TCC Podcast #93: From Gossip Columnist to Copywriter with Erica Strauss | The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #93: From Gossip Columnist to Copywriter with Erica Strauss

Copywriter Erica Strauss joins Kira and Rob for the 93rd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Erica is doing something a little different in her business than what most copywriters are doing… working with a direct sales company to add another revenue stream to her personal business. So far it’s working, and we wanted to know more. We also talked about:
•  how Erica started her copywriting career at age 10
•  what she learned about copywriting from working as a gossip columnist
•  why she decided NOT to finish her master’s degree
•  how Erica makes retainers work for her andher clients
•  what she typically charges for one of her projects
•  how she started copy coaching
•  the challenges of growing a copywriting business quickly
•  what she did to overcome the burnout that comes with so much work
•  how her business is shifting to include other income streams
•  what to consider if you’re interested in network marketing
•  how Erica connects with clients and gets to know their voice and stories
•  what she’s doing on Facebook Live and her tips for doing it well
•  why relationships are so important as copywriters
•  where her business is going from here
•  why she loves rap and EDM—and how it makes her a better write

We also talked about her processes and tips for writing taglines and naming products—and why she offers this service to her clients. And as we often do, we asked her about the future of copywriting. To hear what Erica had to share, click the play button below or scroll down for a full transcript.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Sponsor: AirStory Lisa Vanderpump
Marie Forleo
EricaLeeXO.com
Erica on Facebook
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Outro: Gravity

Full Transcript:

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 Airstory.co/club.

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

Rob:   What if you could hang out with 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 93 as we chat with copywriter and communications strategists Erica Lee Strauss about her stint as a gossip columnist. Helping entrepreneurs communicate their stories, burning out and finding a purpose, copy coaching and her love of EDM. Welcome Erica.

Rob:   Hey Erica.

Erica:Hi guys. Thanks for having me.

Rob:   We’re stocked to have you.

Kira:   Yeah, so Erica, let’s start with your story, how did you end up as a copywriter?

Erica:Oh my gosh you guys. Okay, so honestly I was one of those annoying little kids who always knew what they wanted to do. I was sending out manuscripts and God knows what they were like. I was sending out manuscripts at age 10. Actually started an online magazine back in the days of like AOL and CompuServe, and kind of had my first mailing list back then. Had a little mailing list of like, I guess it wasn’t so little, it was 2000 people.

I had a little online magazine and just always knew that I wanted to write or like wanted to do something. I thought it would be with editorial basically, I thought I would do something in magazines. I actually wrote my first article for a magazine at age 10, because somebody at Girls Life Magazine got wind of the fact that I was this 10 year old having this, writing this online magazine. They contacted me to write an article for their reader’s issue, and as soon as I saw my name in print, I was completely hooked. I just knew that that was going to be the thing, like I definitely was going to go down the magazine journalism path.

I did. I went to college for that, and it was kind of during that weird time where everyone wasn’t sure really what was going on. Like Facebook was just becoming popular, social media was becoming a thing and people were like print is dying and like newspapers are going to die and magazines are going to die and this whole sorts of things. I kind of switched gears and I decided, well I’ll just be an English major, and I’ll write poetry, because that’s clearly a better career path.

I made the switch and ended up graduating with a degree in English, but after that, I still was like okay, so I really did, my whole life I’d imagined I would do something with magazines, so I ended up just applying for different jobs through Craigslist. I found this job that was a work at home job as a celebrity gossip reporter. It was like some $15 an hour, nothing crazy at all, but I got to work from home and it was all online.

I ended up doing that. That was like my first big girl job, but because it wasn’t really like paying enough, I started looking in other areas. Like this is cool, I’m getting paid from this one company. How else can I expand this and maybe make more money? This was like when E-lance, I think maybe it had just popped up, and so yeah. I got on E-lance and started finding a couple other clients, and so I was juggling a couple of clients. I didn’t really even understand what copywriting was at that point, I just knew that I could write and I knew the editorial side of things. I took on a job like a side gig is like a fashion blogger and copywriter, because they wanted me to do their product descriptions and their email blasts.

