Q&A with Sabrina Dorronsoro
You hail from near Boston in the US. Tell us about home.
I’m from a small town in Massachusetts called Walpole. It really is a storybook New England town. Bostonians as a whole are a sarcastic bunch with big hearts plus a fierce love of Dunkin’ Donuts and Boston sports.
What do you miss about the States?
Obviously my family and friends take the number one spot here but beyond that I miss iced coffee the most. Like just being able to order a gigantic iced coffee with some absurd American flavour like Milky Way for $2. New Zealand is good at coffee but not iced coffee (why is there always ice cream floating around in there?!).
What’s the best thing about living in New Zealand, and what’s the worst?
Best: There are beaches EVERYWHERE. And they’re not just abundant but absolutely stunning. For a beach bum like me, it’s paradise.
Worst: People don’t seem to have designated sides of the sidewalk [Ed: I think she means ‘pavement’] to walk on, it drives me insane on Queen Street during rush hour. Stick to your side ppl!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was little I used to write songs obsessively in my room and perform them for my family. My mom eventually told me “your singing voice … not so great but that writing is special, maybe that’s the better option!” I’ve been writing in one form or another since I can remember.
For someone looking to make a career out of writing, what is your advice?
Keep writing, no matter what it looks like. Writing is a big game of trial and error and the more you do it, the better you get. This is especially important when looking into a career as a writer; keep sending in those applications, keep reworking those writing samples, you’ll get there eventually.
Who are your favourite writers (either fiction or nonfiction)?
Barbara Kingsolver (if you’ve never read The Poisonwood Bible go out and read it now!), Jonathan Safran Foer and Khaled Hosseini.
For the writers out there looking to burnish their CV, what extra skills and qualifications should they aim to pick up?
Any Google or Hubspot certifications are always a major plus. And I really like seeing things on a CV that relate to interpersonal skills or the ability to work in a team.
Getting back to content marketing in particular, what can writers teach strategists?
“Brevity is the soul of wit.” It’s tempting to pick high word counts for every piece of content we create. And while long articles or landing pages are sometimes good for SEO, they’re useless if the copy is full of fluff.
A concise, value-adding 400-word article is much better than 1000 words of padding. Talking to writers about what is reasonable for a given subject matter helps create higher quality content for clients.
And what can strategists teach writers?
Learning more about user personas and how we can use them to inform article creation has been a great experience. The more we know about who we are writing for, the better we can shape our topics and tone of voice. Some of these user personas are quite fun to read as well as they really dive deep into audience interests and lifestyles!