The Freelance Copywriter UK Helped All These Businesses: Why Not Yours?

The Freelance Copywriter UK has written website content for buildings services contractors, road and car park marking contractors , industrial sewing machine specialists and a travel agency specialising in up-market wedding packages in exotic locations. those are just a few of the different businesses in my list of clients. To those you can add a car body repairer, a concrete crushing contractor, two hypnotherapists, a graphic designer and a high-end bespoke furnishing and interior design consultant. There are many others too including solicitors, accountants and heating engineers. Lists get boring I know so I’ll stop there.

The point is; there is no limit to the variety of businesses I can help. I don’t just write website content either. I write a regular blog for a private detective agency and less regularly, a blog for a rock climbing and coasteering instructor.

I also have clients who engage me to check over new copy that they have written themselves, correct their spelling and grammar and improve the “readability” of the piece. This has proved particularly helpful where the copy has been written by someone whose first language is not English. I have been asked before now to translate US English into UK English too.

My writing services have helped all those businesses in all sorts of ways. They can help yours too by providing words that mean business.

Variety is the Spice of Life!

As the Dorset Copywriter, I provide writing services for businesses: Website content, newsletters, blogs, sales letters or press releases. I’ll edit, proof-read, correct and generally improving clients’ own draft copy if that’s what they ask for. In fact, anything that calls for writing skills, calls for the Dorset Copywriter.
I like to work with website designers but I’m equally happy to work for clients direct whatever their business may be about. I’ve worked for precision engineers, private detectives, complementary therapists and rock climbing instructors, to name but a few. If it’s a business I didn’t even know existed, all the better! Located anywhere, from Dorchester to Delhi; it’s always Write for You to come to the Dorset Copywriter for words that mean business

The Quiet Times

The Quiet Times

This year has been awfully quiet on the work front so far, but even so there has been a bit of variety. I’ve re-written, at very short notice, a couple of items which had been translated from French into a sort of English, a label for a product bottle and a paragraph relating to the same product. My customer is herself Italian so English is not her first language.

Another customer, who hails from France, engaged my services twice to proof read and amend a business plan and later publicity material for a new café specialising in French cuisine but entirely gluten-free. Both these lovely people were kind enough to express their delight at what I produced for them.

In the meantime, I’ve spent some time blog writing for clients. Each month I’ve written a blog about private detectives and the services they provide. Another customer has me writing a blog relating to his passion for rock climbing, an activity he teaches in his outdoor adventure school. However that is on a more occasional basis.

It’s funny how things change in my world. I used to be mainly a website content author, now I seem to be primarily a blog writer. It’s an old saying that variety is the spice of life so I can’t complain. I could do with some larger jobs though, such as website content which tends to involve more time, which in turn means I earn more!

I have taken advantage of this quiet summer to do a bit of flying. In August I went and spent a few days aviating around the skies of East Yorkshire from the Hull Aero Club, in what has become my favourite aeroplane, a Cessna 152 G-BIDH if anyone’s interested, hired from the club. It’s almost 300 miles from home but it’s worth the drive up there for both the flying and the company. They’re a great bunch of people.

I love flying but I do need work to pay for it! Anyway, I thought I’d use up a bit of time adding to my own blog so this is it. I hope people like it enough to want me to do it for them!

Words

Words fascinate me, they always have, particularly the written word. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve ended up trying to generate an income from them! We all use words all the time of course and they can convey more than simply messages, thoughts and ideas, although that’s what most of use them for most of the time.

Words can represent movement and rhythm, even without the addition of music. Of course, adding music can expand their power exponentially; but words can make music on their own. Consider poetry: It’s just words after all, but words artfully woven by the poet to create pictures in the imagination. As to giving us the sense of movement: Remember W. H. Auden? 

This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
  

It’s just words! But, words that, not only conjure up the movement and rhythm of the train, but paint a picture for us. Remember, it was written in the days of steam, when trains really did have their own special rhythm.  In the mind’s eye we can see the train rushing through the night. Well I can anyway!

