I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a copywriter. After college, I took a year out working at a local PR agency and got into Bournemouth University to study a Communications degree. I chose this degree because I wanted to learn a broad range of skills in advertising, journalism, English literature, and scriptwriting… I didn’t want to be pinned down to learning one discipline. In my last year at university, I got a work placement at DLKW Dialogue in London, which led to further freelance work while I was back at university. Once graduated I did find it hard to get work initially, but I nagged people to see my portfolio, put any ideas and words down that I had and eventually it paid off and I got some work.
What made you want to be a copywriter?
I’ve always been interested in words and penned lots of stories from a young age. I also come from a pretty creative family and grew up with my older brother and sister both working in the industry, so I had an idea from a young age that I wanted to be a copywriter. It seemed like the only job out there for me. I have a big imagination and have always loved working out the details of an idea and the narrative that goes with it.
What types of copywriting do you do, and for what clients?
I have experience working at integrated agencies but for the past 3 years I have concentrated on digital. Day-to-day I love the diversity of what I get to do: brainstorming, strategy, managing a team of copywriters, figuring out the details, and finally getting to sit down do some writing. I’ve worked for some great brands, including, MTV, Sony Mobile, Cancer Research, L’Oreal, MSIF and NS&i.
What do you enjoy most?
The ideas and the storytelling – creating a narrative that can run across different platforms and inspire audiences worldwide, is what inspires me in my work. Basically, creating experiences people want to be a part of.
What sort of working setup do you have?
I have a laptop attached to an extra screen. I have to say I love hiding away on the sofa and losing myself in writing. But, most of the time I can be found at my desk, which is covered in lists, scribbles and papercraft toys.
What one book should copywriters read, and why? (Not necessarily about copywriting.)
Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite by Paul Arden, a quick read that challenges you to think differently.
How have things changed in the time you’ve been a copywriter? What’s better, and what’s worse?
Things have changed hugely. Graduating in 2005, Facebook was just emerging and digital was only touched on in my curriculum. Social media as an entity hadn’t emerged yet and it didn’t matter if I didn’t ‘Like’ a brands Facebook page. But, I love the pace of technology and how the landscape of digital changes and evolves, bringing with it exciting new platforms and forms of communication to get to grips with as a copywriter. I guess what’s got worse is the ‘noise’ of the internet. But, I think as copywriters it’s our job to break through this noise with something of real value.
What are you most proud of in your copywriting career?
This year we created the campaign for World MS Day 2012 where users could upload their stories of living with MS. Working on the project from start to finish, it was a really nice moment, when everything went live and I could read all the stories and messages of hope from people around the world. Their honesty and willingness to take part made it all worthwhile and made me feel that I had done my bit to raise awareness of a disease that little is really known about.
If you could change one thing about your working life as a copywriter, what would it be?
I wish there was more collaboration within agencies in general. It’s sad but true that some agencies still ask copywriters to just fill in a space with words. It really shouldn’t be like this. Creative should work together from concept to execution to create the perfect solution that works across user experience, design, copy and build.
What advice would you give other copywriters?
Persevere. With your writing and with your passion for this industry – you definitely need to be passionate to be successful in anything you choose to do in life.