Gemma Wildgoose is a copywriter working at Euro RSCG Riley. Gemma first obtained an art foundation diploma and followed this up with a degree in graphic arts and design.
Before I started university, I was torn between English and graphic design. So, after an art foundation course, I opted for the latter. I became more and more interested in the concepts behind design and photography rather than the craft itself, so I knew that doing the ‘ideas’ side of things was the way to go for me.
Getting my first copywriting role wasn’t easy. I knew I had to work hard to get my foot in the door, even if it meant working for nothing on placements. I was however, able get a realistic taste of the industry. Despite experiencing the late nights and hard work first hand, I was still set on being a copywriter. Work experience placements perked up my CV and helped agencies put their confidence in me. The placements also provided me with great work that I was able to put into my portfolio or ‘book’.
I’d recommend sending a creative mailer to the creative director of places you’d like to work – and those likely to appreciate your own style too. You might even get a placement or paid position out of it.
Day to day, my job is usually split into two areas; developing ideas and then writing the copy for the ads, from website to radio to press - anything really. Working in recruitment advertising, I sell roles rather than products. This means I need to get the right people’s attention and tell them what they need to know as succinctly as possible. Copywriting is more than knowing where to put apostrophes. It’s about getting what I want to say across in the right way. What might appeal to a foster carer might not appeal to an accountant. I have to adapt the tone and the concepts accordingly - while keeping a creative edge.
I often need to present ideas to my team and clients, so I need to feel comfortable doing that. There are also times when people tell you your work isn’t for them, so I can’t be too sensitive. As clients can have a set idea of what they want, it’s important to show the solution that I feel will best speak to their target audience - even if it takes the client outside of their comfort zone.
A particularly solid validation of my work has been winning industry awards. It helped build my confidence and of course, I loved meeting the celebrity host! It also helped when developing new concepts. Knowing the industry is looking at my work helps me push my ideas on, while still making sure it answers the client brief.
There’s no doubt that my job is very busy, but that means I’m not bored either. There’s always something different: new technologies, new techniques and different people to share ideas with. It can be really exciting; you’ve just got to keep trying until you get your break into the industry.
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