Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
It was obvious from a young age that I had an insatiable appetite for words—and fudge,
but that’s another story.
Just speaking one language wasn’t gonna cut it, so I learnt four more. And after a long, linguistic affair with English, Spanish, French, Italian and Catalan, I went on to work in the language industry, finally becoming a translator.
Over the years I’ve translated ad campaigns, web copy, newsletters, e-books and product descriptions into English, covering everything from fashion to football, travel to tech, software to sex toys, even plastic manufacturing and pet food.
I homed in on marketing projects that got my creative juices flowing. But so often, I wanted to start from scratch and break free from the confines of a sloppy source text.
So when a request to write something original for one of my clients landed in my inbox, I jumped on it—even though I wasn’t clear what ‘copywriting’ was at the time. From then on, I was hooked.
Last year I went full time with my business, Lion Words and I now split my time between both translation and copywriting.
What work are you most proud of?
My first foray into copywriting was writing a brand campaign slogan for a luxury hotel chain. They wanted something catchy but human that reflected their brand values. It was scary and exciting.
Taking the leap is the hardest part, so I’ll always be proud of that piece.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
“Just Do It.” In fact, anything by Nike. Their copy is always badass. It’s inspiring to see their unconventional and fearless approach to crafting a message. Forget pushing boundaries, Nike obliterates them.
I also love Oatly. They’re cheeky, sassy, and never fail to make me smile. When I first saw their billboard “It’s like milk, but made for humans”, I gave it a standing ovation. It’s just so good.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I’d like to tell you that I go for a brisk walk in the mountain air, do an hour of yoga and take a trip in my hot-air balloon before returning to my desk to watch the words flow, like magic.
But let’s be real—I live in the city. I keep writing. Or nap.
I like testing the limits of my little, grey cells before stepping away. I’ve learnt to be comfortable being uncomfortable, and often come up with some gems after sitting with my thoughts a bit longer.
If I’m still stuck, grabbing a pen and paper always helps. Scrawling words onto a blank page stirs something inside me that a keyboard could never.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
My favourite writing-related task is the writing, of course! There’s something so incredibly powerful about putting words together in a way that will
make people take action.
But discovery sessions come in a close second. I love unpacking my client’s vision and piecing together the personality of their business. It’s like I’m weaving a tapestry in my mind. Great copywriting really is 90% research, and 10% writing.
For an extroverted chatterbox you’d think I love pitching, but selling myself still feels icky. Bigging you up, YES. Bigging myself up? Ew. I still feel like a sleazy car salesman. Gotta get over that.
Any copywriting pet hates?
I’m a firm believer in testing the limits of language, breaking rules and getting a bit maverick. Language is fluid and every piece of writing is different. But basic spelling and grammar mistakes make my eyes bleed.
There, I said it.
There’s just no excuse. It’s sloppy, lazy and can cost your business big time, never mind killing Grandma too! (Grammar nerds will get that one.)
I wrote a little something about it in this blog post.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Understand that failure is part of success. Someone very close to me told me this once or twice (okay, maybe it took nine times to stick).
So for all my fellow perfectionists and overthinkers out there, don’t get so bogged down planning and thinking about what might happen, that you don’t get around to doing.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Put yourself out there. Tell people what you’re doing. It makes it real.cAnd create a support network, whether that’s through associations, social media or local networking groups. Not only will you stay connected with your industry, it helps to have a network of like-minded people to bounce ideas off.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
At first, I saw ProCopywriters as a bit of extra professional cred. But the community aspect is fantastic. PC members are a talented bunch of people, and everyone is friendly and helpful too. The training, resources and webinars are just the icing on the cake.
Also, I got a lead the day I joined. This stuff works faster than Imodium! I’ve never made a membership cost back that fast before.
Where can people find out more about you?
- You can check out my website www.lionwords.com.
- Connect with me on LinkedIn, which is where I hang out mostly. (Write something in
your request though puh-lease, literally anything. Say ‘banana’ if you want to)
- Millennials and boomers can like my Facebook page.
- From time to time I remember that twitter exists, so feel free to follow me there too.