Copywriter Kaitlyn Parker is our guest for the 191st episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. We got to know Kaitlyn a bit better at this years IRL event where she took more than 35 pages of notes, recording the most important ideas and tactics that the speakers shared. We asked her why she did that as well as a lot of questions about how she’s grown her business. Here’s most of what we covered:
• how she turned a social media gig with LuluLemon into her current role as a copywriter
• what she does to make social media effective for her business
• how often she posts on instagram (and the size of her audience)
• how to make “copy” posts work on visual media like Instagram or Pinterest
• whether hiring a photographer for social images is worth it or not… ROI?
• how Kaitlyn comes up with the images for her brand
• her process for helping clients develop and dial in their brands
• the packages and deliverables she offers to her clients
• how her prices have evolved as her business has grown
• what her client relationships look like—retainers versus one-time projects
• how clients find her… it’s not all from social media
• the #1 thing she’s gotten from attending live events
• her biggest take away from TCCIRL and the speaker who made the most difference in her biz
• how she manages her time and projects (and the tools she uses)
• what she thinks the future of copywriting looks like
If you’ve ever struggled to effectively capture your brand on social media, you won’t want to miss this episode. To hear it, click the button below, or download it to your favorite podcast app. Readers scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:TCCIRL
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Kira: This episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Underground. The place to find more than 20 templates, dozens of presentations on topics like copywriting, and marketing your business. A community of successful writers, who share ideas and leads, and The Copywriter Club newsletter, mailed directly to your home every month. Learn more at thecopywriterunderground.com.
Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts? Ask them about their success and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work, that’s what Kira and I do every week, at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for episode 191, as we chat with copywriter, Kaitlyn Parker about her career path, the importance of branding and social media in growing her business. Why she took 37 pages of notes at TCC in real life, and the process she uses to get crystal clear messaging for her clients.
Kira: Welcome Kaitlyn.
Rob: Hey Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn: Hey, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.
Kira: Yeah, we’re excited that you’re here. We met you at TCC in real life in San Diego.
Kaitlyn: The timing of that was just wild. I don’t think any of us knew that it was going to turn into all of this. And here we are, barely have left our houses since then.
Kira: Yeah. Who knew? Craziness. Okay, so Kaitlyn, let’s kick this off with your story. How did you end up as a copywriter?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, I feel like most copywriters, it was kind of accidental. I always loved writing and had a personal blog for years. And then after college I was an English major and then post-college, I had an outside sales job. Did that for a bit, but it was in recruiting and I just didn’t love it. So I ended up actually working for Lululemon, and I was managing the social media, and marketing, and the community, divisions of the store as we were opening quite a few different stores in the area, and I really loved it.
And people would be like, “Oh, that caption was so clever,” or “That was so good”. And I didn’t even really realize at the time that what I was doing was copywriting. And I later went through a master’s program in strategic communications and some of our textbooks and stuff like that were actually like Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Right Hook, and books like that, that all of a sudden, it was this light bulb went off where I was like, “I could get paid to write and I could merge all of these multi-passionate interest of mine and work with brands.”
So I really just kind of started pouring myself into the discipline of copywriting. And the first course that I found on it was actually one by digital marketer. And then I later enrolled in copy school and went through a rebrand and just kind of steamrolled since then.
Rob: Can we, by talking about your social media experience. Because you have social media dialed in and it’s something that I struggle with. And I think it’s something that a lot of copywriters struggle with. What are some of the secrets that make social media work and what do you have to be doing so that it’s effective?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, I guess the biggest secret to social media is actually taking the time to develop and create content and then kind of plan it out. It can be so hard when you’re just sitting there, on a random Thursday and you’re like, “I need something to post and I have nothing”. So I’m back at Lululemon, I would kind of organize and schedule photo shoots for our store when we would get in new product. I just had a spy, like a Canon Rebel and kind of taught ourselves how to shoot and edit.
I mean, very, very amateur, and this is nothing like hobbyist photographer or anything like that. And that was so helpful because we were able to immediately show the new product that we were getting in the store and allow ourselves to generate traffic coming in because people were able to see it outside of just the stock photos on the website. And then when I spent some time at a marketing agency, I managed our client’s social media department where we were mainly doing Facebook ads and stuff.
I always made sure that we had folders full of content and images. We were constantly sourcing for that. And allowing ourselves to just have the material to work with and then kind of put a strategy in place. So I’ve tried to approach my own business that same way by investing in photo shoots a couple of times a year. So even, I mean this year alone, I think I’ve worked with maybe three photographers just depending on what I was looking for at the time or what I needed.
