Haris Halkic: Hi Michael, thanks a lot for agreeing to share some tips on copywriting and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting? Please, tell us more about your story.
I have always been interested in travelling, so during college I wanted to figure out a way to earn money online and therefore allow me to work and travel freely at the same time.
My degree is in chemical engineering and I have worked as an engineer for pharmaceutical companies, so naturally the type of products I was most interested in marketing were those in the health care industry.
I have tried it all when it comes to working online; YouTube, Amazon, Redbubble, Appen, Fiver, etc. I still do some of these other things now but my primary focus now is copywriting for health care products.
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?
Michael Wood: My transition was more of just trying anything and everything to make money online.
I tried many different websites and types of freelance work but when I eventually found copywriting I realized it was perfect for me.
My first freelance writing job was to be an academic writer, working on helping people improve their personal statements and CV’s to get into college, which I enjoyed. Then after looking for similar jobs, I found out about direct-response copywriting aimed at marketing products online and it sparked my imagination.
After understanding the way these products and businesses are promoted I have a temptation to eventually start my own product and website online, but that is a long way off yet (if it ever happens).
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. Could you tell us more about how you get clients?
Michael Wood: I think LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting to different clients, the internet is an amazing thing and to be able to talk to and video call with people from the other side of the world and then work with them on projects is incredible.
There are websites and companies you can join for more reliable work and I have used some of these too, of course you tend to earn less money for more work with those.
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Michael Wood: As I work mainly in the health care sector, a lot of my copy tends to include a lot of scientific explanation and references, these things came naturally to me after doing them so regularly at college and working with pharmaceuticals.
However, the direct-style marketing aspect of copy is partly natural as I tend to have a good understanding of people’s motivations for certain products and can play on these. I also just studied a lot online, I know that a lot of copywriters tend to read books on certain techniques, and that can help.
Personally, I found that reading through the work of others and critiquing it helped me more than anything to improve my own work.
My biggest recommendation would be to use as many different resources as possible, and focus on reading the work of others who have been successful and seeing if you can work out what they’re trying to do yourself.
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
Michael Wood: If I have already started a certain piece of work, then before continuing I always make sure to read through entirely what I have already done at least once. I guess this can be tiresome but it really refreshes my mind of where I was trying to go and prevents me from repeating myself too much. I also tend to write little notes in different colors all over my work so I don’t forget the ideas I have overall for the work.
In terms of starting a new piece, I will read about and research the product as much as possible and I will also keep doing that while writing as well, I tend to write notes again of the most important things and what to focus on.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Michael Wood: I know that it is very famous and gets mentioned a lot but I don’t think anything beats Bill Bonner’s international living letter. Just the opening paragraph is a work of art and is a perfect mix of grabbing attention, creating intrigue and actually hinting at the product/idea being sold.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
Michael Wood: Like any freelance job, it gives me the lifestyle I want, which is to travel whenever and wherever I want. If it means I’m in Mexico one month, Egypt the next or Italy another, I just like to experience different places and explore.
Copywriting has the advantage of consistent work, once you get a few regular clients of course, and tends to pay better than other types of freelance work that also require no cash input.
E-commerce and marketing my own products has appealed to me, but those require money to be put in and therefore involve more risk (and more reward too). So for the time being freelance copywriting is what I’ve found to be the best freelance job than requires no monetary input and little risk.
Haris Halkic: What one daily habit has contributed to your success more than any other?
Michael Wood: I am a big advocate of meditation, as well as doing physical exercise.
Meditation is like exercise for your brain; it helps it work better and makes you feel more positive too.
It can be hard to do it every day but I find if I force myself to do it I always feel the benefit afterwards.
Haris Halkic: If someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?
Michael Wood: Through LinkedIn as ‘Michael Wood’ or through my business email which is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to talk to new clients and I like to stay busy, even if someone just wants to chat about some ideas and get my opinion I am always available to help and offer my services in any way I can.