation of all marketing and sales.

5. You have the budget for it

Copywriting is not cheap (well, the good copywriters are not cheap), so don’t expect a copywriter to rewrite your entire website, write a bunch of 5,000-word blog posts and redo your onboarding sequence for $500.

Be realistic. If you want good copy, you have to pay for it.

For reference, top copywriters are $60,000-$100,000+ per project, but if you’re lucky, you can find a good one for $2500-$10,000+.

6. You don’t have the time or expertise to write it yourself 

I’m going to use a quote from The Office here because I think it says it all….

“It’s not part of your job. It’s like, maybe you can cook, but that doesn’t mean you should start a restaurant.” -Ryan from The Office

Look, I’m not saying you can’t write. Maybe you can, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Can I “design” a website? Sure. But there are a LOT of limitations to my skills, which means the site won’t look or feel the way I want and it probably isn’t going to perform the way I want either.

Plus, it’s going to take me SO MUCH LONGER to design something ugly and not great vs just hiring a designer who will do a great job in a shorter amount of time.

My point? Leave the writing to the professionals and you’ll be much happier with the results (and the time you get back!).

Alright, now that you know when you should hire a copywriter, let’s talk about the moments when it does NOT make sense to hire a professional copywriter.

You should NOT hire a copywriter when…

1. You’re still trying to figure out what your business or product is 

As mentioned above, it’s YOUR job to figure out what your business or product is — NOT the copywriter!

Sure, a copywriter can help bring clarity to your ideas, work out the details, and make it both clear and persuasive, but we can’t do all the heavy lifting.

In order for this to relationship to work, you have to come to the table with your feet firmly planted on the ground with a clear understanding of what this THING is you’re trying to sell. Because guess what? If YOU don’t know what it is, how the hell are we supposed to know?

If all you’re working with is an “idea,” there’s still work to be done. Not by us. By you.

You can thank me later when you’re not spending thousands of dollars on something you’re just going to end up changing or throwing out because it’s just not “right” or doesn’t accurately reflect the thing you’re trying to sell in two months.

2. You have no money

If you’re a “lean” startup, you don’t have funding, you don’t have PMF and you don’t have customers, you don’t have the money you need to invest in high-value copywriting.

And that’s okay.

For the time being, simply write the copy yourself or hire a cheap writer on a marketplace platform who can help you lay the groundwork as your product and approach evolves.

When the money (hopefully) arrives down the road and your product is in a much more solid place, feel free to get in touch. 😉

3. You’re just looking for someone to fill in your placeholder text

This is basically the equivalent of an illustrator throwing together a bunch of visuals, making up a random order, and asking a writer to create a story out of it.

It. Just. Doesn’t. Work.

If this sounds like you, you’re better off either writing the copy yourself or hiring a cheap writer on a marketplace platform to fill in your placeholder text because the results will be the same.

I said it above, I said it here, and I’ll say it again…

If you want effective copy that actually WORKS, you need to hire the copywriter BEFORE you hire the designer or the developer.

It’s that simple, friends.

Are you ready to hire a copywriter?

If you know you’re ready to work with a professional copywriter, we should chat! Feel free to reach out directly if you’re interested in working together: annie1maguire@gmail.com.

If you need guidance on which type of copywriter you should hire, check out this article here which breaks it down for you.

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