Frequently Asked Questions

It's natural to have questions. In fact, I'd be worried about taking on a client who didn't have questions. We need to know each other, so you can make sure that I'm the right fit for your business. And on my side, how would I know which tone of voice to use, or gain an understanding of your specific business, or your target customers? Hopefully you'll find many of the answers to your questions here, but we'll get into the detail when we agree to work together.
What is copywriting?

Simply put, it's the art of creating persuasive language designed to elicit a desired response in a reader or listener.

And those desired responses can be huge in scope, but typically involves a call to action to buy a product, or sign up for a service, or build brand trust. It's what I'm trying to do right now, with you. Do my words support that, or detract?

And it isn't just about great content using clever words. It's about generating an emotion. People think they act rationally, but really, our emotions are what drives our brains to rationalise things - and these 'rationalisations', in turn, drive decisions. In this way, a really good copywriter can create value for your business or organisation by tapping into an emotional need or a want in your audience. When this need is answered and the customer rationalises the sign up or the purchase, your business - and the customer - benefits.

Why do I need a copywriter?

You don't. You could do it yourself. You just need to be honest enough with yourself to know if you both have the capability (skillset) and capacity (time).

I'm not here to run your business. You know what you do better than me. But I'm guessing you also spend a lot of time doing that. And as you're reading this, I'm also pretty sure you know you need to stay as focused as you can on your business. That's great - we can both stay focused on what we do best. And efficient businesses make more money.

What's more, you also know that compelling, relevant, content that persuades a customer to take your desired action - sign up, request information, buy, recommend - is something that adds real value to your business. I can help.

Why choose you?

I may or may not be the best choice for you. I may not be the cheapest, nor do I think I'm the best. I charge a fair amount for a job well done, on time. I'll always listen carefully to what your brand stands for, and where you want to take it, and how this commission can help that ambition. I'll ask questions to help develop our project, and then I'll work with you as much - or as little - as you want in order to provide fantastic copy, with options to tweak it until you think it's perfect. And at the very end, if you are still not happy, we'll part ways amicably and without charge.

One thing I'm very much interested in is the psychology of copywriting. It's very closely related to the psychology of selling, in that you are seeking to persuade. And to do so, you must tap into emotions. People often can't remember the detail behind hundred words of advertising copy they read, or the content of the 5 minute presentation they watched, or the vehicle specifications in an advert for a car. But they do remember how it made them feel.

The fact is, you've made it this far in reading my content, which means you're interested, possibly excited, to go further. Take the next step and contact me here.

What's the difference between copywriting, copyediting and proofreading?

Good question, as I offer all three services.

At a basic level, copywriting is about me creating persuasive, attractive content that influences the audience to take a desired action. In contrast, copy editing is about taking your content, and making it more persuasive and actionable, by polishing the sentences to read with more appeal and/or more clarity. This is done by cutting out some words and phrases, adding more persuasive words and phrases in, and correcting any errors in spelling, grammar and syntax. I'll correct any inconsistencies between sentences.

Then there's proofreading. I won't change the format of your sentences, but I will correct spelling, grammar, inconsistencies and missing or duplicated words.

For me, the most exciting aspect is definitely copywriting, but if you have the skillset in house to write good copy but not the time to polish it, or are on a really tight budget, I can certainly help.

Why can't I just get AI to write my content for me?

AI can indeed help in generating content, providing valuable assistance in drafting blog articles, emails, and social media posts. Crucially, it can create content very, very quickly. However, it has serious limitations. AI-generated content lacks the creativity and or business-specific knowledge that a human writer can offer. Being a language model that recognises patterns, it often produces content that feels formulaic or repetitive - because it is simply regurgitating what it finds in its database. Additionally, it may not always be accurate or contextually appropriate. All of which can be dangerous for copyright or wider legal reasons! Furthermore, this also has negative implications for Search Engine Optimisation, as search engines lower the page rankings for sites where it finds content duplicated against older sites (i.e. the original content creator).

