A flame-haired legend among mortals, short in stature but big on talent, Lorrie’s our wordy woman and the one to watch in-house. She’s also in charge of writing the intro paragraphs on these interviews, not that that’s relevant.
What’s your story? What brought you to AHOY and where were you before?
I came to AHOY kind of unexpectedly. I’ve been a freelance copywriter for a long time, and I’d spotted AHOY’s website while working on a web content project: the designer I was working with pulled up the site and said “I like these guys, how about using some of their website templates as inspiration for the site we’re currently building?”
And I thought, “Well I like what they do as well” so I started following them on social media. They were advertising for freelance developers, designers and what have you, so I tweeted to ask whether they needed freelance copywriters as well. They said, no, we’ve got someone in-house. A week later, their copywriter was gone, so they invited me in for a chat. There was a really nice energy there, so I decided to try something new: I’m in-house at AHOY part-time, now, and freelance the rest of the week.
What does a typical day / week at AHOY look like for you?
Every day’s really busy – I’m always working at capacity but I enjoy that. I’m chocka with client work, then there’s AHOY work to be done, then I have ideas of what I’d like to implement in terms of content marketing strategy, both for the agency and for our clients.
How’re you finding developing a tone of voice for AHOY? Is that still on the list of things to do?
It’s ongoing – I still want to get everyone sat down for a workshop. One thing I like about AHOY is that people have ideas and opinions. You pin someone down when they’re not too busy, and you get a lot of good stuff out of them. One thing all the designers have said is that clients like AHOY because of its people, so it makes no sense to try and create a tone of voice without everyone’s input.
What does good copywriting look like to you?
I like to walk the line between art and science. You can be a writer with just a talent for the art of it, but not a copywriter: you need to keep up to date with developments in the digital work, plus branding, marketing, SEO, CRO…There’s always something new on the horizon and you have to assess it as it comes towards you, and decide whether it’s a fad, a new way of packaging an old idea, or genuinely something new that you’re going to have to get on board with, and learn about.
One crucial thing to remember about copywriting is that it’s not about what you like, or your colleagues, or your peers. It’s about getting results, so you’ve got to focus on your customers, or their customers. It’s easy to let vanity get in the way of effective content: you want to produce something that’s beautiful and pleasing to your own senses but that often isn’t what’s required.
That sounds quite similar to design: there’s that difference between being an artist and being a designer. It’s not about self-gratification, is it?
That’s exactly it. I did translation studies at Uni and there are parallels with that: you can’t just write what you want – there are constraints to work within, and it’s the same with digital content in particular – it has to perform and function in a certain way and integrate with what’s around it: development, design, user experience, and so on.
It seems like you’re pretty passionate about the results side of things…
I’m just more experienced with that kind of thing: most of my freelance work is web content, conversion rate optimisation, SEO, calls to action – that kind of thing. AHOY’s branding focus is something fresh for me, which is a good thing.
Describe yourself at work in three words
If I’m being harsh on myself, I’d go with “Probably too noisy”!
Yeah, probably a bit harsh! Try and get a more rounded picture of how you are.
Are we hyphenating that? You copywriters!
We are! Alright then, industrious. Chatty – I think we have to own that one. And…imaginative? I like getting involved with conversations and coming up with new ways of looking at things, new solutions to problems
Describe yourself at home in three words
I hate to be a bit clichéd, but a lot of my time is taken up being a mum to my toddler. I like reading when I get time, and I write fiction, so…wordy…feminist…mother. That sums it up!
If someone’s wondering whether AHOY’s going to be the right agency for them, what would you say?
I’d say you have to be someone with a passion for, and appreciation for, the visual. You might not be adept at visual design – I’m not – but I can see what AHOY produces is eye-catching and engaging from the word go. There’s something special there – as a non-designer I couldn’t tell you what that is – but you know when you’re looking at quality.
To come somewhere like this, you’d have to look at what AHOY does and feel that something. To be able to trust the designers in-house and to hand over what may be your baby – we work with a lot of new, challenger brands, and those are often labours of love. So if you like beautiful, results-oriented design, and you’re willing to take a leap of faith with a relatively small, young agency, then AHOY is probably right for you.
Who would you say we’re not a good fit for?
I think capacity has a lot to do with it. If you want a massive agency with tonnes of designers, writers, developers, and you want something churned through quickly for a low cost, we’re probably not for you. Likewise, if you’ve got very strict brand guidelines already, we’re not going to be the best fit.
What’s the best bit of your job?
Happy clients – always the happy clients. It’s nice when you hand something over and the response you get is, “It’s what I wanted to say but better” – and that’s always what I aim for. But yeah, happy clients. Because there’s always that moment where you hit send on something and think, “What if they hate it?” Even after years and years, and you know you’ve done your research, and that all the ingredients you’ve put into that cake are right, but is there that extra special something that will make your client come back and say, “Yes, that’s really good.”
I like my job, I like words – I always have. I have enjoyment in playing around with words: grammar, puns, idioms, different ways of using languages. I like the tools I work with – I don’t think I’d want to do anything else.
Where can you be found when you’re not here at AHOY?
The other half of the working week, I’m in my little office at home, looking after my clients, or I’m out on meetings, business trips, site visits, that kind of stuff. Evenings, I’m with my daughter. After her bedtime, I’m doing everything I can’t do with a toddler in tow!
Weekends, I’m generally outside: children’s places, National Trust properties, anywhere you can tire a two-year-old out!
Tell us something about yourself people might be surprised by.
I’m terrified of moths and butterflies: I hate them. They’re so creepy and threatening – they perch on leaves looking like mouldy little blobs, then they flap their wings and…urgh! I hate that. But, I was determined not to pass this phobia on to my daughter. So I took her to a butterfly farm, and she was going, “Oh wow, Mummy, look!” and I was there, sweating, nearly crying, going, “Yeah, s-s-s-sooo p-p-p-pretty!”
What about all those languages you speak? Let the people know!
Yeah, I speak a few languages. Oh, and I have double-jointed toes!
Any final words?
Some people have a way with words. Others not have way.