So, you want to be a freelancer?

To freelance is to experience genuine work freedom – creatively and in terms of lifestyle. You own your time, maybe for the first time, so it becomes both a valuable and a key resource to you. Without the formal and perhaps former Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule, you may be wondering just how to make this freelance dream of yours work for you… and if you are thinking just this little thought right now, then please, read on, my fellow freelancer…to find out more.

Create your own schedule – remember my best of three idea? Map your time so you create your own regular routine –  perhaps on a Sunday evening, ready for the week ahead. I write solidly for two days a week – this works for me on an 8am-8pm basis. I spend my other days during the week creating content to promote what I do and how I do it, such as this blog, or invoicing my current clients, networking, supporting other small businesses, continuing my professional development or maintaining my own company records and information.

Get your own brand of professionalism going on – just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean that you take this incredible job lightly or treat the honour of writing for someone any less seriously. To freelance is to be in business. The business is to be successful once you have found your niche but the business is also to respect your clients’ business because you are paid to write for them.

Encourage, reciprocate, collaborate – rather than compete – Freelance copywriting has been a ridiculously popular choice of profession since the world opened the doors to the very first marketplace and people realised they needed to communicate their offer in words to persuade people to purchase. You will meet your peers during an event or even during a pitch. This is a good thing. Competition is healthy as it makes you rise to the challenge and deliver at a higher level than you originally thought you could. If you do meet another freelance copywriter on your work travels, say hello, take their business card if offered and offer yours in return. Be good out there – it is not just the business you are in which matters, it is the way you do it too which leaves much more of a treasured impression.

Talk as much as you write – what I mean here is to be able to explain consistently and concisely what you do and be confident enough to share your knowledge openly. Enjoy the commitment and the investment in time and money you have made to become a certified freelance copywriter. Don’t hide your skills, share a snapshot of them generously with people who genuinely wish to learn more – whether they are clients, peers or just interested fellow small business owners, just like you. To write copy is to offer your own unique brand of word magic because it can sell and sell well.

100% effort is the minimum standard  – this is what you do now. This is your product. Own it. Every word, every character, every punctuation convention, every creative concept when you set the scene at the start of your piece. Freelance copywriting is not easy but it is made that much easier when you strive to become the best freelance copywriter you can be – for yourself, for your clients and for your peers.

Have you bought your ticket? It’s a long ride –  I am sure we all appreciate that we need to progress – from starting out as a Junior Copywriter, to becoming a Midweight Copywriter which over time leads to naturally transforming into a Senior Copywriter to one day – if we are lucky – becoming a Head of Copy and a true expert in our chosen field.

Wherever you are currently walking along this professional journey; enjoy the scenery, take photos, keep a journal, ask for directions, say thank you for guidance and, when you get to each interim destination – continue to write with the same sense of joy in your heart and in every key stroke, just as you did when you first set off with your newbie backpack full to the brim with your original freelance copywriter dreams.

Passion matters.

Passion should be a non-negotiable requirement on every Freelance Copywriter advert I see, because people can feel it in your tone of voice – and hopefully you can sense mine, too, as I tried to convey it, in this little blog post, today.

Six small business mindset ideas

I am going to preface this post with a little philosophical thought…I think the traditional essence of the power of copywriting as a profession is simply the use of a deftly wielded pen to craft the perfect message plus plenty of paper to get it out there and fast. When we write for our clients we may use the digital version of keyboard and laptop connected to the internet – replacing the aforementioned pen and paper – but when it comes to devoting our time to plan our workdays, offline, they are still the best ‘old school’ tools to use. There is no flickering cursor on a crisp new page in your notebook for a start, which naturally lets you breathe and think before you write. Pen and paper are so important that I keep a journal and pen at my desk, in my handbag, in my laptop bag and on my beside table. If you are running a small business today, you will know as well as I do, that we never stop working which is the key to nurturing that all important small business mindset 😊

So, as promised, here is my take on six small business mindset ideas I would like to share during a rare pen/keyboard pause for me, today…

Consider planning three months ahead  – with sincere and grateful thanks to the way we are required to submit our VAT returns in the UK, I now think of my business and set my productivity goals in terms of the requisite Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 business quarter deadlines they set annually. This helps me both stay emotionally detached from my performance and think of my company in terms of just sales, turnover and profit margin as numerical factors influencing my bottom line without getting too overwhelmed at the outset by how much maths this actually involves!

