How I work
“How do you work?” is a rather broad question I am often asked when I’m approached by potential clients. There are several components to my answer, so I thought it warranted a post of its own, just to ‘demystify’ the process a bit!
Where I work
I work from home or on an airfield in the Portacabin that is the clubhouse for my husband’s flying school business. If the weather’s nice and there’s a plane free, I will sometimes take a break from writing to stretch my wings. It’s a great way to clear my head between jobs [see right!].
How I take copywriting briefs
I choose to take copywriting briefs in a Word document or email rather than verbally. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a chat about your brief – indeed, for new clients or bigger projects I usually do have an initial phone call to run through the background and broader points, and to ask questions. I’m happy to drive to your office if you’re not too far away, or to talk by phone or Skype (do not expect me to switch the webcam on though. Internet signal at the airfield just isn’t good enough, and if I’m working at home then I’m in my personal space reserved for close friends and family – and you don’t want to see all my laundry in the background anyway!).
The reason I prefer a written brief to a verbal one is that it’s very important for it to be as accurate as possible, so that I don’t waste your time and mine writing something that isn’t quite what you were after. I find that receiving a brief in writing is the best way of getting all the details down accurately. My experience of verbal briefs is that they’re often too vague to work from, and when they’re not, I can’t take notes quickly enough during a conversation to get every nuance. What’s more, finer details (such as target keywords, words to avoid, etc) can get forgotten about or lost in a conversation. I have a questionnaire document that you can fill in, which enables me to gather all the facts I need to produce copy that’s exactly how you want it. Many clients already have something like this written down ready to send me; the longest I’ve ever received was 17 pages long, but a paragraph or two will usually suffice!
These are the steps I work through for each project:
- Brief – when this is confirmed, I’ll also confirm timings. If you have a deadline in mind I’ll accommodate this if I can; otherwise, I’ll let you know when to expect the first draft.
- First draft – emailed to you in a Word doc by the agreed deadline.
- Feedback – provided by you. I like to use the ‘Track Changes’ feature in Word.
- Second draft – if necessary.
- Invoice – I invoice once work is complete or at the end of the month. For more on my payment terms, click here.
If it’s a big project involving multiple pages, I’ll ask you to check the first page, provide feedback and sign off the second draft before I continue with the rest. This just ensures I’m on the right track and prevents me from having to make changes to a whole batch of pages.
When I work
I went self-employed to escape the tyranny of set working hours, so I don’t work the standard 9-5, Monday to Friday. I could work 10am to 4pm one day, or 7am to 6pm another day. I never work in the evenings, but I almost always work through the weekend. While I usually work six or seven days a week, I sometimes have random days off midweek when everyone else is working. I normally also spend one morning a week volunteering for the charity Guide Dogs [see right!]. I ensure that my irregular working patterns don’t conflict with client needs, and I put an out of office message on my email when I’m not at my desk so you know when I might take a little longer to respond. I can sometimes write copy at very short notice, but I have a hectic schedule and I like to have as much notice as possible so that I can allow enough time for your work.