Haris Halkic: Hi Ginette, 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.
Ginette Gower: I have worked in corporate life for most of my career except for a spell freelancing in 2002-03. Most of this has been in communications, PR and marketing roles, including Head of Department. During my time at Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, I edited its magazine, Business Voice and featured many great business stories. When I needed to step down from a full time role in November 2017 for family reasons, I decided to concentrate on storytelling and content development for SMEs.
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?
Ginette Gower: My transition was a conscious decision but that does not mean it was easy to start up. I was fortunate in that I had many contacts through my work at the Chamber and continued to network with them after I left. This has led to sources of work and a good place to start. So the advice is to begin with who you know and get on with.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. Could you tell us more about how you get clients?
Ginette Gower: Currently entirely through contacts and networking. Exhibiting at small Expos also is a good source. I also have recently started vocational volunteering and this has led to further opportunities.
Doing free stuff opens doors.
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Ginette Gower: Research first, immerse myself in the subject’s universe so I have a basis to develop content. Currently I mainly write profiles of businesses through face to face interviews (which is a whole specific skill set).
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Ginette Gower: I was good at English at school and it went from there. I learned on the job and through experience but there are range of tools and resources out there to help. I came across a book recently called ‘The Storytelling Edge’ by Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow – worth a read.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
I enjoy reading profiles in the press and analysis of the major stories. Too many journalists to mention but as a general rule, you can learn a lot about story construction and ways to grab your audience.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
Ginette Gower: I think the freedom to do what you do best, for clients you like and be able to go shopping at 11am if you wish (provided there isn’t a deadline!)
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Ginette Gower: Reading newspapers online.
Haris Halkic: Are there areas you focus on as a copywriter and if someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?