Freelance copywriting in March 2022…

What have I been doing recently?

My work has two components.

Firstly, there’s everything I do for ProCopywriters, the association that I organise:

  • commissioning a new website for CopyCon
  • managing the design and production of our latest survey of the copywriting profession
  • creating the programme for CopyCon 2022
  • managing the ProCopywriters team
  • developing our book projects

Secondly, there’s all the copy I write for clients:

  • intranet editing and shaping for ClearScore
  • SEO content updates for ClearScore
  • articles for Tide Business Bank
  • annual report edits for the British Heart Foundation
  • email, website and long-form copy for med-tech firm Kinepict

All while training for my first marathon!

Crisis copywriting: 6 things marketers can do during a pandemic

Firstly, a disclaimer: I’m not an expert on Pandemic Marketing. This is just the stuff I’m going to do. If I can focus for longer than 30 seconds.


You’re probably feeling the same: how the hell do you carry on marketing in the midst of a pandemic?

Trying to sell products when so many people are suffering can feel inappropriate, insensitive and crass.

Who can focus on shopping when we’re worried about our futures?

But, this doesn’t mean that all business should cease because of the pandemic.

After all, businesses aren’t just corporate cash-sponges; they’re also lifelines and livelihoods. Some companies are delivering essential services and supplies. Others are keeping people afloat.

And that’s not to mention the other things that companies contribute to our lives, like the social connections, structure, support and a sense of purpose.

Now is probably not the time to badger people to buy your snake oil.

But now is a good time to reflect on the business you are building, and how you can support customers now, and as we emerge from this crisis.

Here are a few ideas for the kinds of marketing activity you can do right now. These ideas are fairly generic, and could, in theory, be applied to any business, all the way from solo freelancers to global corporations.

Help first. Sell second.

What can you do to help your customers?

Now is not the time to send a bland email about hand-washing, but there may be genuinely useful information or support you can offer to your customers.

For example, you might be able to offer a discount, or different payment terms, or an additional feature or function that has particular relevance right now. Think about the challenges your customers are facing right now. They are likely to be experiencing some health anxiety and stress. And they may be working in unusual settings, or trying to juggle work with childcare. Plenty more will be suffering financially. And in the midst of the all the stress and uncertainty, plenty of people will be trying to focus on demanding projects – or serving their communities in the face of unprecedented danger.

In these conditions, what can you do to help?

The answer might be: “not much”.

And that’s fine. You may just need to focus on surviving and worry about thriving later.

Focus on your current customers

Existing customers are commonly neglected by marketers.

We all tend to look around for new customers, and forget that our existing customers might be interested in buying additional products or services from us.

It might not feel appropriate to focus your marketing on your existing customers at the present moment, but you can do other things to strengthen relationships with your existing customers.

You could…

  • Improve help and support content (maybe produce screencasts or how-to videos)
  • Celebrate customers in case studies
  • Interview customers to find out what they need
  • Refine product copy
  • Run user groups
  • Create a user podcast or webinar series to help share tips and best practices


If your own marketing is reduced or paused during the Covid-19 crisis, could some of your colleagues be redeployed on other projects?

Could they support a local charity or perhaps design your corporate response to the crisis?

Post-crisis planning

It’s impossible to know what kind of world we’ll encounter when the virus subsides, but it’s likely that we’ll gradually return to normal.

How can your business position itself for success?

This may seem crass, but businesses will want to get organised so they can recover for their employees, their customers and their suppliers.

This might involve preparing several scenarios based on different levels of activity. For example, your business might take 6, 9 or 12 months to fully recover to a post-pandemic position. And in that time, you may need to operate on reduced income. Or with fewer customers. Some of your services and products may be favoured over others. You may need to pivot to a different operating model, particularly if you serve the public directly (such as in travel, retail, events or hospitality).

How could Covid-19 change public behaviour in the long term?

