Copywriting: what is it and could you do it? Cathy Scott

Copywriting is the art of creating concepts and writing words that sell. You may be selling goods, services, brands or ideas: anything from a pot of face cream to a supermarket promotion, a medical device, a new way of working or even a political party. Copywriting normally includes communicating the positive benefits of whatever you are selling, while conveniently neglecting to mention any negatives. This lack of balance (also common to PR) distinguishes it from journalism. During her presentation, she'll be explaining the basics of copywriting, including how copywriters work: 

  • For advertising agencies and direct clients
  • In all sorts of traditional and new media (from print & TV ads to direct emails & Facebook blogs)
  • At any or all stages of the communication path, from creating concepts (headline, visual, strapline) to crafting the web copy
  • On different communications directed towards different target groups within each advertising campaign

Cathy will also outline some of the practicalities:

  • Who you might be working with in a team/agency
  • Why they might want your linguistic and/or creative skills
  • The difference between an in-house and a freelance copywriter
  • Which skills you should have as a minimum (Word, pdf, Excel, PPT)
  • What you might be asked to do (including the boring stuff, e.g. corporate newsletters, packaging materials…)
  • How people work (brief, phone, etc.)
  • What you should do to add value (be honest, but maybe not too much so)
  • How you should behave (proactive, engaged, respectful, honest)
  • How to set up and attract clients
  • Background reading (ad books)
  • Useful sayings (to bear in mind, but perhaps not say out loud)

About the presenter

Cathy Scott is a British copywriter who has been in the advertising business for almost as long as the Dulux dog.

After working on many consumer, B2B and healthcare accounts for London ad agencies, she went freelance before setting up shop in the Netherlands. She now operates as a copywriter, translator and editor – often on the same unsuspecting piece of text.

Cathy is a stickler for accuracy, which is why she recently attended a client’s conference in Disneyland Paris so that she could report on it from a position of knowledge. As Welfare Officer of the Dutch branch of the National Union of Journalists, she also takes a keen interest in the underside of the writing profession, and will often be found expressing solidarity with those refusing to join the race to the bottom.