freelance ad writing

Freelance Ad Creation: for Client or Agency

by Helen Borel, RN, PhD

Based on my more than 18 years as an Advertising Copywriter and Creative Director on Madison Avenue in New York City, I am sorry to tell you that I have never heard of anyone who would be successful trying to sell one's creative ideas (either in graphics or copy) to a major industry or corporate entity directly.

Major Advertisers Rely on the Talented Staff at Their Ad Agencies

ALL THESE COMPANIES (known as "advertisers") CAN WELL AFFORD TO CONTRACT WITH AD AGENCIES FOR HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL CREATIVE WORK by very talented agency staff writers and artists!!! And the finished product is completed (market-testing, printing, time-buying on TV, space-buying in print media, etc.) by the ad agency. The Advertiser has little or no facilities nor production or creative staff available to wrap up the project you would wish to offer them on a freelance basis out of the blue.

It's Best to Work First in an Ad Agency as a Writer or Artist

You don't say whether you are a visual artist or a writer. Whichever your talent category, I suggest you first get a job in an advertising agency - preferably one that creates advertising/promotion/marketing for products or services you feel comfortable writing about or creating graphics for. (Some creative types would not like to promote products like cigarettes or other tobacco products, for example.)

With Staff Experience, Ad Agency Creative Directors May Give You Freelance Assignments

Once you've been employed for a while - long enough (years) to feel comfortable in this highly creative, yet commercial, field - then you will have opportunities to do freelance work. But usually, in my experience ALWAYS, this freelance work will come to you from ad agencies you've worked with via Creative Directors who are familiar with your talents, your deadline consciousness, and your knowledge and experience creating advertising for their specific product or service categories.

My Relevant Experience and Background

In my case, my expertise is in medicine, psychiatry, Rx pharmaceuticals, healthcare, nursing and related subjects - clinical, research, and writing. (A knowledge base of this depth is not necessarily required in all fields, e.g., automotive, fruit juice, refrigerators, linens, candles...massage, exercise, retail services.)

My advertising campaigns have appeared in general and specialty medical journals; while collateral materials, like brochures, videos, direct mail, continuing medical education (CME) and so forth have reached targeted physicians directly via promotional mail or industry sales reps.

Additionally, I am a poet with published short fiction, book review columns, satire, and much fiction and nonfiction in-progress. (Note: You must be highly creative, imaginative, and idea-filled to be successful in advertising as a writer or graphic artist.)

My Ph.D. is in Psychoanalytic Studies which, along with my creative process experience, allows me to successfully help creative personalities deal with both their careers and emotional issues.

So, please feel free to visit my hub group PSYCH NEW YORK at: http://hubpages.com/hub/PSYCH-NEW-YORK

At that site, you can access hubs in the PSYCH NEW YORK group on Insomnia, Social Anxiety Disorder, Alcohol Dependence, Are there Advantages to Madness? Part I PSYCHOSIS, Are there Advantages to Madness? Part II ANGER, and Getting the Most Out of Psychotherapy.

Many more topics will be added, soon, to the PSYCH NEW YORK group.

Also, I will soon be developing other hubs related to healthcare, medical developments, creative writing, ageism and joblessness, and (believe-it-or-not) advertising, specifically as I know it in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

I hope both creative people and interested others find this info useful. And if you wish, contact me directly at: medical-healthalerts@earthlink.net

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Comments 8 comments

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thx for answering my request, I made it on behalf of a loved one, not myself.  You said what I was afraid would be said, but you said it very well and with trustworthy authority.  I appreciate it!


Creativita 8 years ago

Dear Shirley Anderson:

Thanx for your feedback. I'm always glad when my information is helpful to others.

Not to worry, though. There are so very many ad agencies always looking for new talent that I would encourage your loved one to give it a try. Have the person visit the follow-up hub I have written containing additional tips for getting started in the advertising field. I’m calling it "Breaking into Advertising."

And, Good Luck. Helen Borel


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thank-you, Helen. I'm going to look right now.


Smiling Cat profile image

Smiling Cat 8 years ago from Deerfield Beach, Florida

"Based on my more than 18 years as an Advertising Copywriter and Creative Director on Madison Avenue in New York City, I am sorry to tell you that I have never heard of anyone who would be successful trying to sell one's creative ideas (either in graphics or copy) to a major industry or corporate entity directly"....That is one monsterous lead sentence for a copywriter!

Informative article but I couldn't get the link to your Hubgroup to work.


Smiling Cat profile image

Smiling Cat 8 years ago from Deerfield Beach, Florida

"if you search my writings, you'll find sentences that most people wouldn't consider whole sentences. Yet, these are follow-up phrases that modify, or add to, the prior sentence. It's kind of a poetic touch."...Do you think that the web is changing the rules of sentence and paragraph structure? IMO it seems that proper grammer is often sacrificed for the "ease of the read". Shorter sentences are easier to read on the web and look better.


Smiling Cat profile image

Smiling Cat 8 years ago from Deerfield Beach, Florida

this was a dupe - virus scan + double click = sorry!


Creativita 8 years ago

Dear Smiling Cat: I appreciate your commentaries. On the other hand, I really can't let technology...not even the marvelous World Wide Web...dictate to me how to use my creative process, how to render my words, their order, their terseness or their strung-outness, et al.

Artists generally do what they want to do to express themselves thoroughly according to their own inner dictates. That's how I live my life, that's how I create my writings. (Writers, me included, usually bristle at being told how to construct our works.)

After years of successful, published writing, I'm very confident in my structures and how I order them and present them to readers. Editors rarely, if ever, touch my work because I clear up everything problematic before I submit anything for publication. (By the way, Smiling Cat, yes I did create paragraph-long sentences when I was a copywriter in medical advertising. This was not out of spite, nor out of lack of craft...my works were considered excellent. I was dealing with complex subject matter that needed qualification within the same sentence. So, voila'. Also, sentence fragments were used in this same marketing/advertising literature and ad campaigns. These weren't off-the-cuff, frivolously place fragments. They were very appropriately, carefully positioned phrases. They made certain points about the product or service. They were deft uses of words.) I don't waste words. I re-read my work thoroughly, over and over again. (I may miss a few typos, but that's it.)

So, if some publisher were to offer me a million dollars for a work I have written and hold dear to my heart, sure, I wouldn't fight with that publisher if they wish to delete a chapter, or a paragraph, or even an idea. But that's only because I could take that million dollars and subsequently self-publish a mountain of my work without editorial interference whatsoever! Smiling Cat, I hope that's not too much said. Creativita


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Great lot of information. I will come back often to double check an item or two.

thank you for sharing your know-how. regards Zsuzsy

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