freelance copywriter | Cambridge UK
Hello there, my name's Simon Plent, and I'm a Consultant Freelance Copywriter. I'm based near Cambridge, but I work with clients all over the UK. Let me tell you a little more about myself and, more importantly, why people hire me.
And why people don't.
Because, to be perfectly blunt, the kind of copy that I write isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
If you’re looking for a freelance copywriter who'll give you fine words and great literature — flowery, poetic writing full of lame puns and “clever” wordplay that’ll impress your wife/husband/lover or win you a glamorous marketing society award to stick on your desk — then I'm not your man.
Let’s shake hands and go our separate ways. No hard feelings, nice to have met you and best of luck. Happily, there are loads of freelance copywriters (and digital or design agency copywriters) who are delighted to churn out workaday website content that ticks all those boxes (and many of them charge significantly less than I do).
On the other hand, if you’re looking for some business-to-business, or B2C copy that’ll get your email inbox bulging with enquiries, your shopping carts overflowing with orders, and your phones glowing red hot with customer calls (of the nice sort!), then stick around. You can see some of the services I offer here.
Simon Plent's CV
My key roles before becoming a freelance copywriter:
Promotion Director UK | The Reader's Digest Association Ltd
Executive Creative Director (Joint) | Lowe Direct Ltd London
Executive Creative Director | Grey Integrated London
Head of Copy | John Drewry Associates London
One of my longest-standing B2B clients, Planet Numbers, is a perfect example of how you might benefit from my consultant copywriting services. (By the way, I call myself a Consultant Copywriter, rather than simply a freelance copywriter, because I tend to get involved at a more strategic level than most freelancer writers out there. More on this below.)
Planet Numbers' website refresh last Autumn made their site easier to use, and a lot better-looking. There was nothing obviously “wrong” with the copy their agency had written; it described their products and services accurately and concisely, it was friendly and easy to read. Just like a lot of vanilla website content. It worked fine for SEO purposes and Google ranked them highly.
But, despite its excellent design and highly-relevant, Google-friendly content, it wasn't delivering the enquiries and sales they'd hoped for. So they asked me to have a look at it.
There were several issues. Firstly, they weren't selling the benefits of their services strongly enough. They told their customers what the products were, but didn't give them really compelling reasons to buy them. What they'd do for the customer, what was unique about them.
Secondly, they didn't leverage their pricing and offers enough. They're highly competitive in their marketplace (business telecoms services and custom phone numbers) but hadn't properly harnessed the power of FREE add-ons, low starter prices and special offers.
Thirdly, there were some small UX (user experience) issues. Some aspects of the site and its navigation were laid out to reflect the company's structure, not the customers' needs and desires. (This is one of the hardest things for a company to do — really step outside their subjective point of view and see their website and offering from the customer's perspective. This, I believe, is something that a great copywriter really brings to the party.)
Fourthly, the web agency hadn't considered mobile versions of the site enough. Key messaging was getting lost because it wasn't in the page header panels. 'Mobile First' is a mantra well worth repeating, over and over again.
Fifth, the Calls to Action (CTAs) were a bit confusing and unspecific. You need to tell your punter precisely what to do, and how.
Once we'd sorted out these issues, the site started to really deliver.
It's all about persuasion
As you can see, a lot of the stuff I'll do for you may not be what you'd typically think of as a copywriter's key role. But whereas amateur copywriters will focus entirely on the words that they use, a good copywriter understands that it's the message underpinning the words that is the important thing.
To put it pithily: what you say is much more important than how you say it.
I'll help you identify the WHAT, then help you with the HOW. Using all the tried-and-tested direct response copy techniques that I have learned over many years in the business.
These are the amazingly powerful persuasion techniques that helped me improve Which? Magazine’s customer acquisition mailpack by 39%. The sort of work that helped a direct marketing plc’s share price double over 18 months. The sort of work that gave the RAC its most responsive press ads ever, and Sky’s best-performing customer recruitment mailing ever.
You can see some more of my clients and projects by clicking on CLIENTS at the top of the page.
Who is Simon Plent?
Before setting up as a Consultant Freelance Copywriter, I worked as Executive Creative Director for two top London direct marketing agencies (Grey Integrated and Lowe Direct, since you ask), working with clients like Royal Mail, British Airways, Saab and Lloyds Bank. Following this, I was UK Promotion Director for The Reader’s Digest Association for five years.
(It was at The Digest that I really learned the difference between copy that sells and copy that's just content. At the world's most successful direct marketing company the rules were simple: write copy that sells more, you’re a hero. Write copy that sells less, you’re a zero. And we tested, tested, tested to find which was which. Hard on the ego, yes. Good for winning industry awards? Not a chance. But unbelievably good for the business and the big bucks bonus.
And it's really interesting how the copywriting techniques I learnt back then are, only now, starting to creep into online marketing, as digital marketeers start to realise that the forces that drive people to respond haven't changed one bit, regardless of the medium you're communicating in. I touch on some of these in my blog posts on this website.)
How can we work together?
I can work with you in whichever way suits you best. I prefer to get involved with your project at an early stage if possible, so that we can identify the messaging and structure that will be most effective for your customers and prospects.
This is where the “Consultant” aspect of my service is most useful. I can help you with your website’s UX aspects as well as making sure that your most important benefits and offers are communicated as powerfully and persuasively as possible.
Alternatively, I’m more than happy to dive in when you’ve already got your design and market positionings sorted and simply help you create the most compelling copy and content to fill the text boxes in your wireframe, emails, sales letters or brochures.
In short, I can simply write the copy and send you a Word doc, or I can put on my creative director/marketing director hats and oversee the whole process from strategic brand development to final design and implementation. (I have a small, but brilliant, network of designers, art directors and web gurus who I can call on for your project.)
How much will it cost you? I’m not the cheapest copywriter out there, but neither am I the most expensive. But I’ll cost your job to the last penny before beginning to work and I’ll deliver within budget, on time, every time.
Your FREE initial consultation
I like to get to meet you, face-to-face if you’re near to Cambridge or in London, or via Skype if you’re not. So we can chat about your issues and how I might be able to help you, completely free for an hour or so. I might throw in some ideas there and then or start a discussion of how we can best move forward with your marketing — no obligation. You can decide whether you’d like to work with me (and vice versa) and it won’t cost you a penny.
Sounds good? Click CONTACT at the top of this page to send me an email, telling me a little about what you’re looking for, and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.