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Eugene
           Struthers 

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    Your guide to working with me

 
 
Eugene Struthers 

08 May 2023 Re: Client Tags: Working with me

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Your guide to working with me

 

In this article I will try to answer all your question about how my copywriting process works and what to expect if you have never worked with me before.

 

My process

This is an outline of my process:

  1. Stage One – Initial contact

  2. Stage Two – Client input

  3. Stage Three – My Writing process

  4. Stage Four – Client’s first draft

  5. Stage Five – Client feedback and edits

  6. Stage Six – Final draft

 

Stage One – Initial contact

 

After doing extensive research, you have come to the conclusion that I am a perfect match for the copywriting services you require.

And you decide to reach out and get in contact with me.

You may want to contact me via my website contact from Click here, email, phone or social media.

Once contact has been made you can then tell me what precisely you are looking for or how I may be able to resolve the problems you are having.

At this stage there are four processes we can go through.

  1. The discovery call

 

This is the most common next step. And it is the point where you reach out to me either by a phone call or email – whatever is easiest for you. This will give you the opportunity to tell me more about yourself, and the finer details about your project and the kind of help you require.

 

A phone call usually sets the process in motion, and is a good indicator as to whether or not we would be a good match if we worked together.

 

If we are a match, we can then decide how you want to proceed. This can take the form of a paid consultation, a paid action plan or a straight up quote for your project.

 

 

 

2. Paid consultation

You have created a swanky new website but are hardly getting any visitor which you can convert into customers. You don’t know how to proceed and to resolve this issue. And you are not entirely sure what is causing the problem.

 

So you set up a paid (upfront) consultation with a qualified Google SEO copywriter.

The paid consultation will comprise you giving me full access to your website analytics and search console data.

 

I will then spend some time looking into: Google SEO, Web coding, Website structure & analysis, On page SEO & Metadata, SEO friendly content, Back linking, link builds, SEO page speed & UX, Mobile SEO, Off-page SEO, Social media & Marketing, Keyword research, 12) Your Analytics & ongoing strategies.   

 

After carefully reviewing all your issues. I’ll then arrange a call back to advise you about what problems I have found.

 

I will then recommend a course of action as outlined in point 1 – 12 above, to help put things right. At this stage no work has been carried out. A report may be given to the client as to what is wrong with their website. So they can go away and consider their options. They may want to get a second opinion or go onto hire a web designer or SEO expert. Or they may agree that they can get the full web re-design, content, copywriting and Google SEO package, by hiring me directly.

 

If they agree to work with me, I will put together a quote for their specific requirements.

 

 

3. Paid action plan

 

In this plan I will dive deeper into what is the main cause of your problems. I will conduct a closer examination of all the usually suspects: Google SEO, Web coding, Website structure & analysis, On page SEO & Metadata, SEO friendly content, Back linking, link builds, SEO page speed & UX, Mobile SEO, Off-page SEO, Social media & Marketing, Keyword research, 12) Your Analytics & ongoing strategies.   

 

And even go further into the:-​

•    On-Page performance

•    Accessibility ratings
•    Best-practice scores
•    Overall SEO factors
•    Server speed test
•    Link Assessment
•    Link Trust analysis
•    Blacklist Check
•    On-Page SEO
•    Social Media profile
•    Internal Architecture
•    Keyword research

 

This plan may take some time, as I will need to verify the live data and decide on a suitable cause of action. Creating an ongoing strategy that will rectify the problems so they don’t reoccur in the future once we part ways.

 

Once the action plan has been outlined and there is a definitive blueprint to work from.

 

I will then move to the next stage to create a quotation based on this blueprint.

 

4. Quotation

 

Your quotation will be specific to your needs and will outline the depth of the work required to rectify the problems you may be having. It will be a detailed report of the type of work required – with a break down for each cost involved and why.

 

The issued quotation will only be valid for one month.

 

Once the quote has been accepted, it is important that you read my “Terms & Condition”. These set out the parameters I work by and put into finer detail my payment terms, timeframes and copyright.

 

An accepted quote will require a 50% deposit before any work is started.

