On the Couch | Andrea Rowe | Copywriter | Author | McNeill Real Estate

Recently we were delighted to have Andrea Rowe, a local communications strategist, copywriter and author, helping not for profits and businesses make an impact and create connections through copy and strategy, join us #onthecouch.


Combining her love of words and expression, Andrea delights in helping people identify their strengths and passion and helps them put this into words, so that they can communicate their own message to the world.

As a children's author, Andrea has created wonderful stories and recently launched her latest book "Jetty Jumping", which has been an immediate success and is available for purchase.

If you’re a not for profit, social enterprise, community group or association, government agency or small business in need of copy – then Andrea can help you.

After compelling copy and content that moves people to take action? Struggling to meet your deadlines? Looking for strategic communications with perspective and practical steps?

Then Andrea Rowe is the person you must meet.


SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO WATCH THE VIDEO, or read the transcript below



McNeill Real Estate are delighted to be hosting local business owners, identities' and personalities from around the Mornington Peninsula, to share their great products, services, and events with others.

This idea to share came about when the team, Janet McNeill and David Kershaw, realised that during the course of running their own business, they were meeting so many amazing people with great stories, that they wanted to let others know what was on their doorstep.


If you would like to be involved in sharing your own story, contact Janet or David to discuss further.... we cannot wait to meet you!

Videos are uploaded every Tuesday, so make sure you subscribe to our channel here to learn all about the Mornington Peninsula, how to buy, sell or rent and meet some fascinating people!!


Janet and David



JANET: Is your business or not-for-profit organisation looking for help in how to speak to your clients? Then stay tuned because in this video we speak to Andrea Rowe who is a communications strategist.

JANET: Welcome to another episode of on the couch with McNeill Real Estate. My name is Janet and today I'm delighted to introduce to you Andrea Rowe, who is a well-known local identity, who is an author and a communication strategist and a freelance writer. Connecting people through copywriting, content and communication strategies. Welcome Andrea.

ANDREA: Thanks Janet, thank you.

JANET: Hopefully I got all that right.

ANDREA: You did, it was a mouthful but that's great.

JANET: So firstly Andrea, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

ANDREA: Sure well my original background was in journalism. So I worked in media and I worked all over the world. But predominantly worked in Victoria as a Minister's media advisor. And in a Ministerial media team, and then went on to work with a number of campaigns, writing their copy and developing the strategy behind it. So words are my thing. Yes and I also am an author on the other side of my of the pen. So I'm kind of a word girl really, is what it really wraps up into which words are what you love They're what I love and it's the books are where I live and writing is where I live as well. So I'm fixated with not just how to say something, but finding the, finding the words that really articulate something. What you're trying the message you're trying to get across.

JANET: Definitely okay that's brilliant, now you are a local girl so tell me what you love most about the Mornington Peninsula.

ANDREA: Well I'm down, I'm one of the sand dune kids. One of the sand dune girls, So I live down on the in St Andrews Beach. I love the ruggedness of the dunes and just sort of the sweeping ocean views. For me what I love about St Andrews Beach particularly, is it's quite an eclectic little community, you've got sort of people who are very artistic, you've got the surfy culture, you've got a lot of people with an environmental connection, and a participation as well, and you've got people that have also been in St Andrews Beach for a long time. That have seen the change too, so I love that area. I love that the dusty tracks that you can sometimes drive down and I love the little sand tracks to get to the beach. So for me it's all about also being really connected to the National Park and being able to access it and enjoy nature in its pristine coastal environment too.

JANET: it is beautiful down there because, as you say it's the rugged, it's the ocean beach, you've got the cliffs, you've got the water, you've got the waves.

ANDREA: it's just yeah it's stunning for sunsets, it's stunning for day strolls, but I think the other thing about St Andrews Beach as well, is we've got a lot of holiday houses in there too, and the people that come down really are appreciating the opportunity to check out and relax. So it's largely a very quiet community of people just wanting to enjoy that nature as well, so we've sort of got the best of everything as well.

JANET: That's brilliant, now you touched on a little bit, but can you tell me a little bit more about your sort of your past career, what was it media pr management and copywriting.

