Tom Valcanis sells words because his words sell. He’s a copywriter and content writer based in Melbourne. He’s run a copywriting and content business, I Sell Words, since 2014. He’s written for over 10 years as a journalist, a copywriter, and in academic journals. He’s had work published in Fairfax mastheads, The Big Issue, Beat Magazine, HEAVY Mag, Hysteria Mag and many more. He also offers a course in business writing on Skillshare. Tom says his mission in life is to “rid the world of bad writing.”

Tom’s built his business through creating content for websites, ad copywriting, scripts for video, creative copywriting for brands, and other types of writing for small business all the way up to large enterprises with a particular focus on finance and business to business writing. You can take a look at his portfolio here. 

What is it you enjoy about creating content?

I enjoy the variety. One day I’m writing about cranes and the next day I’m writing about fruit and vegetables. There’s so much difference in tone and style from one article to the next. That’s what I find most enjoyable.

What is your approach in bringing a client’s story to life through brand journalism?

I think any good piece of writing needs heart, head, and soul. That means an emotional core; a bit of persuasion using logic and reason; and stylistic flair to engage the reader. Brand journalism is journalism; the aim is to tell a story and tell it as well as I can.

Tell us about your journey to become a content creator.

I’d always enjoyed writing. I’d often finish my schoolwork early so I could hop on my class’ computer because I wanted to write silly stories. (My handwriting was dreadful; still is.) Either that or I had my head buried in a book.

Even so, I never seriously entertained it as a career until my final year of undergraduate study in 2009. So, I went to study media and journalism in post-grad.

After gaining my Master of Communication and Media Studies in 2011, I worked as a freelance journalist covering culture and music. I worked at the .au Domain Administration as their Marketing and Communication officer from 2012 to 2014.

I worked four days a week at the auDA office and one day per week on my own business. In about April 2014, I had more copywriting jobs that I could handle, so I branched out on my own.

During 2014 to 2018 I was Editor of Hysteria Mag, an alternative lifestyle and rock music magazine and website. I still help from time to time, but I’m more focused on my copywriting business.

How do you determine the tone, voice and style is right for a particular piece of content?

I get a brief and I write three separate “test” paragraphs that are similar to what the brief needs and my interpretation on it. This way, the client knows what all their pages will read like before I get down to writing the entire thing. They can supply feedback much more easily. This saves time for me and the client because they can lock in a tone and style well before the project begins.

What’s the most useful thing a marketer can provide in the brief that allows you to understand their brand?

Information about their market and their product. By information, I mean everything. I also like to give clients a call to make sure there’s nothing I’ve missed. This can produce new angles for content they may not have thought of before. It’s a function of my journalism background, I’d say.

What’s the piece of content you are most proud of?

I take pride in everything I do, but the piece of content I have the fondest memories in creating was the concepts and copy for Pascall’s “Better Together” campaign in 2018 at an agency. The brief was to create six-second videos of a cup of hot chocolate and a marshmallow enjoying activities together. It was a real challenge, but great fun to get creative with.

You can find Tom and his creative portfolio on the Fabulate platform, by clicking and viewing his profile here