 

 

 

Then there was good old Rudyard, Kipling that is;

Four and twenty ponies trotting in the dark,

Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk,

Laces for a lady, letter for a spy,

Them as asks no questions isn’t told a lie

So watch the wall my Darling while the gentlemen go by.

Movement again and another picture in the mind!

The words in both cases are just simple everyday language, nothing fancy, but the way they’re chosen and put together is nothing short of brilliant in my humble opinion.

Before I leave the subject of poetry, the writing of which is actually not what I do, there is another bit of verse I’d like to mention:

There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.

If you’ve ever seen two cats fighting you’ll know how descriptive that is. There is a moral to that one too and a message for politicians the world over! It’s a traditional Irish verse, attributed to that great poet, Anon.

Now, as I said, I don’t do poetry but prose too can be quite musical as it gets its message across if the words are put together in the right way. When they are, there is a natural flow and rhythm to the piece which makes it easy and pleasurable to read. It’s that flow and rhythm that prose writers who care about their readers are constantly trying to achieve. It’s why we often write and re-write even apparently quite simple work over and over again before we’re satisfied. When people pay me £30 an hour for stuff; it’s not just for good grammar and perfect spelling! There is far more to effective writing than that. They are paying me to take their ideas and turn them into the kind of copy that others will find, not just informative, but persuasive and a pleasure to read. You’d be surprised how many re-writes it took to get a simple thing like a bottle label just right! In fact, whenever a client asks me to change some detail of something I’ve written, I often end up changing a whole lot more because whenever I go back to a piece of work, I can see things that I think could be improved! 

Now, I can help pretty well anybody with their written work but some even more than others. For example, English is a pretty chaotic language full of traps for the unwary: If it’s not your 1st language, it is hard enough to learn to speak it well enough to be understood. Writing it can be a nightmare. I can help anyone in that situation, especially if they want the result to sound as though it’s coming from a native English speaker.  It’s as much about nuances, idiom and the rhythm of English as the words themselves.  

Really no-one should write his or her own copy anyway because they are much too close to the nitty-gritty of the business. All too often this leads to far too much technical detail being included in the text. Most potential customers don’t want that. 

Most business owners are very busy people. Even those who do have the necessary skills just don’t have the time to give copywriting the care and attention it deserves. 

I can help any business, anywhere. Remember: You are great at what you do but no-one can be good at everything. Not even me. Actually that should be, especially me, because writing is about the only thing I am good at so I need to make the most of it!

From Derbyshire Bobby to Dorset Freelance Copywriter

As a youth, I had no plans to become a copywriter. I doubt if I would have known what copywriting was! Having abandoned the idea of military aviation as a career, I tried following in my father’s footsteps as a psychiatric nurse but my heart wasn’t in it. I did meet the girl who was soon to become my wife whilst working at a hospital though. At 19 I joined the Derbyshire Constabulary. After training at a place called Pannal Ash in the West Riding of Yorkshire, I found myself posted to the industrial and market town of Chesterfield, best known for its parish church with the twisted spire. Legend had it that the spire became twisted by the Devil wrapping his tail around it centuries ago. Some say that it will become straight again when a virgin gets married there. A scurrilous story and patently untrue of course! The true cause, apparently, was rather more mundane, involving the use of unseasoned timber in the construction of the spire. Many people prefer the legend, which they feel makes a much better story!

There and later at what were then the mining communities of Creswell and Whitwell, I learned the local language. I learned, among other things, that, “Surrey,” was not a reference to the southern county but a form of address and that a “tuffee,” was not necessarily a toffee but any kind of sweet.

At that time the Derbyshire Constabulary held the quaint old fashioned notion that its officers should spend all their duty time on patrol and type up all reports etc. in their own time on their own typewriters. Thank goodness my wife was a trained typist! Having a sergeant who loved to send reports back with the smallest errors marked in red ink to be re-typed helped hone my writing skills no end!

As village bobbies we had to cope with everything that happened on the patch including sudden death in its various guises. The head in the gas oven suicides, it was coal gas then, North Sea gas had yet to be introduced, horrific road accident deaths and even an underground fatality in the Whitwell Colliery. There were no specialist coroner’s officers in the rural areas.

