TCC Podcast 23: Connecting with Players with Shanelle Mullin - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast 23: Connecting with Players with Shanelle Mullin

Shanelle Mullin, copywriter and content curator for ConversionXL joins The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira and Rob talk to talk about what copywriters really need to know about testing, how she picked her career path at the age of 15, what writers can do to network more effectively at conferences like CXL Live (where Shanelle plays a big role) and how she has connected with so many “big names” online. After the last marathon episode, this one is a more reasonable length. Lots to learn here…

Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Sponsor: AirStory Life Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Marketing
Habbo Hotel
Rene Warren
Joanna Wiebe
Gary V
Tim Ferris
Peep Laja
Talia Wolf
ConversionXL Live
ConversionXL Institute
A/B Testing Mastery
Psychological Backfiring
Buying Modalities
Oli Gardner
Sean Ellis
Jared Spool
Krista Seiden
Joel Klettke
Shanelle’s twitter
Kira’s website

Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Outro: Gravity

Full Transcript:

Kira: The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at

Rob: What if you could hang out with the seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes 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 23 as we chat with copywriter and content creator Shanelle Mullin about choosing a career at the ripe old age of 15, taking risks, conversion optimization, analytics, and curating content for fast-growing startups like Onboardly and ConversionXL.

Rob: Hey, Kira, Shanelle.

Shanelle: Hey guys.

Kira: Hi. Thanks for joining us, Shanelle.

Shanelle: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Kira: Great place for us to start is with an article you recently published, I believe you recently published it, on Medium entitled Life Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Marketing. It was a great read and I know you mention that you really got into marketing at the age of 15. I would love to start there and find out what compelled you to jump into this world of marketing at such a young age?

Rob: Yeah, what kind of a kid thinks, “Hey, I know what I’m ready to do already”?

Shanelle: Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of a weird story. I was probably 13 at the time and I was playing a game called Habbo Hotel, which if you’re not familiar …

Kira: What is that game?

Shanelle: You create like a little pixel avatar of yourself and then you walk around this hotel and you can chat with people from around the world and you can collect furniture and play games and it was really fun when I was 13 and I was obsessed with it.

Kira: Wait, it sounds fun right now. I kind of want to play.

Rob: Check into that.

Shanelle: Yeah. I decided to look into other people who were making these mini-Habbo Hotels and they were basically just teenagers like me and they were all hanging out on this forum. I joined this forum and I just ended up talking to them and getting to know some of the marketing people and I had no idea what marketing was of course because I was 13. They just explained it to me like simple price, product, placement, and promotion terms and I was like, “That sounds amazing,” for some reason. I started reading about it and by the time I was 15 I had gotten my first marketing gig, which was exciting.

Rob: Where do you go to from there? You know, you’re 15, you’ve basically started your career. Tell us the rest of the story. What happens? How does it unfold over the next few years?

Shanelle: Yeah, so I actually started working for the guy who ran this forum that I was part of. His name was Jonathan Volk and he was just starting out in affiliate marketing. He was basically learning everything he could from his dad and then coming back and teaching me what he learned from his dad. Then him and I and another designer guy, Dan Walker, teamed up and we were taking over the affiliate marketing world and before too long, Johnny had become like a super affiliate they were called. If you were making a ton of money from affiliate marketing, you were considered a super affiliate. I worked for him for about three years and then he decided to get into e-commerce and I wanted to go to school, so we parted ways there. Basically after that I had the good fortune of being able to say that I had worked with him, which got me a lot of yeses from people who I was looking to do freelance work with and then it spiraled from there.

Kira: I know just reading your article, it sounds like a lot of people along the way, a lot of influential marketers have picked you and chosen you and mentored you and really helped advance your career. I know you’ve also dealt with a lot of rejections along the way as well. I guess I’m just wondering what did you do to attract those people along the way at every point along your career?

