Q. Do I need a copywriter/editor?

A. The fact that you’re reading this suggests that you probably do. Most people think they can write. Most people are also surprised to find out they can’t. It’s only when I point out problems with clients’ copy – politely, of course – that they realise how far short of professional standard it really is. And even if they get the little things right (like its and it’s or there, their and they’re), they won’t be looking for problems such as passive voice, redundant apostrophes or malapropisms.

You probably don’t care about these things, but I do. And I can guarantee that you DO care about how the public perceives your brand. Spelling mistakes, bad grammar and confusing copy all add up to give the impression that you don’t care enough about your business to present it in a professional manner. If that’s my first impression, that company probably wouldn’t win my business.

But all of that’s just about not making mistakes. What about harnessing the power of words to work for your brand, rather than against it? A good copywriter understands that they need to get out of the way and let the brand speak in its own voice. They will strive to understand your business and its ‘mission’, as well as who it needs to speak to – and will then talk to them in their own language.

A good copywriter will also have a complete toolbox of editorial techniques and strategies, from an array of opening gambits to constructing compelling content and convincing calls to action. Readers are suggestible and good copy works on a subliminal level that goes far beyond a simple message. The net result is that your communications and marketing collateral works harder for your business.

Do you need a copywriter/editor? You tell me at hello@stevetakle.com


Q. Can’t I just use Grammarly?

A. It’s better than nothing! If your budget just doesn’t stretch to a professional copywriter, then it’s the minimum you should consider. But it won’t help you structure your piece or create compelling content that your market finds too persuasive to resist. Services like Grammarly certainly ‘understand’ grammar, but they don’t ‘understand’ people, what motivates them and what converts browsing into action. You’ll only get that from a professional copywriter.


Q. What is content marketing?

A. The concept is beautifully simple, but getting it right takes experience. You publish an article, blog, tweet or email that provides meaningful, useful, interesting or entertaining content to the public. There might not be a sales pitch, a hard sell, or even a call to action. Old-fashioned marketers hate it.

But the general public loves it – and so do forward thinking marketing professionals who realise the potential that the internet and social media has to offer. By meeting the public in a social environment, or freely giving – yes, giving – information or entertainment, your brand is not only brought to their attention, but that interaction will be seen as ‘a good thing’. It’s a unique way to engage with existing and prospective clients that both enriches their lives and wins you business. What’s not to like about that?


Q. What are your qualifications?

A. I hold a BA (Hons) in English and an MA in Creative Writing. I have since attended numerous training courses in every area of content and editorial, from formal article structure to effective proofreading and law for journalists.


Q. What’s your experience?

A. I’ve worked as a full-time content professional since 1998. During that time, I’ve worked for and with every scale of company from bootstrapping start-ups to some of the biggest multinationals in the world. The majority of my professional experience has been gained in consumer print and the internet, but my career has also taken me across various media including interactive TV, radio, social media and mobile communications.

Since 2009, I have worked as a freelance copywriter/editor for a wide range of local, national and international clients. I specialise in working closely with SMEs to create content marketing programmes to raise their profile and their profits. Please view the testimonials to find out what my clients have to say about my work. I promise that’s one page I didn’t write…


Q. Why choose a freelance copywriter instead of an agency?

A. Doesn’t everybody want to talk to the organ grinder instead of the monkey? You could go through an agency, but it will cost you more, there’s no guarantee the same writer will be banging at a keyboard every time and you might not even have direct contact with the person building your brand in words. That’s one step too far removed in my book.

Choosing a freelance copywriter means that your money is being spent on adjectives, not admin – or a brightly coloured ‘meeja’ office. You can send me an email or pick up the phone and know that I’m listening. I enjoy building professional relationships with my clients over time, so the process feels more like collaborating than commissioning.

And as my own boss, I set my own hours, so I can be there when you need a rush job overnight.


Q. Can you guarantee that your SEO work will get me the number one spot on Google?

A. No. Nobody can, whatever they tell you. Anybody who tells you otherwise is overpromising and most likely using spamming techniques for short-term gain. Google doesn’t like this and it could do your business long-term harm. Can I help you to significantly boost your Google ranking and bring you up the results? Sure! Let’s talk…


Q. Do we need to meet?

A. Not at all! In fact, I have several clients that I’ve never met and all our business has been conducted via email, phone and Skype. I’m based near Bristol and Bath, so if you want to meet in that general area, I’m happy to come see you for a chat.


Q. What information will you need?

A. That’s a tricky one to answer, because every job is different. We can go through that in our consultation, but if you want to get the brief tied down in advance, just try to answer this one question: “What do you want to say to whom and why?” Any background history you can give me on your company, where it came from and what it stands for will help too.


Q. What happens if I need to change the brief after you’ve started?

A. Not a problem, these things happen. Talk to me as soon as you can and we’ll work out how to transfer any existing work across to the new direction. If the existing work isn’t relevant to the new brief, I won’t hit you with a ‘kill fee’ but I will ask you to honour the agreed hour/day rate for any work to date.

Depending on the scope of the change, we may need to renegotiate (up or down) for the total project, but we should be able to proceed in good faith if it’s just a sidestep. If the brief changes frequently, I may need to charge an additional fee to cover my time.


Q. How fast can you get the words to me?

A. That depends on a lot of factors such as how complex the subject is, how many words you need and what kind of a start you can give me with information. If you have a deadline, I will do my utmost to meet it. If all the stars align, I’d love to offer a same day service when you need it. Please remember that if the job is short notice, I may be busy with another client, but I do offer an out of hours express service if it’s urgent. Tell me what you need and I’ll do my best for you.


Q. How do I receive the words?

A. I’ll send you an email with a Word document attached, but if you require another format please let me know.


Q. What do your prices include?

A. Any quote includes consultation sessions, research, writing the editorial, opportunity for feedback and up to two rounds of amends within the scope of the original brief. Any reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred (eg: travel to interview case studies) are not included in the estimate and will be added to the final invoice. Don’t worry; you won’t be paying for a daily Krispy Kreme habit.


Q. Why are your prices so much higher than I see on Elance?

A. Because this isn’t a hobby, side-line or aspiration for me. I’m an award-winning content professional with 16 years’ experience and a successful commercial track record. I create every piece of editorial bespoke to meet the exact needs of my clients and I guarantee 100% that my work is not cut and paste.

The best copywriting seems effortless and flows without hitch. That’s all your market sees – and that reflects positively on your brand. The reality is that quality editorial takes painstaking work to construct and can take many revisions to reach the final output. Is it an art form or a trade? Probably somewhere between the two. And since the average tradesman charges £40/hour, you have to ask why any writer would be willing to work for less if they’re as good as you hope they are.


Q. When/how do I pay?

A. I’ll send the final invoice with the completed assignment. My terms are typically 14 days and you’ll find my bank details on the invoice to make a BACS payment. I also accept payment by cheque or PayPal (fees apply). If this is our first time working together, I ask for a 50% deposit at the time of initial commission with the balance payable upon invoice. If I’m unable to complete the work as agreed, then I offer a full refund of all monies paid, but this hasn’t happened yet.


Q. How do you pronounce your last name?

A. “Tay-cull”. Think ‘table’ with a different consonant. No, it’s not at all like Hyacinth Bucket…


Q. What next?

A. Get in touch! Let’s work out how I can help you with your editorial needs. You can email me at hello@stevetakle.com or call me on 01761 452728 or 07903 631971.