It’s a strange kind of time to write a blog like this because C***D-19 has changed life so quickly over the last few months.
Having said that, has life really changed that much for me?
As I type, the UK has just gone into Lockdown 2 and, once again, we have all been asked to work from home if possible. As a freelance copywriter, I’ve been doing just that for a decade and more. Okay, so now my wife is also at home… somewhere. (I assume she’s hidden away in her makeshift office upstairs.) But thank goodness schools remain open, otherwise, things really would be turned upside down. Which is code for “my son would have driven me stark raving mad by now, just like he did last time.”
Yet technology was already transforming the way we work long before COVID came along – and I’ve always tried my best to make the most of it. All I need is an iPad, Microsoft Word, an internet connection… and bingo. Suddenly I’m an on-demand writing resource for any client or agency anywhere on earth. (Except Albania – but that’s a different story.) That mind-blowing potential is reflected in the diversity of briefs that come my way. It could be the website for an investment bank. An image film script for a multimedia empire, a steel producer, an airport, a charity, a city… The tone of voice and launch comms for a new app. It could be anything.
So even though I work from home, technology had opened up a world of opportunity. And I don’t think COVID-19 changes that. Quite the opposite in fact. With the world ravaged by a pandemic, people are spending more time at home. More time online. And that means brands need more content. (By the way, I’m a copywriter and a content writer. The difference? Well if you are asking, I’d say copywriting is the art of persuasion, while content writing is the art of engagement.) Even so, I guess I’m about to face one significant change over the next few weeks. Here’s why. Going freelance gave me the freedom to work in a way that suits me best. It has allowed me to get out and about for a change of scenery whenever I feel like it, which for me is an essential part of the writing process.
Walking around London
It exposes me to so much energy, inspiration, and ideas. It clears my head. It reveals new perspectives. In normal times I can: Get the tube and continue a purpose-statement project for a multi-national Dutch conglomerate. Go for a walk in Hyde Park while thinking of a campaign for an innovative diamond jewelry brand in Switzerland, with a marketing department in Stockholm. Stop for a coffee in Covent Garden and write a film script for a museum in Brussels or an eBook for a tech leader in San Francisco. Stroll around Soho in search of inspiration for new content for a footwear brand in Copenhagen. Yes okay, I might stop off for a quick refreshment at the pub every now and then, but that’s mainly to get the wi-fi. Honest. Sit in a gallery and muse over a new digital visitor experience for a Port producer based in, well, Porto. Come back home and put the finishing touches to the online launch of a new electrical vehicle for an experiential agency in London. And in between all that, I can rustle up a blog for a copywriting collective based in Amsterdam.
So variety has always been an essential part of my experience as a freelance copywriter. I get to write for a vast huge array of brands, from all over the world, across all kinds of industries and channels. And I enjoy the freedom to work from home – and to work out of home too. The pandemic will change the way I work because for the next few weeks I’ll have to find that change of scenery closer to home. But hopefully, that’s all. I’m optimistic that intelligent copywriting and engaging content are set to become increasingly essential. That the world will remain just a call or an email away. And that inspiration will always be in reach.
P.S. Here’s an appendix (Do you have those in blogs?) To finish, I believe I’m expected to give a quick potted history at a glance:
Where I’ve been. Agencies include Noise! (Electronic Arts), Team LGM, Ignition Claydon Heeley, Dare, Geometry, Proximity, DDB, JWT, Some more initials, Imagination, blab la bla. My last full-time job was as half of the lead digital creative team on the Audi account at GT.
The kind of stuff I’ve been doing the last few months Ongoing work with an online luxury diamond jewelry company, having helped to build up the brand from scratch – think the tone of voice, website, social, emails etc. Same thing for a premium ride-hailing app, with ongoing work including email, in-app and push campaigns, social media, press ads, OOH, internal comms. Long-term values and strapline project for the largest privately owned company in Holland (20 billion turnovers) in partnership with Deloitte. Standing in the cold, the wind and the rain to watch my son play football without so much as a ‘thanks dad’. All content for a brand new app from a global footwear brand: long and short editorial, advert-style, product-focused, all kinds of stuff. An extended eBook and supporting launch campaign (landing page, emails, social) for the world leader in digital experimentation. Website, coffee table book, and digital experiences for the live launch (back in those happy days) of a major tourism initiative to 250 world leaders and influencers.
These aren’t all down to just me, of course. Not all of them… Drum Dream Awards, Golden Rose of Montreux, World Media Festival Gold x 2, World Media Festival Silver, Cannes Silver Dolphin, FWA Site of the Day x2, Webby People’s Award, ISPA Gold, Silver Screen – US International Film Festival, Certificate for Creative Excellence – US International Film Festival.
Erm, I think that’s it. Thanks for reading – the few of you who made it this far.