 

As a freelancer this is standard practice, and there are many reasons why this makes sense. A deposit will show that you are committed to the project and it will keep you focused and invested to seeing it completed. It eliminates any time wasters and makes the client and freelance relationship a binding partnership. As I will have no other form of income, it will keep my cash flow flowing, and keep me devoted to working with you as well.

 

If you require a package that includes six of my services: - Content, Proofreading & editing, Media marketing, web editing, copywriting and Google SEO service all together. I may allow you to pay in three monthly instalments rather than two.

 

I will hold full copyright until the final payment has been made.

 

Stage Two Client input

 

This is the stage where we take a closer look into the issues and problems you are having. It usually entails a more in-depth phone call or face to face team’s webcam meeting.  I will need to go through a load of questions that need answered, in order to customise your brief.

 

This will usually be a comprehensive list of questions that will help me understand your business and who your customers are.

 

Copywriting brief

 

Once I have all your information, I can then create a customised copywriting brief specific to your needs.

A standard brief will usually cover:

Information about your business

  • Company name

  • Logo (does it define your business)

  • Contact details: Main office address

  • Type of business: Tell me in plain English what your business does?

  • Your Unique selling proposition; what sets you apart from everyone else?

  • Brand voice: Assertive, authoritative, caring, formal, professional, nostalgic, provocative, traditional, trustworthy etc.

  • Style guide: What type of words, phrases do you use?

  • Your values: Accountability, respect, integrity, teamwork, selflessness, innovative, inclusive, efficient, mindful etc.

  • Main competitors: link to their websites

 

Information about your audience

 

  • Target market: Who is your core market? Include age, gender, location, education, interests, include anything that you think is important

  • Pain points: What is their main pain points? Why would they consider your product and service?

  • How your service/product solves that problem: How do you want your new audience to feel once they are converted in to your customers using your products and services?

  • Evidence and social proof: What evidence or point of reference can I use to make your argument more compelling for them?

  • Potential objections: What barriers are standing in the way between your target audience and your product and services?

 

Your new copywriting project

 

What do you mainly want to achieve with this project? Do you want to reach more customers via search engines, generate more leads - sales, introduce an upgrade etc.Where can I find relevant information on your business? Can you supply me with information on the history - journey of your company? Relevant online resources, send over documents, or just explain it in full in this brief

  • Points you definitely want me to include in your copy: You need to give everything you want included in your copy. I'm not a mind reader - so you need to be very specific and detailed

  • Main call to action: what should your audience do after reading it? Click on a link to subscribe, to buy now, Book a call back, download an application, request a call etc.

  • esign constraints or word count limits, if relevant: The more information you give me the better.

  • SEO: Provide me with the keyword list you already are using. If you need me to do research for new keywords you will need to let me know.

  • Anything else you think should be included: Extra back ground information, new product and service launches, upgrades, modifications etc. Anything that you feel contributes to the copy - project being a success.

 

Once your brief is ready I will email you a copy to complete.

 

The completed brief will usually bring up more questions which I will need clarification on, before we can move onto “Stage three”.

 

Stage Three – My writing process

 

At this stage, once I have all your information. I am then ready to start the actual writing process.

Research

 

The general public assume that the writing process takes the longest to complete, but this is incorrect. The majority of my time is spent doing research on the information that you have supplied me.  This allows me to be more comprehensive and thorough in my approach.

 

There are a number of parts that need to come together in order to complete the research part of your project. This will usually comprise:

 

  • Your business

  • Products or services you provide

  • Who are your core loyal customers

  • What is there voice

  • Your Unique selling proposition

  • SEO most used keywords

  • Who are your competitors

 

Customer research

 

In order to write effective copy, I will need to know who your customers are.

 

The information that you gave me in the brief, will give me a starting point to work from.

 

But to be more comprehensive, I will need to know more.

 

I will need answers to these questions:

 

  • Why did the customer come to your company

  • What problems are they having

  • How have they tried to resolve their problems in the past

  • Why the change to an alternative product or service

  • What specifically do they look for when choosing a company’s service or product

  • Objections: What would stop them from purchasing from you

 

These are the key things (many more) I will be looking into when I do my research.

 

The customer Voice

 

“The words we choose to use in our copy can cause a desirable emotional response which can influence a prospective customer’s decision-making process.”

 

Having the right customer voice can make that connection.

 

People might not always recall what you say, but they will remember how your words made them feel.

