#PeopleStories: Copywriter/ Research Assistant

Wanna know the insights of what's it like being an awesome copywriter/ research assistant? Read more for the details from Cheong Pui Yin a copywriter/ research assistant at William Harald-Wong & Associates Sdn Bhd.
Cheong Pui Yin
Copywriter/ Research Assistant at William Herald-Wong & Associates Sdn Bhd

What do you do?

Mostly, I write the text for advertising and promotional materials, such as eDMs (electronic direct mailers), brochures, buntings, and radio advertisements. I also prepare the storyboards for our clients’ promotional videos, write brand/visual identity guidelines for clients, brainstorm with my team on creative branding for a variety of commercial and cultural projects, and perform project coordinator duties. Additionally, I’m responsible for writing and editing my company’s website. 

How did you get here?

Writing has always been a passion—developed even further during my university days as an English Language undergraduate, and then as a World Literature Masters scholar—but not copywriting. Copywriting was on the fringe of everything as I actively pursued a writing career, alongside a lecturing and freelance editing stint. It was something that I thought of as ‘oh cool, but not the thing for me.’

It was a close friend who recommended me for this job and put me in contact with my current boss. His involvement in cultural projects around the ASEAN region as well as the local design and intellectual scene convinced me that this was something that I should try my hand at.  

Why do you do it?

Copywriting is very different from writing. I knew this, but never really appreciated the fact until I started on this job.

That said, I’m motivated by the new perspectives and lessons that copywriting is teaching me—things that I probably wouldn’t have realised had I continued to just be a regular prose writer. I don’t know if I’ll ever love copywriting the way I do writing, but it has been a very good teacher to me, teaching me the value of every word, the beauty in simple writing, the subtle nuances of tonal ups and downs in written form, etc. 

And all of these will, hopefully, contribute to my growth as a creative writer. 

Who should do it?

Apart from the ability to write well, a successful copywriter needs to be adaptable. You’ll be required to write to appeal to a variety of markets, and it’s important that you’re able to adopt different mind-sets and writing styles to speak to them. It’s almost like role-playing different characters sometimes. 

A good copywriter is also a top-notch researcher because you’ll need to know your subject inside out; self-assured because while you should be open to feedback, you’ll also need to know how to defend your copy; and a ‘semi-perfectionist’ because even as you strive for the perfect writing, you know when to let things go so you can meet a deadline. 

But ultimately, a good copywriter is a good storyteller, so reading is a must. 

Where can you work?

Most copywriters get hired at advertising or copywriting agencies, large or medium-sized, but many copywriters are also finding job satisfaction in going freelance. You may also be hired as an in-house copywriter for design consultancies, online portals, retail chains, book publishers, or other establishments that has intense marketing/advertising needs. 

After some time, you may want to consider specialising in specific fields to make your name, eg digital copywriting, advertising copywriting, publication copywriting, etc.