ANDREA: Absolutely so when I came back to Australia, I lived overseas for many years, in France and Canada. When I came back to Australia I ended up working for Parks Victoria as their media management and went to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne Commonwealth Games and did media there too. So my background, there was always to sort of maybe coordinate things with media representatives or help manage issues that were unfolding as well, so a lot of that involved writing media articles, connecting with journalists, getting journalists out to the field to connect with people as well and a lot of the roles with pr and media management are making sure you can present the facts on behalf of your ,the organization you work for or your client, and then getting them to the right audiences as well that want to hear those stories. So sometimes media isn't just about you know the mainstream television shows, sometimes it's about a scientific journal, or a specialist writer as well, so a lot of my background and still my passion, is about strategically finding the platforms that will help you grow and share your story out as well, and also too often people need that support in becoming a confident spokesperson. So I do a lot of media training for people. I have in the past and also giving them some insight about when a journalist wants something, this is how you need to think, you know in the journalists timelines that they're working to as well. So my background has been kind of two-pronged, in that I've worked in media but also I've been a person that have helped the media achieve what they need to achieve quickly as well, so fortunately in the last 10 years I've been able to take that into my own business and I freelance for lots of different not-for-profit organizations predominantly. So people like the Royal Flying Doctors, conservation volunteers, kids teaching kids, so lots of different conservation volunteers, as well lots of different organizations that need someone to come in with a little bit of a strategic approach to their communications. And it might be what are the words we need to say, or it might be who should we be speaking to, because we've got a story that's worth everyone connecting with so I love helping connect those dots. It's something that really excites me and I love it when a journalist says this is fantastic, this is highly newsworthy, because you know that you actually, you're actually achieving a target then. Yes exactly for both the media and the user of the media, and the client as well.

JANET: Yep that's fantastic, very fascinating.

ANDREA: Yeah I love it and so a lot of my other work still is sometimes, I'm just writing media releases for organizations with some news to share and that's about getting to the nuts and bolts of an issue too. The copywriting aspect, I write lots of websites, lots of bio profiles, lots of campaign material for people. And again it's about breaking down the messages so that a reader or a listener can take something away quite quickly and get straight to the point as well,

JANET: absolutely a lot of times when you write something, there's a lot of fluff in there, yes and yes you lose the attention of the reader.

ANDREA: Exactly and yeah and being a strategist as a copywriter, particularly in our digital time now, is about reflecting on what are the, what's the dialogue out there. What are some terms people are looking for when they're searching for your product or your service. And equally, how are there different ways of telling that story. Can we use a testimonial as opposed to, than me talking about my service, so I love putting all of those pieces together, which is where the copy and the strategy come together.

JANET: Yes that's fascinating. So I guess with this community communication strategist, how does it actually help an organisation?

ANDREA: So sometimes an organization has an end point they want to be at, but then maybe not abreast of something like, okay we need to connect with 16 to 35 year olds. So a strategist can come in and say, all right, well we know from research this is where they're hanging out for their information, or it might even be a regional thing, where we say okay let's go a little bit more grassroots, so the strategy is we need to go to this and this community day, or we need to advertise here, or it might be, we need to actually turn up at this event and offer to do a presentation, or something like that. So a strategy looks for the opportunities to build your connections with. But also then I sort of usually tie it up in a bow, with things like there's a fairly detailed sheet of here's our talking points, here's our media activations and then it might be even something like here's our components that the organization can take back internally to sort of re-refocus on some of its messages as well. So I like to think as a strategist, as being a jigsaw player and putting jigsaw, helping find the right jigsaw pieces to fill the holes to have the complete picture, so the other great thing about a strategist is we ask a lot of questions!

ANDREA: and if we ask questions then we understand the end point that you need to achieve, but also that's where we can hear where there are challenges and opportunities that we need to explore as well, so that's strategy life.

JANET: That's brilliant, so coming to that sort of, it sort of touches on what should a client actually think about, or what do they have to sort of have in their mind before they engage you.

ANDREA: Sure with someone like me, with both copywriting and strategy, I'm always saying straight away, what does your picture of success look like for you? What do you, what would an achievement be that you'd be considered as satisfactory, and then I have to consider whether that's achievable, but also the other one is, who do you want to talk to?, and everyone isn't the answer it's let's drill down and be niche and be specific, because everyone can come in afterwards. Let's look at the very focus, so there's a lot of who do you want to talk to and then it's how have you talked about yourself in the past, and then I do a lot of looking at things like - okay so what worked in the past and what didn't. Because sometimes a copywriter and a strategist can come in and say, well that was working, let's build on that. And then okay that's why that didn't work. So there's a lot of very basic questions and even when people work with me I send them straight out, a brain dump document, to sort of say let's see if any of this resonates with you right. That's great it sounds very organized obviously which you need to be.

