Read this Guide before you hire an ESL Copywriter.
Finding the best copywriter for your English-as-a-second language business will ensure you get the ROI you deserve. Find out what you need to know before hiring. 👇
- What is an ESL Copywriter?
- Why hire an ESL Copywriter?
- Want to work with an ESL Copywriter with Years of TEaching Experience?
- Does your ESL business need SEO?
- What types of copy can an ESL copywriter write for you?
- Questions to ask an ESL Copywriter before hiring them
- Do you have experience writing in The ESL industry?
- Do you have any teaching experience?
- Do you speak another language?
- What results have you gotten for other clients?
- Why do you choose to write in this industry?
- What does your market research process look like?
- How do you ensure that your copy is accessible to people whose first language isn’t English?
- How much does it cost to hire an ESL copywriter?
- Some examples of my ESL copywriting work & Language Learning Philosophy
- Step-by-Step Process of Hiring me
- Want an ESL Copywriter with years of Teaching Experience on your team?
What is an ESL Copywriter?
An ESL copywriter is a copywriter who writes specifically for the English-as-a-second-language (ESL) industry, either for learners of English or for teachers and educators. They often have a wealth of experience with communicating effectively with non-native speakers of English, usually because they’ve either been ESL materials writers or have worked as an ESL teacher before (the latter is true for me).
Why hire an ESL Copywriter?
An ESL copywriter can bring a whole heap of benefits to your ESL business. First and foremost is more sales, whether that be subscriptions for your app/learning platform or selling your ESL courses.
That’s because ESL copywriters are well trained in writing persuasive sales copy that resonates with your target market by positioning your product as the solution to their communication problems in English. Apart from more sales, an ESL copywriter can help you get other types of conversions too, like free trial sign-ups and more email subscribers.
Let’s take an example.
An ESL copywriter, especially one who specializes in SEO and content marketing, can create a solid SEO blogging strategy to help pull in qualified leads looking for answers to their problems on Google.
Through the power of their content they can convince readers to sign-up for your email list or for a free trial of your software, by highlighting the benefits of doing so.
Once signed up, they can then create a specific conversion-focused email campaign that will help move that subscriber to become a paying customer.
A mixture of SEO and email marketing are some of the most powerful digital marketing tools at your disposal, but only if you know how to write persuasively and create a genuine connection with your readers/subscribers.
An ESL copywriter can be a fantastic asset to help you achieve this.
An ESL copywriter, as opposed to a more general copywriter, also understands your market intimately, meaning they are more likely to write copy that resonates with learners of English.
For instance, one of the reasons that I write for the ESL industry is because I spent 4 years teaching English in Poland, Italy and Spain. This experience plays a major role in my copy, helping me connect with my client’s audience’s pain points (like Spaniard’s problem with pronouncing the ‘Z’ sound) and helping them imagine a future where they are confidently using English in their everyday lives (like landing their dream job in the United Kingdom).
So, to sum up, an ESL copywriter will help you:
- Increase those sweeeeet conversions you’re looking for
- Pull in qualified leads to your business
- Create a genuine connection with visitors to your site and your email subscribers
- Finesse your messaging and make sure it’s accessible for non-native English speakers
Does your ESL business need SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it can be a huge asset to your online ESL business or local language school. It means that potential customers/students are more likely to find you on Google or other search engines.
The reason SEO works so damn well is because it gives you an opportunity to connect with people who are literally searching for what you have to offer, meaning you’re more likely to pull in qualified leads. An SEO copywriter (who knows what they’re doing) can really help you bring in more leads and drive conversions once those prospects land on your website.
And let’s not forget, SEO is a source of FREE traffic and if you do it right it can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in paid advertising. To give you an example, just one post I wrote for a client saves her thousands of dollars in PPC (pay-per-click advertising) because she naturally ranks on the first page of Google for the keyword I targeted.
Furthermore, it gets her a lot of leads for her course because the blog post was targeted to those people who were searching for exactly what her course helps them achieve.
I wrote a comprehensive blog article and embedded links within the post to sign-up for the waitlist for her upcoming course and she was able to get a lot of leads that way. Plus the post brings in an estimates 500+ hits a month – for just ONE post which is in quite a niche topic.
SEO also rewards your content marketing efforts over the long term. Social media demands new content and isn’t interested in rewarding old content so it can become exhausting pumping out endless content 4x-6x a week just to keep the algorithm happy.
SEO, on the other hand, is a more sustainable long-term strategy and blog posts written years ago will continue to pull in those qualified prospects to your business.
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What types of copy can an ESL copywriter write for you?
- Landing pages
- SEO web copy
- SEO blog content (but be wary – lots of people say they include SEO in their blogs, but don’t actually know much about it)
- Social media captions
- Email campaigns (these are different from regular email newsletters and are much more conversion focused)
- Sales pages
- Case studies
- Ad copy
If you have any “offline” copy (or analogue copy as I like to call it), such as flyers and brochures etc a copywriter can also make these more effective for you.