Our first child was born and thinking ahead to his education, my wife rather went off the idea of being moved across the county every few years as the norm in county police forces. In addition, I had become aware of the more enlightened working conditions in the city and borough forces that existed in those days. The upshot was we decided to move to a city or borough. The Bournemouth Borough Police was chosen to be honoured by my application and soon another chapter began.

An Old Beverlonian in Dorset

Because I’m based in Dorset and copywriting is what I do, I use the name, “The Dorset Copywriter.” It’s not because I need an alias, I’m not on the run; not yet anyway! No it’s simply a trading name I use within the local area. It gets a bit meaningless anywhere else.

Though I use that nom de plume (see, you get culture here too!) I am not a Dorset man. Like a great many other inhabitants of this fair county I’m an in-comer. Well, it’s a nice part of the country and the climate’s probably as good as you’ll get in England.

My origins are in God’s larger “own county,” Yorkshire. The East Riding in fact. I was born and grew up in the lovely old town of Beverley, the County Town of the Riding in those days, long before anyone had ever heard the name, “Humberside.” Many were the happy hours my pals and I spent playing on the Westwood during school holidays and weekends. We used to disappear all day and get home in time for tea. I suppose you couldn’t let kids do that now.

Anyway by some miracle I passed the old 11 Plus or “Scholarship,” as we called it then, and went to the world famous (so we were told) Beverley Grammar School. It was there that I discovered I had a bit of a flair for writing and English generally. I have to give credit there to our English Master, Mr Barrett. Sadly, the only other subject I did well in was French.

Nothing was further from my mind at that time than any thoughts of being a freelance copywriter. I did have a burning ambition to join the RAF and become a pilot. However my lack of mathematical aptitude convinced the RAF that it could better manage the air defence of the nation without my help. National Service had just been scrapped and after three years as a student psychiatric nurse, I eventually became a policeman in Derbyshire. Copywriting was still a long way in the future.

More on that soon: Watch this space!

It’s No Use Shouting Unless You Get the Tone of Voice Right!

Tone of voice seems a funny sort of concept when considering something written rather than spoken and yet it’s something that has to be right for the subject. Every brand we might be promoting has its own associated tone of voice. As a freelance copywriter I express that tone by the words I use and the style of writing.

For example, where the brand relates to a product whose sole purpose is to be used for fun we might well employ a jolly, bouncy and humorous style to jolly the reader along to the call to action. If the brand is something like a life assurance policy designed to pay for one’s funeral that tone of voice would be rather less appropriate.

For that brand we would employ a serious, professional and caring sort of style. Here it is important to inspire confidence and the more sombre tone aims to focus the reader’s mind on his or her own mortality and on considering the cost of a dignified departure from this world.

These are fairly extreme examples from opposite ends of the tone of voice scale. For most brands or types of service the right tone will lie somewhere in between. The skill of the copywriter lies in finding it. This is where the initial conversation between writer and client is so important. It doesn’t matter whether that conversation takes place face to face, by telephone or by email. It is the writer’s opportunity to listen or study the text and from that pick up a sense of the tone of voice required.

Just by asking questions and paying attention to the answers a picture begins to form in the mind of a B2B copywriter. On occasion the client can be even more helpful. On a couple of occasions a client has actually provided guidelines to follow to ensure that the tone of voice reflects the desired brand image. One actually supplied two lists, one of words to avoid using and the other of their preferred alternatives. Some seemed a little odd but they knew what they were doing!

So, get the tone of voice right and the right brand image will be conveyed. Get that right and the job’s half done. Well, nearly!

Writing about one’s own business

A little voice in the back of my head kept nagging at me that it was high time I created an About Me page and posted something about myself and my role as a Freelance Copywriter in the UK. Just now I’m waiting for feedback on some copy I sent to a UK client the day before yesterday. I can’t get on with the job until I get it so I’ve no excuse not to do so.

Sitting staring at the blank page it occurred to me yet again how much harder it is to write stuff about oneself compared to writing about other people and their businesses. It’s one of the odd things about being a freelance copywriter; I love writing pieces to tell the world how brilliant some client or other is at what they do and what superb service they provide. It’s just as well I do; after all, it is what being a website content writer is all about! I just hate trying to do the same for myself and my business. Strange is it not?

