How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?
Not a lot has changed except that I’ve rebranded. My old company name was ‘Custom Copywriting Ltd’ which sounds sturdy, but terribly dry and corporate.
I keep telling small businesses to adopt a friendly and non-corporate tone of voice, so I thought it was time to take my own advice. My new company is called Write Fit. It’s fun and implies a benefit.
What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?
I’ve managed to treble a company’s web traffic this year through a series of blog posts that did well on social media. In terms of moving things forward, I’ve teamed up with a local art director. We’re on the cusp of rebranding a Kent-based company with some terrific clients.
This has involved creating a whole suite of marketing communications: new website, brochure, leave-behind, creative direct mail, social media profiles, company videos etc.
Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?
My focus is actually to keep things varied. I love working in different sectors because I learn new things. I also like writing for different media because it keeps my mind fresh.
I made a conscious decision a long time ago never to focus on one type of work. The idea behind my new identity ‘Write Fit’ is that I’m versatile and experienced enough now to take on any project.
What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?
I’ve done quite a lot in the technology sector during the last six months. Trying to understand how cutting-edge tech works was a little intimidating at first, but it’s worked out really well.
It can feel a bit detached working from home so it was good to explore up and coming developments. I now feel like an ‘early adopter’ … even though my seven-year-old can still uses apps better than me.
What are you working on just now?
I’m doing lots of blogging at the moment. Blog articles aren’t quite as well paid or time-consuming as other projects, but it’s a nice change of pace. It’s fun to write in a chatty style and make a few relevant gags to keep readers entertained as well as informed.
I was relatively new to inbound marketing at the start of the year, so it’s good to master something different.
Describe your desk and what’s on it
Just mess, an empty coffee cup, and more mess.
Tell us about your side projects
I’m the editor of The Full Toss cricket blog. We’ve been going for almost a decade now and had quite a lot of success. The blog has just shy of a thousand subscribers and been mentioned in the national and international media quite a few times. I’ve also managed to interview cricketing celebs like Freddie Flintoff and Ian Botham.
How has your writing process evolved?
I’m still doing things the same way, to be honest. I tend to brainstorm a lot and then turn on the computer as soon as I’ve got a suitable angle or idea.
I always assemble a concrete hierarchy of messages/selling points before I start writing. This makes sure I focus on the things customers need to know throughout. A good structure is always really important.
What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?
Copywriters are generally quite an honest bunch. However, I sometimes think we forget that writing is received subjectively. Yes there’s good copy and there’s bad copy (and hopefully clients can tell which is which) but the difference between good and great copy is subjective.
That’s why it’s never a good idea to take criticism or lack of praise personally. Sometimes copy I consider to be my best work gets a lukewarm response. Other times work I’m not sure about goes down a treat. It’s best not to dwell on the whys and wherefores.
What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?
Obviously, newbies are always keen to impress and prove themselves. However, sometimes I think they’re encouraged to be too creative. This means they often fall into the trap of overwriting things. At the end of the day copywriting isn’t going to win you a creative writing award.
Yes, creativity is important but so is being practical. Expressing a proposition clearly and succinctly is often better than expressing it cleverly. My advice would be to focus on what will work best for your client rather than your burgeoning portfolio.
Any lessons you’re still learning?
I’m always learning when it comes to the business side of things. It doesn’t always come naturally to me. It’s easy to forget that some clients are hiring a copywriter for the very first time, so it’s vital to tell them what to expect.
Sometimes it’s even necessary to explain how good copy works – otherwise, they might not understand what you’re trying to do and what they’re paying for.
What’s something about your work that makes your inner copywriting nerd happy, but you’re not able to chat about enough?
I still get nerdy about writing good headlines. I love the challenge and the satisfaction of producing something that’s compelling and spot on brief. There’s just one problem. When I occasionally write a gem I want to shout about it!
Unfortunately, however, I’m yet to meet a client who appreciates a copywriter patting himself on the back. So I have to sit there quietly rather than screaming “that’s the best things I’ve written in ages … double my fee immediately”.