Blog

Harry Loney – ProCopywriters Member Spotlight

Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?

I’d always enjoyed writing but nobody at school told me it could be a career! Instead I studied geology at uni because rocks are cool, but I couldn’t see me spending the rest of my life looking at them.

So then I went to study screenwriting and break into Hollywood. The furthest I got was Leeds, but it was here I started a career in marketing and communications. I turned out to be good at this and that’s where I started to get my first taste of being paid to write.

I’ve since moved back to Edinburgh and when my first son was born, I became a freelance copywriter and worked from home so I could spend more time with the family.

What work are you most proud of?

Most of the work I do is covered by NDAs which means if I come up with a really cool piece of copy I can’t tell anyone! I have worked alongside POSH Agency for years now and have enjoyed helping them to craft messages for their hotel and hospitality clients, many of whom are based in the Highlands. I now know so much about what to see and do in that region of Scotland that if my copywriting career falls through I should be able to get a job at a tourist information desk.

I do occasionally blog for myself which is quite the luxury. One of the benefits of being a copywriter working from home is that I get to spend a lot of time with my two boys, and recently got to share my intense confusion at slime with everyone. I also like to write about my love of getting outdoors and foraging wild food on my foraging website called He’s A Fungi which hasn’t had half as much attention from me recently as it should.

What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?

I love drinking Irn Bru – it’s gotten me through many late nights! Their copy is also excellent. In response to the sugary drinks tax in 2018 they released a version of their drink from the year 1901 which has no sweeteners, only full sugar. They quite simply state it is “old and unimproved” and I think that’s perfect simplicity.

As I have a bit of a screenwriting background, I’m going to allow myself to choose a video advert too. I’ve never laughed at an ad as much as I have at Irn Bru’s Fanny. This is because I am a child.

What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?

My favourite way of breaking through writers block is to go for a shower. This can be a bit weird late at night though so if I need to, I’ll switch off my brain and watch some West Wing or Star Trek and then go back to what I was doing. It works more times than it doesn’t.

What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?

I love coming up with new ideas, thinking of new angles to tell a story and to grab people’s attention. I also like the other end, the editing process when you start crafting these fluffy ideas into solid copy and see the final draft forming.

My least favourite parts are the times I need to source an image for my copy!

Any copywriting pet hates?

I get disproportionately annoyed when someone changes copy because of some piece of ridiculous grammar advice they heard 60 years ago at school. A good piece of copy should be clear and get the message across to the target audience. So what if there’s a split infinitive? Who is going to angrily complain? But of course it’s always the client’s final decision, and starting a sentence with ‘but’ is fine.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Not so much career advice but life motivation. Not long after I went freelance and was scared how I was going to pay for everything, a friend sent me a postcard. It said, “Nobody ever said when I grow up I want to pay the rent and sit in meetings. Aim fucking higher.” I still have that on my fridge door. I should probably move it before the kids learn to read.

What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?

What I did was take on a part-time job whilst dipping my toe in freelancing. I did this for two years to make sure I was able to find clients, and happy to do the work. It made me more sure than ever that this was the career I wanted, but if it wasn’t I still had my foot in the employment door.

When you start out, you will probably take on any client that will have you. As time goes on and you gain confidence, try to find clients who match your own voice and writing style. I like working for clients who don’t mind a little bit of cheek in their copy. Make sure you are writing the sort of stuff you enjoy reading. And make sure you are reading!

Oh, and always make a point of raising your writing rates as your career progresses. Writing is a skill not everyone has. You deserve to be paid well for it – this isn’t a hobby, it’s a living.

Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?

It’s a good badge to show on your website as it shows you are committed to copywriting and are keen to grow and learn. I also enjoy the regular blogs, it’s a great place to pick up tips and see what other people are doing.

Where can people find out more about you?

My website is blankjotter.com. Please don’t judge, I’ve been meaning to update it for ages but then something happens and…well…you know how it is.

What do you think?

Your email will not be published. PCN members: log in before commenting so your comment links to your profile.

Become a member

Join ProCopywriters

Get connected to your peers, learn from your network and add your name to our popular directory.

Become a member
Learn online

Online workshops

Every month we get an expert, an author or a professional trainer to deliver a one-hour presentation on copywriting, marketing or digital media.

Browse events
Menu