Freelancer in the Spotlight - Meet Jenny McDonald
We recently interviewed Jenny McDonald, to find out why she chose freelancing and more about being a freelance Creative & Social Copywriter.
What is a Creative & Social Copywriter, and what do you do?
So it’s my job to come up with creative concepts for brands to use on digital platforms, and then I write the copy that goes with it. My job can (and has) had me doing anything from making sausage roll memes to creating the voice of a glitter-fabulous ice cream tub.
How did you become a Creative & Social Copywriter?
Well, I started my career straight outta uni, working CRM on the mean streets of Shoreditch. The next eight years saw me moving through digital, shopper, social, PR, back to shopper and now I’m in social again. I keep circling around the social and digital sector because I love how reactive you can be with your content – jumping on trends, current affairs, meme culture – any excuse to be playful and have fun really!
Jenny is a bright and bubbly person who has the amazing ability to be able to add a 90's film reference or pop lyric to any conversation! Since joining Splendid she has breathed life into the studio. Her interest in pop culture and social media has meant that she has developed into a strong social copywriter, managing the majority of the social content calendars within the business. As well as demonstrating an aptitude for writing, Jenny is also able to come up with great social content ideas and oversee the creation of these assets, making her a well-rounded social media team member.
Lucinda Blencowe, Account Director at Splendid Communications
How long have you been freelancing?
Only about two years in total. Over the last eight years I’ve worked at a lot of agencies and while I’ve loved the responsibility of perm, right now I’m balancing creative work with being a yoga teacher so the flexibility of freelancing and the spontaneity of moving around is great for me, both workload and experience wise.
Why did you decide to go freelance?
I think the events of the past year affected many people in a lot of different ways. For some it created a drive to look for stability, but, for me, it opened my eyes to how short and fleeting life is.
So I chose to embrace this impermanence and do something I’d always wanted to do – leave London and pursue my yoga teacher training. On a cold little Estonian island. In the middle of a pandemic. Like a mad person. Now I try to balance the yoga yin with the advertising yang.
What's the best thing about choosing to be an independent professional in your field?
Setting my own schedule.
What's the hardest thing about freelancing?
Setting my own schedule – without a team around you, you really only have yourself to hold accountable for timekeeping and networking and productivity, and the rest!
What's one thing no one ever told you about freelancing you wished you'd known at the beginning?
I would say pricing was a tough one. I struggled in the beginning to really feel comfortable in what I was worth so went in with my first contract super, super low. I think this was one of the reasons they kept coming back to me, but after a while I tried to bring them up to the same amount I was charging other companies (which was almost double) and they weren’t happy!
How has YunoJuno helped you as a freelancer?
So a freelancer colleague of mine put me onto YJ a few years ago and I loved how freelancer-centric it was. I’d heard stories of people working on just a verbal agreement and not being paid on time or sometimes at all and – as someone still fairly new to advertising – it was a bit worrying for me.
YJ lets you find great briefs, express your personality and create a paper trail so you feel secure in picking up (and being paid for) your hard work.
Can you talk about a project you're proud to have worked on?
A project that’s really close to my heart is actually a project from when I was perm. I worked on a project for Nice ’n’ Easy called Face Your First.
In a world that’s moving towards body positivity and diversity, Face Your First was a social campaign that challenged the beauty industry about one of the last taboos, having grey hair. This was such a positive and empowering project that inspired love, acceptance and unity on social media and in national publications. On top of that, it was even long-listed for a Cannes Lion, which is OK I guess!
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a Creative & Social Copywriter?
Besides being able to concept and write, you’ve got to have one eye on what content is trending. Get yourself on 9gag, Buzzfeed, Ladbible – basically all the publications that your uni course told you were a waste of time!
Not only will you get to take a quiz and see what kind of fruit you are, but you’ll also get an insight into what people are talking about and have some inspiration for your next project.
If a client was reading this, why should they hire you?
My ability to throw glitter onto ice cream isn’t enough?!
Seriously, I would say my love of meeting and understanding people is what inspires me to be able to write for and to target audiences. In order to relate to people I first try and imagine the person I’m talking to – what they look like, where they shop, what’s their favourite food, etc. That helps me to create content, that will engage and excite them, with pinpoint accuracy.
Jenny is a bright, quick witted copywriter who never fails to bring something fresh and fun to any project. She is easy to work with and enjoyable to be around. I can always rely on her to edit or proof read our copy and make it the very best it can be.
Louise Coleman, Founder
Jenny is a freelance Creative Copywriter and Content Creator specialising in killer social, energetic campaigns and audience connection. She has spent the last few years creating authentic audience connections through stand-out social, digital, experiential, shopper, and ATL campaigns for some of the biggest beauty, FMCG, TelCo, and fashion brands in the European market.