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The best copy in the world isn’t going to work if it’s sitting in your Drafts folder.

You know this. You also know that sometimes getting copy out of your Drafts folder and into the world is easier said than done.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you, no matter which stage of the copywriting process you struggle with.

If you struggle getting started writing copy

If it’s the blank page that scares you, start by thinking big picture. Plan out the structure of the article. You might want to keep it very high level. You might want to go into detail, making…

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I’m not going to patronise you by recapping the essential components of a good brief — you haven’t built an agency without knowing what they are.

But when you’re briefing a freelance copywriter (as opposed to your in-house copywriters) there are three things you might not be telling them.

They aren’t essential elements of the brief but are useful pieces of information that bring a brief to life. They are pieces of information that, in my experience, increase the likelihood of a freelance copywriter submitting a piece that goes beyond good territory into great territory.

Why? Because they’re the pieces…

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If you’re thinking about working with a copywriter, this guide will arm you with all the information you need so you won’t feel out of your depth when you approach them to discuss your requirements.

The process of working with a copywriter

Most copywriters will follow a three stage process, which can be considered as before writing, writing and after writing.

Stage 1: research and discovery

The aim of this part of the process is to gather as much data as possible to inform the project and deliver a result that delivers maximum return on investment.

This phase will dive deeply into your product, your company, your competitors, your customers and your…

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Copywriters — including me — prize the value of conversational copy, clarity of message and engaging our readers. We raise our hands in horror at examples of corporate gibberish. We encourage people to cut jargon from their copy. We praise informality.

But I think we’re sometimes wrong. I think things aren’t as black and white as we make out. I think there’s a place for corporate gibberish, for jargon and for formality.

However, I’m not trying to pick a fight with anyone (as an inveterate conflict-avoider, the thought brings me out in a cold sweat). …

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I read an article recently that gave tips for businesses hiring freelance workers for the first time.

The article gave plenty of sound advice, but I was intrigued by the last tip:

Keep an eye on time-tracking reports.
As freelancers are often paid per hour, project managers need to be able to identify any unusual deviations in time tracking reports. If the same task was taking 10 hours in the past, why is it taking 30 hours now?

If I were hiring freelancers for the first time, this would set all sorts of alarm bells ringing about budgets spiralling out…

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First up, let’s consider what I mean by ‘improve your writing’.

It’s my opinion that if you’re taking the time to write something, it’s because you want it to be read. Whether it’s an email, a letter, a piece of marketing literature, a report, or anything else you can think of, you aren’t writing it just for the sake of it. You’re writing it because you have something to say and you want to persuade, inform, discuss, or explain something to your readers.

So if your words aren’t getting the response you want — or aren’t getting a response at…

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There are lots of reasons not to use a copywriter to help you write better marketing materials. Some of the reasons are valid. Some of them aren’t.

One of the reasons I hear most often for someone not wanting to work with a copywriter is simply that they don’t think a copywriter will be able to understand enough about their business to be able to help.

I think it’s understandable to feel that way. If you’re a one person business or there are just a few of you, you’ll have a lot of stuff stored in your heads that you…

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I’ve been a freelance copywriter for over 15 years. I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses in that time. But many of the reasons for them wanting to work with a copywriter are similar.

Let me paraphrase some of the most popular reasons.

“We’ve worked with a marketing agency to develop a marketing strategy. We’re really excited about it and we’re ready to execute on it. The problem is, every element of it depends on creating copy or content. And we’re no good at writing. So the marketing strategy is gathering dust.”

“We know that if we want to grow our…

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When my partner got home from work earlier, he asked me what I’d done today. I told him I’d been researching tone of voice. “Oh,” he said, “That’s interesting. What have you learned? And will you be trying it out on me?” It was a timely reminder that tone of voice means something very different to copywriters than it does to the rest of the population.

For most people, tone of voice is used in phrases like: “Don’t take that tone of voice with me,” or “I don’t like your tone.” …

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When you’re looking around for guidance on tone of voice, one thing will strike you. You’ll be able to find no end of advice on how to develop a tone of voice (I’ve added to the body of literature myself). You’ll find no end of advice on what to include in tone of voice guidelines. But when it comes to taking those guidelines and translating them into the copy and content you’re writing every day, you’ll find that everyone goes strangely quiet.

It’s easy to understand the difference between two examples of content when you see them in the guidelines.

Catherine Every

Catherine is a copywriter based in the UK. She has over 15 years’ experience and runs her own copywriting agency, Pippin Copywriting Ltd.

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