Haris Halkic: Hi Anna, thanks a lot for agreeing to share your best tips on copywriting and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting? Please, tell us more about your story.
Anna Lewin: Hi Haris.
I come from a marketing background and in my previous roles I wrote a fair bit of content – newsletters, blogs and website copy, etc. I realised it was the writing ‘bit’ of marketing I particularly enjoyed. I didn’t know copywriting existed as a job at the time…until I did some online browsing and found a course called The Copywriting Apprentice. This opened up the world of copywriting as a career and I completed the course in late 2016.
Haris Halkic: How did you transition to freelance copywriting from your previous job? What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is employed and wants to become a freelance copywriter?
Anna Lewin: After completing the course, I did some part-time freelance work. I was working in my marketing role four days a week which gave a bit of extra time to build up my copywriting experience. But something was holding me back from going full-time as a freelancer – I knew it was as much about running your own business (scary) as it was about the copywriting.
I pushed the idea of freelance copywriting aside and went from four days to full-time in my marketing role.
But ‘what if?’ thoughts kept popping up and roughly a year later I thought, ‘enough – I’ll only look back and wish I’d given it a go!’ And that’s when I took the leap.
As I write this it’s only my fifth month as a freelance copywriter, so with limited hindsight, the best advice I’d give is take advantage of the support there is out there for aspiring businesses. I’ve received one-to-one business support and I’ve been to some great workshops run by local organisations.
I appreciate it might not be the same everywhere, but if you do a bit of looking around you’ll probably be amazed at how much help and guidance is right at your fingertips. Get a good plan together. It also helps to have some money saved to cover you.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. What ways do you use to get clients?
Anna Lewin: I’m still learning this (important) bit! But so far, it’s been a mixture – word of mouth, face-to-face networking and online marketing (website and online directories).
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Anna Lewin: By getting organised. I remove distractions, then I usually copy whatever information I have from the brief into a new Word doc. I like to format it too – helps psychologically I think! With the skeleton structure sorted, I then get to the writing, fleshing it out.
I find using a second screen helpful, so I can have the project on one screen and research/company information on the other – saves having to switch between.
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Anna Lewin: My English and psychology degree started the writing ball rolling, then it was a combination of running my own health and lifestyle blog, the copywriting course, podcasts, online articles and books – I’m working my way through a long list of copywriters’ books at the moment. Social media is helpful, too!
I don’t think you ever learn to write copy and that’s the end of it – it’s an ongoing process – you’re always learning something new.
Too many to recommend! But to name a few…
- The Copywriting Apprentice course (as mentioned above) – teaches you the core areas of copywriting as well how to set up a freelance business. The level of detail the tutor goes to with assignment feedback is second to none and there’s an online resource library with lots of helpful information.
- The Hot Copy Podcast hosted by Belinda Weaver and Kate Toon – an enjoyable listen packed with advice and tips for copywriters.
- ProCopywriters’ Network – helpful resources and a good way to meet other copywriters. The Twitter chats are also good.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Anna Lewin: Too many copywriters to mention! But I like the copy by Gaff Gaff – they have it spot on as a brand.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
- The variety of clients you work with
- The sense of satisfaction you get from helping clients
- Being able to direct your business in the way you want to
- The freedom
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Anna Lewin: Planning and organisation.
As a new freelancer, there’s lots to think about and it can feel overwhelming, especially when you fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. By following a plan and setting myself targets I can see things progressing, even if it’s only tiny steps! It keeps me focused and positive.
Haris Halkic: If someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Anna Lewin: Any of the following ways –