I kind of like was earning as I learned about it and granted none of that really paid that much either. I eventually ended up taking a job in-house at a beauty brand and that’s where I really kind of learned what copy actually was. Started doing my research into it and kind of went from there.

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Rob:   I want to back up and talk a little bit more about being a gossip columnist. I have this sense, that to do that really well, you need to be at the club scene, and you need to be hanging out with the paparazzi.  How did you do it working from home? What did that involved and how did it make you a better writer?

Erica:You would think that, that’s what it was, but actually what a lot of these, even like TMZ and stuff. What we would do particularly at my website is, TMZ would actually go out there and get the story. Then we would re-report. I would have Google alerts for like, I had specific niches, so the Kardashians was one of mine and it was probably one of my favorites, because they had a lot going on and they always do. Keeping up with them is hard.

I would have those Google alerts and then literally just have to re-report that story within like a certain time frame. It was very like, yeah, I could work from home, but I was kind of, I had to be like on my phone. I had to be like in the know, so it wasn’t as cool as like going out and talking with celebrities and stuff. Although, I did have a couple celebrities re-tweet my stories. Sometimes they weren’t happy about them, but I think the thing about it and how it made me a better writer, which is a great question, is that, because I was writing about the same people and kind of the same things over and over, I had to find different ways to describe things and different ways to drop people. In like, how do you make people care about, I don’t know, Kim Kardashian’s hair for like five days in a row, if that’s like what people are reporting about? How do you do that?

It forced me to get really creative and it forced me to make things that maybe like weren’t necessarily that interesting, sound super, super interesting. Which I think, not that, that’s what we do as copywriters, but we want to make sure that things are intriguing to people, right? We want to entertain them in a way, and so I think it really taught me how to entertain people basically.

Kira:   You mentioned it, so who re-tweeted your gossip?

Erica:Lisa Vanderpump.

Kira:   Oh nice.

Erica:Yeah, she’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Kira:   Very cool.

Erica:Yeah.

Kira:   What was the best gossip that you ever reported that you were proud of today?

Erica:I don’t know if I’m proud of any of it, to be honest.  Some of it was fun, and you know, part of the reason I started looking for these other gigs, besides just the fact that it wasn’t like paying my rent and doing all that is that, I did feel like I needed some deeper meaning in what I was doing. Right, I’m like, this is cool and this is fun. It was fine for fresh out of college girl, but then I was like, there’s got to be more.

If I’m going to do something, I have to really believe in it, so I think that’s kind of where the disconnect was for me.

Rob:   That makes a lot of sense. I noticed on your website you talk about how you also have half of a Master’s degree. I love that you say that, because I think so many copywriters get hung up on credentials and needing to get the Master’s Degree or finishing things. You’re sort of out there saying, “You know what, I started it and it wasn’t the right direction and a retooled.” Will you talk a little bit about that, about not needing credentials and how you’ve gone forward using your skill set and just developing your career serendipitously in some ways?

Erica:Yeah. Yeah, half a Master’s degree, so that’s when I was in-house actually at the beauty brand. I was working full-time and decided I’ve just started working full-time. I’m like why don’t I start a master’s degree too, so I don’t know what I was thinking first of all. Second of all, it became this thing where I felt like I was really learning so much more, doing the actual work not only in-house, but I still did dabble with like freelance clients on the side.

I’m like, I’m learning so much more doing my own independent research granted, it gave me a very solid foundation. There were some things I probably never would have done. I took like an analytics class and things that I probably like needed to learn that I wouldn’t have on my own. I really felt like I was learning so much more just being in the trenches, working with clients, doing my own research online and like just finding my own resources.

I just think there’s so many ways to kind of self educate in that way with the Internet, that I couldn’t justify spending 20 grand every year on this master’s degree.