And I try to make the photos that I receive from them just really stretch. Like I don’t receive those and then post a photo from that photo shoot every single day. I try to intermix it with graphics, with sharing about client work, with taking some of my own photos, even using the occasional stock photo. And that allows a photo shoot, which can otherwise get really expensive to last a really long time, and makes me feel like I can spend a little bit more time having fun with the copy, instead of stressing about what the heck I’m going to put up on my feed.
Rob: I’d love to dive into this a little bit more, because I can see, and I think myself, it would be really easy if I’m selling products because I can take photos of products or if I’m doing say personality brands or I’m connecting with designers. There’s some obvious things there for social media, but if I write, say in the health and wellness space and I’m writing about vitamin supplements or, I’m writing in the tech space and it’s software. And it doesn’t necessarily translate so well to the visual strengths at least of Instagram and Pinterest, things like that. What would you suggest for copywriters that are in those spaces, how they can create a really engaging feed in social media?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, that is definitely the tricky part, I feel like for copywriters, which is why so many copywriters tend to avoid it, because we’re so word heavy. And then when you’re just only posting graphics, sometimes it can feel hard to show the personality behind the brand a little bit. So what I’ll do even with my brand messaging clients, is I’ll spend a little section of that document on their content strategy and on their content marketing, and we’ll kind of break out what their content pillars are.
So what are we even talking about and how are we taking this voice that we’ve just developed and making sure that it’s consistent for our audience, like they know what to expect from us? So mine, for example, I will share client launches and I’ll show a screenshot of the website that I’ve put into a graphic using Canva. And I rely pretty heavily on templates. So for example, if a copywriter is going through a branding process right now, either ask your designer to help create a few social media templates for you that you can use, or there’s tons on Creative Market and all over the place.
That way you don’t have to spend a ton of time on the design side. I have probably, I don’t know, five or six different graphics that I kind of rotate between depending on the content. So I’ll share copywriting tips because those have always been really popular with my audience, and I try to make them something that they couldn’t just find from a quick Google search. Those are ones that I’ll spend a little bit more time on. So I think knowing not just what the picture itself is going to be, but what is the actual subject matter of it.
So I have those graphics and then I have wine posts to bring in the wine theme of my brand. I’ll share snapshots from my office, because I work with a lot of designers and have things like interior designers for clients, so that stuff appeals to them. So I think it’s different for every copywriter, but if you have a particular niche, bring in some of those lifestyle elements that are important to your potential clients, so they see that you value that.
I have clients constantly telling me that they were excited to work with me because they could see that I also understood and I valued the same aesthetic principles that they did. And they just, for some reason, felt that meant that their copy was going to come across even better. So I’ve tried to kind of structure my feet around the things that I know my audience loves seeing, and how I can kind of weave my expertise through it. And it’s really just alternating between about four to five different content pillars.
Kira: Yeah. So you mentioned you’ve worked with maybe three photographers even recently on your photos. So you always have these visuals to work with to compliment the copy. But I do feel like there’s almost just a mindset shift that needs to take place even to start booking maybe three photographers in a year and investing in the visual side of our businesses as copywriters. So what would you recommend to a copywriter who’s struggling even to understand the value of booking multiple photographers, and how that actually will provide the ROI? It seems it probably came more naturally to you because of your experience at Lululemon and starting from a product space. But for copywriters, they struggle with this.
Kaitlyn: Yeah. And it’s funny too, because as much as I do it, because I’ve seen the ROI on it, I’ve seen the value of it. I kind of makes me like cringe in a way. I don’t enjoy necessarily everything leading up to the shoot, it feels nerve wracking for me. It’s stressful. I’m like, what location? What am I going to wear? What props do I have to pack up? Am I writing out this shot list? And so that’s where finding the photographers that you really trust has been instrumental.
When I first rebranded to Copy Uncorked, I hired a photographer duo. So one of them is a stylist. One of them is a photographer. And they took care of the things that stressed me out, like location planning, and coming up with a few other ideas. And I mean, they even booked a hair and makeup appointment. I would’ve never thought to do that, but the fact that someone was doing it for me, I was just like, “Okay, we’re going to do this. We’re going to get it done.”
And then in the moment, it actually ends up being so much fun. And you’re building a relationship with another business owner. I mean, I’ve gotten referrals from the photographers that I’ve worked with. And then about mid-year after my virtual assistant had been on with me for a while, I wanted to show kind of more of that team, community element of the brand. So we did another photo shoot with a local photographer to bring her in on it as well.