Will people remain sensitive to pandemic-induced behaviours, such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing and the avoidance of shared surfaces (e.g. petrol pumps, digital kiosks and credit card terminals)?

Will your business need to continue some of these new safety measures?

These are the kinds of questions your marketers could try to address. Countries like China and South Korea may offer clues about the long-term impacts of Covid-19 and how societies and economies rebound once quarantine ends.

Improve your website and content

When was your website last updated?

Now might be the perfect time to review your content.

A few things to check for:

  • Accuracy. Are all the product and service details up-to-date?
  • Consistency. Do you use the same terminology throughout?
  • Voice. Does every page sound like it was written by the same author?
  • Gaps. Is anything missing? Are there any common customer questions or concerns you could address?
  • Function. Does every button produce the desired action? Are all links live?
  • Pandemic-friendly. Coronavirus is making many things look deeply weird. For example: shaking hands. Sitting too close. Sharing food. Meeting for coffee. Leaving the house. Is there anything on your website, brochures or comms that suddenly seems all wrong?

Check your search engine performance

After the pandemic, we may find that a smaller number of companies is targeting a smaller pool of customers. Staying competitive is unlikely to get easier once the dust has settled.

What can you do to improve your search engine performance?

The first step is to assess your current performance.

Check your search position for your most important keywords. How do you compare to your competitors?

Then check your Google Analytics. Where do people land on your site? Where do they leave?

Depending on the results of your investigation, you may need to improve your on-site optimisation, create additional content, or look for backlinks.

Doing nothing is okay too

We’re living through an unprecedented pandemic. It’s weird. It’s scary. It’s incredibly hard to concentrate.

Your marketing team may want work so they can ignore hysterical headlines, but they may also need time to stare into space, scream into voids or cry into pillows.

And that’s okay too.

We shouldn’t expect everyone to carry on as normal. We’re all doing our best. And that’s plenty.

Surviving, in any way we can, might be all we need to do.

Copywriting projects January 2020

What am I writing in January 2020?

All kinds of copy for all kinds of companies.

Here’s a selection:

  • Email newsletters for a retail technology company
  • Blog posts for a renewable energy software company
  • Web pages for a contact centre software company
  • User research interviews for a global consulting firm
  • Web pages for a hedge fund
  • Email newsletters for ProCopywriters
  • Marketing emails for Copywriting Conference
  • Blog posts for a competitive intelligence firm

As you can see, these projects cover a variety of industries, skills and approaches.

In addition to writing copy (from snappy social media posts to 2,000-word white papers) I help clients by creating posts in their CMS, scheduling content for social media and also building emails in their preferred marketing platform (typically MailChimp, Constant Contact or HubSpot).

While some of my clients know what they need to say, many more appreciate having an external perspective, as well as the benefit of my experience with hundreds of other businesses over an 11-year freelance career.

Get in touch if you copy or content to support your marketing.

Copywriting update February 2019

This is really one of those “don’t let this desolate blog make you think we’re not still working” posts.

Clearly, I’m not much of a blogger.

Well, not for myself.

I just don’t have time.

I’m too busy helping tech companies with content marketing, which involves writing lots of articles.

And I still work for a national bank on a regular basis.

Lately I’ve also worked with a couple of digital agencies on copy and content for Deloitte, Honda, Eurotunnel and Maserati.

Outside of my regular work, I’m busy pushing ProCopywriters in the right direction, and organising the 2019 Copywriting Conference. Oh, and I need to write up the results of our 2019 copywriter survey, and make sense of the 514 responses we received.

So I’m still here, and still writing copy.

Copywriting: my year in review

2017 has been a year full of writing, as well as some big new challenges.

My attention has been slightly divided, because although I’m a full-time freelance copywriter, I’m also running ProCopywriters, the association for commercial writers. This is incredibly rewarding and means I make contact with loads of other copywriters, it’s impossible to find the time for my own marketing.

Copywriting Conference

Managing and promoting a conference for 200 copywriters was a brand new experience. And terrifying. But the day went brilliantly and it was mostly very well received.

