TCC Podcast #314: Brand Strategy, Building Momentum in Business, and Doing Things that Scare You with Liv Steigrad - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #314: Brand Strategy, Building Momentum in Business, and Doing Things that Scare You with Liv Steigrad

Liv Steigrad is our guest on the 314th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Liv is a copywriter and brand messaging strategist with a psychology and sociolinguistic background. She helps her clients create powerful brands through her B.R.A.V.E framework, and in this episode, she breaks down how copywriters can use it to build their own brands.

Here’s how the conversation went:

  • Does a psychology degree help in being a better copywriter?
  • How to get better at voice of customer research.
  • Making friends as an adult and applying the same techniques in networking.
  • How to prepare and execute things that are terrifying.
  • The one habit you need to build to gain momentum in your business and life.
  • Do you have a definition of success? And is it really true to you?
  • What is a brand story and why does it matter?
  • How to envision big goals and create your ideal day.
  • The balance between a full-time job and a full-time business.
  • What you need to take advantage of while you’re working a full-time job.
  • What is brand strategy and how in-depth does it get?
  • How to make microcopy both functional and filled with brand personality.
  • The B.R.A.V.E framework – How to apply it for your personal brand.
  • Why brand strategy is essential and how to communicate its value to prospects.
  • Where are most copywriters struggling with UX?
  • BE BOTHERED – How this simple phrase will help boost your business.
  • The two business lessons Liv learned from gymnastics.
  • When your mindset wavers… Remember this.

Hit play to listen to the episode.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

The Copywriter Think Tank
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
Liv’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Free month of Brain.FM
Episode 118
Episode 187
Episode 215
Jenn’s website

Full Transcript:

Kira Hug:  When’s the last time you felt bothered by something? Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about client acquisition or friendship, which we actually talk about a good amount in this episode, because let’s face it, friendship is hard as an adult. It pays in multiple ways to be bothered, to speak up, and to show you care for the clients and friends in your business and life. And today’s guest knows a lot about not only being a great friend but also about how to be brave in business and life. This branding strategist isn’t afraid to terrify herself on a regular basis. This could look like stepping on a stage to do spoken word poetry, or doing a backflip, or traveling in a foreign country alone, or even building a business that’s different from everyone else’s business. In today’s episode of The Copywriter Club podcast, you are in for a treat with brand strategist, gymnast, and all-around brave copywriter Liv Steigrad.

Rob and I have had the luck of getting to know Liv in our Think Tank Mastermind and every time I spend time with her, I feel inspired to be more brave in my own business and life. Stay tuned because you won’t want to miss this conversation. All right, so today I have a special co-host. I’m really excited to chat through this episode with Jenn Jouhseik, a personality-driven copywriter, and brand storyteller, and an incredible email copywriter as well. I know we don’t want to give you three titles Jenn, but I feel like I have to mention email because you are a prolific email writer as well. So Jenn, thanks for being with me to talk through this episode. I appreciate it.

Jenn Jouhseik:  Of course. So happy to be here.

Kira Hug:  All right, so before we start to talk and dissect this conversation, I just want to mention that, of course, the podcast is sponsored by The Think Tank, which is our Mastermind Program. And Jenn, you are a member of The Think Tank. So I’m just going to ask you a question about it. From your experience, what has been the biggest benefit to your business from being in a Mastermind like The Think Tank?

Jenn Jouhseik:  Oh, there are so many things. Definitely, the community has been huge. Working on a business no one tells you how lonely it is, and so being able to be surrounded by so many different copywriters and just being able to connect with a bunch of different copywriters that are going in different directions and bringing different ideas to the table, it really shows you all the different opportunities that you can do to take your business in whatever direction that feels good to you. And I think that that is really special. And just having that support, someone to listen to, and the accountability has been phenomenal.

Kira Hug:  And I’m curious, Jenn, so what have you focused on in your business that maybe you weren’t expecting to focus on initially when you joined? Have there been any surprises for you along the way?

Jenn Jouhseik:  There have been quite some surprises actually. I started off with my focus primarily on brand messaging and voice and web copy. And I recently took a pivot into email, which is something that I wanted to explore, but was too afraid to do it, actually. And so it was a really nice opportunity to pivot that way and to grow my skills as well as just connect with other members of The Think Tank and learn from them and really push myself further than I normally have. And definitely one of the things that I probably wasn’t planning on was doing speaking opportunities, and I found that I actually really like them. So it’s been a pleasant surprise that I’m shocked about because I am not a great public speaker, but I really do enjoy speaking. And so that’s definitely something I want to explore more.

