I quite like popping out my wallet to get out a business card which declares in blue: freelance copywriter.
Today though, when asked for my email address and phone number, I caused bemusement with said job title on the card:
“What’s that mean? Do you copy things in writing?”
If only …
I didn’t say this in the shop – I’m not rude but I’ll say it here:
Freelance means I whore myself for anyone – copy needs creating, an email campaign, a website checking, a marketing campaign proofread, I hang out the red light from my newly created home office window and perch on there, Amsterdam style, catching the eye of passers-by.
Copywriter means I create words, copy, content for B2C and B2B to go all corporate-speak (customers and businesses if you’re flummoxed).
Freelance copywriter – no one owns me, no one has line management meetings with me, yearly appraisals and breakfast meetings – they pay me to write, add value, increase engagement and ultimately sales.
It’s sometimes referred to as content marketing – you sell by providing answers to questions people are asking in a regular, informative and consistent way – online and in print.
You want that website revamped, that looked great in 201o, you contact this freelance copywriter who will give it a full Grand Designs makeover which will make your website stand out from your rivals.
I’ve done it already you see for three big companies – ask me and I’ll gladly explain how and what I did.
This freelance copywriter can quickly check your scheduled email drafts, print or digital marketing campaigns for typing and grammatical errors.
Mistakes make you and your business look amateurish.
You pay me an agreed fee and I’ll give a blog post, a newsletter, an email campaign, a press release the once over and you can click SUBMIT knowing the world won’t see any errors.
The world and Google will start to see you as a thought leader, an expert in your field, and when they want answers, they will come to you because your content is so good.
I can do that for your business, as a freelance copywriter.
Content is king, as Bill Gates said and you need to make your web content shine through great copy.
A freelance copywriter adds value and credibility, you see.
On a smaller scale, I can write copy for CVs, resumés, application forms and covering letters too – can design them from scratch (with your input), revamp or just check them for wording and add persuasive angles that will get you noticed in your field of operation.
Taught English you see since 1987.
Taught reading and the craft of writing.
What I don’t know about an ellipsis, a tittle or “Of Mice and Men” isn’t worth knowing.
Now though, through choice, I am currently employed writing great, unique content for clients too – mainly estate agents, letting agents and investment companies.
I love this role I’ve carved out.
Companies give me a brief for a series of blog posts and then I create engaging, accurate copy, which includes a unique branded featured image, inbound and outbound links, keyword research and a voice that matches the brand.
I’ve written over 50 now for one company and the voice of the blogs is consistent with their marketing mission – informed, informal and engaging.
The most difficult blog posts I’ve written have been on obscure topics – dog walking in Birmingham, acid reflux and dentures.
I enjoyed each one though and loved seeing them appear on Google searches.
No two days are the same and this freelance copywriter can go walking, cycling, or penning copy from 6am to 8pm, work a 12 hour day or a 3 hour day, as the workload demands.
There’s a lot to love about it but as the title promised, and failed to deliver so far, I’ll end by listing 10 things I hate about being a freelance copywriter (in no particular order – as they say on the X Factor):
- Income. As a teacher, I was paid a set sum once a month. As a freelance copywriter, never. Earnings are not as substantial or as regular. If you’re in this life to swan round the Med with Sir Philip Green, don’t become a freelance copywriter. An hour’s canoe hire on the Broads is about my fiscal limit. Writing though is a passion. Like teaching, it’s all about seeing progress and adding value. I loved teaching and I love being a freelance copywriter.
- Work. Like buses, there can be little for days or weeks, then whoosh, five buses pull up at once, all demanding your energy in driving that copy (laboured metaphor I realise.) Five buses are always welcome though.
- Social isolation. Not really. It’s great being a freelance copywriter, chatting to clients, listening to a brief and creating something unique.
- Routines. Isn’t there something satisfying about commuting to work, listening to the radio on the journey and socially interacting when there? Yes, in some ways, routine is welcome but the life of a freelance copywriter doesn’t follow these employment norms. I love it.
- Dividing work and home. I’ve done it this week after announcing my noble intentions on a blog – bedroom 5 is now my home office, where I can close the door, focus on work and open and leave it when I clock out.
- Explaining. People inevitably think I’m writing a novel – I’m not – when I say I’m a writer. I have drafted a mini novel though and the sum of the copywriting I’ve done in 9 months would probably equate to a novel..
- Showering. Odd thing perhaps to list – but here’s my rationale: work dictated I showered every morning before leaving the house. I shower now first thing or midday or in the afternoon. It’s about freedom – freedom to add value to your business showered or unshowered.
- Being smart. I don’t mean that awful hackneyed specific measurable achievable bullshit educational phrase peddled at inset days 10 years ago. I mean dressing smartly. I don’t wear a shirt and tie any longer. I donned a suit on Sunday and felt trussed up like a turkey ready for the oven on Christmas Day. I wore this uniform every day from 1987, now I can be fashionably casual.
- Seeing SEO results. SEO takes time – I planted spring bulbs the other day, knowing I won’t see any until February 2017. SEO is like that. A new website, a new business, an existing website needs to be cultivated and given time to grow.
- Chasing payments. I’m lucky, very lucky, in that my writing is paid for on time by many clients I work for – like Adele, though, there are some obdurate customers out there but I won’t give up and I will keep chasing payments. Well most of the time. You see, like Paul Calf intoned in his 90s video diary, anyone can write (he said teaching English was like teaching walking, anyone can do it). So because people have this perception that anyone can write, it needs to be free.
My most expansive blog post was an A to Z of why you should pay a freelance copywriter and it’s something I refuse to budge on. Would a plumber fix a boiler free, would a lawyer give half a day free? No. So freelance copywriter doesn’t mean free.
Need a freelance copywriter? Contact me.
You can probably tell too that I don’t hate the work I do, as a freelance copywriter.
I love every aspect of it.
Let me share that passion for copy and compelling content with you.