Before you read this page, you might want to check out the description of my writing services here.
To give you a bit of background, here is how I normally try to work with clients, as I have found this to be the most effective format for coming up with good copywriting:
Writing in bite-sized chunks to keep us efficient in the writing process:
I usually like to start with just two pages. That way you can get an idea of what my style is like, and decide if you want to pursue more with me. Since writing is really an art, most of the time people are really happy with my work, but there are cases when the tone or flow is just not quite what someone was expecting. I can definitely send you writing samples beforehand though. All the time I spend on a project, even if it is the initial two pages, would be billable and non-refundable, however.
But more importantly, I find that if the project scope is too big, the client gets overwhelmed and we end up in a halt for months. A lot of the writing process will involve ‘homework’ on your side that I will need to get my part done (such as approvals, answering questions, and so on). When things are done in bite-sized chunks, they seem to move ahead a lot more steadily than when the project is huge.
The research phase in a writing project is the most important part!
We would start by me sending you a questionnaire, that I would need to be answered extensively – the more information the better. Even if you think it is not relevant, it probably is, to me :) I have had clients say things in passing to me, as if it is some very small and insignificant part of what they do, and it turns out to be the big ‘wow’ factor that becomes a unique selling point in the writing. So the more info the better.
If I get very short, or vague answers that are not specific enough for me to work with, I will need to get on the phone to do an interview with you.
You could send me pre-existing written information, but I would still would want to have conversational answers from you. Even if it turns out that just one tiny point gets used, or if it is only for the purpose of providing background information, it’s still useful. This way I can be more equipped to be able to write with your vision in mind. I find these interviews or questionnaires are priceless in this process.
I may ask very annoying follow up questions :) I really aim to know as much as I can about an organization so I can really bring out what I think is special about them. And a lot of the time, even if it’s the type of answer I could probably gather on my own, I may purposely ask it anyway, just to try to get us thinking about things from different angles.
Getting more writers involved for new perspectives, skill and speed:
I do have sub contractors working with me, and it helps a lot when I have them and myself working on a project. It, not only makes things go faster, it gives different perspectives and points of view. They are trained by me and sometimes they come with their own background in writing-based education. There is no extra charge to you when I work with my sub contractors – when they are needed, they are worked into my project management system and regular hourly rate. I can send you several web copy writing samples of work we have done this way if you need it.
Writing strategically for the most effective communication on the web:
I am trained in journalism, and so what that means is that when I write, I really try to avoid using wording that can’t be validated or that would, in some cases, insult the intelligence of your audience. That means that I would probably never say something like, “we are the best _______.” That’s because you probably can’t ever prove you are ‘the best.’ Instead I would use the ‘show me, don’t tell me’ approach. So that type of claim would be replaced by, “We have won ____ awards and have attracted the attention of _____ media / customer / etc. Every year we send _____ kids to science fairs and win awards in every category….” (of course I made that up as an example).
I also am conscious about bringing out benefits, and not just features in my writing. That means that if a car has air bags as a feature, the benefit is that someone won’t die in an accident. So some headlines would start by stating what is important to the reader, not what is important to us. We don’t want to assume people know that air bags mean ‘not dying.’ So we would say something like, “Avoid breaking your neck in an accident with our fast deploying air bags.” Again, just an example! The nature of a subject, and needs of a client can change our formulas :)
I also try to use verbs, when it makes sense to do so, because those are action-orientated words. They help to tell your audience what they need to do, which is critical on the web. Of course SEO is taken into account too.
More you’ll want to know about my approach to writing as an internet marketer:
I have been published on Entrepreneur.com explaining my method of approaching website goals, which has much to do with writing: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231237
I wrote an article on how to write for SEO here: https://managewp.com/writing-for-seo
Here is an example of an education-based page write up I did for a school, if it helps: http://eastwoodcollege.com/itunes-u-middle-east-program/
Here is a link to more of my writing portfolio: https://www.joycegrace.ca/vancouver-marketing/writer-for-hire/
There are many more writing samples I could provide, if you ask (not everything can be published on my site).
Writing rates and credits:
Regarding pricing, my rate is $65 an hour and I can usually write 500 words in two hours – but it always depends on the amount of research time and edits needed. I do bill in advance for all writing time.
While I don’t mind ghost writing (i.e. myself or my team not being listed as the author), I would use all the work I produce in my public portfolio. I may link to it from websites or social profiles, or send it as a document to other prospective sales inquiries.
Questions you may have:
Will your writing take into account SEO?
SEO depends on a lot of factors and activities. For one it would depend on a keyword research report. So I can use typical wording in the write ups for now, based on logic and what we think people might search for. But for me to do this more effectively, I would need better data that tells me what phrases people use.
Sometimes clients don’t like the wording that people use to search for their service types. They may feel it is inaccurate, grammatically incorrect, and so on. So then SEO becomes limited because if we can’t use what people search for, it’s hard to target SEO as a focus.
To give you a sort of bad example (it’s all I can think of without giving away too much about my clients):
Recently I had two versions of a phrase on a page:
Someone asked to make them both the same so that they would be consistent. While this instance in particular would not be a huge deal, the problem I see here is that sometimes people use “BC” in their search phrases and sometimes they use “British Columbia” or what not.
So in my opinion – and this is not a legality – it would be wise to use variations of a phrase.
The other problem for SEO is when people want their writing to be sparse and thin. That makes it extremely hard to do SEO effectively.
So this is part of the reason I have a writing service that is separate from SEO services, and why SEO services includes writing as an option.
For writing-only projects, I can write without the limitations or ‘rules’ of SEO if that’s what a client wants. Sometimes SEO is not the goal of a writing project (press kits writing, would be one example). Or, I can consider SEO without having done the research, but do so based on logic and keywords the client gives me about what they think people search for in their industry.
But for ‘hard-core’ SEO, it gets more complex.
If you’d rather start with SEO research, I write about that here:
Note: We would not need to do much of an on-site audit if I build your site and write your copy, because I would do that with the SEO in mind from the start.
Please also keep in mind that SEO, in general, is an ongoing effort that involves more things other than writing. It can get complex.
Will you help me organize the content on my website?
This would be a service called information architecture, or content architecture planning.
It can be quite involved and take more time than the process of writing itself.
If you’d like to pursue this sort of planning first, we can account for that, but we would first need to work through your website goals and such. This is usually done before starting a website project with me, for best results.
In my ‘regular’ website project management process, though this is not ‘officially’ included, I do often make recommendations to my clients. But it is just part of me wanting to do a good job. It is not meant to be as thorough as some content architects would be. And sometimes the time is not there to do it in all cases (pro-bono, I mean), especially when a website demands heavy attention in other areas.
Usually for the type of writing service described above, the client already knows what they want written and they just need help articulating it and forming it in a way that is marketing-friendly.
I would say though that sometimes there are fairly typical pages that could probably go on any web site. Or they could be used in print marketing material. For example, it would be reasonable to expect that an “About me” could go on any site, and would contain information about you in one page, instead of being scattered on different areas of a site (hence, not needing more planning though put into it). And “Services” could be a run-down of what you provide. The deeper delving into individual products or services would typically go on other pages, and be linked to from a summarized “Services” page. This is called the cornerstone concept of writing web content.
Do I need to hire you to make my website in order for you to do my web copy writing?
So this would not need to be part of a website project. It is a standalone service that is meant more for clients who need help articulating their product or service and marketing it to their online site visitors.