Kira Hug:  Thank you for sharing, Jenn. So if you’re listening and you have any interest in being part of a Mastermind and focusing on some big goals in your business and maybe you even want to feel a little surprised by what you can accomplish and see is possible for your business, you can check it out and reach out to our team at to send our team an email and mention you’re interested in The Think Tank and we can jump on a call and chat about it with you. All right, so let’s jump into the conversation with Liv.

Liv Steigrad:  I always loved writing, I always knew I wanted to do it, but when I was younger, I didn’t know what my options were. I thought I could only be a novelist and I was never about that struggling artist life. So I went and studied psychology at Uni instead and quickly decided that that career path was not for me. Even though I love the field of it, I just never felt qualified to actually get inside people’s heads in that way. So then I got an internship at a publication and learned a bit more about media and then that helped me get a job, a couple of days a week at a magazine. And then I came across copywriting in a Facebook group and I was like, oh, what’s this? And then I started googling it and I was like, I think I’m already doing this and I want to do more of this, and I feel like I could make good money doing this, which was a total revelation. It was like the sun coming through the clouds for the first time. And so I didn’t know how to get a job in it, so I decided to give myself a job in it and started my business.

Rob Marsh:  I love that. So, the psychology background has me intrigued. Obviously, you didn’t want to pursue that as a career path, but how does the psychology degree that you hold inform what you do as a copywriter?

Liv Steigrad:  Not in the way that everyone thinks, and I don’t know if I should say this in a podcast, which I don’t know how many people are going to listen to.

Rob Marsh:  You should definitely say it.

Liv Steigrad:  Most people when they hear that are like, oh wow, you understand how people behave and you understand people’s motivations. Sometimes people are like, oh, you can read minds. None of that is true. A degree in psychology is way more technical and way more scientific than people think. And the human behavior part is one top out of 20. But the part that I do use is the research. So one of the assignments that I had to do was called the systematic review, which is basically finding all of the available research on a topic and putting it into this table and finding the common themes. And that is basically how I now do my Voice of Customer research. And I use that mindset and that methodology in my brand strategy and how I analyze things these days as well.

But all of my psychology skills that I actually use in copywriting, I have learned just from being a good friend and receiving therapy. Those soft skills of how to listen, how to pick up on what people are feeling, how to interpret people’s behavior and apply that to how they might be feeling and all of that, I did not learn it in a psychology degree.

Kira Hug:  Okay, well can you help us become better friends? How to be a good friend is hard. It’s hard for me at least. And I feel like you’re very in tune with that. And so, how can we become better friends to our friends?

Liv Steigrad:  It’s actually really easy. You just have to be bothered. And I apply that philosophy to everything in my life. Just be bothered. Just care. It is cool to care. It is cool to show it. It is cool to put in the effort. It is cool to take the time and think about your friends and if you can’t remember their birthday, write it down. Follow up on things. If your friend’s not feeling fine, do something nice for them. Send them $5 and tell them to buy a coffee on you. Be the person that does those little things that you hear about or you see in movies that don’t seem to happen in real life that much. You can just be that person and you can just be bothered and that will make you in the top 1% of friends.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, I think my problem is that I’m bothered by the other definition. I’m bothered instead of the way you’re using it, Liv, yeah.

Kira Hug:  I have a follow-up to that, so did this just come naturally to you as a kid? You just got it and you’re like, this is what being a good friend is. Or did it take any type of moment? Or did it just evolve slowly over time? Where you’re like, this is really what it takes, be bothered and care and show up.

Liv Steigrad:  No, I definitely learned it in my earlier twenties. I was always very caring and affectionate naturally, but then in my early twenties, I had a very, very, very traumatic breakup, which involved me having to cut off almost all of my friendship group. And it’s really confronting to have to rebuild that as a young adult because it’s so much harder to make friends as an adult. So that forced me to stop and think, what do I need in friends? What do I want from friends? If I want this high level of respect and loyalty and care, then I need to provide that too. And then the process of making a whole new support and friendship network in my mid-twenties taught me that because I didn’t have the luxury of spending 10 years at school with these people. I had to meet people and be like, okay, I think they’re a good person, I want to be their friend. So I had to pursue them, court them, I guess, to become my friends. And then that helped me build the habits of just being good and proactive.