Well, maybe not so strange. I can’t be the only one who feels uncomfortable blowing my own trumpet as me Mam used to call it! That seems like another good reason why someone should come to me and as a b2b copywriter, I’ll do it for them. I’m never shy about blowing other peoples’ trumpets!

Is your company’s trumpet due to be taken down from its shelf, dusted off and given a good blow to wake everyone up to your presence? If so, you need a b2b copywriter so do get in touch. I’m no musician but I do blow a good metaphorical trumpet, for other people that is!

Well, what do you know? I did end up giving my own instrument a little toot after all, so maybe I will produce an About Me page sooner rather than later. Funny old business this copywriting!

The varied work of a freelance copywriter

Variety really is the spice of life here at the secret headquarters of “Write For You,” where lurks the Freelance Copywriter UK a.k.a. the Dorset copywriter. That’s me by the way. As I sit here in my garret in this dark corner of Dorset, creating words that mean business, I’m also wondering what I’m going to be asked to write about next.

I’ve been doing this for nearly seven years now and every job is different in some way to the one before. Every website for which I’ve been tasked with writing content for has to be significantly different from others, even in the same line of business, simply to keep the search engines from sulking! That can be a challenge at times, which is one reason why I so love writing website content.

Having said that, if I had to choose a favourite type of work it would have to be article writing. There the variety seems to be unlimited. I have written articles about kitchen equipment of all kinds through the ages, Russian porcelain animal figurines, the development of electric toasters and the history of picture postcards.

When I say my work is varied I really do mean varied! Snow chains for car wheels, foundation garments and swimwear for ladies with larger than average bosoms, a seaside pier and adventure holidays in Peru are all subjects I’ve been commissioned to write about.

More often than not I know little about the subject before I start. The research involved fascinates me. Who would have thought that the history of praline chocolates, or that of the game of croquet, would be so interesting? When you delve into the subject of what we in Britain call “Turkish Delight” you enter a whole new world.

Take dogs for example. Now I like all animals including dogs, but I wouldn’t call myself a dog enthusiast and I don’t own one. However I write about them regularly. I’ve learned so much by researching the various kinds of working dogs, past and present. The rescue work done by Newfoundlands and the work of sled dogs in the Arctic are just two examples of what I mean.

A few years ago, if someone had mentioned the name “Mauritania” to me I would have immediately thought only of the famous liner of that name with her four funnels, a predecessor to the original Queen Mary. I had no idea where Cunard had acquired the name from. That is until I was asked to write an article about holidays in Mauritania. It was only then that I learned that it is in fact a country in the northern part of West Africa! OK, maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know that but somehow I doubt it.

In fact, I always assume that if one person, in this case, me, doesn’t know anything about a particular subject, there will be plenty of others who don’t either. There is job satisfaction in spreading my newly acquired knowledge among others who are just as ignorant on the subject as I was!

So, now I know a little bit about a great many things without being an expert in any of them! By earning a living applying my writing skills to so many subjects I’m gaining knowledge at the same time and proving the old adage that you’re never too old to learn!

What is a “Copywriter”?

The word “copywriter” is a word that pretty much means just what it says; i.e. a writer of copy.

From a business perspective it’s most common reference is to a professional who writes content from a promotional or marketing point of view. Sometimes this will be content for a website, a few lines for a leaflet, an article for a magazine or a short and concise press release. It could even be for something less marketing orientated such as several hundred pages for a staff handbook.

To summarise this role, a copywriter’s role is to effectively communicate a message to a target audience using the power of words.

Some copywriters specialise in a particular type of copy writing; direct response copywriters, website content writers and B2B copywriters for example. Some are full time employees of larger businesses with the budget to retain them in-house, while others will work for themselves as freelance copywriters.

Furthermore, there are specialist genre copywriters; e.g. legal, medical, industrial, scientific.

As Write For You, I offer a bespoke freelance copy writing service for businesses of all types and sizes throughout the UK. Just get in touch and we’ll take it from there.