Shanelle: I really wish that I knew. I would love to be able to tell people how I stumbled into the amazing, amazing relationships with people who were so willing to help me out in different times in my life, it just seemed like the right person at the right time where they’re giving me the advice that I needed exact moment. It was all very random. I met Johnny again just through that forum. I later met Renee Warren who runs Onboardly, which you mentioned earlier. I met her because she was listed on Klout’s 10 most influential tweeters in Toronto and I followed her. A couple of years ago I was in her bachelorette party in Miami. It just spiraled out from there.

I guess if I was going to pick linking factor the only thing I can link, Joanna from Copy Hackers introduced me to at least two of the people that I feel really guided me. I guess just become friends with Joanna.

Kira: Everyone, hang out with Joanna.

Rob: That’s not bad advice. It seems like you do reach out to people. You’re not afraid to see an opportunity and say, “Hey, choose me. I’m interested in this.” I think you’ve done that several times through your career. You’re really good at saying, “Hey, look, give me a chance.” Am I wrong about that?

Shanelle: No. I don’t think so. I’ve tried to just hang out with the type of people that I want to become and be very forthcoming with what I’m looking to achieve in the next few years and just telling as many people who will listen. I think it’s just worked out that I’ve met the right people at the right time just being aggressive with what I want to achieve. Also, I think a lot of people who are looking for mentors, they’re looking for Gary V types or like Tim Ferriss and those people don’t really have the time. Not that you should … I guess not really you should be going around asking people to mentor you anyway, just kind of seems to happen for the most part.

They’re after people who are way, way further along in their career. I’ve had the most success with people who are definitely, definitely smarter than you and have more experience than you but who are not so crazy busy that they can’t even make time to give you the advice that you’re looking for or offer any sort of assistance.

Kira: I want to squeeze in two questions right here. How, other than walking up to these people and saying, “Can you mentor me?” which is probably a scary question because people do think, “Oh my goodness it means I’m going to have to hang out with this person to give them this much of my time.” How do you ease into that so that they want to help you and that it’s an ongoing relationship and you can benefit from it and they can benefit from it but it’s not anything as formal as calling it a mentorship?

Shanelle: Yeah. I think that’s the thing exactly, making it a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, Johnny and Renee are good examples. Both of them took a huge chance on me. I didn’t know very much about the type of marketing I was doing with either of them when I first started and they just assumed that I’d be able to catch up. I was billing them for a certain amount of hours and I was spending an additional 20-30 hours a week learning the things that I was doing. It was kind of being in a position where you feel like you’re helping them as well. I was really hustling to learn the things that they needed me to learn and needed me to do. I was putting in that extra work.

Then when I was built up to a level where I was performing where I should be, other people started coming in and saying, “Hey, can I hire you?” At that point it’s kind of saying no to those opportunities and sticking with them and helping them the way that they helped you and not leaving them in a position where they feel like they gave you everything that they could and you didn’t give them very much in return.

Rob: I really like that advice because I’ve had something similar where I’ve had somebody in the very beginning of my writing career took a chance on somebody who had never written anything and hired me into a job. I don’t know that it’s necessarily rare to have those kinds of people but it is so helpful when somebody’s there to give that lift.

Shanelle: Absolutely.

Kira: You mentioned that two people … You mentioned Joanna introduced you to two people that have influenced you the most. I’d like to know who those people are and what lesson you took from both of those relationships that may help the copywriters listening.

Shanelle: Yeah, Joanna introduced me via email, a very long time ago, to Peep actually, who I work for now. She also introduced me a couple of years ago now at CTA conference to Talia Wolf, and both of those people have been super helpful to me, very open with advice and leading me in the right direction. Peep, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from Peep by far is just because you want to be nice to someone doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be opinionated, which is something that I don’t think I really knew before.

I was very concerned with being nice and being friendly and I didn’t realize that you could also have a strong opinion or be aggressive about something that you feel or something that you think or something that you think should happen without compromising that friendly factor. Everyone who knows Peep knows he’s a guy who calls your bullshit. He’s very straightforward, very blunt, but he’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I learned how to strike that balance from him.