Personally, I’m 100% a digital copywriter (mostly because you can directly measure conversions and impact – I hate the fact that analogue copy’s ROI is much harder to measure), but there are lots of copywriters who write things like brochures and flyers.
Questions to ask an ESL Copywriter before hiring them
There are a lot of snakeoil salesmen out there.
So before you even think about hiring an ESL copywriter, make sure you have an informal “discovery call” first. This is a chat where the copywriter can learn about your copy/messaging needs and then they can get an idea of what to include in a proposal.
Here are my top questions to ask before hiring an ESL copywriter:
Do you have experience writing in The ESL industry?
So important. ESL is a very unique industry in that you are not communicating in the native language of your audience. This, if not handled well, can cause major issues when it comes to converting – make sure your copywriter has experience writing for this special audience.
Do you have any teaching experience?
I know you don’t have to have been a teacher to be a good ESL copywriter, but I feel that my personal experience as an ESL teacher is what has brought a lot of value to my client’s copy.
Helping people face-to-face overcome their communication barriers and learning about the specific problems that learners face has really been the best market research I could ever have done. It also makes sure that your content isn’t just stuff someone has Googled – they are writing from experience. So, if they have experience as a teacher, I would really consider this a big point in their favour.
Do you speak another language?
Again not essential, but if the copywriter has learnt another language themselves they are way more likely to empathize with your audience. Not only this, but they’ll have picked up great methods and tricks during their own language learning journey that’ll inform their copy/content.
For instance, I created my own vocabulary lists by watching movies in English, but reading the subtitles in French/Spanish. This was a huge asset to me in boosting my vocabulary quickly and I can pass tips like this on to my client’s audience.
What results have you gotten for other clients?
Make sure the copywriter was able to get results for other clients like increased email sign-ups, increased traffic to their websites and increased sales.
This will help you see if they can provide you with a good ROI on their copy. During every discovery call I make sure the potential client knows that I’ve been able to help a brand new ESL website rank on the first page of Google, drive email-sign ups via my content and have written email campaigns that converted so well that my client didn’t have to do an additional webinar series to further promote conversions.
Why do you choose to write in this industry?
Find out what motivates the copywriter to see if they are truly passionate about their work. For me, I write in this industry because I actually miss working with students and this is a way I can use my teaching experience, copywriting expertise and empathy for ESL learners to continue to serve them in their journey for fluency.
I’m also a sucker for languages and love writing for this industry because I get to geek out on language learning techniques, grammar, linguistics, games for ESL teachers and all the stuff English language!
What does your market research process look like?
I cannot stress this enough: good copy lives or DIES by great market research. Every word we write needs to be informed by what your target audience really needs, so this means that your copywriter has to understand how to extract this information during a process we call “voice of customer research”.
If they don’t have a solid process for market research, then the copy won’t land – it’s as simple as that.
How do you ensure that your copy is accessible to people whose first language isn’t English?
Your ESL copywriter needs to understand how to communicate effectively with someone whose mother tongue is not English. How are you supposed to get conversions if the person is having trouble understanding your messaging?
ESL copywriters must be mindful of clear, effective and simple communication methods, but also make sure it remains compelling enough for the prospect to want to take action. It’s a fine line and the balance is hard, so make sure that you find out how your copywriter will handle this.
Now that you know what you ask during the discovery call, let’s talk about moolah.
How much does it cost to hire an ESL copywriter?
I’m going to be really annoying and say “it depends” because it does. On the bargain-bucket end of the scale, there are the typical copywriters you’ll find on sites like fiverr or upwork who work for pennies and churn out copy in a couple of days.
Here’s why you don’t want to hire a cheap ESL copywriter
- The copy won’t give you any ROI
- Cheap comes with a price – most copywriters who charge very little need to amass a ton of clients and churn through them just to make it to the end of the month. That means they’re only interested in pumping out work as quickly as possible which leads to sloppy copy. Good copy and content that drives conversions, gets found on Google and increases brand loyalty takes research and time.
- The copy will hurt your brand
- Bad copy will turn all the right customers OFF your brand. Just because your target market is English language learners doesn’t mean they can’t smell bad copy when they see it. Generic messaging that doesn’t connect to the real people who are reading your words will make prospects click ‘X’ off your site faster than billionaires launching rocket ships.
- You’ll end up in a lot of arguments…
- Cheap copywriters are usually very inexperienced or aren’t that professional. This means things like deadlines may end up getting renegotiated, what you agreed on and what you actually get delivered will be two very different things and the revisions process (if they even have one) will be a mess.
So, with that in mind, how much does a GOOD copywriter cost?
