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Tom Cross — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight

Tom Cross

Tom Cross Content

PRO

Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?

I’ve always loved writing. I studied history at university, which was a great degree for learning how to write well and with structure. Then, after I graduated, I worked for Ipsos MORI as a Research Manager for several years.

My favourite part of that role was taking raw data and turning it into actionable insight in the form of reports, presentations, articles and videos. At Ipsos MORI, I worked with some big global tech brands and saw how the content that we delivered could really influence their strategy and direction.

This experience convinced me that great content is a really powerful thing and can influence customers across the buyer journey.

I moved to Barcelona a few years ago and it was while I lived there that I really cut my teeth as a copywriter. I worked on storytelling and content strategy projects there with Barcelona-based startups.

What work are you most proud of?

I wrote the story of the oldest music hall in Barcelona for their grand re-opening. The starting point of that project was listening to hours of interviews in Spanish and Catalan with the owner. I had to translate those into English before I could even begin to map out a story and the best way to tell it.

A couple of years earlier when I first arrived in Barcelona I could just about order a coffee in Spanish. So being able to work from another language and then write an engaging story in English was really satisfying.

What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?

I’m quite fond of short taglines which absolutely fit the brand and describe it perfectly. Taste the Rainbow by Skittles is a pretty good example.

What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?

I suppose it depends how much time I’ve got. If time allows, I’ll work on something completely different or even take a break from writing altogether.

I’ve found that running can help too. I ran the Great North Run last year and got back into running to train for that. There have been times when I’ve gone for a run and have then come back to work with fresh eyes and fresh ideas.

What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?

I really enjoy the early days of a project, when I’m working closely with clients to understand who their ideal customer is and how I can best connect with them via the content I write.

My least favourite tasks are those that come after a project ends — basically the admin tasks like drafting invoices and updating spreadsheets.

Any copywriting pet hates?

Brands that write content but don’t really understand who the customer is that they are trying to target with that content.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Do what motivates and inspires you. There are definitely easier ways to make a living than starting out as a freelance copywriter, but if you’re doing what you love you’ll make it work.

What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?

Keep learning. I try to learn something new from every project that I work on. And there’s inspiration everywhere. On the tube, for example. I didn’t used to pay much attention to adverts on the tube or think about the writer behind them. Now I actively look out for
them!

What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?

I really like the idea of making a career out of storytelling and convincing people via the
power of words. That’s pretty amazing.

I also love the freedom of working freelance. I’m normally based out of a co-working space in Hackney, but when I feel like I need to escape London for a few days, I can go up to my parents’ place in Northumberland and work from there.

Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?

It’s a respected organisation, so being a part of it adds credibility. But the best thing is the network of writers itself.

I’ve read lots of blogs from other writers with tips and advice, and I’ve found them all to be incredibly useful.

Where can people find out more about you?

Come and find out more about me at my website — www.tomcrosscontent.com, and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn too – https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomcross1/

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