Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I spent a few years in sales and marketing roles for creative agencies. As it turned out I sold better with emails than the phone, and I started writing other collateral like press releases, promotional lit and case studies. My folks were happy I was finally putting my writing degree to good use. You can imagine their excitement when I became a full-time copywriter!
What work are you most proud of?
As much as I enjoy working with large established brands, I’m probably most proud of the websites I’ve written for start-ups, like Franck Energy, that have really helped to lift the business off the ground. I’m also doing some work for Ancestry at the moment that has significantly increased subscription rates. So really, I’d say it’s any work that achieves tangible results for a client’s business.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Hard to say, one that’s really stuck in my mind is a Jack Daniel’s advert I saw on the tube a while ago. It just nailed that deep southern twang and told its brand story in a way that provoked a sense of nostalgia.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I think most writers have the same response – to put it away, forget about it for awhile, go for a jog or whatever, and then revisit. I do the same. The best ideas always seem to happen when the project is treading in the back of my mind.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
The favourite would be getting constructive feedback after the first draft and having that reassurance that I’m on the right track. The least favourite would be the opposite, getting vague feedback with no direction from clients that require a lot of handholding.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Probably the overuse of colons and em dashes; they only have impact when used sparingly.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
I actually have a document in my Dropbox called ‘Best copywriting advice’. So let me just refer to that, oh yes, here’s a good one. “Begin strongly, have one theme, use simple language, leave a picture in the listener’s mind, and end dramatically.” Good life advice too. I’d quite like to go out with a bang.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Again, probably not original, but read loads. Read books, articles and blogs of top copywriters. And make sure you have a thick skin.