Get to know your freelance content writer: Katrina Strathearn
On 3 January I was delighted to be a featured writer on the Professional Copywriters' Network. What a great way to start 2017!
The full article is available on the PCN website, however you can also read it below.
Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
As early as childhood I loved reading and writing, and over the years I developed a disturbing love of editing other people’s work so it felt like the right thing to do.
I spent ten years in marketing and PR, and throughout my career the tasks I enjoyed most were always copywriting and content creation. After taking some courses and completing a qualification at the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing I set up my freelance business, Veracity Content, in May 2016.
What work are you most proud of?
In 2016 I researched and wrote a ‘Book of Wonder’ for the University of Surrey’s 50th Anniversary. I had the pleasure of interviewing nearly 50 academics, staff and students to learn about their incredible accomplishments – from developing cancer treatments to supporting feminist poetry. I then transformed their stories into a suite of copy that has been published as a book, website (www.surrey.ac.uk/50th-anniversary/) and used in press features. You can learn more via the case study in my portfolio.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
This keeps changing as the standard of copywriting continues to improve across the board. As a marketer, the captions in the new Barnardo’s ‘Believe in Me’ television advertisement (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnIcd4uJHao) are a beautiful example of short, powerful copy that tells a story while working perfectly with the visuals.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Often it helps to start surfing the internet for work similar to what I’m doing to inspire me. My favourite trick, however, is changing location, whether it’s a local pub, coffee shop or even a bookstore that has its own café, the buzz will get my creative juices flowing.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
My least favourite is coming up with original ideas without any guidance or a brief as it is difficult to know if you are heading in the same direction as your client.
My favourite task is interviewing experts on topics that I’m unfamiliar with. I learn so much and the dedication and passion that many experts show for their field truly energises me.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Clichés and puns. I worked at a railway museum early in my career and the transport-related puns and clichés became tired very quickly!
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Apply for jobs that you don’t feel you are entirely qualified for. I still struggle with this on occasions, however, stretching yourself is the key to growth and improvement.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Be picky about the work you choose to ensure it matches your strengths. You’ll do your best work if you are writing in a style and format you are most comfortable with.
Continually seek out learning opportunities. No matter how much experience you have, masterclasses and workshops will help you hone your craft and reinvigorate your passion for your work.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
The satisfaction of seeing a beautiful piece of copy published and receiving positive feedback from your client that the piece has achieved its aim.