Tw | Li | Em | Ph
 
PETE
SHELLY
COPYWRITER

// 01 WHO
// 02 WHAT
// 03 WHY
// 04 HOW

 
 

Know The Writer, Know The Writing.

 
 

 

// 01

 

// 01

Curiosity & collaboration

 
 

I really think knowing the personality of the writer is important to knowing what the writing — and the relationship — will be like. No, “write what you know,” isn’t true; the first time I was paid to write something was for a mesothelioma site, and I still have to look it up just to spell it correctly* (although, admittedly, I don’t do that often). And when a brand has an established voice, you need to change your style to match — not the other way around — so the reader shouldn’t even have a sense of who the writer is. But the final product is just a small part of the writing process.

Before you get there, there’s curiosity and strategy and collaboration first. You have to do your homework, and I like the homework part of the job. I like researching the audience and trying to put myself in their shoes: what are their challenges? What will they relate to and what will they reject?

I like researching the product. A client once gave us a tour of the factory where they made mattresses, and I was fascinated. It never occurred to me to wonder how the coils are made, or what the foam topper looks like in giant rolls that weigh more than my car.







*For the record, we were against mesothelioma, not for it, but I still wish I hadn’t worked there — or, at least, for as long as I did. It was a click farm, back when SEO was voodoo and that kind of thing worked. I didn’t know what I was doing, but they were paying me for it and I wasn’t working at an Apple store anymore, so I thought it was great at the time!

 

I read somewhere that the closer you look at anything, the more interesting it gets**.

So with that in mind, I’m interested in just about everything. And I want to find ways to make things interesting for other people. Here’s what makes me tick on the weekends so I’m charged up and ready to go Monday morning.

*For the record, we were against mesothelioma, not for it, but I still wish I hadn’t worked there — or, at least, for as long as I did. It was a click farm, back when SEO was voodoo and that kind of thing worked. I didn’t know what I was doing, but they were paying me for it and I wasn’t working at an Apple store anymore, so I thought it was great at the time!

**It was in Ian Leslie’s fantastic book, Curious, and it’s not a mind-blowing concept on its own, but a great reminder that taking a minute to look at the details is well worth it.

**It was in Ian Leslie’s fantastic book, Curious, and it’s not a mind-blowing concept on its own, but a great reminder that taking a minute to look at the details is well worth it.

 

// 02

 

// 02

Practice Makes Perfect

Sometimes, client work isn't enough, and you just have to make something for yourself.

How To Do Stuff - An ebook I wrote that's been downloaded over 10,000 times from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.
Productive - A webapp I wrote, designed, and built to give myself a bit of a nudge when I need to buckle down and get to work.
Nine Word Reviews - An exploration of web development and quick creative projects based on content I consumed.
High Sticks & Hat Tricks - A series of essays I wrote about hockey.
Book Notes - A few years ago, I decided to start putting together Tumblrs of notes from books I was reading.
"You Are Not A Storyteller" - A ringtone I made from a Stefan Sagmeister quote that still cracks me up.

 

Site Hand-Coded by Pete Shelly