Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I’ve always enjoyed playing with words, and what I love about copywriting is the process of bringing together all these different elements of persuasion and personality. There’s that mix of working through a process and applying theory, as well as the creative side where you can experiment a bit and have some fun.
I arrived at copywriting via translation. For my MA in Translation I studied how marketing copy for travel destinations was translated. (Except I didn’t know it was called copy at the time.) As I delved more into marketing translation I discovered this thing called copywriting. I was lurking and learning in the copywriting space for a while, before taking the plunge and setting up my copywriting biz.
What work are you most proud of?
I’ve been really getting into voice stuff recently and it’s awesome to get feedback like ‘I love the style and it definitely hits the right notes’ and ‘the tone and style was everything we had hoped for’.
Clients sometimes seem to think it’s magic or luck, but there’s actually a process to getting the voice right. And it’s so much fun to play around with writing in different voices. It’s always a good feeling when clients read their copy and you know the voice is 90% right. You instantly gain their trust. It’s so easy to tweak bits of content, but if the voice is off, that’s harder to get right.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I lurve the packaging copy on Innocent Drinks. They have such a strong brand voice and their copy always makes me chuckle. Their smoothies aren’t bad either. 🙂
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
The start of a project is usually fine. I use a big A3 notepad to jot down ideas as I research any new project (old school right? Love it). So when it comes to writing the first draft I always have something I can start with.
But when I get to that mid-project block where I can’t see the copy for the words, I head to my local climbing or bouldering centre. When I’m focusing on not falling off a wall, my brain is somehow working behind the scenes, sorting out that copy.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
My favourite is all the pre-writing stuff: research, brand voice analysis, just throwing all the ideas onto that A3 notepad. If you do this well, the copy pretty much writes itself.
My least favourite moment is the waiting game after hitting send on a first draft. Will they hate it? What have I done? Why am I a copywriter? Aaaargh!!
Any copywriting pet hates?
I’m not a fan of the term ‘conversion copywriting’. I know, I know, it’s what all the cool kids are doing. And I know copywriting is about persuasion. But you can take it too far. Some conversion copywriting techniques are used to push for the immediate sell without being completely honest.
Thing is, if you’re a bit sneaky like that with your persuasion, your customers will end up feeling a bit cheated anyway. I prefer the longer game of building trust and loyalty.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Invest in yourself. Keep learning and getting better.
If you’re a freelancer, don’t call yourself that. You’re a business owner now. Believe it and act like it. You’ll get so much more respect from clients.
And always overdeliver. Just enough to surprise and delight clients.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Ask questions and become a great listener (especially on client briefing calls).
Remember that even the best copy out there started its life as a messy draft. Write way more than you think you need and then edit the bejeezus out of it.
And one more (because rule of 3)… don’t just read copywriting books. Read other stuff too. For fun, to get out of the copywriting bubble, and to feed your creativity.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
My highlight so far was going to CopyCon 2022. Being a ProCopywriters member gave me a huge discount on my ticket and it was such a value-packed day of fascinating and inspiring talks, as well as a great chance to meet and hang out with some wonderful people.