Showing posts with label adelaidecopywriters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adelaidecopywriters. Show all posts

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Getting the Details Right as a Freelance Copywriter

Writers in the commercial and business world often face some fairly unique challenges. As a freelance copywriter, the subjects that I have been asked to write about over the years have been rather diverse—I never thought that I would become an expert on wheel loaders, or offshore drilling, or chiropractic treatment. Nor for that matter did I ever envisage the need to become well acquainted with how solar panels work, how online casinos operate, or the implementation of sustainable farming practices.

But these are just some of the many topics that I’ve been called upon to write about as a freelance—all of which, I should point out, I knew absolutely nothing about beforehand. But the essence of being a professional copywriter is the ability to create copy that sounds convincing, both to the layman and aficionado alike, about industries, products and professions that are not necessarily your areas of expertise, while at the same time being informative, engaging and even—sometimes—entertaining.

Advice for freelance copywriters by Mark Angus in Adelaide
Learn more about our Adelaide copywriting services at www.cadoganandhall.com

Learn Quickly and Ask Questions


All of which means you need to be able to learn quickly. It’s sometimes necessary to absorb a great deal of technical information in a very short space of time, and then get a significant enough grasp of the details that you’re able to write about the subject with some confidence. Solid research skills are therefore just as important for a copywriter as writing ability—you need to know where to find good trade intel that is useful and intelligible, and then to be able to extract information that is appropriate and relevant to the task at hand. A good eye for detail is crucial.

Asking questions—or perhaps not being afraid of asking them—is something that a copywriter needs to learn to do. When you’re being briefed on a job, it’s important not to leave the meeting or end the phone call without having a crystal clear understanding of what your client is looking for. If you need to ask a lot of questions, go right ahead. It’s sometimes tempting, especially with a new client, to exude an air of supreme confidence, to give them the impression that you’re completely across the brief when in actual fact, if it’s an industry or profession that you’re not experienced in, you may not have grasped what they’re looking for at all. I know that this is a mistake that I have made in the past. The thinking goes along the lines of: “If I ask too many questions, they’ll rumble that I really don’t know anything about how dog food is made and I’ll lose the job. Better keep quiet, take some notes, and try to look interested.” In the end, this does no-one any favours.

Clients Like to Talk About Their Business


I find that most people in business actually like to talk about their work, and enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise. I’ve never known a client to be put off by answering questions about their business. And getting as much information as you can before you start a job will make it easier, more enjoyable, and will ultimately help you to produce better copy. Good copy equates to a happy client, which in turn may well lead to further work, and so there’s nothing to lose by engaging in a discussion, asking questions and getting as much information as you can directly from the source. The ability to ask questions is an essential part of the copywriter’s skill set.

Know Your Audience


A professional writer needs to be able to create copy that is right for the intended audience, and so really understanding who that audience is, and what their expectations are, is crucial. In commercial writing, the audiences you need to engage with will vary widely. A piece for a company’s in-house journal, for instance, will have a very different audience to that of a press release about a retailer’s end of year sale. A blog for a small manufacturing company will be read by different people and in a different way to the website content of a health professional. Being a copywriter is all about matching tone and content to the audience.

This involves being engaged with the wider industry on a number of levels. Look at what successful companies, both large and small, are doing with their written content. Subscribe to some trade journals to see how technical and manufacturing industries write about what they do (you’ll be amazed to find that there are trade magazines for just about every kind of industry or business imaginable). Read business-related blogs and social media posts, check out film and theatre reviews, keep up to date with what’s successful and popular on online content curation sites. Understanding how to shape your copy to suit different types of audience is one of the copywriter’s key skills, as is understanding who will read your copy and how they will read it. Get a feel for how different types of texts are expected to work in different kinds of scenarios.

Writing Interesting Copy About Dull Subjects


One of the most challenging aspects of being a copywriter is writing about products, or businesses, or even people, that are sometimes, quite frankly, rather dull. It can be a real struggle to come up with lively and engaging copy on a subject in which you have no personal interest. In this scenario, a useful approach is to read and research widely, well beyond the immediate areas that you’re covering. If, for instance, the brief is to write about a new piece of machinery there may not at first glance be a lot you can say about it. It’s new, it works, it costs this much. However, it can be helpful to look beyond the nuts and bolts into areas such as why this new and improved piece of machinery was developed, who will it be used by and where, what will be its benefits out in the wider world, and the other potential applications of the technology. If you can put the product you’re writing about into a wider context and perhaps bring in a human element or unusual angle, that can sometimes help to enliven your copy even when that product itself is not inherently interesting.

Copywriting is a Competitive Field


Commercial writing is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, and not every writer can do it. But it’s a competitive field and if you want to make a go of it you need to know what works and what doesn’t, and how to ensure that you are writing what it is your client wants to say. In the end, you are writing for someone else, and they need to be satisfied that what you write is accurate, relevant and does the job for which it’s intended. Not always easy, sometimes frustrating, but on the other hand it can also be very rewarding—plus, you can learn a whole bunch of stuff about a whole bunch of things you never imagined you’d ever need or want to know about along the way!

Copywriting by +MarkAngus
(This post was first published as a guest post at http://imaginationinfinity.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/guest-post-3-mark-angus.html)

Friday, 9 May 2014

Getting Clients as a Freelance Copywriter

Cadogan and Hall provide copywriting services for Adelaide businesses
To read the full article, please click here

How a freelance copywriter gets clients

Copywriting by +MarkAngus. Many thanks to +Nick Morris at +Wicked Cow Marketing for this initiative.

I'm delighted to have been included in this illuminating piece about how freelance copywriters and other creatives win and retains clients. It was especially interesting to learn about how others in the same and related industries go about it as well.

Managing Your Time

It can sometimes be difficult to manage your time when you work as a freelancer. As so much of your day is spent writing articles and blogs for clients, or taking care of their social media, sometimes you forget to take the time to do all these things for yourself and your own business.

As a result, it can be all too easy to think that you're too busy with your existing customers to spend additional time looking for new clients as well. Nevertheless, maintaining and growing your client base is essential.

I try to allocate some time every day (it might only 10 minutes) to the maintenance of my social media pages, and will always try to Tweet and post on Facebook and Google+ every day. I also make sure that I keep my LinkedIn personal and company pages up to date—these are usually different in tone and nature to my other social media posts and reach a different kind of audience. I have attracted at least three international clients using this platform and so the time I've invested in maintaining and updating my profile has certainly been worthwhile.

Social bookmarking and content curation

Building on this, in order to get your work as a freelancer out there, it's important to cast your net wide in terms of social bookmarking and content curation sites. Have you got a Behance or SlideShare page, for instance? Do you post on Listly? Have you taken up content curation on ScoopIt! or StumbleUpon? Do you post your pictures on Pinterest? All of these are free to use and help to raise your online profile, improve your search rankings, and get your work in front of people, irrespective of whether they are potential clients or not.

The message is, you really do need to keep your online presence both up-to-date and growing in order to attract clients. As a freelance copywriter or social media consultant, you need to be able to be found online in order to gain new customers, as in most cases you won't have the resources for more expensive forms of advertising and marketing.

The quality of your work

And perhaps above all, never let the quality of your work slip. Sometimes its easy to dash a piece off, or skimp on the time you devote to a blog or social media post. But it's a competitive world out there, and if your standards slip, there is always another freelance copywriter ready to step in and take over your work. Your portfolio and your reputation are your most valuable forms of marketing collateral, and so keeping these in tip-top shape are vital when you're looking to attract new business and to retain the customers you already have.