Why did you choose a career in copywriting, and how did you get into it?
I’ve always loved writing and marketing.
I worked for a Russell Group University in Belfast for 4 years and handled all their Marketing and Communications for the accommodation department.
I learned a lot working there; I was responsible for writing emails sent out to over 3,000 students every week and writing emails to staff encouraging them to participate in events, campus food markets and staff initiatives.
However, when Lockdown #1 happened, I was working from home and realised that my passion for writing was a common theme in all my work over the years.
So, I thought, “well, you love writing, so why not just focus on that?”
And I did; I resigned from my Marketing and Comms job and transformed overnight into a freelance copywriter with my business Tall Paul Marketing.
What work are you most proud of?
As cheesy as it sounds, I love writing and learning about different topics.
One of my standouts was in the first few months after I set up Tall Paul Marketing.
I wrote a piece for a new tech company’s app, and quickly after it went live, it was in the top 2% of engagement on LinkedIn. Vanity metrics are all well and good, but not only that, the entrepreneur owner said he was inundated with calls and emails after the article went live.
That emphasised the importance to me of words and the power they have when you use them properly.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Oh, that’s a toughie!
I often find myself watching TV adverts in-between my favourite shows and thinking, “Somewhere, there’s a group of copywriters and a marketing team who agonised over every word in this ad.”
Sometimes, the ads aren’t great.
But one that sticks out in my mind is the copy contained in Carlsberg’s ‘Ireland win the world cup’ advert. There were probably only 10 sentences in the 60-second advert, but it immediately got everyone thinking, “Imagine Ireland won the World Cup!”
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Ah, good ol’ writer’s block, the bane of every copywriter. I think it’s one of those things you must accept; even the best writers hit a brick wall now and then.
When I get it, I stop trying to write and do some other important stuff for my business, such as invoicing, scheduling social media content or revamping my website.
My favourite writing-related task is when I’ve submitted a draft to my client, and it has been published. A certain level of inner pride comes with the job, knowing you’re trusted to write the words to help another business get sales.
The least favourite writing-related task is always the start of a new project. The amount of research, Zoom calls and emails back and forth that go into each project can be overwhelming at times. The most challenging part of writing is the first few sentences, and then you get into a groove.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Copywriting is very individual; each copywriter has their strengths and weaknesses and excels in some niches and not so much in others.
However, I’m not too fond of marketing jargon and phrases that add nothing, for example:
- “We’re transparent.”
- “We’re number one.”
- “Professional and reliable service.”
- “We’re a forward-thinking company.”
- “We’re proud of our outstanding service.”
- “We are experts.”
- “We’re passionate.”
Instead of the empty boasts, why not prove (with testimonials, happy customers pictured using your products or services) why I should buy from you?
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
I can’t think of any career advice I’ve been given.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Get a website and write blog content; that’s the best way to showcase your style.
Next, get reviews/testimonials from all your customers. Practice writing: your writing will evolve the more paid work you do.
Don’t join those cheap content mills where you get paid £5 for a 2,000-word article.
Value your time and charge accordingly. Never do free “trials” – if someone wants you to work for them, they should pay you.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
ProCopywriters has been a great way to network with other local freelancers.
It’s also great because it’s a vehicle for showcasing my work and services. Displaying the Pro Copywriters membership badge on my website and email means that clients can trust that I’m not a fly-by-night writer and that I am someone who takes his copywriting career very seriously.
Where can people find out more about you?
Visit my website: Tall Paul Marketing | Copywriter in Belfast