So it’s something that I try to use just strategically to reflect the current state of my business. And in the same way as copywriters that we would want our clients to lean on us and trust our expertise. I try to lean on my photographers to help them guide me through that process, even when it may feel a little bit unnatural, because I know the end result is going to be worth it.
Kira: Yeah. And I agree you can find photographers who really get that process and will go above and beyond and help you with the shots and even giving suggestions for the props, but not all photographers do that. So can you talk through and even break it down as far as planning the shoot. I mean, you mentioned the props, the different shots, the fashion, the style, all of that plays into it, but can you break it down for someone who hasn’t done this before, and may hire a photographer who may help or may not help.
And even when they help, it’s still not the vision of the copywriter, our vision. So can you just break it down so we know how to think about it, how to approach it, so that we can really nailed the vision of that shoot. Yeah, let’s start there.
Kaitlyn: So there are tons of photographers whose style that I love, and I think that it’s super cool. And I know that it wouldn’t necessarily match the aesthetic and the look that I’m going for, for Copy Uncorked. So that right there, I kind of use to limit my pool down a little bit to the few photographers that have that lighter, brighter, kind of professional timeless look. So I’ll start with that. Look at the ones who kind of pull out the greens, or the reds in colors that fit my branding.
And then from there, I’ll reach out to them. And of course, ask if they enjoy doing branding photos, if they even offer that, if they have experience with it, sometimes you’ll find wedding photographers that do that on the side, during slower wedding seasons or whatnot. But there are of course photographers who are very specifically like, “No, I shoot couples and couples only.” So that kind of eliminates them.
But once you’ve found one to two people, who’s style you like, and the editing is consistent, and you feel it’s a good fit for your brand. I’ll generally start by creating a Pinterest board and generate some ideas. I’ve tried to bridge the gap a little bit in terms of going beyond the sitting in front of my laptop with a cup of coffee that we see constantly. But at the same time that’s accurate. I am often sitting at my laptop with a cup of coffee.
So bringing in things that are unique to you, and again, it’s like coming back to, what are your brand colors? What is your brand style? What are the parts of your personality that you want to bring out? So looking for that on Pinterest and I’ll use like creative search terms just thinking about female entrepreneur with wine, or different stuff that I can get ideas. And I try to come up with a pretty large amount of Pinterest images, so that we not only have a good bit of inspiration, but so that I’m not exactly replicating three or four images that I’ve seen.
So my photographer can kind of step into the vision with me and also get excited about it. And then based on what we’re seeing trend wise in those Pinterest images, we’re able to be like, “Okay, I think we need to find a hotel with a really big pretty lobby,” or “I think we want to be outside because we want to bring in some of that golden light later in the afternoon,” or whatever. Again, you’re kind of seeing in the Pinterest board coffee shops, so on and so forth.
So the location is kind of the next big one. And then outfit wise, I think I over over-thought that for a long time. And for me, it comes back to just white, black, grays, tans, neutrals. And I haven’t even done it on purpose, but it’s like that’s the only colors I have in brand photos of myself. So that right there kind of creates consistency and allows your images to be a little bit more timeless.
But by all means, if you’re someone who has a more colorful brand and Kira your brand photos are incredible and brighter. I think of like Sage Polaris, how she always has sequins or something fun that very much speaks to her. So I think it’s figuring out what those elements are and making sure that you’re specific with your photographer about that. And then this is getting kind of long winded. But as far as the specific shot lists, I will kind of write down where I feel I’m seeing holes, whether it’s on my website.
If I’m like, “I really just don’t love this hero image.” So I know I need a big horizontal shot. I’ll talk to photographers a lot of times about some of those flat lay or I call them nondescript. You can’t really tell what it is, but they’re the shots that every time we all go to write a blog post or send an email and we’re like, “I really just want a visual to break up some of this copy, but I don’t necessarily need it to be a headshot of me.”
So I try to have my shoots 25 to 40% of them at least be those types of photos that work really well on a website or again, in blog posts and stuff like that.
Rob: So a lot of the things that we’re talking about here go way beyond social media and actually apply to developing a brand. And this is something that you’ve done really well, both for yourself and for your clients. Will you talk a little bit about your process for getting really crystal clear on the message for the brands that you’re working on, and maybe even the process you went through for your own brand?
