August 15, 2012What copywriters can learn from Amsterdam

It was in Amsterdam where the technique of resuscitation was first developed. In a guest post, Stephen Marsh talks about what we can learn from these early pioneers, and how we can use similar techniques in copywriting to keep the pulse of a business alive while they work on a new strategy.

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July 30, 2012How to kill content mills

Content mills match cheap copywriters to cheap clients. They pay their copywriters as little as 1.5p per word. Put another way, you'd have to write the equivalent of a novel each week to earn the average national wage. That's not just unfair. It's immoral. So how can we fight back?

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July 20, 2012I don’t give out free samples — here’s why.

Free samples are for supermarkets. When a client asks me for sample work before signing a contract, I have to decline. It's lost me a couple of jobs recently, and I'm seeing the request pop up more and more, so I decided to blog about it and explain my reasons why.

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July 17, 2012Five things I have learned in five years as a freelance copywriter

I didn't decide to become a freelance copywriter. I sort of lucked into it, after losing my job as a journalist in the recession five years ago. In five years, I've learned a lot -- not just about technique, but also about pricing, handling tricky clients, and balancing the books.

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July 10, 2012Brand evangelism is dead

Rookie copywriters often make the mistake of praising the brand, when really it's the customer who's the star. Creating an effective tone of voice for a brand isn't about emphasising the brand's values, it's about portraying them in ways people empathise with.

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June 27, 2012Are copywriters better off when they specialise?

The specialist is no ordinary gunslinger. He’s a lean, mean S.O.B. and he hits his target every time. He might specialise in one particular field of copywriting, or he might target just one sector, knowing his market inside out. Should all writers aspire to become him?

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June 7, 2012“Why the big face?” On choosing homepage images that resonate with your target market.

This isn't a post about copywriting. It's a post about seeing the big picture -- the big picture on your homepage, to be precise. Sites that use portrait photography are increasingly important. But to get it right, choose an image that resonates with your audience.

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May 10, 2012If you’re not part of the solution…

If a client is paying you to write for them, you have an obligation to give them the best you've got. If that means a line or an angle the client has supplied doesn't work, you need to tell them why -- and be able to suggest better alternatives.

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April 27, 2012Are ad men as bad as the Nazis?

Many people see advertising as a bad thing -- as nothing more than propaganda written on behalf of evil corporations. But let's look at that accusation objectively. Do ad men use the same techniques as totalitarian societies? And if so, are the effects the same?

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April 25, 2012Should you compete on price or quality?

There are two types of consumers in the world. There are those who want to minimize their cost no matter what. Then there are those who want to get the best possible service, for the best possible price. That’s where things get tricky.

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