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Social Media Portal interview with Anthony Hewson, founder of The Copywriter’s Blog

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 05 October 2009

Profiled - The Copywriter’s Blog - A blog dedicated to giving advice on the areas of copy writing, copy editing and proofreading

An interview with Anthony Hewson, freelance copywriter, copy editor and proofreader The Copywriter’s Blog

The Social Media Portal talks to Anthony Hewson at The Copywriter’s Blog and AH Copy about blogging, copywriter and social media

Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your role at The Copywriter’s Blog?

The Copywriter's Blog logoAnthony Hewson (HW): I take very little pride and quite a lot of amusement in thinking of myself as managing director, pointing out to myself I’m not actually that good at managing myself, so it’s as well there are no other members of staff. In reality I’m a copywriter; the copywriter’s blog is just an extension of my professional activities at AH Copy.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about The Copywriter’s Blog, what is it and what are your objectives?

AH: It’s a place for me to dish out advice on topics linked with my primary business activities: copywriting, copy editing and proofreading. I have found for the most part when you go to specialist blogs that the same topics get regurgitated in slightly different formats every few months, so I wanted to go a little beyond that and apply my experience working in small family firms and international corporate outfits to open up slightly wider debates.

Social media is obviously a subject of great interest as a result – it’s a huge and growing arena that few people, comparatively speaking, truly understand, and so many of the areas I specialise in (marketing literature, branding, public relations & corporate communications) tie in with social media that there’s a lot to advise upon, and indeed learn myself.

SMP: What made you start The Copywriter’s Blog?

AH: Two things, really. First is the obvious visibility benefit for my copywriting business; in principle I gain exposure to a wider audience and am more easily found. Secondly it gives me the chance to fill in the gaps I see in other blogs and to vent a little frustration and spleen at the oversights I’ve seen during my career. Perhaps I can help others overcome the hurdles and blocks that are thrown up in the form of corporate structure, financial limitations and tight timescales.
Oh, and the time it takes up is a convenient additional excuse for not getting on with the books I’m supposed to be writing.

SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the blog?

AH: Technically? Pretty easy really – it’s a Wordpress self-hosted blog. The only downside is that not being technical myself I don’t have the ability to design templates to blend it with the AHCopy website. BUT, on my long list of projects is a move to Joomla, which would solve that problem and make managing the blogging process simpler. I hope!

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

Photograph of Anthony Hewson, freelance copywriter, copy editor and proofreader The Copywriter’s BlogAH: Decision-makers, comms managers and perhaps even the entire marketing/comms hierarchy. Small & medium business owners definitely. I can identify with and empathise with small business owners, clearly, and those chaps need advice and help because when you run a small company you have to keep abreast of so many different things – and not necessarily the things that made you start your business in the first place.

Getting my views in front of decision makers in larger organisations, in principle at any rate, should help the managers and staff in the marcomms departments gain a little bit of ground. The truth is that unless board level directors are very trusting, a lot of stuff can get blocked, and there are comms specialists putting heart and soul into trying to bring their companies ahead of the competition, and a lot of the time just up to date. I’ve been in their shoes, but reading my views offers no threat to decision-makers; I’m independent, I’m not undermining them in front of colleagues and staff, and that external viewpoint can sometimes make all the difference in absorbing the message.

SMP: How did you initially attract users to your blog, and how do you do it now?

AH: Well it’s very early days, so time will tell whether I’ll be successful in my aims. Of course I’ve shared the link with friends and colleagues, it’s Google-indexed, and listed on various social media and blogging sites – and actually, this alone gives a great insight into the problems of visibility for my clients.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

AH: None as yet! I don’t doubt they’ll come…but it’s all still very fresh. The real difficulty is finding the time to write blog posts between the numerous demands on my time.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

AH: Without wishing to sound sycophantic, being asked for this interview would be the highest moment so far – it’s a real compliment.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities?

AH: Standing out in the crowd; just the same challenge that faces everybody looking to make an impression amongst thousands of other practitioners. But I do think I have the opportunity to help and guide other people, as well as raise my business profile. I’ll also plug my charity concept blog Small Change at some point as well.

SMP: What are the next moves for The Copywriter’s Blog?

AH: Well, I’m writing a guide to establishing and growing your presence on the web, as a favour for a couple of my copywriting clients, so that’s going to be a large article full of useful information and links. The clients will get it first though!

SMP: What’s the next big step for social media and networks, and what impact do you think this will have on your blog?

AH: I’m not sure if there’s a BIG step as such that’s going to appear, but a continuing stream of steps (can you have a stream of steps? I think not). Perhaps podcasting and video streaming will become more mainstream in social networking and blogging. That’d have a negative effect for me in that I’ll need to sort out my bed hair rather earlier in the day…

SMP: What’s going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009?

AH: What survives and what fails. There is a plethora of business networking, social networking, bookmarking and aggregating sites out there, and while there’ll always be choice, they can’t possibly all survive. The dramatic decline of MySpace is evidence that standing still is disastrous in the fast-moving world of social media, so the next 12 months could see all sorts of shifts.

SMP: Now it is reported that we may be moving out of the global recession what do what impact do you think social media may have upon a business such as yours?

AH: I’d like to think it will help me gain new and diverse clients and the challenge that made me set up AH Copy in the first place. The challenge wasn’t to find work, it was to put my mind and skills to use in completely differing commercial ventures.

SMP: How does this fit into plans at The Copywriter’s Blog?

AH: Nicely? I’m sure plenty of companies have profited from flogging ‘how to survive in a recession’ style business packages, books etc, but I’m thoroughly sick of the phrase ‘credit crunch’. Plus when times are tough a lot of companies, wrongly in many cases, cut back spending on what they see as the softer side of the business: marketing.

SMP: Best way to contact you?

AH: Email enquiries @ Running my own business means unless I’m in socialising mode, I’ve got half an eye on my email. So I might reply to you at 1 in the morning with an answer for when you log on at 9am. Plus being a copywriter I have deadlines to hit and can be right in the middle of a flow, at which point phone calls go to voicemail.  Either that or choose from various social media contact points showcased at

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

AH: Tea, cigarettes and my RSS news and blog feeds through Netvibes

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

AH: Um, I don’t suppose taking tea and cereal to my girlfriend in bed counts does it? If not, Sunday morning at 6am – but you’d need to check out the Small Change blog to see what I mean.

SMP: How many hours do you work a week?

AH: Probably not enough. But I don’t count anything I do for myself (including the copywriter’s blog) as work.

SMP: If you weren’t running The Copywriter’s Blog what would you be doing?

AH: Writing my two novels and one non-fiction book. Perhaps trying to break into voiceover work. Or looking for gainful employment!

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

AH: Barcelona, two years ago, to stay with one of my best friends. He lived out there at the time and sunning on the terrace with a cold beer and a view of the Sagrada Familia was pretty outstanding. Plus Barcelona is a city with soul – lovely place.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

AH: My office is stumbling distance from the bedroom, so armed with a cup of tea I read through all my feeds from blogs and news sites, and the latest LinkedIn Q&As, then check my email.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

AH: Hmmm can I have time travel? Quite apart from the obvious financial gain to be had from fixing the lottery (which I would never do ahem), the insights into history and the future would be absolutely mind-blowing. Plus SO many opportunities to do good

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