by Andy Nattan: June 6, 2012
Posted in Spotlight
I didn’t find out what a copywriter did until my first interview! After graduating from University, I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I applied for pretty much every job that looked interesting, and somehow stumbled into a junior copywriter role at an on-hold marketing company. First real job, and it turned out I wasn’t bad at it.
As a student, I wrote regularly for a number of websites, so I had half an idea that I could write. But as I mentioned above, I never really had any idea that I’d be able to turn my hobby into a career.
I currently work at an SEO company, so 99% of what I do is website copy for smaller businesses. In the past, I wrote telephone scripts for an on-hold marketing company (amusing sample here), and I’ve done my fair share of brochures and print ads into the bargain.
Any brief that lets me inject a bit of character or humour into a piece. The majority of businesses I work with like very serious, professional tones. So it’s always great to cut loose with something funny.
As I said, I’m the copywriter for FirstFound, an SEO company in Manchester.
In the office, I’ve got a fairly standard desk layout set up next to the web design team. PC, dual monitors, calendar, picture of Justin Bieber…
At home, it’s pretty much the same. I know some people can sit on the couch, writing on their Mac Book, but I need a PC, a proper desk, and a window to stare out of.
Anything and everything by the author Kurt Vonnegut. He was a copywriter before he wrote insane novels, so he’s got a very compact style. Not a wasted word in his whole back catalogue. I think most of us can learn from that.
I’ve only been in the industry for five years now, but in that time we’ve finally resolved the relationship between the search engines and website copy.
Even three years ago, people were still claiming that SEO copy had to be an exercise in synonyms and keyword stuffing if it was going to rank on Google. Now we’ve all relaxed a bit and realised that relevant, informative copy is just as important to the search engines as it is to the reader.
While being a salaried employee means I don’t have to worry about making ends meet, I would quite like the freedom to work in an environment where ties and trousers are optional.
After all, who doesn’t like writing in their underwear?
A brief I had to work to as a junior. A client who ran an animal sanctuary and a pet accessory store wanted a website to advertise her “doggy catwalks”.
Her idea was to shuffle a poor, abandoned pooch about, clad in a tartan sweater, in the hope that someone would buy the dog and the dog clothes.
I still have no idea how to pitch that service to rational people.
Read often. Read books, read magazines, read blogs and read other people’s copy.
You won’t find better sources of advice, inspiration or ideas than professionally written pieces, so make sure you take the time to read and deconstruct other people’s work.
Especially Unmemorable Title.