What does he know? He's just a writer.
Here are answers to some of the questions you might want to ask. If you have another, please contact me on 01327 262497 or at email@example.com.
Copywriting is about finding the optimum use of words to engage and communicate with a chosen audience. In general, good copy should be straightforward without being simple, clever without being smug, lively without being breathless. Used intelligently, copy will add another dimension to your marketing and communication strategies. Neglect it and you risk the charge of style over substance.
In principle anyone with a feel for words can write copy to a certain standard, just as anyone whoís good in the kitchen can have a go at an intricate dish. But it takes a skilled professional to get consistently excellent results. Natural talent is a bonus but thereís no substitute for the knowledge and judgement that comes with years of experience, huge success and the odd catastrophe.
From engaging with your customers to enhancing your brand, your company or brand is built on communication Ė words. A good copywriter will be able to understand the client and their objectives, distil their market and audience down to the core, and then explain the benefits in a way which compels the reader, viewer or listener to take the desired action.
The flexibility and versatility of a freelance copywriter provides creative experience and impetus without the cost of maintaining someone elseís plush office and limitless expense account. I donít have a hot-tub in the corner of my office or drive around in my clientsí marketing budgets. Here are a few other reasons why you should work with a freelance copywriter.…
- consistent quality
- reliable and personal service
- diverse experience
I could wax lyrical about my passion for creative excellence, my unrivalled personal service, my uncompromising attention to detail and so on. But to be honest good work often owes much to good clients. I take great pride in what I do on their behalf and above all, I enjoy it.
Here are a few other reasons to contact me.
- powerful copywriting when you need it, no overheads when you donít.
- you'd like advice from someone who works with words all day, every day.
- your words donít do the project or service justice.
- your words don't match the quality of your design.
- you've got too many words.
- you haven't got enough words.
- you haven't got any words at all.
- you're too close to the business - it needs an objective viewpoint.
- you don't have the time and/or inclination.
Iím sometimes Ďinvitedí by agencies to write a few paragraphs, free of charge, so that they can decide whether Iím suitable or not. Oh, and Iím almost always Ďcompetingí with one or two other writers. A copywriting Ďtestí I think they call it.
Always up for a challenge, I invite them to take part in a reciprocal Ďtestí in which I spend half a day doing their test and they send a cheque for half a dayís work That way, they get to know whether Iím right for the job and I find out whether they pay on time.
Yes, I will happily enter into a pitch with an agency. I charge 100% of my total fee if the pitch is successful and 50% if it isnít.
Although I am based in the UK and speak English, my work takes me all over the world, albeit mainly by email and telephone. I have worked with clients throughout the UK as well as mainland Europe, the US, Asia and Africa.
Unlike many freelance copywriters I'm not a moonlighting journalist, failed poet or frustrated novelist. I'm a professional copywriter (the product of an overactive imagination, a conventionally dull middle-class childhood and a speckled career) and words are what pays my mortgage.
Since 1994 Iíve supplied copy to clients of all shapes and sizes, collaborated with agencies large and small, used media old and new, worked on campaigns above, below and through the line and written about most things between A and Z.
Iím also a published author and music journalist and a regular contributor to a number of national, local, trade and consumer publications. Iím an accredited†member of several industry governing bodies and the writersí group 26.
Iím afraid I donít do awards or self-indulgence Ė itís overrated. I object to paying a fortune for a crap dinner at a second-rate venue and being judged in committee by consensus of whatís known or whatís in fashion. By its nature originality canít be fashionable as itís yet to have the approval of a committee. So no, I havenít got a display cabinet full of trophies Ė Iím too busy doing and enjoying what Iím paid to. If it works for the client, then it works for me.
At any one time I usually have at least four or five projects in progress but many of these are fluid so Iím often able to take on new work. If Iím particularly busy or I feel that an associate might be better suited, then Iím happy to recommend a number of other talented and experienced writers.
While I often work independently, I can adapt to your needs and preferences and work in whatever way suits you, whether collaborating with an internal or external team, working at my office or yours, talking on the telephone, corresponding by email or meeting face-to-face.
Once the project has been outlined and the costs, terms and timescales agreed, Iíll gather all relevant information. Without thought, the words are useless, so if you havenít had time to prepare a brief, donít panic Iím happy to help you shape your thoughts with some searching questions.
Then starting with a blank sheet, Iíll listen, think, scribble, create and deliver a first draft (an unfinished, unpolished version) and ask for your initial comments. This will then be followed by a draft/review cycle to develop the copy until youíre satisfied with the final result.
I never presume that what went before was best. Likewise, I donít reinvent the wheel for the sake of it. I invest a high percentage of my time at the briefing and research stage, where answers to questions such as who, what, why, when and how can make all the difference. The more information youíre able to provide at the outset the better the end result will be.
- press releases
- case studies
- statistical information
An up-to-date copy of my standard Terms can be downloaded here.
The nature of my work means that Iím constantly exposed to confidential information from both private and public sector sources. I take this trust very seriously and have never compromised any of my clients. If you would like further assurance, Iím happy to sign a confidentiality agreement.
It all depends on what you want, how quickly you want it and how busy I am. Sometimes I can turn a job around in a matter of hours while larger, more complex projects may involve meetings, research or interviews and will take longer.
In general, the more time I have to research, write and edit the copy, the better. However, I appreciate that time is sometimes a luxury. In an emergency, where I have to decline or delay other projects or work unsociable hours, an additional 20 per cent charge may be applicable.
Transparency never hurt anyone (with the exception of politicians and bankers). Not unlike them though, I usually like to get the money bit sorted upfront.
I can charge by the hour, by the day or by the page, although most clients prefer an all-inclusive fixed cost at the outset. This is based on my experience of whatís involved and my numbers which are £30 ($US50 or Ä35) per hour or £300 ($US500 or Ä350) per day.
All prices include consultation; research and reading; the cost of communications; and the origination of concept and copy including any reasonable revisions assigned within 14 days. There are no VAT charges or hidden extras and my Terms are 21 days.
As long as the scope of the original brief doesnít change wildly, then the agreed cost includes any reasonable revisions. If there are significant changes, we can reassess the impact on time and cost. If for any reason you have to cancel a commission, then a kill fee of up to 50 per cent may be incurred.
So have I. Itís a real pain in the arse isnít it? He seemed a decent sort of bloke and his credentials spoke for themselves. I had no doubts he could do the job. He even had his own spanner. Mind you, it hasnít stopped me calling out other plumbers at the first sign of a leak.
I donít do PR and Iím not a designer but I am part of an extensive network of freelance creative professionals including other copywriters, PRís, marketers, graphic designers, web designers, illustrators and photographers, all of who I would be happy to recommend to you.
Simple really. When I first set out, the term Ďfreelancerí suggested someone who was either unemployed, unemployable or retired. So I called myself Heyward Rigby Communications. Then in March 2007, after 10 years of explaining that I wasnít an agency and didnít have a partner called Heyward, I decided that it was time for a change.