Then from Talia, I think the biggest thing I took away from any work I’ve done with her so far is, to stop being sad about what I haven’t achieved yet and start to appreciate what I’ve achieved so far, which was a very difficult thing for me to learn up until now. I’ve always been focused on what is next and I haven’t really been able to take the time to appreciate what I have now or what I’ve accomplished now. It kind of becomes a hamster wheel of always achieving more and you haven’t really done anything until you’ve done this or until you crossed this line but then the line keeps moving forward and it just creates a cycle of unhappiness.

Rob: That’s really ironic because as we’ve mentioned, you’re very young, most people your age are just graduating from college, they’ve got student loans. They’re maybe working their first jobs and you’re way down a career path that a lot of people would be jealous of.

Shanelle: Thank you. Thank you.

Kira: As far as ambition, I know in your article as well, you mentioned that a friend of yours told you to get comfortable with the discomfort of always wanting more. It’s the price of ambition and that goes along with what you were saying but I think it is challenging for many of us, and I know it is for myself, because if you are an ambitious person, you just constantly want and you’re working hard and you don’t really slow down. I want to hear a little bit more about how you have dealt with that and how you can use ambition for good and positive energy rather than letting it really drain you or hurt you or hurt your relationships because it could go either way.

Shanelle: Yeah, ambition was definitely hurting not only me but my relationships as well for probably the first eight to nine years of my career. I was so focused on work all the time and I still am but there was absolutely no balance. I bought into the work life integration where they should just complement each other and they should to an extent but think that term was kind of being used to push people into just working more. You know, I bought into the unlimited vacation where no one actually took vacation and it was like a competition to see who could take the least amount of vacation. I bought into hustle and Gary V always on. You know what I mean?

I just thought that that’s what we’re supposed to do and that’s what you had to do to really succeed. I didn’t have any other role models outside of that specific model and then I started probably when I was 23 or 24, my friends who were about 10 years older than me started having kids and I started seeing them having a happy family and a happy wife or husband and also a booming career and I said, “Okay, you can have other aspects of your life that aren’t just work and you can succeed at all of them.” Then I started thinking, “Well, what am I doing wrong?” It turns out a lot of things. I was doing a lot of things wrong.

I had to work really hard to thawing that down, I still am. This is probably the first year I would say that I’m really dedicated, fully from start to finish to having any sort of balance, working for CXL has helped a lot. They’re a European company by nature so they have a lot more vacation days. They’re generally a very family focused company. A lot of people are parents so they understand. The balance shouldn’t be favored towards work, it should be doing really well at work and then also having a life and feeling satisfied in that aspect as well. Just generally the company culture has helped a lot and seeing people who I admire who are doing kind of everything, those have both been really positive for me.

Rob: Let’s talk more about doing what you’re doing for ConversionXL now. They’re a startup, they’re a great agency doing some really fun things in the conversion space. I think you have more than one role, if I’m not mistaken. Tell us about some of the things that you’re doing there.

Shanelle: Yeah. I do content and growth, 50% random growth projects and 50% content. Day to day I probably focus on blog posts for the blog. I also right now I am doing a lot of promotion for CXL Live, which is our conference coming up in April. I also do growth experiments for CXL Institute, our CRO training program. Basically anything in terms of experimentation on the growth side or content side but will drive Institute signups, drive traffic to the blog, or ticket sales or agency leads. I do do a little bit of everything, yeah.

Kira: With the Institute, what is offered there that is relevant to copywriters that are listening that could really help them or give them an edge? Anything specific would be really interesting to include.

Shanelle: Essentially, it’s a training program from start to finish. We do cover copywriting in the foundations track but it goes through everything, whether it’s general optimization, A/B testing. I think for me, coming from an agency background, the biggest thing has been how to sell CRO, which I think would apply to how to sell copywriting to an extent. Also, the section on program management where they talk about getting internal buy-in. From the people that I talk to who do copywriting full time, they have trouble sometimes getting buy-in from the entire company. Perhaps one person at the company but maybe their boss or their boss’ boss don’t believe in it or don’t support it as much. I think that that would probably be the biggest section, assuming that they already are well-versed in testing, which I guess would be another big benefit.

