Big jobs or small jobs for freelance copywriters?

Sometimes freelance copywriters have to manage up to 20 different clients in one month to get paid what they need. But other months turn out to be a breeze because three or four clients hand you such large projects that you don’t have time to take on anything else. So which is best?

I’d like to contend for the latter. Large jobs leave you with a lot less stress. You know that you have secured enough work for a large portion of the month. Applying for multiple small jobs can be very tiresome. I spend a good few hours writing thought-out proposals, researching clients and making sure I can do the job presented to me. If I could, I would gladly give up this time-consuming practice for consistent, large projects that actually PAY me for my time.

The secret to becoming successful at your freelance writing endeavour is to find yourself regular customers who need large projects done on a regular basis. For freelance copywriters in South Africa, this could be:

  • Marketing firms
  • Academic writing companies
  • Product review sites
  • Web development companies

All of these businesses need copywriting all the time. And chances are their projects are big ones. If you can, shift your attention to these kinds of jobs and gain more security in the freelance copywriting industry.


About the author: Copley Sutton is a Johannesburg based copywriter who writes for many local and international clients. At this point he is attempting to build up a team of freelance writers in South Africa and expand his copywriting service to new heights. 

What is a landing page and how can it boost conversion rates? – Olivia Colville

If every Google and Facebook ad you run takes potential customers to the home page of a website, you’re doing it wrong. Create landing pages that relate directly to your ads and you’ll see the difference it makes to conversion rates. Copywriters in South Africa should learn the art of creating landing pages that capitalise on this effect.


How to craft effective landing pages?

Simply put it’s a page specifically created with one call to action. There are no navigation links to lure visitors away from the action you want them to take. For a copywriter this means a landing page must include the following:

  • A single, focused call to action: Whether you want them to click through a product or complete a sign-up form, keep it simple.
  • Supporting images or a video: Give the user enough information to make an informed decision.
  • A match to the source: If you promised something in your ad, make sure you deliver it on the landing page you create. You won’t earn their trust if you send them to a page that’s unrelated to the message in your advert.
  • No navigation options: Remove links and tabs to stop them from wandering off the page. You want them to stay there until they take the action you designed it for.
  • Give them something of value: A landing page is the perfect place to us a lead magnet. Offer a coupon or free EBookin exchange for your visitor’s information or purchase. This further incentivises them to take the action you want them to.


Why landing pages work so well

Businesses in South Africa have yet to really harness the power of landing pages. Creating specific landing pages for campaigns works for the following reasons:

  • They result in qualified leads: Visitors who click through to your landing page wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to be. Use a lead magnet that relates to the business, like a discount on their products and services. If they follow through on your call to action, it means they’re already interested.
  • They’re easy to test: You can easily tweak pages to determine what gets the best result. Being able to modify landing pages quickly and easily means you can test them even in the middle of a campaign.
  • They can be shared on social media: South Africa is a social media savvy country. Landing pages are perfect for sharing on these platforms

Local businesses have yet to discover that adding this technique to their arsenal can help conversion rates. Copywriters in South Africa should help these business owners stand out with landing pages. Are you a copywriter? Help them see the value that targeted landing pages can bring to their business and you’ll both reap the rewards.


About the Author – Since she was a little girl, Olivia Colville has always had her nose in a book. Her curiosity knows no bounds and she spends her time collecting stories. Olivia’s greatest wish is to become a sought-after copywriter. Fingers crossed!


Copley’s Customer Diary #1 – Just not a good fit

Sometimes you get the opportunity to deal with clients who teach you a lot. Although negative feedback can be a sensitive issue to a freelance copywriter, it must be embraced if we are to improve and grow.


Recently, I had dealings with three customers who showed me that my writing was not up to scratch. Of course, I first went through the typical ‘writer’s denial’ before accepting this. Here’s what happened.


Client #1

My first client asked me to write an article as a test. He asked that the writing be conversational in tone. If he was happy, I would get more work. This client had already checked out my profile. This was not a job I applied for—he sought me out.


Feeling chuffed with myself, I set out to deliver a factual, well-researched article. But wait, that wasn’t what he asked for, was it? No; he asked for a CONVERSATIONAL piece. I skipped this instruction and delivered the article—facts and all.


Needless to say, the client thanked me for the work and paid me. But I didn’t hear from him again. Worst of all, the feedback was positive. But the fact that he didn’t come back spoke loud and clear.


Client #2 and #3

In a slightly different situation, I had two clients who needed content written. The one needed blogs, and the other needed web content. After doing these jobs, both did the same thing.


Both clients re-wrote my work! This is not a minor edit—this is a complete rewrite. They stated that the rewrite was the style they wanted. They also added that I was a great writer, but that they wanted me to follow the tone provided.


At first glance, the style seemed less appealing than what I had done. Besides, I’m the one who studied copywriting. Don’t I know what I’m doing?


A question of style

Of course, it’s not really about what I write; it’s about what the client wants. They are paying me to do it THEIR WAY.


In the instance of the one client, I tried my utmost best to write according to his style. He paid me for the job and left me a decent rating with the message, “We just weren’t a good fit.”


I don’t want to make the same mistake with the other client. So I’ve asked him to highlight the sections he feels I should redo. Hopefully I won’t have to work double time on his project.


What can you and I learn from these clients?

First, let me just say that my attitude was wrong with all three of these clients. I was over-confident with the first, lacked confident with the second, and was apprehensive with the third.


So how should a copywriter handle clients like these? Here are my suggestions:

  • Recognize that your style may not be what the client wants and accept it without taking it personally.
  • Be willing to learn a new style. You may get another client in future who wants the same thing.
  • Ask the client for specifics. If they send you their version of the writing as an example, insist that they highlight specifics they want you to change.
  • Once you’ve identified style changes, read up on them and learn how to switch to a different style when needed.


