Copywriting Insights from an Industry Expert
Step into the world of compelling narratives and persuasive storytelling as we unravel the essence of copywriting with Oliver, Senior Copywriter at Parity Technologies. With a career spanning from journalism to copywriting, Oliver shares the nuances of his professional journey, the intricate creative process behind his craft, and valuable advice for budding copywriters looking to carve a niche for themselves in this dynamic industry.
1) What inspired you to become a copywriter, and what do you enjoy most about this career?
“I qualified as journalist in the UK in 1996 and then worked as one up until 2011, the majority of that time with the BBC in London. I enjoyed that time immensely but when my role at the BBC was moved to a different city I felt it was time to move on. I worked in a number of freelance and consultancy positions for a while before taking my first job as a copywriter in 2017 and I am now onto my third job as a copywriter, with Parity Technologies. My role at Parity is in the small but growing PR and communications team which sits within marketing and my job is to help promote Polkadot, an ecosystem of projects building the new internet through blockchain. We work on stories with multiple partners, across the worlds of gaming, music, fashion, decentralised finance and many more.
I enjoy the variety of copywriting, because it involves such a wide range of different approaches to create strong content, whether that’s in creative copywriting, UX writing, social media texts, press releases, landing pages, speech writing, presentations, video voiceovers and so on. And I guess what inspired me to become a copywriter in the first place was a desire to tell great stories involving great people, but without the requirement to deliver negative news or ‘clickbait’ that dominates so much journalism.”
2) How do you approach the creative process when developing a new copywriting concept, and what techniques do you use to generate ideas?
“None of my best writing happens when I am sitting in an artificially lit room at a desk on my laptop. It actually happens when I am out in the fresh air walking my dogs, or riding my bike, or sitting on a train. The best ideas germinate spontaneously when I am away from screens. The trick is to remember these inspiring thoughts, piece them together and assemble them cogently when I do get back to my computer. Voice notes are great for this.
I have begun to do some basic meditational and stress management exercises which also help considerably in the creative process. A healthy diet and sleeping as much as possible are other good things to do generally. Running out of energy at 3pm? Have a power nap, then get a coffee and go again.”
3) What advice do you have for someone just starting out in copywriting, and how can they gain valuable experience?
“The advantages young copywriters have today that I did not have in the 1990s involve the proliferation of digital platforms that allow people to write great blogs. For someone starting out in copywriting, your Medium page is probably more important than your CV. Don’t be afraid to specialise early in your career if you feel you have powerful knowledge in a particular niche and the ability to express it. Use social media wisely — don’t overdo it.
Podcasts are great but there is no substitute to reading, and that includes all types of reading including, and perhaps especially, fiction. Gaining experience is best done through networking and the process of writing itself. Be brave and go to events that will connect you with senior executives in your chosen sector. They will be impressed if you introduce yourself and tell them your story. You will obviously need to have a talent for writing to be a successful copywriter but there is no substitute for researching your subject meticulously, and take a notebook wherever you go.”
Conclusion: Lessons from Oliver's Experience
Oliver’s professional journey underscores the importance of adaptability and continuous learning, while his approach to idea generation emphasizes the role of balance in nurturing creativity. For those seeking to step into the copywriting landscape, his advice is a blend of practical strategy and passion-driven commitment. It’s clear that in a field that is ever-evolving and diverse, the love for storytelling and a desire to connect with audiences remains at the heart of a successful copywriting career.
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