Rob: A lot of writers talk about conversion copywriting or using analytics with their business but I have a sense that a lot of that is just talk, Shanelle. What do you think writers need to know about … get serious about analytics and conversions to really make a difference for their clients?

Shanelle: I think probably conversion research is the foundation of most copywriting. They’ll come in, they’ll do really extensive research, they like the copy, and in my experience they’ll more or less be done. Usually, I think that they should come back and look at the numbers, look at the before and after, and Google Analytics is full of information of course. I think that a lot of people miss most of that information because they’re not segmenting. That’s probably my biggest piece of advice for anyone who’s using Google Analytics is to really segment your data and look at how the people who viewed this landing page or whatever you’ve written the copy for, how they then behaved afterwards. A lot of the times the clients that you’re working with aren’t exclusively interested in one conversion and sometimes talking about how your copy helped drive other types of conversion can be helpful as well.

Kira: It sounds like the opportunity for copywriters is to not only do the research and do the copy but circle back with the client and continue to provide the consulting and strategy piece around the analytics to create an ongoing relationship with that client. Is that right or would you add anything to that?

Shanelle: Right, yeah. Especially if you are looking to continuously work for the same client. I think going back and making sure that you’re measuring what you did, not only for yourself so you can pass that onto future clients and use your case studies but also so you can use it with that client and say, “Okay, here’s the conversion rate you got last time. Here’s the conversion rate you had before, so this is the difference that I’ve personally made.” Then you con continuously work towards beating that conversion rate and optimizing from there.

Rob: You seem to have this window on conversion. It’s almost a perfect view of what’s going on in an agency that’s doing some really high level work in conversions. Tell us some of the things that you’ve learned in working with the folks there at the CXL agency and Peep and some of the others.

Shanelle: I don’t do a ton of work on the agency side and by a ton I mean almost none. What I did when I first started, Peep brought me in for a conversion research project, which was probably the most beneficial thing that I could’ve done in the first few months of working there. I’d done conversion research before but I had never done it from start to finish with user testing and heat maps and scroll maps and click maps and qualitative research and everything that falls under the umbrella of conversion research. I had never done it all for one client from start to finish. That really helped inform everything that I learned from that point on.

I would say the other thing that I really learned so far from working at CXL is statistics. I didn’t know a lot about statistics before and obviously that means I probably wouldn’t have been able to run a very smart test or at least not a correct test or proper test. When I first started out, Alex Birkett was hired for the same role about two months or three months before me and he was very interested in the stat side of things, so he was writing a lot of articles on it and I wasn’t. I was writing a lot of articles on copywriting and persuasion and UX and that sort of thing.

I was secretly reading all of his articles and getting all of his research that he had done and learning all that. I think that’s really helped because I wasn’t really aware of what I didn’t know. I was like, “Okay, I’ll just plug it into the tool and that’s what you do. You wait for it to be statistically significant and then you call it a day.” I didn’t know anything about sample pollution. I didn’t know anything about attribution or just general stats so I could understand my results and really analyze them. I would say those are the two biggest things that have really 10xed my learning.

Rob: I have a feeling as soon as you start talking about statistics we may have just lost about half of our listeners.

Kira: They’re like, “Peace out.”

Rob: Yeah, exactly. Let’s dive into that just a little bit deeper. What are the basics that a copywriter needs to know about this stuff? If they’re truly doing conversion copywriting and really trying to help their clients improve their pages, tell us a few of the things that they really need to start learning about in order to do that well.

Shanelle: Basically, if you’re setting up any sort of test, if you’re testing B variation versus A variation of copy, you need to make sure that you’re doing it correctly. I think probably the most overlooked thing that people don’t realize is sample pollution, which really throws a wrench into a lot of tests and calculating your sample size upfront. If you’re going to run a test, you need to make sure that you’re reaching the correct amount of people. There’s a ton of calculators online that you can use so you don’t actually have to do the math, which was a big relief for me because the brief time I was in university, I was an English major. I was very relieved about the calculator.

