The 5 qualities of a great copywriter

So, you’re in the market for a copywriter.

When you first started out, paying someone to write your website copy was an expense you couldn’t justify. Makes sense. But, you’re out of that basic survival phase and thinking it could pay to get an expert on board. Because words? They’re not your thing. But for a copywriter, they’re a match made in heaven. Think chocolate and peanut butter, poached eggs and avo, or hot sauce and, well, anything. 

Or, you’re part of a marketing team, stretched to the limit and you need some content support. Someone to develop consistent SEO-friendly blog posts or emails, who won’t be whisked away onto another project. An external copywriter could be the answer.

A bit bamboozled about where or how to start? There are so many copywriters out there. So, before you open your wallet, here are five qualities to keep in mind when searching for your wordsmith.

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Good listening skills

This one may not be obvious. But, in the beginning, your copywriter should be doing a whole lotta listening. This will be peppered with questions, of course, but you'll get the space to finish your thoughts without rushing.

Writing chops

If you’re someone who needs oodles of physical proof, please don’t be offended if some copywriters push back at some point. Our time is precious. And, let's face it. Our websites, blog, accolades and testimonials are legit proof that we’re serious writers. We may have a portfolio, or links to show you, but can’t always create new work samples, just for you.

Clear communication

I love that my clients know how important this is to me. I expect it whenever I’m the client, so I always work to deliver it in spades. I’m talking about prompt responses to your emails and phone calls and generally being easy to work with. Check out the testimonials on a website for evidence before submitting the contact form. Once you’ve been in touch, are you getting all your questions answered and are you clear on timelines and process? Awesome. You’re on to a winner.

A thorough briefing process

The better the brief, the better the copy. So, don’t panic when you get served a hefty briefing form or asked to schedule a briefing call. And, please, as Tom Cruise once said, help us help you (or something to that effect). To write you the absolute best copy for your business, we need the inside scoop. Trust me. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Experience

When it comes to copywriting, experience can come in many forms. While specific copywriting experience is a big plus, a background in another industry is a bonus! Training in psychology or education, for instance, provides depth to a copywriter’s expertise. Teaching’s where I nailed my processes and time management. It was also my training ground for creating and delivering engaging content, day in, day out to all kinds of audiences.

So, now that you’re armed with the tools for your search, happy copywriting process to you!

P.S. If you think we might be a good fit, learn more about how I can help you or check out some happy client feedback.

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The magic of collaboration

If the idea of working jointly on a project or activity incites hellish flashbacks of uni group projects, stick with me. Collaboration is not a dirty word. Done right, it can open up some pretty awesome opportunities, bring new people and ideas into your world and play an integral part in the future success of your business. Whether you’re a product or service-based business, you can form connections with others, and grow your business by investing in and collaborating with these connections.

One of the best things about running my own business is the opportunity to collaborate with other people. I may work for myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss interaction in the workplace. So, now I simply create it. Through collaborating with others, I can experience a feeling of connectedness. Starting out in a brand new industry in my mid 30s, I found myself totally out of the networks and loops that I had built up over 12 years in the education sector. My career had changed, but so too had the nature of networking.

Here’s why you should consider collaboration for your small business.

For inspiration:

It’s easy to get stuck doing things a particular way. Need a new perspective? Online tools and blogs can inspire you, sure, but try human connection for the ability to discuss, share and communicate inspiration and information. Who knows? You may end up with a fresh technique, tool or new content idea. Someone to bounce ideas off can trigger creativity, and also provide an objective point of view.

To grow your network:

Nothing terrified me more than networking when I started working for myself. Going along to my first networking event felt like a torturous first day at school. Each time I approach new people, my stomach does a little flip, but I do it anyway. I didn’t leave my last career with a huge list of contacts or clients. I’ve built them up from scratch. And I truly believe in the power of human connection. So, if I don’t continue to put myself out there, chatting about why I believe in my business, how can I expect it to grow? An added bonus, of course, is that I’ve met such wonderful people whose services and products I can access. The reality of being in business is that you need to consistently make connections, to encourage referrals and new work. Every time you reach out to someone, you are expanding your network, whether or not it results in collaboration.

