How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?
My first Member Spotlight interview was published not long after I first started freelancing, which was 5 years ago. Since then, SK Copy Co has worked with even more clients from even more industries, which I see as being a major privilege and success in itself.
More recently, I’ve been able to expand the SK Copy Co offering by joining forces with a team of trusted Associates. This means clients can now come to SK Copy Co for much more beyond our core copywriting and PR services.
What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?
The fact SK Copy Co’s still going strong after 5 years! I’ve been flat out busy since day one of freelancing (with the exception of a few months immediately after the pandemic first hit last year).
On top of all that, I’ve been working with some really big brands, particularly over the last 12 months.
Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?
I’m trained to write, it’s what I do. I first started off life as a newspaper journalist and went to journalism school when I was 17-years-old.
When I worked for employers, which I did for 18 years, every single job I had in journalism, council comms, and for marketing and PR agencies all involved writing.
I’ve been writing for 25 years now and I love the fact I get paid to write every day. It’s what I instinctively know how to do and still enjoy.
What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?
Due to my journalism background and the fact you can’t choose the stories you write about or the topics you cover when you’re a journalist, I don’t specialise in specific sectors.
I’m comfortable with working with clients from all industries. I enjoy the variety of work I deliver, the clients I work with and keeping up with the latest practices.
What are you working on just now?
Well, I’m answering these questions on a Monday morning, and looking ahead at my schedule for this week, I’m exceptionally busy! Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started working with three new clients on a retained basis.
As for my to-do list for today, I’ve got a batch of blogs I’ve already written that I need to proof and I need to write a blog and an eshot.
I’ve also got two client meetings and to interview somebody later for a news story. And, if I have enough time left at the end of the day, I’ll write the news story up while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Describe your desk and what’s on it, or the view from your window
I love my desk. In fact, I love my office. Because I spend so much time in my office, I’ve really taken the time to minimise any clutter and surround myself with things that inspire me and that I really love.
On my desk, I’ve got my laptop, screen, keyboard and mouse, I don’t like my desk to feel too cramped as I feel it interferes with my creativity.
On the right-hand corner of my desk, I’ve also got my fighter fish, Red (he’s bright red with flashes of turquoise), who I like to gaze at when I’m thinking or feeling stressed!
Tell us about your side projects
I’m just as experienced in PR as I am copywriting and am a co-opted member of the CIPR Midlands committee. I’m also a mentor for Birmingham City University’s (BCU) Mentoring Programme, which I’m really enjoying.
About a month ago, separate to my mentoring, I was invited to take part in a guest session with PR and media students from BCU in which I shared some of my ‘real life’ PR and writing insight. It was really fun and the students all said they found it useful, which was the main thing.
I’m on standby to take part in some similar sessions in the future, I think it’s really important to think about and help others if you can.
How has your writing process evolved?
I’ve learnt to be more disciplined when it comes to booking in work for clients. Most of the time, everybody wants everything yesterday, and I used to move heaven and earth to make it happen, which was incredibly stressful sometimes.
Now, if I physically can’t do something within the timescale that I’ve been given, I’ll politely push back and say when I can realistically complete the work. When I first started out, I used to worry about doing it in case the client went elsewhere.
I’d like to say here that I book more time into my schedule to think about and brainstorm copy before I get stuck into writing it. But, given the fact I’m always so busy, I’ve not quite gotten around
to doing it yet!
What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?
Their rate. During my early freelance days, I really struggled to work out what my rate should be and where it sat compared to other copywriters. Was I overpricing myself? Was I too cheap?
Whenever I got the opportunity to sound a fellow copywriter out about their rate, they were extremely reluctant to say what it was; it’s all very cloak and dagger!
Fortunately, there are resources, such as the ProCopywriters Survey that helped me clarify what my rate should be.
What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?
That you need to specialise in a certain sector. This isn’t something I’d recommend if you’re just starting out, especially if you’re brand new to copywriting and need to create a solid portfolio.
Initially, you should look for industry-wide work, use it to build up your experience and portfolio, and then, after a few years, decide which area(s) you’d like to specialise in, if you decide to at all. Specialising in certain sectors isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Having said that, if you do decide to write for most sectors, you don’t want to come across as being a jack of all trades and master of none.
Having strong work examples, case studies and testimonials for all of the different industries you work across can help prevent this from happening.
Any lessons you’re still learning?
To stop overloading my schedule and give myself some days off!