Kaitlyn: Yeah. I’ve had my business for about three and a half years Copy Uncorked has been around for a year, and I started out kind of doing all the things. And as I knew that I wanted to go into copywriting a little bit more. I tried to think about having a name that had copy into it. I mean, if nothing else, but for SEO and search purposes. So that, that was very clear what I offered and gave me a greater likelihood of that coming through.
And once the name kind of came to me and I knew that I wanted it to be more of a concept brand, I just tried to look at all of the different components that would go onto my website. So things like a three-step process, things like how I referred to my email list. I always try to… In writing websites for clients, for example, if they have on their website, like, subscribe to my newsletter, I’m like, “Okay, how can we come up with something that makes us a little bit more intriguing and a little bit more fun, even if we’re just testing the waters with email marketing and you haven’t even developed a lead generator yet?”
How can we get people excited about this? So whenever I’m thinking of a brand name, I try to look at it holistically and see, how much can I spread this across the entire brand? So the more that I played with Copy Uncorked, the more that I just was able to do that and find ways of really infusing it throughout my brand. So I do help clients do in the brand messaging process as well. Again, everything from their taglines and their value propositions.
I’m sure we’ve all gone on websites before where you see a unique brand name, but you’re like three pages into the website and you can’t even really figure out why that’s the name of the business. So it kind of gets lost in translation and it loses its power a little bit. So I do try to make the brand name, or if it’s even just somebody name themselves, like their first and last name, what is kind of that unique element that we’re pulling throughout the copy and keeping it really consistent in the branding.
Kira: What are the different brand packages that you offer? Can you just talk through some of those, at least the signature offers and the deliverables that go along with the brand work that you do?
Kaitlyn: So I have a series on my blog called creating a client experience, that I wrote probably a year or so ago, and never expected it to be my most visited blog posts, but particularly the second blog post in the series is on pricing and packaging. And I’ve tried to keep it updated because my packages have definitely gone through different iterations. And as we all know, testing is such a big part of copywriting and there are different seasons and even just months of your business, where sometimes something is working really well, and then you find the need to change it.
And when I started out, I kind of just had service buckets, it was website copywriting and content writing. And I even had a little bit of tech assistance that I was helping clients with. And that just started to feel really broad and was taking me away from being able to set myself up as an expert in website copy. So I created what I call the signature and it’s kind of our bread and butter service as I like to call it. And that comes with full brand messaging. My brand messaging style guides are usually upward of 20 something pages and really outline pretty much everything a business owner would need to articulate their business.
And I love relying on these so heavily, because it’s where I pour in kind of an initial client interview with the client themselves. Then I go into the research, but kind of all of the ideation happens here. And then once we’ve been able to iron that out and get it approved by the client, I can pretty seamlessly transition into website copy and feel confident that we’re not going to have a ton of revisions, because we already have aligned on everything in a pretty low pressure way.
And then once we’ve finished the website copy, the client’s excited because they have this style guide remaining that they can use to develop further content like social media captions and blog posts and emails and so on and so forth. So that’s definitely my main package. And then this fall, I did introduce a day rate, which has been great. I love the idea of that and I haven’t marketed it as much as I initially thought that I would, because I’ve been pretty busy with bigger package and project work. But I love having that for people who do just need a little bit of a rewrite.
And then thirdly, I did recently introduce more of a launch package, which I’m also excited about in terms of just really growing and stretching myself more as a copywriter, and being able to work with those brands that are a little bit more established and have great website copy. And they’re trying to step into more passive income or set themselves up as an educator. So right now it’s day rate, full brand messaging and website copy. And then the additional launch package.
Rob: Can we talk just a little bit about pricing and how your pricing has changed since you first started out into where you are now? Where did you start and how has that changed over time as you’ve introduced new packages, new services?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, I started doing websites. I feel like what a lot of copywriters or freelancers probably do, which is a few hundred dollars. And I was kind of doing these brand messaging guides, but they were a little bit shorter. So those have definitely evolved over the years as I’ve just pulled pieces here and there, and really kind of made it my own and made sure that I feel it is comprehensive and would stand up to a brand messaging guide that they were getting anywhere else.
And with that, I think I started realizing how much time I was putting into these and the value that the clients were getting out of it. And once my calendar started filling up and I started to feel some of that stress, you just get to a point where you’re like, “I want to be able to make this a profitable and enjoyable career for myself. And I can’t do that if I’m trying to do everything for all of these people.”
