Friday, December 27, 2013

Kristine M Smith's Word Whisperer Logo

Registered Trademark

Newest Review from a Local Tacoma-Area Client

A primary reason why I love doing what I do is that I get the most enthusiastic client feedback. And although money is important (it allows me to stay in business as a copywriter) the kudos I get from clients mean far more to me!


You are the word whisperer. Nicely done. You are a gifted writer and very thorough while delivering the final project in a short period of time.

John B. Merz, Administrator
Memory Haven Sumner

Memory Care Cottages
5107 Parker Road E.
Sumner, WA 98390

(Copy written to SEO keywords without talking points provided)

Links to pages I've written
(Clients gave me permission to disclose that I wrote their copy for them.)

(Copy written to SEO keywords without talking points provided)

(Copy written to SEO keywords without talking points provided) (I wrote the home page and the English Language version of the video at this site.)

The script is amazing.

Thank you again,


(Copy written to SEO keywords mostly without talking points provided)

“I love taking the time to read what you do with what you are given. You amaze me! I don't think I could give higher praise to any vendor we use - and we have 20 to 30 that we use regularly. There are gifts that God gives that cannot be explained by any man or
science - they are living examples of a miracle,  tangible to even the highest skeptic. This is what I think each time you submit any writing to us. We are blessed to count you
as a partner.”  — James C. Whelan, Michigan

(Copy written to SEO keywords mostly without talking points provided) (I didn’t write the moving banner ads)

I wrote the above websites in their entirety, some via talking points provided by the clients, some by the seat of my pants.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Feast or Famine: Life as a 'Creative' is Both Glorious and Gut-Wrenching!

A few weeks ago I had clients in holding patterns, waiting to land as soon as I completed the project I was on. 

This week both of the clients who were scheduled to employ me have decided to wait until after the holidays have come and gone. ACK!  So here I sit, praying for some unexpected drop-ins: former clients, new clients, some editing work, anything! 

Moral of the story: get down payments or retainer fees up front so that when (not if) clients decide to delay, it doesn't throw you into "OMG!" Mode, wondering how you're going to make ends meet. "There goes my Christmas plans and packages. I'm dead in the water..." T'is NOT the season to be a pauper. I can handle it any other time of the year, off and on (it's a way of life for most Creatives) but this time of year it makes me come across looking like a penny-pinching Scrooge when I'm feeling more like Bob Crachit--or Tiny Tim!   Grrrr...

Not that I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs, mind you. When my schedule frees up unexpectedly, I start writing for myself, doing the marketing stuff that shows my wares and abilities on FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

I also write complimentary copy, during these droughts, for power networking partners who have sent work my way this year. I just finished writing 4000 words of copy for Internet Earle (who is creating a complimentary website for a friend of his) to thank him for the number of times he has sent clients my way and saved my bacon this year, and for Lisa Taylor, who offers two services that lots of people need: computer tutoring for seniors here in the Tacoma  area and other technophobes and custom WordPress sites. It makes me feel very, very good to be able to do this for them. Words are the only gifts I can afford to get them this year for Christmas, and it's a great gift--one that most people have to pay serious money to get.  Oh! And I bathed my sister's two dogs yesterday, too... in my spare time. So I'm not twiddling my thumbs, by any stretch of the imagination!

But of course none of the above pays the mortgage; it just keeps me from stressing too much over something I can't control while blessing people who have been such blessings to me.

I'm watching the websites that offer writing jobs (usually for peanuts) to see if I spot anything that will carry me through this dry spell that I can bid on. That takes a lot of time out of every day, including weekends.  I must spend 50-60 hours a week looking for writing work when I'm  not engaged in writing projects.  Very few people understand the enormous amount of time and attention it takes to make a living this way. But there's nothing else on earth I'd rather do than write, so here I am... writing for free when I can't write for pay!

Please keep me in your prayers for a sudden, surprising upswing in business--sooner rather than later. (Now would be a good time!) 

I appreciate it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Article I Wrote for the Living Without Family Network--Enjoy, Like and Share!

