Jonathan is a Creative Content Director at Luxus Worldwide in London, and quite the wordsmith. Whittling down complicated copy to something snappy and interesting, can sometimes be a challenge. But he’s had heaps of experience after dabbling in some other industries, of course.
Can you describe your role as a Creative Content Director, only using alliteration?
Jonathan: Creating crisp, clear, concise, cogent and compelling content. (OK, I cheated a bit there).
Describe an average day at Luxus in the form of a Haiku (5 syllables first line, 7 syllables second line, 5 syllables third line).
Warm break of the day
A green, furry wireframe
whilst watching the cat
Picture this - a terrible storm engulfs leafy Chiswick, the power grid fails, and the team are forced to lock the doors and bunker down for the night. As we burn copies of the ironically titled Hot Text: Web Writing That Works to keep ourselves warm, someone turns in the huddle to ask: “What did you do before joining Luxus?”
Jonathan: Oh, the usual. Photographed bands. Wrote code for the Atomic Energy Authority. Trained as a lawyer. Stumbled into copywriting. Worked as a head of copy and creative director. Got the bug for communications strategy and user experience. And here I am.
Your enthralling tale offers the team a momentary break from the toil of the ongoing natural disaster. That said, what’s the secret to good storytelling?
Jonathan: I’ll let William Goldman, one of the all-time great movie writers, answer that.
“You always attack a scene as late as you possibly can. You always come into the scene at the last possible moment. Get on. The camera is relentless.”
OK, we’re not writing movies most of the time. But the same principles apply. Get to the good stuff fast. Don’t put unnecessary words in front of what you want to say. Fight for readers’ attention from the start and don’t let up until you finish.
By the way, Goldman’s book Adventures in The Screen Trade is fascinating, very funny and essential reading for anyone who likes movies or writes for a living.
The storm plagues on, hours turn to days, days to weeks. Hunger sets in. Being new, you know that if we are forced to turn to cannibalism, odds are you could be one of the first to go (nothing personal, of course.) If such an unfortunate eventuality came to pass, what advice would you give the young copywriters hoping to carry on your legacy?
Jonathan: Put your audience first.
Get to know them. Find out what keeps them awake at night. Work out what they know already and build on it.
We live in a world of perpetually divided attention. You can’t force people to read your copy, but you can make sure they want to.
Other than adverse weather conditions and the threat of being eaten, what is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Keeping it simple. It’s easy to tell a story in 500 words. 50 is harder. And 5 can make you cry with frustration.
The storm wreaks havoc across the entire world. When it finally clears, humanity is forced to survive on a primitive barter system, cash is meaningless, and nobody can connect to the web. As such, digital marketing agencies are now considered obsolete and part of the old ways. You must find a new path, but what would you choose to do?
If it’s the standard issue Mad-Max-meets-the-Walking-Dead dystopia, skills like chainsaw juggling and hitting people very hard are going to be at a premium.
Let’s hope the softies inherit the Earth. If they do, I’ll be ready with my fluffy kitten ranch.