With content being hot on the lips of every marketeer, we thought we’d ask our expert resident copywriter Tim Glynne-Jones about his history with content creation and the role it plays in clients’ marketing strategy today.
Tim’s background: From journalism to copywriting…
I was a magazine journalist for around 16 years, on titles like Auto Express, Top Gear and Match of the Day, when I started getting asked to write companies’ marketing collateral, including websites. This was the early 2000s when businesses were all starting to cotton on to the need to have a website – the importance of regularly updated content was yet to be discovered. Over the years since then I have done more and more copywriting, with an increasing requirement for the sort of journalistic content on which I cut my teeth.
Very varied. I’ll have several briefs on the go at any one time so I have to balance what’s a priority to make sure I hit the deadlines for all of them. I come in, go through my emails and plan what needs doing, including how many hours I will spend on each job. Then I make a cup of tea and just start writing!
Favourite job: A Top Gear ad campaign was among my favourites
When I was at Top Gear, it became the top-selling car magazine and we ran an advert to celebrate. It was a one-page ad with a fish theme – ‘ofFISHial’ sales figures – and each magazine was compared to a different type of fish. I had to write the captions for each fish. I loved that.
Best buzz: Clients sharing enthusiasm for creativity
I really enjoyed working on our Tuffalo project for Ultrimax Coatings, in which we came up with a rather quirky brand name and they went with it. It’s nice when a client just gets what you’re trying to give them and they have the same enthusiasm for it.
Sector specialisms: Upmarket brands!
I used to be a football journalist and I’ve edited a lot of customer magazines for upmarket brands, such as Raffles Hotels, Steinway & Sons and Berry Brothers & Rudd, but it’s important to be able to apply your skills to any sector. A major part of writing is research and getting under the skin of your clients’ business, whatever it is they do.
A copywriter’s vision?
I think any writer would tell you that their dream is to write a novel or a film or something hugely creative that’s entirely of their own making. Every time you write something, it’s good practice. So I think the more you write, the more it helps to hone the skills you need.
How has the client’s approach to copywriting changed over the last decade?
Hugely. The criteria for appearing high up the search rankings have changed from packing your site with keywords to keeping it regularly updated with relevant, engaging content. That has increased the demand for traditional journalistic skills: well-researched, well-structured, substantial articles that entertain and inform, with good headlines and ideally a strong visual element. Clients are rediscovering the importance of storytelling in their marketing efforts and are making content central to their marketing strategy. And whereas the focus used to be on a business’ unique selling proposition, now it’s more about projecting brand values through storytelling across different channels and media. The need for writing to connect and engage with specific audiences is greater than it’s ever been before.
Tim’s top tips (for content creation!)
- Your objectives for a particular piece are related to your overall content objectives and that the purpose of the piece of writing is clear.
- Your business has a ‘tone of voice’ which is consistent across your content.
- Your brand values and vision come across in your writing.
- Your piece has an obvious beginning, middle and end and that you leave readers with something useful or inspiring.
- Your planning and research is thorough.
- Every piece is thoroughly proof read – typos are bad for business.
About Tim – Tim has been at Clockwise since 2015. His role encompasses branding, renaming, writing for corporate literature, newsletters and online content pieces. Beyond this, Tim is an editor, book writer and speechwriter.