Life as a Copywriter
Samantha Gluck owns All Media Freelance, LLC, where she works as a freelance journalist and copywriter. You can find Gluck’s work in numerous print and digital publications around the US, including the prestigious Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, Balanced Living Magazine, HealthyPlace.com, and many more. Read more about her by visiting her LinkedIn profile or chat with her on Twitter – @texascopywriter and @medtopicwriter.
Tell us about yourself ?
I’m a freelancer journalist entrepreneur with a flamboyant, rebel spirit who’s sometimes referred to as “the disturbance in the room”. I run my business, All Media Freelance, LLC, from my home office north of Houston, known as H-town by colloquially inclined speakers. Since I have an educational background in the biosciences, I specialize in health care journalism and developing digital branding strategies for health care professionals, but can and will write effective pieces on just about any topic out there.
How did you become a writer for the Huffington Post?
My association with the Huffington Post came about when AMF landed a hot new client. The client, Amy Tippins of Rock Scar Love apparel, hired our team of fires starters and digital noisemakers to expand brand identity, procure celebrity participants, and help develop a launch strategy for her national Scars R Sexy charity campaign. When I told my friend and HuffPo blogger, Ann Tran, about the campaign, she suggested we team up with her buddy Sean Gardner and write a story about the inspirational woman behind the project.
To do that, I had to get on board with HuffPo. I sent an application to the editor who oversees the department that interested me most — the Healthy Living section. I was accepted and saw my debut story, Turn Your Wounds to Wisdom, published. I never thought of applying to HuffPo prior to that, but I’m so glad I did. I think it will add a new dimension to my work as a health care journalist.
Has the Huffington Post been good for business?
The HuffPo has had a considerable impact on my business, considering it only went live May 4th. I’ve certainly received a bump in website traffic across both of my sites, but it’s the increased number of potential new client inquiries that has my head spinning — seven so far — incredible for two weeks. So, I have to say that, so far, the HuffPo definitely put an extra BOOM BOOM in this Texas firecracker’s life.
How did you become a copywriter?
It seems family, friends, and friends-of-friends have asked me to write letters, ads, brochure copy, and term papers for them since I could hold a pencil. But I started writing professionally – on a part-time basis – around March of 2000, while working as an account manager for a media company and later as a pharmaceutical rep.
Finally, my side business grew so much that I had to choose between doing what I’d always dreamed of doing and continuing in my comfortable, secure corporate career path. I didn’t really have a choice – I had to do my own thing. I kissed corporate drudgery goodbye and began work as a full-time freelance journalist and copywriter in 2010.
What advice have you for aspiring copywriters?
If you dream of making a living as a copywriter, you need to first study the work of successful copywriters, analyze ads that grab your attention and hold it there until the end. Take a couple of courses in the craft, but make sure the person offering the course actually has had success as a copywriter with the client list to back up any claims to success. Learn the lingo and common industry practices too. Not every good writer is cut out for copywriting. And many writers need more than just copywriting assignments to satisfy their muse. I’m one of those writers – that’s why I love journalism and the feature stories my journalistic muse helps me write for the newspapers and magazines in which my columns appear
What modern day copywriters inspire you?
I’m definitely inspired by Brian Clark of Copyblogger. I stumbled upon his site a couple of years before I took the plunge into the world of business ownership. The easy, edgy, and sometimes rebellious style of the articles on his site ignited the rebel spark in me, foretelling approaching end of my stint in the creative poverty that rules many corporate cultures.
I’ve learned a treasure trove of lessons and little-known tricks from another amazing copywriter, Kent V. Austin, one of the most successful in the world. He’s written copy for Martha Stewart, Jaguar Motors Worldwide, Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, and many more. I helped Kent, who lives in the UK, develop the promotional strategy for his copywriting master class in the US. I got to know him during the process and he taught me many valuable lessons and revealed priceless secrets about writing successful copy.
I’ve learned the ins and outs of journalism in bits and pieces all of my life – school and college newspapers, one-off freelance columns in our local newspaper and magazines as a mouthy twenty-something – but I honed my current journalistic skills while writing stories for the Houston Chronicle, Hartford Courant, and Balanced Living Magazine.
Newspapers (at least all the newspapers I know of) follow a style guide, such as the AP Stylebook. If you aren’t used to following a style guide, it’ll take longer to complete your assignment because you’ll need to refer to the guide frequently. The editors at the first two publications held my feet to the fire and forced me to learn the guide and do it right – every time. I’m still writing regular feature stories for Balanced Living and enjoy the information gathering process thoroughly, but when I first began, finding sources and gaining access to them seemed daunting under a tight deadline.
Who are the 3 most creative people you follow on Twitter?
You mean in addition to Creative Slave (a.k.a. @fluffylinks)?
I follow so many creative people on Twitter. Creativity comes with many faces and emerges in a variety of ways, so I’m not sure how to choose the three most creative. My close friend, @AmyShoultzPhD, and partner in the upcoming launch of our new baby, RebelSpark – Digital branding & creative visionary group, oozes creativity when she writes.
Another priceless creative is @MagdaMeta, a freelance translator in Italy has one of the most creative minds around. Not only does she produce gorgeous mosaic art, she comes up with the most unlikely, yet novel ideas for business and post topics ever.
Finally, I’d have to say that comic artist and superhero creator, @GrowlersWorld, really inspires my own creativity and wakes up my muse with the amazing characters he creates.
Which Mad Men character do you relate to and why?
I don’t watch the Mad Men series – I’ve never seen even one episode. A quick Internet search reveals that the series is about an ad agency and the quagmire their choices and behaviors get them into. So, I’m not sure how to answer this one. If it’s any consolation,
What about Game of Thrones then?
I do watch Game of Thrones. I have a crush on Jon Snow, but may change my mind, depending on how his character pans out. I relate to the female character, Daenerys in many ways, but just began watching and this assessment could change. She’s strong and fiery, but has a gentle heart. She’s creative in the way she resolves conflict and finds solutions to problems. Daenerys listens to the counsel of those with more wisdom and experience, but not blindly. She carefully considers the information and uses it to form her own assessments and come to decisions.