To learn:

I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more I’m driven by a desire for lifelong learning. I actually hanker for it. While sometimes the breadth of what I don’t know seems overwhelming, it’s also very motivational. Collaboration brings with it the opportunity to learn from someone with a different skill set, strengths and perspective.

To problem-solve:

There is definitely power in numbers, in terms of accomplishing something or solving a problem.

Here are some of my favourite collaborations to date:

Creative Darebin Networking Breakfasts - a weekly breakfast for creatives in my hood ticks all the boxes. Casual conversation over coffee with like-minded types? Yes, please.

She Will Shine Women’s Business Network - a totally unstuffy, supportive and inspiring girl gang offering networking nights, power groups, dinners and the rest!

Hood Mama Edit - a slick photo shoot collaboration masterminded by Holly at Motherhood Melbourne and shot by legend behind the lens, Jess Worrall.

Guest blogs on other sites (psst...did you catch me on Seriously Milestones last night?) and interviews with people I admire, like my chat with author Emily Brewin.

Opportunities that have come my way only because I had the courage to reach out. I’ve had some of my freelance articles published and generated new copywriting work this way.

So, what should I consider first?

Before you reach out, think carefully about who to partner with and why. Do your goals and values align? Do you have the same target audience? What can you each bring to the table? How will the collaboration idea work? On a practical level, you can use your combined leverage to connect with more people and spread your message. Social media campaigns don’t need heaps of money or followers, but they do need a genuinely engaged following to be successful. Other ideas are to feature one another, such as by guest blogging or promoting each other’s services. Photo shoots can work too. For the Hood Mama Edit, bloggers and writers wore the products supplied, then created content. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with your ‘so-called’ competitors either. There’s power in numbers, and clearly common interests. The question may be, why wouldn’t you?

How do I get started?

I’d encourage you to begin online, via Facebook groups or networking sites. I love connecting with fellow freelancers and copywriters this way. Search your local area for IRL networking options too, or chat to your friends. They may know someone they can put you in touch with. You don’t need to meet in person if that’s too tricky. There’s always Skype for chats, Google Drive for doc sharing and Trello for project management. Keep it easy! Just enjoy the process.

What collaborations have you been a part of? Let me know. Or if you've got a great idea about how we could work together, let's chat!

 

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A Day in the Life of a Copywriter/Mama

Sharing a day of my life with you is a little tricky. Some days, I put on my educator hat and spend the day wrangling secondary school students (read: inspiring the young minds of tomorrow) while my mini is socialising at the local childcare. Other days are more of a juggle as I put on both my freelance copywriter and mum hats and try my hardest to fulfil both roles authentically. It may go a little something like this:

6.30-7ish

Hear the mini chatting to himself in his bedroom next door. Try and grab a few extra bedtime minutes by bringing him in for his bottle and his collection of toys.

7.30

Downstairs for playtime where all the carefully categorised and tidied toys are strewn around the living room in 0.46 seconds. All. Of. Them.

7.45

Saucepan cupboard exploration.

7.50

Tupperware drawer exploration. The house now looks like 25 children live here.

8.00

Brekky then we hit the pavement in the pram for coffee and an activity (swimming, the library, a playdate, Grandma and Grandpa time). While walking I might pop my headphones in and do a quick 10 minute meditation. While at coffee, I’ll jump on Trello and make a plan for the day - 3 items to action while bub naps later in the day.

11.30

Home in time for lunch, which may be eagerly devoured or dropped on to the floor, depending on the day.

12noon

Nap time. Not for me, although some days I’d dearly love to. However, this is biz time so I need to hop to it. I light a candle, pop on some music and fire up my laptop. I like to use the Pomodoro Technique, working in 25-minute blocks, as I find it really promotes productivity. During the 5-minute breaks, I’ll fix a quick snack or throw on a load of washing.

