Once a job has been arranged and commissioned, the freelance copywriter is ready to begin writing. Some freelance copywriters find it easiest to write in the format and tone of the target medium, while others may prefer to brainstorm ideas, perhaps not even using any writing medium at all. Some copywriters find that their best ideas occur to them when they are in a situation far away from orthodox work environments. Most experienced freelance copywriters keep pen and paper to hand around the house, so that if a catchy slogan or compelling concept occurs to them, they can jot it down and ensure it gets used.
It’s a safe assumption that most freelance copywriters are now using Microsoft Word or a similar word-processing program for their writing. The sheer ease of use in being able to write, rewrite and restructure your work makes this a no-brainer for the vast majority of freelance copywriters. However, many do prefer to use pen and paper for some assignments, particularly highly creative or short-copy work such as writing company taglines or advertising slogans. Computers offer a huge range of distractions for the freelance copywriter, such as checking their email or updating an online profile, and it can be worth getting away from these in order to focus on the core task of creative writing.
Most freelance copywriters will go through several iterations of their writing before sending anything to their client, typically removing a great deal of writing that isn’t needed before they submit their first draft. In fact, it could be argued that the most important skill of the copywriter isn’t creating text, but taking away the writing that isn’t required.
Many copywriting projects can be completed by a copywriter working alone. However, others require a level of partnership and co-working in order to produce the most effective copy. Adverts, for example, rarely depend on copywriting alone for their impact: the most effective ads are created by a copywriter working in partnership with a creative designer or art director, perhaps supported by a client account manager who represents the client’s wishes and priorities. This type of setup is most likely in an agency arrangement. The copywriter and art director work closely together, perhaps brainstorming ideas and refining them in partnership before collaborating in the actual production of the ad.
Once the actual creative content is being created, the copywriter takes responsibility for the words, while the art director considers what images or graphics will best convey the message. However, the two roles can and should overlap: good copywriters will often suggest designs or images to go with their words, while experienced art directors may well suggest an ‘image plus slogan’ idea. In this situation, it’s down to the expert in each area to confirm that the idea is sound and refine it as far as possible. Savvy creatives know that good ideas can come from anywhere, so they won’t mind sharing the credit.
Once upon a time, the copywriter might have submitted their work to the client via fax or even mail. Nowadays, of course, they will usually send a first draft in the form of a Word document attached to an email.
For many freelance copywriters, meeting the client is a rare occurrence, and in fact it is becoming more and more common for freelance copywriters to work with clients that they have never met or even spoken to by phone. While this can make the freelance copywriter feel rather isolated, it does bring the benefit of allowing them to work with clients who are located anywhere in the world. It can also made communication between client and copywriter quicker and more efficient.
If appropriate, the freelance copywriter may send comments along with their writing, either in the text itself or in an accompanying email. This helps the client to understand the context of the decisions that the freelance copywriter has made, as well as allowing the copywriter to raise queries or request more information that will help them to write the next draft.
When the client receives their writing from the freelance copywriter, they will review it to confirm that it meets their expectations and is fit for purpose. They may then provide feedback to the freelance copywriter in the form of comments directly into the Word document, or perhaps via email or phone. Most freelance copywriters will allow the client to provide feedback on their writing in the form that the client prefers, although in some situations they may wish to achieve some kind of paper trail or record of the changes that have been requested, particularly if the material is commercially or legally sensitive in some way.
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