The attendee survey that we sent out after the event has given me tonnes of ideas for our next event. Next year will be bigger and better.

Clients and projects in 2017

In 2017 I finally put plans together to fix one of the biggest problems I’ve faced as a freelance copywriter. The problem is that I’m usually drafted in to write a specific bit of content, and then the client takes the content and does something with it. But I’m no longer involved, so I can’t advise further, nor can I help the client find traffic for their website, or promote their business on social media. With this limited remit, it’s difficult to make big changes, or to achieve big success.

In reality, I wanted to be more than just a copywriter; I want to be involved in devising and implementing marketing strategies. I want to help clients get the full potential from their website by thinking about the entire digital experience. And I believe the best way to support a business is on a regular, ongoing basis.

So this year I’ve been offering clients monthly packages. This means they can secure my time each month, and know that their blog, newsletters and social media are all taken care of. My clients get certainty, simplicity and new business leads, and I get the satisfaction of seeing my copy at work.

Some of the projects I’ve completed in 2017:

  • Maserati brochure copy
  • Medact nuclear war report
  • Cats Protection information pages
  • Barclays intranet content

Approaching a decade in business

When you start a business, you don’t know if you’ll be going for two weeks or two decades. When I started, I had no clue if freelancing would work out. So when I realised that six months had passed, and I was still going, and supporting myself and my young family, I was thrilled (and relieved). I’ve been very aware of my business anniversaries as they pass, because I’m still delighted and surprised that this big idea worked out.

Next year will be ten years since I formed Kendall Copywriting Ltd

Meetup for Creative and Digital Professionals in Bournemouth and Poole

A funny thing happened on the way to our first DotDorset meetup back in May…

While waiting for people to arrive I overhead a woman asking the bar staff about a meetup group. Thinking she might be looking for DotDorset I introduced myself. Turns out it was Danielle Rose, and she was talking about her own meetup group. Curious! Two meetups in the same pub on the same night at the same time. Curious indeed. And what might the meetup be about? Creative and Digital Professionals? Now THAT is an amusing coincidence.


Turns out that Creative & Digital Professionals (Bournemouth & Poole) has pretty much the same plan that we did:

“The intention of this group is to provide informal social gatherings for local creatives to meet each other and hang out, whilst hopefully having a lot of fun in the process.”

So I recommend you check out the group and pop along to the next meetup. They meet monthly, usually in Bournemouth.

How freelance copywriters should (not) contact clients

As a freelancer copywriter, making contact with potential clients is easy to screw up. It’s also easy to get a little bit wrong. And it’s very easy to waste your time, and the time of the business you’re approaching.

I have experienced both sides of this equation: I’ve sent emails that get ignored and I also get query emails from fellow copywriters.

So here are a few tips to help you start positive relationships with potential clients and maybe even find work:

1. Address your emails to people individually

I frequently receive emails from copywriters addressed to ‘Sir’ – or they just say ‘Hi’. That’s fine. But it tells me you haven’t bothered to learn my name. If you don’t have the time (or the sense) to find out my name, I don’t have the time to reply.

2. Email one potential client at a time

I’ve had emails from aspiring copywriters that are copied to other agencies. This is a very quick way to besmirch your good name.

3. Tell the client how you can help them

Copywriters sometimes write telling me they want to “expand their client base” or “develop their client portfolio”, and that sounds just wonderful for them, but why would I give two shits about their business goals? Your potential clients are only interested if you can help them achieve their goals. So keep yourself out of it.

4. Send a link to your portfolio

Your potential clients don’t really want an inbox full of your files. Send them a link to your website/portfolio so they can browse your work in their own time. And if you don’t have a portfolio or a website you should really get one.

5. Be friendly and don’t make demands

Emailing people is fine and dandy, but remember that it doesn’t entitle you to a response. Your email is probably unsolicited anyway, so be patient and remember that the recipient doesn’t owe you anything. It’s good to be friendly and conversational in your email, but mind that you don’t become over-familiar, cocky or demanding.

