2 Minutes With… Jack Parsons

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What do you do at Sideshow?

I’m a Senior Copywriter. I’ve been with Sideshow for about a year, after writing for and running magazines for almost 10 years.

The one word you would use to describe Sideshow is…

Varied. In a week, I might write a string of social posts, a customer brochure, a newsletter, even the scripts for a podcast series –  all promoting something different, all geared towards distinct audiences. 

The exciting thing about the marketing and creative industry today is…

It’s so niche now. I can’t remember the last billboard or TV ad I paid attention to, but I definitely clicked on that Instagram ad offering me retro Hawaiian shirts from a sustainable supplier. The tech’s out there to help you target your audience, so the creative can afford to be more personable rather than blandly covering all bases.

Which brand is getting it right at the moment, and why?

With its trademark mix of clear but charming, Innocent remains the king of copywriting. However, I’ve also been impressed with Qualcomm’s content marketing strategy for 5G. It’s speaking to a business audience, but it does a great job of communicating how the tech works in a human way without the usual buzzword bingo.

The key to creating great content is…

Like the brands above, the key is just to create content people want to read, watch or interact with. Tell a compelling story, create a webpage that serves a function, or a survey that reveals something people want to know. This can always overlap with what you want to promote, but it’s got to have value beyond that. 

The biggest opportunity for brands in the future is…

One of the things that made me initially want to work for Sideshow is its partnership with machine-learning experts, Vertical Leap. Whether it’s a chatbot on Facebook you can text or an Alexa skill you can talk to, I think these kind of digital assistants are an exciting new development. And that they can be used much more creatively than simply replacing customer support.

What’s your favourite app or website?

Um… Twitter, I guess? One of the titles I used to run was Apps Magazine, so I should really have a better answer for this, shouldn’t I? But apps are so ubiquitous now, it’s a bit like asking me who my favourite utility provider is. 

Which person or brand would you recommend following on social media and why?

Check out @TheMERL, aka the Museum of English Rural Life. Its absolute unit tweet went April last year, gaining 31,000 retweets worldwide for the small Berkshire museum. Even if you’re not interested in ye olde hay-baling methods, follow this account for a masterclass in how adopting an honest, authentic voice can make even the most niche topic accessible to a wider audience. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. In April, Adam Koszary, the brain behind the sheep meme, was snapped up by Elon Musk to work for Tesla.

And just for fun, tell us one thing you absolutely can’t do…

Narrow this list down. The things I can’t do are a veritable cornucopia of incompetence. But gun to my head, I wish I was a better cook.