Rob Marsh:  So as you talk about that experience, are there crossovers to how you network and find clients with the way that you developed your friend group or redeveloped a friend group? As I imagine, there’s a lot of similarities. How do you go about doing that?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, absolutely. It’s the same skill. So I have a little, like, mental rule, which is, when you meet someone at an event or a conference or a party or whatever it is, and you guys get along and you think you want to develop that relationship in whatever way it might look like, I’ve realized that there’s an essential time period in which you have to reconnect, not just online. You have to have a proper conversation with them, I would say usually within three weeks. That’s the maximum time period that you have to cement a new relationship and you have to do something more than just message them and say, hey, we should get coffee sometime. You either have to actually have that coffee or do something above and beyond. Send them something. If it’s a potential business relationship, send them a resource, but a cool, personalized, usable resource or give them 15 minutes of your time, give them some advice.

Do something above and beyond within three weeks to cement that relationship. Offer them something without the expectation of return. And then that will usually be enough. Even if you don’t speak for six months after that, you’re in their head as someone in your network that they can reach out to.

Kira Hug:  Okay. That’s cool. And could you provide a specific example of how you’ve done that maybe recently in business?

Liv Steigrad:  I think the largest scale example of that would’ve been when it came to your guys’ conference a few months ago. And unsurprisingly, I’m super introverted, so it was a lot to be interacting with so many people and so many cool people and so many people that I thought would be awesome to have in my network. And so rather than meeting people and letting them slip through my fingers, I made a group for Brown Voice Copywriters and started collecting people into it and started talking in it. Someone that I liked quite a lot and wanted to connect with had a headache. So I went out of my way to get them some painkillers as a way of offering my friendship and being a person that they remember fondly. And just a few things like that where I just made a point to do something extra and keep in touch with them regularly. And now I consider very, very many of those people, my actual friends.

Rob Marsh:  This seems like a hidden gem. We’ve talked to a lot of people about networking and nobody has mentioned the three-week follow-up, do something to stand out. And so I think I’m just echoing that back, because as I think about this, I’m like, this is brilliant. But also at the event we were fortunate to have you on the stage and you did something that was very different from what everybody else did on the stage and that stood out and I think probably attracted some people to you as well. You did a spoken word performance that was amazing.

Liv Steigrad:  Thank you.

Rob Marsh:  I would love to hear a little bit more too about that and why you do that, how that all has come about.

Liv Steigrad:  I do it because it’s terrifying. That’s pretty much the reason. I’ve always written stories and poems and when I was a bit younger before I had a computer and I was handwriting everything, I realized that the mood that I was in affected my handwriting and the way I wanted the poem to be read affected my handwriting. And I realized that subconsciously I’d been putting in cues for pacing and tone and intonation into my handwriting. And once I realized that I was like, oh, these need to be spoken. These need to be heard, these need to be performed. So then I did a few open mic nights, been invited to perform at a couple of places, including at your conference. And it is definitely the most terrifying thing that I ever do. It’s the most terrifying thing that I regularly do.

Kira Hug:  Well, let’s talk more about doing the terrifying thing. So how do you prepare for something that is terrifying? Because I feel like you do many things that are terrifying. Do you have any type of ritual or exercise to prepare you before you do it? And maybe even during and after?

Liv Steigrad:  I don’t know if this is going to be the most useful piece of advice, but the way I do things which are scary, which I do often is to, I set things up so that all I have to do is show up and then the momentum will carry me through. If I thought too much about performing the poem on stage at TCC IRL I wouldn’t have gotten on the plane. I would not have shown up. But even if it’s too scary to think about performing a poem in front of a crowd, it’s not too scary to message you on Slack and be like, hey, I want to do a poem. It’s not too scary to just turn up to the conference, which I wanted to go to anyway. It’s not too scary to just stand to the side of the stage and hold a microphone.

