You want to write copy, right, Copywriter?

This post is slightly different from what I’d usually do, but I’ve done it for two reasons; One – I had to as part of my assignment, two – it adds credibility to a largely opinion based blog. Last week, I interviewed (got my lecturer to send some questions in an email) Cat Turnell, a professional Copywriter & journalist who’s worked for Bulb Studios (they’re big and important) and the Leicester Mercury. I was expecting answers that were hurried and brief simply because if I was busy I wouldn’t be too fussed about taking the time to answer some pretty banal questions. But alas, she was very thorough and gave some really good insights, which are definitely worth looking over if you’re interested in copywriting. Based on her answers and other things I’ve read, I’ll try and answer my own questions.

What does a normal day consist of?

Get in at 9am, check emails, look for things that could make a story and see if there are any new jobs from clients. If you’re really organised you can use this time to lay out a plan for your day.

Most days you’ll do an interview so it’s important to keep one eye on the phone and your emails. Unless you want to write awful pieces, you should be constantly researching the subject you’re writing on and go through interview questions. You’ll also have to at least skim read the daily newspapers to keep on top of worldly events.

How do you manage deadlines?

Treat them with respect and keep on top of your work.  You might be working on several pieces of work at once so find a method that works for you, for example getting the easier stuff out the way first.

How long, on average, will you spend on a task?

A feature length article typically consists of 1000 words, which can be done in a day. Two days work roughly yields 2000 words.


What is the process behind a task? E.g. how long is spent planning?

Totally depends on the size of the article. If you were interviewing Putin you’d probably spend a few hours compiling and checking questions. Some articles require the opinion of six people, some one person. Some require a Dictaphone and a passer-by for an opinion.


How does your writing style change by task?

You develop your own way of telling a story. The good writer will create something that is easily read by all audiences but still be engaging. It’s not necessarily style that changes, but the tone in which you write.



How do you practise?

Learn by doing. Every bit of work you do is practise. Expand your mind and writing style by reading. Read everything, read every type of writing. Read.

Cat Turnell
This is actually Cat, who answered my questions!



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