Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I woke up one morning and realised I was a copywriter with a journalism background rather than a journalist dabbling in copywriting. It was a gradual metamorphosis that happened over about five years.
It started with a few features for customer publishers, continued with a handful of press releases for PRs. And before I knew it, I was writing web content, information resources, blogs and product descriptions for health brands, charities and healthcare providers.
What work are you most proud of?
I won Charity Writer of the Year at the Medical Journalists’ Association’s 2016 awards. I got the award for an information resource that was highly commended by the British Medical Association the following year.
But I take pride in everything I write, whether it’s a tiny product description or a heavy-duty piece that requires trawling through clinical papers.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Something simple, snappy and successful, like the Ronseal line: ‘It does what it says on the tin.’ Says it all really, doesn’t it?
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Move away from the computer and do a simple task for a few minutes. If that doesn’t work, I jot down random thoughts and don’t worry about how it sounds. Then I go back and attempt to formulate them into something coherent and engaging.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I actually enjoy editing – both my own and other people’s work. There’s great satisfaction in getting the tone, style and turn of phrase just right.
The least favourite task must be trying to decipher muddled briefs. That’s when I go 20th century and pick up the phone.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Jargon, inconsistencies, repetition, misused apostrophes and capital letters…
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Go freelance – it opened up a whole new world of freedom and opportunity.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Continually develop your writing skills, stay up-to-date with technology and remember the copywriting basics: creativity, simplicity, authenticity.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
Learning about fascinating subjects I’d never have known about otherwise. Because I’ve specialised in health and lifestyle, it’s been really useful to me and my family and friends over the years.
What made you decide to become a member of ProCopywriters?
For a freelancer, it seemed like a no-brainer.
Where can people find out more about you?
Check out my LinkedIn page: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/madeleine-bailey-45482523 – or just message me.