Recessionista: Kyra Mancine
Catalog Copywriter, www.copybykyra.com
You get to write about products all day long — is that as fun as it sounds?
Being a catalog copywriter at QCI Direct is an interesting job, but not as glamorous as one might think. Some days are spent writing about toilet brushes, stinky pest repellents and other “fun” things. One little known secret is that sometimes I do not even “get” an item nor am a big fan of it. Keep in mind, items are picked by our buyers and merchants; I’m just the text promoter. For instance, my knowledge and excitement about outdoor/pest control products is limited, but I need to show as much love and enthusiasm for an armadillo repellent as I do for an air freshener. A good copywriter writes about every item (no matter what their personal opinion is about it) in glowing, benefits-oriented prose. After all, isn’t that what we’re paid for? The mark of a good copywriter is that you, the consumer/customer, can never tell the difference.
Armadillo repellent? Really?? We’d probably have trouble getting enthused about that, too. What are some other tricks of the trade?
My secret weapon is that I’m a shopper at heart. I like gadgets, gizmos and learning about the newest items out there. I know how to tell a good story and promote a product’s benefits. For every item I write about, I try to explain how it can save you time, effort and money. I also find it exciting to see my copy in print. We mail to 35 million people a year. Like my copy or hate it, at least it’s being seen!
You should also be well rounded and willing to lend a hand in other areas. I started out as a catalog copywriter, and I now do that as well as help with public relations and social media. I’m also the hand model for many of the non-vendor shots in our catalogs (and online). Show you can contribute in more than one area. This makes you a valuable asset, and, as we all know in this economy, job security can be a fleeting thing. The more you can bring to the table, the more likely an employer is to keep you.
You get to do it all — sounds like a pretty sweet gig! Where do we sign up?
Well, first off, you have to like to write. You can also learn a lot by reading other catalogs. Everyone I work with, from the graphic designers to the merchants to our CEO, subscribes to other catalogs and studies/analyzes them to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. At one point, I had to unsubscribe from catalogs, as I was getting over 300 catalogs a month (yes, my mailman hated me!). Also, be patient — I was a freelance/part time writer for years until I worked my way up into a full time writing gig.