Kathy Sharpe — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight

Kathy Sharpe

Sharpe Communications (Freelance Education Copywriter in Leeds)

Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?

I have always had a passion for literature and the arts, and studied English & Art History at The University of Birmingham. I fell into the world of public relations after graduating and, after exploring different facets of this, I realised that communications was my true vocation.

I love writing for just about all channels. I have 16 years of experience writing text, from press releases to staff restructure notices. Since recently moving into freelancing, I’ve realised that a lot of people don’t actually know what copywriting is. So I suppose it’s our job to bang the drum about how important it can be, and the benefits it can bring!

What work are you most proud of?

I have been the author of a number of successful bids for awards and, although these are usually for other people, it’s still a thrill to hear “it’s won!” I think I’m most proud of a PRWeek Decade of Achievement Award that I won for Internal Communications. Not only was I the author of the submission, it was based on work I had undertaken at the organisation at the time.

What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?

I love the This Girl Can campaign. The copy written for the adverts and videos is great, but the strapline alone is so empowering. It’s been incredibly successful with its conversion rates, and is inspiring, easily recognisable, and relatable.

Much of my career has been within the education sector, so I’m very focused on the importance of education and enabling positive change.

What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?

Cup of tea. Wander about. Stare at the garden for a bit, pondering the length of the grass. Repeat.

What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?

I’m actually a bit of a nerd when it comes to writing. I really enjoy the challenge of writing something technical, dry, or academic, and trying to bring it to life. The chunkier the better.

I’m not as comfortable at pithy marketing soundbites!

 I dislike the pressure of working in this industry sometimes, as there’s an expectation that you are infallible and incapable of an ordinary typo like any mere mortal!

Any copywriting pet hates?

It’s not so much the copywriting as the associated business requirements from accounting to… well, it’s mostly just the accounting! I also need to hone my skills a little at guesstimating how long a potential job could take.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

“You have to eat the elephant in chunks.”

What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?

Get lots of varied experience, paid and unpaid, even if it feels beneath you. Nobody, no matter how experienced they are, should ever give up on learning, or assume they’re too established to better themselves.

What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?

Working at home, which gives me more balance between my life and career, and meeting my husband for a cheeky sarnie most weeks!

Why do you find PCN membership useful?

As a national organisation, ProCopywriters helps to give its members more status, and a level of respect from potential clients. Alongside the support provided, and the network of contacts it gives, it also ensures there’s a standard that should be adhered to as a profession in its own right.

Where can people find out more about you?


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