Copywriting: words get strategic

The right words, in the right order: not as easy as it sounds. Good copywriting relies on being very clear about what a piece of communication is meant to achieve, and reaching clarity takes effort. I work hard to help clients identify their objectives, and to gain the insights I need to help achieve them. And with the right wireframe or content outline in place, the words written onto its bones can really do their job, getting readers to understand, to care – even to take action.

I’ve both structured and written websites, brochures and marketing materials for clients ranging from individuals and small companies right through to one of the world’s most famous museums. I work effectively with designers, understand enough of the technical aspects of site builds (including wireframing, SEO and CMS) to dovetail effectively with developers, and am happy to deal direct with clients, as well as drive the content element of a project. I’m a confident, flexible writer and am quick to absorb unfamiliar detail – in the last few years I’ve had to explain subjects as diverse as funding for apprenticeships, charitable donations in wills, and the development of wind farms. 

I always appreciate the clarity Ally brings to a project as a copywriter. She makes sure she fully understands the strategic challenges the client faces before she starts producing content – and her insights often lead to the creative solution.

Scott Poulson, Creative Director at Special Design Studio, Norwich

Recent projects

Barrington Energy, Great Yarmouth

Barrington Energy is a project-management company in the renewable energy sector. To help secure the company’s first big contract, the directors commissioned me to structure and write a profile document that would demonstrate Barrington had what it took to successfully drive the development of Japan’s first offshore wind farm. (Commissioned by Special Design Studio, Norwich)
See profile document

East Coast College, Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft

One of East Anglia’s leading Further Education colleges, East Coast College needed a set of print to better promote the ways it collaborates with local companies. I worked hard to untangle the details of work-based training and other aspects of the college’s broad offer to business, structuring clear, easy-to-digest messages that fitted a bold new branding scheme for the Apprenticeships & Training department. (Commissioned by Special Design Studio, Norwich)
See brochure on apprenticeships

Natural History Museum, London

Although it’s one of the world’s most famous institutions, London’s Natural History Museum still relies heavily on public donations. The tricky brief given to me by the museum’s Legacy department was to produce a brochure persuasive enough to motivate its readers to commit to doing something altruistic that they wouldn’t live to see the impact of: leaving a gift of money to the museum in their will. (Designed in-house)
See brochure

Two British artists

Painter Jeremy Houghton and contemporary artist and writer Jyll Bradley essentially had the same problem: online, their multifaceted practice wasn’t well described and risked looking unfocused. For each of them I devised a simple and intuitive new site structure, and wrote text that helped frame their practice as both engaging and coherent. (Houghton’s site: designed in-house; Bradley’s site: commissioned by O-SB Design, London)

Previous projects

BiodivERsA, Paris

For this job, I helped focus the messaging of a website aimed at promoting the work of BiodivERsA, an EU-funded initiative that aims to encourage collaborative research projects across Europe in the field of biodiversity science.

Cisco Systems, London

Cisco, the network and communications multinational, had had a tough few years, with strategic change having brought many redundancies. I was commissioned by American design agency Seed to interview a range of people working at the company’s UK head office, and identify quotes that could be used as content in a morale-boosting communications campaign. 

Photocrowd, Oxford is an online community dedicated to encouraging and promoting the work of talented amateur photographers. I was Photocrowd’s editorial consultant during the project’s set-up phase (2013–15), contributing to site structure, content and messaging.

John Lewis, London

I was commissioned by John Lewis’s press office to write copy for a series of product brochures that described the range of items newly available for Christmas. The challenge was to avoid cliché and to snag journalists’ interest in products as diverse as the latest smartphone and a griddle pan.

Royal College of Art, London

For a number of years I worked as a freelance writer for the Design Products department of the Royal College of Art, helping both staff (including designer Ron Arad) and students improve the way their work was presented, both in print and online. I also helped staff and students write grant applications.