So I went from a few hundred dollars to then charging, I think maybe it was like 1500 or then maybe 2,500. And the $2,500 price point worked great for me for a really long time. And I also kind of made the mistake at one point of just like, “Yeah, website copy and not fully outlining these are the pages that you get for that.” So then I kind of put a cap on five pages for clients and depending on what they need.
Say we have five pages and then there’s also the blog and the contact page. So that would be pages six and seven. Usually the copy on those pages is pretty minimal. It’s a headline, maybe a little bit of a subhead and that’s kind of it. And then just really outlining, like, here’s what’s maybe going to live in the sidebar. Here’s what’s maybe going to live here. So I’ll add those on for the client for free. And I just like to see that as something, in terms of a little bit of a surprise and delight and me doing that extra work so that they feel they can have a fully completed set of website copy, and they’re not working on it on their own or with their designer.
And then they have that moment of like, “Well, what are we going to put at the top of the blog page?” So I’ve now kind of started building that in a little bit. And my current price point for website copy and brand messaging is 3,500 and it feels good. And it also feels like I could see that going up in the near future. And I think it comes back to a lot of times what your niche is, and who your client is. And I think I shared this with you guys earlier on a call that we had together.
But a lot of times when I’m working with newer business owners who are in that creative industry, like 3,500, which may seem like a ton to some copywriters that may seem like nothing to some copywriters. And to some newer business owners, that seems like a ton. And I really see it as my responsibility to make sure that they’re getting everything that they can for that. So 3,500 is kind of that starting price point, but then I’m currently working with a coach who sells workshops and higher ticket offers, and his website copy needs to do more conversion centric work. So his quote was a lot higher than that.
So I like leaving myself a little bit of that flexibility to say, “Here’s where it starts. Here’s what makes it worth my time. And then here’s where we can take it from there.”
Kira: I want to hear even more about just what your business looks like today, as far as your team. I know you have at least one team member. What is your team structure look like? And then where are you spending most of your time throughout the week? Is it focusing heavily on the marketing side of it? Or is it on the client work or something else? How do you break that down?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, I had heard so much about hiring a VA and so I put together a job description. I shared it on social media and ironically, my wedding planner shared the post. And I ended up hearing from a girl that went to the same middle school as me and she works in marketing, but she wasn’t a freelancer or business owner or anything like that, but she wanted to learn more specifically about copywriting and copy editing.
And I loved that because I saw it kind of as an opportunity to have her come in and be a little bit of a Jack of all trades. To be able to help me out with some of the admin, but also help me out with client editing and editing my work. And so she serves as a VA, a project manager, an editor. She kind of has a pretty multifaceted role and we just have a base number of hours per month. And then it just kind of goes up from there, depending on how much is needed.
And she’ll check in with me and be like, “Hey, I’m here at hours for the month,” what have. But it’s been great to have that flexibility with her and has really made a difference when I need to be spending my time focused on client work, but let’s say there’s new leads in my inbox, or I want to get an email out to our list the next day. It’s been great being able to just write down some bullet points and then she’ll draft the email for me, I’ll do extensive editing on it.
She’ll load it into the email marketing provider. And it allows me to spend maybe 20, 30 minutes on something that would have otherwise taken a lot longer than that. And I can continue focusing on client work and how I’m trying to develop and continue to move the business forward. So I would say I spend most of my time on client work at this point. And I think that comes from continuing to overstretch my calendar a little bit every month.
I’m like, “This is going to be the month that I have a lot more flexibility,” and it rarely happens. It’s not a bad problem to have at all, but yeah. So mainly client work and kind of getting deliverables off and those deliverables are usually the Google doc for the brand messaging style guide. And then we do also pair it with a final PDF deliverable, as well as the full Google doc of their website copy. Those are the main deliverables essentially.
And then we always kind of follow it up with a client off-boarding guide. So they know what to do with those documents and where to go from there.
Rob: And are most of your projects just one-time projects or do you work with clients on an ongoing basis?
Kaitlyn: Mainly one-time projects, but I do have repeat clients that then later come back as their business has developed. And we have a very small, bit of availability for content clients. Both of which we had done website copy for in the past. And now we help them a little bit with editing some of their blog posts, like repackaging blog posts and to email newsletters. And that’s an area that my project manager helps out with a lot.
I personally have just always been someone who enjoys more of the project work. I just feel like that’s where I do some of my best work. That’s where I feel most creative. I love almost just being able to empower the client to establish that set of language. And once they have that, it’s like the light bulbs go off, and they are excited to then go and figure out how to do some of it on their own. And you see this kind of newfound confidence come through in them. So that’s rewarding for me.
