This article comes to you, courtesy of a Penguin chocolate biscuit. Seriously. Because, as I threw the wrapper in the bin, I remembered that Penguin biscuits always come with a joke. A dreadful, not-fit for-a-Christmas-cracker-joke, but a joke nonetheless.
And these jokes always remind me of my mate, Giles. Giles is a trader in the City. He’s also the husband of my mate, Nina. Play-Doh reminds me of Nina because Nina used to sit and play Play-Doh with my kids for hours.
Then that made me think of a certain web developer here in Newcastle, who gets tagged with everything ever to do with Lego (Hi, Carter!). Then there’s our local yet national retail consultant – also known and loved – and who’s linked in North Eastern minds to everything Woolworths (RIP) and Wetherspoons (Hey, @soult!). And finally, a signage and wayfinding expert I’ve been working with who specialises in accessible signage and who I find myself sending photographs of toilet signs to on an almost daily basis (I’m looking at you, @sarahs_notebook).
And this – bear with me – brought me to a conversation I had with a fellow copywriter and ProCopywriters member, John Esperian, this week. John’s strapline on LinkedIn is, ‘The relentlessly helpful copywriter’ – which he is.
So much so, that he was kind enough to ask me if I still specialise in copywriting for fashion brands. Because he likes to refer work to his friends, which is fantastic – and very generous. But, in truth, I don’t specialise in writing for fashion brands. Not anymore.
After a fabulous, glorious and fun-filled four-year stint in Northumbria University’s Fashion Communication department (lots of chunky jewellery, asymmetric hems and red lipstick) – I’m now all-in my own boss again (I’d say ‘freelance’ – but Mr Maslen kicked that out of me years ago). And, instead of writing about trends, exploring the origins of PR (scary!) and getting my students to tell me what their favourite childhood book is (and why) – it’s all got a bit industrial.
Which is what prompted me to put pen to paper today.
There are hundreds, nay, thousands of copywriters out there in the big wide world. You can see that just by looking the Copywriter Directory here. Or in any copywriting LinkedIn group. But what is it that sets you apart? And what happens if what you used to be known for, is something you simply don’t do anymore?
I wrote a post on LinkedIn last week about the fact that I think things in the copywriting world tend to come along in waves, or perhaps trends. Last year, I worked on several SaaS projects that involved big data, analytics and insights. In the last month alone, I’ve worked with three clients whose businesses involve bloody big boats. Or, should I say, ‘vessels’? Helipads and all. (Now, there’s a bucket list item.)
Apart from being a slightly sweary, caffeine-addled Lancashire/Yorkshire lass with no discernable accent – until you add two pints of Theakston’s Old Peculier into the mix (And yes, Grammarly, that’s ‘Peculier,’ not ‘Peculiar’.) – I’m just a.n. other copywriter.
But John’s question has got me thinking. In this great big writerly world of ours, what would I like to be known for? And what would you like to be known for? And how are we going to tell the world?
p.s. And that joke you’ve been wondering about?
Q: ‘What’s a penguin’s favourite film?’
See? Dreadful. 😉