Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
My career started in newspaper journalism, so working with words has always been something I’ve done. That’s also true now that I work on copywriting projects too. It’s an area of writing which offers such a broad range of topics.
For example, I’ve recently written a newsletter for a microfinance charity in Africa, put together property supplements for wealthy clients, and helped a third sector organisation spruce up its strategic objectives online.
What work are you most proud of?
Something which comes to mind is one particular blog I wrote for a small international development charity following a trip to Zambia to see some of the projects. It allowed me to much better communicate the charity’s overarching themes and objectives, and also made great reading!
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
A few come to mind, but one piece I remember is worth mentioning. It’s short and sweet but does the job and was for a road safety campaign. The message was that you are four times more likely to be in a road accident while on a mobile phone.
What struck me was how clever it was, the narrative was interspersed with another line of writing of a different colour. It was a clear example of how difficult it can be to concentrate on two things at the same time – thereby clearing demonstrating the key takeaway message of the road safety campaign.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Leave the house and go for a run. I find endorphins generally help to see me through writer’s block.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Like most people, I love being able to come up with a concept which works and then to translate that into outstanding copy. So, my favourite part is choosing the words when you first begin to write. Everything is fresh.
As for my least favourite… I suppose when you print something out for a final proofread and realise there are changes you still need to make.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Mainly phrases that get used so much and so lose any meaning. “We pride ourselves on” – that kind of thing.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Make sure you have a presence online, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, or even your own website. The more you use this, the more people will begin to notice you.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Don’t give up. You may hit rejection more quickly than you’d like when you first start out, but at some point down the line, if you have a knack for words then you’ll soon get recognition.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
It’s hard to get bored! I find that when working with words I always feel stimulated. Having done a very different job previously, I know this isn’t always the case when it comes to work.
Why do you find PCN membership useful?
Most of all it’s a place to talk to other copywriters, swot up on things, and learn from those who have more experience than you. Also, having your profile on the website is useful for getting work.
Where can people find out more about you?
My website is under construction. So for now, you can find me on twitter @MrRWoodall, or drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, I’m on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardjwoodall/