Freelance copywriting: then and now

"I'm older than the internet" slogan, plus a computer mouseThe world of freelance copywriting has undergone huge changes since I began back in October 1996 (was it really that long ago?).

It didn’t happen overnight though; it’s been a gradual process over many years.

Overall, the changes have been positive and certainly make my job more interesting…

The online revolution

Copywriting used to have one main medium: print. Consequently, the range of my work was fairly narrow, limited primarily to brochures, leaflets, newsletters, POS and user guides. Although companies still need a vast amount of printed material, they have a far more voracious appetite for online content – be it websites, e-shots, e-newsletters, blogs or social media content – which comprises the lion’s share of my work today.

In tandem with this shift, the creatives who designed and produced all of this marketing collateral (outsourcing the copywriting to freelancers such as myself) used to be called graphic design agencies; now they’re generally known as digital/online/search marketing agencies as a reflection of their broader remit.

Importance of ‘search’

The emergence of SEO – and with it the need for SEO copywriting – has had a major impact on the nature of my work, with keywords and optimised copy almost a daily topic of discussion. I enjoy the challenges it presents and do my best to stay up to speed, sharing my knowledge with less informed clients as and when required.

Geographic spread

In the early days, ALL of my clients were local. I physically met each one of them and would pop in to see them on a regular basis. Now, my client base is much wider. Although I predominantly still provide freelance copywriting for clients in Warwickshire, I can – and frequently do – work for companies and agencies across the UK. (Update: I’ve since had a client in France.)

As well as changes to the type of work I do and who for, the way in which I work has radically changed, largely due to technological advancements.

This will be covered in Part 2 next week. Meanwhile, does any of the above resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 comments on “Freelance copywriting: then and now
  1. SEO optimisation is vital for the success of any blog or website today and it is something I frequently read about. Do you have any suggested websites or reading material that you would be happy to share with me so that I can advance my knowledge further on this subject?

    • I can recommend checking out SEO Copywriting and the Freelance Lifestyle (see links in the right bar) as they both have lots of useful articles. You might also like some of the pages I’ve ‘liked’ from my Facebook page (thanks for your Like by the way) as lots of them are fellow copywriters/editors/proofreaders who share handy tips and advice.

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