In conversation with

Rosie Cordingley

Writer at Sonder & Tell



If you’re part of The Wordsmiths community (it’s free to join – sign up here), you’ll have probably, virtually met our writer Rosie Cordingley. Creative prompter, serial screenshotter and finder of tweets that get everyone talking. Also big-time connoisseur of snacks…but that’s another story. We tore her away from the keyboard to find out what she learned crafting campaigns (and bill reminders) for one the UK’s best-loved banks, and why “BINGO!” moments have her hooked on copywriting.

Question and Answer

What stories did you enjoy growing up?

I loved the ones with an element of truth. Autobiographies, the book of Guinness World Records, anything non-fiction at all. In complete contradiction to that, I also loved any writing that relied on rhythm and wordplay. Spike Milligan’s (children’s) poetry was a favourite for its unflinching commitment to total nonsense. I’d often read a joke book before I drifted off to sleep.

You previously worked at Jaywing. What did you learn there?

A lot. I started out there on two weeks’ work experience and left five years later leading the writing on their biggest account. I worked with some incredible global and local brands (literally, the brewery next door) – but I spent most of my time doing customer comms and campaigns for first direct bank. I loved working on a brand with such an iconic tone of voice. It gave me a very detailed understanding of how ‘brand’ works, and how the customer must be at the heart of your strategy and tone of voice. You’ve got to have enough flex to approach a big acquisition campaign, as well as a letter telling people their mortgage payments are going up. Not easy, but not impossible.

What do you love the most about copywriting?

The psychology and sociology of it all. 90% of this job is thinking. 10% is writing. I love getting into the customers’ head and asking why the hell should I care about your product? Why should I read your email? Why should I tell my friends about you? Putting the customer at the heart of it all helps to eliminate a lot of the fluff. It’s that ‘BINGO!’ moment when you cut a load of words out and the whole thing becomes *crystal clear*.

“Putting the customer at the heart of it all helps to eliminate a lot of the fluff. It’s that ‘BINGO!’ moment when you cut a load of words out and the whole thing becomes *crystal clear*.”

How do you get inspiration for projects you’re working on?

From all over the place, really. If possible, I like to get out in the world and try the products for myself – popping across the road to that brewery I mentioned wasn’t the worst job I’ve had to do. Aside from that, I scroll through reviews on Trustpilot, for brands and their competitors. You can always rely on an overly opinionated ex-customer to get those creative juices flowing. Also on social media, I like to follow a few random people and threads that are outside of my everyday comfort zone. It usually means the algorithm can’t guess what you like and you get a wider spectrum of #inspo in your feed.

Dream brand/category or brand you’d love to write for?

I am a big fan of banking and fintech stuff. I think there’s such an important role for brilliant writing in those contexts, as money is a really personal, serious thing – and it’s also a huge part of everyday life. Generally banks use quite complicated, legal language that isn’t necessary too, so it feels like there’s a huge opportunity to make things make sense to people. When you’re looking for a mortgage and allocating such a large portion of your savings to a deposit, you want your bank to get how big this decision is for you. And you really want to be uber-sure of what you’re doing at every stage of the process. Writing has a crucial part to play. 

Latest wish-I-wrote-that piece of copy you saw?

I have far too many of these. I’m a serial screenshotter because if you don’t shoot your shot, you’ll never find it again. I share a lot on our Wordsmiths Slack channel, come and join us over there if you’re not already on it. Many of my wish-I-wrote-that things are microcopy, which are the small moments when a writer has boldly gone beyond their brief and added copy in a place they weren’t told to. Like Lazy Garlic putting ‘That’s very lazy, turn me around’ on the back of their supermarket packaging so they can share a chuckle with the shelf-stacker. Or Yorkshire Tea congratulating me on ‘completing’ their website when I’ve scrolled all the way to the bottom. Or this weird and wonderful bit about recycling when I was looking at whether I could put my empty shower gel in the green bin…

Rosie's Storylist


  1. Humankind by Rutger Bregman
  2. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  3. On Creativity by Kae Tempest
  4. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan
  5. Alexa, What is There to Know About Love? by Brian Bilston


  1. Just a Minute
  2. Desert Island Discs
  3. Off Menu
  4. The News Quiz
  5. Something Rhymes with Purple

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