Yes, I’m just a freelance copywriter from South Africa, but I want to grow on an international level. Clients like these help me to do that. How about you?

How to cope with freelancing stress

One thing I have come to notice while freelance writing is that freelancers are continually faced with a discipline issue. This issue comes up in the form of a choice that each one must make during every moment: “Do what I WANT, or do what I MUST?”

An interesting observation is that whenever they make the choice to do what they want, they are immediately struck with a feeling of anxiousness. This anxiousness comes from allowing themselves to prioritize their comfort over their work.

This results in a snowball effect of stress because the more they do what they want, the more behind they fall in their work—which leads to even more compounding stress. Even if they force themselves to do what they must, their minds are distracted by that which they want to do. And so it isn’t long before they stop working and start watching their favourite comedy or playing a favourite computer game.

So how do I counter this way of thinking? Well, it’s all in the knowledge of what is going on in my mind. If I can realize that doing what I want causes unimaginable stress, then doing what I must will be the remedy to that stress. In other words, if I decide that I do not want to be stressed out and worry about my work, I will sit at my desk and WORK!

The more work I get done, the lower my stress levels seem to fall. I think a big mistake many freelancers make is that they think it’s the work that is what’s stressing them out, when in fact it’s the procrastination that is. Making a conscious decision to work even though I don’t feel like it is NOT the answer. Making a conscious realization that one option leads to stress, while the other option alleviates stress, is the best way to approach every working day freelancers are at home.


About the author: Copley Sutton is a freelance copywriter in Johannesburg, South Africa. He and his team of writers handle a number of international and local writing projects for the web, magazines and students

Golf Drills to Help You Hit a Flop Shot Correctly

Phil Mickelson is well known for making the flop shot look easy. Learning this shot comes in handy for clearing bunkers, while at the same time adding a spin to the ball and directing it to the desired spot. However it’s actually one of the most difficult shots to perfect. Below are some of the technicalities of the flop shot that will assist you in practicing your drills.


The right club for a lob shot

A club that should be present in every golfer’s golf bag is a sixty degree lob wedge. Many golfers prefer using a sand wedge for a flop shot, but for the purposes discussed here, the sixty degree lob wedge is the best tool for the job.


Setting up your clubface for a lob shot

When making a perfect flop shot, you should have two goals in mind:

  1. You should aim to get lots of height on the ball.
  2. You should aim to add a spin on the ball which will make up for too much distance if you hit the ball further away from your target than what you intended.

To perform these two tasks, you will need to turn your sixty degree lob wedge so that the face is 100% flat facing upwards. The face should be as level as you can get it to make this shot do what it is meant to. Remember to grip the club in this position, rather than compensating your wrists and turning it into this position post-grip.


Aiming your lob shot

Because you’ll be adding a spin to the ball, it’s important to compensate for this by aiming slightly to the left of your desired target. Twenty degrees to the left is enough of a slant to make the flop shot. The spin you will put on your ball won’t be too heavy, so only a slight deviation left of the target is necessary.


Too much height – Too much spin

This shot will take some practice to perfect. Depending on the distance of your target, try and find a good balance between flying the ball over the bunker, and adding enough spin to it for when it lands. Remember that the harder you hit, the higher—not further—the ball will travel, so make the call on which of these you want to achieve.

How to take the minimal approach to becoming more productive

The term ‘work smart, not hard’ has been thrown around for more than a decade now, but still people are confused as to what steps to take in order to do more in less time. Work has a tendency to pile up the further we progress in our careers, while deadlines remain as strict as they’ve ever been.

Getting headway in your work will win you the real commodity of our day; time. Money might make the world go round, but we all know that without time, money is pointless. So how can you get your work done and still retain enough time in your week to enjoy life?


Planning is half the battle

People who are flustered by a huge plethora of work often neglect the most important part of their working day; planning. Planning works as an investment in your time; i.e. the more you plan, the less you’ll have to work later. It’s a matter of knowing what to expect when the task comes up and having the strategy to deal with it effectively.

Take time at the start and end of every day to organize your tasks into manageable chunks that allow you to breathe in between. Once you’re finished a task, tick it off in your day planner. This gives you a sense of completion which enables you to focus on the next task with a clear mind.


Managing your time without anxious clock-watching

Having your tasks written down beside time segments helps you to get a fuller picture of all the work you have. Once you have this fuller picture, the day doesn’t seem as crammed anymore and your day is a lot easier to tackle.

It’s important to stick to your schedule. Failure to do so will invariably cause work to once again pile up into an unmanageable point. The best way to avoid this is to factor in reasonable breaks between your tasks so as not to burn yourself out.


Structure will keep you sane

No matter what industry you’re in, you need to work out a system that organizes your work in order of importance. The art of prioritizing has no set recipe. You will have to work out your own way of structuring tasks as they come in according to how important they are.

For inspiration, here are some ideas that have worked for others:

–          Colour coding: If your emails are filling up your inbox and you feel overwhelmed by them, consider a colour coding strategy. Red for urgent, orange for to-do, green for done, etc.

–          Piles: An overabundance of paper can fluster the best of us. Organize your documents into pile categories and watch how quickly your desk neatens and your work flows. Coloured paperclips can also make your tasks easier to identify.

Remember that a clear working area equals a clear thinking space. Your work will go faster—with minimal error—if you are in control and on top of every situation.


Let the time you’ll be saving motivate you to incorporate these methods into every day. Within no time, you’ll start noticing the difference: More time, less errors, and no reason to cut down on your workload.