Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
This might sound unimaginative, but I stumbled across copywriting.
I can’t say that as a child I dreamt of one day becoming a copywriter. But I did want to be an author, a journalist and an actress (all 3 at once, of course). All of which involve storytelling – the bread and butter of copywriting.
Before I came across the term ‘copywriting’, I had already been doing it in my day job. As a sales and business development Account Executive.
I wrote my own email campaigns to source new leads. I wrote one-pagers to promote new services. And I wrote pitch decks to secure big client contracts.
And then the penny dropped – I could become the storyteller I’d always dreamt of being. I haven’t looked back since.
What work are you most proud of?
My website. Not because I’m a sickening narcissist. But because it was my first big copywriting project, and it does a decent job of promoting my business.
As most copywriters will agree, writing your own copy for self-promotion is the frog we never want to eat.
Whether it’s Imposter Syndrome or not finding the time in between working on client projects, writing your own website (email/funnels/etc.) always falls to the bottom of the list.
But it really shouldn’t. After all, it’s the best way to demonstrate our skills to potential clients.
The day I finished my website I felt immensely proud. It’s not the most beautiful (I’m not a web designer, after all). But I know that the message reflects both my brand and me as a person.
Now, when a new prospect mentions they came to me because they liked my web copy, I can’t help but smile a little.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
The web copy for Smol. All of it.
As a company, they have a great mission – to make buying quality, eco-friendly cleaning products convenient and affordable. So I was already well on board with them.
But the copy is also brilliant. The perfect balance between funny and informative.
Go check it out. Warning: side effects may include the immediate purchase of Smol cleaning products.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I can’t speak much for authors or poets. But if you’re having major issues with writer’s block as a copywriter, then something’s not right.
That’s because 80% of your time should be spent researching. Market research, competitor research, brand research, voice-of-customer research.
If you’ve done the research right, then the last 20% (the writing itself) should come easy. You have all the information you need to convey at your fingertips. You just need to get it on the page.
What I do sometimes struggle with is finding the right words to say. After all that research, it’s easy to start spewing word-vomit all over your Google doc.
The best cure for word-vomit? Re-writing over and over (and over) again. I do this for headline writing a lot. I’ll write 10-15 versions of a headline, before landing on the right one.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
One of my least favourite tasks is the one I just mentioned above – writing multiple versions of one headline to find the perfect combination of words. Man, is it tedious. But it works, so I suck it up.
My favourite writing-related task is something I learned from Joanna Wiebe’s Copy School. She calls it the personality revision exercise. The idea is to take a piece of copy and re-write it in the voice of a character.
For example, a line of copy from my website reads ‘your products, customer service and quality put your competitors to shame.’ But in the voice of Gandalf the Grey it’s transformed, ‘your competitors shall not pass…your level of quality.’
This exercise helps you to get in the mind of your clients, to embody their personality and voice. You can put on their shoes and walk around, no – strut!
Any copywriting pet hates?
Overly long sentences. And abuse of commas. Short and sweet is best. Are you getting my drift?
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Just get out there. Start doing.
Seriously, a lot of people will fall at the first hurdle simply because they’re too scared to try. I was like that, and still am in some ways. But I’m working on it.
I was lucky to have been offered free advice from a business coach at a time where I was in limbo. She encouraged me to take the leap and start my freelance business. Without her, I might never have jumped.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Start mining your network. Network your socks off.
Most of my project opportunities have come from friends, family and former colleagues. Don’t be afraid to offer help to people you already know, or to ask for referrals.
Also, join Facebook and LinkedIn groups where other copywriters hang out. There’s a lot you can learn from the people in these communities. And you can make new friends, too.
That’s invaluable as a freelancer when you’re working remote and it starts to all feel a bit overwhelming. The group will be there to give you a confidence boost.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
There are so many benefits to being registered with ProCopywriters, it would be silly not to sign up. Here are 4:
- It’s another network you can use to get support from your peers.
- You get access to great information: webinars, workshops and upcoming events.
- There are exclusive discounts for members on things like insurance, conference tickets and business banking.
- It’s an easy way for clients to find you (so long as you keep your profile updated and interesting).
Where can people find out more about you?
I also hang out on LinkedIn a lot (maybe too much). Send me a connection request – I promise I don’t bite.