Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
Guinness ads are completely to blame for my career choice (don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean from a brown paper bag, hip-flask point of view). Gilroy’s ‘imagine what toucan do’ was an inspiration…that and cereal packets in the 80s that took you on an adventure with the words of every box.
I studied English at Uni then cut my teeth working up the ranks agency-side in Account Management: writing briefs for creatives while all the while longing to be the copywriter the other side of the desk. So, a diploma in copywriting later, I made the jump.
What work are you most proud of?
My website. Not because I think it’s amazing but because it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write and was something I put off for as long as possible. I know I’m not the only copywriter whose eyes bled writing copy about themselves, but this was the first time I’d put pen to paper after mat leave so I was proud the grey cells still worked.
Also, on a personal note, I wrote 150 personalised limericks as favours for my wedding guests. It took me just under a year but was worth every second to tell the people that mean the most just how special (and weird) they are.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
There’s so many. Innocent’s tone of voice, Ronseal’s “does what it says on the tin”, Aldi’s recent ads, Aussie shampoo press ads – they’re a brilliant example of long copy that works.
I’m always in awe of other copywriters on a regular basis – #OMBLES
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Go for a walk, or have a dance…usually with a mop as a partner to a salsa track that makes me feel uplifted and like I’m living in Havana…somehow that magic makes the words flow.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Favourite without a doubt is the fact that I get paid to write every day. Creating a new tone of voice for a brand and experimenting with different styles – that’s living the dream right there.
Least favourite would have to be writing about myself. I’d happily pay a copywriter to do it! And, if I can have two, tracked-changes would be the second. I hate tracked-changes.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Justifying why it’s ok to break grammar rules. Starting sentences with ‘and’, splitting infinitives, the list goes on.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
To just write. Don’t worry about the first draft – just get it done then polish and edit after.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
To get as much experience as possible, have a tough skin and believe that you can do it.
Talk to other copywriters, we’re a friendly bunch, and rather than being your competition we’re your greatest allies.
Read ads, read small print, listen to local radio – find what inspires you, what words make you laugh, cry and take notice…and read all of Andy Maslen’s books and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (never let that one leave your side). Oh, and watch Mad Men, binge on the box sets and enjoy.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
That no two days are the same. The variety of topics makes the job a complete joy. One day you can be writing about fuel-injection hotrods, the next sampling chocolates ready to write packaging copy or researching Vienna for a travel guide.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I could write an essay on this. ProCopywriters has been an absolute lifeline for me. It’s helped me make the move from agency-side and in-house to freelance. It’s given me more support that it realises from contracts and insurance to scheduling and pricing. And has welcomed me to a community of copywriters that I now consider friends.
Where can people find out more about you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cat-roberts- young-336679118/