Kira:   I want to go fast forward to when you went out on your own and your business, in those early days, how did you gain traction and find clients and get some consistent income in your business?

Erica:What happened was, this was kind of when I think Facebook groups had just become a thing, and I have no idea how I found these Facebook groups, but somehow I found Facebook groups. This is what, 2012, maybe 2011, 2012 and just decided that I was going to talk about how I was a copywriter in these different groups. I feel like I got lucky in that I don’t think there was a ton of competition in this particular niche at the time.

There were a lot of women business coaches and I work primarily with women. I didn’t know that’s the route I was going to go, but when I found these Facebook groups, I kind of realized like oh this is like this whole world, like the Marie Forleo world opened up to me. I had a lot of people, actually business coaches, take me on and bring me into their packages they had already created for their clients. Their clients hired them and then as part of hiring them they got like copy from me.

I mean I wasn’t like charging a ton, I felt like I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I had a couple different coaches just take me under their wing and introduced me to their clients. When that happens things can kind of spiral pretty quickly, so I would meet a client through the business coach, and then I would continue working with them in some capacity afterwards. Then they would refer me to people and it just kind of snowballed. I feel like I was really lucky in that I really didn’t have this, oh I’m struggling for clients, whatever. I felt like it took off really quickly. I feel like that can also be challenging too when you don’t know what you’re doing.

Rob:   Erica, tell us a little bit about your business today, what kinds of projects you work on, how much you charge for those projects, just how you stay busy during the day.

Erica:Right now I’m doing, I actually have retainer clients, which make up, I wouldn’t say the bulk of my income, but they make up like the amount that keeps me feeling very like steady. I write sales pages and I write Facebook ad copy for any agency, so I have like a partnership with an agency. That keeps me pretty busy and pretty like steady.

Then what I also do is, I actually do a lot of website copy for people who are either brand new to business or especially people who are rebranding. I kind of take them through the whole process of like really discovering what their message is. A lot of them are yeah, they’re rebranding. They’re not quite sure what they’re about now, maybe they’re like three to five years into business and they’re like okay, I really need a new website. They come to me to kind of get that clarity on, who am I now and what do I need to be saying to attract the right people now.

I think that, the retainer clients and then the project based work, which is mostly web copy, that’s pretty much the bulk of my days.

Kira:   How do you make retainers work for you? I hear so many horror stories about retainers, where it feels like all of a sudden you’re an employ and it’s an abusive relationship. Retainers can also be really beneficial to certain copywriters. How do you make it work for you?

Erica:Yeah, that’s a great question, I was really resistant to them for a long time for that exact reason. I was like, I really don’t want to feel like I am someone’s employee. I didn’t want all that, so what I do is, I just have really clear terms about what exactly the deliverables are every single month. They get like a very specific number of deliverables from me, and anything above and beyond that, we would have to like renegotiate.

It’s honestly, it’s great for me, because I have everything set up where like they get, I have two retainer clients right now, so they both get invoice on the same day every month. It’s automatic. I don’t even touch it. They pay and then I know exactly the due dates for their projects at the beginning of the month. It just really helps me to even just plan my entire month.

Kira:   Yeah. Are you comfortable sharing just what is included in one of those retainers as an example? Even just ballpark number of how much you charge for that retainer?

Erica:Yeah. I do know of $1000 retainer with one of my clients, and that’s for about eight emails. Yeah.

Kira:   Cool.

Rob:   No that sounds really cool. Yeah.

Erica:Yeah.

Rob:   You also do some copy coaching. Will you tell us a little bit about what you do for that and the package that you put together for that?

Erica:Yeah, so that was kind of one of those things where the client is asking for it. I had a lot of people come to me like, “Hey, could you just help me with my writing?” I’m like, “Well, that’s not exactly what I do, but sure, I could figure out some way to do that.” I just had so many people ask me over the years if I could just kind of mentor them and kind of like … They were going through a launch or maybe they wanted to write their website, they wanted to have that creative control. They also wanted to have my eyes on it.

