Jon Barbuti - Senior Copywriter
15 years at the BBC writing and editing copy
Who i am
A few words on me...
Being British, I hate trying to promote myself, but even I must admit my writing credentials are decent. I’m a published author; I worked as a senior BBC journalist for a decade, I had a national newspaper column for two years and I’ve written on autism for the BBC, Lots of my credits are the BBC – but if you’re going to work at one place for a decade, that’s not a bad one to choose.
Oh, I also launched a hugely successful BBC newsletter, created promo copy for the BBC homepage and have writing credits for a national TV channel. Possibly the BBC.
Away from Auntie, I have worked as a freelance copywriter for an SEO agency, creating content for businesses of all sizes across a huge variety of industries. Now I think of it, one of the clients had the initials BBC – BUT IT WASN’T THAT BBC. They were actually bathroom fitters. Whatever the remit, I’ll find the right, err, words.
As a former chief sub editor, I have a stunning eye for accuracy and detail and am a proven expert in writing catchy headlines.
My favourite? Box to Box Midfielder, for a story about Michael Ballack going on reality TV (and more than 2 million page impressions to a throwaway story shows it grabbed attention too).
Writing Credits and Clients
Benefits of experience in journalism
Journalists - they rank somewhere inbetween politicians and executioners in terms of careers you want your kids to go into. However, it turns out there are a few advantages to hiring an experienced journalist as your copywriter
Headlines are key to selling a story – encouraging people to read. This skill ensures the top line of your copy grabs attention.
Journalists can write on any topic with accuracy and for a broad audience. They understand how to effectively research and acquire information.
Flow of information
You want the copy to flow, to keep the reader engaged and also include key information first. A good journalist has written this way thousands of times.
Journalists have to file copy on time – those of us who started in print know the pressures of the impending deadline. Why pay for procrastination?
Six of my best
I'm all in
No spam here
Developing a BBC Sport newsletter, which morphed into an Olympics newsletter. CTRs more than double the expected average.
If you have an autistic child, what needs to change?
Is it them, is it things around them or is it actually you?
Both my boys are autistic, one far more severely so (with pathological demand avoidance thrown in for good measure). It doesn’t define them but it
Search interest in footballer Jake Daniels surged as he came out. I look at why this matters.
Konstantinos Tsimikas might have a name that is a nightmare to spell but that certainly didn’t stop people from giving it a go this weekend…
Journalists – they may not be your first choice as a godparent, but they should be your first choice as a copywriter. Here’s why.
How I came to realise that one aspect of my son’s autism that has always concerned me may actually be an enormous strength and benefit.
A Professional Writer...
Copy is error-free, every fact is researched, the grammar is sound and the typos and spelling mistakes removed long before a draft is sent to the client.
The professional writer understands the impact not just of the perfectly crafted words but also that one error can undo all the good work. If your brand values are accuracy and quality, a single spelling mistake can be enough to put doubt in a reader’s mind.
I was a chief sub editor for the BBC for five years, consequently you will not find a higher level of accuracy.
Can write on any topic
I love 1980s and 90s pop, I adore horror films. I could bash out a blog on either with zero prep.
We can all write a few pars on our areas of personal interest, but the professional writer can write about anything – that’s because they understand that the fundamentals of good writing are not linked to the topic under discussion.
I have clients who are engineers, others who sell motorhomes and several cosmetic surgeons. My Google recommended ads are a nightmare.
Writes for the audience
A common problem for many websites is that while the text is accurate, it is written by experts (usually an employee), who actually has too much knowledge.
A professional writer, especially those who have worked as journalists for world-leading news organisations (hint, hint) write for the audience.
Who do you want to be reading your site and what is their level of knowledge? Typically, a site’s message needs simplifying – your poor, dumb ex-journalist is the perfect person to do this as they first have to simplify it for themselves before they can start writing!
can help you achieve goals
There isn’t much point just having words on a page, there isn’t even much point having words on a page that ranks well on Google.
The words have to achieve something. That might be a sale, it might be brand awareness or for editorial sites it might be to increase time on site and recirculation.
The copy has to have the highest standards of accuracy, be professional and yet also stand out because the tone is perfect for the intended audience.
can improve existing copy
If you have existing copy, having new versions created might be expensive overkill.
A professional writer with copy editing experience can enhance your existing literature and also explain the edits to help you with future content creation.
Is able to offer advice
Professional writing relates to the results of the writing as well as the writing itself – for instance you could have a page that is grammatically perfect yet the stats show it isn’t delivering results.. Any writer you hire should deliver tangible results.
Editor, BBC Sport
Contact me for...
Am I the copywriter for you?
I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what copy you require, I can’t guess the tone you seek.
Anything I could write here to demonstrate I’m the person for you would have to be generic enough to appeal to everyone and anyone.
Let’s avoid that generic copy – instead, let’s discuss your requirements, both in terms of copy and tone. I can even ping you a few pars free of charge just so can get a sense of whether I’m the writer for you.
So, with this module now full of enough text to balance the page, let’s leave it there. You need a writer, I can write – let’s chat.