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
www.melaniecormackhicks.com

I bet you didn’t know a copywriter could do THIS…

“So, you’re a copywriter – what do you actually do?”

For a while now, my stock response to that question has been “I write websites” – mainly because it’s something everyone can understand.

But I’ve had a few meetings recently in which the client has been visibly surprised when I’ve talked about some of the projects I’ve worked on – which got me thinking about how easy it is to get typecast in business.

It goes a little like this…

I write a website for a start-up business. They love it. They tell their colleague, who’s also setting up a new business. They ask me to write their website. They love it… and so it goes on.

While this isn’t exactly a problem, it does mean businesses are missing out on a bunch of the marketing and messaging services that I – and other copywriters* – can help them with.

Strange…

I remember an ad from a Cheltenham-based printing company that ran daily in the local paper some years back. All it said was, “strange…. some people just use us for printing…”

I found it odd at the time, but now I understand what they were getting at. In the same way that certain graphic designers are best known for designing logos, writing websites is just one aspect of what a good copywriter does.

With that in mind, here are just six of the lesser-known things a skilled copywriter or editor can do for your business:

1. Preaching to the converted

If you have no problem attracting leads but you struggle to convert those leads into business, chances are your emails are to blame.

A copywriter can review the email enquiries you receive and your responses to them, then create a set of email templates that you can adapt to suit each enquiry. They’ll tighten, polish and strengthen your message, add personality and sparkle, and make sure your call to action is clear and compelling.

2. Get connected

Done right, LinkedIn works wonders for business. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93 per cent of B2B marketers consider it to be the most effective channel for lead generation, and I’ve lost count of the number of new clients who’ve got in touch after finding me on there**.

If your profile is a bit of a mess, a copywriter or editor will help you knock it into shape and inject the personality you need to present yourself in the best possible way.

3. Case in point

Do you show off the work you’ve done for your clients? Case studies or project profiles are a great way to bring to life the ways in which your products or services solve problems for your customers.

Done some great work? Shout about it! A copywriter will interview your clients and write up a set of case studies that you can add to your website and promote on social media to attract the clients you want.

4. Speechless?

I’ve edited many a speech, TV or radio interview over the years, including dozens for the CEOs and directors of Europe’s leading entertainment network. Most of them aren’t native English speakers, so I help them ensure their tone is just right for an international audience.

An experienced editor will make sure your message is crystal clear for your audience, and that it presents you in the best possible light.

5. Style it out

Everything you write on behalf of your business reflects your company’s image. Does your writing support your brand, or damage it?

House style guidelines cover everything from the use of dates, capitals and punctuation to words and phrases that are specific to your company, and your industry. They’re a handy reference guide that can help take the pressure off anyone who’s writing for your business, and many good copywriters – including this one, of course – will be happy to develop guidelines for you.

6. Show off

Been offered space in a local magazine or the trade press? Perhaps you have a PR company that can knock up some tasty copy to make your new product or service shine. If you don’t, a copywriter will relish the challenge.

If you have a relationship with a good copywriter they’ll understand your business and what makes you tick. If not, provide a sound brief so they can produce an article that makes your business stand out from the crowd.

Above and beyond

So there we have it – a quick outline of some of the services that go beyond the standard ‘websites, brochures, leaflets and blog posts’ you’d expect from an experienced copywriter.

If you’d like to find out more about how any of these services can help your business become more successful, call me on 07973 269608 or drop me an email.

*While I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience or skills, I’m pretty certain I’m not the only copywriter who provides these services for their clients. It’s just a question of finding one with the combination of experience, skills and approach that works best for your business.

**According to LinkedIn, I have an all-star profile. It’s not hard to do, but if you need help getting yours up to scratch, get in touch.