Focus on the best of three on a smaller scale  – now that you know each quarter is made up of three months, this means you have a core time bank of four weeks of Mondays to Fridays in each month  – 20 standard work days, each 8 hours long (ideally!). This 160-hour total (or there abouts) per month is the time resource you have to consider three things – delivering your work for your current clients, prospecting for work from new clients across all possible marketing and advertising channels AND continuing to keep ALL your business records up to date. And if one task seems overwhelming on one particular day – you could break it down into smaller easier wins to increase your motivation or switch your focus to something else in the mix completely – as you know, there is always plenty to do in the freelance copywriter small business world…

Your accountant truly is your best friend – I will be super honest here. I get performance anxiety the night before I have to submit my copy assignments to my clients, each and every time – this feeling never gets old as I never stop caring about what I do. Yet, the peace of mind I get from knowing my accountant is on hand to help me prepare my company records means I don’t suffer from business anxiety too, which is such an underrated blessing. Yes, I am the kind of client who is a little obsessive and heavy on the perfect presentation when it comes to preparing each and every receipt and invoice and yes, I do submit my books to them months in advance (yup, this kind of early bird routine is not for everyone, I get that..) but… I feel super in control and headache-free as a result. This way, I am more confident doing my day job with the headspace to compose and create rather than frantically sifting through a disorganised paper trail in an undiluted state of panic in the small hours just before the end of the tax year every year  – this simple joy is one to be treasured, its life support – trust me.

Your website is your primary shop window – this is where you sell. It is your platform so you control the visuals, the messaging and you can blog! Inspiration and insight as shown in your creative writing content and in your style are just as compelling as describing in detail your professional offer to market and just how it can benefit your ideal client base. You can write exactly what you want – it’s your message, your brief. Take the reins of your own website to offer regular content updates and refresh the theme regularly. Answer your feedback personally and promptly. Your newly formed small business needs the oxygen of a well-kept website so think about nurturing it like the living thing that it is!

Think of your social media channels as signposts – social media is a wonderful thing to promote what you do but your content here is hosted on other platforms so you may have less control over the way your profile looks, the quality of the visuals you can upload and on some sites just how much copy you can write to exquisitely express exactly what you want to say. Offer a snapshot, a thought for the day, a day in the life of… content which piques enough interest, curiosity and enthusiasm to create the start of an authentic connection for visitors who then may wish to seek out your website to find out more. If they continue to like what they see, they hopefully then contact you with an enquiry, which you can run with, from there.

Network, network, network – nothing is better than a reminder that behind the professional video call smile we are all still human, making it work just the best that we can! Consider attending network events in person again as soon as the opportunity permits. Talk about what you do. Passion on the page is one thing but passion in person is so much more powerful as it can naturally convert the chance of a conversation into a sales lead or two in real-time. Be polite and professional, persistent but not pushy. If you know your unique strengths as a freelance copywriter and are able to pitch confidently and succinctly when you network, then your talent will simply shine through and your ideal client can be drawn to you as someone they can believe in and consider trusting with the honour of telling their brand story so far, to the world.

Good luck! 😊

Why copywriting is still very much an art

To write copy is to create original expression designed to persuade people to purchase. Your client may be looking to sell product and/or service in the marketplace of their choice but they still need to have to hand a compelling message to advertise their offer in order to make this happen. More often than ever before, but not in every case, this offer is displayed online. As we all know, the internet is a very crowded ‘shop window’ so copywriters must work smarter for their clients to make themselves heard so that the brands they write for connect and then resonate with their target audiences. 

Copywriters know their online copy must be optimised for search  – this is the golden rule of what we do. Yet, we must still prioritise writing for the reader by delivering original, informative, interesting and above all consistent content which, if we are doing our job right, inspires brand loyalty, which can generate genuine brand advocates (over time) who go on to share the message which in turn helps to create the repeat business we all striving to achieve  – both as a client and as a freelance copywriter alike.

As an aspiring freelance copywriter, consider being brave with the way you frame your message and how you select the considered topical or cultural reference points or use of deliberate word play or other elements of our craft within your copy as you establish common ground with your intended readership – obviously with due diligence applied to the tone of voice or house style, as requested by the client. Don’t be afraid of suggesting a new approach to your client for a campaign. Be different, be original and think laterally. Build a relationship with your target audience through your messaging. Cherish them by considering what it is they need to know before they buy – which may not necessarily be what it is you wish to say.

