26 Mar

Embrace your rivals

Where possible, I attend business networking meetings. Aside from tried and tested routes, they’re a good way to meet new clients. They’re also helpful in finding future collaborators; graphic designers, web designers, photographers etc.

I’ve attended more than one of these meetings where another copywriter has been present, but one thing I never do is worry about them or view them as a rival.
Why would I? We could have (and normally do) completely different skillsets, different levels of experience (both in terms of years spent writing and the types of client we’ve worked for), different approaches to briefs , and so on.
In fact, whenever I come across another copywriter I simply see them as someone to learn from: someone who does the same job as me, but approaches it in a different way or has worked with different clients/in different sectors.
If anything, I look to pick their brains to see if there’s some of their thinking I could import into my own work (and hopefully vice versa).
I take this view whether it’s a copywriter with six months or 20 years’ experience: who knows what they might’ve done (in both life and work) or what they might say that sparks a thought in me?

Most of the people I follow on Twitter are fellow copywriters, for the same reasons as set out above. I can learn from them and the things they post, whether that’s now or in 30 years’ time (although no doubt Twitter will be obsolete by then), and I can happily admit that many of them have produced work that is better than mine or have worked with clients that I’d love to have worked with.
(in fact, when I see one of them has produced a wonderful piece of work, I just think ‘go on, the copywriter!’ and see it as reflecting well on all other copywriters)
I can also see copywriters who have less work/experience under their belts, but are going to achieve great things, please clients, and produce cracking work.

Ultimately, the pool of potential clients we could all work with is so broad that, in reality, what are the odds of any of us competing for the same brief?

I’m intrigued though – I assume that many other copywriters think this way, but is it the same for photographers, designers, illustrators?
I wonder how much this happens with big brands too: are McDonald’s and Burger King, British Airways and Virgin Airways, Nike and Adidas all stealing admiring glances at one another?

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