Back in June 2022, Hannah joined the Cognique team as our first ever in-house copywriter. A huge enthusiast about all things to do with reading and writing, we chat to Hannah to find out more about life outside of work, her role at Cognique, and what it takes to write great content.
What’s your role at Cognique?
I’m the first and (currently) only in-house Content Writer. I write any and all content that our clients need, which can be really varied. Blog posts, case studies, email marketing – it’s quite a broad spectrum.
Is there anything you particularly enjoy when you’re writing for a client?
I quite like writing a piece that’s very informative but easy to read. A lot of my work is simplifying concepts that people might find complicated, or processes that people might not quite understand how to do, and breaking it down step by step so it’s easily digestible – not just one big block of overwhelming data. My aim is to write something clear and informative that anybody could read and think, ‘Oh, I understand that.’
Do you have a process you go through when writing a piece of work?
I always start with research. It’s helpful to find several different websites or articles to read up on the subject I’m researching, so I can make sure they all align and the information is correct. Then it’s a process of trying to draw something valid and helpful from my research and breaking it down into well-spaced, readable sections. I feel separating information under different headings is a good way to lay things out, especially if it’s a big topic.
I also love the storytelling aspect of writing for clients, such as writing case studies for projects they’ve worked on. These pieces always have a narrative running through them, from the people who worked on the project to the results at the end.
Why did you want to work for Cognique? What interested you about the role?
The position at Cognique is an entirely content writing-based role, which I’ve never had before – so that was very exciting to me. It also looked as though Cognique had a broad range of clients and the role would involve hopping around from one thing to another, dipping in and out of different subjects and companies. This also sounded really good – a bit of variety keeps my brain engaged. All in all, they just looked like a nice bunch of people to work with!
How do you get in the zone for writing?
Music is excellent for getting me focused. Sometimes it helps to listen to one album or playlist each time I sit down to do a certain piece of work, because that’ll put me in the same headspace every time I’m writing it.
For bigger pieces it also helps to break the whole thing down a bit. When you’re staring at a blank page before setting out to write a long piece that can seem a bit daunting. I might just do an hour or so on it and then, if it’s not urgent, I can step away and work on something else for a bit.
Sometimes it helps to come back to something fresh the next day as well. If I get close to the end of a piece, I’ll often pick it up again first thing the next day and run my eyes over it one more time. That can be really helpful for spotting any mistakes that still need to be ironed out, or editing it and moving bits around to make it sound better.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
I’ve always loved writing. It’s one of the first things you’re taught in school, and the minute I started learning about words and reading and writing I just really took to it. My dream when I was a kid was to write a book, get it published, and be an author – but then you grow up and realise it’s not quite that simple. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy either.
I studied Creative Writing at university, and I think that’s when I first started considering how I could use my love for reading and writing and turn it into a profession – and that’s what led me towards content writing.
How has your degree helped you in your career?
Studying Creative Writing made me a much quicker writer. I also used to be far more private about my writing – I’d never let anyone read anything until I’d decided it was perfect (which rarely happened). At uni, we all had to read and critique each other’s work, and that’s where I really learnt how to give and receive feedback – something that’s so valuable in all sorts of working environments.
What’s your favourite writing style?
I love writing that’s quite funny and surreal, but also very relatable and easy to understand. One of my favourite authors is Philip Reeve – who also happened to write my favourite book, Mortal Engines – and his writing style is exactly the kind I love. He writes in this very funny, cerebral way, but it’s never so strange and weird that you don’t know what he’s on about.
What do you get up to outside of work?
As you might have already guessed, I love reading so it’s definitely common to find me with a book in hand. I live in Bristol and love exploring the city and going for walks in the countryside. I also made a promise to myself that I’d see more live music after the pandemic, as that was one of the things I missed most – and it’s a promise I’ve managed to keep. Over the summer I went to Glastonbury for the first time, saw my favourite band Pond perform in London, and always try to make sure I have a few gigs pencilled in to look forward to.
Other than that, I love spending time with family and friends, being by the seaside, and just generally trying to find contentment in life! Easier said than done sometimes, but on the whole it seems to be working.