Enjoy composing customer personas in detail for your clients – with a name, a personality summary, and an idea of their buying habits to create a credible profile which will determine just the words and phrases you select to create authentic connection. Collate customer feedback from every possible platform available to you to identify patterns of preference – what do people like and what is it they don’t like so much so you can constantly clarify your messaging by responding with a different take or even a different tone to what it is you are promoting and why it is such a ‘must-buy’.

Research will get you so far but being open to feedback from both client and end customer can surely get you to the finish line. Listen to both and be ready to act responsibly when you identify a gap in your copy which could provide an opportunity to align the two more closely together. End customers could talk about a new idea or an improvement in terms of the product and/or service on social media or on a website feedback form or even on an online survey which could impact on their buying habits and so on sales. Your client could be thinking about a new product/service launch or extension to their current range which could fill this very gap perfectly.

As the copywriter, you could suggest a new original campaign to get this message across designed to shorten this particular sales funnel. You are ideally placed to deliver this concept since (as a good copywriter) you have been monitoring the impact of your copy ever since it was published. Art takes many forms and being not only prepared to own your work from concept to completion but to spot ways to make it even better even after the work is done is very much an art all of its very own. It shows you care. If you care, your words reflect that inherent level of conscientiousness you have taken in the way you have both framed and created your copy and so naturally and indeed effortlessly increases the appeal of your message to your target audiences.

Yes, as every freelance copywriter will acknowledge, we write to sell. We are not authors and we are not journalists. Yet we are lucky to be in the position to create something special in either short-form or long-form copy, across copy-type and market sector and I don’t know of any another professional writing occupation which enjoys this level of linguistic freedom. We are encouraged to flex our creative mindset every single day of our working lives to suit the needs of our clients and that of their end customers because our art lends itself so clearly to this way of working.

Copywriting is such a joy – isn’t that why we create our art in words? 😊 

My top 5 professional skills for my 2021 toolkit

Freelance copywriters are not just creative professionals, they are also business owners. Managing the two requires a careful balance of a variety of skills. I am going to share with you my top 5 professional skills for my 2021 toolkit and beyond – and not all of them are due to the commercial effects of the pandemic – so please, read on!

Confidence – once you have established yourself in the marketplace, this skill is definitely the first one I would nurture. Businesses are always going to need to advertise and their potential customers are generally looking to make meaningful connections to their chosen brands which can only develop through good storytelling – which is where a freelance copywriter comes in. Know your professional strengths and consider applying them to the copy-form, copy-type and market sector(s) which you feel most confident in writing for. Your confidence will naturally imbue you with passion and enthusiasm which will help you sell your work and so your added value to your prospective clients when making your pitch.

Resilience – marking your mark in the freelance world is tough and competition has always been high within the popular field of freelance copywriting. Know that you may not win every pitch so be positive about the experience you have gained when a prospecting opportunity has not resulted in success on this occasion. Ask the prospective client very politely and diplomatically for their feedback which will help you be more accurate in terms of quality and/or pricing, next time.  And there will surely be a next time – for which you will be ready and so on point! 😊

Diplomacy – I have outlined my take on clear and transparent pricing principles before, as I realise that billing clients can also be a challenge; especially during the pandemic when all sorts of commercial pressures have arisen on businesses, seemingly from all angles of the marketplace. Consider diplomacy as a positive approach to adopt when asking for payment and be sure to always thank your client for their business, on each and every occasion. Never take an invoice for granted and always take the time to discreetly check that yes, you have been paid!

Grit – many freelancers talk about the flexibility and freedom to work for yourself but there is less talk about the fact that this can be a very lonely way to work. Discover your inner ‘grit’ which is my expression for the ability to crack on every morning with your work and lifestyle schedule when sometimes you only have your laptop and your kettle to talk to. (Okay, it’s not quite that bad for me – but you get my point!) Grit to me is the outward expression of your personal commitment to your vision of what it is to freelance and to make it work, sustainably. 

NB: Please note that grit is not the same as putting a brave face on genuine discontent as a freelancer – if you feel this way, there are professional organisations to reach out to as well as family, friends and peers. (Take care of yourselves – what we try to do takes a lot of professional and personal courage).

