We believe great copy lies at the heart of effective communication. Whether that’s creating a script with no words or populating a large website. Chris Mugford offers a virtual copywriting service for clients and agencies. If you have any kind of need for copy or creative thinking, here’s what we say:

Alfa Museum

Alfa Ciggie Cards

Alfa Boring

Copywriting – Experience is King
So you want to persuade someone. Cajole them. Sell to them. Alter their behaviour. You need to use words. From Henry V at Agincourt to Churchill on the beaches: words count. From “Beanz Meanz Heinz” to “Vorsprung Durch Technik”: words count. They move people and they move product.
And in the world of Big Data, the copywriter’s skill has never been in more demand. Why? Because search engines and social media interpret millions of words in order to offer us what we want to know. In a split second.
But what words to use? What words to persuade? Cajole? Sell? This is where experience comes in. An experienced copywriter can understand your target market and write for them, and them alone. An experienced copywriter can select a tone-of-voice and use it like a weapon. An experienced copywriter will also be a terrific strategic thinker. Whether you’re drafting an email or writing a radio or TV script. From a technical website to a strapline.
Click on these examples to read them. And carry on, because here are the answers to the eight Golden Questions you need to ask before briefing any freelance copywriter.

Formica Coffee Cup

1 What level of experience should I use?
As high as you can. An experienced writer will understand your brief more quickly, produce work more efficiently and deliver to a deadline. Every time. Even more important is the end result. This press ad for Legal & General ran in the national press but stood or fell by the amount of money it took off the page. It succeeded in spades as well as appearing in the D&AD annual. The campaign for Vladivar Vodka ran as spreads in the Sunday papers. The puzzles generated massive consumer engagement and irritated the Russian government to boot, leading to widespread national press coverage as well as appearing in the D&AD annual. The campaign of posters and magazine spreads for HMV featured top rock and pop artists: in this case ZZTop.

L&G Cashbuilder

Vladivar Mole

HMV ZZTop

Vickers Rat

Vickers Rubbish

Whitbread Tablemat

2 Is an experienced copywriter too precious to work on a small B2B brief?
That’s one of the real tests of experience. A truly experienced writer can turn his or her hand to anything and has no qualms about the scale of the job. If you suspect a copywriter has turned down your project because it’s too small, it’s a sure sign that they are relatively inexperienced. This single DM piece for Vickers was targeted at local authorities and achieved high levels of sales leads. Humble sales presenters for Bahlsen Biscuits are an essential item of sales support. Another small DM item for Whitbread was for a simple events venue.

Bahlsen Xmas FC

Rollei Blackbird

3 Can your copywriter grasp technical subject matter?
Absolutely. Having a technical mind that can assimilate specialist information is critical, whether for a brochure or a website. Colt International is an engineering firm famous for its provocative advertising. These ads ran as full pages in the National Broadsheet press. But grabbing attention simply won’t work unless the writer has grasped the intricacies of the product technology.
The ExportSavvy website is an online e-learning programme being used by the UK government through UKTI. It is part of the programme to get 100,000 more SMEs to export by 2020. It uses voiceover rather than text and over 40 hours of script was written. Rollei is a famous camera manufacturer used by professionals around the world. Its main competitor is Hasselblad. These ads ran in specialist press highlighting Rollei’s technical superiority.

Export Savvy Website

Colt Far East

Mitsubishi Shogun

4 Should I use someone who really understands client needs and agency relationships?
Oh yes. The marketing process is complex and often wedded to the sales process. Understanding a client’s sales process and the supply chain is key to creating great copy. Likewise the relationship an agency has with its clients comes in every shape and size. It helps if the copywriter has experienced all of these nuances and knows what to expect.
These ads for Rombouts Coffee and Robertsons Jam ran in the trade press and were aimed at a very specific target audience with a very specific sales message. Mitsubishi demanded an intensive hands-on relationship from its agency but got the work it wanted once the writer had spent enough time with the manufacturer at track days, motor shows and with its technical team.

Robertsons No1

Rombouts Coffee Machine

NZ Lamb leaflet

5 Should I use someone who has worked on international and overseas briefs?
It helps. Even if your brief is for a little sales letter aimed at solicitors in the Midlands. That’s because understanding cultural differences even when they are very subtle can make all the difference to response rates. There’s another advantage too. Sometimes a brief spans a whole range of cultural types. In which case, it’s important to understand what factors bind them all together. Look hard and you’ll always find something a group has in common. This POS and DM campaign for New Zealand Lamb ran throughout the Middle East. It’s a region with massive cultural differences from the West, but clearly briefed knowledge produces clear results.

IBM Calendar

IBM Fiver

IBM CIM

6 Can your copywriter work to strict corporate guidelines?
Oh that’s so important. Many clients have strict corporate guidelines, none more so than IBM who have a large book devoted just to how copy should be written. Some say this ties everyone’s hands but this campaign for IBM (created in tandem with one of the most famous straplines in marketing history – “I think, therefore IBM”) shows how technical and specialist information can be presented cleanly and clearly and even win awards.

Saxa end frame

7 Can your copywriter produce concepts and scripts as well as written work?
Of course. Being able to write highly effective copy depends on being able to think conceptually. Not just string two words together. All communication springs from a grasp of the overall aim of the project. Your writer should automatically be thinking about your brief in conceptual terms. Which is why creating script concepts and visual material will come just as easily as writing. To see a selection of our TV ads and online video content, click here.

D&AD First Pic

8 Has your copywriter won awards? And is this important? Yes. And yes. Many regard the awards industry as self-congratulatory and incestuous. But the most highly regarded awards are a reflection of the UK’s standing as a world-leader in advertising and marketing skills. No award is more coveted than D&AD – the Oscars of the advertising and design world. Few copywriters see their work published in the D&AD Annual and it’s a good question to ask. Fewer still have been asked by D&AD to create advertising for the organisation itself, but that’s what you see here. These ads ran in specialist marketing press to support D&AD’s publishing business. The yellow knotted handkerchief Call-for-Entries was a DM piece that mimicked the famous D&AD yellow pencil award trophies.Click here to see Copywriting Terms and Conditions

D&AD What Effect

copywriting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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