I’m like, okay, there’s got to be some way to make this work and it actually sounded fun to me. I’m like, all right, I can do that, I could get down with that. What I ended up doing is putting together, it’s like normally a four to six week package and we meet like every other week, so that they have time in between to write things. It does vary client to client, because everybody’s different and what they’re working on normally is different.

I try to work with people who have a very specific thing about they’re working on. Either a launch or a website, and then what they get to do is, they get to email me in between and ask me questions. When we’re on calls together, I’m basically just reviewing whatever they wrote that week. Sometimes it might be like, we’re looking at a sales page for like 90 minutes or making that we’re looking at like three emails for 90 minutes. It really does just depend.

They love it. I mean, and it’s fun for me too, because I get to be there and help them, but not actually do the entire thing for them. I think they walk away knowing how to do things too, they don’t just get this deliverable, but they really now understand why I do certain things and the strategy behind it.

Kira:   Yeah, I think that’s a great service. It makes a lot of sense. I could see where that could be really helpful for team members too, if maybe it’s not necessarily the business owner, but you could work with their communications manager to help them learn how to write better as well. If a copywriter is listening and wants to test out a similar offer, what would be a great first step, a baby step to help us test out a similar offer?

Erica:That’s a good question. I mean I think you have to ask yourself, I don’t think this would be right for every audience. I think because my audience is a lot of times solopreneurs, they really like that, you know that really high touch and they want to know how to write copy. I mean I feel like, kind of where I’ll get off for a start, I feel like I would survey and I would find out of this is something that people are even interested in, within your particular niche, because they might not be. They might just be like, “Hey, I really want you to just do this for me.” I just had noticed over the years that a lot of people were like, “No, no, no, I want you to help me do this too.” I think that’s definitely where I would start.

Kira:   Right, well that’s a good point. I want to backtrack. You mentioned something about how you grew fast and how that’s a challenge in itself when you grow fast. I want to hear more about that for you, because it does sound like you had early success and the stars aligned, and you had clients. That’s a great problem to have, but what happens when it hits? How do you manage that flow of work without going crazy? What do you do?

Erica:Yes. I mean I do feel like I was lucky. I feel like things took off pretty quickly for me. I feel like pretty much any copywriter who experiences any kind of success, is going to get to this point where they’re like, I cannot do this alone anymore. I have to figure out something else.

For me I was very resistant to the idea of starting an agency, that was suggested to me. People were like, “Just bring more people on. You’ll be able to be the CEO. You can still look over everything,” and all that. I just was really, really resistant toward that and it took me a while. I was in this space of just being really overbooked, trying to do everything myself and it eventually led me to some serious burnout.

When I got there, that’s when I realized, okay, so I really do have to do something now. If it’s not going to be an agency, and if I’m not going to go that route, what can I do? There are so many things that you can do actually and this is when the ideas for like the copy coaching. I actually have a group program, that’s when those ideas started to kind of come to fruition. I realized that, not only did I want to do those things, because I had been thinking about them for a while.

I felt like I had to do those things. I was just at the point where there was no possible way for me to take on any more work, and so I had to figure something else out.

Rob:   Let’s talk about that burnout for just a minute, because I think this is something that a lot of copywriters deal with. We tend to try to satisfy our clients and maybe work on our own things, and oftentimes copywriters are working a second job. Or a first job and copies on the side. How did you deal with overcoming the burnout and getting past that? What was the secret for getting really to the level where you are now?

Erica:It was in December of, I think it was 2015, where I really was like, you know what, something has to change. I really took like two to three weeks off and I think that’s the first thing. We get so afraid to do that. I think any business owner is like, I cannot step away, everything is going to fall apart. I had that feeling so bad, but I knew that, if I did not take that step back and kind of look at what was actually going on in my business and kind of rearrange some things, that I was just going to get worse.