JANET: So how much sort of input does a client actually need to do in order to work with you and achieve their goals?

ANDREA: I usually have a two to three stage process with either editing or check in milestones. So if it's basic, if it's if it's a copywriting service, usually it's a briefing stage, check-in is your skeleton copy and then the second stage is your second edit stage, and then we have sign off. So that's people doing something like websites or brochures, or those or media. If it's something more evolved like a strategy for our campaign for our organization it might be okay I'm coming out to your venue, I need to see how you work, I'm asking some it might be that we're doing a little bit of a swot analysis and an audit first, because we need to figure out what we already have, and I do that for lots of larger organizations. Then it say, okay building on this, let's talk about the 20 opportunities and how they look and that will be really drill down into big picture. Micro actions and then it's a sort of presentation and a sign off, and a handover and that's usually a really elaborate kind of bible effectively of your strategy. And sometimes I usually do a first year, second year, third year.

JANET:  Okay because I was about to say some of these things sound like they would be really complex and take a long time to implement. So what sort of time frame would you typically look at.

ANDREA: Everything's different. I often talk about, you should have a three-year strategy and then I talk about here's what's achievable, by the sounds of it, with your budget and your resources, in six months, here's what's achievable in 12 months, and here's your two-year goal. So I've done anything from caravan parks, to not-for-profit agencies, to products- where they you've got lifestyle products and we sort of talk about the range of actions you could take. What I do is a little bit different as well, is I often sort of talk about, here's your check-in process. So you might sort of be in that wobbly stage of six to 12 months, here's where we can have some KPI’s, here's where you know if it's working and I only come at that from a media a media communication strategist, I use a little bit of ex journo background and then media management as well so I'm sort of checking in on that process too. But it is very difficult when you get a strategy, you don't want it to become that's something that sits up on the shelf, yes that's right and so I try to make it sort of a very nuts and bolts process, that someone can actually take it away and go all right, so now we've got our admin staff doing this, now we're doing this and here's how we're going to report back And either a team meeting or just myself, here's how I'm going to report in with myself. Yes so I do a lot of sort of check in for that person. Sometimes I do a check-in with an organization a year later , because they might say look this didn't work and we found last year with COVID lots of organizations had to completely change things as well so and in the midst of all of that they, some of the organizations sometimes come and say you've given me the strategy, can you now give me the work as well. So it might be that they say great, could you write the website, or terrific we need these four brochures done, could you give me a quote and write that as well. Okay so with things like that you were talking about one particular project you're on at the moment, which is involving video, so presumably you have people that you call upon to, you know for your videos and your photos and anything else. Absolutely so it's quite common for people like me as a copywriter and a strategist, to work with other freelancers, or other specialists. So I often work with videographers, editors, sound and voice over artists, celebrity ambassadors, things like that. So often I'm calling on to different people, they're giving me a quote and I'm coming back to the client and saying here's how, you know here's the service. With a lot of the not-for-profits that I work for, like Royal Flying Doctors, for example often there's a whole team of us that are briefed in and we then have you know structured reporting with each other, and check-ins and often I sort of project manage. In this instance, it's a filming documentary series, so I'll sort of work with a director and we'll talk about the footage, capturing as and then we'll manage the talent, and make sure they're comfortable as well So there's often fairly, that it's quite layered. But what I love about that is, because I've worked in so many different elements in the media, in the back, in my past, I can appreciate the language and also appreciate the dynamics of timelines that everyone's working to and so some the clients don't need to know all the detail, they just need to know someone's getting on with it right, so I call myself the getting on with it girl

ANDREA: and luckily because I like organization I'm very happy to push things along. Because I know that's that helps everyone so and for me I always have the end point picture, but I appreciate all the little steps, which might be something as miniscule as, we need to make sure we've got four cups of coffee for the talent and that they've got a minute to collect themselves when they get out of their car after a long drive you know, or something like that, so it might be that there's little stage processes so that then you've got a happy person talking to camera before they start. Yeah exactly so there's lots of things that happen in production and communications and sometimes it's, even as a copywriter sometimes I'm writing copy for something that's static like on a piece of paper but sometimes I'm writing copy for scripts and videos and because my original background was radio, I appreciate the dynamics of that and try to bring that in which I love too.

JANET: Yeah and you can see that it just shows it, emanates from you, that you absolutely love all of this side of what you do.

ANDREA: I think I do. Yes definitely I'm you know very pleased that my career has drifted along very nicely into these areas.

