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1: Who I am, what I do, and why
Important context for everything that comes next.
Thanks for signing up to Content Righting. Welcome to issue 1.
This newsletter is going to be my diary as a middle-senior weight content marketer / copywriter, as I figure out exactly what it takes to do this job “right”.
I haven’t seen anyone else do it. The majority of the advice I see out there is old, for juniors, or both. I suspect there can’t really be a “playbook” for my current and future roles. But hopefully with what I write here, you’ll find some use out of it. I know I will.
Which brings me to the topic of this first issue: Who I am, what I do, and why. (It’s important context for everything that comes next.)
1. Who I am
Because my subscriber list is currently small, most of you will already know bits about me. I’m Brad, a Senior Writer at a payments company called GoCardless. I currently focus on driving small business adoption of our latest feature, through our software partners. (Amongst other projects and experiments.)
I’m in my fifth year as a full time content marketer. I didn’t study marketing at university. But I liked the idea of working in tech and working with words, so my content journey began in a scrappy startup of 6 people, growing to maybe 15 or so before I left. That spanned 2 years, during which I rose from a junior content marketing generalist to the content and design* lead.
(*just marketing design, no product design)
But I was plateauing without more senior content people to learn from. And without budget and support to play around with. So I moved into what is now a 30x+ bigger company (GoCardless), headcount wise, and this helped unplateau me.
2. What I do
Content roles can be quite different from company to company. I’ve met up with writers from other tech companies for coffees before, and was surprised how many of them worked on in-product copy.
At that point in time, I’d never done that. And I hadn’t worked on ad copy in a long time, either (which was something else they often did). Instead, I was mostly writing blog posts and emails.
These days, I work in a cross-functional small business team. Which means instead of working in a content team, with other content marketers, to achieve content goals, I am in a team filled with people of many disciplines, and we all work towards achieving the same goals. And those goals are all based around GoCardless’ small business customer base.
So I get to work on an array of interesting projects and experiments.
I don’t have a publishing volume to hit. I don’t measure the traffic and page time and rank and conversion rates of my pieces. In fact, we publish a high volume of content monthly without my involvement at all.
And (thankfully!) we have a dedicated SEO team, and a dedicated social media manager. Which means I don’t have to carry those burdens.
3. Why I do what I do
It’s almost silly that this section is last, because it is by far the most important. Here’s why I think that is:
Unsolicited advice comes from a place of projection.
Vague, that. Let’s break it down.
When you read Marketing Person™’s copywriting advice tweets, or content marketing advice LinkedIn posts, they are projecting onto you what they think you should do, if they were you. (That’s ignoring the all-too-common situation of people posting garbage for themselves, under the guise of it being helpful to others.)
Let’s put it this way - if you ask me for a great first date restaurant, I’m going to tell you a pizza place. Because I love pizza. I’m projecting that onto you, without taking into account your likes, dietary requirements, location, budget, etc. (Or that of your date’s.)
So before I start talking to you about what it takes for middle-senior weight content marketers and copywriters to do the job “right”, I want you to have the context for why I’ll be saying what I say.
So here’s why I do what I do:
At my core, I enjoy creating. I’ve often wished this expressed itself as a more graphical talent, but my natural strength is with words. I’d prefer to play with words and images in an unbounded, traditionally artistic way, but that doesn’t (easily) pay the bills.
I am somewhat risk-averse (otherwise I’d go all in on being an artist), I’m lazy (I don’t know why anyone would want to make things any harder for themselves than they need to be), but I have high standards (this keeps my laziness from rendering me unemployable, but also keeps me constantly irritated by the low quality marketing advice that saturates the internet).
I also like comfort. I don’t crave outlandish luxury (although I’d take it if I could), but I want to enable a lifestyle where I don’t have to meticulously budget to avoid going into debt.
Like most humans, I want to be wanted. I want to have a skill that others around me don’t have, and I want to be desired and rewarded for having it.
To boil it down: I need money to live a relatively comfortable life, I don’t want to take the difficult and risky path of being an artist to achieve that, and my greatest skill is writing. So I use that where it pays me best - fintech. (And thanks to being drenched in the modern romanticisation of startups, which are predominantly tech companies, I now think tech = cool.)
So now you know where I’m coming from. I’ll see you again soon, likely with my thoughts on my latest promotion proposal.
Have a great week,