Human copywriters, like me, have creativity, emotional intelligence, and the ability to deeply understand the nuances of language and audience engagement. I can infuse content with a unique brand voice, storytelling elements, and emotions, making it more relatable and compelling. Unlike AI, I can also adapt their writing style based on the target audience and your specific needs, which requires a level of adaptability and intuition that AI struggles to replicate. Human copywriters are also better at interpreting complex briefs, coming up with original ideas, and incorporating strategic marketing elements into their writing.

I won't deny, as someone who stays up with the latest trends, that I use AI to help me. But I don't let it write the content for me. Instead I use it to help provide inspiration, do research for information and statistics, SEO perfection, language enhancement and content summarisation. And then I write the content, having fact checked everything. AI helps me, but this also helps to speed up the time I take on my project, which in turn helps you by keeping down my quoted price per project.

Should I pay you per word, per hour or per job?

Ultimately, this is your choice. I can work with whatever you feel most comfortable.

But, I recommend that, except for very specific jobs, you try and avoid hiring copywriters on a per word basis. This encourages them to write to the total word count, leading them to write copy that is often bloated and superfluous, turning off the reader.

Similarly, paying by the hour (or day) won't necessarily motivate a copywriter to work at speed. It can be useful when the copywriter is being retained by a business and needs to work on a project within a team organised by the client, and so may be dependent on completion of deliverables by others to complete their own tasks.

In most cases, I'm delivering a solo piece of work for the client, with limited, or no, interaction with a wider team, so I recommend a fixed price for defined set of deliverables. If it takes longer through no fault of the client, then that's on me. If the client wants to add more deliverables, then I'd add this to the price. If it takes less effort from me, then I may be able to reduce the overall cost (after all, I want your repeat business!).

Why do you vary your rates across different types of work?

Simply, because not all words are worth the same; it's going to depend on a number of factors. Firstly, creating content is clearly going to cost more than copy editing, which in turn requires more effort than proofreading. Then, how critical the message is - it's much more effort to craft the script for an impactful Google Adwords advert, or a slogan for a company, than it is to write the same amount of words for a blog post.

Are you familiar with my industry?

I've worked across restaurants, food retailers, luxury brands, small independents and multinationals. Within those, I've worked with finance, legal, supply chain, HR and IT, as well the marketeers, the salespeople and the boards. I don't promise to be an expert in your specific area (in fact there's a very good chance I'm not an expert), but I learn fast and I know how to listen, not just talk. Crucially, I know how to write great copy.

So, if I don't know your industry, I'll research, properly. Even if I do know your industry, as a new client, I'll want to know your business - your brand, your tone of voice, your culture, your customer. So I can ensure my words go on a journey, and reach your customer as your words - authentic, persuasive, and clear.

What style do you write in?

My underlying style is modern, concise and conversational. This really helps when writing web and social copy. Your reader needs to trust you, but you are not in the same room as them; you are just words on a page. Stuffy, long and bloated sentences will just turn off today's reader.

However, it doesn't end there. To develop a bond with the reader, we must stir emotion, a desire to act on the message we are sending them. This is where we add your brand's 'voice', the style in which you speak to your target customer, that makes the content relatable and appealing. This is why I need to spend time with you (or your team) to understand your business, so that I can ensure that the copy I write is authentic to your brand - it is your voice, not mine.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

That depends. If we have worked together before, no. If you are a medium or large company and we sign a contract, no. If you are a small business and we are working together for the first time, then I might need a deposit of up to 50% if it is a large job that will take me several days.

Can I have a free sample for my business before I decide?

No, and for very good reasons. Firstly, I won't have done a client brief with you, meaning I won't know your business and so it won't be my best work. Secondly, it is a sad fact that such an offer would be abused by some people, and I would not get paid. I believe, if you like my website content, and we have had a conversation where you have asked me any questions you have, you will know enough to be in a position to decide.

I’m a small business and funds are limited, can you reduce your rates?

