Laura Silcock — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight Revisited

How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?

I’ve been doing a lot more brand voice development recently – especially with small companies and even independent consultants. I think more and more people are realising the great value of a consistent, natural voice that reflects their brand and endears them to their target audience.

What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?

Well, actually, the ProCopywriters website had something to do with that. Someone was searching for a copywriter and saw my profile on the site. They then checked out my new website (I walked the talk and overhauled it last year), and it resulted in me winning a juicy big project.

I can’t say what it is because it’s not gone live yet. It’s a lovely project, though, working with a couple of guys who already had a very successful company but wanted to start again and do things differently. I’ve worked with them to develop the brand personality and voice for their start-up and write web copy for it.

Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?

It feels like a natural fit. I’m very detail-focused (much to the dismay of my husband and kids) and tone of voice work is all about the little details.

I also think that all businesses will need to up their game in terms of tone of voice over the coming years. Even those in more traditional or B2B sectors won’t be able to get away with dull, clunky copy or incomprehensible terms and conditions. People will naturally gravitate to organisations that talk their language.

What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?

I’m really enjoying working with smaller companies. I’ve written for lots of bigger brands over the years, which can be lots of fun.

But what I really like about working with small businesses is that you’re often dealing directly with the founder and making a tangible difference for them personally.

What are you working on just now?

I’m finishing off some web copy for a company that fits out commercial interiors. They’d spent ages getting the look and feel of their website right and wanted to make sure the copy lived up to it. So I began by developing their brand personality and voice and then moved on to writing the copy, which included 30 mini case studies.

I’m also working on a property brochure, a look book for a cashmere brand, sales material for a software business and an animation script for a security platform.

Describe your desk and what’s on it

It’s a squat white corner desk. I wanted a corner desk so I can easily gaze out of the window at the trees outside. I read that it’s good for your health to see as much of nature as possible, even if you work inside. So I’ve also now got a couple of plants on my desk.

In reality, I rarely look up from my monitor never mind gaze out of the window – but the opportunity’s there.

Apart from the plants, my MacBook, monitor and landline phone, there’s very little else on my desk. Clutter stresses me so I like to keep it clinically tidy. I do have a few things on there to remind me about the important things though. There’s a charcoal grey pebble with the date of our wedding etched on it and a pic of the kids sploshing in puddles.

There’s also a photo of a cute little sky blue Fiat 500 I took during a particularly hilarious afternoon on holiday. I like the fact that only my husband and I know the significance behind it (and all the readers here now, obviously).

Tell us about your side projects

I did some property developing with my dad for a few years and would love to go back to that, but this time to build a home for us rather than to sell.

How has your writing process evolved?

I’ve always put a lot of focus on research and planning before I start writing. Over the years I’ve refined, and continue to refine, the questions I ask, the exercises I use and how I structure my planning.

What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?

What they charge. I find pricing to be the most difficult part of the job.

What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?

It’s not that I disagree with this entirely, but I don’t think it’s essential to have a blog or be heavily active on social media. I know these approaches work really well for some people, but there are other ways to build your copywriting business.

I’ve always found that cold calling, asking for referrals and going to networking events is productive for me. I think it’s also worth getting to know other copywriters – I quite often pass leads to other writers and vice versa.

Any lessons you’re still learning?

I hope so! I never want to stop learning.

One important thing I’ve had to learn in recent years is to say no. It’s all too easy to say yes to everything that comes your way and then be either completely frazzled or miss out on better, or more profitable, opportunities.

What’s something about your work that makes your inner copywriting nerd happy, but you’re not able to chat about enough?

You know when you’re on top form and a piece of copy turns out even better than you imagined? You love the way it flows, it’s so emotive, there’s not a cliché in sight etc. etc.

Apart from the fact I work alone, I’m hardly going to turn to my husband when he wanders in and say, “Darling, listen to this paragraph I’ve written for a law firm. Isn’t it brilliant?”

What do you think?

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