2.30ish

The mini wakes up and it’s time for his afternoon bottle then playtime. We will read a stack of books too, several times over if requested. I love that my little one is so keen for story time.

3.30

Afternoon tea then we’ll pop to the park if it’s a nice day.

4.00

An afternoon walk, perhaps with a girlfriend and her bub, followed by a pop in to the supermarket for a few dinner essentials.

5.30

Dinner, again a battleground depending on the day. This toddler is certainly revealing his strong will at times!

6.10

My husband walks through the door - happy days! Playtime with Daddy and then bath time for bub. I start on dinner prep and let the boys have some time together.

7.00

Bub to bed and we cook then sit down to dinner. Some nights I’ll head out to an exercise session, others we will pop on an episode of a series we’re watching and have a glass of red. I might send a few cheeky emails or pop up an Instagram post during the show. I try not to multi-task but sometimes it can’t be helped.

10.00

I’m an early-to-bed person these days so I try to be in bed by 10. I will read a few pages of a book - currently 57 Ways to Change Your Mind before I fall asleep and drop the book on my husband’s face. Unfortunately I’m wildly predictable that way.

Perhaps you're also a juggling mama? Let me help save you time and provide you with some dazzling content too! Be in touch.

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Why you need a Copywriter!

If I had a dollar for each time somebody said ‘Oh copywriting...what’s that?’ or confused copywriting for copyrighting, well, I wouldn’t need to write copy. I’d spend all my time reading great books, taking dance classes and binge-watching Girlboss. Actually, as a self-confessed word nerd, I’d still do it because I love it! To tell you the truth though, before I became one, I didn’t know much about copywriters either. Here are the answers to five of your burning questions:

What does a copywriter actually do?

You may be surprised at the breadth of tasks we can help you with. In simple terms, a copywriter writes advertising or marketing text or ‘copy’. I do this with the assistance of a very strong coffee. This copy can take many forms, such as website copy, brochures, ebooks, speeches, headlines, PR copy - the list goes on! The best part is, while we are writing your copy to further engage your current and prospective clients, you are doing what you do best - growing, nurturing and expanding your business. What could be better?

Can’t I just write it myself?

Being a good writer isn’t the same as being a good copywriter. It is a very particular and unique results-driven skill. It needs to generate sales of your product or brand, and get conversions from website visitors. Objectivity is important too. A great copywriter is skilled at making your biz sound all kinds of fabulous. As humans, we’re not always great at telling the world how awesome we are. Your copywriter, on the other hand, has just enough distance from your passion to highlight your best features without sounding ‘salesy’. Do you tend to procrastinate when writing about your business or get stuck ‘perfecting’ something that never seems quite right? All the while, your potential clients or customers are missing out on your message. Engage a professional copywriter for website copy and other marketing collateral that sings!

How can a copywriter help me if I don’t sell a physical product?

Even if you’re a service-based business, you are selling your brand, YOU, to your potential clients. You are creating a vibe, a feeling that draws people to you. Your copywriter can help make sure you’re branding is targeted towards the very type of clients you wish to attain.

What does a copywriter charge?

This can vary quite significantly, and many copywriters quote for each individual project, rather than by the hour. This takes into account all of the preparation and research your copywriter will do before they even begin writing your copy. It may not be as expensive as you think though. Think of good copywriting as an investment in your business. Done well, the rewards will be tangible and long-lasting. Rather than asking if you can afford it, the question should perhaps be ‘Can you afford not to?’ Your competition is, so you probably should too.

What is the process for working with a copywriter?

Any copywriter worth their salt will take steps to learn more about your business before launching into the copywriting itself. Most commonly this is done via a Creative Brief of sorts, where you have the opportunity to flesh out your expectations, goals, target market, brand voice and preferred writing style so that your copywriter can work for you more effectively. Put simply, the more we know about you and your point of difference, the more we can shout from the rooftops about the benefits of your business to clients. At the end of the day, everybody does a happy dance.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch - I can’t wait to work with you!

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