When to hire an intermediate-level SEO copywriter

In our last post, we discussed newbie SEO copywriters — when they’re fantastic hiring choices, when they aren’t and what you need to know before you hire them. But what if you need someone with a little more SEO copywriting street-savvy? Enter the intermediate-level SEO copywriter — the perfect choice for many clients.

Profile of intermediate-level SEO copywriters:

This category describes the vast majority of SEO copywriters. Competent, smart and experienced, intermediate-level copywriters are the perfect choice for a good chunk of clients. These folks have risen up through the newbie trenches, learned from their mistakes and have a decent portfolio under their belt. From a direct-response writing perspective, they’ll serve up a solid and skilled (yet usually not stellar) Web page. From the SEO side, the skill-set depends on the person. In most cases, that’s OK. The intermediate-level copywriter typically works under a SEO supervisor, so they don’t need to worry about being SEO experts.

These folks are fantastic for most content jobs. Need monthly articles on a certain topic? Do you have 50 Web pages screaming for a makeover? Intermediate-level copywriters provide the perfect go-to guy (or gal) solution. Yes, you will still have to look over their shoulder some, and no, don’t expect them to come up with create anything that’s unbelievably awesome or think out of the box. But that’s just fine.

Unlike the newbie SEO copywriter, intermediate-level copywriters can set some content strategy in conjunction with the SEO firm. That would mean working with the SEO to establish a keyphrase list, strategizing the per-page keyphrases and developing a content template. Although some intermediate-level SEO copywriters could easily set a small-business content strategy, they are more effective as collaborative partners with agencies and SEO firms.

Additionally, intermediate-level folks usually have clear strengths in either direct-response copywriting or SEO — but typically not both. That doesn’t mean that they are great writers and are clueless about the engines (or techs who can barely type a legible sentence.) Both types of folks can write a good Web page and understand how the engines work. It’s just something to watch for and notice. By the type a writer reaches an expert SEO status, they enjoy equal (and superior) SEO and writing skills.

Intermediate-level SEO copywriters are good for:

  • General Web page writing (both sales and information pages)
  • Keyphrase research
  • Collaborative campaigns (working under an existing SEO

Sometimes, a more experienced intermediate-level SEO copywriter can:

  • Service a small-business SEO campaign (only if they have the requisite SEO skills)
  • Some content strategy (depending on the copywriter and the client)
  • Supervise/mentor other copywriters (especially if they are more advanced).

Somewhat like the newbie SEO, the intermediate-level SEO copywriter doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. However, unlike the newbie copywriter, that shouldn’t make a whole lot of difference — unless you need strategy or training. If you are a big-brand company — or a company with highly complex technical, marketing or tone and feel needs — hiring an expert copywriter would be your best bet.

Because the skill-sets can be so variable, make sure to ask for clips before letting your intermediate-level SEO copywriter loose. Some folks will pen a really good page, while others are somewhat so-so. Although great writers can write anything for any vertical, intermediate-level folks are typically really good at writing certain types of copy. If their clips don’t turn you on, check out another copywriting choice.

Wondering if you should hire the cream of the SEO copywriting crop? Stay tuned for more information about expert SEO copywriters!