Survivial Skills for Freelancers

Website copywriting for a talented fine artist

The client: Melanie Cormack-Hicks

In 2017, Melanie Cormack-Hicks walked away from the school where she’d taught GCSE art for 20 years and stepped into the role of fine artist – something she’d dreamt about for years but never believed she’d have the confidence to pursue.

Today, she creates evocative paintings of the landscapes she loves – from magical English woodlands to sparkling Scottish rivers and rugged Devon shorelines.

After kicking off her new career with a solo exhibition at Chapel Arts in Cheltenham, she’s now represented by galleries in Devon and Monmouth, and has exhibited and sold paintings in London, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The need

Melanie’s first website was hastily pulled together to give her an online presence but was never properly thought through.

Without a budget for marketing, Melanie had written the site herself – as many sole traders do – and was first to admit that it was too wordy, lacked clarity, and needed improvements to the structure and flow.

With little thought to SEO, the site had failed to attract the new customers Mel hoped would book her workshops and enquire about buying her paintings

Since meeting Melanie at a local networking event over a year ago I had watched her confidence in her art – and, most importantly, the potential it offered as a full-time business – grow. When we first met to talk about her website, she explained that several of her paintings were in the process of being shipped to Singapore, to be exhibited at a prestigious art fair.

Melanie was ready to make her art available to a wider audience by offering high-quality prints for sale online, and to raise awareness of her Cotswold painting workshops.

The solution

Melanie’s career as a fine artist had taken off more rapidly than she could possibly have anticipated, but her website hadn’t kept up.

She had concerns about the process of creating a website that represented her as a professional artist without losing site of her personality. I explained that, rather than using their own voice, a good copywriter provides a better, clearer and more articulate version of the client’s own voice.

I started the copywriting process by providing a website briefing form that I had designed to encourage my clients to think about their customers and their value proposition – the skills and qualities that make them stand out from the competition.

Once I had Melanie’s answers, we met to discuss her aims for her new website and to allay any concerns she had about the process.

The resulting website copy has a clear message about the power of Melanie’s art and what it represents to her customers. It showcases her work for anyone looking for evocative landscapes and seascapes as high-quality prints for their home, and promotes her popular workshops to artists of all abilities.

It reflects the customer journey from initial awareness of Melanie’s art to fulfilling the dream of having one of her paintings displayed in their home – and helps them to achieve that goal.

My work with Melanie is a perfect example of how investing in professional copywriting can help talented individuals take their business to the next level.

In the client’s words…

“Since working with Sarah my brand is much better defined. She’s written my story for magazine articles and took away all the pain of writing my new website.

“Sarah’s caring nature is pivotal to her practice. Her superpower lies within her ability to see you with total clarity. She asks the right questions and listens carefully to understand your business and the needs of your customers, then gives you a clear voice that makes you feel and sound like the best version of yourself.

“It’s always such a relief having Sarah working on my copy. Her ability to understand your customers and what you do for them is superb. She steers your thoughts towards your client’s needs and gives them your voice in return.

“I highly recommend Sarah as a copywriter. She removes all obstacles, making her support second to none. She can do so much more for your business than you realise.”

Melanie Cormack-Hicks

Website copywriting for a Cotswold tourist attraction

The client: Painswick Rococo Garden

Painswick Rococo Garden is one of Gloucestershire’s best-kept secrets. As the UK’s only complete surviving rococo garden, it combines the great outdoors with a cheeky peek into the flamboyance of the early 1700s, thanks to its colourful follies and unique features.

The need

Much-loved within the Cotswolds, Painswick Rococo Garden is best known for its incredible annual display of snowdrops, which attracts visitors from far and wide – but this reputation as an early spring garden was failing to optimise visitor numbers throughout the rest of the year.

The attraction is supported by the Friends of Painswick Rococo Garden – a group of trustees responsible for the garden’s upkeep and ongoing restoration. Upcoming changes to the way the attraction is funded meant it needed to become more commercial, working harder to attract family visitors, and to become known as a garden for all seasons. A new website was the perfect starting point to address these challenges.

The solution

I met Painswick Rococo Garden marketing manager, Claire Barnes, to talk about the aims of the new website. I began the copywriting process by delving deep into the things that make the attraction such a special place, gaining a clear understanding of the opportunities that were available by promoting the garden to a new audience and attracting visitors all year round.

The previous website firmly positioned Painswick Rococo Garden for an audience of garden enthusiasts. It talked about the features, history and location of the garden, and provided plenty of practical information, such as admission prices and opening hours.

I recommended a fresh, approachable tone of voice that would appeal to a younger, family audience without alienating current supporters, a structure and flow that takes visitors on a journey through the seasons, and a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page that makes information easy to find, as well as helping with SEO.

Descriptive and emotive language throughout the new website brings Painswick Rococo Garden to life, evoking the feelings and emotions of visiting this beautiful garden, and positions it as a top Cotswold attraction and a garden for all seasons.

In the client’s words…

“Sarah immediately understood our needs and what we wanted to convey with our new website for Painswick Rococo Garden.

“She has a breadth of knowledge across copywriting, SEO, marketing and design, skilfully employing them all to create hardworking and engaging copy.

“Getting an independent, fresh perspective on your company is an extremely valuable exercise and Sarah really helped to ensure we were considering the needs of our customers.

“Sarah has been a delight to work with: very friendly, highly professional, delivering on time and exceeding expectations. We’re very excited to be launching the new website shortly.”

Claire Barnes, Marketing Manager, Painswick Rococo Garden