When you need a copywriter, the screech of frustration inside your head triggers an alarm at Copywriters HQ. Your Word Wizard is carefully selected by the Fairy Copymother and is sent to your front door via umbrella, clutching a carpetbag and bearing a stern expression. He or she then proceeds to rock your world with pithy commands, dancing penguins and award-winning content. You go on to sell all the products and win all the awards. You and your new best friend, The Copywriter, walk off into the sunset and retire to Santa Ponsa.

Now, obviously there are parts of this story that are blatantly false. Like the dancing penguins. They are an irascible bunch and will only perform out of office hours. But everything else is 100% true. We all live together in dorms, wear the same clothes, eat the same food and write the same words. To be more precise, we sleep in bunk beds (I’m on the bottom Mondays and Wednesdays), we eat chicken soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we all wear the standard copywriter uniform of elasticated sweat pants, slippers and furrowed brow. We churn out generic ‘one size fits all’ content that all of our lovely customers adore and never query.

Anyway! That was the fun part.

Repeat after me: There is no one-size-fits-all copywriter. Yes, we as copywriters expect to pour your knowledge and passion into content that reflects your unique voice and will sell you squillions of bottomless carpet bags. But we are not built to be all things to all people. What I have learned is that I have a preference for small businesses, startups and those who work in the creative/hospitality/health and well-being industries. This is my (admittedly, fairly wide) niche. My slightly irreverent, conversational writing style has been influenced by my work in the fields of conflict resolution and grassroots community development. ‘Chatty’ can be pretty persuasive when it’s not patronising.

There are businesses who need technical copy and buckets of jargon and I’m not the person to provide that for them. And that’s fine. There are copywriters who excel at corporate speak and we should all salute them. If you need one, find them, embrace them and never let them go.

If you hear of a great content writer, get in touch and have an honest conversation about your wants and needs. If they’re not a good fit for your business don’t attempt to shoehorn this square peg into a round hole. Just let them run free.

And for all you copywriters out there, start being choosy about the work you accept. It might mean eating budget baked beans for a week but your integrity (and reputation) will remain intact. If you love what you write the copy will shine like a sunbeam. Puke.

If you fit my niche and need some nifty copy then get in touch with me, Sarah McNeill, at Shipshape Copywriting. Email: allaboard@shipshapecopywriting.com or telephone 07917 881209.

My ‘Copy Clean Up’ package will review and tidy up your current content for a very reasonable £75.