Proactivity – for me, this is about keeping in touch with the freelance copywriting marketplace and being aware and informed of all new developments. You could join a professional organisation related to advertising/marketing/copywriting, you could set up a local networking group either face to face or online, you could read professional journals, visit your local library or chamber of commerce – ideas are endless – but the point is to get out there so you become part of our freelance copywriting community. I think competition is healthy. There are lots of ways to approach an assignment and the more best practice ideas we can share, the more proficient as a profession we will all become – which is a good thing for us, for our clients and for all the end customers out there reading the written messages we so passionately craft!

Should you be a specialist or a generalist freelance copywriter?

You’ve taken the plunge and decided to pursue your freelance ambitions. Congratulations and welcome!  You are working on your pitch and feel that you need to define exactly the kind of copywriter you are hoping to become. Which way should you go? Is there a middle option? Do you need such a distinction to be successful, anyway? Read on to find out my take on the subject…

It  is all a question of scope. What does it mean to be a specialist freelance copywriter and what does it actually mean to be a generalist one? In my view, you could specialise in just one or perhaps all three of the following: your copy-form, your copy-type and your market sector. By specialising your offer to market from the start of your freelance career, it may help both you and your potential clients realise your professional niche faster and so you could potentially be more successful (at least in terms of conveying the right message) earlier.

Your copy-form is crucial. Are you more comfortable writing short, snappy copy for image captions and brand straplines or do you enjoy writing a much longer thought leadership/opinion piece? Copywriting is both the creative art of advertising to persuade and an analytical science in the rules of optimising for search, yes, but if you also know how best you work in terms of concentration and flair this insight will naturally lend itself to either short-form or long-form copywriting. When you are aware of the way you work, over time and through experience, it becomes one credible way in which you can specialise your own offer to market. You may demonstrate true wordy genius during short bursts of writing activity to create high volume product copy listings for retail or you may find your genuine calling lies in the commitment to extended periods of time to produce enough written content for a series of articles or even to populate a whole new website for a professional services client, for example.

Your copy-type is the next strand of potential specialism you may like to add to the mix. Are you a blogger? Are you a social media messaging guru? Are you an article writer for a variety of publication platforms? If you choose to specialise in just one specific type of copy you will concentrate your skill set in this one area and so have the perfect professional opportunity to become an expert in your craft. I would advise just a little caution when specialising in only one copy-form and in one copy-type – you may find that you are so successful that this is all you may end up writing from now on and so you will need to consider if you will be happy to do just that, day in and day out, week in and week out… just a thought! 

Finally, have you thought about how you may wish to specialise in serving clients within a specific market sector? You may feel most at home when writing copy for B2B Professional Services or B2C Retail, for example – the choice is yours. Always consider any potential conflicts of interests if you choose to specialise in just one sector though. By specialising in all of these three ways or even in just one you will naturally become proficient in more of the terminology and nuances of language which each of these sectors uses within their own end customer community. As a result, your copy can become more polished, more compelling and most importantly – more likely to convert interest and engagement to sales.

Yet, let’s hear it for the call of the generalist freelance copywriter. The one who advocates their broader range of professional copy-form, copy-type and market sector experience within our profession. A generalist freelance copywriter prides themselves on their ability to flex their skillset with admirable versatility which is a reward in itself in terms of the sheer variety of copy assignments which surely come their way. I think it’s a tougher gig to be a generalist freelance copywriter as you need to keep up to date across the full spectrum of what it is that we do – and that is a BIG ask. I also think we all start out as generalist freelance copywriters and that over time we naturally gravitate to our own specialisms as we win (and hopefully retain!) new clients. So, if you are a client looking to hire a freelance copywriter to work on all aspects of your content marketing then a generalist freelance copywriter may just fit the bill. If you are looking to hire one to just transform your blog, then perhaps a specialist freelance copywriter could be your perfect match instead.

So, is there a middle option? For me, I would concentrate firstly on becoming a certified copywriter and then I would write, write and write some more. Get to know your own writing style and your natural tone of voice before you apply any more parameters to it. Know, believe in and confidently express your own unique, key strengths and perfect them so that you fill a gap in the market which is exactly ‘you’-shaped. Politely establish yourself in the marketplace, upskill constantly and sell with enthusiasm, passion and just a little bit of grit to maximise the potential of the niche you have organically identified for yourself. Whatever you do, do it authentically well. Be brave enough to ask for feedback from your clients (and your peers! Scary stuff, right?) as to how they would describe you and/or define your offer – this is always very enlightening and can change too, over time.

