Posts Tagged ‘Copywriting’

AI and the Future of UK Copywriters – Trends to Watch

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Does AI Spell the End of UK Copywriters?

Among UK copywriters and their clients, a new piece of tech has sparked a lot of discussion recently: ChatGPT, an AI-driven chatbot currently in its testing phase. Simply give the program a prompt and it will generate relevant content in mere seconds.

The convenience and flexibility of ChatGPT, and other similar platforms, has raised the question of whether UK copywriters are now an endangered species. After all, if you can generate huge amounts of content very rapidly, all for free, why would you pay a human to do the same thing? Does AI spell the end for creative copywriting?

Well, I’m here to argue that there’s still a place for a human touch in copywriting. In fact, far from being a binary choice between machine and man, the future of UK copywriting hinges on the intelligent use of these tools. A partnership that can produce the most engaging and relevant writing possible and take our offerings to the next level.

The potential for the man + machine model extends far beyond mere content creation. Deciding how a brand should present itself to the world with words is the most challenging and interesting part of my work. It includes strategic messaging and tone of voice workshops. And it’s made easier and the outcomes are more effective when I partner with AI. (More on that in another post).

A threefold look at the future of copywriting

The way I see it, there will be three tiers of UK copywriters moving forward.

The first is for those who aren’t fussed about the quality of their copy and are just looking for high volume for low effort. This will inevitably lead to an almost exclusive use of AI. Just plug in your prompts and use whatever the computer spits back at you. The copy won’t necessarily be good but it’ll be quick and convenient to create.

Likely, this usage of AI will spell the end for low-quality copywriters and force everyone to raise their game. A rising tide lifts all ships and all that.

The second tier will lead to a whole new area of specialisation — AI content polishers. These are UK copywriters who edit AI-created content to make it feel more human and emotional. This is something of a middle ground. While it will produce decent content, at the end of the day, you can’t polish a… well, you know the rest.

The third tier is reserved for the most challenging, strategic, important, and technical writing. These projects–such as strategic messaging and tone of voice development; where creativity, quality, and nuance are a top priority–will continue to be led by skilled human copywriters.

However, the very best UK copywriters will lean into this new tech and find ways to enhance their writing and processes with AI. Not only that, but by staying at the forefront of AI developments, savvy copywriters will be able to offer more effective and comprehensive services to clients. Those clients being business leaders who are keen to harness the abilities of large language models but don’t want to spend many hours mastering the technology.

Might we as UK copywriters be signing our death warrants by engaging with this new technology? It’s coming either way, so get on board or get out of the way. Instead, the question should be: how can we best use this new technology while bridging the gaps that machines are unable to span?

Emotional intelligence and the Art of Persuasion

Studies repeatedly show that people make decisions based on emotions rather than logic. That’s why great copywriting is about the art of persuasion — crafting compelling narratives that steer readers’ emotional thinking and behaviour. By influencing customers’ feelings, companies can make their products and services more memorable and appealing, while building a loyal consumer base.

While AI can write matter-of-fact content, human copywriters weave a sense of authenticity, nuance, and subtlety into their work that is lacking in AI-generated content. The real skill of a top-tier UK copywriter is taking copy and polishing it to a gleaming, empathetic shine, ultimately connecting with readers on a much deeper and more human level. It’s not about replacement — it’s about integration.

Long-term strategic thinking

Good copywriters can also contribute to a brand’s long-term marketing strategy by using their skill with the written word. This includes bringing to life and maintaining a consistent brand voice, anticipating future market changes, being connected with the zeitgeist and current trends, and building strong relationships with clients.

AI can spit out ideas based on prompts, but it can’t as yet align with your wider marketing strategy and goals to produce content that is cohesive with your brand vision. You need a human copywriter, assisted by powerful AI, to work their magic on that.

Collaboration and teamwork (UK copywriters have the edge)

Working together is key for any successful business relationship, particularly given that humans seek authentic interaction and feel it keenly when it is lacking. Think about the difference between using a self-checkout compared with a human cashier. The difference is night and day.

Now, this isn’t to say that working with a machine is always off-putting. Let’s be realistic — self-checkouts are a great tool that keep lengthy queues at bay. But, that’s the point: AI is merely a tool. It is there to help achieve outcomes but it cannot build a team, create a healthy workplace environment, or meaningfully connect with your audience.

That’s where human copywriters come in. They work alongside other marketing professionals, designers, clients, and readers to deliver the highest quality writing, achieving the best results through collaboration.

Adaptability and learning

Yes, one of the big advantages of AI is that it learns over time and produces better results. However, it is unable to implement constructive feedback or pick up on slight nuances in the way a human writer can. Good luck telling a computer that you want the copy to be a bit more “bouncy”.

Side note, please don’t ever tell a copywriter you’d like the content to be more “bouncy” or “vivacious” or any other kind of nebulous adjective. There’s a good chance they’ll swing something “bouncy” at you if you do.