And then a lot of times they will later come back once their businesses grown and they’re maybe developing a new product or service, and they want help kind of positioning it or repackaging it. So some of it is repeat, but the core of it is project work.
Rob: And then I’m assuming that most of your clients today from social media, because your Instagram game is so strong, is that true? Or do you have another source for clients and how has that changed over time? How did you get your first clients versus how you’re doing it today?
Kaitlyn: Yeah. I do track where everybody comes from through my CRM and the majority of it is from Instagram and word of mouth. Word of mouth is probably first, Instagram is probably second. And then somehow I do also get people direct from Google. I don’t necessarily know what search trail people went down to find that. I do know, ironically, I just discovered this yesterday, that I do show up on the first page for wine copywriter, and I have worked with two wine brands, but I don’t necessarily position myself as a wine copywriter, I’m a copywriter with a wine themed brand.
But anyways, so those are the three main ways. And I think initially my first client came from a word of mouth referral from a college friend. And then from there I got a few from Facebook groups. So I was in just all kinds of different Facebook groups for branding and design and people would post and say, “Hey, I’m looking for a copywriter.” And because as a copywriter, I always focused on trying to make my own website copy really strong, so that people will land on my website and be like, “Oh, I want this person to write it for me.”
That’s just how I’ve always seen websites. And that’s why I invested so much in mine, because if someone is asking you to… If someone is trusting you with their brand, they want to see it in action. So I was able to get quite a few clients from those kinds of Facebook posts and such. And then usually after working with them, when it was a good experience, I would get one to two referrals from there, and then my Instagram has slowly grown over time.
I don’t have 10,000 followers. I don’t have some double-digit amount of followers, but because it’s been a slow growth, I do have high engagement. And I feel like I have close relationships with the people that do come in and end up following along. So that has worked really well. And I think it’s easy to get discouraged because we see so many people these days who do have huge followings, but I try to look at it in the sense where… I mean, honestly, I think I have like 3,700 followers, not a huge amount, but that’s a lot of people.
Kira: That’s a lot of people.
Kaitlyn: That’s a lot of people.
Kira: That’s a big party. That’s a big party.
Kaitlyn: Yes, like, if you think about how many people that would be in real life standing in front of you, raising their hand saying, “I’m here to listen to what you have to say.” So that’s what I try to like… Every time I go to post, I’m picturing those people standing in front of me and how would I want to talk to them in real life and how would I want to serve them? And how would I want to make them feel value rather than like, “Oh, there’s not that many people here, so I’m not going to take this super seriously.” I took it serious from day one. And I think that that has helped with that kind of being an engine of traffic and of referrals for me.
Kira: Just to go back to the social media and then I’ll ask my other question. But how often are you posting and showing up on Instagram?
Kaitlyn: A few times a week.
Kira: So it’s not every day?
Kaitlyn: No, it’s not every day. And there’s so many people who will say, you need to be posting every single day. And since day one of doing social media, I’ve always subscribed to quality over quantity. And I think because I try to make things so value driven that I just…. If I don’t feel like I would like a post that I’m about to throw up there, or I don’t have something valuable to say, I would rather wait a day or two until I feel kind of in a better space about what I’m sharing.
So yeah, I try not to stress it and I just make sure as long as I am being consistent, consistent doesn’t necessarily mean every single day, it just means a regular cadence of showing up on that platform. So that’s more of the goal and the way that I approach it.
Kira: Okay. So clearly you’re doing a lot of things right in your business. Other than showing up on Instagram and really doing that well, what is something else or the other thing that you’ve done to really up level your business? What surprised you the most that’s worked the best to move your business forward?
Kaitlyn: Shortly before I left my full-time job at the marketing agency that I was at, I did go through Copyhackers 10x freelancer program. And that was really helpful in terms of just making sure that I had the systems and the foundation in place and allowing me to feel confident in what I was doing, not just as a copywriter, but as a business owner. Because that affects the experience that clients have just as much.
Especially when they’re already looking to you as the expert. They already think that you know way more about copywriting, than they do, but they notice when there are gaps in communication in the process, or when things don’t feel as fluid or as seamless as they should. So I loved going through that program and then spending time making sure that I was kind of refining things along the way. And my project manager and I are still refining that process constantly. I don’t think it’s ever set in stone. But that was huge for me.
