Making the transition from in-house to agency life

In 2015, after over ten years in an in-house copywriter and editor role, I decided to bring everything I had ever been taught and try something a little different.

While my background is a mixed bag, it had equipped me with everything I needed to know about working in a fast-paced environment. Joining a decades-old family business, building a brand new family business from scratch, setting up two publications, the years in sales, managing teams of people, witnessing the beginnings of SEO, interviewing Premier League footballers, being the face of a national brand, becoming the editor of a trade magazine for the UK and Ireland – I had experienced all the highs, lows and weird bits of business.

I was hoping for a working environment that was a little more conventional to the one I had experienced for so long.

In an agency, there’s a wide range of clients and it’s important to grasp the concept of every new business straightaway. This variation of clients keeps work interesting. Thanks to the eclectic nature of my previous career, what I had learned in the previous ten years helped with this enormously.

In-house, I was used to working on one long project over the month. This required focus and attention and then a huge scramble at the end to get the magazine written, designed, proofed and at the printers at the eleventh hour. This was my life every month for many years. The huge diversity in agency work acted as a huge contrast to the monotony of a decade in publishing. Everyday, there is something new to work on, a different voice, a change of tone, a new direction.

One thing I’ve enjoyed is the like-mindedness of working in an agency. In-house, my experience was being the one and only person who did my job. This could not only be isolating but restricting. On the other hand, an agency is full of people who have a clear idea of what you do, or experience of having once done the same job has set me up in a much stronger, happier position than before.

One of the most important things I’ve been able to experience is the wider view of what goes into marketing. Copywriting is a small part of a much larger process. The planning, decisions, contacts, technical side, the creativity, the experiments… I’ve been able to see people work closely on campaigns and seen the various strands come together to form one cohesive message. Seeing this bigger picture has given me a greater appreciation of what goes into staying ahead in business, as well as the people behind it all.

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