Here at iThinkMedia, we are lucky enough to work with some fantastically-talented copywriters who offer their expertise and specialisms to the projects in question. To kick-start this featured copywriter guest post series, we spoke with talented writer, Laura Summerhayes. Laura has given us a small insight into how she got into freelance copywriting and some advice for fellow copywriters who are in the same position as her. Take it away Laura…
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved to write. English was by far my favourite subject at school and I always found it pretty easy to express my ideas and thoughts in writing. Even in my spare time writing has always been a major facet of my life. As a teenager, I’d write about everything from music to television and kept journals regularly.
The practice of putting my thoughts to paper has never really gone away, and it was when I started work that it dawned on me that I could turn my love of writing into a living. I come from a marketing background where, predictably, anything writing-related was my favourite part of the job. So, it made sense to me to pursue a writing career full-time and I have since become a freelance copywriter.
My copywriting experience is varied and for me that’s the best part of the job! I started in the world of B2B marketing, and have written for companies ranging from accountants to learning and development businesses. I’ve also written for B2C companies that include an online global marketplace, travel companies and hotel booking websites.
I’ve written everything from marketing emails to tweets, LinkedIn posts to blogs. Some of my favourite copy to write is website copy. I enjoy the challenge of tailoring something to a specific company and making it appealing to the visitor so they feel compelled to pick up the phone, find out more, or buy.
Another firm favourite is marketing emails. It’s where I started in my marketing background and I really enjoy having such a short space to play with and making a big impact with my words.
Coming from an agency background, I find agencies super easy to deal with. From the client’s point of view, I think it must offer reassurance to have one point of contact at an established marketing agency. From my point of view, it’s great to write for an agency and have that intermediary who has an existing relationship with the client. They can ask the right questions to get the information they need, and relay it to me in such a way that they get exactly what they are looking for from me.
Working for an agency means no two days are ever the same. Sometimes everything is very relaxed, you have lots of time until the deadline and everything runs nice and smoothly. Other times the pace is frenetic, deadlines approach with terrifying speed and the heat is on to produce work of a high standard and often high volume, in a short time frame.
While it’s nice to be a little relaxed sometimes, I must admit that I do enjoy the rush of a short deadline. It’s challenging, no doubt about it. Getting the work in on time, and producing exemplary work quickly reminds me why it is I do what I do and gives me confidence in my skills. And of course, when it’s accepted by the client first time, it’s a great feeling.
As with any line of work there are positive aspects and not-so-positive aspects. Some days I feel like I’m in a cartoon; the words just don’t work and the screwed-up pieces of paper are overflowing the bin and littering the floor! Other days my fingers can’t move fast enough across the keyboard. Here is a selection of some of the best and most challenging aspects of copywriting.
The variety – every business needs copy. Whether it’s a new website, a case study, a guide to help customers make informed buying decisions, a flyer for an upcoming event, or the packaging for the latest product. As a copywriter that’s really exciting, because there’s almost an endless scope of work to be done.
The independence – another exciting aspect of being a freelance writer is the freedom it gives me. I’m my own boss, which means I’m able to take on work that I’m really interested in. I think that’s a big positive for clients too, as they know I’m fully engaged in the work.
The creativity – perhaps the best part of being a copywriter is just that! It’s a pleasure to spend my workdays writing. From coming up with new ideas, creating exciting ways to put things, and simply arranging the words in a way that nobody else has done before is what I love, and it’s a joy to do that for clients.
An unfamiliar subject – sometimes you come up against a topic that a client needs your help with that you know very little about. It can be very daunting and the temptation to cry ‘Argh, where do I begin?!’ is strong. In this situation, the best antidote I’ve found is to stay calm; I carry out careful research and make sure I clearly structure the text so as to ensure it works logically while still being an effective marketing asset.
Ideas – when you work alone, it can be tough to keep the ideas flowing when there’s only me, myself and I to generate them. Usually, a brisk walk in the fresh air helps. It’s true that the best ideas come to you when you’re doing something completely different!
Laura Summerhayes is a freelance writer based in Bristol. Coming from a marketing agency background she has a wealth of experience in the B2B marketing sector, and enjoys the challenges that each new client brings. Since going freelance Laura has grabbed the opportunity to widen her skillset with both hands and is relishing writing for a range of B2C companies as well.