Copywriting’s (rightly) back as a hot topic

Justin, our copywriting creative director, shares his thoughts on the art of attention-demanding content.

Ever wondered what life as a copywriter is really like? What they do? What it takes to become one? 

Life as a copywriter

Maybe you’re an aspiring copywriter. Maybe you’re thinking of adding one to your team. Maybe you’re just intrigued by the job title. We asked Justin, copywriting and creative director, to share a few of this thoughts on doing what he loves. 

Tell us in 30-ish words what you do.

I write copy, yes. But it’s often the final part of the process. My job is to create a point of difference for clients; to develop an idea that will stand out and resonate with its intended audience.

Describe your career journey so far?

Career paths are rarely Roman roads. It’s the twists-and-turns and unexpected diversions that make them interesting and, in my case, have made me a better copywriter, creative and manager (hopefully). 

I started out as a trainee copywriter A. LONG. TIME. AGO. I cut my teeth, added some weight (mid- and heavy-) and climbed the ladder. Most of my career has been spent in just two agencies. Then I went rogue. Freelanced with some of Bristol’s great and good. I’m now back permanently in an agency, Bray Leino Yucca. Exciting times ahead. 

What do you like most about your job?

I love that initial project kick-off and discovery phase. I love working with the different specialisms – planning, data, dev, design– and developing a concept and finding the best way to flex that concept across different channels. Love the craft of copywriting too. Just don’t get me started on Excel documents and track-changes.

What three tips would you give someone to ensure their skills and knowledge remain top notch?

1. Everyone says it but ask questions. Find out why. And how, who, what, where and when. 

2. And listen to the answers. Like, really listen. 

3. Get out there. Go to talks and events, read widely, listen to podcasts, watch Abstract on Netflix NOW. The more you know, the stronger your creative arsenal. 

4. Break your own rules. Say yes to new things. Take on tangential side projects. In the wise words of Dave Trott, “Life is only an opportunity if we embrace newness and discovery.”


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Justin Ballantine