 

Determining the type of language your prospective customer uses, will enable you to find out what term, phrases and words they prefer to use when they try to search for a product or service on the internet.

 

We are then able to match their language to your SEO search terms which will make a common connection and draw in the right type pf prospective customers. To learn more about this click: Customer voice.

 

Subject research

 

This is when I research your company, to learn more about your industry and the type of terminology you use. Having this information will assist me to structure your content professionally and authoritatively, so that prospective customers become aware of the services and products you have on offer.

 

Competitor research

 

  1. Determine who your competitors are.

 

Conducting thorough research into your competitors will enable you to figure out where you fit into your market. What works in a business similar to yours may not work for your brand. By dividing your competitors into two categories: direct and indirect.

 

Direct competitors: Operate in your same geographic area and offer products or services that could pass as a similar substitute to yours.

 

Indirect competitors: They provide products or services that are not the same, but they satisfy the same customers’ needs or solve their same problem.

 

  • Collect data about your competitors

 

This is where I gather data from your competitor’s, to see what your competitor’s products are like to determine the quality of the service they are offering.

 

This data will come from several different sources:     

 

  • The competitor’s website: products & services, price points, etc.

  • Social media: competitor posts, sentiment, audience profiling, etc.

  • Industry reports: revenue, market share, pricing strategies.

  • Financial reports: if public.

  • News articles: competitor mentions, press releases, advertisement’s.

  • Review sites: consumer reviews, employee reviews, social media, forums, FAQs, whitepapers, eBooks, blog, media kit, case studies.

  • Their sales process, channels, locations, on and offline advertising campaigns

 

  • Analyse the data

 

Analysing your competitor’s data will allow me to verify their strengths and weaknesses. It can help you identify opportunities and threats. Taking note of the competitor’s content strategy is important: Is it updated regularly, how in-depth is it, what is their tone, what is their style of the images and videos and written content, is the content structured properly, who is writing the content (in-house team, one person, multiple contributors). What is the copy like?

 

Determine why they are so successful, understand the technology they use, software programs etc.

 

Analyse the level of engagement on your competitor’s content. What are customers saying about them? How often are they posting. What are they posting the most?

 

Identify the things your competitors are doing wrong. This will give you an idea of gaps in the market.

 

It will help identify the ways your company, product or service is different. And this will help you establish your value proposition.

 

Establish who their main competitors are.

 

What is their digital marketing strategy (paid to organic).

 

How do they deal with negative criticism of their product or service?

Analysing customer reviews, comments, questions and complaints.

 

  • Perform a SWOT analysis to learn their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and threats.

 

A SWOT analysis will assist you to understand a company’s position, it encourages ideas and is vital in the decision making process on how to build on strengths, whilst exploiting opportunities, minimising potential weaknesses and protecting against threats.

            SEO keyword research

 

This is where I examine your Google page ranking compared to your competitors.

 

  • How you should use keywords.

  • The different types of keywords.

  • Customer intent keywords.

  • How to conduct your own keyword research.

  • What keywords would your customers use?

  • See what keywords your competitors are using.

  • How to choose the right keywords.

  • Where to insert your keywords.

  • How to avoid keyword stuffing.

  • How to work out your keyword density.

  • How modern technology “online” tools can help you.

                       

Keyword research will allow you to create well-written, informative, focused, SEO-friendly content.

 

The first draft

 

Once I have done all my research, it is time to make a start on the first draft for your project.

 

This is where I outline the structure and core details, linking facts and grouping similar information together. To create a rough outline sketch of the main topics I will cover.

 

Then I have to make sense of the information I have gathered.

 

I will need to establish what information is unnecessary and serves no purpose. What is useful  and contributes and substantiates other information. What is of major importance to your content and without it, the other information would become irrelevant.

 

And finally, what information is vital to make the whole content connect and flow logically. Because without out it. Most of the content wouldn’t really stand on its own or make any sense.

 

At this stage the draft has no logical flow, lacks detail, the topics will be out of order, it will not read well and it will have a lots of imperfections.

 

It has not been edited or proofread. Nor have any of the facts and core information been checked.

 

Editing the first draft

 

As a qualified editor, this is the part I enjoy the most. 