First of all it was just taking that pause and really kind of looking at, okay, what do I actually want to do? What do I want my days to look like? What do I want to work on, and who do I want to work with? Really going back to those basics, because I had just got caught up in that, like yes, I’ll just say yes to anything and I’ll work with anyone. It was all exciting at first and then after a couple years you’re like, but wait, now I can’t actually work with anyone or everyone. I really do have to be more strategic and intentional about the work that I take on.

Yeah. I literally took a couple weeks off and I was in bed the whole time out. It was not very pretty, but it was very necessary, and I just had to really think, what do I actually want to offer? What do I want my days to look like? Who do I want to work with? I think for me at that point too, I just wasn’t charging enough. I really needed to adjust my prices. I was still charging what I was charging at the very beginning of my business, and I was several years in and I had worked with tons and tons of clients. Helped them make a lot of money and I just knew that, yeah, I had to look at all the different pieces of my business and just be more intentional.

Kira:   Where are you today in your business? I know the catalyst for this conversation I believe was a video you posted on your Facebook page, a couple months ago, where you were announcing this big change in your business. I really want to talk more about that big change.

Erica:Yeah, let’s talk about it, all right. I actually, and this is still mind blowing to me, I actually partnered with a network marketing company. Even to say it out loud I’m like oh God, because I know I was such a hater of anyone who was in direct sales or network marketing. I would see friends from high school posting on Facebook, trying to sell their candles or like their whatever, and I was like, I will never ever, ever do that. I just thought that would never be something that I would do.

Rob:   Famous last words.

Erica:Right? Then I saw some people who I really respected, online business coaches and people that I looked up to. I could tell that they were doing network marketing, but they weren’t doing it in the traditional way. They were actually doing it in the way that I would teach my copywriting clients to market and to position themselves. They weren’t thrown out sales graphics, they weren’t constantly, I don’t know, being like, “Will you host a party for me?” Or like whatever the thing is.

They were doing it from a place of really creating a personal brand, and giving value, which is what I feel like that’s what I preach to my clients. That’s what your marketing should be based on, and that’s what they were doing. They were kind of taking these principles from this other area and applying it to network marketing and it was working really, really well. It looked really professional and cool. It didn’t look spammy and I was just really surprised, I was very surprised by all that.

This was yeah, I mean this was a year or two after my whole burnout thing. I think part of the burnout to, going back to that just a little bit, because I do feel like it’s all connected, is that, part of the burnout came from the fact that I was working on my client’s work all the time without developing my own brand at all. I think it’s so easy for us, especially us copywriters who work behind the scenes and usually okay with that, to not work on our own businesses at all and to not put thought into our own brands.

I think I saw the network marketing as a way for me to kind of get my own message out there, and start building my own brand, because I really still even to this day, I run a lot on referrals. I run a lot on having JB partnerships with business coaches and other different people. I don’t do a ton of marketing for my copywriting business, but what’s funny is that, once I started putting myself out there with network marketing, which is primarily actually through live video, not through writing, my copywriting business has also been exposed to a new audience and really taken off.

I don’t know, I was shocked that I even did it, but it’s actually been really creatively fulfilling and it’s been really fun. It’s been lucrative, so can’t complain.

Kira:   Can you talk more about that piece, I mean how it’s impacting your bottom line so far?

Erica:With network marketing, I don’t know a ton about it. I actually knew nothing about it when I started, but especially at the beginning, a lot of them have front loaded bonuses for getting your business off the ground. I’ve been able to replace projects. Like I said, I have a baseline of retainer clients, but then I’ll take on projects on top of that.

Sometimes I can still, because it is just me, stretch me a little thin in just creative energy department. Whereas now, when I have this kind of, especially the way this business is set up, it’s set up so that every month people are ordering from you basically. You get this ‘passive’ which we know wasn’t really passive, because I still had to work to get these customers. I have this passive income coming in that can replace at least one project every month, which I just think is pretty cool. It’s pretty cool.

