Identifying Talented Direct Marketers – The Copywriter

The selection process for direct response copywriters varies depending upon what you are trying to accomplish. But what is clear is that the copywriter in any direct marketing channel must possess the ability to communicate in such a way as to either beat existing controls in a test or generate sufficient response to pay for the promotion to make money on a rollout basis.

All talents are essential for generating response. Proper media selection along with a product or service that people will pay for at the offered price and great graphics to stimulate the recipient’s interest all contribute to the successful campaign.

All of these contributions, as vital as they are, are not as important as the correct market selection and a compelling offer. From his experiences of what works, the writer should provide a leadership role in developing the offer.

For direct mail, for example, the list selection combined with the offer determine as much as 75% of the outcome of the direct marketing campaign.

Other than this fundamental skill, the writer must now assure success with these qualities.WritingSmall.jpg
-The writer must communicate the offer and product benefits convincingly. This means the writer must discern what product benefit he or she will be of greatest interest to the target market. We call this the main or unique selling proposition. All benefits are addressed in the message, but this single benefit provides the message theme. Does the writer’s portfolio display this clarity of thought and message unity?
-Does the copy show breadth? Are multiple industries portrayed in the work? Has cross-pollenization between industries occurred?
-Does the writer understand what typically persuades buyers by using tried and true techniques such as testimonials, Johnson boxes or PS paragraphs in letters? Is the copy personal in tone? Does the copy sell rather than just tell?
-For direct mail, do you see a large variety of packages that use involvement devices, online packages such as snap pacs and other innovative designs?
-When the writer writes collateral copy, does he routinely provide copywriter roughs as an organizational guide to the artist?
-In broadcast, how creative were the attention getters and calls to action? Does the copy continually ask for the order or is it an afterthought?

Aside from these issues, I like to work with writers who have a collection of controls or winners that progressed to rollout. Does the writer show the creative work that lost and compared it to what won?

The direct marketing copywriting shows a dramatically different skill set when compared to the general writer.

What other strengths do you look for when you hire freelance writers or writers for your direct team?

Posted on October 9, 2007 and filed under Direct Response Creative.