Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
What a question! I’ve had a colourful career so far (to say the least). My first foray into the world of writing was being Deputy Editor of Felix, our student newspaper.
I graduated with a Master’s in Chemistry (with French – don’t ask) and then pursued a career in the polymer chemicals industry for a few years. I was unhappy and left my job with nothing to go to. I set up a blog as a bit of a hobby while I found more gainful employment.
This is where I learnt about SEO – how to increase traffic to your website, use social media as a marketing tool and engage your audience using a well-designed content strategy.
Having learnt what I had about blogging (mainly that there’s no pot of gold at the end of a blog post), I took a marketing position in an accountancy firm. I discovered a lot about finance, accounts and working with small businesses.
Then I decided to set up on my own! Writing seemed the obvious choice and combined with my knowledge of digital marketing and search engine optimisation, I found I can provide real value to small businesses.
What work are you most proud of?
I love some of the work that I’ve done with smaller clients. Particularly using a regular blog to increase website traffic.
We go through the analytics with clients and it’s really satisfying to be able to demonstrate the value of written content. It’s also great when somebody starts a phone call with, “I read your blog post on…”
I once wrote a business profile for a client who I now write for fairly regularly, but her initial feedback was “OMG! Wow! Even I like me!” I think that’s my favourite testimonial ever!
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Walk the dog. I have a Labrador called Leo who’s always ready for a walk. We live in Yorkshire so there’s loads of great places to walk around here. I like to head out on to the moors and get some space, fresh air and exercise.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I love the initial fact-finding stage of a new project; getting to know the client, really understanding what they’re about and who their audience is. I always look forward to meeting new clients and helping them with their business journey.
My least favourite part is explaining to clients why I’ve used certain language or phrasing. I find that many clients (especially those in a technical industry) are too close to the topic so they want to use industry-specific jargon. Trying to convince them what their reader is likely to understand can sometimes be challenging!
Any copywriting pet hates?
CAPITAL LETTERS. or lack of. I’ve had a couple of clients who are adamant that capital letters should be used in certain cases and not in others. I try to stick to The Economist Style Guide on these matters, but sometimes the client doesn’t want to know! At the end of the day, it’s their call, but you won’t see it in my portfolio!
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
I recently listened (on Audible, while walking the dog) to Jen Sincero’s You’re a Badass. She preaches gratitude and meditation, but one of the main things I took from her book was: if you dress, behave and pretend to be the person that you want to be, eventually you will become that person.
I upgraded my office space, took on staff and bought a new car off the back of this advice. Now, bigger clients and better projects seem to be coming my way!
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Just go for it. Trust your instincts. Believe in yourself. I spent a long time thinking that anybody can do what I do. They can’t.
I have a strong set of skills that allow me to do my job, run my business and look after my clients. Nobody else has that exact same skill set at this point in time, and when I first started, I didn’t either!
I didn’t advertise my SEO skills for a long time, because I didn’t think they compared to what a web developer might offer.
Now I’ve realised that, actually, I’m really quite knowledgeable when it comes to search engine optimisation. Not only that, but copywriting and SEO go hand in hand, perhaps even more than SEO and web development!
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
I’ve had some great feedback on my work, particularly when it comes to website content writing. When a client tells me that they’ve had their first enquiry through their new website, I’m always excited for both of us!
I love being part of a team of copywriters too. We’re always bouncing ideas off each other, laughing at silly mistakes and commenting on terrible copy!
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I’m pretty new to ProCopywriters, so I’m yet to discover all of the benefits!
Where can people find out more about you?
Have a look at our website: https://worditcommunications.com/