The Intern’s Encore

After an eight hour day of coffee running, filing and typing – the modern day intern should stay behind and work another eight hours! Do whatever it takes to grab that paid position.

If you’re lucky enough to have an internship at an SEO company or anywhere for that matter – then pro-actively use the position as a crowbar to prise open the door into a paid career.

Stay behind after hours and finish every job in every area.  Obviously don’t interfere with tasks from other departments but help out where you can.  Try and avoid the Friday afternoon pub lunch with the full-timers if you have outstanding duties to fulfil (still, a bit off socialising can also be healthy – attend one pub lunch per month maybe).

If the office cleaners kick you out the building then take your work home with you.  A lot of PR tasks can be done from a laptop with a hot drink.  If you have no jobs left over, then prepare for the next day by putting together a schedule.

Blog about your experiences in the office and do so in a positive way.  Fill in for anybody pulling a sickie and say ‘yes’ to anything your superior asks you to do (within reason of course).

All this effort does not go unnoticed and does not get taken for granted.  Soon enough you’ll be covering maternity leave or something and the situation will snowball into a prosperous career.

The most important thing to do is carry that attitude into your career when you are finally getting paid – eventually you will have an intern working for you and can pub-lunch as much as you like!

Blog into the corners

Corners are NOT there to be cut when it comes to copywriting.  Different clients will pay different amounts for different contracts but one thing that should always remain the same is the quality of the content.

All good writers share the same obsessive habits when it comes to producing anything, from prose to web snippets:

Spell Checking

WordPress has a spell-checking facility similar to MS Word – use it but do not rely on it.  Like any automatic spell-checker, certain stealthy mistakes will bypass the spelling radar, most commonly, words like ‘from’ spelt as ‘form’ will go un-highlighted.

Developing a subconscious editor within yourself will come with experience but eventually, you will be spotting, deleting and/or repairing mistakes on the spot.  Still, an overall re-read (out loud) will smooth the cracks.

It’s like locking up before leaving the house – you’re careful to turn all the plugs off but always have to do one last run around to double-check.

Typing

One of the most important trade skills again, comes with experience – touch-typing.  Some contracts involve comprehensive, word-heavy articles.  Generating five or six of these in a day will inevitably sharpen your typing ability.

There are certain practice programmes designed to improve your touch-typing but nothing can motivate you more than a client deadline.  Once mastered, touch-typing will cut your editing times in half and as a result you can take on a lot more work.

Research

Good researching habits will produce good writing.  Get to know all the best websites for quick bites of information but do not rely solely on the internet. Libraries are there to be used if you need to – if you have to, visit a library outside of work hours to boost your knowledge.

Going that extra mile will pay dividends in the long run and besides, if you’re a copywriter you should enjoy the writing of others anyway.

Still, the best articles often come from your own knowledge, use the internet/libraries to back up your own thoughts.  This also speeds up the process, freeing up more time for more jobs/research.

Consistency

The most important thing for a writer to do is write.  Always write.  If you have no contracts this week, then write some blogs on your own website, start your novel or Tweet until your followers get sick of you.

Your writing hand is like a car battery, if it’s neglected it will cease to function and need a jump start to get going again.

No writer in the world should begrudge their job.  If you’re cheating clients then you’re cheating yourself as a writer.

Duty

Copywriters have a duty to produce unblemished content on behalf of all their clients.  Sloppy errors will result in a sloppy reputation and careers, not corners, will be cut short.

The Huffington Post – Giz a game!

The Huffington Post was launched in 2005 in the US and rapidly became one of the world’s largest online newspapers.  With the news of the Huff branching out to the UK, it’s needless to say – I want in!

Embarrassingly, I only heard about the UK launch through my mum, who is perhaps the biggest mediaphobe I know (she refers to my sports journalism as ‘the writing thing’).

Thousands of selected bloggers contribute to the site every day and the last time I was in the company of thousands of competitors I came out on top – out-swimming A LOT of other sperm cells all those years ago.

Okay, I’m aware I may have to tone it down a little if I’m to become involved with HP.  By HP I mean The Huffington Post, not the ink manufacturer or the brown sauce people for that matter.

Unpaid journalism is what I do best and why not do it for one of the best blogging platforms in the world?  Of course I am brilliant at paid journalism as well!

Unfortunately, bits of ugly rubbish have washed up in the corners of this new literary lake – Online Journalism Blog describing the site as:

‘Scrappy-Doo at a cocktail party.’

I’m ignoring the negatives.  HuffPo is new and exciting, it’s a step forward for copywriters up and down the country and for somebody like me desperately trying to get somewhere in this industry, The Huffington Post is the springiest of springboards.

Note: The Scrappy-Doo comment made by Online Journalism Blog is one of observation and not a criticism on their part – I still love you Online Journalism Blog people!