Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
After graduating from university I fell into the “overqualified and under-experienced” category. I studied history to MA level and wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it.
Various odd jobs followed (childminder, barista, driver and postman, to name a few) before impending fatherhood made me think about settling down into a career. I ended up in a sales and marketing role for a small and growing engineering company.
Over the next 5 years, I became really interested in digital marketing, particularly the relationships between copywriting, content and inbound marketing.
I progressed into management, learned loads, and was able to use my writing skills on a daily basis. I wrote web copy, blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns, flyers, brochures, ads, technical documents, manuals, reports, and just about everything between!
A takeover of the company led to changes in my role, and I soon realised how much I missed the marketing and copywriting.
So, late in 2017, I decided to give it a go as a freelancer. I officially launched my own business in February 2018.
I’m still learning all the time, but so far, so good! I love the freedom of working for myself, and the variety of clients I’ve been able to work with already.
What work are you most proud of?
In my previous job, I was working for a company selling precast concrete machinery. It’s certainly a niche, technical industry — traditionally not too adventurous when it comes to copy and content.
I regularly wrote articles and case studies about our machinery, which was exported all over the world. A few of these were published in industry magazines. My personal favourites were “Commission Impossible”, and “Spiroll take Steppes into Kazakhstan”.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I’ll go for the first thing that sprang to mind. After Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup (2014 I think?), Specsavers published an ad the next day with a picture of Chiellini next to some Cannelloni, along with their famous tagline.
Anything that makes me smile really!
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I just do something else. Allow myself to get side-tracked for a little while. That could be going for a walk, watching some TV, playing a computer game or listening to some new music.
Failing that, sleep on it. Put it aside for another day, if time and deadlines allow.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I really like the research phase of a new project, because I’ll feel like I’m always learning something new.
I hate waiting for feedback from clients. If I’m writing for my own website and blog, I dislike the editing & proofreading process. Sometimes I’ll keep going until I’m sick of the sight of my work!
Any copywriting pet hates?
I think as I’m often leaning more towards B2B, probably similar to a lot of other writers – corporate jargon & buzzwords.
Sometimes jargon is a necessary evil (e.g. technical) but when used too often it’s just meaningless.
I think that some grammatical rules are there to be broken, but I’m always appalled when I see a business website with really basic spelling mistakes.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
It’s just a job. There are more important things in life.
If you’re happy and enjoying it, keep on keeping on! If not, make a change.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Beware of imposter syndrome. It’s quite easy during moments of self-doubt to start worrying about your own lack of experience, and how you might be perceived by others. Don’t forget that everyone started out at some point.
Try to collaborate and learn from other copywriters, rather than seeing them as competitors. Then use that insight to find your own style, methods and way of working.
If you’re self-employed, don’t take on loads of unpaid/poorly paid work unless you absolutely have to, otherwise you won’t be self-employed for long. Make sure you know when to say no. Trust your gut about clients.
That’ll do… oh and have fun!
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
Hearing positive feedback from clients, and people that have read my work.
It could be someone enjoying a blog post, or a project that has generated sales and new business. It’s a great feeling and makes it all worthwhile!
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
Well just before writing this, I listened to a great webinar!
There’s loads of useful content, and a great community of fellow copywriters to tap into.
You get a nice little badge for your website, and the opportunity to generate high-quality enquiries for your work!
Where can people find out more about you?
Via my website – https://togmarketing.com