 

I will usually leave the first draft for about 24 hours, so I can re-approach it some hours later with fresh eyes. This gives me the opportunity to see what has worked and what hasn’t.

 

The purpose of an editor is produce clear, accurate, concise and legally-safe copy.

 

The challenge is to edit the copy so that it is:-

 

  1. Free of any error

  2. Follows the house style

  3. Is consistent with the publications voice

  4. Is clearly understood by the intended audience

  5. Conveys clearly the prime purpose of the text

 

My task is to ensure that the first draft is:

 

  • Clear: Is all the information and topics presented in a logical chronological order, easy to read and understood, with no ambiguities. Is there a rhythm and flow to the writing?

 

  • Appropriate: Is the language and content a perfect match for your intended audience.

 

  • Concise: Have you used unnecessary words and phrases.

 

  • Consistent: Have you maintained consistency with the publications style.

 

  • Accurate: All factual mistakes, typing errors, and inaccurate quoted passages must be corrected.

 

  • Correct: Spelling and punctuation.

 

  • The length: Establish what the correct length needs to be, as it may need to be trimmed back or just expanded more. Are the paragraphs and sentences the right length.

 

  • Legally safe: Are there any issues with Copyright, Data protection act and deformation.

 

  • Proofread: This is usually done while I edit.

 

  • Presentation: Do all the images have the right captions. Check what is in the back ground of each image.

 

The first draft will usually go through about three edits and rewrites before I feel confident enough to send it out to a client. It should be near perfect, but it probably isn’t.

 

The next task is to perform a thorough proofread of the first draft.

 

Proofreading the first draft.

Proofreading the first draft (verification process)

 

I usually do this every time there has been a change to the copy during the editing process.

 

The main purpose of Proofreading copy. Is to check for errors in:

 

  1. Spelling

  2. Grammar

  3. Punctuation

  4. Capitalised words

  5. Tables

  6. Lists

 

By using an inhouse style guide, I can ensure that every word is spelled and formatted correctly.

 

  • This involves checking that the punctuation and grammar are correct, so that the copy can be full understood.

 

  • It may entail looking closely at the “structure of the tense” or perhaps the “figures of speech”. Has the copy been written in an active or passive voice?

 

  • Are there ambiguous words that can cause confusion, and have I avoid the use of colloquialisms? Have I checked for homonyms?

 

  • Which spellcheck will overlook.  Are the phrases and clauses correct?

 

  • Are the correct fonts and sizes being used for headings, subheadings, captions, lists and numbered headings?

 

  • Are numbered lists in consecutive order and bullet points listed and indented correctly according to the style guide.

 

  • Are numbers below 10 being spelled out? And numbers over 100 being written in numerical value.

 

  • Do certain words need to be capitalised and a hyphen given to them when they are divided, compound words, word elements, or numbers.

 

The key to proofreading, is to understand how the words sound read aloud.

 

I need to establish if there is a rhyme and flow to the copy, or is it being affected by the wrong punctuation or incorrect words (too academic for the audience) being used.

 

Once I am completely happy with the first draft, I will send out a copy to the client for their feedback.

 

Levels of editing

 

In cases where I have not done any of the research and have taken over the project and a lot of the copy has already been written by somebody else.

 

I would first need to establish how much editing is needed for your copy.

This may depend on a number of things. I will first need to establish if your copy needs 1) A Content edit, 2) A Structure edit, 3) A style edit, or 4) A Presentation edit.

 

Some copy may require a lot of time and others may not. This all depends on the level of editing you require.

 

Each level will take different amounts of time to complete. There is a specific charge for each level of service.

 

As a guide, each level of service is broken down into what I do at each level, what the charge is at that level, and what you should expect as an end result at that level.

 

The three levels of editing I use are:

 

  1. Light

  2. Medium

  3. Heavy

 

So what does each editing level involve?

 

Level 1 – Light (proofreading)

 

The light edit is proofreading and not editing. It is usually done when there have been any changes to the copy before publication.

 

It is also called verification editing.

 

  1. Spelling

  2. Grammar

  3. Punctuation

  4. Capitalised words

  5. Tables

  6. Lists

To see what this covers, please refer to “Proofreading” above.

