Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I’ve worked in marketing and communications roles since graduating in 1992. I went freelance in 2010 in a partnership doing social media, PR, marketing and comms but over time I realised that writing is what I enjoy the most. I once went to an event where the late great Victoria Wood delivered her own version of “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. It stayed with me.
What work are you most proud of?
Tough question. I think anything where the copywriting is part of bigger picture stuff. Where the client takes on board suggestions and ideas about what else they need to make sure that any copy truly reflects who they are as a business. Also public perception PR related work. Getting to the heart of a story/issue and ensuring the facts are presented. Oh gosh, also, in my first job, which was in international events, I made it my personal mission to try and get as many Abba songs into the titles of my events. I got away with it!
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Anything by Victoria Wood. Her talent was incredible and although there is little, if any, overlap in terms of the type of work I do and her catalogue of genius I find inspiration in her work. I also like the tone of voice of Plusnet and the plain English style of energy providers Bulb. They are both no-nonsense, plain-speaking, and straight to the point.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Walk away for a bit. There is no point staring at a blank page expecting greatness to leap out. A change of scenery can be just the break needed to get the creative juices flowing again, whether it’s waiting for the kettle to boil or nipping out with the dog.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I like simplifying things. I enjoy presenting things in a logical and consistent way, making it easy for the reader to understand and take action. Hmm, I don’t enjoy ever-changing briefs but that’s more to do with a client than writing.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Overused words and use of big words when small ones will do i.e. corporate waffle. Plusnet and Bulb are great examples of brands that speak to those who just want the facts, not the guff. That’s my preferred style of both reading and writing.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
You absolutely can and should run your own business (most people I’ve ever worked with!).
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Reading a lot helps you distinguish between good and bad copy as well as seeing different styles. I can love a story but hate the way it’s told. I can hate a story but love the way it’s told. I think my advice to anyone starting out as a copywriter would be to listen to feedback but also bear in mind there are preferred styles – a different style does not mean wrong.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
Playing with words every day and seeing the difference that well-written copy can make in turning dry subjects into enjoyable to read stories or complex ideas into easy to digest ones.
This post first appeared elsewhere on t’internet. It’s not there anymore and I didn’t want my words going to waste. I’m aware it looks like I’m talking to myself but hey ho I’m OK with that!