Haris Halkic: Hi Lisa, 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 me more about your story.
Lisa Slater: I’d just completed a diploma in Feature Writing and was doing a bit of research online when I came across a distance learning course for copywriting. I’d never really considered copywriting before but with my background in sales combined with my writing skills, it seemed like the perfect fit.
I enrolled on the course, set up a website and started winning clients; things just went from there. Three years later I rebranded as Make Your Copy Count Ltd.
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?
Lisa Slater: I was copywriting around a full-time job for around 2 years when I finally decided something had to give.
I gave three months’ notice to my employer and spent every evening and weekend lining things up ready for when I became self-employed. I saved as much money as I could so that I had a bit of a buffer.
Fortunately, I already had some clients which meant I wasn’t starting completely from scratch. I have to be honest, it was the best decision I ever made, and I haven’t looked back once.
My advice to anyone wanting to write full-time for a living is to not to wait too long. It’s a good idea to try and have a bit of money and some regular clients in place but you will still have to take a bit of a leap of faith at some point.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. What ways do you use to get clients?
Lisa Slater: I love networking and have found it to be a great way of winning business. It’s worth taking time to build relationships with people as it results in loyal clients and word of mouth referrals.
It’s also a great idea to connect with some marketing agencies or web development companies who don’t have in-house copywriters.
They can be a fantastic source of work if you develop a good relationship with them.
Haris Halkic: You have written a book about blogging. Can you tell me more about it?
Lisa Slater: I do have a book. It’s called the A-Z of Blogging.
I love blogging; I think it is a brilliant marketing tool. I decided to write a series of blogs around some of the stuff I teach on my Blogging for Business course. The A-Z of Blogging was 26 blog posts, one for each letter, discussing different aspects of blogging. One of my clients suggested I turn it into a book, so I did. I built on the existing content, approached a publisher and the book went live on Amazon in January.
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Lisa Slater: I completed a Diploma in Copywriting with the Blackford Centre which I found extremely beneficial, but I started getting paid work before I had completed the course.
I also love The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman which gives some great tips on copywriting.
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Lisa Slater: I once read an article by a writer who said they had become very superstitious about writing. They had convinced themselves that they could only do good work if they sat in their office and followed the same routine of food, drink and preparation before starting.
I made a conscious decision to never fall into this trap, so I make sure I work out of different locations and don’t tie myself to a set routine. I do, however, always start my day with a big mug of tea, which I replenish regularly.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Lisa Slater: I admire lots of different copywriters but when it comes to great branding, Innocent Smoothies have it nailed.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
Lisa Slater: I get to do something I love for a living which is amazing but the best thing is all the inspiring people I get to work with. I love being given the opportunity to tell their stories and help them communicate their messages.
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Lisa Slater: Be positive. It sounds a bit cliché but having a positive outlook really helps. It’s not easy being a freelancer as you can be snowed under one minute and then waiting for stuff to come to fruition the next.
It’s important to keep marketing yourself when you are at your busiest and stay productive when you have less work so that you don’t get hit too hard with the feast and famine nature of freelancing.
Haris Halkic: Are there areas you specialize in as a copywriter and if someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Lisa Slater: I specialise in website copy and blogs. You can find all my contact details on my company website www.makeyourcopycount.com