Copywriter of the week : Alan Shanley


The Right Words, Belfast: For words that sell!

Like many copywriters, I took the scenic route to get to my destination. To be fair, I’m not sure there is any other route available because-let’s be honest-copywriting isn’ta profession that’s talked up by career guidance teachers before leaving school, is it?

A profession you fall into….
So how did I get here then?
On leaving school, while I really had no idea exactly what I wanted to work at (when I grew up), it’s no coincidence that journalism was my first choice. However, as studying quite clearly wasn’t my strong point (let’s not go there), when it came to 3rdlevel, I ended up studying History and Politics at University College Dublin.
‘An Arts degree, what sort of a job is that going to get you?!’ was the (probably justifiable) refrain from anyone who ever asked what I was studying – most notably my long-suffering parents who had to burden the cost of such an indulgence.
But all joking aside, I strongly believe that, more than anything else, this course helped develop and fine-tune my writing skills, gave me a thirst for knowledge and learning, and led me to become curious about the world.
By the time I’d completed my degree, I knew that marketing – in some form or other -was the area I wanted to work in. However, because I also knew that I had to make myself more employable, I completed a HDip in Business Studies and began my meandering journey along the by roads of marketing – starting as an Account Manager with a leading Dublin PR firm…

A bit like a fine wine it just takes time….

at work

Pretty quickly into my emerging marketing career, it became clear I wasn’t the kind of person to over-stay my welcome in any one role: suffice to say, prior to self-employment, I had worked in a number ofdifferent marketing roles, acrossa range of different industry sectors. Why? My natural curiosity meant I needed to be faced with a new challenge on a regular basis: once I got bored I had to move on to something else!

But you know what? Every role I worked in taught me a little bit more: about marketing, about business, about life, about the dos and don’ts of management, and about how it was almost always the little things that could make employees either very productive or very unproductive.
Most of all though, every role taught me about the importance of storytelling and  communication for any brand or business: whether you’re a boss making an internal management decision, or a marketing manager creating a new campaign aimed at the target consumer, it’s never about what you say – it’s about how you say it.

Until finally, along came ‘The Right Words’…
The Right Words Logo

Though I was born and raised in Dublin, after getting married in 2007, myself and my wife decided to move to the beautiful, sleepy, scenictownof Carrick on Shannon in the North West of Ireland, to experience rural life, far away from the hustle and bustle of a big city.

Seven years (and two children) later,to benefit from better job opportunities, more school choices, and the many other lifestyle benefits that come from living in a city, we relocated to Belfast where I worked as a Brand Manager, initially, before setting up The Right Words in April 2016.

So how come Belfast, I hear you ask? Well, it wasn’t quite as random a move as it might appear! Firstly, Belfast is a much more affordable city than Dublin, so buying a house in a nice area was a realistic and achievable goal. Secondly, Belfast is a fast-growing, exciting and really fun city that’s compact (another word for tiny), easy to get around and hassle-free. And finally, as it’s only two hours from Dublin straight down the motorway, I knew I would still see as much of Dublin as I did during the previous 7 years.

And why ‘The Right Words’? Well, ever since I had first started working, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my personality was much better-suited to paddling my own canoe; self-employment had been on my mind for many years and I just couldn’t put it off any longer…

What makes me different from other copywriters?


As a copywriter, my job is to help brands engage a specific target audience, hook them in, and ultimately, convince them to buy their product or service – as opposed to that of a competitor.

But, funnily enough, that’s exactly what I’m trying to achieve for my own business too:
as a service business, I’m very aware that my competitors are no longer local, they’re global. For this reason,I continually strive to deliver a better, faster, more reliable service that provides more value to my clients in the context of exceeding their goals and objectives.
In other words, I believe that my strong marketing experience and expertise, combined with my commercial experience, ensure I deliver added-value to my clients – and help me stand out as a high-quality copywriting provider.

The services I offer…

Like most copywriters, specialising in one area over another is not something I do; to me, specialising means turning down work, putting off would-be clients, and ultimately, reducing my income and business growth opportunities.

So ultimately, I deliver words that sell in whatever form they are required by a client; ads, websites, landing pages, blogs, white papers, eBooks, tone of voice guides, internal communications documents, video scripts… name it, I’ll write it!
As for my client base, it’s extensive and crosses into pretty much every industry and sector you can think of: manufacturing, engineering, law, construction, health, ICT, education, beauty, aircraft components, interior fit-out, tourism, local councils, public agencies, etc.
Working across so many industries makes life interesting, gives me a very good spread of knowledge, keeps things exciting, and ultimately, satisfies my endless curiosity.
Ultimately though, the fact is that a copywriter’s job is to help brands engage their target customer so they can sell more – regardless of what industry they happen to be in.

What next?

Having survived the first 2+ years in business (phew), I’m ambitious and impatient and want to grow my brand and work with the biggest and best brands out there!
Already I’ve worked with some amazing, high-profile brands – some local, some global, but all extremely reputable and ambitious. Rather than asking me to choose one over another (I love all my clients equally you see!) why not check out my profile and get a flavour of the kind of work I do – and for whom?.

Get in touch and let me help your business grow!

If your brand is stuck, you’re struggling to resonate with your target audience, or you don’t have the tools you need to do it by yourself, (i.e. you’re lacking the right words, boom)get in touch and I’ll be delighted to help!
Oh and finally – as an Irish copywriter, you’ll find I’m friendly and approachable, I speak in a language that’s down to earth and perfectly in tune with your particular audience, and – chances are – I’ve probably already delivered great copy solutions for a brand in a very similar industry to you