Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
From a young age, I was always writing things for other people in order for them to fulfil some kind of objective. Job applications, personal statements, letters of complaint to customer service departments…
I enjoyed the thrill of crafting something beautifully written that would ultimately serve a big purpose or result in a positive outcome. It just took me a little longer than it should have done for me to realise that such writing is a skill and that, if you’re good at something like that, you shouldn’t be doing it for free.
Yes – I’m paraphrasing The Joker from The Dark Knight. It’s important to have role models.
What work are you most proud of?
I’m proud of everything I write – otherwise, I wouldn’t allow it to be published. This isn’t about arrogance, but about the fact that I know how much time, effort and energy I put into each and every piece that I write.
Having said that, I can’t leave this question without mentioning the fact that one of my ghostwriting projects is an Amazon Number One Best-Seller… who wouldn’t be proud of something like that?
Mainly though, the book I wrote with Joseph Valente, who won The Apprentice a couple of years ago, was the most fun I’ve had on a published project ever. It was a real giggle and a big insight into the behind the scenes goings on of one of my favourite BBC TV shows.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I’m a big fan of Dave Gorman in his capacity as both a comedian and a writer, and I just love all of his books.
I totally get how his mind works and appreciate the level of detail he goes into to make a comic point or exploit a comedy issue. And I’m in complete awe of how well he writes his books – and how well he presents his PowerPoints!
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I walk away. I’ve always got loads to do, whether it’s work for a client, planning for my own projects, or attempting to keep life in order whilst I raise my baby daughter. So it makes sense to just move on and focus on something else for a while.
Eventually, something will hit me – figuratively or literally – and I’ll be able to tackle the original project in question afresh!
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
This is going to sound really ungrateful, but I’ve kind of lost my love for ghostwriting lately. I’ve loved every book I’ve been involved with and I’ve met some great clients who I’m proud to say are now friends as well as ‘that bloke off the TV’.
But the reason the love has gone is because I get a lot of my time wasted by people who claim they want to write a book but do no research whatsoever about the work they have to put in. Even though, before any meeting, I send them all the info about what I do and don’t do, what I need from them, and how much the whole thing will cost.
I usually leave those meetings feeling completely undervalued as well as having had my time and energy wasted.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Buzzwords to describe job titles. Even though it’s my job to convey the voice of my clients and to write in their tone and style, I just cannot bring myself to use words like ‘disruptor’, ‘thought leader’ or anything with ‘preneur’ in the title.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Know your worth and stick to it. As a freelancer, people think they can barter you down, question your quotes, and often go out of their way to tell you that their project will not take a lot of your time or talent, and therefore should not cost any money.
I know that this is the wrong platform on which to preach about this and I assume we’ve all been there, but it still annoys me.
My response now is that all potential clients have a choice – either accept the proposal that I’ve put a lot of thought into about how to give you the best possible value for money, or find yourself somebody else.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Probably the same advice as documented in the previous question. But I think that philosophy can be hard to stick to when you’re just starting out and perhaps don’t have the confidence or track record to build a case or stick to your guns.
In that instance, an alternative piece of advice would be to build a portfolio, a reputation, and a client base before going ‘full time’ at this kind of career. It’s much better that way than quitting your job and expecting to have your days instantly filled with high paying (or quick paying) clients.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
Definitely the fact that a large proportion of my work can be done at home, in my pyjamas, with snacks.
As long as I have a laptop, I’m not restricted to a room or a need to be particularly dressed, tidy or sociable. I am truly living the dream.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I don’t think I’ve started using the network to its full potential yet, but I know that several clients have contacted me stating that they found me on the site. So I think it’s great that the platform is viewed as a serious and well-respected resource for businesses wanting to seek the services of a professional copywriter.
It’s an honour to be listed here amongst some great names.
Where can people find out more about you?
Well, the professional picture is all represented on my website at www.agoodwriteup.com. But if you want to know more about the real me as a human person, then LinkedIn is a great place to start – and incidentally where I’ve started getting a lot of new clients from as a result of the stuff I post on there.
The link is https://www.linkedin.com/in/jo-watson-agoodwriteup/ . For Facebook and Twitter, it’s @agoodwriteup.