Being a small business owner myself, I understand cost pressures and cash flow challenges. I'm happy to try and give small business owners the best rates I can. However, I'm already competitive and I won't get into a race for the bottom; there are many cheaper copywriters out there. I am certain though, that I offer great copy at a very reasonable price. You may get it cheaper, but the cheaper you go, the more likely that the creativity is poor, possibly copied from elsewhere, and/or has lots of errors in grammar or spelling. Like elsewhere in life, bargains are to be had on occasion, but generally you get what you pay for.

One option for us to work together at a much reduced rate is that you write the copy yourself, if you have the skill for storytelling and writing a compelling message, and I'll copy edit it to polish it further. However, I can't turn poor copy into great copy, unless I totally rewrite it, which takes us back to copywriting.

We're a registered charity, will you do pro bono?

As with small businesses, I can offer reduced rates for charities, depending on a) the size of charity and thus funds available, b) how close a charity is to my own heart. Pro bono is a big ask for a one man band, but I could consider it in exceptional circumstances if both the job and the charity were small.

Will you write my academic essay or dissertation for me?

I believe strongly in acting ethically. Therefore under no circumstances will I use my copywriting skills to create content for any academic submissions for any student. What I am happy to do is to copy edit or proofread such materials prior to submission. To be clear, the copy editing involves changing sentence structure to read more clearly, and fixing grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. I will not query or change the theme, clarify or adapt arguments, or rewrite whole sentences. I will not check sources for accuracy. Proofreading would only involve spelling, punctuation and grammar.

What do you need from me to be able to start?

Unless your company requires it, we need no contract. A simple agreement via email is sufficient (I will send an email with links to my terms, and you simply need to reply to accept). We will then complete a project brief together, so I have a better understanding of your business. As detailed above, in some circumstances were the workload is large, a deposit may be required. From there, I get going with the magic, although on a large project, we will need to check in at stages to ensure I am on track with your ambitions.

How quickly can you deliver the copy back to me?

That depends primarily on three things. Firstly, my availability and my ability to reschedule any other activities. I'll share indicative timescales with you before we start working together.

Secondly, the size of the project. A small set of social media campaign adverts might take just a few days, a total website overhaul of dozens fo pages might take a few weeks.

Thirdly, the speed at which we can complete the client brief. Once this is done, we will agree the deadlines for return, and the method of delivery. For example, am I to send it to you in a zip file for you to upload, or will you give me access to your website to make changes directly?

How do you ensure confidentiality?

I am well trained and very competent in handling sensitive and commercial data, and I fully comply with all UK data protection laws (as well as the GDPR) in my work. My devices are similarly secure and all software is secured to industry standard. You can also absolutely trust me to ensure that your data and/or login credentials are safe with me.

I do not share your data or logins with anyone when working on projects with you, unless with your express permission.

Do I need to give you access to my online accounts, website, webservers etc.?

This depends on size and scope of the job, your capabilities and capacity to place the content online yourself, and your willingness to give me access.

For website copy changes, the vast majority of clients will provide me with access to their website back end. For Google Ad campaigns, you could choose to have me access the account, but sometimes the client just wants me to provide the copy by email file, or cloud document location access (yours or mine). It's similar for small copy jobs, or a print brochure, or a script for a video - no account or server access required.

Can we meet before I decide?

Absolutely! For many clients, it's important to have a phone or video session with me, so they can feel comfortable with their decision. Just reach out with some suitable times across at least a couple of days and I'll get back to you.

How do you like to get paid?

In most cases, I'll take payment upon job completion. This can be by BACS bank transfer or PayPal. Ideally, as soon as possible after you've accepted my work, but we can agree the payment timeline when we complete the client brief together.

I'm not required to be VAT-registered, so I'm not. This means if you are a small business not paying VAT yourself, I can be cheaper than some copywriters as you'll save 20% straight away.

I need the copy urgently, can you help?

I'll try my best. I may even be able to turn around smaller projects in 24 hours, on occasion. This does depend on my availability and capacity. I do charge extra for this, as helping you will likely require working some very unsociable hours. Please contact me and I'll see what I can do.

