Survivial Skills for Freelancers

Writing brochure copy to launch an IT service

The client: System 15, Gloucester, Gloucestershire

Gloucester-based IT company, System 15, create clever custom-built software, develop beautiful, functional websites, and provide reliable, jargon-free IT support. Their expert team help Mac and PC-based businesses get the best out of their IT.

The need

System 15 had an idea for a great new product – Business in a Box. This simple, affordable IT solution contains everything a small business needs to get started, from anti-virus protection and cloud-based email to a reliable backup system.

They needed a brochure that enabled them to promote this technical solution to non-technical business owners in a clear, compelling and persuasive way.

The solution

The project involved working closely with System 15’s designer, Adam Vines from We began by meeting to establish the benefits of the solution, decide on key messages, and start thinking about taglines for the product.

Adam produced a great design, which System 15 loved, and I wrote the copy to fit the approved design, making the process very efficient.

Communication was clear from start to finish, and the result is a great looking brochure that promotes the benefits of a technical product in a way that any small business owner can understand.

In the client’s words…

“Due to the technical nature of Business in a Box it was vital to ensure the brochure copy was easy to understand and would appeal to decision makers. Sarah’s brief was to translate this technical concept into a clear, benefit-led message.

“It’s extremely difficult to create copy that reads well and conveys a clear sales message about your product or service. It doesn’t matter how good your offering is – if the copy isn’t right you will lose potential clients.

“You have such a small amount of time to grab the attention of your customer and deliver your message, and if your copy isn’t clear, persuasive and appealing then your client may never know how good your product really is.

“Sarah took the time to understand our requirements and produced carefully crafted copy without any technical jargon. I strongly recommend her services and will certainly be using her again in the future.”

Nick Rowntree, Director, System 15

Editing new guidance for sex and relationships education

The client: Brook, London

Established 50 years ago, Brook provides free and confidential sexual health and wellbeing services for nearly 250,000 young people UK-wide, each year. The charity also provides sex and relationships education (SRE) and training courses for professionals working with young people.

The need

Brook, in collaboration with the Sex Education Forum and the PSHE Association, decided to produce supplementary guidance to bring outdated sex and relationships education into the 21st century.

The project involved managing and editing a lengthy document, and incorporating often contradictory comments and feedback from industry experts in a number of organisations. Brook needed someone to take charge of the document, ensuring the key messages remained clear throughout the process.

The solution

I worked closely with the team at Brook, taking charge of the editing process and coordinating the draft to ensure the document never lost its meaning. Though the process involved an incredible 14 drafts and a number of challenges, it never became frustrating.

Despite the document’s length, the resulting guidance was clear, inspiring, and easy to understand. This was a rewarding project with the chance to make a real difference to the lives of young people in the UK.

In the client’s words…

“Sarah is a brilliant copywriter, editor and proofreader. She makes our copy engaging, and ensures it always sounds just right, but more than that – she becomes part of the team and thinks carefully about her recommendations, why she makes them and how they might benefit the organisation.

“I love working with Sarah and I know that Brook’s communications have improved as a result of it.”

Jules Hillier, Interim Chief Executive, Brook

Sweet tweets…

Thanks to ‪@STEcopywriting who worked on ‪#SREAdvice and did a marvellous job with our 14 – yes 14 – drafts!
Jules Hillier ‏‪@rosylight

Our new SRE advice wouldn’t have been the success it is without exceptional help from ‪@STEcopywriting – thank you.
Joe Hayman ‏‪@JoeHaymanPSHE

Working with ‪@STEcopywriting on the ‪#SREAdvice has been a delight. We could not have asked for more! ‪#ff
Brook ‏‪@BrookCharity

‪@Simonablake‪ @David_Cameron @PSHEassociation @sex_ed_forum I’ve never read such absolute common sense in all my life! #greatwork‬
Sharon Munnings ‏‪@smunnings01

‬Thanks to ‪@STEcopywriting for brilliant work. I recommend you check her out! ‪#SREAdvice
Simon Blake OBE ‏‪@Simonablake

Crafting compelling copy for a success training company

The client: The Business Kitchen, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The Business Kitchen organise and provide a series of training courses, workshops and events to help Gloucestershire businesses become more successful.

The need

The Business Kitchen produce a vast range of communication and marketing materials to promote their courses and events, from website copy, emails and press releases to social media campaigns and exhibition copy.

As well as lacking a consistent tone of voice and a strong sales message, their copy often contained errors and inaccuracies. They needed help to raise awareness of the Business Kitchen and to promote the benefits of their training and events.

The solution

The Business Kitchen recognise that powerful, compelling copy is an effective way of growing their customer base and boosting their brand. Each month brings new copywriting challenges and documents to edit, and I ensure these are always persuasive, accurate and on message.

Employing me to write and edit their copy frees up time for Gill and Nigel to focus on growing the business. I have been involved in developing social media campaigns and even naming new concepts – I really feel like part of the team.

In the client’s words…

“We have been working with Sarah over the past 12 months to polish our messaging and the words we use in our communications and marketing materials. She has made a significant difference to the quality of our copy. She is extremely professional, has great use of language and is often able to turn things round quickly when needed.

“We would highly recommend her to other small business owners that want to make sure the written word is an asset to their business in whatever medium.”

Gill Smith, Co-Founder, The Business Kitchen

Eg and ie: what’s the difference?

If you want to use eg and ie in your writing, make sure you know the difference.

I don’t like abbreviations in writing. They’re lazy and usually unnecessary. But that’s just me. If you’re going to use eg and ie in your writing, these tips will help you get it right.

• eg means ‘for example‘ or ‘such as
• ie means ‘in other words

It might help to remember for egsample.

Here are some examples of how to use eg and ie correctly, and how to avoid them altogether:

I love savoury food, eg cheese, crisps, crackers, and nuts.
You could write: I love savoury food, such as cheese, crisps, crackers, and nuts.
Even simpler: I love savoury food – cheese, crisps, crackers, and nuts.

I’m doing my favourite thing tonight, ie dancing.
You could write: I’m doing my favourite thing tonight – dancing, in other words.
Even simpler: I’m doing my favourite thing tonight – dancing.

Everyday vs every day: tips to remember the difference

Do you know when to write EVERYDAY and when it should be EVERY DAY? These simple tips will help you get it right.

Driving up the M5 recently I overtook a Poundland lorry emblazoned with the company’s slogan: Amazing value everyday!

If I hadn’t been driving, I’d have thrown large objects in protest. Because what it should say, of course, is Amazing value every day!

Confusing everyday with every day is a common mistake, but there’s a simple tip to make sure you get it right.

If you can replace every day with each day, use every day. For example, ‘I watch TV every day’.

Everyday is an adjective meaning ‘commonplace’, and is used to describe a noun. For example, ‘an everyday occurrence’ means something that happens every day.

Remember, Poundland: your stock may be cheap, but good grammar costs nothing. Unless you paid an expensive ad agency to come up with a bum tagline, of course.

Everyday vs every day: tips to remember the difference

Everyday vs every day: tips to remember the difference