Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I didn’t – like many people here on the site, it chose me! I’m so glad it did, though – I love what I do.
I started as an editorial assistant (and then entertainment reporter and music columnist) on my local newspaper and spent five years writing about all the amazing things that were going on in that neck of the woods (Morecambe and Lancaster).
I received a call from a recruitment agent just when I was beginning to get itchy feet; there was a copywriting position going at a site which sold flowers by post and I thought it sounded like ruddy good fun. I took the job and have been copywriting – in-house and freelance – since.
What work are you most proud of?
Often, it’s the briefs which are the most challenging – rather than the ‘dream companies’ you’ve set your stall out to work for. I never thought I’d say this but it was probably a (pretty hefty) brochure I put together for a wind turbines company. When I first received the brief I thought: ‘S**t, how on earth am I going to become an expert on this…?’
But you can ask me anything about wind turbines now* and I’ll probably be able to tell you.
*I don’t know how to fix one though – ha.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Oh, there are far too many! There are some very clever copywriters out there and I’m forever envious of some people’s work.
I love what they do over at Innocent smoothies – puns aplenty and an all-round fun and witty tone – it’s great to see from such a huge brand.
Graze.com do a lovely job on the copy front, too. But I could go on and on…
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Take a break. Eat a mince pie (seasonal advice only, you understand). Have a dance around my little home office. Procrastinate. And then have a proper talking to myself, before cracking on.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Least favourite is anything involving Excel spreadsheets. Sob. I always have a paddy (to myself, not to the client – ha) when I have to type my copy into a spreadsheet.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Americanisms. In the UK. No, just no.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
To never give up.
The school careers advisor told me at 16 I’d never make a writer (some great encouragement, there). But then I met a lovely lady called Ingrid Kent (the then-news reporter at the paper I ended up working for) and she wrote me a lovely note during my work experience telling me to go for it and listing a load of journalism degrees.
She later became a great pal and fantastic mentor – cheers, Ingrid!
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
It can be difficult getting on the ladder, but don’t let that put you off.
Start a blog, write on it daily and don’t give up.
When I went for my interview at the newspaper and the editor asked me what I’d do if he didn’t offer me the role, I said ‘I’d hound him ‘til he did’. Cheeky, but thankfully he wasn’t put off (phew) and put me on the payroll. Good job. I’d have egged his car if he didn’t (joke).
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
The variety. As a freelancer, there’s always something interesting to get my teeth into. Today I’m writing for a pest control company, an online chemist (free Lemsip for life!) and a firm which unblocks your drains. I didn’t say it was glamourous but I’m definitely a good person to have on your pub quiz team!
Why do you find PCN membership useful?
What a great site PCN is! It’s full of interesting articles by fellow copywriters and the site is so easy to navigate too. I love that everyone has their own space to showcase what they do and it’s lovely to have the PCN banner on my site – it adds a little extra clout to what I do and clients really seem to take notice when you tell them you’re a member. Thanks, PCN!
Where can people find out more about you?