This week, Copywriter Stories talks to Chester freelance copywriter and content writer Giada Nizzoli. Giada’s not just the world’s most beautiful name. She can write crafty, quirky, attention-grabbing copy with the best of ’em.
I’ve always wanted to make a living from my writing passion, but I was also hoping for a job that allowed me to be more flexible with my schedule and work from home. Since my Plan A of becoming a court poet was slightly anachronistic, it had to be copywriting.
What did you do before copywriting?
I graduated in ‘Creative and Media Writing’ and then thought that working in digital marketing and social media could be for me (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). I started an apprenticeship in that field, but, luckily, the company allowed me to specialise in copywriting and learn about SEO.
After a few months, I started building my freelance-writing business on the side, thinking that I had plenty of time to continue doing both. After all, the other apprentice and I had always been told that we would have both been offered a permanent position.
Plot twist! Towards the end of our apprenticeship, we received a formal email saying that there would have been only one position and that we would have had to interview for it. Even though I didn’t feel ready, I took it as a sign and decided to take the leap instead of applying for a ‘safe job’.
I was then offered more money to stay, but I’ve still followed my heart despite some family members’ advice. Was it the right choice? Well, my department got shut down a month after I’ve left, and my colleagues got made redundant.
It all taught me that corporate jobs aren’t always as safe as they seem, and it’s better to fail at something that you truly believe in rather than compromise and live with regrets.
You focus on SEO and blogs. What was behind that decision?
I love blogging! And I’m not talking about the cringey MySpace blog that I had when I was 12. Blogging on a business website is a versatile strategy that allows companies to generate more leads, retain their existing prospects and position themselves as experts in their field whilst boosting their SEO. It complements their content, inbound marketing, SEO and social-media strategy. As this website suggests, words truly are Mightier Than!
You’ve been freelance and worked in-house. Which would you recommend?
I think the real question should be: would you rather follow a dress code or work in your pyjamas? All jokes aside, working in-house comes with a reassuring monthly salary, but it also means that you mostly write about the same topics. It can get a bit repetitive. Whilst a freelancer copywriter’s salary fluctuates a lot, you can definitely make more money in the long run, you get to pick whom you work ‘with’ (not ‘for’), you have a more flexible schedule, and you’re your own boss. Come to the freelance side: we’ve got cookies!
There’s a lot of debate about niching right now. Do you think it makes sense?
I think it all depends on what you want, personally. Niching down might mean that you can charge more because you’re an expert in that industry, but I don’t think that being a jack of all trades means that you’re a master of none: I know lots of incredible copywriters who haven’t got a niche, but are great at what they do, and they charge accordingly. Go with what you’re most comfortable with!
What are your favourite copywriting books?
As a grammar Nazi, I’ve got to go with ‘Eats, Shoots And Leaves‘ by Lynne Truss… even though I would have added an Oxford comma. There. I said it.
Any copywriting heroes?
I’ve learned a lot from Jorden Makelle. While she no longer works as a copywriter, her website Creative Revolt is full of actionable tips for freelancers.
How do you drum up work?
I’ve now learned to stay away from content mills like Fiverr and Upwork. Instead, I send personalised cold emails to clients that I’d love to work with, blog regularly on my website to generate leads (yep, I practise what I preach!), check the best job boards, and use LinkedIn to make valuable connections and get involved with relevant conversations.
What was your finest hour?
In October 2019, I earned three times my old corporate salary.
Any low notes? You’re among friends here.
Oh, definitely! January made for a horrible start to the year: zero work from my biggest client, a retainer stopped outsourcing content after hiring a new internal member of staff, and a client was late with their payment.
At first, I let anxiety take over and took it very personally since it was my first terrible month, but now I’ve come to understand that it’s part of the job, and it will happen again.
The trick is to use that time to do all the things that we never have time to do: produce more content for our blog, work on the SEO of our website, prepare a strong LinkedIn plan, etc.
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading The Complete Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and rereading Little Women.
What tips would you give a copywriting newbie?
Know your worth, but create a website that immediately shows clients the value you can bring to THEM.
And any tips for clients?
Be clear with your briefs, and respect our work by paying us on time. And have a blog on your website, of course.