Singing for our supper: 21 qualities X Factor contestants and copywriters need to succeed

Silhouette of a singer to represent X Factor contestantsUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that The X Factor is back on our screens for its 12th series.

Love it or hate it – I’m a fan but not an addict – the show still attracts large TV audiences and thousands of would-be stars eager to be the next ‘big thing’.

But you may well be wondering what relevancy The X Factor has to a copywriter’s blog?

Allow me to explain. Although they might seem completely different on paper, the qualities needed by X Factor contestants to do well on the show are very similar to those needed to succeed as a freelance copywriter.

X Factor contestants vs copywriters

In addition to having bucket loads of natural talent, X Factor contestants and freelance copywriters need to be:

Quality Contestants Copywriters
Ambitious Win the show and become a global star Make a decent living from copywriting
Articulate Get the words across clearly Get the message across effectively
Authentic Stay true to who they are Show some personality
Brave Step up on stage in front of judges, live audience and millions viewing at home Take the plunge to go freelance, often giving up a steady full-time job
Competitive Beat all the other contestants Win competitive pitches
Confident Believe they can win (without being arrogant) Believe we’re good at our job and worth our rates
Flexible Sing different styles and even add in some dance steps Adapt our style of writing to suit the brief
Focused Not become distracted by the media attention Not be distracted by social media during working hours
Hard-working Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse Work unsociable hours if required
Memorable Make an impression by standing out from the crowd (in a good way) Make a good impression in order to get repeat work &/or referrals
Mindful Listen to the audience’s reaction Be aware of the target audience
Open-minded Be willing to keep learning and improving Keep up with new tools and techniques
Personable Have to be likeable to get the viewers’ votes Build relationships with clients
Receptive Welcome constructive feedback Welcome constructive feedback
Reliable Deliver a great performance every week Deliver on time, on budget and on brief
Resilient Come back fighting the next week, even after being in the bottom two Carry on, even if we’ve had a tricky client or a challenging project
Responsive Take on board the judges’ comments and advice Respond promptly to customer enquiries
Selective Showcase their best talents by picking the right genre/song Focus on what we do best rather than try to be ‘jack of all trades’
Supportive Offer support to others within the competition Offer support to fellow copywriters
Thick-skinned Take criticism from the judges on the chin Accept feedback from clients, even if we don’t always agree with it!
Word-perfect Remember the words to the song Avoid grammatical or spelling errors

This list is by no means exhaustive. What other qualities do you think freelance copywriters have in common with successful X Factor contestants? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to check out I’m a Copywriter, Get Me Out Of Here!

(image courtesy of phanlop88 via

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