Sophie Johnson writes:
Nearly fifteen years ago, when I was applying for my first job as a copywriter, I was given a copy test to complete before my interview. I remember the test very clearly. One of the questions was, ‘What, in your opinion, makes a good copywriter?’ To me, the answer was simple. I took a blank piece of A4 paper and wrote at the very centre, in small letters: ‘being concise’. The creative director, CEO and head of copy liked this, and other aspects of my copy test, and gave me my first job in advertising. And I have loved my work ever since.
Five years into my career, Facebook was founded, and two years after that saw the launch of Twitter. The world has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, due in no small part to social media. As a writer your best channel of communication is likely to be via the written word, so these – at times controversial – websites can be truly liberating.
You can reveal your own creative personality where before you might have gone unnoticed or misunderstood as a member of a larger team. And if you believe – as I have always done – that a good copywriter must get to the point in as few words as possible in order to convey a message quickly and hold the reader’s attention, then what better way to practice your art than in the 140 characters available to you per tweet on twitter? If you can’t express yourself in an unambiguous way on social media then you leave yourself open to all kinds of abuse and negative feedback. You can now inadvertently anger people all over the world in seconds via one misguided post, so it is an excellent discipline and exercise in self-editing: you have to get right down to the bare essential characters that will get your point across clearly without any room for misinterpretation.
I am always amazed if I meet a copywriter who dislikes and shuns social media. Today, you can share your thoughts with the rest of the world at the click of a button, exposing your creativity to millions – imagine what writers before social media would have given to be able to do that. Unless you want to be a secret writer, surely social media is a huge gift? And when you factor in the opportunities to network with like-minded people with whom you can share experiences, relevant articles and interesting news then social media becomes the single most important invention for a writer since the keyboard.
Social Media is a copywriter’s best friend, not a mistrusted, unused enemy. Write?