CommsPeople Profile – Nick H

Please describe what you do in a couple of sentences…

I’m a freelance copywriter (business to business) and business journalist (Financial Times, BBC, Guardian, trade magazines). I specialise in writing about technology and professional services. For copywriting, I write and edit blogs, web sites, White Papers, opinion articles and compliance documents, including companies’ “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) reports. I also do media training and editorial consultancy.

Tell us about your best freelancing gig…

I don’t have a favourite. Most jobs have their good moments! One reason I went freelance was because I like writing about a variety of subjects, for a variety of clients and doing different types of work. A good job depends on things like the pay, if the work is interesting and if the client values good writing and is understanding.

What are the benefits for clients of working with a freelancer?

An experienced freelancer knows what works at other companies/industries and can apply some of those techniques to your business. You also get a fresh perspective on your organisation/industry.

In your opinion, which brand(s) gets their communications consistently spot on?

Channel 4 (UK) always seems confident and witty in its marketing/branding. The tone and content always seem spot on for the audience. It can be serious and playful.

What is your pet peeve when it comes to working with clients?

Vague briefs (“We want some thought leadership” etc.). Too many people at the client having “sign-off” rights for content marketing. When lots of people make edits to a draft blog, the result is generally bland, muddled and jargon strewn.

What are your top tips for anyone about to start working with freelancers? 

Don’t pick the freelancer with the lowest fee. Spend as much time as possible on the brief for the work. A clear brief will save you time and stress. Pay promptly!

What advice would you give to someone embarking on a freelance career?

Join a union. You never know when you may need some legal support. Try to line up a few months’ work before you go freelance. Charge a 50% deposit for new clients. Specialise in a few subjects/types of work. It can help you find work and up your rates.

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