How to choose a freelance copywriter

If you're looking for a freelance copywriter in Cambridge, how do you know who to choose?

You’ve probably discovered there are quite a few freelance copywriters in the Cambridge area. So I’m sure you’re checking us all out. 

But if you’re not absolutely certain what kind of writer you need, here’s a quick heads up on the three main types you’ll come across…

Content copywriter?

If you just want some relevant content for your website or to keep your blog ticking over, this is the kind of freelance copywriter you should hire. They’ll be solid and reliable and (hopefully) know how to write for SEO. They can be cheap as chips and can be found even cheaper on international freelancer resource sites like Fiverr.

What they don’t know is how to sell. Don’t expect them to write copy that will increase your website’s conversion rate, help you create your UX (user experience) strategy, or identify the key benefit messages that turn visitors into buyers. They’re often ex-journalists or even digital designers who can turn their hand to a bit of vanilla content writing.

Advertising copywriter?

If you’re looking for ‘clever’ headlines, and copy full of puns and wordplay, advertising-style writers are the people to get in touch with. They often come from an advertising agency background and believe that you’ll sell more stuff if you have very short copy with a joke at the end of every page. (Spoiler alert: they are wrong.) They write the sort of copy that will have inexperienced marketers saying “Wow, that’s great copy!”

But what you really need is copy that makes your customers say “Wow, that’s a great product!” Different thing altogether. 

So if you’re looking for measurable results — like sales, click-throughs or enquiries — then I’d recommend you look for a direct response copywriter instead…

Direct response copywriter?

The direct response copywriter is all about driving your customers to act: capturing leads, creating emails that get opened and generate clickthroughs, devising UX strategies that put your customers’ needs centre stage. 

And, perhaps most important of all, a top-notch direct response writer will work with you as more of a consultant, to identify the messaging triggers and key benefits that turn prospects into paying customers. 

In other words, they’ll help you write your strategy as well as the actual copy. (Get this right and you’re 75% there. My long experience in direct marketing has shown me time and time again that what you say is generally much more important than how you say it.)

So if you’re looking for sales, conversion, action — or any other kind of response — a direct response copywriter is there to help.

Experienced direct response writers like me are generally significantly more expensive to hire than content copywriters; but not necessarily more expensive than advertising-type writers. 

Finally, a word or two about B2B…

Business to business copywriter?

This is really a subset of any of the other three, in theory. But in my experience, writing effective responsive copy for a business audience is not a job for ad-kids or content kings.

Often, in B2B publications, and on B2B websites and emails, you’ll see copy that is trying to be clever and glib. Or full of ‘borrowed interest’ imagery that has nothing to do with what they’re selling. (Pictures of sports cars or athletes to show ‘performance’, for example.) This is bad, and ineffective, B2B work.

It’s really difficult to write effective copy for a B2B audience – you have to immerse yourself in their technical  language and be totally focused on their very specific business needs and motivations.

I often have to work a little harder to get my B2B clients to really think about their key messages, too. Sometimes they’re a little inexperienced in understanding what’s good or bad in marketing and copywriting. But to be successful, the techniques you use are identical to the ones you’d use for any other audience. Be specific, be simple, be clear. Help the audience in some way — feel their pain and offer a solution.

My clients hire me for one reason…

The clients that hire me know they’re making an investment in the success of their business, not just buying some nicely-written content.

I increased Which? magazine’s new customer acquisition response rate by 39%. I helped Planet Numbers’ website turn a huge hit rate into a huge number of online sales. I wrote Sky’s most successful customer-recruitment direct mail-pack ever.

I have over 25 years’ experience writing hugely successful response-driving copy at the very highest level: Executive Creative Director at two top London direct marketing agencies and UK Promotion Director at the world’s most successful direct marketing company, Reader’s Digest.

Then over 15 years’ freelance, writing for an enormous range of business to business, financial and consumer clients all over the UK; like RAC, NHS, LV=, Lloyds and high-tech B2B brands like Bayer and Ably.

I also love working with ambitious local companies in the Cambridge area – like Solar Barn, Thirteen and Private Dining Rooms. These are the entrepreneurial companies who appreciate that building a business isn’t just about building a website (or building a brand).

I’m a Ltd company, trading as Simon Plent Direct Marketing, I’m registered for VAT and I’m based in Saffron Walden, 20 minutes from Cambridge. 

Get a free eBook of copywriting tips

If you want to  know more about me, go to my main website, simonplent.com, where you can find a lot more tips and techniques for creating compelling, response-focused copy. Click on the green button to go there (opens in a new window)…

While you’re there, you might like to download my new free eBook: 11 Power-Words to Transform your Website in 2018. Or you can go straight to the download page by clicking on this red button (opens in a new window)…

Or just get a quick quote right now

My name’s Simon Plent and you can call me on 0781 393 6884 (UK office hours please) or use the form below to contact me and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. Cheers…

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