Posted: 31st Oct 2012

Great times...

So, it's been a crazy few weeks/month. Being featured on SiteInspire, DesignFridge and a few others, has been most lovely indeed and I've had some awesome feedback.

The designer of the Distil site is Liam Rutherford, LiamR, he's a Glasgow based designer/developer and is a very talented individual. He understood I wanted to create a great copywriting site that showcased my writing and style alongside some sweet aesthetics. So many are bogged down with copious amounts of sell, sell, sell copy that no real character comes through, plus the more words there are on the page, the less likely you are to read the important ones.

I wanted to post up a wee rundown of what's been happening. I'm at that floaty, pre-launch stage with a lot of the projects I have on the go at the moment.

So, remember remember the 15th November. A project I produced all original site copy for is launching mid-November and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product, it's all been quite hush hush but it's been a first for me and hopefully, Scotland.

In other news, I produced original copy for TrueNorth, an Icelandic film production company. Designed by Berg Studios, developed by LiamR, the site looks amazing and it was a real pleasure to write copy for such an exciting company. TrueNorth have worked on Batman and Bond movies so yeah, pretty cool. I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider telling them I needed to be in Iceland to complete the project. The images they produce are nothing short of spectacular.

Alongside this I'm starting to work with a wonderful Danish designer, Jord, on his design site. His logo work is pretty awesome and I always enjoy producing copy for the designers themselves. So, keep your eyes peeled.

I'm also starting to collect all my projects and create an extensive portfolio that I hope to put on the Distil site as a downloadable PDF. I've been meaning to get all my wordy adventures together sooner than this but they just keep comin'!

Well, that about the long and short of things at the moment. I'll keep you posted.


Observing the freelance copywriter.

Posted: 6th Nov 2012

Doing things my way?...

When it comes to my job the only detail I've paid much attention to is it's title - Copywriter. My status as freelance has mostly been an afterthought. I've never approached my projects or potential clients any differently.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about my slightly unconventional beginnings and approach to my career as a wordsmith. 'Easier said than written' got a mixed response, most in agreement with my attitude to utilising my already established skill and ability to write, and teaming it with a dedication to learning the individual industries I write within. However, some were not quite as open to new approaches.

These repsonses lead me to delve into articles, blogs and forums and see what other ways and means, advice and stories others had about the world of freelancing, and how they started. The majority had taken the plunge into freelancing after years at various agencies and companies.

I'm not sure if it's naivety or confidence that has lead me not to dwell on the fact that I don't have that solid 'stint' at an agency behind me. As a freelancer, I've worked with a mixture of small and big creative, marketing and advertising agencies from Glasgow and further afield. Collaboration is one of my favourite aspects of my work, and my personal experiences and approach as a freelance writer has allowed me to utilise my status to really get involved in the whole process and project.

I've worked alongside designers, marketers, charity officials, all sorts of professionals and creatives. During these projects I've learnt the constraints and budgetary limitations, funding protocol and regulations, effective timescales for all contibutors to any given project, past experiences with collaborators and much more. This information is invaluable.

I've been able to work from client's offices', get involved in the daily chat and be on hand to contribute directly, not to mention meeting and networking with all manners of creatives from an array of agencies, this has landed me a fair chunk of continued trade.

At the end of the day, my job is to write. The bits in-between and how I learn along the way all contribute to the next project.

First contact.

Posted: 13th Nov 2012

Networking - Right place, time, people....

Being a freelancer in any industry is tough. Whether you've flown the agency nest or are branching out into a new career, sourcing contacts and making connections is a tricky business.

'Networking' is a horrible word. I don't like it, it conjures up images of 80s mobile phones and awkward handshakes for me. Maybe I don't equate the traditional notions of 'networking' with the creative sphere.

Although I work within a competitive business industry where being current and highly professional in your field is integral to your success, I feel a lot more comfortable with my status as a 'creative' when it comes to undertaking the imperative business process of networking. It becomes more about a natural conversation about what you like to do rather than a pitch about what you need to do.

Before starting any 'networking' the first step should always be Research.

I started out as a freelancer, I didn't have those agency contacts or habits. It made basic common sense to me to learn what folk in my field were working on, where they were working, what events they were talking about, who else they worked with, anything that could give me a chance to get talking to them.

Investigate the wider field and related industries. When I launched the new Distil site, designed and developed by LiamR, I was surprised at the amount of comments I received about how rare it was to find a copywriter with great aesthetics. I know the words are the moneymakers and, being a writer how it reads is more important than how it looks, but having an awareness and appreciation for design, graphics and function is highly relevant.

Glasgow is a great city for creativity, innovation and celebration of new ideas and collaborations. Use this. Find out what's going on whether it be open studio events, annual events such as Social Media Week, networking events such as Long Lunch or related talks and exhibitions. Utilise your social media links to maximise this coverage.

So, you know who to talk to about what. Now's the time to start putting yourself in the right place at the right time. This step should be shadowed by the most valuable asset you have - your work. Throughout this process produce work, good work. Create a business card, something you can have on hand as a lot of people don't pick up names on first meeting, never mind remember them.

Location, location, location. You'd be a mug not to implement your social media links to reach out and get involved however if you are using these mediums, commit and be consistent.

Get off your arse and put yourself a position to actually talk to people. If you work from home, as a lot of freelancers do, look into Co-Space office sharing. There are a power of collaboration/space initiatives out there for people to meet and work together. Events such as Social Media Week are invaluable in terms of networking. An array of creatives, initiatives, agencies and industry professionals are on hand under one roof.

Meeting new connections and prospective clients or collaborators isn't just a business move. Speaking to other professionals helps you establish what makes you different and interesting. I've acquired clients by strategic business card placement, volunteering at Social Media Week and blogging, among many many others. Get involved and don't be shy.

INCH - Pt 1

Posted: 20th Nov 2012

New Projects landing soon.

So finally I can begin to talk about one of the most exciting projects I've worked on yet. It's been hush hush but all will be revealed by the end of this month.

For now here's a sneak peek. Welcome to INCH - Scotland's first 'Socially Responsive' architectural practice.

The full site, plus details of my approach to the project, coming soon.

Know the context.

Posted: 27th Nov 2012

Be aware, be relevant.

The more you know, the better you are. I thought this was a fairly obvious fact.

It has surprised me on several occasions to learn how little some copywriters know of the industries in which we work. Good copywriters know other copywriters but the best copywriters know the designers.

I've spoke before about how I began my career in copywriting. One thing I discovered early on was the more I knew about the fields I was going to work in, the more I'd have to offer. I committed much of my time to being aware and getting to know the people who were involved in these industries. From designers and creatives, to marketers and businesses themselves, I became familiar with the design and marketing process and with the role each professional played in the creation of new brands, advertising materials, any process or project that required copy.

The industry knowledge on offer was invaluable, and even now if I get the opportunity to work in-house with agencies or the clients themselves, I grab the chance. Network, chat, learn.

As a freelancer, I feel this is a significant step in establishing myself as an accomplished creative professional.