Copywriter Interview Questions: What to Ask Before You Hire a Writer?

Just like there are many different approaches to working as a dietitian, there are many different styles of writing. The right copywriter for you meshes with your needs and style and helps to fuel your business success; the right copywriter interview questions can help you find your perfect match!

If you’re new around here, welcome! I’m Holly Larson – I’m a registered dietitian and nutrition copywriter. I love the work that I do, amplifying the good work that my dietitian clients are doing.

As an entrepreneur, learning to delegate and finding partners that you trust can be a daunting prospect. In this article, I’ll be arming you with a list of questions that you can use to vet your copywriter.

Let’s dive in with my first, high level question.

What is your process?

Everything begins with keyword research for me; if my blogs aren’t going to help with SEO, they’re not worth writing.

Once we have topics in mind, I write everything in a Google doc. Once I’ve hired my proofreader to go over everything with a fine-tooth comb, I share the doc with my clients. We get to make edits and comments in the same, single document instead of trying to keep track of different attachments and versions. Much easier to keep everyone organized! My clients get two rounds of edits, but often times we can get the blog finalized in a single round.

More info here about what it is like to work with me as your nutrition copywriter. 

Can I see samples?

Keep in mind that most writers will have samples on their website, so take a look there first. However, a lot of copywriting is ghostwritten. If there is something specific you’re interested in, just ask.

As a ghostwriter, I am channeling my clients’ inner voices, kind of like playing dress up. So, my samples of work are pretty different.

What is your experience in my niche?

Every niche has its own specific lingo, current research, common myths and so on. Having a writer who understands your ideal clients and how you help them makes the writing process more authentic and true to your voice. 

As a registered dietitian who has had her own private practice and experience in a range of fields, I understand well the joys, struggles and mistakes of small business ownership. 

What is your training?

The truth is that anyone can be a copywriter…but that doesn’t mean that they’re a good copywriter.

Good copywriting takes training and practice; I’ve had both.

And unlike becoming a registered dietitian, there isn’t a specific requirement to be an expert in SEO or in copywriting.

But, I have both! I completed a high-end copywriting course called Write Your Way to Freedom (you can read about that here) as well as a robust SEO course called SEO Made Simple (that’s my affiliate link, BTW).

Both courses have helped me to become the effective copywriter that I am today!

What is your strategy to optimize for SEO?

A lot goes into SEO, but it is learnable. You don’t need to be an expert in SEO if you’d like to delegate this skillset, but I recommend learning enough to not be fooled by a dishonest person. 

If you’re new to learning about SEO, welcome! Bookmark this article to read later: How to Write Content for Google: 7 SEO Principles for Beginners

SEO strategy starts with writing robust, high-quality content. It also includes things like 

  • Keyword research
  • Breaking text into short, readable paragraphs
  • Using bullets, headings, bolded words
  • Adding alt text and meta description

SEO also includes things beyond the web copy itself: is your website secure, does it load quickly, are other websites linking to your materials? 

Consistent blogs done well will lead to more traffic on your website. More traffic can lead to more members on your email list and then more customers.  

How do you channel your client’s voice?

Writing is personal. And it can feel really scary to hand over the reins to a writer. What if you aren’t a good fit? 

Your first step is to review the posted samples and see if the writer might be a good fit. Next, ask how they will channel your voice.

To me, writing for a client is kind of like playing dress-up. I get to know my client’s voices and style by reading their published works: blogs, social media posts, and emails. 

Next, I take time to copy that text by hand, on paper. Talk about old school! Copying my client’s text by hand helps my brain to internalize their voice, preferred words, pacing, and how formal they are. 

What if I am not happy?

This is important: to know how your writer has dealt with miscommunications in the past. This is also why I recommend doing a test project first. This gives both the copywriter and the client the opportunity to see if they’re a good fit for one another.

For me, a test project is an interview all around. My client is looking at my first pieces and my process to see if I am a good fit for their business needs and goals. 

But the same is true for me: the test projects let me know if the client is a good fit for me and my business. I won’t be keeping clients who are not respectful of my own boundaries and my business. 

What is included or excluded?

Effective copywriting is a valuable skill set. Writers do not need to feel like they need to offer more than that if they don’t wish. 

No matter what your writer includes or not, it is important to be on the same page about it. For example, I offer royalty-free images with my blog posts, I do not make graphics to be pinned. 

How many rounds of edits are included?

Being on the same page helps to prevent miscommunications. It would be a high-maintenance client who wanted 27 rounds of edits. Expecting endless edits would negatively impact my bottom line, not to mention my mood. 

For my clients: projects come with two rounds of edits.

What payments do you accept? When are payments due?

I do not believe that writers should ever write without a deposit; especially with new clients. Our words are our work. Once shared, they cannot be taken back. 

I require a 50% deposit to get started; this shares the risk. The second half of the payment is due once the first draft has been shared. 

Clients can pay me with their credit card or PayPal.

How can I ask questions?

Email is for me! I became a writer for freedom and flexibility; I’m not interested in fielding phone calls or texts at off-hours. And luckily, there aren’t emergencies in copywriting – ha!

My clients and I communicate via email most of the time, occasionally via Voxer. When needed, we set up a time to call that suits us both. If you’re looking for a writer that you can call or text, make sure to ask about that during your interview. 

What is your typical turnaround time?

How fast will you get your first draft? And does your writer keep to their deadlines?

My turnaround time for most blogging projects is two weeks. Writing web copy and email sequences take longer; they’re bigger projects and take more research.

Do you offer a bundle discount?

Having a retainer or bundle discount benefits to both parties. As the writer, I get more regular business and get more and more familiar with your voice. 

I offer bundle discounts to my clients in congruence with the size of the project. 

Gut check – is this the right fit?

Beyond the official questions that you ask your writer, how does the vibe seem between you two? Does the conversation flow – like on a great first date – or do things feel stagnant or off? Pay attention to your energy as you chat. 

Also: what questions are you getting asked? It is my goal during phone calls with potential clients that the client is speaking more than I am. I am listening to their goals for their business, how they’re working to get there and what their pain points are. The more I understand what makes them tick, the better I can suggest effective writing plans. 

Key takeaways

The right copywriter interview questions will empower you to find the perfect writer for you and your business. Being able to delegate the work that you don’t enjoy as much or just aren’t as good at frees up your time and energy to dive into the work that you love and do best.

Copywriting and SEO skills are very important to the growth of any business, especially dietitian private practices. If these skills make you want to pull out your hair, it is time to find the right partner to share the load.

If you’re ready to delegate writing, please make an appointment to meet with me. I’d love to learn about you and your business!

This post was originally published in December, 2020. It was updated in January 2024.

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Hi! I’m Holly Larson – registered dietitian and nutrition copywriter and copywriting mentor.

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