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Why do journalists make great copywriters?

By March 18, 2015July 15th, 2015No Comments

You know how important it is to get your message across effectively (or you wouldn’t be reading this right now.) The bigger impact you make, the better you do business.

Copywriters with a background in journalism are brilliantly positioned to help. Looking to my own experience, I’d say my success as a copywriter is directly linked to the 20 years I spent on Fleet Street before founding Editing Edge.

 

Journalists make good copywriters

Why? Because cool-headed editing and writing under pressure for one of Britain’s most demanding news operations is great training for corporate copywriting. Yes, life’s no picnic at the Daily Mail when a typical day includes:

  • Assimilating a complex briefing from the Washington correspondent on the latest Obama story
.
  • Commissioning some fluffy copy to caption a Miley Cyrus photo
.
  • Scanning 1,000 turgid words of newswire for a dazzling line to interest the Editor
.
  • Rewriting the lead on the French train crash in 30 minutes
 and
  • Conjuring up 10 Fascinating Facts about killer whales.

You have to have your wits about you!

Versatile copywriting – or how to be bendy

I have also been a Paris correspondent (that was fun), and I’ve worked with ministers in the House of Commons, attending meetings at 10 Downing Street every day. As a reporter I’ve also covered Princess Diana’s death, a hijack, the Lockerbie bombing, countless political scandals and celebrity gossip.

So what? So journalists are versatile.

If you need bright, snappy copywriting, we can do it.

If you need elegant, sophisticated prose, we can do it.

Copywriters who have trained as journalists can write just as fluently about holidays or dumper trucks, stakeholders or health spas.

What makes a good copywriter

Let me give you five great reasons to hire an ex-journalist as a copywriter, then five tips from Fleet Street to help you with your own marketing.

What journalism teaches copywriters

1. Journalists are used to grasping a brief quickly, assimilating a wad of information and getting right to the point.

2. We’ve had plenty of practice at interviewing, so when we meet new clients we can unearth their hidden nuggets – the great selling points they take for granted so don’t mention. When writing case studies, we can also extract glowing quotes from your happy customers. (So you’ll be more convincing and you’ll sell more.)

3. Independence and initiative are vital skills for a copywriter, because our job is to take a weight off our clients’ shoulders, not burden them with problems.

4. Journalists know how to research, and copywriters can make brochures/websites/reports far more compelling by researching fascinating facts to alarm/inspire the target audience. Here are two examples from a brochure for a nutritionist:

“Research showed that unhealthy employees effectively work one day less each week than their healthier colleagues.”

“Last year 175m working days were lost to sickness and absence, costing organisations about £650 per employee.”

copywriting tips from Fleet Street

5. We never miss deadlines. Ever. You can’t if the presses are waiting to roll to print five million copies of the paper carrying your story …

If you’d like help with copywriting and effective writing, please get in touch.

 

 

 

Lesley

Lesley

I’m Lesley Hussell and my job is to bring some copywriting magic to your business, so you sell more, inspire your staff or spread your message far and wide. You’ll want to know how I measure up against other copywriters you’re considering, and whether I’m good enough to be trusted with your brand. If you’re looking for quick wit, creative thinking and a flair for compelling content writing.