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Lessons from a copywriter part 4

Part 4…who thought that copywriting could provide an entire curriculum, eh?

Beware rouge recruiters.

There are a lot of recruiters out there that do a stellar job, but, unfortunately due to the size of the industry they can be hard to find.

I’m warning you about the ones who promise you the world but don’t offer you a village.

The ones that seem to lack basic common sense or tact.

The ones that never respond to your calls or emails.

The ones who seem to have no clue about the industry they recruit for.

The ones who switch their good mood faster than than Lewis Hamilton on the autobahn when you tell them you’re interested but in other roles.

Most people inherently know what a good recruiter is supposed to be like, if they don’t fit that, don’t waste your time.

Protect yourself at all times.

The creative industry, like boxing, can be brutal.

Always set clear boundaries and expectations from the beginning, I failed to do this for a previous client and it all went sideways.

I did too much for them without thinking of myself, they ended up cutting the cord for a ridiculous reason - the way I was treated still irks me to this day. I would answer emails at 10pm and calls on the weekend but none of that was acknowledged. It’s something I will never do again. Ultimately it’s my fault because I didn’t set clear guidelines from the beginning, I was just so excited to land a project of that size that I completely neglected my wellbeing.

Empathy > Grammar.

Now you might be thinking, but Asher, you write for a living, that’s blasphemy! Yes, I do, and no, it’s not. Grammar is important of course, but thankfully nowadays there are lots of tools that ensure that we don’t slip up (Round of applause for Grammarly)

My grammar knowledge is good, but empathy is by far my biggest strength. It’s better to have amazing empathy and good grammar than amazing grammar and good empathy.

If you can’t get inside the head of the person you’re writing for, knowing where to put commas and full stops are pointless. I’m blessed to have a wide range of friends from different countries, view points and socio economic backgrounds as well as having lived abroad, so empathy is something I’ve had to develop.

Read and watch things you know nothing about.

I don’t consume much media about how to be a better copywriter. Shocked face emoji

Copywriting books are great of course, my favourites are:

Write to Sell by Andy Maslen

Read Me by Roger Horberry & Gyles Lingwood

The Copy Book by D&AD

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

Why? Because I don’t specialise in any industry, so I prefer to spend my time expanding my knowledge of different industries and audiences.

I like to know something about everything which helps me convince clients that I can write for them. A lot of the time it’s best to have a base knowledge of a business/audience segment v.s. having a deeper knowledge of the ins and outs of copywriting. I do realise what I’m saying may be sacrilegious to some, but I can only speak from my experiences. I reckon there is an 70/30 split in favour of me consuming media on subject matter v.s. copywriting.

The price is right.

Price can be a touchy subject, everyone has different views on it. I have a day rate but rarely use it as I prefer to charge according to what the client wants. For example I charge x for a complete website overhaul and y for a video script.

I do this because I prefer to be an Uber than a black cab. Meaning I never want the client to stress about how much they may have to pay, I’d rather they know up front exactly how much my time and expertise will cost. It gives them, and me, peace of mind.

This means that I actually end up charging less than what I would’ve charged had I used my day rate. Once I realised this I stopped entertaining price negotiations from prospective clients.

Once you know what you’re worth, have a clear pricing structure and can prove you’re worth that number try your best not to budge on what you charge. I’d only consider it if the project was a unicorn (high profile, could help land other big clients etc.) and even then I’d only consider conceding a few centimetres.

Part 5 coming soon.

Until next time,

Asher

Asher HarrisComment