How did you get into copywriting?
I’ve always loved writing — even as a kid, I was always writing letters to my Gran, my Auntie, and my friends, and in school I loved writing stories. I studied English at university. I worked as News and Features Writer for trade newspapers and magazines, and then joined Cambridge University Press in their global communications team. I gained the CIM Diploma in Marketing Communications and became their Senior Communications Executive. I then worked for a charity as their Senior Press & PR Officer. Before joining Bell language school as Marketing Executive and becoming their Head of Marketing. Writing has always been the string that ties everything together.
I started my own business about five years ago. I’m happy as a clam when I’m writing, and I love that my dog can always be in my office — he’s usually snoozing on the job, but lots of ideas happen on a dog walk break!
What is it about copywriting that gets you excited?
What you say and how you say it really matters. It can change everything. Language is how we understand the world and it shapes that understanding too.
We aren’t logical machines either, not even close. How you make people feel is so important. What they think and do next will depend on it.
I also really enjoy bringing out what makes something special, and seeing people connect with that.
Bonus question! What’s your favourite fruit?
Raspberries. I always remember doing the Pick Your Own fields with my Gran in Scotland. (Emotions play a huge role in our decisions, even the seemingly simple ones!)
Who are your favourite kinds of clients?
The ones that really value what you can do for them. It’s not just a bit of copy (or just some design), it’s what your customers and potential customers think about you — and what’s more important than that? (Customers could also mean supporters, members, students, sponsors, employees, communities: the people that you want, and need, to believe in you).
I really enjoy working with clients that are brilliant at what they do but they haven’t got this across in their communications — yet, and that’s where I come in. I review, edit, ask questions, discover all the wonderful things we should be telling people about, and look at key messages we want to get across. I create copy that represents who they are and connects with the people they want to reach.
I have a lot of experience in (and love for) education, both inhouse roles and freelance. It has a very special place in my heart, and head. I’m a learner for life too — learning is always a good idea!
I’m also passionate about helping animals, especially dogs.
What brands out there are you in awe of doing this really well?
Octopus Energy is really standing out, especially at the moment with the energy crisis. Their copywriting and communications were really good before, and very different from what we’re used to from energy companies, or any utility company; their communications during the energy crisis have been head and shoulders (probably the whole body) above the rest. The tone is warm, the information is very clear, the copywriting is human to human. You feel valued. During a crisis of rising energy costs, my positivity and loyalty towards them has increased — this is what companies should be aiming for. It is absolutely possible. Anyone knows themselves that trust is built or broken in the harder times, and people don’t tend to forget which way it went.
Another one I really like is Who Gives A Crap loo roll. Their marketing emails place the customer as the focus and really make you feel part of something good for the world, in a fun, quirky way.
These examples are for an energy company and toilet roll — you can always be creative in your copy and connect with people!
I also adore Bloom & Wild. Their copywriting and messaging are spot on throughout everything they do, from customer service emails to their packaging. It makes you smile — receiving and sending their flowers. I think they are perfectly tapped into, and had a hand in creating with their messaging, the vibe and culture that flowers are as much for friendship as romance these days, perhaps more so. Bloom & Wild get the feeling behind the flowers, which is crucial in any copywriting. Plus if you’re going to call your customer service team Customer Delight Associates, you need to deliver on that — and in my experience they really do.
The effect of what you do on the next step of the pyramid?
I love your pyramid! The elements absolutely all feed into each other. I am a huge fan of design, images and illustrations: great design and great copy are on the same (winning) team! I love working with designers, and always have worked closely with design throughout my career, within the same team, from the start to present day. I really enjoy creating designed emails in platforms like Mailchimp too. Copy and design collaborate and complement each other, and the result is something greater than the sum of its parts.
Our brains are processing a lot of information every day, most we aren’t consciously aware of, and to be able to do this effectively our brains look for patterns. Lots of things can affect how we view the world, and it’s important to be aware of our own filters and other people’s. We all see the world differently. Developing the look, feel, and voice, that connects with the people you’re trying to reach, means being categorised as something of interest to that person (you’ve got about a second to achieve this).
All the pyramid segments can either reinforce each other and make the whole stronger, or if one is wobbly cracks will start spreading to other areas!