Jake Bate

Brighton-based copywriter, copyeditor and creative thinker

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Blog
Blogs for Sofa Manufacturer

Blogs for Sofa Manufacturer

Writing

I write regular blog posts for a high-end bespoke sofa manufacturer. Each blog post focuses on different areas of their business and are designed to provide valuable information to customers, while also enhancing the website’s SEO profile. They require careful research to ensure the topic is covered thoroughly ensuring that each article is accurate and comprehensive.

  • Blog posts can be found here (the most recent ones are my work) http://www.darlingsofchelsea.co.uk/blog
Newsletter for Barristers’ Chambers

Newsletter for Barristers’ Chambers

Writing

I wrote this newsletter for a set of Barristers’ Chambers in London, including stories about events in chambers, achievements by members, and a number of recent cases. The newsletter was written in a variety of styles, with brief case summaries based, in many cases, on my own reading of the original judgements; interview-style pieces; and longer articles.

Read the full newsletter here.

Using a copywriter to write your blog

Blog

One of the areas of work I have ended up specialising in as a copywriter is in writing blogs for companies. It’s especially satisfying for me because I started out as a blogger, writing two personal blogs (here and here), and it’s something I particularly enjoy doing.

Paying a copywriter to write your company blog for you can seem a bit daunting, but it’s got huge benefits in the long run. Having a blog to begin with is brilliant for SEO, as having rich and interesting content that people want to link to is exactly what now raises your websites profile in Google. A compelling blog with interesting stories also positions you as an expert in your field, whatever it might be, and keeps visitors coming back to your website. The trouble is that most company websites don’t get updated nearly often enough, and end up a wasteland where it’s very obvious to visitors that the last post was six months ago.

Which brings me to the benefit of using a professional copywriter – someone who will plan, research and write as many blog posts as you require. As a professional writer, and especially if they have a background as a blogger, they’ll make sure the posts are well-written, engaging and varied. Researching a topic, finding an interesting spin on it, and then writing a genuinely useful and informative post about it is what professional bloggers do anyway. Being able to do so for a client’s particular area of interest, and understanding how a client’s products fit into the chosen topic, is why you hire us.

 

Content for Private Equity Firm

Content for Private Equity Firm

Writing

I wrote several pages of copy for this Private Equity firm, including researching and writing information about each of its four locations.

The brief required me to research facts about each of the four cities in which Livingbridge has an office, with a particular aim to find facts that matched the tone of the business: entrepreneurial, technology-focused, supportive of start-ups, and so on. Because of the style of the pages, word counts had to be kept relatively short, and provide a useful and informative summary of large and diverse cities in a few lines.

The content is not yet live, but for samples of this or any other work please feel free to get in touch.

Article for digital agency

Article for digital agency

Writing

This digital consultancy commissioned me to write an article about ‘how to write the perfect website brief’ that they could post on their website, and direct clients to when they asked what to include in a brief. Due to my background in digital agencies working as a project manager, I was able to work from just the title I was given and write an informative and detailed article.

The article is not online yet, but for this or any other sample work please feel free to get in touch.

Why Brighton is a perfect location for a freelancer

Why Brighton is a perfect location for a freelancer

Blog

Brighton is already home to a huge freelance community, and is one of the biggest digital and technology hubs outside of London. Having lived and worked here for over six months now, what exactly is it that makes it so appealing?

Access to London

Sure, those of us who have had to put up with Southern Rail on a regular basis might debate how much fun travelling to London from Brighton on a regular basis is. However, the fact remains that on a good day you have direct access to the City of London, the West End, and several major transport hubs in only around an hour, with regular trains all day and infrequent trains running through the night for those of us who often find ourselves detained in ‘important business meetings’ until 2am.

Cost of living

The biggest downside of being a freelance copywriter is the unpredictability of work. It therefore makes a lot of sense to keep fixed costs as low as possible, and Brighton is a much better place than London to do that. Sure, it’s not cheap cheap, compared to some other parts of the UK, but after ten years in London, it certainly feels cheap.

