Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
Becoming a full-time copywriter was a natural step for me. I’d worked for many years as a direct marketing manager (back in the days when ‘fax marketing’ was considered cutting edge!).
As part of my job I needed to either write copy myself – or hire a copywriter, so I understood the work from both points of view. I was also well- prepared for working for clients in diverse sectors, my career having taken me from arts marketing, publishing and events, to agency-side.
What work are you most proud of?
A few years ago, I worked on a project for myHermes when they were launching their ParcelShops. I wrote 800 introductory geo location pages for the proposed shop locations. It’s great to see what a huge success ParcelShops turned out to be, with over 4500 of them in the UK now.
There’s also an academic as well as a marketing side to my writing. I’ve written and tutored a course in political philosophy for Cardiff Uni. That’s something I’d like to do again.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I love advertising slogans, one of my favourites being ‘The future’s bright, the future’s Orange’. It would be fantastic to write something catchy enough to be remembered 20, 30 – or even 50 or so years down the line.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Drop everything and go for a walk. I take my dog and my phone with me and if an idea pops into my head I dictate into the mic. I’ve had some of my best ideas this way.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
My least favourite used to be being asked to place tons of repetitive keywords into text – an especially soul-destroying task. Thankfully Google’s algorithms have changed.
One of my favourite writing tasks is editing – I agree with the great David Ogilvy that you can be a lousy copywriter so long as you’re a great editor.
I also love researching new subject areas. As a copywriter, you can gain an extraordinary amount of knowledge about everything and anything. Having written for a company that sells road and safety equipment what I don’t know about flexible bollards and bicycle racks isn’t worth knowing!
Any copywriting pet hates?
I think words like ‘leverage’ are horrible, or how about ‘silo’? – I hate anything cliché. I also hate it when so-called experts tell you there’s a right and a wrong way to write – for example, that sentences should be no more than 11 words long. Not true.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
This was actually given to me by a client: Don’t undersell yourself. I think it’s incredibly difficult – especially for women – to value their worth.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Don’t expect your copywriting career to take off immediately.
I started out quite casually writing SEO articles for a recruitment consultancy. Then I did some research and discovered I could gain exposure by having a presence on various freelance sites. I made a lot of new clients this way – some of whom I still work for today.
Never miss a client deadline. Ever. I never have, and that’s the honest truth. Even the time I had ‘flu over Christmas – I still met that deadline.
Invest in yourself. I completed a diploma in digital marketing recently (CIM). This has not only helped me understand my clients’ goals better – but has given me the tools to market myself in today’s incredibly complicated digital landscape.
Stay positive. There will be lean times when you’ll think about packing it in – use this time constructively. Believe in yourself, be true to your style of writing – and you will build a reputation. Then you’ll find most of your clients will start to come via referral.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
ProCopywriters has been a good source of lead generation for me. Being a member of a professional group also gives you a badge of credibility – and you can find lots of help and advice on here.