FAQ

Frequently asked questions about writing, editing and octopuses.

General

How much will it cost?

That depends on the type of writing and the scale of work. But let’s just say my rates are somewhere in the middle of the copywriting pay scale.

You can choose to hire me in one of two ways:

Hourly rate

I charge a set rate per hour and will only bill you for the hours I work. This is ideal when you’re not sure about the full scope of your project to begin with.

Fixed price

After talking to you to get an idea of how much work is involved, I’ll prepare a brief and a fixed price for your project. This price takes into account the time needed for:

  • Any additional meetings
  • Research
  • Doing the actual writing
  • Up to two rounds of revisions
  • Proofreading.

Once you’ve signed off on my brief and accepted the quote, you can rest assured that is all you’ll have to pay once the project is finished. There are no hidden costs and no unexpected surprises*.

Sound good? Then contact me for a free, no-obligation quote for your next writing project.

* Disclaimer: you may need to pay extra if you want to make significant changes to the brief once I’ve already started writing, or if you require more than two revisions. If this happens, I’ll always discuss the extra costs with you before going further.

When can you start work on my project?

That depends on how many other projects I have lined up. But in most cases I’ll be able to start work within 1–2 weeks.

How long will it take?

That depends on the type of project, how much work is involved and how quickly you can give me the information I need to get started.

However, once the scope of your project is clear, I’ll give you a firm deadline. And unlike a lot of freelancers, I’ll stick to it.

What’s the difference between copywriting, web content writing and business writing?

There is a bit of overlap between these areas, which is why I offer all three. But generally speaking:

  • Copywriting is part of your business’s marketing strategy. It refers to writing that promotes your product or service to potential customers and encourages them to take action.
  • Web content means blog posts and other online material that engages readers and builds your credibility. Unlike copywriting, it doesn’t usually advertise your product or services directly.
  • Business writing refers to an organisation’s more formal communications, such as proposals and reports.
I work in a highly specialised field. Can you write for me?

Most definitely. Part of being a good copywriter and business writer is asking the right questions to fully understand your industry, product and customers.

I’ve written copy, web content and corporate communications on plenty of topics that I previously knew nothing about, from exploring Antarctica to designing sewerage infrastructure. So even if I haven’t worked in your exact field before, it won’t take me long to wrap my head around it.

And if you’re in a high-tech industry, I’m your guy. I used to be a software developer, so I know my Python from my C++ and my agile development from my waterfall model.

I don't live in Australia. Can I still hire you?

Absolutely. Thanks to Australia’s not-so-great exchange rate, it can often work out cheaper than hiring someone locally.

And if you’re afraid I’m going to shove a ‘u’ in the word ‘color’ or use an ‘s’ where there should be a ‘z’, please don’t be – I’m very familiar with the variations between Australian, US and British English.

Is it true that you also write children's books?

Yes it is. You can find out all about them over at my author site.

Are you really an octopus?

Despite my business name, I am in fact a (relatively) normal two-armed, two-legged human being.

Having said that, the octopus is definitely my favourite animal. They’re flexible, highly intelligent, always choose the best tools for the job and can thrive in any environment. In other words, they’re a lot like a good copywriter!

I want to hire you. What should I do?

Copywriting

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is writing that promotes your business, product or service. It’s an essential part of any marketing strategy.

Good copywriting spurs a reader into performing an action – clicking a link, signing up for your e-newsletter, requesting a quote or buying your product.

Copywriting takes many forms, including (but not limited to) ads, web pages, brochures, flyers, emails, press releases, video scripts, letters, articles and social media content.

Can’t I just write the copy myself?

Well, you could. A lot of people are capable of writing copy. Some can even write good copy. But writing great copy is a highly specialised skill gained from years of experience.

If you really want to make an impact, you need to hire a professional. Try it, just once – you’ll be very glad you did!

What information do you need from me?

Before I start work on your project, I’ll ask you a series of questions about your business, your product or service, your target customers and a few other things.

Your answers will generally give me all the information I need to get started. I’ll probably have a few more questions once I start writing, but these can usually be handled with a quick phone call or email.

Can I make changes later on?

Absolutely. Once you’ve paid my invoice, the copy is 100% owned by you. That means you can edit it, rewrite it or change every second word to ‘hamburger’ if you like.

If you do make changes to your copy down the track, I strongly recommend getting a professional copywriter, editor or proofreader to check it over (whether that’s me or somebody else).

I run a small business. Do I need a professional copywriter?

Maybe even more than you think.

Small businesses with limited marketing resources have to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to promoting their product or service. A professionally written website, brochure, menu or catalogue is one of the best investments you can make to build your credibility.

I’ve already got some copy but it’s not quite right. Can you edit it for me?

Sure can! Many clients find it more affordable to draft the copy themselves and just get me to polish it into shape.

Business writing

Why do I need a professional business writer?

If your communications aren’t clear, consistent and professional, they won’t get your message across.

But they will reflect badly on your organisation. A report made up of six different managers’ brain dumps, a funding application peppered with errors or a mission statement that reads like a winning card in buzzword bingo can all seriously affect your credibility.

A professional business writer will solve all of that for you.

We ensure your documents are crystal-clear by sticking to the principles of plain English.

We can take chunks of information from different areas of your business and combine them to create a coherent narrative and tone.

A lot of us are also masters of persuasion – an invaluable skill for proposals, grant applications or anything else where your words need to be convincing.

Please contact me to find out how I can improve your business communications.

What is business storytelling?

Business storytelling is using carefully crafted stories (usually true ones) to communicate with people in a business context.

Business storytelling has a huge variety of applications, from helping employees understand your company strategy to winning over new clients.

What’s the difference between business storytelling, corporate storytelling and organisational storytelling?

Nothing – they are just different names for the same thing.

I prefer the term ‘business storytelling’ because it works for all businesses, not just corporations and large organisations.

Why is storytelling an effective technique for my business?

Because humans are hardwired to respond to certain story structures. We pay more attention to stories and extract more meaning from them compared to being presented with the same information any other way.

By shifting to a story-focused mode of communication, you’ll be able to attract people’s attention, help them understand your message and ensure they remember it later.

Web content
and SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’. It’s the process of optimising your website so it appears higher in search results on Google and other search engines.

How can you help me with SEO?

In two ways:

SEO copywriting

SEO copywriting means optimising your website copy to target relevant keywords or keyphrases. (Keywords are the search terms that a person is likely to use when searching for topics related to your business.)

Web content

Google likes frequently updated websites a lot more than sites that don’t change. And it particularly likes content that other sites are linking to. So the more often you publish high-quality blog posts that attract links, the higher your site will rank.

Contact me for help with SEO copywriting, web content or both.

What else is web content good for?

As well as improving SEO, web content builds your credibility. Sharing your expert knowledge with potential customers via a blog or other platform helps you develop a reputation as an authority in your field.

Editing and
proofreading

What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

Editing is the process of improving a piece of writing. It is usually divided into two main stages:

  • Structural editing, which involves looking at the document as a whole and making changes to enhance its overall structure and flow.
  • Copyediting, which improves individual paragraphs and sentences. Copyediting focuses on issues relating to punctuation, grammar, word use, spelling, clarity and style.

Proofreading means closely checking the final version of a document to identify any errors that weren’t picked up during the editing process. It’s usually the last step before publishing a document.

What sort of things can you edit or proofread?

Let’s see – brochures, flyers, web content, blog posts, reports, e-newsletters, academic papers, handbooks, presentations, scripts, stories, press releases, grant and funding applications, competition submissions, wedding speeches etc. Anything written in English, really!

Anything else you'd like to know?

Ask the Octopus
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