How to Source Content for a Brand New Website

We all want a website that performs well and looks great. However functionality and appearances are only part of the equation. The textual content you provide on your website is just as important as its “look and feel”.

In many situations, it makes sense to finalise your website’s text (known as “copy”) before embarking on the design phase of the project. Oftentimes, design agencies (OLCO Design included) won’t approach the design aspect of the website project until the copy has been agreed. This way, the layout, design, and overall approach for each page can be tailored to complement the text, rather than simply slotting the text in.

But where do you start in sourcing your website’s copy? Do you task yourself or a team member to create the copy around your busy schedule? Or do you commission a professional copywriter to write the copy for you with SEO and audience optimisation in mind?

But before we investigate these two options in depth, let’s get back to basics…

What is Copy and Copywriting?

Put simply, “copy” is written media that’s intended for publishing. The term is used by marketers to refer to promotional written text, including that used in brochures, catalogues, sales letters, and – you guessed it – websites.

The act of writing copy is called “copywriting” and someone who writes it is called a “copywriter”.

Don’t be put off by the word “copy”, the text isn’t copied from anywhere – or at least it shouldn’t be! The term originates from the old days of reproducing a body of text by hand or using a manual printing press; copy is the text that needs to be copied in the process of publishing.

Advertising copywriters are experts in creating persuasive promotional text that encourages readers to pay attention and act. Some copywriters specialise in certain types of copy – sales letters, conversion-focused copywriting, website copy, product descriptions, and so on. Some are experts in writing copy for different industries too, such as B2B, B2C, hospitality, automotive, fashion, etc.

How Should I Source Website Copy?

It’s time to investigate our two options: outsourcing to an external copywriter or tasking yourself (or one of your team) to write your web copy. Both are totally agreeable avenues, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Keeping Your Copywriting In-House: Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • As you’re not outsourcing, there’s no immediate external monetary outlay. You’re most likely already outsourcing the design/build part of your website project, so additional costs may not be favourable.
  • When someone on your own team is working on your copy, there’s potential for tight control over your web copy and your messaging as a whole.
  • Your in-house team are likely to have a great operational knowledge of your products or services and be able to communicate their inherent benefits with ease. Contrast this with having to explain your entire product/service catalogue to an external third party.
  • Any future additions, tweaks, and maintenance can easily be crafted and implemented in house, almost immediately and at no extra cost.

Disadvantages

  • Keeping copywriting in-house is not totally free of monetary cost. You’re still paying that team member’s wages and having to pay others (or even invest in overtime) to cover any overflow of existing work.
  • Asking a team member to create copy takes their time and effort away from their current role which may involve more business critical tasks compared to writing copy.
  • Though your selected in-house writer may be a skilled sales or marketing person, they may not have quite the same level of persuasive skill as a copywriter whose whole career hinges on winning over readers and initiating action.
  • On the flip-side, though your chosen writer may be eagerly aware of the science of persuasion, they may not have a great grasp of spelling, syntax, or grammar. When you outsource to a copywriter, you’re paying for quality wordsmithing.
  • Oftentimes, marketing communications greatly benefit from input by a totally objective third party. When you rely on in-house staff, you lose this potentially valuable insight.
  • When you keep work in-house, it can be tempting to keep things relatively informal – potentially working without a set project brief. When you leave a project’s scope undefined, it’s easy for boundaries to get hazy and for “scope creep” to set in. This can negatively impact on the team member’s other work and those around them who have to pick up any resulting slack.

Outsourcing to a Copywriter: Pros & Cons

Advantages

  • When you outsource to an external copywriting partner, you’re likely to receive reliable quality from a knowledgeable professional.
  • Getting a copywriter on board adds an extra trained marketing opinion into the mix who can give advice and provide their own promotional expertise. Sometimes having another pair of eyes helps to spot opportunities you can’t because you’re “too close” to the business.
  • Copywriters are skilled marketers who have made a career of convincing new customers with words They’re well-versed in sales psychology, persuasion techniques, keeping reader attention, and encouraging action. Professional writers maintain professional standards, so the deliverables you receive are likely to be well-written, finely honed sales assets.
  • Outsourcing writing services leaves your in-house team available to continue work as usual with no additional strain.
  • Depending on who you work with and what’s needed, professional writers will generally help you to define the scope of your project, agreeing everything before work begins. This minimises scope creep and helps to keep costs as agreed.
  • Some copywriters are experts in different kinds of copy, so if your website is heavily reliant on people buying or converting in some way, there are specialist conversion-orientated copywriters out there. Alternatively, you may be able to source a copywriter who specialises in your particular industry; they’ll already be well-versed in the unique challenges and opportunities within your niche and be able to hit the ground running with your project.
  • Copywriters aren’t just experts at writing – they’re experts in tone of voice too. A professional writer will make your website’s copy “sound” precisely how you’d most like your business to be portrayed.

Disadvantages

  • Pricing can vary wildly between providers, but outsourcing all adds to the monetary outlay associated with getting your new website up and running.
  • Finding the right copywriter for your project involves an investment of time. You need to put effort into sourcing and verifying the right person for the job; reviewing their previous work (such as their portfolio or case studies) and setting aside time to speak to them over the phone, by video call, or even meeting in person – this all takes time away from your other tasks.
  • Outsourcing to a copywriter and then outsourcing to a designer or developer creates more “moving parts” to your project, requiring more effort to manage. However in some circumstances, you may be able to ask your copywriter and designer to communicate directly, cutting down on the need to pass messages along.
  • Contracting a copywriter means that you have to explain what you do and what makes you different to yet another external party as well as your designer.
  • Though most copywriters allow for some level of edits and tweaks within the project’s remit, they are likely to charge extra for any additional amendments and additions you may need further down the line.

To Outsource or Not To Outsource – Our Advice

So what’s our opinion? Well, it really depends on your company’s individual situation. You may have a generous budget that allows you to outsource both design and copywriting – or you may have a talented budding copywriter already in your midst!

Carefully consider what you need from your website alongside the points made above. By all means, speak to copywriters you know to see if any providers seem like a good fit for your company. Similarly, you could also identify members of your team that may be up to the task.

If you’re working with a design or marketing agency and are in any doubt, reach out to them. Reliable agencies should be more than happy to advise; they may have in-house copywriters or rely on external support networks who will be more than happy to assist.

We hope this article has helped you identify your next steps. Which option do you think you’ll take and why? Have you had any experience with outsourcing copywriting work in the past? Please share your opinions down in the comments!

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