Mike Clarke — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight Revisited

How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?

Since we last spoke, I’ve mainly been writing in the healthcare field – hundreds of pages of content for hospitals, medical consultants etc.

While there’s not been much change in my approach to business, I’ve narrowed my focus and have been very fortunate to have worked on a number of projects far bigger than I ever imagined, with great clients.

What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?

I’m not a great fan of talking about my own successes as some people reading this may think they are not really that impressive compared to their own, while others just starting out may feel very differently.

There have been certain accomplishments/milestones etc. that I’m really proud of, and I’m extremely happy with where I am now in terms of the work I’m doing, the clients I’m working with, and my plans for the future direction of the business. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Maybe the thing that has given me the most personal satisfaction has been one of my first clients continuing to use me for their marketing projects over the last four years. The client themselves are extremely knowledgeable about marketing and have hired and tested out numerous copywriters previously. They have been very kind in what they’ve said about the work I’ve done for them.

Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?

My background in healthcare (working in the NHS as a radiographer and then for a FTSE 100 pharmaceutical company) has been invaluable. Having spent hundreds of hours working in A&E, operating theatres etc., I have a huge amount of personal experience for many of the topics I’m now writing about!

I’ve always been a fitness nut (I ran the London Marathon way back in 1996, and more recently completed two 100km ultramarathons in order to raise money for CLIC Sargent, who were a huge support throughout our son’s chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia).

For the reasons above, and many more, the healthcare and fitness markets are an extremely good ‘fit’ (see what I did there?) for me.

What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?

Knowing that the end result of my writing is to help people improve their health, whether that’s through an exercise programme, improved nutrition or by receiving the medical treatment they need, is extremely satisfying.

It’s not about the words I write – it’s about the choices people make as a result of reading those words.

What are you working on just now?

In terms of client work, I’m nearing the end of a mammoth 8-month project and am currently working on the final 50 pages for that. Today specifically, I’ll be writing pages about Neurology, Podiatric Surgery, Respiratory Medicine and Cardiology.

In terms of the business itself, I’m currently transitioning a number of things to better fit my fitness/healthcare focus. (These changes will become much more obvious on my website over the next month.)

Describe your desk and what’s on it

It’s a nice light wood desk from Ikea. A MacBook Pro rests in a stand to raise it to the right level, and a wireless keyboard and mouse are just in front of it.

Attached to the desk, and positioned just to the right of the laptop, is my Blue Yeticaster microphone which I use for
Zoom calls and to record audio training for my mobile app. Last, but not least, my work landline and a desk lamp sit to the left of the laptop.

Underneath the desk, you’ll often find our border collie, Saffie (who may, or may not, feature in a dog-related training programme in the app!).

Tell us about your side projects

I’ve just launched a mobile app for my business. It offers some free marketing and copywriting training (although it comes with the caveat that it is aimed at new marketers and/or small business owners, not experienced copywriters).

I’ll be adding new content to that regularly, so that will be my main focus for the foreseeable future.

How has your writing process evolved?

I’ve found that the hardest thing to work with is a blank page. The sooner I can get words onto that blank page, the better.

Many people talk about having “systems” to work with, but I’m a big proponent of frameworks. Many years ago, I heard Dan Kennedy say that “money loves speed”. Having a framework in place for certain projects has helped me to be far more effective, and to work at a much faster pace.

What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?

I don’t really have a good answer for this – sorry!

What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve not really heard much of the advice that’s given to new copywriters.

From back when I was working as a professional magician through to my current work as a copywriter, I’ve always believed in listening to, and learning from, people who are more successful than me.

I am VERY selective about who I learn from and who I take advice from.

Any lessons you’re still learning?

Oh man, where do I start?! I am ALWAYS learning. There are SO many things that I am not good at, so my focus is on getting better at what I am good at (copywriting, marketing, training etc.).

I’m increasingly outsourcing the things I’m not good at/have no interest in getting good at – it’s a far more effective way of working!

What’s something about your work that makes your inner copywriting nerd happy, but you’re not able to chat about enough?

I spend hours every week listening to business-related audio training while I’m out walking our border collie. I am constantly trying to learn new things and could talk for hours about what I’ve recently been listening to.

What do you think?

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