You plug in basically your conversion rate and how much of an effect you want it to be able to detect and it’ll spit out how many people need to see each variation. That’s why, they say that a lot of people shouldn’t be running A/B test because they don’t have the traffic to satisfy the sample size that they need and you run into sample pollution when you let the test run for longer to accommodate that sample size that you need. Then you start to get external factors playing in like seasonal. Like if you were running something over the holidays or any sort of paid campaigns that you’re doing. People deleting their cookies and entering the test in a different variation.

If you are in the position to be A/B testing your copy or just testing it in general, anything about the page, you definitely need to calculate the sample size upfront and then being aware of the different types of sample pollution that can sneak in and trying to limit that as much as possible. Not necessarily pushing every client to do A/B testing because that also might not be the correct route, especially if they don’t have a lot of traffic.

Kira: For people who are listening and well, maybe they’ve stopped listening but they’re listening and they’re like, “This sounds great. I am not doing any of this but I want to get into testing and learn how to do it correctly.” What do you recommend they do or read to really learn more and start exploring that area with clients?

Shanelle: Yeah, Alex actually wrote a super, super in-depth article. It’s like A/B testing mastery. I would Google that with ConversionXL and read that. Oh, God, it’s like 4000 words of just really smart statistics stuff so you can really understand what you’re doing when you’re testing and it makes it a lot easier to analyze the results.

Rob: We’ll link to that in the show notes so that listeners don’t necessarily have to Google, they can actually just go to the webpage and click to that along with a lot of the other things that you’ve mentioned, Shanelle.

Shanelle: Awesome.

Rob: I’m really interested in the writing that you’re doing for ConversionXL these days, Shanelle. I’ve read a bunch of your articles. In fact, I think you write almost exclusively for them now. Every time I read one of your articles, I’m like, “Dang.” Not only is it well written but it’s like I learn something every time. I want to talk a little bit about your research process and just where do you go to come up with the ideas that you write? How do you go about researching them? How long does it take you to write the articles out and then what are you doing to promote that so that you’re growing your audience?

Shanelle: That’s a lot of questions, Rob.

Rob: Yeah. If you could take the next 30 minutes.

Kira: That was 10 questions.

Rob: Yeah, that would be great.

Shanelle: Admittedly, I haven’t so far been doing as much SEO research as I should do, so I’m trying to get into that right now. For the most part, up until now, I’ve just been finding topics that I’m personally interested in. I’m fortunate enough that in most cases, I’m more or less the audience that I’m writing to and generally I’m writing for the people that are in the slack groups and Facebook groups. I have that advantage that some people don’t always have. I’ll Normally be reading a book or a blog article and I’ll pull out a piece of it and I’ll say, “That would be an interesting topic.”

Sometimes I already know about it but my favorite articles to write are the ones that I don’t know a lot about and they’re definitely the more research intensive ones take a lot longer to write. It could be the difference of like a three hour article if it’s something that I know a lot about or a six to seven hour article if it’s something I’m learning basically from the beginning. That’s point that we’re at now at CXL where we’ve already covered the high level stuff so we’re really digging into niche topics and concepts so it does happen quite often that I don’t know very much about what I’m writing about.

I just get to basically research it, write it down as I learn it, then reformat for the blog sphere and put it out there. Generally, I try to keep it actionable. I want to write down everything that I found the most interesting or the most helpful and most actionable. That’s generally the writing process. In terms of promotion, it really depends on the article. We write for everyone from the one person or two person agency that does CRO for the clients to optimizers at Google. It really depends on the type of audience we’re trying to reach with the content and then I’ll choose where I’m going to promote it based on that.

