How much will it cost? What can you expect? These are just a couple of the common questions I am asked. Whether you use a copywriter or content writer regularly or are new to the experience, this FAQ will provide all the information you need (and if it doesn't, just drop me an email).
Q. What does a copywriter do?
A. A lot. That is the short answer. Creativity isn't something everyone is blessed with. Couple that with a natural, subtle ability to sell (in written form) and it produces a powerful combination. A good copywriter will speak to clients for you, extract the brief and enhance/direct the process. They will research your business and industry, understand your value proposition and ensure consistent branding and communication. That is the long answer. A true pro may also help with your content strategy...
Q. Why do I need a copywriter?
A. You have a solid command of the English language. You can spell-check your work in good old Microsoft Word. You understand your business better than anyone else. Right? It would be a bit (or a lot) like asking your completely inexperienced friend to take your wedding photographs and expecting that your friend will then attract wedding photography work off the back of it. You could write it yourself and gamble with possible spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes, but actually (much worse than that) most amateur copy tends to waffle on, slip into a variety of tenses and speak industry jargon (amongst other things). It can fall short of the mark and actually discourage customers. By contrast - great copy works hard and smart. It woos your audience. It is short, sweet and bang on the proverbial money.
Q. What information will you need from me?
A. This is where you start to see value for your money. Research, extracting a solid brief, following a sound process and experience are the difference between writing a winning piece and writing a generic, page-filler. The tone of voice, USP, target audience...it is all catered for to write an article and create a brand that people instantly recognise and connect with.
Q. What copywriting projects do you offer?
A. I offer a variety of work, and sometimes work that isn't 'on the menu'. Increasingly clients ask if I can upload work directly to WordPress (for example). I have no issue working on your website and will upload and publish content, however, it is your website and remains your responsibility. Please find a list of the services I offer here.
Q. Should we meet?
A. I love meeting clients, but I write for many whom I have never met. It comes back to the brief, but the answer to this question is down to you. We can easily chat on the phone, extract a solid brief and create a compelling piece of work.
Q. Who owns the copyright of the work you do for me?
A. A good copywriter will provide an agreement which covers your project, payment terms and legalities so that everything is transparent. Once you have paid for the work copyright is automatically assigned to you.
Q. How long will it take to write my copy?
A. This depends on your project. You may need a 1000-word blog, turned out quickly, or a full website writing. A quality copywriter will assess your needs and price the work up, with a realistic and achievable deadline that meets your (and their) needs.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. I had a client, some years ago, who told me, "buy cheap and buy twice." I don't want to harp on about quality, because you don't always get what you pay for, but (let’s be honest) generally - you do. It is not how many words you write per hour (anyone can quickly fill a page with any old nonsense). You are paying for creativity, skill, research, experience and a tailored process. I have taken two hours writing an 800-word blog and also spent two days agonising over a punchy strapline. A good copywriter will quote based on your project and needs, and let you know how long they expect it to take. I do not charge per word, as that does not account for the research, planning or proofing.
Q. Is working with a freelancer risky?
A. It could be. That said, you could hire a full-time employee and spend months paying for substandard work and further months going through the process of legally parting ways. Look for a copywriter who displays their portfolio online, or is willing to share examples of their work and has some testimonials. You can always ask to be put in touch with one of their clients for a reference. A copywriter who guides the process and asks the right questions is a good start.
Q. Will you work at my premises?
A. No. The office environment does not work for me. I work best in my office, with the dog and Spotify for company. As a freelancer (and someone who has worked remotely for almost 20 years), I am experienced at producing high-level copy and meeting your deadlines. I don't waste time commuting into a noisy office, nor is it necessary. That said, I meet with clients at their premises to brainstorm, collaborate etc., but no physical writing will occur anywhere but my lovely, quiet office.
Q. What about confidentiality?
A. Whilst many clients are happy for me to promote and link to the work I have done for them, others require that I sign a non-disclosure agreement and take it to the grave! Either way is fine and entirely dictated by you.
Q. Can you complete regular work for me?
A. I commit to regular work for clients over an agreed period. I can agree on work for the following 12 months and am always transparent about my availability. If I accept the project, that is because it is within my power to complete it, hit the agreed deadline and produce what you need.
Q. What if I don't like the copy?
A. Research, communication and following a sound process is integral to producing the copy you want. It is also important to realise that the first draft may not be exactly as you wish. Which is why it is only a first draft. I offer a complete copy document and two rounds of subsequent changes included in the price of the project. Certainly, during the formative stages of our working relationship, edits and revisions are natural. As our relationship develops you will find there are few or even no revisions; we are a fluid, working partnership and I understand exactly how you want to 'sound'.
Q. Do you collaborate?
A. Sometimes, yes. I collaborate with website developers and creative teams for the greater good of your project. Just let me know what you need and who is involved.
Q. Can you get me on the first page of google?
A. Anyone that promises this is lying because it is not possible to guarantee. How your online content is written, meta-tags, keywords, regularly published content and a whole host of factors determine how your site is ranked. What I can promise is to write your online content using digital techniques and organic SEO - as per my formal training and experience.
Q. Can you provide a free sample of your writing?
A. I have a carefully chosen online portfolio that will provide you with examples of my writing. I do not provide a 'free' sample of my work.
Q. Do you have experience of writing for my industry?
A. I may have; however, this isn't necessary. It would not be possible to have a working knowledge of every clients’ industry and offering before I write for them. The meticulous research I complete and brief I extract render this 'need' obsolete.
Q. How do I know which copywriter to choose?
A. Hiring anyone to write on behalf of your company is an important job. Your reputation is at stake. This can (often) be why clients want to meet. Geography pending, I am happy to meet with clients, or have a chat over the phone, so that you can ask some questions. Really, it is similar to a regular hire; trust your instincts, ask good questions and (if you're happy) give them a try. I have picked up quite a bit of work from clients who felt their previous copywriter did not understand their unique offering, so posing some questions around research and the process is advisable.
Q. I would like to work with you, what happens next?
A. Let’s assume you have reviewed my online portfolio, we have had a chat and you would like to proceed. I will now: quote for your project (formally), provide a defined summary of your agreed project, produce your copywriting agreement (which outlines T&C's, legalities etc.) and we will agree on planning and deadline.
If there is a project I may assist with or you have further questions, please just ask.
I love writing, but writing isn't just words. It is the ability to stir feelings, spread your message and unite people.