And then tapping into in-person relationships. I mean, I still feel I’m benefiting from having gone to TCC IRL, that was just instrumental in being able to connect with other copywriters. And I went to another in person event, I think back in August, and that was awesome too. Because it’s just, you meet people in real life and those relationships are instantly so much stronger than what could take you months to kind of buildup on social media. And those people end up being your cheerleaders who are watching you from afar.
And talking about you and inviting you to do things and coming up with collaborations together. So just the relationships both with peers, with other business owners and definitely with other designers has made a huge impact for me.
Rob: So you mentioned TCC IRL, our event that happened last March, right before everything kind of fell apart. And we had the pleasure of meeting you there. You did something differently from almost any other attendee while you were there. And I want to ask you about it. You took, I think it was 37 pages of notes and then posted them online to share them. Why did you do that? And what were some of the takeaways that you had as you listened to each of the speakers?
Kaitlyn: Well, I was sitting there, I guess on the first day taking notes in a notebook and I… First of all, this is so random, but I hate my handwriting. So I just never go back and look at notes that I take on paper. And Mike Kim, after his talk, he mentioned how he would take notes from an event and then send them out. And I was like, that is a genius idea, because my audience would appreciate this. I will gain value from this. I can take notes and share them with my VA because that’s a huge part of me in trying to constantly train her. I want her to be getting as much out of this position and feeling like she’s growing.
So once I started, it was like, I couldn’t stop. I was halfway through. And I was like, “Well, I have to take notes for every single one.” And so by the end of it, it was 37 pages. And I packaged it up pretty much right away, and just added a landing page to my website and checked in with you guys to make sure that you guys were comfortable with that. And yeah, set it up as a lead generator and then a blog post as well, that kind of shared more of my takeaways.
I thought it was a great idea. I thought it was a great way to share with other people. And yeah, it was fun. And I’m glad I did it. I’m glad that I have it to look back on.
Kira: Yeah. And just to dig deeper into that, was there a specific takeaway that you did implement in your business that you’ve already seen the benefits of, or a couple takeaways that you’ve implemented?
Kaitlyn: I really liked a lot of the themes just about diversifying and pivoting. I feel like so much of what we talked about at TCC IRL was what everyone else in the world was talking about a month or two later, as coronavirus has continued to develop. And I feel like there are… And Kira your talk specifically, that was just really, really helpful and clear and breaking down, like having different revenue streams. And I think I’ve experienced that myself a little bit where if I’m just cranking out brand messaging guides and websites, it’s inevitable that I’m going to reach a point where I feel kind of exhausted.
So I had already kind of had two templates in a shop on my site and soon after TCC IRL, I then developed an email welcome sequence because that’s something that’s kind of that natural next step, after somebody has a website copy, then they’re like, “Oh, but now I need a nurture sequence for when people are actually subscribing to my list.” And sometimes clients are willing to pay me one on one and invest in that right after a website copy project. And some just don’t quite have the budget for it yet.
So I thought that was like a great template that I could kind of immediately get out. So I launched that I think right at the beginning of April. So after I finished my 37 pages of notes, I was working on developing that template on the plane and had a successful little mini launch. I didn’t even really send out a ton of emails to my list for it, but that went well. And then I’ve also started developing a guided group training program, which the two of you were super helpful in helping me think through post-conference as well. So I’m excited about that.
I feel like I have a few of the pieces in place of just allowing my signature package and my services to be that engine of my business, but also have those other things that allow me to continue to bring income in without taking away the same amount of time investment on my end. So that was a huge takeaway for me. And I think the other one was just, again, coming back to relationships and seeing how different every copywriter is and how everyone loves doing something slightly different or working with a slightly different client.
So that was just really cool to hear and just again reminded you to tap into that abundance mindset where there’s room for everyone and we can all be friends in this and we can share ideas and people are more willing to help than you may even think that they are.
Kira: So it’s easy to listen to this interview, Kaitlyn, and feel like Kaitlyn’s got it all together. She’s doing everything so well.
Rob: Yeah, right?
Kira: And you are, you’re making some great decisions and excelling in different areas. Can you talk about the hard stuff and where you’ve struggled over the past year or so as a businessperson, maybe even as a writer? Tell us all the dark step.
Kaitlyn: Oh yeah. I mean perception is a funny thing of course, but behind the scenes. I mean I have the same challenges that any copywriter, any business center does. And it can be overwhelming and exhausting when you feel like you’re being faced with all the things. And I think in proportion to me working on growing and diversifying my business, I’m being presented with the fact that then it’s maintaining all of those new and additional things.
