I’ll be frank: a regional development agency responsible for promoting economic growth in 10 major cities and towns across Yorkshire isn’t my usual sort of client. Invest in Leeds City Region’s mandate is as formidable as it gets, and they inhabit the corporate world of big business and global influence.
Surely their towering stature alone precludes the involvement of a single, lowly freelance copywriter like me?
Surprisingly not. Because I was invited to tender for (and won) the contract to write copy for Invest in Leeds City Region’s (formerly Leeds & Partners) new website. They needed engaging copy to convince investors to choose Leeds and its surrounding area as a location for business, and my words were to populate several new sections of their website, including:
- Region overviews: lively economic insights into places like Harrogate, York, Wakefield, Bradford, Barnsley
- Reasons to invest: inspiring descriptions of connectivity, talent and quality of life in the Leeds city region
- Sector introductions: attractive summaries of the region’s strongest industries, with particular emphasis on core sectors like the digital economy, innovation and connectivity
I gratefully accepted of course, not just so I’d have the outstanding experience in my portfolio, but to seize an opportunity to have a say in articulating what makes the region I love such a great place to live and work.
A different kind of freelance copywriting
The complex, five week project kicked off with a jam-packed agenda of meetings with the various agencies who collaborate with Invest in Leeds City Region, like Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, UKTI and Leeds City Council.
This isn’t just shameless name-dropping. I want to convey the magnitude of the project, it’s political context and how many sources of information were involved. This was a masterclass in gleaning insight from different personalities then sifting through volumes of journals, brochures, news articles and archive copy – extracting threads I could use to weave a persuasive argument to come and do business in the Leeds City Region.
What made the project so challenging was that every assertion I made in the copy had to be substantiated with an impressive statistic or a case study example. It also had a perilously tight deadline for launch which necessitated working from their office in central Leeds, and frequent, rapid drafts of copy for immediate review.
The Invest in Leeds City Region project was a lesson in compromise for me, inevitable when groups of people with different agendas come together on a project. That’s just human nature. And what came about is copy of a style significantly different to how I’d usually write if left to my own devices.
The resulting tone of Invest in Leeds City Region’s copy is deliberately more business-centric and corporate, yet (I hope) remains underpinned by my trademark clarity and accessibility. It’s a delicate balance of what influential businesspeople expect to hear, yet inspiring enough to talk-up what is a great place to live and work after all.
I’d say my proudest achievement on the Invest in Leeds City Region website copywriting project is keeping copy focused on its goal: persuading a prospecting reader to pick up the phone and learn more about what’s on offer in the Leeds city region.
While I nervously relinquished control of the copy at the end of the project (for it to be edited and amended with by different committees, complete with typos & erroneous grammar), I think the now greatly evolved copy still does an honest job of communicating Invest in Leeds City Region’s mission.