JANET: That's brilliant, now there's a couple of things you've brought, some props with you, which obviously help you in your work, but also you mentioned to me previously that you have morphed into life as an author and you write children's books! Yes so I know that you have just released your latest book which is called “Jetty Jumping” and tell us a little bit more about your authoring.

ANDREA: I’ve written children's books forever, but it's as everyone knows who's authored, it is a hard road to get yourself into the publishing a line of fire eventually. So I was very lucky. Jetty Jumping was signed several years ago, but there were a few delays and particularly COVID last year, so it's come out and with Hardy Grant. It's a children's picture book. I just I'm the author, there's an illustrator Hannah Somerville, who's wonderful and we're very lucky in that the book sold out around Australia in the first 16 days in January. It's now on its extension, it's had its secondary print was purchased completely by Kmart and now it's on its extension reprint. So there are book stores across Australia waiting for the book. I cannot believe children's book week is going gangbusters! That's a very big week for children's authoring, so look children's authoring for me is a passion. I've always written children's picture books, I probably let myself get distracted by too many rejections many years ago and also life as a mum and having a business, and took my foot off the pedal a bit. So many years ago, I decided this is my dream that I still need to have realised. So decided to approach authoring with a business head, yes and take it seriously Exactly this strategist really came out and then and I still do, it's a business, to constantly pitch and to pick yourself up from a rejection and learn from it and absorb the information and take it on and I'm having a lovely time with Jetty Jumping this year. I have some other books at acquisitions and talking with publishers at the moment, to see where they fit. It's a funny situation, children's publishing, because we're emerging in Australia with our voices and who has the right to tell a story and who owns certain stories as well, so we're in a different space with children's publishing. I'm also halfway through a young adult novel, set in the sand dunes, so no surprise where that might be and hopefully one day I could realize that as well. But the lovely thing about children's publishing is we have such strong strong sense of connection with landscape in Australia and with people and with voices that I'm just really thrilled that Jetty Jumping got, you know it's been embraced from Glenelg to Broome, to the Gippsland. People are just really connecting with it and tagging me constantly so I really appreciate that. But the authoring journey is just as much of a passion and I recently I've been speaking to lots of libraries and children's and children's events exactly and schools and I'm talking a lot about my journey as an author. How your dreams don't always happen straight , no they don't, and also your dreams have several drafts to them, just like a children's book and so I've been talking to children a lot about don't get fixated on the end result, appreciate the journey along the way, and here's an author's notebook, here's an example of a notebook, and here's all my drafts and it takes lots of drafts to get to the final end. So I'm enjoying sharing that with others because it's kind of like I needed to have told myself that several years ago.

JANET: oh that's brilliant we'll have to have a look at the book ourselves and if anyone is obviously wanting to know more about Jetty Jumping you can follow Andrea online and order a book. So coming back to that, how do people get in touch with you and your business?

ANDREA: Sure well I'm so it's fairly easy and on my website I have Instagram, Facebook and and Linkedin and Twitter everything sorted. I also run the Peninsula Writers Club, so they could find me through there as well but easy to find me and connect with me and look forward to chatting words with anyone who's interested.

JANET: That's amazing now Andrea, what do you do when you're not working?

ANDREA: I think I know but it's a lot of writing but really I'm a bookworm ,a lot of reading as well, I'm really lucky in that I work with a lovely bookstore called Antipodes down in Sorrento and we do a Words After Dark events, so I'm spending a lot of time reading books, reviewing them and interviewing the authors, as a part of that so that's a passion project but also I have a very active family, so we do lots of sailing and camping. We love getting out there, as much as we love living on the Peninsula, we love taking ourselves off the Peninsula to enjoy the rest of Victoria. But really when I'm not doing all of that I'm a big sand dune walker and a beach walker and a rock pool rambler, so you'll often find me poking around down in the rock exactly it's a really it's a really handy I've always been drawn to the beach. Yes and so living right next door to a national park and next to a beach is great and it's a great way to spend my time.

JANET: Yep well we've really enjoyed learning more about you Andrea and your business. It's been absolutely fascinating, a lot of what you've just told me I didn't know, it's like everything you know, there's things behind the scenes that we just don't know, because we're not in that kind of industry. Absolutely so thank you for joining us today.

ANDREA: Thanks for the opportunity.

JANET: Great and that concludes another episode of on the couch with McNeill Real Estate and thank you for watching.

JANET: If you enjoyed that video make sure you subscribe and we'll see you next Tuesday


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