Over the last couple of years, local business mag, QUAY Magazine, has been gathering pace and growing to become *the* business magazine to read. Only available in South Devon and Cornwall (though you can buy digital versions of the mag from the website), it gives local businesses of all sizes a platform to advertise and ‘celebrate positive business’. Sounds pretty good to me.
I’d already submitted a few articles and taken out a couple of 1/2 page ads in the magazine over the months. But there were always a few interviews in each issue. So I stuck my head above the parapet and made myself available for a quick interview with Editor, Alex Belsey.
After appearing in the online edition in October 2020, I’ve shared it here.
Alex: Hi Graeme, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your business?
Graeme: Hi Alex, of course.
I’m a freelance copywriter operating under my business name of DropCapCopy. As a copywriter (not a ‘copyrighter’, which is an altogether different ball game), I work directly with businesses in all sectors across Devon, Cornwall, and the UK.
While every project is different, I‘m usually brought on board to write advertising copy for clients (think ‘Mad Men’) and content for their business. Anything from websites, brochures, blogs, to case studies. And any newspaper and magazine editorial content they need for PR.
I also work with a range of creative, web, marketing, and design agencies. I write the same type of content for their clients – and sometimes even for the agencies themselves. Working with agencies always provides a wide scope of industries and topics to write for.
I first started writing copy in my previous marketing job in around 2014 and really enjoyed it. Before I knew it, I figured I should try and make some extra money doing this on the side. So I set up DropCapCopy and had a bit of a side hustle going on, mainly writing blogs and magazine or newspaper editorial, before going full-time freelance in 2016.
Leading up to going freelance, I started out as a litho printer, then moved into graphic design. That was followed by my final role as an Assistant Manager of a marketing team. So I’ve been surrounded by words and copy my whole career.
Alex: These days, written content is used in so many different types of marketing material, from press releases to websites, brochures, blogs, social media, email marketing, and more.Which of these areas do you think will have the biggest need for professionally written content in the future?
Graeme: I’d argue there’s always a need for professionally written copy and content, just as there is for other professional services like accounting, legal, or plumbing. I think it’s really important for any business to invest in professional services, whatever the area.
But in terms of content, things like blog posts, websites, and social media are super important. Once these things are online, they’re all linked, and all heavily reliant on high quality, informative content that helps you rise up the search results. Google has really focused on this aspect and will reward such content accordingly. So if you’re posting low-quality content or content that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, then you’ll appear far lower in the search results – if at all.
So while everything is important, the online stuff is key to business success.
Alex: Which are your favourite topics to write about? And what type of content do you enjoy creating most of all?
Graeme: I’m really lucky that I write for a wide range of businesses in hugely different sectors so that in itself is enjoyable. Being able to learn about different topics as I research them is fascinating. So while I don’t have favourite topics as such, blog writing is always enjoyable – short bursts of highly engaging and informational content.
Overall, I’d say copywriting for big website projects is probably the content I enjoy creating most. When a business chooses to invest in professional copy, having the freedom and time to write unique content for their main online resource is a real pleasure. It gives me a chance to go deep and discover what makes them tick, as well as understanding what their ideal customers want and need.
But writing editorial for newspapers, and especially magazines, is really rewarding. You can actually pick it up and read it in shops up and down the country.
Alex: What would you say are the biggest benefits of having high-quality, professionally written content on your website?
Graeme: One of the best reasons I can give is that you’re getting a professional to help you, just as you would any other professional service. It goes beyond good spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. They’re all important, but a copywriter can give you a fresh perspective. Help the words to sell your business or product, and deliver it on time for you. Mainly because you don’t have that time to write it in the first place.
A problem many businesses also face is having different people write different things. Having everything written professionally will help give you a consistent voice in all areas of your written marketing. That’s really important for your customers, and how they see and read your messaging.
If any business is serious about how its website reads and performs, then using a copywriter is a worthwhile investment.
Alex: What simple things can people do to quickly improve the quality of their writing?
Graeme: Firstly, make sure all your content is focused on your customer and how you can help them. Initially, they’re not worried about how many colours your widget comes in, or how much bigger you are than other companies. They want to know if your product can help them solve a problem they’re having. Be relatable – and use the word ‘you’ at least 3 times as much as you use the word ‘we’.
Secondly, keep things simple. When you’re writing blogs, make sure you stick to one topic or idea, so things don’t get confusing for readers. Use short sentences and short paragraphs and break things up with subheadings. People like to skim read, especially online. So by making the content easily digestible, readers will take more in. No one likes to see a solid wall of text in front of them. They’ll just look elsewhere for the info.
Thirdly, don’t leave things vague or open-ended. Always make sure you have a solid call to action (CTA) at the end. That’s a message telling the reader what you want them to do next (e.g. contact you, buy from you, find out more, download something etc.).
Alex: Where can people go to learn more about how to become a better writer?
Graeme: Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to help anyone be a better writer – even copywriters are on a constant learning curve! I always advocate reading books on the subject, and the main one I recommend is ‘Copywriting Made Simple’ by Tom Albrighton. It’s a really handy guide to writing for beginners – or anyone really. There’s plenty of guidance online too.
Alex: Thanks Graeme, is there anything else you’d like to say?
Graeme: Thanks Alex, it’s been a pleasure. And when readers of QUAY Magazine need professional copywriting for their business, I’m happy to talk and find out more about what they need and how I can help.
In the meantime, you can all find and connect with me on Twitter (@dropcapcopy) and LinkedIn. For more information about the copywriting services I provide, just visit www.dropcapcopy.com and get in touch.