Kira:   That’s really exciting and I do feel like I recently worked with a network marketer who’s similar to you, as purpose driven and as changing the whole industry. It feels like there’s this resurgence, where it really, network marketing is changing. It has changed and it will continue to change. I think it’s really cool to see that as another opportunity, especially for copywriters, because this is what we do so well. What would you say we should think about if we’re considering this or just want to explore the network marketing industry? What should we be aware of? Then what should we pay attention to even as we explore different companies?

Erica:I think the thing for me was, because my first thought was, I can’t do this. I’m going to break my brand. I’m going to ruin everything. My audience is going to see me differently and they’re going to think that my copywriting business is failing, all these sorts of things. What I had to do was, I had to find a company that first of all I believed in the products.

This is the thing, as copywriters, a lot of us have dabbled in affiliate marketing right, and it’s really not any different than that. You find a product and a company that you believe in, you find a way to weave it in, like I have been able to find a way to weave this which it’s luxury hair care, which seems so out there. Because I have this beauty copywriting background and because I still work with some people in the beauty and wellness industry, it really just kind of made sense.

Finding maybe a common thread between the company that you potentially could represent and your own brand and what that’s all about, I think that’s kind of the place to start.

Rob:   I want to step back just a little bit and talking about your process for getting to know a client and getting their story and then communicating that out. I’m sure that, that’s applicable in what you’re doing, in your new venture as well. What does your process look like? What do you do to get to know them, to find the stories and to share that with their customers?

Erica:I actually have something called a brand beat sheet and my clients have joked and they now call it the beast sheet. I’m really big on having conversations with my clients, but I’m also really big on making them sit down and answer some questions for me in writing. I mean it really comes from what I believe is that, they need to know their customers and they need to know themselves.

Like I said, a lot of people I work with are solopreneurs, so they’re telling very personal stories. I ask them about both of those things. I ask them about their clients and their customers, and try to find that common thread between what they have been through and what their customer has been through, and start from there.

Rob:   Then how do you pull out additional stories? It’s easy to identify say the problem and talk maybe about the solution, but how do you get them to share personal stories with you?

Erica:Honestly I just come out and ask them. For example, my retainer client, and I think maybe this is part of why I like retainers is because I do get to know them. I like to, as an introvert, I like to get to know people on that deeper level. I’ll go and do for example, something like I’ll write an outline for an email and then I’ll be like, “Hey, do you have any experience that you can tell me about, that relates to this?”

It’s surprising, I mean people like to talk about themselves and I never really have encountered someone who was like not been willing to open up and talk to me.

Kira:   Right, it’s almost like you just have to trigger those stories and ask them the right question, to pull out the best stories that you know your client has, that they don’t necessarily know which ones to share with you until you ask those questions. About like, “Hey, tell me about one of the best concerts you’ve ever been to? Or tell me about your first date with your partner, what was that like?”

Then all of a sudden you get these incredible stories that you’re like, oh that’s the perfect lead for that sales emailing in each, right?

Erica:Yes, exactly.

Kira:   All right, so I want to ask a little bit more about the building your brand piece, because that’s a big part of what I’m taking away from your network marketing experience is that, now you’re kind of forced in a way, but it seems like something you’re excited to do, to jump on Facebook live, to build your brand and like you said, a lot of copywriters just, we don’t do that at all. What have you learned from this experience jumping into Facebook Live now, really rebranding yourself and putting yourself out there in a way that maybe you weren’t doing a couple years ago?

Erica:Yeah, so not only was I resistant to network marketing, I was definitely resistant to Facebook Live. I feel like I’m a lot better in writing than I am speaking, so I was very nervous to do that. Actually it’s funny, it’s just been, I help my clients figure out what their voices or what their messages and what they want to share with people, and what their brand is all about.

I feel like that’s exactly what me doing Facebook Live has forced me to do. I’m kind of being forced to like walk my talk a little bit, so it’s really had me take a step back and be like okay, what are the exact things? Of course just as kind of a type A person, I have a list of different buckets of things that I want to talk about, that either relate to network marketing or to copywriting or to both.

