Mastering The Wordy Part of Advertising: Two Years In

Recent Creative Writing graduate, Lydia Chenhall talks to us about her experience of becoming a copy writer for DRPG.

If you’d have told me I’d already be doing my dream job halfway through my final year of university, I’d have questions. But if you told me I’d be doing it while sunbathing and drinking beer (after 5pm of course) during a global pandemic, I’d probably have many, many questions.

But then again I’d be flabbergasted if you told me I’d secure my dream job before turning 21, because when I started uni, I picked my course because I liked reading books. I may have also thought I’d be able to take a stab at writing my own twilight fanfiction like E.L James and become a gazillionare…

In all honesty, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted my end goal to be. My dream job seemed to change a lot over the course of two years; at one point I was considering jewellery design, another time I was hooked on interior design etc. etc.

By third year, I was starting to panic. Sure, I could try a career at writing novels, but there’s no guarantee it’d sell, and to be totally transparent, it’s been two years and I’ve only just started chapter two…

It wasn’t until DRPG came to the university and hosted a copywriting masterclass that it all finally stuck. Within the first half an hour, I finally felt excited for my future. I didn’t even know copywriting was a thing!

I’m still asked what a copywriter is, and I find it a hard one to explain, because there’s so many elements. Some days, you’re creating social campaigns or extensive learning materials on a subject you’ve never heard of, others you’re a beady-eyed proofer, creative genius or acting emotional support person for account managers.

Usually, I’ll just say it’s the wordy part of advertising with a big dose of master persuasion hidden underneath those shiny words. You’re essentially getting the reader to carry out the client’s desired objective, like buy their shampoo instead of their competitor, or sign up for their newsletter – all without making it obvious that you’re telling them to do something.

After each masterclass, I began searching up all the things that makes a great copywriter, fell in love with D&AD’s The Copy Book, and got to work on drafting up a fake portfolio. My favourite piece to this day is a campaign for a fake whiskey company where I was able to explore the power held within tone of voice.

At the end of the final class, I cheekily asked for a job on my feedback form, never really expecting to get a response. I then an email exchange and a bagged job interview later, I become a copywriter for DRPG.

In the process of writing to persuade others, I also persuaded myself that I’m good enough to be here. No longer am I afraid to show others what I’ve written, or worry that I’m too much of a rookie for certain briefs. I’m pretty good at what I do, and my writing’s only going to improve with each new brief – which is very exciting!!

Lydia Xx