 

Level 2 – Medium (copy editing) SfEP; Structural

 

The main purpose of the “Medium edit” is to make sure that the copy is written for a single audience, is written in a single voice and has a single purpose. And is accurate, correct and consistent.

 

This is also known as line editing.

 

The medium edit covers everything listed under the Light edit, it also includes checking for errors in:

 

  1. Times.

  2. Dates.

  3. Names

  4. Figures.

  5. Calculations.

  6. URLs.

  7. Abbreviation.

  8. Acronyms.

  9. Use of gender pronouns.

  10. Internal paragraph structures.

 

Consideration needs to be made to the writing style:

 

  1. Who is the audience?

  2. What is the purpose of the piece?

  3. Where will it be published?

  4. What does the client intend to accomplish with the piece (which may be different from its obvious purpose)?

  5. Is the copy clear, concise and logical?

  6. Have the appropriate words been used?

  7. Is the copy too wordy, repetition of similar information

  8. Over-use of certain words or phrases

  9. Lack of transitional phrases

  10. Appropriateness of tone

 

Then I check for consistency errors in:

 

  1. Headers

  2. Subheaders

  3. Titles

  4. Type and structure of headings and titles

 

Level 3 – Heavy (content editing) SfEP: Substantive/development editing

 

This is when the client requires a much deeper edit into the writing style of the copy. This level will involve Level 1 “Light edit” and Levels 2 “Medium edit” as well.

 

This will require checking for errors in:

 

  1. Generalisations

  2. Globalisation

  3. Vagueness

  4. Consistency

  5. Flow

  6. Clarity

  7. Tone

  8. Focus

  9. Tenses

  10. Structure of sentences and paragraphs

  11. Organisation of the whole copy

  12. It may require a whole new rewrite and more research

 

Stage Four

 

First draft - Client feedback

 

This is when the client has had the opportunity to review the quality of my writing – the copy and make an assessment of what needs to be changed.

 

The client is able to give constructive feedback on the type of changes they want implemented across the copy.

 

The three important things that the client must remember when reviewing the first draft:

 

  • The copy has been written for the reader – the audience – prospective customers. It has not been written for the client’s point of view. The copy’s main purpose is to communicate with their customers. It has been written to address their needs and will represent the same language (SEO keywords) that they will use when they search for a solution to their problem from your business

  • I need one person as my main point of contact within your company. So that all communication from elsewhere within your organisation filters down to them. This is so, I’m not being contacted by several people within your organisation who all want different changes made to the first draft

  • As this is a collaborative process. Open communication is required at all times to get the copy perfect and prevent delays in publication. As a qualified copywriter it is my job to communicate directly to your customers. It is important to point out that, I will be looking at the copy from a communication level. Whilst you will be looking at the copy from a business level.

 

Client request changes

 

To obtain pure perfection – and asymmetry between the client and copywriter. There are going to be requests from the client to change the first draft. I expect this and I encourage you to give constructive feedback about what amendments need to be carried out.

 

All clients have five working days to read through the first draft and then request changes to be made.

 

I will presume that the copy is suitable to your needs, if I don’t hear from you within five working days.

 

Amendments

 

Once I have received your requested changes. I will get them amended within two working days so they can be returned as a second draft.

 

Your project will usually consist of a first, second and third final draft.

 

I do not charge for these revisions as I find they are usually more than enough to complete the job for publication.

 

Second draft – Client feedback

 

The second draft will have all the amendments requested from the first draft.

 

In situations when a changed has been requested, which I know is unnecessary? A full explanation will be given to you in writing, why I think it should not be changed.

 

I have found that once the client has seen examples of my previous published work with other clients. They are then able to make an informed decision as to whether making the changes would be in their best interest.

 

Further changes

 

Once the client has received the second draft they will have two working days to make any further changes.

 

I will presume that the copy has been approved and is suitable for their publication if I haven’t heard from you in two working days.

 

Final amendments

 

This will be the final amendment, which will give the client the third and final draft.

 

If the client requires further amendments after receiving the final draft.

 

There will be an extra charge depending on the level of editing required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freelance journalist | Eugene Struthers | Copywriter | England

Bio

Eugene Struthers creates engaging SEO web copywriting content that helps businesses find their voice, spread their message, and tell their story. Eugene’s mission is to create eye-catching copywriting content that converts visitors into loyal customers

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