I guess there is just one question you are left wondering, huh? Am I a specialist or a generalist freelance copywriter? Well, as you know from my website, I work on a client confidential basis so I can’t tell you that!

All I can say is that if you like the way I write, contact me today to find out just how I could apply my own unique composition and style to your corporate copy, purposed to persuade more people to purchase from your company. Let’s get the sales in!

Alternatively, if you are an aspiring copywriter looking for some tips to get started – check out more of my blog!

Either way, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Effective client communication

The key to achieving effective client communication is courtesy – it is as simple as that. Your client pays your professional fees so they naturally come first at every stage in their customer journey with you, their chosen freelance copywriter. Effective client communication starts with the clarity of your offer to market and should permeate every touchpoint of your potential client’s journey to becoming a cherished client of yours.

Your message conveyed on your website and on social media should display a compelling advertisement of your unique qualifications, skills and experience which you can apply to your own professional writing service. If you can clearly communicate the business sectors where you especially excel when crafting your copy, you will start to match your offer to the interests of  your ideal client base. You could also share insights into the way you work and the way you write by way of a blog – just like this one. If you can offer a professional and informative glimpse into just how easy it is to work with you, your potential client will find it effortless to imagine that they already are.

When you win a new client, (congratulations!), that is where your client communication should come into its own. You need to communicate clearly and transparently all aspects of your services from the start – including your pricing on every quotation and advance notice (I would say the next four weeks or so) of your current availability so as to manage their expectations when it comes to assigning you work and you meeting their proposed delivery deadlines; as you establish your new working relationship.

Talking about deadlines… if, for any reason you cannot meet the current one set, communicate this early on to your affected client. Ask for more time, if possible, and in the meantime break the assignment down into tasks which you may be able to part deliver – if the client is willing to accept this. It all comes back to courtesy. If you can foster reciprocal respect for each other’s time and commitments it will be easier to ask and often receive the flexibility you may need – in the rare event that you may need it, for a variety of unforeseen personal and business reasons.

When you do deliver, preface your work with a covering email detailing any issues which have arisen plus any suggestions you may have to solve them. Be proactive, add value to the assignment whenever it is feasible (and when it is within your agreed remit) to do so. If mistakes arise, own them. Honesty is a refreshing quality to nurture in business and it is one which garners respect if it is exercised voluntarily and discreetly and coupled with a problem-solving perspective which naturally aligns itself to owning up in the first place.

Communicate what you can do and also what you cannot do, for your clients – in terms of the requirements of the copy assignment, the delivery schedule stipulated and the price or budget range available for you to undertake the work. An effective working relationship between client and freelancer is often characterised by honesty, transparency, trust and a considerable dash of a good sense of humour when things do not always go to plan or indeed to brief. We are all human. Copywriting is still a creative skill and yes, typos and just the wrong word in the wrong place in the sentence (but still error-free!), can happen to the best of us (yes, I am not infallible, either).

Communication is so much more than just how you come across in your written copy to your client. Exude natural enthusiasm and passion about what you do on your client video calls and telephone calls too. If I am perfectly honest, it is not at all easy to sustain a freelance business model but with a little light-hearted commercial and personal resilience to setbacks complemented by an authentic professional approach, it is still possible to achieve – even in 2021 – and beyond.

Clear and transparent pricing principles

As every freelancer can appreciate, we get to do what we love but it helps if we can also get paid to do so! The creative side of copywriting may come easily to you but the business side, as a newbie freelancer, (of which pricing is an integral part), may not. This is a normal part of the learning curve we all embrace when first starting out. Rest assured that your critical ability to value your work to both yourself (in terms of both job satisfaction and adequate professional fee) and to your prospective clients (in terms of the level of genuine value for money you can offer) will naturally improve the more quotations you get to prepare, on client request.

As I have said before, timing is everything. Clear and transparent pricing principles are ones where you can objectively evidence just how long a copywriting piece will take to craft; accounting for all aspects of your preparation time, too. This is where your prospective client can help you to help them keep their own costs down. A comprehensive brief, containing all the critical information you may need to refer to, ahead of your scheduled writing time on a specific project, will enable you to both efficiently and effectively write to it and indeed to your carefully prepared quotation, now agreed.

