This week we talk to copywriter Huw Thomas about his life as a freelance copywriter and why this is not the career for those who enjoy office parties!
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into copywriting?
I’ve been copywriting for about a year now. I studied Creative Writing at university and after a series of unrelated jobs decided to put what I’d learned to the test.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Coffee and typing, usually. Writing in the morning, editing in the afternoon. Freelancing is quite good in that there’s no fixed location, meaning I can work from a variety of places to keep things interesting.
How do you get over writer’s block?
I find that just writing is the main way. As long as you have a foundation to work from, most of the work is done in the editing phase. Research helps as well, finding a new angle or approach to a subject or client can fuel the fire a little. But words on the page are the biggest motivator, even if they are eventually swapped out for something else.
Do you have a full-time job, or are you freelance?
Being self-employed means I work full time on a variety of different projects, working from wherever takes my fancy. I have clients and companies who I write for on a regular basis and others who I work with just once. It’s a full time job comprised of lots of smaller projects, which suits me well.
What do you like about copywriting?
My commute is three feet.
What frustrates you about copywriting?
The office parties are fairly solitary.
What tools do you use everyday to get the job done?
The internet is a blessing and a curse, for every bit of valuable research you can end up reading through ten meaningless blogs. Finding an application to block social media and time wasting websites was a big turnaround in my productivity.
Content mills – necessary evil or just plain evil?!
I think they can make a complicated process simple, for both content creators and those in need of content.
How much do you know about SEO? How does it impact on how you write?
SEO was something which I have had to teach myself and it’s an ongoing learning process. The key seems to be quality content. Just like a pushy salesman can put potential customers off a product, too much emphasis on SEO can leave people frustrated with a website. It’s important to strike a balance between being easy to find and easy to understand, between being visible and engaging.
Who would be your dream client to write copy for?
I think writing about my hobbies would be less interesting. Clients where I know very little about an industry means the research is generally more rewarding and interesting. So I’d say my dream client would be one which I know nothing about.
Who are your copywriting role models?
Leo Burnett and William S. Burroughs.