For almost two decades I lived and breathed journalism.
- I won prestigious awards.
- My work was published internationally
- Australia’s #1 magazine publisher headhunted me from the other side of the globe.
But what humbled and honoured me the most was the incredible people I wrote about.
I specialised in writing human interest features. Often, I interviewed people who’d been through unimaginable heartbreak - things I don’t think I could survive.
I’d listen to their stories in awe, silent tears rolling down my cheeks as I jotted down their quotes in shorthand.
Their strength in the face of such painful adversity would’ve reduced even the hardest of hearts to rubble.
How it all started
Many people assume journalism is all about writing.
But over the course of my career, I’ve learnt the most important skill a journalist needs is the ability to listen.
Luckily for me, it’s a skill I have in droves.
It’s why I was one of the first people from my masters cohort to be offered a position as a cadet journalist on a local newspaper (at the time those lauded opportunities were as rare as hen’s teeth.)
Within just a few months I’d been poached by a regional news agency, writing news and features for the British national press.
Over the next few years I worked hard and built up a good reputation for getting the stories no one else could get.
My secret was simple: I took the time to listen, really listen, and people opened up to me.
After winning a prestigious award, my work caught the eye of editors in Australia.
Can you guess what happened next?
In 2010 I was headhunted by Pacific Magazines and I moved from a quiet corner of Northumberland to sunny Sydney.
I loved Australia from the first moment I stepped foot on the asphalt at Sydney Airport.
I’d spend my weekends at the beach and on weekdays, I’d interview and write about the most fascinating people on the planet.
By the time I left Pacific Magazines, I was News Editor of New Idea
We had a total audience of 3.4 million at the time.
The responsibility and the strategic decision-making gave me a huge rush.
But my day-to-day work was more of a project management role and oh, how I missed interviewing and writing.
That’s why, after having a baby in 2015, I went freelance.
My articles were published in Marie Claire, Who, New Idea, Woman’s Day, that’s life!, Kidspot, Practical Parenting, News.com.au, 7News.com.au and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Life was wonderful.
But then 2020 happened
As the coronavirus pandemic gained momentum, most of my regular freelance gigs dried up.
I panicked; by then I had two young kids and a whopper of a mortgage.
But whenever the overwhelm started to claw at my throat, I’d think about the hardships faced by the people I’d interviewed.
All I had to do was find another job. It was nothing (or so I thought, until I had to carve out a brand-new career in lockdown while home-schooling a preppy and balancing a teething, miserable baby on my hip.)
At some point in the delirium, someone suggested copywriting. I didn’t know much about it, but I’d been writing professionally for almost 20 years, so what did I have to lose?
My very first copywriting projects came to me
A blog post here, a video-script there, some website copywriting sprinkled in-between.
It was a huge learning curve and in all honesty, I wasn’t sure how my work would be received.
Thankfully, I got rave feedback from my clients. They particularly valued my:
- Research skills
- Interviewing, writing and editing skills
- Innate understanding of how to engage any audience
- Ability to magically breathe life into even the dullest subject to make it sparkle
The best bit was, I really enjoyed the work.
And yet something was still niggling at me
One of the most sought-after skills in copywriters is a good working knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO.)
But at that time, I knew very little about it,
Even though I was a whiz at creating unique, innovative and authoritative articles for humans, I had no idea what tickled the Google gods.
Luckily, I love learning so I enrolled on an SEO course run by world-renowned expert Kate Toon.
It was jam-packed full of amazing, up-to-date content and opened my eyes to the power of SEO.
I’d used the internet for 25 years, but I’d never peeked behind the curtain before. My mind was seriously boggled.
It was like stepping into a whole new world
Suddenly, everything clicked.
I invested in some brilliant SEO tools and my work as a copywriter began to take on a much greater depth.
Today, I still work as a journalist. But I also help brands connect with people through SEO-friendly web copy, articles, case studies and brand stories.
I can turn my hand to just about anything.
If you’re looking to create a buzz around your brand, products or services, check out my services page and contact me today for an obligation-free chat