When perfecting your pricing practice (see what I did there?… 😊) start small. Think about how long it take you to research and then write a single blog post. Use the time taken from at least three blog writing samples recently written plus the word counts achieved to find your average copy output per hour. Now that you know your average hourly copy output, you can set your hourly rate.

I will be honest. I believe this aspect of your pricing requires considerable research in order to get it right, first time. Think carefully about the qualifications, skills and professional experience you can uniquely bring to the role of freelance copywriter. Consider the business sectors you wish to attract your clients from as you will need to naturally create a ‘good fit’ between your particular expertise and their specific product and/or service offer to market. Don’t forget your transferable skillset consolidated from your previous in-house roles to see if they can logically add value to your overall freelancer proposition whenever you make a pitch for copywriting work. Finally, research the industry salary standards for a Junior Copywriter, a Midweight Copywriter, a Senior Copywriter and Head of Copy within this profession – so that you can clearly show how you benchmarked your own hourly rate if you are ever asked, by a prospective client.

I would also encourage a new freelancer to develop a healthy commercial appreciation of where copywriting sits within a business, today. As you know, the core skills of a company are those usually undertaken by colleagues who can either produce the product or deliver the service which they ultimately sell and by doing so generate their own profit margin. As copywriters, we advertise what the client can do by way of creating compelling copy as part of a content marketing strategy, complemented by visual media such as photographs and videos. We must show that we can provide credible value for money with our own work, (neither overvaluing or undervaluing what we do), but we still need to possess both the business acumen and the professional humility (a little tough love, here, reader..) to convey to our client that we know only too well that we are just part of the team, working alongside all our other departmental colleagues within the business, to get their message heard above the noise.

Consider securing a placement within a copywriting agency while you are still studying to be a copywriter or taking up the chance to work agency-side as a new freelancer to get the insight you need on just how pricing is done when working for multiple clients on various copy assignments to persuade people to buy product and/or service in a host of different industries, across the UK and internationally. A freelancer copywriter is still a business owner at heart, so when you reach the point in your freelance career when you get to experience equal levels of success within this dual aspect of the role; regularly showcasing what you can do with confidence, you can get to enjoy the creative and lifestyle freedoms which this independent way of working can really offer you, in the long-term.

Write, price and deliver well – even if it means working through the night to either hit a client deadline or complete your own company records for the end of the tax year (or both, at the same time – yup, we have all been there… get the coffee on… 😊)

Consider doing all these things consistently; continually striving to keep both your clients and your accountant happy – and yourself (obviously!) –  and guess what happens…YOU HAVE GOT THIS!

Managing a high-volume copywriting project on a tight deadline

So, you have landed the dream. The biggest copywriting project you have been commissioned to write (to date) comprising thousands of perfectly chosen words sown into hand-crafted sentences to compel your client’s end customer to buy. The only problem with this dream is the reality of the proposed delivery schedule – its tight and its actually like, looming…right now…

What is the best thing to do in this situation? First of all, do not panic. This is a vital piece of advice so I will say it again. Do not panic. You just need to create a delivery plan and then be disciplined enough with your writing time and indeed your editing time (yes, it always takes way longer than we imagine, right?), to achieve both the set pages and the word counts (no cutting corners in this profession, please!) you have said you would, in this delivery plan.

Before you accept such an ambitious commission in terms of both copywriting output and turnaround time, ensure you have all the information you need from your client to prepare a realistic quotation so you are adequately compensated for this project. Then make sure you are in receipt of a detailed brief (AHEAD OF TIME!) so that you can write to this remit.

Know that if you are writing each and every day (including weekends –  yup, this does happen – bye bye, Monday to Friday 9-5) you may not enjoy the process as much as you might if you were writing shorter pieces for multiple clients where the variety would retain both your creative spark and your attention span. It may mean that for the first time, you view your copywriting as routine. This is not the case. Without doubt, know that it may become a non-negotiable and even an all-consuming part of your daily life for the duration of the project but you still have to act like the gifted wordsmith you are – bringing your imagination to each page, each day and all day long so that the quality of your words shines consistently throughout the work.

This is why the delivery plan is so important for both you and for your client. It acts as a point of reference for both of you to manage the expectations on each side. Your client’s account management time with their end customer is now a whole lot easier as they can confidently keep them up to date with progress plus it will hold your focus as a professional copywriter as you systematically create and then complete each page in order, before you start a new topic. If you are constantly feeding in completed copy to your client in a controlled manner, you can edit and amend this copy easily when you receive feedback from them, rather than creating a mountain of half written pages which have not yet been given an initial review by them to check if you are literally on the same page or not (yes…I know..but I couldn’t resist..forgive?).

