April 2, 2013
Industry Insight: Copywriting

In the first of many guest articles that give insight into the many creative professions out there, Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence, writes about her experiences in the copywriting profession.  A freelance copywriter, journalist and blogger based in the West Midlands, Melissa enjoys writing about fashion, music and beauty, or sometimes all combined at the same time! Have a read of Melissa's blog post where she draws upon her experience as a copywriter and recalls a few interesting anectdotes from her work life.   photoThe question that I am asked often, when people ask what I do for a living. Copywriter is such a broad term, and in the past, I’ve struggled without giving them a verbatim definition of “copy for the purpose of Marketing”, which usually leaves people looking perplexed. I even managed to get my job description down to two words ‘word lady’. But it’s never quite done it. Here are more tales of being a copywriter to amuse and hopefully encourage you   1) I didn’t know I was a copywriter  Yes, you read it right. When I was about 17 and doing work for the college magazine, I used to help to write the straplines for the adverts in there, for college events along with writing articles. And when I was 19, I landed my first ‘proper’ writing job for my local Citizens Advice Bureau. I was a ‘writing intern’, compiling a portfolio of their various teams and initiatives. It wasn’t until my next job that I realised ‘writing intern’ was code for ‘copywriter’ and there, a whole new world of opportunity opened.   2) Copywriting is more than just writing copywriting-seoCopywriting is a varied and exciting profession to work in. But there’s more to it than sitting and throwing out brand slogans. Part of my aforementioned job with the Citizens Advice Bureau was research. I had to visit all of their bureaus in the city and sit down with the teams, to find out what their work involved. I even found myself visiting a prison for a day (!!). I had to make my own appointments and plan my own travel. Copywriting can take you to all sorts of places. Be prepared. Be excited.   3) No feedback is better than negative feedback If your words are doing their job, you won’t always get a pat on the back. Sometimes, you will work for people who don’t acknowledge your work at all. Maybe it won’t ‘wow’, like the designer’s work does. Don’t underestimate yourself. Silence usually means you’re doing a good job. But don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. It’s always good to seek to improve yourself.   4) Ask for a cheeky copy for your portfolio  Unless there are specific clauses in your contract about who owns your work, there’s nothing wrong with making sure that you have copies of printed and published work, to keep a track of what you’ve done. When I was in-house copywriter for my students’ union, I ended up with a drawer full of leaflets for student events and copies of the housing magazine and newsletters and articles. You’ll be amazed at how much you accumulate.   Hopefully we'll be hearing much more from Melissa in future industry insight blog posts.  You can follow Melissa on Twitter at @melreylaw and find out more about her and her work at her blog www.insidemellysmind.com. If you fancy guest blogging on the Breed Community blog, get in touch!  We're always wanting to hear from creatives who want to write about their industries!  You don't even have to be a writer, just passionate about your work as a creative!  Get in touch via Twitter at @breedcommunity or e-mail our Community Manager Chris at chris@breedcommunications.com. Remember to keep posted about our exciting creative competition where you'll be in with a chance to win a cash prize and to sign up for our database of creatives at www.breedcommunications.com/pitch-your-talent/