The ‘Write’ Stuff: A Day In The Life of a Seeker Copywriter

16 June 2023

Posted in: Agency Content Culture

National Writing Day is an annual celebration of wordsmithery, championing the power of the written word and seeking to inspire young people to embrace their inner creatives.

Well then, what better excuse to shine a light on our esteemed scribes here at Seeker? Our team of in-house copywriters is responsible for some truly dazzling word-based artistry, musing on everything from tech innovations to traveller’s diarrhoea (no, really).

And while we writers don’t always appreciate being put under the spotlight — we’re quite happy being introverts, thank you — we’re willing to make an exception for a special occasion.

In this blog post, our Senior Copywriter Matt Willis speaks to Digital Copywriter Olivia Batten (better known to us as Liv) about her role as one of Seeker’s team of wordsmiths.

Wonder what inspired Liv’s passion for prose? Read on.

Tell us a little bit about how (and why) you got into writing.

Liv has always had writing in her blood. “When I was little I always liked to read and write”, she says. “I studied English at A-level, and then after that, I think studying it at uni was an obvious choice for me. So, I did that at UWE and then I wasn’t really too sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something related to English so, well, I decided I wanted to be an English teacher.”

How did that go? “To be honest, I got put off,” Liv admits. “A lot of people asked me, ‘Why do you want to work with kids?!’, so I didn’t do that!”

“I then thought about publishing. After uni, I did a publishing apprenticeship, but quickly realised that it wasn’t for me, especially because it was in academic publishing!”

But it was halfway through this apprenticeship that Liv found her calling. “I managed to get my first copywriting job in an agency. I learned loads and really enjoyed it. And kind of decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

“I also did a bit of freelance copywriting. That was really good. I had a blog and I was writing on that occasionally. I just really enjoyed that first job [as a copywriter] so I’ve carried on with it!” And we’re mighty glad she did.

How would you describe your writing process? Do you have a specific approach to your writing?

Liv’s creative juices are clearly flowing pre-lunch, as she admits she likes to do the bulk of her work at the start of day. “I feel like that’s when I’m most productive and I guess most creative,” she says. “I usually have my research on one screen, and the content I’m working on on the other. I like to plan out all the sections and headings first. That helps me work out how the words are going to flow. I don’t really have a complicated process!”

What about your writing style?

Liv admits this part is something of a work in progress. “I think I’m still trying to figure out my writing style to be honest,” she says, “but I definitely like to be a little bit more conversational rather than super formal. I think it makes it more interesting, especially when you’re writing about really dense topics or something that’s a little more complicated. Writing in a conversational style can make it a bit more interesting for me and for the reader as well. But I think I’m still kind of figuring out my style, so that’s an ongoing thing I’m working on!”

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it if so?

Many a writer has succumbed to brain fog, but Liv has a few coping mechanisms: “I usually step away from the screen and go and do something else for five or ten minutes, whether that’s making a cup of tea or just putting the washing on or something. So then when I come back I feel a little bit more refreshed.”

“But I also like using a tool called Answer the Public. You put in a search query and it’ll come up with the most searched questions or terms on that topic, so I find that really useful. It’s good for thinking outside the box or just coming up with a new angle or something like that. And also mind maps. I like doing that, too.”

Matt: “I find my best ideas come when the kettle is boiling.”

“Yeah,” agrees Liv. “Sometimes when I’m going to sleep, I’ll be thinking about work and I’ll think, ‘I’m going to do that in the morning!’, and then I’ll just forget. I need to have a notepad by my bed or something.”

You mentioned your blog. Do you do any other writing in your spare time?

As she mentioned briefly, Liv has also dipped her toe into freelancing. “I started that in lockdown and did it on and off for about two years and I really enjoyed it,” she says. “It was mainly blog content. It was for loads of different industries, mostly ecommerce. A lot of wholesale websites, hair blogs; I did some career fair content, articles about prom dresses, literally loads of stuff! I don’t really do that as much now aside from writing on my blog.”