I now use the Facebook Live as a way to talk about my copywriting too. I just kind of pick and choose what I want to talk about that day and I’ll talk about like either or, but I have a list of different topics. I just had to take that step back and go back to okay, who am I talking to, what are their problems, what did they ultimately want. Yeah, I’ve just kind of had to take a step back and do that basic work all over again.

Rob:   We’ve talked about doing Facebook Live on some previous podcasts and Kira and I have tried to do a few. I have to say, every time I do them, I think they are awful. Are there… Kira is good, but I like look at what I do and I’m just like wow, I’m just, I am not meant for video. Are there some tips or some lessons that you’ve learned as you’ve been doing Facebook lives that the rest of us could maybe learn from?

Erica:I think honestly it comes down to practice. I still get so nervous. I actually did one the other day and I deleted it, you guys. I went back and I was like, no, the Internet is not seeing that. That’s not going out there, but I really think for me especially, I have to have some notes, I have to have some things to go off of, because otherwise I will either just ramble or basically all just yeah, I’ll just end of rambling.

I think having those notes, knowing who you’re talking to, taking a breath and being willing to just be imperfect and suck at it for a while before you get good at it. Maybe for some people it’s just not right for them. I think that’s definitely a possibility, it’s just something that it’s never going to be a thing that they do. I think that’s totally fine, because we have the Internet and we have other ways to market ourselves. Such as copywriters, we have the written word and that is usually where our strength lies. I think it’s maybe a rare breed who can do both and I think I mostly I’m doing the Facebook Live, because it is something that takes me out of my comfort zone and because it is something I felt like I needed to kind of get better at. I felt like I needed to get better at the speaking part, and rather than get up on stage, doing it on Facebook Live is actually easier for me. I think just being willing to suck at first is where to start.

Kira:   Beyond Facebook Live, if you were a new copywriter and you were starting today, what would you do to put yourself out there and to find those clients that could really propel you forward?

Erica:I was thinking about this and I just really think and I think this is a mistake I made at the beginning of my business when I was so, so, so busy, and just honestly churning through clients, because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any different, but I really feel like just making quality relationships, looking within the network that you already have now and nurturing the people that you already have now. On your mailing list or that you’re already conversing with on Facebook groups or that you’re already I guess these are different places that you can hear different things you can be doing to.

Just really starting with who you know and deepening those relationships and asking for referrals. Just really putting the efforts into the relationships honestly that you already have, because so much can spring from that. I still have clients who I worked with at the very beginning, who come back to me. Since I’ve really put this focus on relationships over the last year and a half, once I realized, hey, hey, hey, after the burnout and stuff, and I’m like I can’t keep just going through client after client. I really need to focus. The quality of my relationships is better and just everything I feel like in my business overall is better.

Kira:   Yeah, and that’s been the opportunities pop up to right, for you to write copy for your clients, customers and their members that comes from those strengthened relationships with their clients. Where they’re like, “Hey, now I can see that you could help me in other ways. Let me bring you into this project, maybe you could speak at this event.” That doesn’t really happen when you churn through clients, like you said, which I have definitely done.

Erica:Right. No.

Kira:   I want to hear more about where you go from here, especially because you’re kind of in this transitional stage and building out and selling these products, and working with retainer clients. Where do you want to go? Where do you see your business a year from now?

Erica:Yeah. That’s such a good question. I am in a very weird transitional period, the network marketing thing is very, very new to me. Like I said, it’s kind of like affiliate marketing, which was already on my plan of things I was going to look into this year and really put a focus on this year. I love my retainer clients. I just imagine honestly this time next year, I still have my retainer clients, because I do like to go deep with a couple clients. I really do like that.