6. Networking is about more than one-off emails

Instead of just sending an email to a potential client, why not follow them on Twitter? Or read their blog posts? If you can make your name pop up in front of them, you have a better chance of being recalled when you’re needed.

7. Remember that direct marketing is okay but it’s even better if they come to you

In my limited experience, contacting potential clients can be effective, but it’s a fairly painful way to make a living. Far better to make yourself discoverable so that the best clients can come looking for you.

You may also like: Finding work as a freelance copywriter (Kendall Copywriting, September 2012)

Leif Kendall / Kendall Copywriting does not use Elance…

My name has been used to defraud freelance writers on Elance, and I would like to make it clear that I do not use Elance and anyone receiving a message purporting to be me (on Elance) should report the activity to the Elance administrators.

On Friday evening (30 May 2014) I received an email from a freelance writer based somewhere in the USA who was angrily demanding money from me. I’d never heard of her, her project (descriptions for fancy dress costumes) or the intermediary she was engaged through.

Following this email I received messages on my blog, on Twitter, on a scam website and via a freelance group that I belong to (The Farm), all from people claiming that I was refusing to pay them.

Gradually it became clear that someone was claiming to be me and recruiting a variety of freelance writers (all on Elance) to do various projects. So now there are 3 or 4 writers who believe that I have defrauded them.

The truth is that I know nothing about any of this, and have never even used Elance (I may have registered once…).

I have since referred this matter to the police in the UK via their Action Fraud service. I have a crime reference number which anyone affected by this matter should also use.

I do not use Elance, or any other online freelance marketplace. If you receive a message via any site other than this domain, please ignore it or report it to your authorities.

I’m currently speaking to Elance about this matter and am hoping that they can bar anyone from using my name on their website again.


You should divide your web budget between design, development and content

When you plan your website, how much of your budget do you assign to the content?

Too many organisations spend thousands of pounds on the design and development of their website, but fail to budget for content creation and management.

But what is the point of having a great-looking and easily-navigable website if the content is weak, or wrong, or off-message?

It’s hard to attribute a value to quality content, but it’s easy to see that while great design can impress potential customers, the design can’t tell people what you do, or what makes you unique. Nor can great design answer the questions that your potential customer have.

Great design is an essential component of a successful website, but without well-planned and well-executed content you have a pretty brochure that says nothing about your business.

If you want a website that is more than a costly but beautiful artefact, spinning in space, you need to think carefully about your content. 

And if your budget is tight, why not consider spending less on the design and functionality, and spending more on the content?

The joys and sorrows of writing a book


I’ve been busy. Really busy. Busier than a bee on crack. In between a packed schedule of web copywriting jobs I’ve been writing a book on freelancing. Here’s what I’ve learnt about writing books:

1. Books take longer to write than you think. I thought it would take a couple of weeks, but I hadn’t factored in the time required for research and interviews.

2. Books are fairly easy to write if you have a cast-iron deadline. I’m staring down the barrel of my publisher’s deadline. I dare not disappoint them.

3. Books require planning. The spreadsheet has been my friend. With everything planned from the very beginning, I’ve been able to pace the production. The spreadsheet doesn’t write the book, but it does give you a blueprint.

4. Books demand a long, steady effort. You can’t just vomit up a book. They take time. And a persistent effort. It’s not always easy to keep a book chugging along, especially when you hit the sections that don’t ignite your passions.

5. The last long lap is the hardest. Nearly there!

So there aren’t really any sorrows – not with this book at least. Not yet.

Piling spam upon spam: why unsubscribe confirmation emails are evil

Spam, Now with Real Bacon!

Picture this, if you will:

You are a busy person. You get too many emails. Loads of those emails are irrelevant, but you get them every month, like really shit clockwork. You’re clever, so you take the time to unsubscribe. It takes a few clicks, but it’s a good investment of your time. You’re all done and you feel happy: one less piece of junk mail and few less RSI-inducing clicks.


