Getting to Know You: Insights into Copywriter Onboarding

Hiring a new copywriter is exciting: you’re one step closer to producing excellent copy your clients crave. But onboarding them can get tricky. Here’s how to prepare your new copywriter for success.

Photo: Christin Hume via <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Photo: Christin Hume via Unsplash

So you’ve found yourself an awesome new copywriter or two to help propel your brand to new heights. Congratulations! That’s no small feat.

Once the dust settles following a rigorous hiring process, your company will have another challenge: new copywriter onboarding.

That challenge goes both ways, of course—your copywriter is dealing with a full plate, too. Starting at a new company can feel like being thrown into an ocean while chained to a brick; help from others can only get you so far, so you have to rely on your intuition to figure out a work ethic that keeps your head above water as you learn to swim.

No good company wants new hires to struggle, much less flounder, especially when it comes to the very serious, very public responsibility of channeling your brand voice—and doubling down on your strategies to bring them to life. 

On the other hand, determining how best to prepare new writers to hit the ground running can be daunting—especially if there’s a lot of material, a fair amount of complexity, and multiple messages and stakeholders.

Never fear! The experts at MarketSmiths have accrued insights from years of developing quick, efficient, and relatively pain-free copywriter onboarding processes of our own. With just a few tips, your company’s onboarding process will undergo a profoundly positive transformation.

Listening for key insights

One way to get new copywriters acclimated with the hustle-and-bustle of life at work is to send them on a listening tour. 

It’s exactly how it sounds: you bring new copywriters around to different departments and teams for firsthand exposure to the projects, customers, and team members that make up your company’s day-to-day. Of course, since copywriters play a pivotal role in company marketing efforts, putting them face-to-face with the existing marketing team is especially important to bring new talent up to speed.

But a marketer is nothing without something to market. Consider having the fresh new faces of your creative copy marketing efforts join up with folks working in key departments like product development or sales. The more information copywriters have to work with, the more deeply they’ll be tapped into the gamut of your brand experience.


Getting the lay of the land

Your competition wants your customer base all to themselves. Hence, your blind spots are their speed lanes.

So it’s pivotal for copywriters to internalize the depth and breadth of the industry (or industries) your company wades in. If they don’t understand how your products and services are stronger (or yes, even weaker) than the offerings by key competitors, they’re dead in the water.

Sharing any industry insights you’ve learned benefits your new copywriting talent, which in turn benefits your company. Together you can steer your company’s ship toward where current and potential customers live. 

Pulling copywriters up by their bootstraps

If your new writer is anything like me, they learn best by getting their feet wet and their hands dirty. Even for writers, sometimes research can only get you so far.

While working with new full-time writing hires, be sure to allow them access to any and all documentation that might give them a leg up on your marketing competition. If they’re a freelancer, be open to giving them what they need to succeed—just make sure they sign a non-disclosure agreement. Never hurts to cover your bases!

These resources could include branding guidelines, competitor audits, user surveys, and any other assets which have been crafted for the sake of consistency in brand excellence. Then give them a side project which incorporates access to all these materials: maybe past and current assets need cataloging, or older pieces could be freshened up (or even thrown away!). Just make sure it’s clear to the copywriter how this kind of work is relevant to the company’s mission.

Putting your copywriting team to work

Self-explanatory; get your new copywriters writing early, and fast! 

There’s always a wealth of things to learn at any new job. Doing the work helps to cement in one’s memory all the proprietary information and idiosyncrasies of writing for your brand.

Make sure to have a (sensible) assignment or two ready for your new copywriter to dig into on day one. After all, they’re here to write, right?

Take a look at your copywriter onboarding process as it stands. All those little cracks? Fill them in. That rough asphalt? Pave it over with process! The smoother your onboarding pipeline for great new copywriting talent, the more energy they’ll have to communicate the next chapter of your brand’s story.

Onboarding top-tier new copywriting talent is a lot of work! So give your brand a breather. Let MarketSmiths handle your creative copy instead!

Devin Raposo

Devin Raposo

Forever curious, Devin writes to learn. Before becoming a ‘Smith, he studied as a software engineer while honing his craft writing short fiction as well as acerbic cultural critique in the arts space.

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