Life as a Copywriter

Ever wondered what life as a Copywriter is really like? What exactly does a Copywriter do, what does it take to become one? If you are aspiring to become one or if you are thinking of adding one to your team and are wondering what one might look for in an employer: We have gathered all the facts for you.

We caught up with Justin Ballantine, Copywriter and Creative Director at Bray Leino Yucca, to get his perspective.

ADLIB: In approx. 30 words and plain English, what do you do?

Justin Ballantine: 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.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey so far?

Justin Ballantine: 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. 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. Now I’m back permanently in an agency, Bray Leino Yucca. Exciting times ahead.

ADLIB: What do you like most about your job?

Justin Ballantine: 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.

ADLIB: What are the 3 key things you consider when choosing an employer?

Justin Ballantine:

1. Fit, culture, philosophy – call it what you will, but do you share the same kind of thinking? Do they feel, you know, you?

2. The role, obviously. Is it what you want? If you’re changing jobs, make sure it’s the right job, not just a job.

3. Ambitions. Can you see yourself achieving what you want to achieve in that role with that company? Will it push you? Yes. Happy days.

ADLIB: What 3 top tips would you give someone to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain top notch?

Justin Ballantine:

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.”

Thank you for sharing!

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