Leif Kendall

PRO

6 May 2016

How PCN plans to support copywriters like you

Since taking over PCN at the beginning of April I’ve been thinking about what PCN needs to do and how it needs to do it.

Before I share details of how I want to make PCN sustainable, here’s what I believe PCN should be:

  • PCN should be a professional association that supports copywriters and advances our profession.
  • PCN should help copywriters find high-quality jobs
  • PCN should help other professionals work with copywriters effectively
  • PCN should be a resource for anyone who wants to become a copywriter
  • PCN should be a voice for all copywriters

The PCN committee…

PCN now has an impressive editorial team, made up entirely of volunteers. Our editors are giving their time to help PCN remain an up-to-date resource. Our committee will also be involved in shaping the direction of PCN, giving us a broader perspective that includes freelancers from around the country, a recent graduate and a couple of in-house / agency copywriters.

Long-term plans

Copywriting conference – we’re keen to see this resume in 2017, but we can’t promise anything! We’ll provide updates on this as soon as we have some news.

Guides and books – PCN has the support of an impressive group of copywriters, so we want to harness our collective knowledge and share our experience with others. This might take the form of guides or books.

Podcasts and videos – I’d like to see PCN offer more than just blog posts. This might include podcasts (e.g. interviews with copywriters or other professionals) or video tutorials.

Resources for students – PCN should have a dedicated section for students who are contemplating a career in copywriting.

Support for in-house and agency copywriters – PCN should support all kinds of copywriters and content people, including copywriters working in agencies and as in-house writers.

Our biggest challenge…

One thing we need to figure out is how to make PCN sustainable. The organisation costs money to run (particularly web hosting, accounting and web development) and we’re currently barely meeting our costs.

I’ll write more on this soon, but one solution is to introduce a small monthly fee for Basic membership. If everyone contributes a little we can all benefit from what PCN offers. Of course, the majority of PCN’s content will always be freely available to all. If we choose this option, we would allow existing Basic members to continue without charge for a period of time.

Introducing a monthly fee (e.g. £3.00) for Basic membership would also help us improve the quality of our directory. At the moment we have quite a few listings that are incomplete, unreachable or just irrelevant. If members were paying each month, they would have an incentive to maintain their profile, or delete it entirely if they were no longer looking for work.

Thanks

Thank you to everyone who has supported PCN during this transition period. And a massive thanks to our editorial committee who are already giving their time to help PCN thrive. I’d also like to thank Joanna Tidball for all of her hard work during her time as PCN’s editor.

Your views…

We’re always looking for ideas and suggestions on how we can make PCN better for copywriters like you. So leave a comment below, email us, or start a discussion in the forum.


What do you think?

Your email will not be published.
PCN members: log in before commenting so your comment links to your profile.

PRO

John Espirian

May 6, 2016 at 10:43am

Thanks for the update, Leif. I would hope that anyone serious about their profession wouldn’t be put off paying a modest subscription fee.

I’m interested in your comment about video tutorials, as this is something I do for a living. I’d be willing to help the PCN with this task. I’ll email you to follow up.

PRO

Leif Kendall

May 6, 2016 at 10:50am

Hi John – that would be great, thanks. Look forward to hearing from you.

PRO

Anna Milan

May 9, 2016 at 6:27pm

Thanks for the update – sounds good. I’d love to see some examples of best practice or work that other copywriters are really proud of, so we can exchange ideas.

David McGuire

May 11, 2016 at 4:54pm

Hi Leif. Good to hear you have such ambitious plans, and that the team is so strong. (Also, I’ve no idea if it was deliberate that the group was so well gender balanced, but I’m very glad it is.)

I think £3 per month sounds very reasonable.

However, I’d suggest you maybe might want to think through what support for in-house, freelance and agency copywriters might look like in a little more detail. If you can provide things that are more compelling than the listing, that would be great.

Otherwise (the listing aside) you’ve described a brilliant resource for new, would-be and inexperienced copywriters, and that should be applauded. But you’re essentially asking people to fund an increase in competition (when the market is already getting muddied by a growing number of people people who hear about copywriting and just think they can have a go because, you know, words are easy – I guess it’s a problem our design colleagues have had for a long time).

If you’re going to widen access to copywriting (a good thing), is there some way you can also encourage an improvement in standards and openness about things that aren’t very good?

Also: you mention connecting great writers with great jobs. It occurs to me that job ads might be another revenue stream for the network.

Anyway, that’s just a gut response from me. Keep up the excellent work.

PRO

Leif Kendall

May 13, 2016 at 11:04am

Hi David – thanks for the considered comment.

You raise some very interesting points – and I would love to talk to you about some of them in more detail.

I think PCN should support all kinds of copywriters – and we must always be careful not to actually make things harder for anyone. So I’m keen to see that PCN never becomes ‘competition’ for anyone.

You’re right that one problem our profession has is the proliferation of less-able and less-qualified people working as copywriters. As a freelancer I often encounter clients who have wasted hours on ‘copywriters’ that couldn’t really do the job properly. How do we help clients identify capable copywriters? As professionals we need to improve the perception of copywriters in general.

We are considering some kind of certification or accreditation scheme. The challenge is making such a scheme affordable and simple but also meaningful and relatively stringent. I definitely don’t want to create a costly system that prices out new copywriters – or becomes a kind of tax on doing business. It’s a difficult balance to achieve.

At the moment, the main advantages for more experienced copywriters – and agencies – are that PCN is a great platform for developing your network, finding clients and finding other copywriters to work with. But yes, we can certainly do more. And I would appreciate hearing any other ideas you have.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.