Updates. Ideas. Rants. Techniques. Opinions. Blog.

It’s here again. It’s almost Christmas. And there are things everywhere.

Things to eat. Things to do. Things to wrap. 

As you’d imagine, I’ve written copy to sell a huge range of things over the course of the year – from cars to milk.

But many of my most memorable projects in 2017 haven’t been about selling things at all.

They’ve been about selling ideas.

You see, a copywriter doesn’t just sell things. They sell ways of thinking. And beliefs. And attitudes. And people.

Most recently, I was invited by online tutoring platform Tutorful (formerly Tutora) to help university applicants do just that: sell themselves with words.

In How To Sell Yourself in your Personal Statement, part of The Complete University Application Guide, I cover:

  • How classic copywriting techniques apply to selling a human being
  • Why a claim and then proof is better than proof that builds to a claim (here’s a clue; nobody will read any of it)
  • The importance of talking to people, not institutions

Read my guide for Tutorful now



Stephen Marsh and Seth Rowden are two copywriters with one thing in common; they both swear by using You Need a Budget (YNAB) for managing their finances.

Here, they swap notes and talk about why freelancers and businesses should use a zero dollar budget, including:

  • Coping with irregular income
  • Why tracking every pound doesn’t have to be a pain
  • How a strong budget solves the biggest problems freelancers and small businesses face around their finances

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Magnifying Glass IconFor a long time, the discussion around SEO and copywriting was one of conflict. Concise messaging versus a length that search engines will notice. The most benefit-driven heading for the job versus the one that includes the right keywords.

Today, though, search engines are more sophisticated. With the right support from an SEO specialist and a copywriter – in most cases not one person who professes to do it all – you can strike a balance that improves visibility, gets people to your website, and then engages and converts them with strong copy.

I’m delighted to have Gareth Simpson on the blog – someone that’s seen the evolution of SEO first-hand – to talk about that balancing act between copywriting and SEO.

Read on for some practical tips on building relationships with robots and people alike.

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With National Freelancers Day 2017 coming up on June 8th, existing and aspiring freelancers are coming together to talk about the issues of doing it for yourself.

Here’s a prediction: expect to see the web full of blog posts and articles about becoming a freelancer, working from home, maximising your rates, and winning work.

But that’s just one side of things. What happens next? What do you do once you’re up-and-running? How do you handle the money (or lack of it)?

With inconsistent income, feasts and famines, managing your revenue as a freelance copywriter (or any kind of freelancer) isn’t easy. In fact, I’d say it took me six of the eight years I’ve been in the business to get a workflow that worked for me.

And so, whether you’re already freelancing or just thinking of getting started, here’s a little guide to what I did – and what I do now to keep things organised.


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Baby CarriageI’m a copywriter. I’m freelance. I’m all for fair rates for good work.

But I’m also a human being. So I’m dead against grown adults acting like little babies.

It’s with some discomfort, then, that I’ve seen a trend for childish, aggressive, and downright rude behaviour from fellow freelancers – particularly on those job sites we all hate so much.

Yes, they encourage bargain-basement rates.
No, that doesn’t make your behaviour okay.

“Try adding a zero to your budget,” they say. “Professional? Get real.” “Thanks for wasting my time,” I read (which presumably means someone is mourning the loss of the 45 seconds it took to read a ridiculous brief with a subpar budget).

We’re throwing our toys out of the pram because things aren’t how we’d prefer them to be. We’re using our creativity to come up with clever ways to put strangers under attack.

And we’re not doing our business – or our rates – any favours.

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Email Copy IconI’d like to always start from a blank page, but I’m often asked to work from something that’s already drafted. It’s the closest a copywriter gets to high-octane rescue missions.

Just recently, a client forwarded me a prospecting email that had been written by someone in-house – but, even though the writer knew the business inside out, it was lacking.

The client couldn’t tell me what was wrong. It wasn’t easy to spot where the copy fell down. It was just something you could feel.

They said it needed ‘the Stephen Marsh touch’ (which made me feel like a giggly schoolgirl).

But it also made me think about all those in-house marketing people putting together emails and not being able to see what was going wrong.

I like being helpful (and I’m particularly helpful if you book me). So here’s what I do when I’m faced with some email copy that’s not working – and how in-house writers can make their emails more interesting, engaging and high-performing.

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OMG SEO Short CopyWading through the world of Google My Business listings.

Interesting in a very frustrating way.

Then I rediscovered this and got my priorities back in check.


Three Things I Learned about Copywriting in 2015

When your seasonal blog post starts life as relevant, passes through 391 days of making your website look dated, then becomes relevant again, you have two options.

You make the most of that fact and get on with some real work, or you finally accept that it’s time to put a new post online.

And what better topic than the issue of not blogging? What exactly have I been doing for the past twelve months? And, if I’ve not been sharing things I’ve picked up during the year, could I share them all at once now?

Yes, I can.

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