PCN

6 February 2015

Big changes to our directory and membership

We’re very pleased to announce some far-reaching changes to our directory and membership offer, which we hope will have a major impact on the way members use their profiles to seek work and promote themselves.

Pro membership

We’ve introduced a new membership level, Pro, which offers:

  • An online portfolio with up to 12 projects, each with its own details, text extract, image and downloadable PDF
  • Priority listing in our directory, so searching clients see your profile first
  • Over £200 worth of discounts and offers, including £100 off a ticket to our annual Copywriting Conference

More details of these benefits are below.

Pro membership costs £48 inc VAT pa (£40 ex VAT), payable via an annually recurring PayPal subscription that you can cancel any time.

Basic membership, which lets you create a basic profile at our site, contribute to our blog, use the forums and access membership badges, is still free.

Online porfolios for Pro members

As a Pro member, you can create an online portfolio that appears on your profile page.

Pro member profile page, with portfolio

Pro member profile page, with portfolio

Creating a bespoke website to showcase work is a headache that new freelancers (or experienced ones, come to that) can generally do without. With this new feature, we believe it’s possible to promote your freelance copywriting business very effectively using your PCN profile alone – for far less than the cost of a dedicated website.

Your portfolio can include up to 12 projects, each presented on its own web page with a title, description, image and text extract. The image can be a screengrab, print layout, scamp or client logo. You can also attach a downloadable file to each project, for example if you want to provide a PDF of a print project.

Our co-founders Tom Albrighton and Ben Locker have populated their own profiles with a few projects, to show the sort of things you can do.

Priority listing for Pro members

Pro members get priority listing in our directory. That means that for any given search, Pro members will be listed first.

This feature offers a bonus to Pro members, but it’s valuable to clients too, guiding them towards the profile pages that have had the most care and content put into them.

Special offers for Pro members

Pro members can access a range of special offers that we’ve selected specifically to add value for copywriters, worth over £200 in total.

The initial set of offers is:

  • £100 off a ticket for our annual Copywriting Conference (£245 ex VAT instead of £345 ex VAT). This is the best deal available to anyone anywhere, guaranteed.
  • 10% off the Breakthrough Copywriting course from the Andy Maslen Copywriting Academy.
  • £23 off flexible office space from NearDesk.
  • £20 off professional indemnity insurance from PolicyBee.
  • £60 off company registration with Crunch Online Accounting.

If you take up every offer, your first four years of Pro membership pay for themselves. Even if you only come to the conference, you’re still saving the first two years’ subs and change.

Improved directory search for everybody

Visitors can now search by skills, specialisms and region, as well as carrying out a free-text search across all fields.

As long as your profile is complete and up to date, this dramatically improves your chances of being found by potential clients who use our directory.

In future, we may add a ‘near me’ search, which would show copywriters located in the same town, city or county as the visitor (based on their IP address, rather than an explicit search). If you’d like to see this implemented, please let us know.

Better SEO for everybody

This site ranks very highly on Google – as high as #2 (just under Wikipedia) for ‘copywriters’ and #1 for ‘UK copywriters directory’, depending on your settings and location.

Your PCN profile is already within just a few clicks of that search (even fewer if you go Pro). That’s a level of prominence that, by definition, only a handful of dedicated copywriters’ sites will ever be able to achieve.

Now, to help members’ profiles appear for long-tail geographical searches, we’ve also added locations (when members have provided them) to the HTML page titles for profile pages. We can’t predict the effects (no-one can), but we hope this will help member profiles rank for location-based searches such as ‘copywriter cambridge’.

Redesigned profiles for everybody

We’ve redesigned the member profile pages to be cleaner, clearer and more modern-looking. The same layout is used for both Basic and Pro membership levels, with Pro members featuring extra content such as their portfolios.

New availability indicator for everybody

While many of our members are freelancers seeking work, we appreciate that many members may be in a full-time role or simply too busy to take on anything new. So we’ve added a new field for availability that you can use to indicate whether you’re looking for work, currently unavailable or in a full-time position.

Faster, more reliable hosting

To support our improved and enlarged member profiles, we’ve switched the site to a new hosting provider, WPEngine, for a faster, more reliable experience overall. That means you can count on our site as a means to promote yourself and generate new business. It should also help our SEO profile.

We hope you like these improvements, and find them useful. Sign up or upgrade your membership now to try them out.

(Important: if you are already a PCN member, please log in before upgrading)

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