Kira: As far as getting engagement with those articles, have you found any trends as far as which articles get the most attention and the most comments, as far as structure and even the way that you style it and create the content so that it pops and keeps people reading? I feel like that is our challenge is just how do you keep people reading the article or whatever, reading the sales page, whatever it is?

Shanelle: Generally, it’s not really the type of article, it’s more the nature of it. I’ve found that the more controversial the article that I’m writing the better. Not a lot of people will stop and comment just to tell me that it was a great article. Maybe on Twitter or Facebook but not on the actual blog itself. I wrote an article a while ago about psychological backfiring, how a lot of psychology cannot easily be applied online, even though people are taking academic theories and applying it online and just assuming that it’ll work online as well and how actually a lot of the times it’s backfiring for people and how to prevent that or how to limit it.

I also wrote an article about the buying modalities and how they’re based on Myers Briggs, which is based on basically nothing. That was a little bit controversial that got some engagement on it. Yeah, I mean, that’s what I would say, it’s the nature of the article. Like my how to articles, I think get the most attention in terms of people reading them because they’re the most actionable but in terms of getting people to comment, it’s definitely things that make people have an opinion about it and not just, “Oh, this was good and helpful. Thank you.”

Rob: I think curate quite a bit of content as well, reaching out to people and probably have people reaching out to you wanting to post content on the CXL blog. What do you look for in a writer that is going to write for ConversionXL? What are the ones that you publish doing right?

Shanelle: Typically, we look for practitioners. That’s generally the best sign that it’s going to be a good article. Anyone who identifies as a content person in general, probably doesn’t know the most about what they’re writing, with the exception of a copywriter writing about copywriting of course. Somebody who works for a content agency is likely just trying to get the back link and will have to do a lot of research for basic things it’ll involve a lot more editing than somebody who does it day to day. Those are the people that we usually work with. It’s actually easier to help somebody with their writing side of things when they know a lot about the subject matter than it is to help somebody with the subject matter when they know how to wrote a good article or make it sound really nice, if that makes sense.

Rob: Yeah, it does.

Kira: Shanelle, you already mentioned the upcoming conference, the CXL event, and I’d like to hear more about it. Well, Rob and I both attended last year and had a great time, probably too much fun. I want to hear more about, especially for people who have never been there, what can they expect, and then the other question is just how can you really maximize an event like CXL as a copywriter to find clients, to build relationships? What have you seen people do and copywriters do that has worked really well?

Shanelle: CXL Live is coming up in April. It’s going to be from the fifth to the seventh in San Antonio, Texas, which I’m very excited because I’m a huge Spurs fan. I’m a bad Canadian, I’m not a Raptors fan. It’s a three day growth and optimization event where everyone stays together in the same resort, which is probably the coolest part of the whole event is that we’re all trapped there, nobody leaves. You kind of have to make friends and make real relationships, not just, “Oh, that was an interesting session.” The parties are super fun. There’s a party every night after the event. There’s a pre-party. There’s a optional fun day afterwards.

I’ve been to quite a few events now and I know I’m biased and I’m supposed to say this but genuinely from the bottom of my heart, it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a conference. Last year was my first year. I’m really excited to go again this year. I’m really excited about the speakers that are coming this year. I thought last year I was like, “Oh, let’s just invite the same people back. They were so cool. Let’s just do that again.” We somehow ended up creating a lineup that is just as cool, if not even cooler. Joanna is coming back again, which is exciting. She’s doing her …

Kira: So everyone can become friends with her.

Shanelle: Yes, yes. Yes, exactly. She has her own talk this year. Last year she was on a copywriting panel with a couple of other copywriters. I’m excited to see that. Oli Gardner’s going to be there, Sean Ellis, Jared Spool. There’s a lot of in-house optimizers coming this year, which is exciting. We have Krista from Google, she’s an analytics advocate. It’s going to be a really fun event. I think, in terms of getting the most out of it, I have two extreme experiences with conferences.