New article I wrote last night ("Where is Love?") is up now at Life Without Family Network. Check it out if/when you have time or the interest--and feel free to Like and Share!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Five Ways to Find a Great Freelance Copywriter

5 Ways to Find a Great Freelance Copywriter
©2013 Kristine M. Smith
Professional copywriters usually charge one to three dollars per word. Here’s how to get one for less—without sacrificing quality.
Every business and entrepreneur needs a professional writer now and then—for web content, a brochure, content marketing articles, you name it. Unfortunately, too many have fallen victim to tens of thousands of charlatans and wannabes who have hung their shingles at scores of online freelance websites and proclaimed themselves copywriting experts. (No certification or testing is required so anyone can claim the title.)
1.      IF you elect to use an online freelance website to look for copywriters (not recommended!) be sure to carefully review each candidate’s profile page, client history and feedback, certified test results, and portfolio. Most of the reputable copywriters have fled online freelance websites (or are fleeing as fast as they can) because the reputation of these sites has plummeted because of the overwhelming numbers of impostors and their resulting unhappy customers; few professionals want to be associated with them anymore. If you go this route, expect to spend hours (perhaps days) sorting through often-laughable sub-standard profiles and portfolios in search of the remaining reputable providers. Bottom line: Don’t settle for less than the best. You’ll get what you pay for at these sites. Remember: you’ll need a result that you can be proud of, not sub-standard copy fit only for lining the bottom of a bird cage.
2.      If you want a local provider, do a search on “your town + copywriter” and see who pops up. Visit their websites and look at their histories, portfolios and client testimonials.  (Note: no professional copywriter tackles all niches; only hacks and wannabes do that—and they usually do it poorly.) When you find ones that impress you, give them a call and make arrangements to meet them to discuss your needs.
3.      If the physical location of your copywriter isn’t an issue, run a search on the kind of copywriter you’re seeking (SEO copywriter, real estate copywriter, web content copywriter, content marketing copywriter, etc.) and check out the credentials and client reviews of the ones you find. I highly recommend that you hire a native professional copywriter from within your own country (wherever you are in the world) when your target audience is also where you are, since he or she will be well-versed in your nation’s idioms, culture and customs and won’t be making major mistakes because of cultural and language issues. If your target audience is in another country, hire a professional copywriter from the same country your target audience is in unless the copywriter can show you copy he has already written for that audience. Why? Because (for example) UK Englishmen speak, spell, and write differently than do Americans, Australians and Canadians; readers can be put off if they run across unfamiliar colloquialisms, spellings or cultural references that they don’t hear at home.   A metaphor like “You hit that one out of the ball park!” resonates in the United States, where baseball is a national pastime; it’ll just raise eyebrows (and sometimes hackles) in other places.
4.      If you aren’t well-versed when it comes to spelling, grammar and punctuation or if you confuse words when you’re writing (there, their, they’re; its and it’s; accept, except; then and than, etc.) find someone else to help you select your copywriter. It’s what you don’t know about spelling, grammar, punctuation and other matters that can come back to bite you professionally unless you find an ally to help you choose a copywriter.
5.      Agree to pay a small fee to the copywriter you’re considering hiring. Have them write a short one-page/250-word sample web page, article or letter on your topic of choice (give them the source materials for this piece); or (ideally) have them edit and enhance a substandard one-page/250-word piece you already have on hand.  Let them know you want the piece back in under an hour (unless they’re absolutely swamped with deadlines). If they can produce the piece to your satisfaction within this time frame, it’s likely you’re dealing with a professional candidate.
6.       Using due diligence you can find an exemplary freelance copywriter to do your bidding, one who won’t charge you an arm and a leg for their services. But please note: if you aren’t able (or willing) to pay at least $100/hour for the services of a professional copywriter, wait until you are. No professional copywriter worth his or her salt is going to write for you while going backward financially. Consider a U.S. copywriter’s reality (which may mirror your own if you’re an American business person or entrepreneur)…
Self-employed freelance copywriters in the USA...
Ø  don't get paid vacations
Ø  don't get paid sick days
Ø  rarely get bonuses for outstanding work
Ø  don't have employer-paid insurance plans
Ø  don't qualify for unemployment when work doesn’t materialize
Ø  have to take into account the time it requires to find and quote on projects
Ø  have to pay 100% of our Social Security, FICA, and other federally-mandated fees instead of just a portion of them
Although freelancers enjoy writing great copy...sadly....enjoyment doesn't pay the mortgage.

Kristine M. Smith is a professional freelance copywriter and the author of seven books. To discover the kinds of projects she tackles and the ones she leaves to other professional writers, please email her at
Permission is hereby granted to reprint this article as long as the copyright notice and this byline is included wherever the reprint appears.