Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
For ages I was a frustrated copywriter, but I didn’t realise it. I didn’t know that copywriting was a thing. What I did know was that the best bit of every job I’d had over 15 years was when I got to write.
I loved picking out the juicy bits of information and finding the best ways to express them. Over the years I wrote for children, families, businesses and other professionals. And I’d get endlessly frustrated by colleagues and managers who couldn’t see what was obvious to me.
And then I realised that maybe I was actually OK at writing – better at it than some people – and that maybe I could make it work freelance. I’d been too scared to go it alone through my twenties, but with age comes confidence (disclaimer: I might have made that up). So I set up as Megan Rose Freelance, and here I am.
What work are you most proud of?
Two pieces of writing. One is a project I did for Hertfordshire Community Foundation. They found me through my website and asked if I was interested in doing the interviews and copy for a book celebrating their 30th anniversary. The fact that such a dream client found my website was brilliant! The fact that they then wanted to work with me – even better.
It was a really heart-warming and interesting piece to write, and a rare treat to write something that got printed on actual paper and sent to me through the post!
The other piece is something I knocked together quickly to try to make my hair-tearing-out sister smile when she was potty training her first child.
I’ve shared it with many, many parents since then (first child is now ten), and I love that it can bring a teensy bit of laughter to them at a stressful (and soggy) time.
I added it to my website portfolio too, just for fun, and I always enjoy getting messages about it from despairing parents who stumble across it.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I know I’m not the first person to say this, but Aussie shampoo bottles were the first time I really noticed the difference copy can make to a product. I know lots of people aren’t fans of chatty, whimsical packaging, but I’m a sucker for it. I love it. I read every word.
The Aussie shampoo bottles totally bought me into the brand as a teenager (even if we did only get it when it was on offer) and they’re still going strong with the same approach today.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Read. Go for a walk. Sleep? Oh I know – Lego! I don’t think I’ve ever really grown up, and playing just resets your brain a bit.
I’m given a little box of Lego every Christmas these days, ever since I grumped that my nephew was getting fun presents and I was getting cake forks. Last year I got a Lego City helicopter and it’s amazing.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Like everyone, I love happy clients! But other than that, my favourite bit is the start of a project, picking out key messages, piecing together a structure, translating what the client has in their head into words that feel right for the brand and their personality.
I have three clients who are professional coaches and all trained together, so their basic messages are similar, but they all have totally different personalities and approaches. I really enjoy being able to work with the same information and present it in completely different ways.
I also really weirdly enjoy doing my bookkeeping. Not sure I should have admitted that.
As for least favourite, I hate final proofing. But who enjoys that bit? If you like it, you’re wrong.
Any copywriting pet hates?
“Solutions”, obviously. Acronyms and jargon where they’re not obvious to the audience. “We” when it’s obvious there’s just one of you. And people who tell me I can’t start a sentence with “And”.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
A colleague once told me to think of your career as a climbing frame, rather than a career ladder, and that really stuck with me. Success doesn’t have to mean reaching the top of the ladder.
It can be way more fun to move around and explore different experiences, shifting sideways so that you can move up on a different route, or moving down if that’s where you want to be.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Don’t get sucked in by all the terminology – a lot of it is common sense. I mentioned acronyms and jargon under the question about pet hates.
Copywriters are just as bad at this as any other profession. B2B, B2C, SEO, CTA, AIDA, marketing funnels and lead magnets. None are as complicated as they sound when you first come across them so don’t let them intimidate you.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
I thrive on the mix of creativity and practical purpose. And the flexibility of working freelance suits me really well.
What made you decide to become a member of ProCopywriters?
I’d kept an eye on ProCopywriters for a while before joining, and that in itself shows one of its great strengths. It’s a supportive community and the website and social media mean it extends itself to include people who aren’t members. That meant I could feel included even when I was a newbie with no pennies to pay the joining fee.
After a while, I decided I wanted to be more involved and list a profile on the site, so it made sense to take the plunge. It’s a fantastic organisation to be part of.
Where can people find out more about you?
Other than having a chat with my mum or my friends, you can find out more on my website, Megan Rose Freelance.