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To Write Or Not To Write Your Own Copy


You’re two weeks away from launch date.

You’ve slaved and toiled and labored for months, and now here you are. Finally, with your latest product ready to roll. It could be a book you self-published, it could be a new website for your business, it could be software which took you months to develop. It could be anything, really.

You decided to outsource your web design, and the Indian guy you hired on E-Lance did a surprisingly good job for the $150 you’ve paid him. You snagged a snappy domain name, and now you’re sitting down in front of your laptop to write your salesletter.

Then… Blank.


Outsourcing is the latest craze in the business world this 2008. The 4-Hour Workweek, the national bestseller by Tim Ferriss, dedicates an entire chapter to the art of outsourcing. It’s a crucial element in his step-by-step process into becoming part of the “New Rich” defined as “those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using…time and mobility.”

Let’s face it: sometimes, we just can’t be bothered to put in the hours to learn a new skill. Studying HTML and CSS will eat up a crapload of your time — time that could be better spent working on your business, instead of in it (which is the central theme of business bestseller The E-Myth). Many of us also do not have any artistic talent whatsoever — outsourcing your logo design often pays off in the long-run than to have lousy branding that could cost you thousands of dollars in lost sales.

But what about copywriting? What your website says about your product generates customer interest and persuades the purchase. This is the make-or-break point of your website. Should you put your best salesman in the hands of a complete stranger?

As a freelance copywriter, “Is it really necessary to outsource my copywriting?” is a question I’ve encountered several times. I put together a list of six pros and cons to ponder about when it comes to writing copy to hopefully help you towards a decision.

Pro: Land a professional copywriter and you will get professional results.

Copy isn’t just about words.

While the words you choose are crucial, it’s more than just that. The purpose of effective copy is to build instant credibility, make a compelling statement, tell a persuasive story and last but not the least, get your reader to take action. It answers any objections your reader may come up with, increasing sales in the process and reducing the amount of returns and refunds.

A lot of my clients became clients simply because they have no idea what to write on their website. Many people make the mistake of thinking that their copy should be about them. They talk about the company and its history, or launch a tirade on the X-amount of features their product has. Professional copywriters know and understand that to get a person to buy, they must know the benefits of what you can offer them. People don’t buy quarter-inch drills — they buy quarter-inch holes.

A professional copywriter will take your product, understand the benefits it has to offer, and most importantly communicate those benefits to your readers in such a way that it inspires action from them. Many times, the sales you’ll achieve from hiring a professional copywriter far outweighs the cost of hiring him in the first place.

Con: Professional copywriters who know their worth are very expensive.

Michel Fortin charges at least $3,000 per job. Dan Kennedy costs about $9,600 per day.  The rates for other, lesser-known copywriters are lower, but you can expect to be billed at least a thousand dollars for one quality salesletter.

This can be out of the budget for the startup, who often is bootstrapping his operations and can’t afford to eat up a huge chunk of their budget on any one endeavor. Hiring a professional copywriter is sometimes more of a gamble than an investment, as you don’t have a guarantee that sales will come in as a result of hiring him.

Pro: You’re focused on the things that matter.

Marketing/advertising and copywriting are two very different things. Marketing and advertising brings people to look at your website, where your copy can do its job of convincing the customer why he or she needs your product.

Both activities eat up a lot of time, money and effort. You might have the best salesletter on your website, but if you don’t market the damned site itself then nobody’s going to see it. Outsource your copywriting, and your priorities can be spent on growing your business and selling more of your products.

Con: Quality copywriters are hard to find.

On the other hand, there’s no sense in spending all that time marketing your website if it can’t do a good job of selling your product. Almost anybody can come up with hype-laden copywriting and outdated methods of persuasion, and many groups of people are particularly turned off by this type of copy. They do not want to feel like they’re being marketed to, even though they are.

In addition, copywriters who REALLY know their stuff are quite a rare breed. I love the folks at Elance, but a majority of them come from third world countries without English as the first language. I’m not bagging on these people (after all, I come from such a country myself) but the chances of you hiring an overnight copywriter are much, much higher. If they’re making basic grammatical mistakes, how can you expect them to write effective sales copy for you?

Pro: You know your product well.

Who better to write about your product than you?

Since you know the ins-and-outs of your product, then maybe you’re the best person to communicate those benefits to your customers especially if you yourself are part of your target market. You will know their pain points and the specific problems they encounter, and you’ll be able to express how it is exactly your product can help them get rid of these annoyances.

Knowing the product inside and out, you’ll also be able to highlight specific features and tell your readers the exact benefit for them. A copywriter who has two weeks to write something about your product might not be able to dig in as deep as he should be into your business, and might miss a couple of important points that he should otherwise emphasize.

Con: You know your product too well.

If the hypothetical situation in the beginning of this post resonates with you, then chances are it’s because you know your product too well. Can such a thing really happen?

Unfortunately, yes. It’s tough to realize it, but your mind could be so entrenched in the details of your product that looking at it from an outsider’s perspective is damned near impossible. Much more writing about it so an outsider will understand. It’s now your baby, and nothing less than perfect is good enough for it. So you delay releasing it and work on your copy for a little bit. Then you realize you’re not satisfied, so you delay it again. All because of that oh-so-evasive salesletter.

You could also be so overworked from making your product that the last thing you want to think about is writing the copy for it. You could be so sick of thinking and writing about the topic your ebook is about that you just want to flush everything down the toilet. Good luck writing persuasive copy then (it is exactly because of this why I’m an advocate of writing your copy first, or at least before you’re in too deep of the product creation process).


All in all, the decision whether to write your own copy or hire a copywriter to do it is up to you. Thoughts? Post them in the comment section, folks.


  1. gongze Says:

    i think you should involve in the process of writing for sure, but also getting opnions from your potential customers and the professionals, thanks for the post, it really remind me how important it is

  2. Christian at GuruReproter Says:

    Unless you have a solid track record of successful copywriting, I'd suggest hiring a good copywriter. The copy, in my opinion, is what "makes" or "breaks" a product launch and good copy converts those to customers. By incorporating the costs of a hiring a good copywriter, like Michel Fortin, into your budget, you are doing what is necessary in order to maximize the success of your product launch. In my opinion, a great product needs a sales letter with great copy in order to succeed.

  3. Matt Ellsworth Says:

    We always suggest hiring a copywriter unless you know what your doing.

  4. Carlo Says:

    Gongze: You're welcome :)

    Christian and Matt: Yep, I definitely agree with you guys (albeit being slightly biased). But there are those people who believe that if you want it done right you have to do it yourself.

    It takes months and months of studying, plus even more months and months of practice, before someone can write pretty good copy. Either that, or a really, really good swipe file.

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