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Victoria Doxat — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight

Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?

I didn’t choose a career in copywriting, I ended up writing by accident! I’m actually a fully qualified college lecturer and have taught A-Level Philosophy, English and Classical Civilisation for over 15 years.

4 years ago, after having gone through numerous rounds of restructures and redundancies at my college, I knew I had to future-proof myself and so started to look around for something else to do.

I fell into copywriting when a friend asked me to help her out on a comms project she was working on. This led to regular freelance work with a big comms consultancy and I’m now fortunate to have a successful thought leadership consultancy of my own.

What work are you most proud of?

I work in thought leadership and really love the whitepaper work I do. It always involves very close collaboration with the client and I really enjoy researching, writing and then redrafting the content until it’s perfect.

I know not many copywriters like writing whitepapers as they’re so technical and long but I absolutely love them and I think my academic background probably gives me a bit of an edge.

My whitepaper clients also tend to be big corporates and it’s a real thrill working with global brands and seeing their logo on something I’ve written. The papers always look fantastic when they’re published and are such powerful lead generators, I always feel very proud of them.

What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?

The Harry Potter books 🙂

What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?

I never get this! I think it’s the 15 years working as a full-time teacher- I’ve never had the luxury of being able to procrastinate because I’ve only ever had small blocks of time in which to plan lessons, mark essays etc.

This means that even when I’m not really feeling it I’m very disciplined and will force myself to sit at my desk and start work. Once I start on something it’s much easier to keep going.

I also have 3 children at primary school which means I only have 6 hours a day that I can work because I have to drop everything at 3pm to pick them up from school.

This means that I’m very, very good at getting my client work done as efficiently as possible. Writer’s block is a luxury I can’t
afford!

What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?

I love writing whitepapers. They require a lot of research, a lot of consultation and stretch my brain and my writing ability.

I really hate writing websites. I’m not very good at it and I just don’t enjoy the process no matter who the client is.

Any copywriting pet hates?

Copywriters not charging enough! If you’re a good writer with a strong portfolio you should not be charging £75 for a blog post! I charge £475 for a single blog post and I know other writers who charge much more than this.

If you’re a good writer clients will be willing to pay for your skills so put up those prices!

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Your biz, your rulez hun! (or words to that effect). Running your own business is like having a baby. Everyone has an opinion but when it comes down to it, it’s your life and you’re the expert.

Do what you want. There really are no hard and fast rules and it’s always better to make your own mistakes than someone else’s.

What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?

Find a niche and become an expert in that niche. Learn everything there is to know about the type of writing or sector that you want to write for and get yourself known in your network as the ‘go-to’ writer for this type of content. It will take ages and ages to build your reputation, but it’s absolutely worth it in the long-term.

Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?

Freelancing can be very lonely so it’s good to know that there’s a community of other writers out there.

I also find the annual survey results really interesting, you can learn a lot about the industry which can help you better understand your own business.

Where can people find out more about you?

You can visit my website and find me on LinkedIn.

You can also pick up a copy of the book I co-authored, Winning the war for talent in the 2020s: 11 insights from the Global Institute for Thought Leadership on Amazon.

Comments

PRO
2nd September 2021

Thomas Ridge

While I appreciate that many of us don’t charge enough for our work, I think the £450 blog post is unrealistic unless you’re working with very large corporations with very deep pockets. In fact, the whole issue of pricing seems unrealistic from the POV of someone working mainly with small agencies and SMEs.

I have plenty of regular and rewarding work. If I started charging upwards of £400 for each blog post, that work would soon disappear.

I read another post from a copywriter claiming to charge £250 an hour.

Yes, we need to value our work and our profession higher, but we also need to be realistic. Those copywriters who can charge £400+ for a blog post because of their client base and status should think carefully before advising the rest of us, because the real risk is that you undermine the confidence of people working hard to make a meaningful living from this.

PRO
3rd September 2021

Leif Kendall

I don’t think these member spotlight features should be construed as advice in any form. They’re just a chance to take a peek into another professional’s life and work.

On the issue of pricing, there are clearly customers who are willing to pay a premium for exceptional work that makes a difference to their business.

There are also many clients with small budgets who could not pay more if they wanted to.

One challenge of freelancing is deciding which clients you prefer to serve. I know as many copywriters who want to help small businesses as those who prefer the bigger clients.

Also, if a blog post takes you more than a day to research and write (not unusual with longer articles) and if you’re also weaving in things like SEO research, then £475 is not at all unreasonable.

3rd September 2021

Victoria Doxat

Hi Thomas, thanks for reading my interview and taking the time to leave a comment.

I also work with SMEs and small agencies, and also with individuals, and although budget is always a consideration, I usually find that my fees are of less significance than the quality of the service I provide. My fees are clearly stated on my website (unlike a lot of copywriters) and I’ve honestly never had any trouble finding work or keeping clients. I raise my prices twice every year and will continue to do so until I hit a point where I’m not getting any work. I have a couple of friends in communications who charge more than £250 an hour for copywriting, and although I’m not yet at that level myself, I certainly intend to be within the next five years.

Rather than undermine people’s confidence, I hope that my interview will encourage others to think bigger, be a bit more ambitious, charge more for their work and as a result do less work for more money. Writing is a valuable skill and shouldn’t be undervalued by businesses or by copywriters. Maybe it’s time to hike up your prices? I don’t think it’s unrealistic to charge £400 a blog post if you’re a good writer with decent portfolio and are good at managing the client relationship. Food for thought?

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