Remember that timing is everything and I am not talking about the deadline set. Time your work. Know exactly how many words you write per hour and how long one page of completed copy takes you to edit. This discipline (see? not so scary stuff, actually a very helpful practice) will concentrate your efforts on the copy output in hand and remind you that yes, your professional time is valuable and so chargeable. These clear calculations and metrics can guide you as you monitor your pricing on this project and calculate future project pricing more accurately so you may never undercharge again – hurrah!

When the copy is complete do not yet relax. Ensure you have reserved enough time to edit and proofread the copy so that it is as perfect as it is possible for you to achieve. Copywriting is still an art in terms of the free rein we have to create original expression and argument to persuade people to purchase, but it is still an analytical skill needing a discerning eye to ensure it is error-free, written exactly to brief, optimised for search and of course – delivered on time, every time.

From one small business owner to all budding freelance copywriters everywhere – note that it is not just your writing which is on show when you send copy; rather it is the way you work and the way you conduct your business in terms of delivering on your communicated promises of delivery which is also very much on display. At all times – be creative, be conscientious, be cautious and yes, definitely check it all again before you find the professional courage and the freelancer confidence to hit publish.

(I did and I still do, each and every time!).

A Day in the Life of a Good Copywriter

As you may know, content marketing is an integral part of the plan to overcome the economic impact of Lockdown. Businesses are getting ready to re-open fully and so need to re-energise their offer to market. Good copywriting is central to this successful delivery and I take this responsibility very seriously as a certified copywriter. If you are thinking about becoming a good copywriter, please read on.

For me, as a business owner, I also possess empathy and a little commercial insight into the challenges my clients face when they need to promote their company, their brand and their product and/or service suite. I also need to promote my services so just like everyone else in the marketplace today, good copywriters create their own content (just like this informative blog) to show we are ready and able to help.

Lockdown has changed the way we all work and also how we perceive the value of the goods we buy. We must all constantly add value to our own offer and for me as a copywriter I have chosen to use the time given to us by Lockdown to upskill. I am currently undertaking a professional course to become a Proofreader and – if all goes well – I will undertake this service too, in the near future. The ability to correctly edit copy for others will make me a better copywriter as I will improve my ability to scrutinise my own craft which can only benefit my clients. The written word is a powerful means of communication, whether stand-alone in text or as a tagline on an image and so can strongly influence the brands we buy. Whether writing or editing, a good copywriter needs to be mindful of this in order to keep the finished copy honest which builds trust with your clients and with their end customers.

When I am not studying, I am writing. A good copywriter should write every day to keep your skills sharp and to keep an open and well-practiced mind discovering creative angles on all kinds of topics. I keep a journal of my life goals which I write in every day which motivates me to write freely about my passions and purpose. Good copywriters need to keep up with current affairs, business trends, copywriting and content marketing insights too so I read voraciously – both national press and industry publications. If I need a break from all this concentration, I take time to leave my desk and grab a coffee. The ability to observe and people-watch is a great social skill to cultivate as it offers you insight into other people’s buying decisions and what exactly makes a compelling content marketing message right now.

Copywriters, if they work alone as I do, need to know where they stand in terms of their peers. In order to find out where I currently stand in terms of qualifications, skills and experience,  I am starting to become active on social media (just Twitter) so that I can follow leading copywriters who are at the top of the profession. We all need mentors and heroes and if you can reach out to one and receive encouraging feedback this will make you feel like you are walking on air for the rest of the week, I promise.

If you reach out to your peers, you are starting to build a network, and this is a crucial element of what a good copywriter needs to do daily. Your clients have chosen you from the competition to write their copy and if you can identify what you offer to the market which is unique, more will follow. Your network will show you where the niches lie so research your strongest skill set plus where the current gaps are to see if you can establish yourself as the go-to professional to meet this need. Once established you become part of the copywriter professional community – both online and offline – so take the time to join events whether in-person or virtual to increase brand awareness for your venture and spend some quality time with other like-minded copywriters.

As you succeed, remember to help others do the same. Give back in terms of offering your own content marketing such as a blog or webinar or hosting an event. As I said, we all need a mentor or a hero – offer this incredible gift to another aspiring copywriter today.