How do I gain experience in copywriting for heritage?

I would like advice on writing for heritage and how I can make myself more attractive to employers.

I’m a local history blogger and writer. I would like some advice on how I can gain experience writing copy and content in heritage. Ideally, I would like to write and get paid, within an employed position. 

How should I start approaching institutions about writing for them? Are there any schemes or qualifications I could take to be more employable within the heritage sector?

What do you look for in a good writer?

Thank you.

— Rachael


Expert answers

Catherine Price's reply:

Dear Rachel.

Most of the larger museums will employ a Marketing & PR Team who would look after copy for promoting the organisation to the wider public. They tend to have come from a Marketing background and may well have studied a CIM qualification - Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

Some museums also have a digital media/content team, so as Carol Rogers mentions in her response - take a look at who’s doing what already, and then try and make contact with those that inspire you. Some places may offer work shadowing/work placements where you can be involved in a project for a couple of weeks and start to get a feel for the work. Even if they don’t advertise it, ask them anyway!

Alternatively, you may find that text panels and interpretation for actual displays and exhibitions are carried out by museum design agencies.  The Museums Association website may give some ideas, or else their annual directory could be useful.

Hope that helps.

Catherine


Carol Rogers's reply:

Dear Rachel,

As a first step, I would suggest you approach a local cultural organisation that offers opportunities for young volunteers. 

You could start by looking at websites for museums, art galleries, theatres etc. in your area to explore their web sections for young people. If you like what you see, contact them to find out more.

This approach will provide you with an informal introduction and access to the institution, and their wider networks.  

If you choose to get involved, you could offer to review an exhibition/show and request professional feedback. 

Volunteer experience will look good on your CV and could help secure a paid commission. When I look for employees, I look for enthusiasm and commitment when I look for employees.

Good luck 

Carol 

 


Sally Munday's reply:

Hi Rachel,

Following on from the two previous answers, volunteering is a great way to get started.

Volunteering doesn’t always mean that you give up all your spare time for no rewards either – sometimes a marketing or content development team may like to have a volunteer for 5 days over 6 months or you could volunteer from home. 

Best way to get in touch is by going to the museum or heritage site’s volunteer coordinator (if they have one) as they will know the best way to approach it.

Volunteering is so flexible usually, so I am sure you could find a role that suits you that doesn’t take up too much time. It will definitely add excellent skills to your CV.

Sally​


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