One, I went to MozCon in 2014 and I was so, so shy. I was so reserved. I didn’t know what to do. I basically just showed up, it was my first conference ever and I felt so unsure of everything I was doing. I didn’t know if I could up go up to a table and just sit there. I’m like, “Do I have to ask people?” I don’t know what to do.

I think the only real relationship that I took away from that was Joel Klettke. Yeah, I met him there and the only reason I met him was because before the event, he was advertising that he was giving away laptop stickers for business casual copywriting. I was like, “Well, that looks like a cool sticker and I need to have one.” I went up and asked him for one and then we hung out a little bit in the airport because we were both Canadian and we’re in the same area. That was pretty much it. It wasn’t a good experience for me. I didn’t enjoy it, despite the content being fantastic, just the networking side of things, I didn’t enjoy it.

Then I went to CTA conference for a couple of years and that was drastically different. I knew a lot more people, I was much more outgoing. I was more myself, I guess. I ended up coming away with a lot of new contacts for content. I ended up with I believe with at least one small client for the agency, at the time, Onboardly. Lots of podcast opportunities, that sort of thing, for all of our clients. I was much more purposeful about why I was there and what I was hoping to get from it. I was also myself, I guess. It’s very PBS special kind of advice but not being so concerned about the image that I was portraying and just trying to be myself allowed me to make more genuine connections with people.

Then CXL Live last year was the first event I went to where I really didn’t know very many people. Even the CXL team, everyone from Estonia, I had never met. I had only really met Alex and Peep, so I was meeting a lot of them for the first time. Going to that and knowing to be myself and also to be purposeful about what I wanted to get from the conference, I think it went really, really well. I took all of the notes for the three days so that I could write really great articles when I came home. I wanted to make sure that I was talking to everyone who looked like they didn’t have a friend or they didn’t know people that were there …

Rob: So that’s why you walked up to me and introduced yourself.

Kira: It’s all coming together.

Rob: Yeah.

Kira: Poor Rob.

Shanelle: Yeah. I think just those two things would be …

Rob: Yeah, it is a great conference and I think, at least it looks like there will be several writers there. If you’re listening to this before the conference and you want to hang out with your tribe, Shanelle will be there, Kira will be there …

Kira: I’ll be there.

Rob: There’ll be some really good writers present and it should be a good time.

Kira: I just hung out with the writers. I don’t know if that’s bad or good or purposeful. I should be more purposeful to find clients but I just hung out with all the copywriters the entire time.

Shanelle: You guys were like a big group. They had names for you. They’re like, “Where are Joanna’s people? Where are the copywriters?”

Kira: Right.

Rob: That’s too funny. That’s funny. Shanelle, I have one last question for you. This might be sort of a strange question because you’re not all that old but if you were to talk to your 15-year-old self, knowing what you know now about becoming a writer and building a career, what advice would you give to Shanelle at 15?

Shanelle: I probably would tell myself that it’s okay for goals to change. When I was 15 I thought … I set this big 10 year goal for myself, which would’ve been right around now, to be a CMO.

Kira: Oh, wow.

Shanelle: Yeah. I thought was going to be the best thing ever. I thought that’s what I needed to be. Talking to people like Renee and her old business partner, Heather Ritchie, I learned that that is not at all what 23, 24 year old me wanted. I actually really didn’t like managing people very much and I wanted to do the work, not make it possible and empower other people to do the work. It took me a long time to accept that my goals were changing, that I didn’t want what I used to want. There was a lot of goals in between those 10 years that I was so rigid about because that’s what I said I was going to do, even though it was no longer what I needed or what was best for me.

Kira: Solid advice to that 15-year-old. Shanelle, as we wrap up, can you just share where we can all find you online?

Shanelle: Yeah. I’m on Twitter, @Shanelle_Mullin and then also the CXL blog. I’m usually blogging at least once a week.

Kira: I look forward to hanging out with you in Texas and yeah, spending more time with you.

Rob: It’s going to be fun.

Shanelle: Yeah, I’m really excited.

Kira: And that’s a wrap.

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 in 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, and full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit We’ll see you next episode.

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