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Copy Confidential: Hard-Won Wisdom for Freelance Copywriters

April 20, 2023
Author: Evelyn Creekmore
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Evelyn Creekmore has been writing since, well, she could write. Her poet grandmother taught her how to count beats with her little fingers as a grade schooler and typed up her poems to submit to contests. An early win was third place for “Plants.” Fast forward a decade or two, and we find Evelyn copywriting away at a New York ad agency. She went on to serve in content director roles for Home Shopping Network, WebMD, and FootSmart. For the last seven years, Evelyn has provided freelance content strategy and copywriting services to major global brands in just about every industry. Specialties include health, tech, finance, retail, and CPG.

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The Wripple on-demand talent platform matches top brands with agency-experienced, cross-discipline marketing freelancers to create high-caliber work that gets results. It all starts with the right fit and evolves through the power of relationships. Evelyn Creekmore, a freelance copywriter on Wripple, shares what she’s learned along the adventure in the blog series, Copy Confidential: Insider Tips for Freelance Copywriters and the Clients We Serve. Up this week, Their Baby Is Never Ugly—Even if They Say It First.

Their Baby Is Never Ugly—Even if They Say It First

Let’s face it—some content is so bad it’s almost physically offensive. (I’m looking at you, two-line sentences, exclamation points, metaphor overload, and preposition implosion.) It’s my job to fix it.


I had an interview once for a great fixer-upper at a major specialty home improvement retailer. I was super excited. There was so much wrong with their Website content that I knew I could have a tremendous impact immediately. They needed me desperately. I just had to convince them.  
I did my research before the interview, lurking the aisles of their flagship location and filling my iPhone with pics of products, signage, and promotions. I breathed in the sweet smell of varnish for hours. I touched everything.


When the big day arrived, dressed in brand colors, I bonded with my first two interviewers instantly. I could just picture myself there—and thought they could, too.


Then I had another interview. Let’s call him The Guy I Offended. Guy shared with me that the brand was a bit of a victim of its own success. It was growing so fast and generating so much revenue that all the marketing had fallen by the wayside. They needed to elevate their brand to befit their position in the market—and fast. Total re-do. My favorite.


As I settled into my happy place, Guy swiveled his screen to share with me. He navigated to their product details, an area I was extremely comfortable in. He explained that in the absence of a team to write the product descriptions, they had come up with an early automation hack. What would I do differently?


I’m looking. I’m listening. Synapses firing. I see thousands of descriptions, and they are all almost exactly the same. There’s no point of difference. No individual features and benefits. Not even a glimmer of SEO.


I told Guy his baby was ugly.


I didn’t get the job.


What I learned from my experience with Guy is that you never, ever call their baby ugly. Even. If. They. Ask. You. To.


With a nod to Seinfeld, their baby is breathtaking.


I always find positive things to say about a client’s current content first. Someone worked hard on it. Someone thought it was good at the time. Someone could still be around.


Only after giving a client’s baby a few cuddles, do I even consider getting constructive. In this leg of the conversation, I still try my best to positively re-frame. Instead of calling Guy’s SEO non-existent (and chuckling no less), I could have said something more like, “I think I could really help you with SEO. Here’s how…”


After my interview with Guy, deflated in spirit and iPhone still full of product photos, I learned my lesson. Then I did what writers always do. I took the learning and set forth anew for that next amazing opportunity just around the bend.

Read more in Evelyn Creekmore's Copy Confidential Series: 

What I Wish Clients Knew About Copywriting Tests

3 Red Flags a Copywriter and Client Aren’t a Fit

What I Wish Clients Knew–Why Copywriters Can’t Quit You

When to Be–and Not be–a Brutal Editor

What I Wish Clients Knew–Some Copywriters Are Really Sensitive 

ChatGPT Project Win


Brian Deloach
Search Engine Optimization
Zebbie Gillispie
Creative Direction & Designer
Andrew Golubock
Engagement Manager
Angie Vaughn
Marketing & Email Strategy
Evelyn Creekmore
Content Strategy & Writer

Team Impact

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Author: Evelyn Creekmore
Evelyn C. has been writing since, well, she could write. Her poet grandmother taught her how to count beats with her little fingers as a grade-schooler and typed up her poems to submit to contests. An early win was third place for “Plants.” Fast forward a decade or two, and we find Evelyn copywriting away at a New York ad agency. She went on to serve in content director roles for Home Shopping Network, WebMD, and FootSmart. For the last seven years, Evelyn has provided freelance content strategy and copywriting services to major global brands in just about every industry. Specialties include health, tech, finance, retail, and CPG.
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