Disappointed that you’ve abandoned them, the automated marketing machine sends you a good-bye message. So the marketing spammers recognise your desire for less email, and send you one last email.

Why can’t they just let it go? And why do some unsubscribe options demand a password that you didn’t even know you had?

If people want to leave your unstoppable spam machine, just let them. And never darken their inbox again.

WriteClub in London

WriteClub, the casual networking meet-up for writers, is visiting London!

We’re continuing our mission of bringing writers together to chat, mingle and inspire each other.

The first WriteClub London meet-up is Tuesday 1 December.

Location: Yorkshire Grey pub, 46 Langham Street, London, W1W 7AX

For more details check WriteClub

Overwhelmed by Blogs? A Strategy for Reading Less and Learning More

Britain Going Blog Crazy - Metro Article

There are a lot of blogs out there – too many to read. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by blogs, with an RSS reader riddled with unread posts, or hundreds of bookmarked sites that you’re never going to revisit.

The Other Problem with Blogs

If you read a handful of blogs about SEO, or copywriting, or fruit farming, you’ll probably end up reading similar opinions in similar blogs by a bunch of people that you don’t know. It’s easy to waste time reading recycled ideas.

Going Local

I have a new strategy for reading blog posts, which brings me nice ideas and doesn’t overwhelm me, and I thought I would share it.

Step 1

I check the Brighton New Media website. (This website collates posts from Brighton’s digital media bloggers – so I can read them all in one place.)

Every day or two I peruse the new posts. I read as many as interest me, and leave comments wherever possible.

Step 2

I’m a regular Twitter user, so I tend to discover good blog posts from my Twitter friends. People share the good stuff, so it’s reasonable to assume that the good stuff will find its way to me, eventually.

So sure, I may be missing all kinds of wonderful stuff, but even if I spent most of my working life reading blogs, I’d still miss something.

For those not in Brighton…

The Brighton New Media (BNM) website is central to my strategy, so what should you do if you like my approach but don’t live in Brighton? I don’t know! Perhaps you could set up a BNM equivalent for your town.

Credit Crunch Lunch?

As the global economic downturn continues to bite chunks out of our prosperity, people seek new ways to cut costs. ‘Credit crunch lunch’ is one of my favourite terms – describing a frugal feast – referring to anything from home-made sandwiches to budget banquets at upmarket eateries.

But a ‘credit crunch lunch’ is not always a happy meal; for one of my fellow co-werkers, the reality of the credit crunch lunch is this horrible mess:


What is this? I don’t know. I didn’t know the day it barked at me from the fridge and I don’t know now. Is it spam? Is it dog meat? Is it minced ham and chips?

Refusing Blogs – Should You Tell Clients: “No blog for you!” ?

Hard work can hurt
Blogging is hard work. It’s not a quick, easy way to build web traffic. It’s time consuming and easy to get wrong. So should web developers and social media consultants be less keen to offer them to clients?

Andy Budd recently blogged about social media consultants, and his post got me thinking.

As Andy points out, many corporate blogs are dull, unpopular and don’t reward the effort expended on them. Some organisations are never going to be able to blog well. If everyone’s too busy – or too bored – to blog, what’s the point in having one?

Should web developers and social media consultants think twice before loading another organisation up with a blog? Perhaps there should be a test to prove commitment to the blog before you’re allowed to have one.

Of course, the question of whether blogs are suitable for an organisation applies to other social media tools. And I think that’s the point – not all social media tools suit all organisations.

It reminds of me of pet ownership. Everyone wants a pet, but nobody wants to pick up the poop, or walk it. Well, you want to walk it at first, when it’s fun. But then it’s cold, or raining, or Top Gear is on, and you don’t want to walk it any more. Who is going to keep blogging when Top Gear is on?

(Picture courtesy of normalityrelief via Flickr)

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