FEATURED FUTURE: CHISOM WINIFRED
Chisom Winifred talks copywriting, digital marketing and navigating life.
While searching for blogging tips I came across a copy Chisom wrote for BellaNaija on that topic. Chisom is a writer and a digital marketing manager. She has written articles for notable Nigerian companies like BellaNaija, MTV Base, Glam Africa Magazine and more. She loves to read a lot and to Chisom, there is more to writing than just putting words on a paper.
WNG: Let's get to know you
CHISOM: My name is Chisom Winifred Asogwa. I am a digital marketing manager and copywriter. As a writer, I currently contribute to Bellanaija, Glam Africa Magazine and RED Media Africa, where I author thought leadership articles for leading Nigerian brands such as Amstel Malta, MTV Base, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank and a host of others.
WNG: Have you always wanted to be a copywriter?
CHISOM: Well, not at the beginning. I’ve always loved to write, and it never occurred to me to monetize until I was done with school. I initially wanted to be a blogger; I thought that was what I wanted for myself, but I interned at an internet newspaper, and I realized I didn’t like it one bit. The good news was I discovered my affinity and talent for creative writing—articles, press releases, opinion pieces etc. So I’ve never always wanted to be a copywriter, but my passion led me here.
WNG: What makes you happy about writing?
CHISOM: Everything about it, honestly. Looking at a blank paper and then moments later have it filled with words that evoke emotions. It’s the most beautiful thing. I love to write, it’s a form of art, a medium of communication, it’s therapeutic for me as well. Writing is therapy for me; I love the thrill of creating stories and birthing characters from my head.
WNG: What was growing up like? Does it have any role to play in your current career path?
CHISOM: Growing up was fun and it most definitely influenced my career path. My dad was an avid reader and he passed that down to all of us. He would buy Enid Blyton books for me and afterwards, I’d summarize what I learnt from the book for him to review. So in a way, he cultivated both my reading and writing appetite. In retrospect, I’m really grateful for that experience and I would definitely pass it on to my child. Reading at a young age made me see the world differently. I consider everything happening around me as a story and that skill has helped me be an excellent storyteller.
WNG: Do you read a lot? If yes, what's your favorite thing to read? Any suggestions?
CHISOM: Oh yes I read quite a lot. It’s my happy place. I love to read good stories. Anything that stirs my imagination is welcome. Reading to me is like eating. I eat to stay alive so I read to feed my mind. Plus as a copywriter, you have to be a voracious reader to be able to write excellent pieces. Reading sharpens my mind and the more I read, the more I produce quality work as a writer. So in a way reading to me is both research and a hobby. As per my favorite authors, I love Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon and Mathew Reilly, Mary Higgins Clark, Tomi Adeyemi, Chimamanda Adichie, Abi Dare and so many other authors. I can’t possibly list them all. For suggestions I’d say check out Ice Station by Matthew Reilly.
WNG: What is your writing process like? Do you double-think or hold back before putting out content?
CHISOM: My process is really simple. Depending on what I want to write about, if it’s a work article then the first thing to do is research. I like to take at least 2–3 hours to research and read on the topic I’m about to write on. Could be other articles on the topic, TEDx videos, social media posts etc. I read and take notes. Afterwards I draw up an outline, this has how many paragraphs I want the article to be (depending on the word count) and what each paragraph should say and key details I want the article to have. Afterwards I go ahead and write my first draft. I simply write as it comes, no corrections whatsoever. After the first draft is ready, I then fine tune and edit. I also use the same process for an opinion piece. This makes writing easy for me. Research provides me with content while my outline gives me a guide. The rest is easy.
WNG: How do you handle social media anxiety?
CHISOM: I don’t think I’ve experienced this and I think it probably comes from my perspective and approach to social media. Social media has been very instrumental to my career, all my current employment opportunities are virtual and I got them through social media. So for me, it’s a tool that has helped me tremendously. But, I admit that sometimes it can be a lot so I simply take breaks. I don’t think there’s anything to be anxious about. I understand my journey and process so I don’t feel the need or pressure to be something that I’m not.
WNG: Have you ever had challenges explaining your job to your family?
CHISOM: Not really. Everyone in my family knows I’ve always loved to write so when I got my first paying gig, they were all happy for me. It was like ‘finally Chisom is making money from this thing’ lol.
WNG: Do you have a mentor? If yes, why do you look up to them?
CHISOM: Umm as a digital marketer yes, as a copywriter no. I look up to my mentor in the digital marketing space (Tiwalola Olanubi Jnr, CEO of Dotts Media) because I hope to build my business to what he has currently done. Also in the way he runs his business, not like a chore or back breaking thing but like a lifestyle he enjoys. That’s what I want, I hate the idea of back breaking labor. I want to creatively put my best foot forward always and watch the lines fall in pleasant places for me.
WNG: Your advice to young writers?
CHISOM: My advice is try everything as soon as you can. You may fantasize about writing in a specific niche and end up hating it. Or even fantasize about being a copywriter and find it draining (which it is by the way). Once you find what you love, write and perfect your skill. Get an editor to professionally audit your work so you can get better. They’re also great resources such as Grammarly that will help you write better. Then, reach out. You may be a really great writer but no one knows. Any organization you dream of working for, study the pattern of their articles, try to reach out to writers who already work for them on social media and network. Then always shoot your shot.
Apply, believe me, these organizations are always looking for fresh talent. Then most importantly, don’t sell yourself short. Writing is really tasking work especially when you do it professionally so don’t be afraid to ask for good money.
WNG: Do you think getting married and having kids would slow you down?
CHISOM: I think getting married and having kids will slow down any sane person. It’s a complete lifestyle change. I already know what I want for my future so whatever married life brings, I’m sure I’ll be able to navigate and create a balance I’m comfortable with.
WNG: Any magazine or publisher you’d like to work for?
CHISOM: Definitely! Vogue, CNN, BBC and New York Times.
WNG: Rooting for you! Thank you for your time, Chisom.
Connect with Chisom Winifred on Instagram @chisomwinifred