Ethical considerations

A word of warning: using AI-generated content may lead to inadvertently producing content that does not align with a brand’s values or ethical stance. Without human oversight, there is potential for a machine to churn out harmful or insensitive content without understanding the issues. In fact, we’ve already seen cases of this exact scenario playing out in the real world. Plus, portraying AI-generated content as written by a person is a thorny ethical issue all of its own and raises questions about trust and credibility.

Final thoughts

AI doesn’t spell the end for human writers. At the lower end of the market, some businesses will come to rely solely on generative AI models such as ChatGPT. They will of course miss out on the value of working with an experienced UK copywriter. But for ambitious organisations that see language as an important part of their brand strategy, the future of powerful, persuasive marketing will come from a combination of man plus machine. In this space, organisations will be able to enjoy agency-level creative and strategic writing services provided by a small team for a much lower cost.

Pandora’s box has been opened, the technology is there and it’s up to us to embrace it or risk getting left behind. Purposeful, intelligent use of AI tools will help elevate the best copywriters into more effective communicators, in the process giving their clients the edge in a noisy, competitive world. The future’s bright. Get your sunnies out.

Need a machine, sorry – a human, to elevate your brand language? Get in touch and let’s make it happen.

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Good Business Writing Is Creative Writing

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Why You Should Think More Like a Poet and Less Like a Marketer

I run a storytelling and poetry night. It’s called Dirty Laundry. I host the night and do a bit of my own before opening up the mic to a wonderfully varied group of voices.

At first glance, storytelling and poetry is a million miles from my day job where I help brands define their position, develop their tone of voice, and create marketing materials.

Actually they’re closely linked. Doing one makes me better at the other.

On stage, a storyteller or poet should read the room, adapt to the mood, and use their authentic voice to leave a lasting impression.

On a company website, for example, marketing copy should grab the reader’s attention and answer their questions, and do all this in a consistent voice.

There’s a misconception that creative writing and business writing are different things. They’re not. Good business writing is creative. To write well in business, we should act more like a storyteller or a poet and less like a marketer. 

‘Business writing?’ thinks the managing director or CEO. ‘Yes, I want some of that. Creative writing? No, keep your hobbies at home. There’s no space for whimsical flights of fancy around here.’

It’s a missed opportunity.

Good business writing solves problems. Both of communication — finding new and better ways to get the message across. And for the reader — what do they need and want to know? Solving problems requires creativity.

Putting on the mask

When we come to work, in a bid to sound professional, we ditch our everyday conversational language and switch to a strange, semi-formal jargon. It’s all ‘bandwidth’ this and ‘circle back to align on quarterly objectives’ the other. This language is a disguise we wear to convince others, and ourselves, that we know what we’re talking about. 

I’m not fooled. Talk like that down the pub and get laughed at. Anyone I’ve ever met who really knew their onions was able to tell me about their area of expertise in human terms. Sharing anecdotes, painting pictures with words. Clarity, simplicity, everyday language — those traits convey authority. And authority wins the reader’s trust.

People know this. That’s why storytelling has been a buzzword in marketing for years. Few brands do it well. Real stories contains setbacks and failures. Companies are nervous of talking about when they got it wrong. But if you’re honest about your mistakes, people don’t think less of you — they admire your transparency and perseverance.

Communication and relationship building in the real world is based on creativity: telling stories that help us make our point in interesting and engaging ways. The best business writing is creative too. To get away from unhelpful habits that make marketing copy boring and inhuman, put away the PowerPoint and pick up a pad and pen.

Need a creative copywriter to tackle your communication challenge? Get in touch and tell me your story.

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Redefining the BrewDog tone of voice

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From new punk on the block to principled heavyweight. Thanks to BrewDog’s success, the much-loved beer brand outgrew its category and created an exciting new problem for itself. Namely, how a new, maturer BrewDog tone of voice should sound. I was brought in by Made Thought to help develop a new written personality for the brand. I love drinking BrewDog beers so writing words for the Scottish firm was a treat.


They smashed the system. Next they had to build a new one. As an established company, BrewDog wanted to reach out beyond its hardcore craft ale fanbase. The idea was to attract beer drinkers who might have been put off by the previous ‘burn it all down’ approach. I explored this theme with new copy for the BrewDog manifesto, packaging, and campaign ideas.


My creative work fed into the new-look BrewDog you’ll have seen on supermarket shelves and billboard campaigns all over the country. I won’t claim I’m directly responsible (because I’m not) but BrewDog happens to be the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks brand. I like to think I did my bit.

What the client said

“Mother of Christ! That’s awesome.”

Nick Marshall, Senior Partner – Made Thought

BrewDog sample content

Ad concepts

Things not to say at a BrewDog bar

#1 “Have you got any ‘normal’ beer”?


You have 8,000 taste buds. 

Play to the crowd.


You kids and your ‘flavour’


A taste bud only lives for 10 days

Give it a good send-off

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No One Cares

Customers get angry if you don't think about them

Or the Importance of Really Thinking About Your Customers

I sell myself as a copywriter. Someone who writes copy. And that’s what I am. People need copy. I write it. Supply follows demand. It’s a relationship that works and allows me to pay my mortgage. 