The project-based stuff from time to time is okay, but I do actually really enjoy, like I did a group program in the fall. I learned a ton. I was probably an epic failure, because facilitating a group and working with clients one on one is completely different. I love this idea of kind of being a teacher and a mentor, rather than doing that, just being a wordsmith or doing the one on one client work all the time.

Not that I don’t love it, because I do, but there are so many other ways to make money and to use our skills as copywriters. I just want to keep exploring, like yeah, what does that look like? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it means experimenting with other ways to work with people and help people that is not just one on one client work.

Rob:   I want to switch gears just a little bit and ask you about one of the products that you’ve offered your clients. You’ve done some taglines and naming for some of your clients and you offer package in this. I’m curious what you’ve learned as you’ve worked on these kinds of projects. Are there frameworks for taglines and for naming? Are there processes that if we are doing the same kinds of things, that we could learn from what you’ve got together?

Erica:Yeah. I have, as any copywriter does, I have a huge slide file of different tagline formulas and different ideas for naming conventions and things. I really think, I don’t know, I’m kind of conflicted about the whole naming thing and offering that as a service, because I just think that a lot of people use that as, it holds them back in a way. That’s kind of why I created it, is because I feel like a lot of people are like, “I don’t know what to call this thing.”

I wanted to give them a quick win, and honestly the way that I do that though to give you guys some tangible tips, is that I’m big on idioms. I go to the idiom dictionary. I start there most of the time. I look up other names and taglines within the industry. I have them brainstorm ideas that represent their brand or their voice or those things, and then I literally go and look up synonyms and antonyms. I love playing with words and I love that whole thing, so it’s really fun for me.

At the same time, the whole idea behind it is just, I don’t want that to be the thing that holds them back from launching whatever it is that they have, that they want to put out there.

Kira:   Erica, I want to ask you a big question about the future of copywriting. What do you think the future copywriting looks like?

Erica:That’s a good question. I really think that we don’t know, because I think there’s like, obviously the basic principles of copywriting that don’t change. That’s why we can keep reading some of the classics and all that, but I do think in this online landscape and if that’s where you work in particular, that we have to really be adaptable. We don’t know exactly what’s going to come next and we don’t know what platform is going to come out or whatever, and there’s all kinds of different ways that you can communicate on.

Say you would communicate differently in a Facebook post than you would maybe in an Instagram post. It’s just a tiny little tweak, right, it’s not anything crazy. I really think that being adaptable and being open to not knowing what’s coming next, is actually a really good quality for a copywriter right now.

Rob:   Okay, I want to ask this because I teased it in the open, tell us a little bit about your addiction to rap music and EDM.

Erica:Oh man, I love it. I wrote a Facebook status the other day, I was like, “I’m pretty sure I’m useless without two cups of coffee, rap and EDM in the background,” and I don’t even remember, oh the Pomodoro Technique. I don’t know, I find it really, really inspiring.

I’m not going to lie, even just the lyrics, the lyrics of rap music, especially the ones about making money and be on your grind, like that stuff really motivates me. Having it on the background, it really is a little Kickstarter, it’s like its own little cup of coffee.

Kira:   I need to listen to more rap music, that’s what I need.

Rob:   Yeah, turn it up.

Kira:   Where can our copywriters find out more about what you’re doing if they want to connect with you, where should they go?

Erica: Right now, I’m over at Erica Lee, E-R-I-C-A, L-E-E-X-O.com, and I’m also big on Facebook. I pretty much add anybody and until I get to my friend limit, which is actually coming of course, which is Eric Lee Strauss.

Kira:   All right.

Rob:   Get there quickly if you want to be Erica’s friend, yeah, otherwise, yeah, you’re at the limit.

Erica: Yeah.

Kira:   All right, thank you Erica. We really appreciate your time and your willingness to just share everything about this transition and exploring network marketing for the first time.

Rob:   Thanks so much.

Erica: Yeah, thank you guys for having me.

 

You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcastwith 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 spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving your review. For show notes, a full transcript and links to our free Facebook community, visit the copywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.

 

 

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