Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I’ve been many things – PR, journalist, video editor, manager of YouTube stars (my advice: don’t do it) – and each job has seen me meander further towards copywriting.
But the real push came in 2014 when I started an e-commerce website, Death to Flowers, which sold gift boxes as an alternative to sending flowers. A year or so in, I found while I loved writing copy for the site, I hated basically everything else. And lo! A
career was born.
What work are you most proud of?
I still love Death to Flowers – it’s 100% my tone of voice since I was both the copywriter and the client. Six years later I still keep it live because it’s a great (if somewhat expensive to create) portfolio piece.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
It’s the short iconic ads that get me – the Charivari New York ads, like this one or this one. I can practically hear the ice rattling in my whisky tumbler when I imagine working in a New York agency and coming up with stuff like that.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I find some water to stand next to and have a think. Best case scenario: the sea. But given I live in Hackney, a medium-sized pond will do.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I start every project by trying to think of someone I know, ideally in my own life although sometimes on TV, who embodies the target customer. I love that beginning bit of a project where you’re just scribbling down ideas, words and phrases, waiting for the writing to take shape.
I hate keeping my portfolio up-to-date. Doesn’t everyone?
Oh, and B2B whitepapers. I’m not that copywriter.
Any copywriting pet hates?
I don’t love rules. I am one of Those People who believe language illustrates the beauty of evolution, and even though what you read might not be what you learnt was correct at school, that’s ok.
Under the right circumstances.
Not in a B2B whitepaper, for example.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Pay attention to your pipeline. If you’ve got a lot of work on now, be aware you need to be making plans for what you’re going to do when it’s finished. There’s nothing worse than an empty calendar.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Build a portfolio any way you can. They don’t even need to be paying jobs, or even jobs that exist! If you want to show off your writing style, draft some articles you’ve always fancied writing, or have a go at creating taglines for a business you’ve dreamt up.
While I wouldn’t advocate working for free once you’re up and running, a bit of mutually-beneficial pro bono work at the beginning can be just what you need.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I’ve only just joined, but I’m impressed with the calendar of events and webinars. I’m hoping to learn great things in 2020!
Where can people find out more about you?
My website is www.rockstarcopy.com, which is where you’ll find more about me and view my portfolio.