Posts Categorized: Copywriting Work

What Web Developers do (and don’t do). 12 tips from a Copywriter on things not to expect.

There’s a gap. A yawning one. It’s right in the space between the understanding that most people have of what planning and building a website actually involves, and the realistic skillset of most web developers. Not appreciating which skills web developers are likely to have (and therefore which they are unlikely to have), means that… Read more »

The 9 Big Stresses of Freelance Life.

freelance stress

We all know and love the benefits of being freelance. But freelance life has its drawbacks, too, and stress from a range of causes and situations is high on the list. So here are 9 big stresses of freelance life… along with tips for beating them. 1. “Where will my next job come from?” freelance stress. Worrying about how you’ll get… Read more »

What’s a Junior Copywriter?

You’ve seen an ad for a Junior Copywriter. And you’re wondering what, exactly, that is. So let’s shine some light on it for you by looking at it in two halves: ‘Junior’ and ‘Copywriter’. I’m going to do ‘Copywriter’ first. If you’re not exactly sure what a ‘Junior Copywriter’ is, it’s perfectly possible that you’re not… Read more »

Yeah. You can quote me.

“So… how much does copywriting cost?” Well… I quote a lot of jobs. Maybe three of four a day. And I’ve been quoting three or four jobs a day for years. So I’m fairly good at it. I take time and care to analyse each project requirement, quantifying the time I’ll need to do every aspect of the… Read more »

Write your own web content. My Dozen ‘Do’s.

12 Web Copywriting tips

The core of your user experience. Way ahead of look and feel. Making sure you have well written web content is the single most important element in making your site perform for you. Your written web content drives your SEO. It has to hold people on your site when they first arrive, preventing them ‘bouncing’. It has to engage them, reassure them, inform them, befriend them, persuade them and, ultimately close them. So… Read more »

How to leave your job and become a freelance copywriter.

For everyone who is a freelance copywriter, there are days when the security of employment looks incomparably attractive. But if you’re employed, the idea of quitting your job and working for yourself as a freelance copywriter can look even more appealing. If you’ve always been an employee, the desire to leave behind bosses, office politics and fixed hours for ever can be… Read more »

Copywriting Tips. 11 Great Things To Learn.

Convinced that being a copywriter is your true calling, but finding there’s a little more to it than you’d imagined? Don’t get disheartened. Here are 11 copywriting tips (and in particular for tips for aspiring copywriters): 11 Great Things To Learn that will stand you in good stead for ever. 1. Learn about marketing. Copywriting… Read more »

When a client drags his feet on paying

Freelance copywriters, like freelancers in other industries, are generally small, self employing businesses. As in any business, cashflowing is extremely important. You need to keep the jobs coming in, you need to keep completing them and invoicing them, and you need the fees to keep coming through as a result. Most copywriters work on either… Read more »

The problem you share with Selfridges

I don’t know whether you’ve ever been to Selfridges in the West End of London? Selfridges has a lot of entrances. It has entrances all along its face on Oxford Street. There are 5 of them. Depending which of them you choose, you will enter the store to find yourself confronted by handbags, fragrances, fashion… Read more »

Web content. Whatever happened to structure?

I could simply be getting grumpier. It’s likely. But I keep coming across the same bit of nonsense and I’m beginning to think that WordPress must be to blame. I keep getting calls about from people who are having a new site built (and so need web content), but who have little or no idea… Read more »

These other people called Copywriters

I smell confusion. Its odour has been in the air for a couple of years, but now its stench is there every time I surf around and it’s time to reach for the copywriting air-freshener and dispel it. Copywriters. We know what we are. We are people who write commercially oriented text to be used… Read more »

Who’s in software and who’s not?

I’ve been reclassifying the section of my website that shows which clients I’ve worked with in the past, and in which sectors they work. Since we first configured the admin system for the site about five years ago, there has been a slightly unsatisfactory category named ‘Software Developers’. Into this have gone, to date, all… Read more »

Cost or outlay – how to think about a sales letter

I quoted a sales letter task at the weekend for a man with a business that specifies and supplies high end commercial interiors solutions. He had a sales letter that he’d written himself a long time ago and that wasn’t really, in truth, a sales letter at all. He wanted a new one. So I… Read more »

The edge of copywriting

When I used to work in ad agencies and write TV commercials, people outside of the business would often ask, “So what part do you do? Do you write the words?” I would then explain patiently to them that though I might have described myself as a copywriter, the remit of my job extended from… Read more »

Copywriting Courses

Every few weeks I receive an enquiry from someone considering taking a copywriting course with something called ‘The Institute of Copywriters’. The enquiry will usually ask simply whether I can recommend this course. Now ‘The Institute of Copywriting’ is worthy of some scrutiny, not least as an exercise in copywriting! The use of the word… Read more »

And your specialist subject is?

