To niche or not to niche: a #ProCopyChat roundup

freelance copywriter niche

Where do you stand on the specialist vs generalist debate?

Do you have a copywriting niche? 

Or do you prefer to be — as my Twitter pal Jonathan Wilcock puts it — ‘A specialist, but not a specialist’?

According to the ProCopywriters Survey 2019, just over half of copywriters — 51% — specialise, while the other 49% don’t. I fall in that 51%. And, on the  28th August 2019, I got the chance to bang on about why I think niching down is the way to go as a freelance copywriter from the #ProCopyChat hot seat (If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an hour-long Twitter chat that happens every last Wednesday of the month at 11:00 am GMT, and you should definitely join in). 

Here’s what went down. 


Is It Always Bad To Use Jargon In Your Copy?

“We help disruptive startups pivot their offering and maximise their growth potential by leveraging their social graph and the power of big data.”


“What does that even mean?” you may be muttering to yourself as you read this.  Perhaps, you’ve even thrown up in your mouth a little (I know I did, and I came up with that thing myself).

As a copywriter, jargon is probably the bane of your existence. A dirty word, even. So you confine it to the deepest, darkest recesses of your writing toolbox, vowing to never use it unless you’re desperate.

But let’s take the emotion out of it for a second and try to be objective.

Is jargon really all that bad? Or is it more likely that it’s misunderstood and, all too often, misused?

Personally, I’d argue for the second option. I don’t think jargon is necessarily bad. Or the province of the pretentious and the hacks. On the contrary, I think it can one of the most powerful tools in the copywriter’s arsenal.

Provided, of course, that you use it the right way. 


15 Tried And Tested Free (Or Dirt Cheap) Tools For Copywriters

Getting started as a freelance copywriter is easy peasy. You just need a laptop and an internet connection, right?

Well, technically yes. But that’s a gross oversimplification.

Obviously, you need word processing software and research tools (duh). Tools to  communicate with clients and stay on top of your projects. And tools to create invoices when a project’s done (cause at the end of the day, don’t we all want to get paid?).

There are a ton of apps out there. And if you’re not careful, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and rack up hundreds of pounds in app subscriptions. But, as far as I’m concerned, the best thing about this business is that your overhead is as low as you want it to be.

Put simply, there are lots of free apps, or apps with free tiers, that are just as good – if not better – than paid ones.

Here are 15 of my favourites. I use these every day in my business and, frankly I’d be lost without them. If you’re just starting out, these will set you up to impress your clients without even going near your (probably tight) startup budget.

And if you’re a seasoned pro who feels they may be spending too much on apps… well, why not take these out for a spin?


4 Content Marketing Lessons I’ve Learned From My Cat

Meet Jenny, my awesome cat.

She’s about nine years old. Or so I think. When I adopted her she was already an adult, you see.

Jenny and I have been through a lot together. We’ve moved four different houses in four different cities in two different countries. She’s travelled by car, including a seven hour stretch from London to Edinburgh. She’s been on buses. And she’s flown on planes (still needs to experience the tube though).

Jenny starts meowing insistently for food at 7 am sharp each morning and at 7:30 pm sharp every evening. The rest of the time, she does fuck-all. Unless you count snoring loudly. Which, as much as I love her, can get pretty annoying when I’m trying to focus on work.

But what does this have to do with content marketing at all, you may be wondering?


Boosting Your Freelance Income: Overcoming Mental Roadblocks


You’ve honed your writing craft and brushed up on your copywriting skills. You have a great website full of glowing client testimonials and excellent portfolio samples. You’ve picked a profitable niche and started marketing yourself relentlessly to qualified leads.

But despite your efforts, you’re still having trouble charging high rates.

What is the problem?

Is it the state of the market? Or are you sabotaging yourself somehow?


How To Follow Up With Prospects: My Tried And Tested Technique

follow up email

If you use cold emailing as a marketing strategy to grow your freelance business, it’s probably been drummed into your head that you have to follow up on every lead. Indeed, many popular writing blogs (some of which I count among my favourites) have at least one article on when and how to follow up with prospects. And some even explain in great detail what you should say.

When I first started out as a freelance writer, I used to follow these ideas religiously. I even had a spreadsheet in which I tracked each email I sent, from the date I made first contact to the date I was due to follow up and beyond.

Over time, however, I found myself moving away from this system and developing my very own follow-up technique.

I’m proud to say that this technique gives me 100% results. Every time. So I thought I’d lay it out step by step so you can give it a try if you like.


Here goes:


How I Tripled My Freelance Income By Working Less

freelance income

When I first started freelancing full-time, I didn’t really have a plan or a blueprint. I did, however have one objective:

Get clients. Pronto.

I proceeded to pursue this objective with characteristic single-mindedness. I’d send 10 to 20 emails to random companies every day, apply for everything on my two go-to job boards (ProBlogger and Contena) and say yes to anyone who got back to me.

Of course, I now know this was incredibly short-sighted of me. Sure, I got tons of clients. In fact, I consistently worked 50 to 60 hour weeks, often spilling over into the weekend. But my freelance income was so low I barely made enough to cover my expenses.

Back in January of this year I wrote a grand total of 50 blog posts, averaging 500 to 600 words each.

And I made £643.85.

Not good, eh?

Then, something happened.


3 Ways To Come Up With More Blog Ideas Than You Can Handle

blog post ideas

Do you struggle to come up with blog ideas?

Perhaps, you’ve been putting off even starting a blog, because you don’t know what you’d write about?

Or maybe you’re simply scared you’ll run out of steam at some point?

Sometimes, words don’t come easy, even when you know exactly what you want to talk about in your post. Add having to come up with topic ideas on a regular basis and blogging starts looking like an even more daunting proposition.

But just as you can defeat writers’ block, you can also overcome a dearth of ideas and create an awesome business blog that truly helps your brand. If, that is, you play your cards right.

Here’s my system  for coming up with more blog ideas than I can handle. These tricks have saved my ass more than once. And, if you’re a business owner or someone entrusted with maintaining a business blog, I’m sure these strategies can help you too.