Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
Since childhood I have enjoyed the challenge of assembling elegant and effective messages. I could never understand why others found it so difficult to compose words and sentences when faced with an empty Word doc.
Sales letters, marketing emails, adverts, blog posts, website content – I can do it all with ease. Eventually, as friends and contacts asked for a hand with writing tasks, I realised it was a talent I could charge good money for.
I love the fact that copywriting is so varied and challenging.
What work are you most proud of?
In early 2017 I was very flattered to be asked to write the content for the new website of a long-established international copywriting agency based in Lyon, France.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Nothing directly comes to mind, but the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill have always been an inspiration. They are a masterpiece of effective copywriting, whether read or listened to.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield if you struggle with writer’s block. And all writers do, to some extent. Those who say they don’t are probably exercising artistic licence!
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Least favourite: waiting for client feedback on completed work.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Yes. Clients who don’t see the value of being different to their competition. Clients with no courage to do what it takes to present their company as truly unique. They don’t want to follow my advice because they are too cautious. Instead of thinking what will work best from the perspective of their potential customers, some clients are thinking about what other companies do or what their friends might think.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
True motivation comes from within. That’s why the effect from motivational posters, motivational quotes, and motivational talks will generally only last a few minutes or days at most. Find what lights a fire inside you and stick with it.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
If you love writing, and others enjoy reading what you have written, then you can make money from it. Other people dislike writing to such an extent that they will gladly pay you to do it for them. Start small, maybe your side hustle could become a full-time career sooner than you expect.
If you want to earn £100,000+ per year, you will have to get used to writing thousands of words every day – certainly to begin with. It’s a competitive marketplace but don’t let that put you off. Once you get a client, make sure you research their market fully. Many copywriters don’t bother with this. Your research will show through in your writing and from there on, your client won’t want anyone else.
To write a lot, you must also read a lot.
Read history, business, or whatever subjects interest you. Listen to audiobooks and marketing podcasts. Subscribe to good business periodicals such as Fortune and online blogs such as that of Seth Godin. By ingesting good quality content daily, you will fuel your mind and your creativity, and you will become a better writer.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
The flexibility. You can work from anywhere, at any time of the day or night. As a father of three, being able to spend time with my kids and be there for special events in their lives is very important to me.
Why do you find PCN membership useful?
A couple of my best clients have come to me though PCN. The directors of PCN are approachable and helpful. It’s a must-have for any serious copywriter.
Where can people find out more about you?
www.VortexContent.co.uk or search for ‘Rick Siderfin’ and connect with me on LinkedIn.