Last Wednesday was the most shocking US Presidential election of all time. Luckily for me, I had the perfect antidote in an event for Women With Voices that night.
I was part of a panel dubbed as the ‘Spice Girls of Business’ (pictured) which included my business partners-in-crime Emma-Louise Smith and Kerri Walker, as well as the brilliant organisers Ingrid Marsh and Parwinder Dale. We made a great team and it seriously lifted my mood after that depressing election day.
Although I categorically refused to don platform trainers and pigtails, I was given the role of Baby Spice thanks to my childlike curiosity and the fact I ask a lot of questions, which you’ll already know if you’ve worked with me before.
Aimed at women who want to beef up their personal brand, the night was packed full of value. I met tonnes of brilliant start-ups, from a private dining agency to an Afro-Caribbean greetings card brand. The interesting thing was that everyone had similar questions and concerns.
These were the top questions, along with my answers:
1. Women see personal branding as inauthentic and such an ugly term. What are your views?
Branding is such a confusing subject but it’s simply the impression you give people and the relationship you have with them. Even if you hate the term, overlooking your brand is a huge missed opportunity and will ultimately weaken your business too. Once you get clear, committed and consistent - everything you do becomes ten times as powerful.
2. How did you develop your own personal brand with so many copywriting experts in the marketplace?
The most important thing for any business is to build strong relationships with customers and deliver as much value as you can.
For me personally, it’s always been important to have a niche. Believe it or not, when I started out that niche was “web copywriting”. It seems ridiculous now but having that niche really helped me stand out at a time when most copywriters focused on traditional media. Now, my niche is brand messaging and brand personality.
I’ve also always been really clear on exactly who I work with; small, specialist design agencies and innovative businesses.
After all, you can’t work with everyone.
3. It takes a brave soul to give their writing a unique voice, what tips and advice would you give?
Your voice will evolve naturally. The important thing to remember is that you’re writing FOR someone. So use the language of your customer, don’t baffle people with jargon. Decide how you want your customer to feel, then work out how you can write to make them feel that way.
4. How do you deal with fear in your business?
If something scares me, that’s a sign that I need to do it. I try to do one big thing that scares me every few weeks. Fear is never, ever going to go away so you simply need to feel it but still do it anyway. The less you fight it, the easier it is.
5. I find copywriting really hard, do you have any tips?
Copywriting IS hard. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it’s still not any easier. The more you know, the more there is to learn. However, the more you do - the better you’ll be! That said, I recommend my 5 step process for writing anything. Starting with a framework or formula really helps cut down the time and increase creativity by removing some of the grunt work.
And remember - always allow yourself a crappy first draft. :-)