So what initially feels like a great way to lessen your work becomes a way of increasing your work. So the days that I feel like, “Okay, I’m going to have this whole Friday to just work on what I want to work and step away.” I’m finding myself still up against deadlines or just managing the work and creating boundaries and balance in my life and balancing personal health which the quarantine has helped a little bit with.
My husband and I have gotten better about working out regularly, which is vital for me. I was an athlete in college and always used to go for a run and then come home and feel like I could write out a whole blog post. So I know when I’m not moving that my writing suffers, my mindset suffers. So trying to put structure in place in my day to day. And then I think the other one, which also was touched on a lot at TCC IRL is imposter syndrome.
And I so badly want to roll my eyes at that and be like, “I don’t struggle with that. No, that’s not a thing for me,” but I really resonate… I think it’s Maya Angelou, her quote where she talks about like, she’s written all these books and each time she thinks like, “Oh no, they’re going to find out now, I’ve run a game on everybody,” and I feel that way sometimes too. It’s like you could have all the testimonials in the world and you could have proof of your work, and it’s that next client that you’re like, “What if I disappoint them? Or what if another copywriter looks at my work and they think it’s garbage? What do I do then?”
So yeah, I struggle with the same head junk that everybody else does. And I’m constantly learning. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve tried to really focus on creating space for reflection and each month knowing that anything is game to either pivot or be improved or be scratched. So I think that’s helped me not stay too attached or too gripping of something and continue moving forward.
Rob: So do you do anything out of the ordinary to balance your time? Make sure that you’re managing projects so that they finish on time, you’re creating enough personal space for yourself.
Kaitlyn: We use Trello pretty heavily for managing projects. And so I just make sure that I always know what those dates are. My calendar isn’t open Monday through Friday for client calls. I take Fridays off of client calls. I used to take Mondays off for client calls, but then I swapped that with Tuesday once I introduced the day rate. But I have at least two days on my calendar where I should not have any client calls. So that is kind of that breathing space where if, say on a Wednesday, I’ve had three client calls, I was talking to my project manager, I had emails come in.
If I feel like I got nothing done and I’m strapped against a deadline, I know that I’m going to at least have a full day or so to chip away at it and get it done. So I try to never miss deadlines. I’m obviously an imperfect human and I just lean on communication. But I think kind of setting up a system on the front end, a system that we’ve changed multiple times has definitely helped with making sure that we get it done as well as leaving those holes in my calendar where I know I’ll have time for myself.
Kira: Okay. So I’d love to hear… We’ve asked this question before, what does the future of copywriting look like to you?
Kaitlyn: I like this question a lot and I’ve heard it on the podcast before and I mean thankfully we’ll always need language. We’ll always need words to communicate. So I love that we have some form of built a job security with that. But I do think we’ll continue to need to lean into tech a little bit, and whether that’s helping clients figure out how to use things, or I’ve tried to make wireframing and visual elements a really big part of my process.
Using different tools like Drift Chat boxes and all of these things that just help make not only the words that we’re doing, but bring in some of those other elements like psychologically that we know help work or that trip up our clients when they go to kind of implement their copy themselves. And then I think, yeah, just being open to diversified offers. So being a copywriter who maybe also positions themselves as an educator, or a coach, or a speaker.
Because you’re always going to have some people who want to write it themselves, or who have an internal department that is going to write it themselves. So it’s kind of being that almost, I guess thought leader in a way is, I would think would be kind of really the goal where people kind of can grow into. But I don’t necessarily see copywriting changing too much, if anything just continuing to become more and more in demand.
And again, I think this quarantine has shown that as people are having to transition their businesses, maybe they’re used to in person sales meetings, and sales calls. And now all of a sudden they have to be able to translate all of that into online copy, to get people to come on their webinar and attend their event and all of this stuff. So I think the future of copywriting is very bright and I’m excited to be a copywriter and excited to know a whole community of copywriters.
Rob: Yeah, we’re glad that you’ve been part of our community and grateful for you taking the time to share really the nuts and bolts of your business. This has been a great episode and a good look inside of how an effective copywriting business works. So Kaitlyn, if somebody wants to connect with you or find you, where should they go?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, they can definitely find me on Instagram @copyuncorked or on the website at Copy Uncorked. I am also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, all of those. But the one that I focus on the most is Instagram and the website.
Kira: All right. Thank you, Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, thank you guys both so much. It’s been great being on here. I appreciate it.
Rob: You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available on iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.