Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I discovered copywriting completely by accident. After doing the usual uni to graduate job to city living thing, I realised that urban life simply wasn’t for me.
My route home to south west Scotland was as PR lead for the local tourist board. Until that point I’d favoured analytical roles – strategy and data analysis – albeit within a marketing and comms context. Working in tourism gave me an opportunity to explore copywriting and to develop my creative skillset.
I decided to specialise in copywriting a few years later when I set out to build a solo business that could fit around single-parenting. When my son was young I did ad hoc freelance work for a full service agency, which was ideal. It meant I could work on some well-known brands but at arm’s length and at times that suited me, which gave me the balance I was looking for.
These days, I collaborate with other independent professionals, mainly on projects relating to rural economic development and purpose driven enterprise.
What work are you most proud of?
The work I’ve done for The Ethical Dairy – from developing the brand and messaging to, latterly, helping the owners write a memoir and deliver a crowdfunding campaign to self-publish the book. I love working with people who are passionate about making the world a better place.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
A memorable campaign that I think shows the power of copy is ‘The pattern of abuse’ by Engine for Women’s Aid. I wouldn’t say it’s something I wish I’d written, but I’m in awe of the creative execution and its impact.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I take the dog out for a stomp around the park to get out of my own head. It almost always works. Recently I’ve also been using Jasper.ai to help me think my way around things. I’m finding it surprisingly useful as a prompt and to spark ideas.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
Finding my way back into flow after an interruption is easily my least favourite part of writing. The urge to head to Twitter is very strong, and very difficult to resist.
My favourite writing task is monitoring impact. I get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing people respond to something in the way I’d hoped.
Whether it’s sales that have been generated, an award entry that’s secured a win or even just comments on a social media post, I find the feedback loops of impact tracking personally rewarding and professionally valuable.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Nope. Everything has a place and a purpose.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
It’s not career advice as such, but I’ve had the benefit of a career example through the accidental entrepreneurship of my parents. Knowing that there’s no need to be constrained or defined by other people’s pigeon holes is a tremendously empowering mindset.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Know your why. Copywriting offers many different career paths and opportunities. Understanding what your personal drivers are will help you figure out how a copywriting career can give you the life you want.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
The ability to dip in and out of webinar recordings is incredibly useful, and I find the blogs interesting to read. I enjoy learning from others and ProCopywriters enables that to happen.
Where can people find out more about you?
On Twitter or LinkedIn. I took my website down a long time ago and never quite got round to putting a new one back up. Working on my clients’ writing projects is infinitely more interesting than working on my own.