But before I put pen to paper for a new client, there’s an important piece of creative, therapeutic, sometimes even painful, work that has to happen.

The first stage, let’s call it discovery, is fascinating and revealing. 

During the first stage, I’m not a copywriter. I’m a guide, a consultant (shiver), a psychologist.

I’m all of these things as I help my new client navigate the marketing wasteland they inhabit at the time. In this communication desert, there is a single reigning philosophy: 

Everything our company does is wonderful and interesting to the outside world

In my experience, this type of thinking is especially prevalent in B2B companies, but B2C companies are guilty of it too. 

It’s poppycock.

Together, hand in hand, we walk across the burning plains of self-obsession and arrive at the oasis of life-giving truth. It’s here we encounter the single most important fact about copywriting:

No-one cares.

They do not give a shit about you or your company. 

Why should they?

They have bills to pay.

Kids to raise.

A dog to walk.

A car that won’t start.

A crappy relationship.

Dreams they’re shooting for and others they’ve shelved.

In short, they have a life.

Unless your web copy, email, advert, brochure, whatever, shows how what you do improves that life, expect to be ignored.

Copywriting, commercial writing, marketing writing, business writing. Call it what you want. It’s not literature or journalism. People don’t curl up with it by the fire or read it to keep up with current affairs.

They read it because they want something.

A cure for their headache.

A refreshing alcoholic beverage (more on that in a minute).

A sophisticated annual report to help them stand out and strengthen relationships with their stakeholders.

So give them the thing they want.

What happens now?

Realising no one cares, an experience that’s both terrifying and liberating, creates two minimum requirements for the next piece of marketing you create. 

  1. It needs to be focused on the reader
  2. It needs to be good

Here’s a made-up example.

Your company makes beer. You sell the beer in cans. In shops. You’ve just invented a new widget that keeps the beer in the can colder for longer once it’s out of the fridge. Stone the crows, this is excellent. I’m already sold.

Problem is, you’re more interested in the process of creating the widget than the impact it has on your customers.

How to throw money away

You contact me to write an article all about how developing the new widget took five years and thousands of hours. You want to describe in detail the way it works by allowing the thingamajig to extract the whatchamacallit 25% faster than the old widget. You tell me you need to include bios of the team involved. Descriptions of the equipment used. And, of course, a massive pat on the back for our wonderful CEO without whom none of this would have been possible (she was actually playing golf). 

This is where one of the main benefits of hiring a freelance copywriter kicks in—the objective opinion.

This is the point at which I politely remind you that no one cares.

But cold beer for longer?

Your customers care about that. That’s something to shout about. 

Now we’ve got a ticket to the glorious world where we’re solving people’s problems and making their lives better. 

It’s an unlikely example because beer companies are among the best at marketing.

But making this shift, from inward-looking to outward-facing, from introspection to empathy, can apply to any company, any sector, anywhere. 

It drastically improves your marketing. In fact, unless you’re doing this it’s not even marketing. It’s just wallpaper. Or an internal memo.

People are wonderful but they’re also selfish (a lot of the time). They’re most interested in themselves. So empathise with them, speak to them, get into their world.

Or, if you like being ignored, keep on posting updates from the CEO.

Need an objective opinion about your next marketing project? I’d be happy to oblige. 

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JA Films Website Copywriting

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Ja Films 300x300 1 1fabd565209072600089ca8b37affa1c - JA Films Website Copywriting


I was hired to write the copy for this award-winning production company’s new website. JA Films specialises in music films, as well as feature documentaries and TV shows.


The challenge was to appeal to music industry decision makers and artists with copy that matched the panache of JA Films’ productions.

What the client said: >

Sample copy

There are not many places the Rolling Stones haven’t played. Until 25th March 2016, Cuba was one of them. On a hot night in Havana, half a million Cubans watched the legendary group become the biggest foreign rock band ever to play on their soil. Havana Moon captures the highly charged atmosphere of this extraordinary concert.

The Rolling Stones rocked the Cuban capital only five days after the first visit by a US President in over 80 years. Both events heralded the start of a new era for the country. In his speech to the world’s media, Barack Obama evens pays tribute to the band. The combination of hope plus rock and roll is an intoxicating one and the film, shot in 4K, captures the vigorous energy and excitement of the crowd.

As one concert goer remarked, “This is a moment I have been dreaming about. I have just witnessed the most important concert in Cuba in a long time.”

Havana Moon was premiered at a one night exclusive cinema event on 23rd September 2016 at more than 1,000 screens across Australia, Europe, Japan, Latin America and Russia.

Ja Films - JA Films Website Copywriting


Julie Jakobek, Managing Director – JA Films

While rebranding the company and designing a new website we were struggling to see the wood for the trees; our existing content was too wordy and longwinded. Olly distilled our ideas into concise, effective copy resulting in a clearer, more engaging website. His patient and personal approach helped us improve the way we communicate JA Films’ strengths, including our unique experience and roster of talent.


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