A good, professional and experienced ESL copywriter will usually charge per project and not per hour (and never, EVER per word). To give you an idea, here are some of my rates.
- SEO optimized long-form blog post of 1,500-2,000 words: €490
- Done-for-you SEO blog strategy for 10 articles: €997
- Webpage: €500-€560
You can download my full rate card here (sales page copy/landing page/webpage copy is done by request after a discovery call because it can vary so much!)
I charge the way I do because my clients have a great experience with me, I always deliver on time, I invest in a lot of SEO software to make sure my words are backed up by data, I get results for my clients (traffic AND sales), I have a great market research process and I’ve invested thousands of euros in upskilling.
I am not a run-of-the-mill ESL copywriter and work very closely with only 2-3 clients at a time, so I charge accordingly.
It’s really up to you where you decide to invest, but I would be very cautious of someone who’s charging very little because you’re not going to be very high on their priority list.
We have felt guided by Kerry and able to rely on her advice and expertise, while also feeling listened to by her.
We provide ESL learning solutions for parents and teachers. We hired Kerry because we wanted to bring some additional value to our site and some context to our video content.
We were not only impressed by the content of the copy, but by the collaborative approach from the information gathering at the start, the open style in which Kerry shared what she wanted to do and why, and finally the delivery of copy which was ready to copy straight into a blog with all html coding ready.
We have felt guided by Kerry and able to rely on her advice and expertise, while also feeling listened to by her. We feel like we have created a great working partnership already, which extends beyond the scope of her copywriting. For example, sharing her opinions on email campaign management companies.
Ben CarterProject Manager, ELT Songs
Some examples of my ESL copywriting work & Language Learning Philosophy
Here are some examples of my writing in the ESL/language learning industry.
I also used to host a popular podcast & blog called Clover English which helped ESL learners learn Irish English (I’m from Ireland btw!)
Fluent in 3 Months Blog – “I overcame my stutter – here’s what I can teach you about language learning”
This blog post I wrote for the famous Fluent in 3 Months blog was actually a guest post about a topic I’m very passionate about: how I overcame my stutter and how it helped me in my language learning journey.
ELT Songs Blog
YouTube Video Interview: How to Improve your Speaking for the IELTS
Back when I was an English teacher I did this interview with the wonderful Fiona Watts about improving your speaking skills for the IELTS test. This will help you get a glimpse of my expertise as an ESL teacher.
Language Learning & the Ego – Guest Post
This is a guest post I wrote for Maria Ortega Garcia on her blog all about the role of the ego in language learning and how to let it go.
ELT Songs Newsletter Content
Apart from their blog content, I also wrote regular newsletters and an onboarding email campaign for ELT Songs. Here’s an example newsletter.
Kerry Is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced copywriter. She opened my eyes to the strategic side of blogging and SEO and outlined a solid plan to get me results. I no longer feel confused or overwhelmed by SEO and I’m looking forward to working with her again in the future.
You came recommended – basically that’s why I worked with you the first time BUT then we worked together and your work proved to be excellent. It was easy to work with you, you wrote great blog copy that didn’t sound like robotic and it worked – the results of the post were great. It is now high ranking, results in many comments and engagement and best of all – people asking about my program
I knew I wanted to keep creating blog posts that help my audience, and attract new humans to my website, but I didn’t have the time to research and write them myself anymore.
Your intake process is the best I’ve seen. The fact that you do an analysis and spend a lot of time diving into who I am, why I do what I do, and HOW I communicate it to my people is invaluable. My biggest hesitation with hiring someone to write my posts is that they would sound cookie-cutter, and not like myself. And to have a copywriter that cares about that, is open to feedback, and typically writes how I write….you’re amazing.
Step-by-Step Process of Hiring me
If you’re interested in having a copywriter on your team who has years of ESL teaching experience and proven results for her clients, then here’s what my process looks like.
- You fill out this contact form letting me know a little about your needs (if there’s any issues you can also email me at [email protected] )
- If it sounds like I can help you we set up a discovery call so I can learn more about what you need
- I let you know how much your project will cost
- If you go ahead, I send you the invoice (50% of the total cost, except if the project is under €500 then I send the invoice in full)
- We do a copybrief call – this is where I get all the intimate details about who you are serving, your business, your USP and what makes you the best option for your customers. My clients usually say this meeting is a moment to really assess the soul of their business
- I get to work! I start my research process and then I write, write, write until version 1 is ready!
- You review version 1 and if I nail it the first time then awesome! I send you the remaining 50% of the invoice. But if you need any tweaks and revisions you have a round of revisions included in your package price
- I revise the copy and make sure you LOVE it
- You get your copy and enjoy your organic traffic and sales
Want an ESL Copywriter with years of Teaching Experience on your team?
Let’s get to know each other. Fill out this contact form if you’re interested in learning more about hiring me for your ESL business.