Liv’s blog focuses mainly on haircare, which became one of her specialist niches while freelancing, too.

What about books you read? Do you have any favourite authors? Favourite books?

Liv confesses she doesn’t really have a favourite author, but that some of her favourite books (surprisingly, some might say) are the ones she studied at Uni. “I really like American Psycho [by Bret Easton Ellis], I like Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, but I read a lot of different things. In the summer, I tend to read ‘rom-com’-type books, because you can just pick them up and read them in the garden or the park.” Nothing wrong with a little ‘fluffy’ fiction in the sun.

“I like nonfiction as well,” Liv continues. “I read a book recently called The Mixed-Race Experience [by Naomi and Natalie Watts] and it was about different experiences and reflections from different mixed-race people. I found that really interesting as a mixed-race person myself. So yeah, I like to mix up fiction and nonfiction, but I wouldn’t say I have a favourite genre. I think that’s quite important as a writer, to not stick to one specific genre.”

Do you read a lot?

Despite being an avid bibliophile, Liv admits she doesn’t plunder quite as many pages as she’d like. “I don’t read as much as I’d like to,” she confesses. “I think in the summer I tend to read more because I like to read out in the garden. It’s definitely something I want to work on, because I’ve got a really long list of books! I’ll buy books and kind of pile them up. I always said it was my New Year’s resolution; I need to stick to it because I really do enjoy reading.”

Changing direction a little, how do you feel about the emergence of AI? Do you think it will impact you as a writer?

Well, this suddenly got a little more serious, but Liv is fairly philosophical on the subject of AI and writing: “It’s definitely made me think about my ability as a writer,” she admits. “Not necessarily making me doubt how good I am, but reevaluating the value that I’m actually adding. But also, I do find it useful; for example, if I’m writing about a topic I’m not familiar with, it’s a bit trickier, so I might use ChatGPT to come up with an outline for a blog, which gives me a better idea of what I’m writing about.”

What about the future? “I do find it a little scary, especially how quickly it’s being adopted,” admits Liv. “I guess there are pros and cons to it. I think it’s definitely going to change my role as a writer and maybe how in demand writing services are. But I think there’s always going to be value in having an actual writer.”

Liv’s advice? “I guess you’ve just got to take it month by month and see what happens, but I don’t think you should be afraid of it. You should definitely take it on board and use it to your advantage rather than running scared. If I can automate some of the more mundane things, that gives me more time to work on more creative content and projects. So I guess that’s a good thing!”

What do you love most about being a copywriter?

“Oh, big question,” says Liv.

Matt: “You could just say you hate it.”

Undeterred, Liv says one of the best things about copywriting is “being able to put your own spin on things and insert your own voice into different conversations, even if you’re writing on behalf of a client.” She also finds that “it makes you think more about topics that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought about.”

“I guess I like being creative,” she says. “I like thinking outside the box, and the whole process of coming up with a title, doing the research, and then seeing the final piece come together.” Amen to that.

Finally, what advice would you give an aspiring copywriter? 

Liv has three top tips if you’re considering a career in copywriting: 

  • Start a blog. “If you’re straight out of uni and you’ve not got any actual client-based examples of your work, start a blog about something that you’re passionate about. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in writing and it’s a good way of practising and brushing up your skills — as well as helping you understand a bit more about SEO.”
  • Find freelance work. “There are loads of freelance sites that you can use, and freelancing is a great way of trying out different writing styles, learning more about particular industries, and also getting feedback on your writing. It’s a good starting point when you go to apply for jobs.”
  • Keep reading. “I think it’s always good to read, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, online blogs, anything like that. There are also a few Instagram writing pages that I follow that will give tips for writing and provide resources. So that can also be helpful.”

Whether you’re thinking of exploring a career as a writer, starting a blog, or finally getting around to writing that novel you know you’ve got in you, National Writing Day is the perfect excuse to get scribbling just like Liv did — and look at her now!

To see how Seeker’s content aficionados can help your business build organic traffic through best-in-class content, contact us today.

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