Copywriting FAQ

Here are the answers to questions I get asked about copywriting most frequently. If I’ve missed anything, feel free to flag it up by dropping me a message on the contact page: or give me a call on 07702 102030.

Why FAQ instead of FAQs?

If I were writing answers to questions about more than one subject, such as copywriting, web design UX and Google AdWords optimisation, then the correct term would be FAQs. But as I’m answering questions about a single subject, freelance copywriting, the proper name is FAQ. I just thought I’d flag that in case you thought I’d made a mistake.

What is copywriting?

Creating an angle; a big idea that helps your products or services appear unique. Translating the idea into a compelling headline that grabs people’s attention, a subheadline that tells them the rest of the copy is worth reading, and body content that convinces the reader they should trust you with their and money.
Or if it’s an Ad, it may be just a headline and a call to action. Or if it’s a home page banner, it might be a simple phrase or statement that stops readers in their tracks and gets them thinking: "That's good. I'll spend time here." But whatever the media, effective copywriting comes from big ideas and a solid angle. That’s my speciality.

What is copyediting?

In a nutshell, it's copywriting without the big idea. Copyediting involves taking copy someone else has written and polishing the grammar, correcting the typos, and tweaking it to flow a little easier. It’s a faster process than copywriting because it doesn’t require as much research, so it costs less to produce. But it can leave you vulnerable to a Google Marketing Slap!

What is a Google Marketing Slap?

That’s when someone reads your copy and doesn’t think there’s anything unique about the product or service you’re selling. So instead of learning more or jumping on the call to action, the reader starts Googling to see if they can find something similar at a better price or with a more compelling offer. Something that makes them feel more emotionally engaged.

Do you specialise in a particular sector/vertical?

No, I don’t — I think that’s a recipe to go stale and lose the edge that’s needed to write original copy. If I spent my time writing for one industry in particular, week in, week out, I’m pretty sure I’d run out of ideas and just end up writing the same old vanilla copy you’d see everywhere else. And that won't sell anything!

Do you offer technical writing or technical copywriting?

Yes and no. To help clarify: technical writing usually means writing content that explains how to use a product or service. I don’t do this, I'm afraid.
But technical copywriting focuses on selling and promoting, which I’m very good at. So I do this if I understand the tech, like web platforms, or HR software, or float switches, or reed relays. If you need professional copywriting to sell tech, give me a call on 07702 102030 and I’ll tell you honestly if I think I’m right for the job.

Will you write a free test piece?

Unfortunately no. I offered this when I started the business (against the guidance of my peers), but it's not feasible. The primary challenge is that in-depth research and client collaboration is needed to write something unique, and it’s difficult to take a gamble investing the time for free. If you need to see a relevant case study though, I may have an example on file, and I’d be happy to send that to you.

Do I need to pay for the copy if I don’t use it?

I haven’t had that happen, but I suppose it’s like sending back steak and asking for the cost to be knocked off the bill. The restaurant probably won’t do that, but you'll get another one cooked just the way you want it. That’s how I like to work.

So if I’m not happy, you’ll rewrite the copy for free?

I offer unlimited edits for 14-days after the first revision is submitted. Typically, I’ll receive feedback, implement edits and the second revision is signed off. If I ever had to rewrite copy completely, that would probably be the result of a very loose brief or a change in the original direction. If this happened, we’d just work it out. But rest assured I’m committed to writing copy my clients feel will work for them.

What size projects do you work on?

Anything from a one-off piece of writing to an integrated campaign delivered across multiple touch points. I don’t have a minimum order requirement, I can help with any sized project.

Do you carry out agency work?

Yes, I do: for marketing, graphic design, web design, PR and advertising agencies. Give me a call on 07702 102030 to see if I’m a fit.

What do you charge?

I prefer to offer a job rate rather than charge by the hour. There can often be hidden costs in copywriting, such as the time it takes for market research, investigation and analysis. I don’t think it’s right to win work and then drop additional costs in for an hour here or half-a-day there if something unexpected comes up. It might mean I lose a little when it happens, but at least I'll keep you happy because you'll pay the quoted fee and no more.

I just starting up in business, can you help?

Of course, but I can’t charge you less than anyone else. If you need copywriting but are on a very tight budget my advice would be to scale down your requirements so you can still take advantage of using an experienced copywriter rather than using a junior or a copy-mill. Work out your ‘minimum viable proposition’ and make it count. Then you can scale back up as the profits start coming in. I can help you decide what to work on and give you the biggest bang for your buck. Give me a call on 07702 102030.

Will you travel for a meeting?

I can if you want, but it might not be the best way to spend your budget. Distributed teams are commonplace now, and we can make use of email, telephone, conference calls, Google Hangouts, or Skype. For new enquiries, I’ll sometimes travel for a pitch if I’m convinced you could be a fantastic client. Give me a call if this is the case: 07702 102030.

I’ve been let down by another copywriter. What guarantee do you offer?

I’m sorry to hear that, it can happen. Copywriting is no different to any other business when it comes to delivering on a promise: some people take on work when they don’t have time to do it properly, some take on a job they’re not suited to and wing it in the hope it’ll work out. I do neither. I don’t offer a guarantee as such, but these are my principles:

1) I won’t take on a job unless I’m 100% convinced I can deliver first-class work.
2) I won’t take on a job unless I have the time needed to hit the deadline.
3) I won’t try and write about stuff I know nothing about.
4) I won’t try and be smart for the sake of it — I’ll write copy based on proven techniques learned by writing successfully for over 20-years.
5) I’ll never re-rinse existing work. The copy I deliver will be unique to you.
6) I’ll never subcontract copywriting work out — I’m personally responsible for writing every word.

How quick can you start?

I can often start straight away because I try to keep a buffer in place to get out the blocks quickly for a new client. But if I’ve hit a spike in work and I can’t start for a week or two, I’ll be honest with you, even if it might mean I lose your business. I’m good at managing pressure, but I don’t go looking for it.

Can you offer project management?

If you mean managing a team of copywriters then no, that’s not my thing. But if you say can I source and provide management for specialists in AdWords marketing, social media marketing, web design, press Ad design and direct mail as part of a blended marketing or lead-generation campaign then yes. I can hook you up with the best people for the work in question; they’ll deal with you directly for billing, but I’ll negotiate the best rates for you and manage the process. And I won’t be taking any commission, so all the savings get passed straight back to you.

Can you offer any added value?

I’ve led web design, content marketing and UX (user experience) teams in agencies for many years. I have a lot of knowledge about platforms and best practice that I can share impartially. And if you already have a website, you might have missed a trick or two so I’ll be happy to pass on any tips to make it more effective.

Why don’t you have detailed case studies in your online portfolio?

I have case studies that I’m happy to share in confidence if there’s no conflict of interest. Clients pay me money to make great things happen, so the last thing I want to do is hand the process and ideas to their competition on a plate.