Copy audits are a type of copywriting service that are less about the writing and more about you leveraging your knowledge and expertise. It’s not a service for beginners to offer, but it’s definitely something to have on your radar for the future.
What is a copy audit?
The only context I had for audits before I knew about copy audits was when the IRS was gonna come and audit your business because you were in big trouble. Luckily, these audits are not those!
In simple terms, a copy audit, or a copywriting audit, is you (the experienced writer) reviewing existing copy (usually sales copy) and pointing out ways to make it better. The copy you’re reviewing should be able to persuade an ideal audience to take a desired action. It should be projecting a certain voice, brand, and goals.
Why should you offer copy audits?
Most content writers have a shelf life. Eventually, you won’t want to write blog posts anymore (or social media posts, etc.). So, what are you going to do?
For some freelance writers, that’s kind of a panicky thought — “I spent all this time building this career. Now what do I do? Just burn it all to the ground and start over?”
Sure, some people might do something completely different. But another option is to bring in other services that are related to writing, but don’t entail you writing all the time. You can see what interests you, and then go wherever it takes you.
Copy audits are one way to do that. They can be a great addition to your service roster, when you’re ready.
Copy audits are attractive work
The first 6 reasons why I love copy audits are about the work itself.
1. They’re much faster but relatively expensive
Copy audits take much less time than writing. You can audit something a lot faster than you can write something.
However, they are an expertise based business. You need to have at least some amount of work under your belt so that you know what you’re talking about. It’s not something that beginners can do.
You can’t just get a template off of Pinterest for an email welcome sequence and then start auditing people. You could, but I don’t know what level of service you would really be able to offer because you don’t necessarily have that kind of expertise.
They’re a more expensive service to perform since they require some experience and expertise. I know people who audit five-part email sequences for $1,000. My audits are about 15% of the cost of me writing a sales page.
You can price your audit anywhere on the spectrum. I think it would be hard to charge more than $1,000 for a typical audit, but they’re fast.
2. There’s a lot of flexibility with when/where/how
I also love copy audits because they’re very flexible. The work is easy to chop up into segments, so if you time block your calendar, you can slot parts in. Or you can do it all together.
Here’s what a typical audit is like for me:
- discovery call
- questionnaire the client needs to fill out
- scheduling of audit on my calendar, once I get the questionnaire back
- doing the audit and making my notes* (takes me 30 to 45 minutes)
- writing my audit report (about 1 hour-ish)
*When I do an audit, I make a video for the client of me going through it, as well as giving them my written report.
A typical audit might take me 2 hours, from initial call to deliverable. I can make a lot more money in 2 hours doing an audit than I can in 2 hours writing just about anything.
3. They give an on-ramp into strategy work
Copy audits are attractive because they give a bit of an on-ramp into strategy work. If you want to jump into strategy work, it’s a good middle step.
You can not only copy audit a sales page, but offer to audit your client’s launch emails, website, etc. Then in your audit report, you show your expertise. It opens the door for them to hire you, to strategize for whatever the new iteration is going to be.
4. Copy audits are really satisfying
I love audits because there’s something really satisfying about being able to use my knowledge and my ability to analyze. I know that I’m bringing insights that your Average Joe Writer isn’t going to be able to bring. It’s great to use that part of my brain.
It’s also satisfying to produce an audit report, which gives a list of actual, concrete ways that I have helped a client, which is a super cool feeling.
5. They expand your knowledge
Another cool thing about copy audits is that they broaden my knowledge of different offers or markets. While I’m doing the audit, I’m also learning new information that I might not have had otherwise.
I’ll be adjusting the client’s messaging, but at the same time getting a crash course. I can get really quick takes of a different market or positioning. but in a two-hour package, not a two-week course.
6. They can be systematized or productized
When you’re a service provider, and really good at providing your particular service, the next level for you is to find a way to “systematize” your service. Copy audits are a great service for this process.
This is called scaling your business, which means you can get more revenue without increasing your costs. Systematizing your offer or service is putting it into some sort of structure that can be efficiently done. This can include things like a checklist, rubric, and set standards. There’s a very delineated step-by-step process that happens.
To systematize copy audits, steps could be like this:
- discovery call
- client questionnaire
- 15-point (or however many you need) checklist with everything that you look for
- template-based audit report (a write-up of how the copy did in each dimension on your checklist)
- delivery to client
Since copy audits can be structured, you can also productize them. That leads into the second half of the list of reasons why I love copy audits.
Copy audits broaden your offer
These last 5 reasons why I love copy audits have to do with the business side of things.
Copy audits work really well in your funnel, and there are different ways that you can use them to build or augment it.
Your funnel is the process of somebody going from:
- having no idea who you are — >
- finding out about you — >
- becoming interested in working with you — >
- interacting with you, maybe on a discovery call or email inquiry — >
- having you present them with ways they can work with you — >
- they hire you — >
- you do the work — >
- the project is closed.
That’s your funnel.
7. They make a great downsell
If you have copy audits as a potential service, your funnel has more dimension and you have more options.
For example, if a potential client can’t afford the price of a rewrite of a sales page, you could offer an audit instead. This is called a downsell.
So, if your client can’t hire you to write their sales page, they can get a lot of your input from your copy audit. That way they can then go and write it themself.
If you don’t have this option, your client wouldn’t be able to get the help that they wanted from you, and there’s money left on the table!
You can also offer to apply X amount of your audit fees toward a rewrite. If they decide, after your copy audit, that they must have you rewrite their sales page, you can credit whatever percentage of that to the full sales page rewrite. I suggest putting a timeframe on that offer, probably within six months.
Clients love this kind of offer; it’s really attractive to them.
8. Copy audits can lead to more work (part of your funnel)
So, I love copy audits because they’re a great way to get more work. You can extend your funnel.
You could lead with “Hire me,” then ride your sales page work to downsell with a funnel.
OR you could lead with “Hire me to audit your sales page,” and then upsell the done-for-you portion.
9. They give you a more robust services list
Copy audits also give you a more robust services list, which is attractive to clients.
For specifics, you can read more about making a copywriting services list — with rates — in my post 5 Steps To Help You Set Up Your Copywriter Rate Sheet.
10. They’re a higher-level service
Copy audits broaden your offer because they’re a higher-level service. They’re based on your expertise.
A copy audit isn’t a service that every writer can offer. Not everyone has the kind of experience that you have. Not everyone has the frameworks that you’ve developed by doing the work over and over and over again.
Since it’s a higher-level service, you can essentially charge more. Your hourly rate is higher when you do this type of work.
It would be tough to do audits all day, every day. I don’t know if you can build your entire business just on audits, but offering them as part of your services, as a high-level service, is great for you.
To help you decide about offering them, you can read my post How And When To Provide A New Client Service.
11. They’re easier to sell to some clients
Copy audits are easier to sell to clients who don’t want a full rewrite. Maybe they think their copy is pretty good. They just want some advice.
A copy audit can be a touch-up, or a polish. Your sparkle in someone else’s copy. That’s an easier sell to those kinds of clients.
When you can offer copy audits as a service (get experience first), you’re able to meet the needs of more clients. Copy audits can be an easier sell for some clients.
The work of an audit itself is really interesting, because it’s what we do in a snapshot. I really love them!