At a time when Radio 4 is rich with variations on the phrases ‘recession’, ‘economic downturn’ and ‘the FTSE ended the day down 631 at half of **** all…’, email blasts look increasingly attractive as a tactical way of getting out your message without incurring too great a cost. In the rush to write and… Read more »

Nine tools to make your business rock

We all work differently. Your mind and method may be in stark contrast to mine. However, I’ve just sent this list over to a friend who has recently set up her own business and had mailed to ask what tools I use to keep things running professionally. The actual packages you choose will depend on… Read more »

Simple B2B direct marketing for small business

B2B direct marketing. This same request, and its solution, come up time after time from clients. Thus, simple as it is, I figure there have to be people for whom it would be of value to see it set down in type. A business needs to make sales contact with target businesses. It wishes to… Read more »

5 Quick Questions for Wannabe Copywriters

A recent enquiry from a lady keen to become a copywriter, but without any previous examples of her efforts to show, prompted me to bash down these 5 questions for wannabe copywriters, and send them to her to have a go at. I found I could tell quite a lot from her responses. If you’re… Read more »

SEO. Do yourself a Google favour

Getting your site ranked high on Google has become an obsession. Although there are plenty of people around who do understand the principles behind achieving this, there are lots more who don’t. The problem is that some who don’t are people who actually claim to be Search Engine Optimisation specialists. This is an area in… Read more »

Being an Advertising Copywriter

Being an advertising copywriter is a different gig to other kinds of copywriting. In the main, the skillset of an advertising copywriter is a conceptual one, and it’s his or her ability to solve problems in an appropriate but imaginative way, rather than to write, that secures a job. It would be virtually impossible to… Read more »

The 3 practical needs of your copywriting business

What do you actually need to get started as a freelance? It’s so obvious that you need clients that the need for ‘marketing’, for establishing a route to a sustainable flow of work, can almost go without saying. In the same vein, while I imagine it is possible to run a freelance copywriting business without… Read more »

Copyright and copywriting

This was in my inbox this morning: “I need to register/copywrite a name so that I am the sole user of the name without having to get permission or make a payment to anyone to use it. Can you advise me on how to go about this? Thanks, _______” I know. Fabulous, isn’t it? But I… Read more »

Copywriting fees. What to charge: how to charge.

When you’re used to being paid by your employer for writing, it can be difficult to imagine how you’d figure out what to charge if you were out working freelance. People quite often ask whether it’s a good idea to charge copywriting fees ‘by the word’, which is the way that newspapers and periodicals still… Read more »

Copywriting fees

Working out how much you should quote for a job never loses its intrigue, no matter how long you do it. Quote too much, and you’re likely to lose the project to a lower pitching competitor. Quote too little, and you may well secure the project but find the rate at which you earn significantly… Read more »

Why your copy might well cost more than your site

“But how can writing the copy for a website cost this much?” the gentleman on the other end of my phone asked. “We spent less than this on having the site built.” Well here’s your answer, matey. Your site has nothing to it, and would have required only a modicum of skill to build it…. Read more »

5500% return on investment? No thanks.

I like small clients. (Don’t get me wrong, all you petite marketers out there.) I like large clients of course. In fact in some ways I like them more, with their understanding timelines and their appetising Purchase Order pads. But small clients are the grass routes of the economy, the work we do for them… Read more »

Get a Landing Page. Hell. Get a few.

Like a lot of businesses, you may well assume that everyone entering your site comes in by the front door; that’s to say via the page you’ve designated as the homepage. The bad news is that they don’t. If you have access to your website user stats, take a look at the ‘Entry Pages’ bit… Read more »

The copy at the tip

I went to the tip this week. I’d been there last about a month ago. It’s one of those right-on, new age tips where everyone sorts everything and dumps it into huge containers from where it’s easy for a host of specialist recyclers to take it away. Last time I was there, there was a… Read more »

I have a pen… therefore I am a copywriter

It’s amazing how often people who’ve called to discuss the possibility of having some work done feel the need to excuse themselves by saying something to the effect of “I usually write this kind of thing myself but I don’t really have the time at the moment.” Implicit in this is the idea that you… Read more »