Network

Brighton has a relatively small and extremely friendly business community, especially for freelancers in the tech, marketing and new media world. The Wired Sussex organisation exists to connect us and help freelancers network, and there are several co-working spaces here. If nothing else, the fact that Soho House is soon to open a Brighton location should tell you a lot about the kind of people based here.

Environment

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I love my little home office, but sometimes it’s nice to get out and see another living human being once or twice a week. Living in Kemptown, I have half a dozen coffee shops within a couple of hundred metres, all of which are wifi-equipped and friendly to people popping in to do a spot of work. And if I’m still working later on into the evening, I’ve been known to set up my office in one of the several brilliant local pubs and carry on working over a pint of IPA.

Inspiration

As a creative freelancer it’s a real benefit to be based somewhere that inspires me. It doesn’t matter what I’m working on, and much of what I write isn’t exactly great art in itself, but it’s always harder to wrangle words into the right order when you spend your days on the district line and in a dismal open plan office. It’s hard to beat a city where I can walk along the beach when I need to blow the cobwebs away, go for a cycle in the South Downs when things are getting really tough, or pick up my laptop and go and work in a park when I want to feel the sun on my face as I work.

Copywriting through Upwork – pros and cons

Copywriting through Upwork – pros and cons

Blog

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When I set up on my own as a freelance copywriter, one of the first things I did was create an Upwork account. Having taken over elance, Upwork is now probably the biggest freelancer marketplace, covering designers, coders, copywriters and all sorts of other specialists. Perhaps ironically, I actually discovered it through a very negative article (with a hugely melodramatic and silly title): Why you should never use Upwork, ever. The article highlighted a single specific problem and, while interesting, never really explained why that meant you should never use Upwork. In fact, it made me think Upwork could be a good source of clients for me.

Was it? No, not really. It has its pros and cons though. Here are a few thoughts on it, after a few months of using the site and getting a couple of thousand dollars of work through it.

The good

  • Upwork is an enormous marketplace, with hundreds of projects available on it. So it is a very quick and easy way to find potential clients and apply for jobs.
  • Upwork tries to be very tightly controlled, making it hard (though of course not impossible) for clients to fail to pay you, and with feedback provided on both sides so that non-paying clients should quickly be identified.
  • With a decent feedback system, some online tests you can do, and a reasonable profile page, it’s possible for good freelancers to build up a profile that makes them stand out from the crowd. As a freelance copywriter, it can be hard to demonstrate the quality of my work as quickly and easily as a designer might, so feedback and reviews are particularly important.

The bad

  • By far the number one, biggest problem is that for a freelance copywriter based in the UK, most of the prices are completely out of whack. And not just “I wish I could charge more than that” but actually fully insane prices. People want entire books ghostwritten for $15, pages and pages of copy produced for a few cents a word, and so on. Why doesn’t the market correct itself? Because it’s global and we’re up against people who live in countries with totally different costs of living and expectations of income. That’s potentially good for clients (although I’d question whether they are actually getting quality work in some cases) but it’s not good for UK-based freelancers who simply cannot compete.
  • The pay becomes even worse when you factor in that Upwork takes 20% of your fee to begin with (it eventually drops to 10% for regular clients), and expects you to deduct your own VAT from the fee. That means that for a $40/hr rate, which is already more than most Upwork clients will pay, I lose almost $15 in fees and tax.
  • The feedback system is heavily slanted in favour of clients. With so many of us competing for work, maintaining a top rating is vital for freelancers whereas it’s less important for clients. They can easily afford to be a bit hard to work with as long as they pay. As in one case I am currently working on, a client can open a contract and then keep adding milestones to it indefinitely. That’s fine, as each milestone is paid for, but until the contract is closed I don’t get feedback and a rating added to my page. That might not seem like a big problem, but the issue is that it means that no matter how good my first five pieces of work were, if I annoy the client on the sixth bit of work, I’ll probably end up with a poor rating. Which makes it very hard to negotiate a fair price or insist on a proper brief on the sixth piece of work.

I haven’t yet experienced any serious problems through Upwork but I have also found very little work that pays me anything even close to a fair hourly rate for a UK-based freelance copywriter. Early on it seemed like a decent way of doing a bit of cheap work that I could use in my portfolio, but it’s very hard to see how it’s going to be a realistic way of getting work in the future.