Will you get me to the top of Google with your SEO?

Anyone who promises a website listing at the top of Google is a snake oil salesperson! No copywriter controls the algorithms for Google or any other search engine. And long gone are the days of keyword stuffing.

However, there are certain things you can do to ensure that your website is ranked highly and give you the best chance of a Page 1 listing, or maybe even that coveted top spot. One is to ensure your various meta data is well written, with descriptions that contain the key words that your customers will be typing into the search bar. I can help with that, too! But the single most important thing is to have interesting, relevant and original content that drives visitors to come, and to explore, your site. Take care care of that and the magic happens. There are other 'tips' I can deploy, but the days of 'tricking' Google are long passed - and in fact, Google will punish you if you try.

What's more, I've worked in IT for more than a decade, and I've been building websites for years. I know what will get top rankings and I've often achieved it for at least some of those websites' key words.

Can you create UX copy for apps?

I can and have done so before, primarily for consumer retail devices. UX copy for apps requires a different approach to content writing, as it is very specifically guiding the reader through using the product (the app). In other words, the words are the product. Whereas content writing is usually trying to get you to buy the product! I certainly won't be agreeing to get paid by the word, though, as this type of copywriting typically involves vastly fewer words, but instead relies on simple but effective language to help the user to intuitively choose the appropriate next step. Of course, I'd still be writing in your brand voice, just as I would with more traditional content writing, to ensure that your user really feels that positive brand experience.

I'd expect to need to gain a deep understanding of the product, its design and features, as well as of the product’s intended user type(s). I'd expect to conduct user testing and review analytics for other users to understand how well the copy I am creating is working, and work with your product team to improve that user experience.

Will you be subcontracting your writing?

No. I'd be cheating my clients if I did that. The words you get are the words you are trusting, and paying, me to write.

However, I may on occasions, in the interests of speed of delivery and quality of output, want to bring on board an expert in an area where I am not. For example, if you ask for content within a very challenging technical design, especially in app or website development. I'm a copywriter, not a software programmer. If that's the case, we will discuss at the briefing stage. Furthermore, I will not share any confidential information without your written, explicit permission.

What if I don't like the copy that you've written?

I'm not perfect. I might have not quite got your intent or brand voice 100% on the first draft. If that's the case - please tell me straight, and say exactly what you don't like or where you think things could be improved. I might not be perfect but I take feedback well, and always with an eye to making sure you are delighted with the final copy.

That's why I offer free revisions, until you're happy (or thirty days and at least three revision cycles have passed), and I'll keep working hard to hit that bullseye. But, at the end of those 30 days, if you still aren't happy, we'll call it quits and part amicably. I'll refund you any deposit paid. It goes without saying that you may not use any content I have produced, however.

Is there lots of admin to bring you onboard once we have agreed the brief?

Very little on your side! I don't require you to sign any contract, although if your company requires it, I'll happily do so. All I need is for you to reply positively to my standard email which will a) lay out the next steps in an easy-to-read format, b) the brief we agreed on (on copy), c) my terms and conditions document (on copy), and d) the agreement with either anticipated or set costs, depending on whether you have chosen per word, day rate or set job cost (also on copy). No jargon, no heavy reading.

Beyond that, I will have enough to get started, or for bigger projects I may want to meet with your marketing (content copy) or product (UX copy) team to get more into the detail or work alongside in development - this is also up to you.

OK! I'm ready, what's the next step?

Great! It's really easy - just contact me here. If you're super keen, you can also see my project brief template here, so you know in advance, and be prepared for, the sort of questions I'll have for you. We'll adapt this brief depending on your specific needs, of course.

I'd also advise you to have a budget in mind to share with me. I promise that this is not for me to take advantage of you - I publish my typical rates here so you'll know in advance how I price things. But sharing your budget does ensure that we can quickly and easily determine what level of service I can offer you, which will save time in talking through the option and timescales.

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