Shattering the myth of the Web Traffic Elf

I hate to do this…but there is no Web Traffic Elf. You came to terms with Santa Claus, and now you have to deal with this. While posting this may seem like a banality to very many of you (a statement of the bleedin’ obvious, in Basil Fawlty’s terms), I do keep coming across people… Read more »

The Golden Age of Bullshit

My chum and former colleague Adrian Langford alerted me to this extremely well argued perspective – The Golden Age of Bullshit, by veteran US adman Bob Hoffmann speaking at Advertising Week Europe 2014 – that says that just about everything we have ever been told about Social Media as a marketing tool is, actually, at… Read more »

The best background for being a copywriter

The problem with academe is that as 3 years of undergraduate life draw to a close most people are left trying to ‘match’ their degree subject to something from which they might attempt to fashion a career and even, with a bit of luck, earn a living. So the question of what subject one would… Read more »

Writing the dull bits of your website

There are 2 levels of copywriting required for most sites, it’s always seemed to me, and a project I’ve been working on this week reminded me of this. The more obvious level is that of the site content itself; in other words, all the stuff you have to say about your business. The less obvious… Read more »

How to write a UCAS Personal Statement

There is no shortage of advice available online about how, if you’re 17 and confronted with the ‘Personal Statement’ box on your UCAS application, you should go about filling it in. While most of this is wise words from academics or people who’ve done it before you, nothing that I can find comes from anyone… Read more »

Seeing how your copy looks

I write visually, and almost always have done. If someone asks me to rewrite their website, I take a screenshot of the site, import it into an editorial layout program, block out the existing content, approximate the font, size, leading and measure being applied by the stylesheet, and then begin writing. Why? Because it helps… Read more »

Faces that leap out of crowds

So you’re writing a sales letter. And because times are tight, you’re doing it yourself. Even though you’re no copywriter. You write the whole thing in Word. In 11 point Times New Roman or Arial on single spacing. Because that’s how your copy of Word defaults your draft. Here and there you stick in an… Read more »

The kind of web developers to fire

Web developers. You gotta love ’em. Some of them are so darn clever, with their cutesy clientside coding (stuff that happens in your browser). Some others are just so darn arty, with their pretty designs and fanciful Flash animations. Then there are those who are simply so darn smart, with their complex back-end programming, databasing… Read more »

'Service users' by any other name

I’m not close enough to the lore of social services to be aware of for quite how long ‘service users’ has been the politically acceptable term in use to refer to the aged, the infirm, the disabled, the mentally ill and those other members of society whose care is the meat and drink of the… Read more »

Is blogging really a marketing activity?

Blogging amazes me. And scares me. I’m a far from expert blogger, and the purpose of this blog makes the spontaneity which makes the medium so powerful seem inappropriate. But I love blog reading. I love the uninhibited candour of those who can and will get up and share the contents of their mind with… Read more »

Search term tails wagging content dogs

SEO copywriting has always thrown up conflicts between the requirements of search mathematics, and those of sound, intelligible marketing communication. But the now prevalent search strategy of optimising pages for ‘long tail’ keywords creates a situation which is especially hard to resolve. (Long tail keywords are the ‘long tail’ of key words or phrases which… Read more »


What do you imagine goes wrong most for copywriters, in particular inexperienced copywriters? Is it heinous misuse of syntax? Wreckless abandonment of punctuation style? Of course not. For most people even starting out as copywriters, having a decent stab at the work isn’t too much of a problem. The problem seems to lie in their… Read more »

The DL rollfold leaflet. Why you gotta love it.

  Sure. We all love the flexibility and almost-free marketing value of social media and even of good old email. But a simple DL gatefold mini-brochure is still a genius-level tool in virtually any business. (You know. It’s the kind of item you get if you fold a sheet of A4 into thirds, and use… Read more »

A dreadful title… for quite a decent little book

‘Copy. Righter.’ Oh dear. A more juvenile piece of copywriting it would be hard to find than this title to Ian Atkinson’s addition to the pantheon of ‘how to’s for wannabe copywriters. And yet… within the covers Atkinson has come up with a very neat and helpful book that delivers far more sensible, practical help… Read more »

Taking the jump

Jumping off things is hard. Twas ever thus, and if you have a job, but would love to leave it and try your luck writing copy full time, the question of how to do it is a tough one. The first thing you have to do, in any career or lifestyle change, is look at… Read more »


Why do people love testimonials so much? I never understand this. So many SME owners/managers consider testimonials to be such an indispensible part of their sales play that they insist on putting a whole page of them on their website. Yet it’s always seemed to me that even the worst business would be capable of… Read more »