And by the time I get to that point, I can’t back out. I have to go through with it. So I use that technique a lot. A lot, a lot. It’s like skydiving. And I have been skydiving twice, actually. All you have to do is show up. All you have to do is get on the plane and by then it’s too late to back out. And even if you want to, I just keep my mouth shut. I just don’t open my mouth and I don’t say anything which might allow me to get out of the situation and then I end up doing the thing.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I was with you until you said skydiving, and then I’m like, nope, I’m holding on to something in the plane. There is no way I’m getting out of the plane if it’s not crashing. Yeah, but I love hearing you talk about this, simply because we’ve talked several times, there are a lot of things you do that are terrifying. A lot of people are afraid to go to a movie alone, but you are traveling the world on your own. You show up as a life model, you do a lot of this stuff that I think most of us would be like, no way, not getting in the car, it’s not getting on my calendar. I’m not getting anywhere close to that. So it feels like there’s maybe something more than just the tiny habit of getting yourself close, right?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah.

Rob Marsh:  Or holding the mic on stage.

Liv Steigrad:  There is more. And I think I can narrow it down to two things. Number one is trusting. Trusting myself that I’ll be able to either handle the situation well or at least survive it. And I learned that skill by traveling alone for a year when I was 18. And the first place that I went alone was Venice. And I didn’t have a SIM card, I didn’t speak the language. All I had was a paper map and a hostel I’d booked at 2:00 AM the night before. And once I was able to get myself there and figure out the booking and figure out everything, I had this moment of, oh, I will always be fine. I can put myself into situations and I will figure it out. And that year of traveling alone definitely taught me that very, very deeply. So, that’s one part of it. And I think that if you don’t have that trust in yourself, it is something that you can actually do actively.

You don’t have to travel alone for a year, but you can put yourself in a situation that’s a little bit scary and see how you handle it, and then put yourself in a slightly bigger situation that’s a bit scary and see how you handle it and gradually build it up like that. And the other part of it is just not assuming that the way that things have always been done is the way for you or the right way or the best way. And I think I’ve always seen myself as just slightly outside of the mainstream and having some of the experiences that I’ve had have forced me to consider that the straight and narrow is not for me. And once you let go of that, things open up. So many paths open up and so many different ways of doing things open up and it’s scary but incredible.

Kira Hug:  Can you talk more about that? So, for someone listening who maybe is like, oh, I fit into the mainstream more, if I had to classify myself. But I like that idea of not assuming the way things are done is the way forward. So how do I put that into practice? It sounds good, it makes sense. I like what you’re saying, but how do I do it if I’m not naturally there already?

Liv Steigrad:  I think that if you want something different, then you’re already there enough. You don’t have to have a membership card to “being an outsider” to do this. This is available to anyone. And the first step is to allow yourself to want something different and to allow yourself to believe that something that’s different is possible. And that’s definitely something that’s very relevant to copywriters and business owners. Believe that you can have a certain lifestyle, believe that you can achieve certain things, believe that you can work four hours a day and make enough money for the lifestyle that you want. And once you really do believe that you can have that, then you start figuring out. Okay, how? What do I need to do? What do I need to look at? Which questions do I need to ask? And it’s linked to what’s your definition of success.

Because if you allow yourself to think beyond, okay, I want to make six figures in my 9:00 to 5:00 and climb a corporate ladder and have a house and kids, then you start being like, okay, what do I actually want? And what do I want my day-to-day life to look like? And then, what do I have to do to build that?

Rob Marsh:  So as I listen to you talk about that Liv, obviously there are things, there are times that most of us jump into things that are scary. Being a new parent or starting a freelancing job without a safety net or anything like that. But do you have a list of the next scary thing you’re going to do? A brave list where it’s like, oh, these are the six more things that I’m going to do that really make the hair stand up on the back of my neck?

Liv Steigrad:  No, not really. I just take it as it comes. No, not really. I just take it as it comes. Yeah. I don’t have a specific list. Usually, my big, big, big scary things are slower moving things like starting a business and then going full-time in the business. Things like maybe buying a property bigger things. But I guess I counteract them with smaller, scary things, which are more achievable and more fun. Like starting gymnastics or performing a poem somewhere in front of a big crowd or I had my first singing lesson a week ago, which I find absolutely terrifying and vulnerable, but I like being in that space. So, yeah.

Kira Hug:  I’m hoping you’ll sing for us some part of this conversation. We can get that. How do you check in… For you, how do you check in with what you want? Because I think, again, this all makes sense, but it’s also easy to lose your way, I think at times few and say, “Okay. Am I actually being intentional and questioning the status quo to figure out what I want?” What do you do? Is it a weekly check-in, a daily check-in, or something else?

Liv Steigrad:  I used to do a monthly check-in in my journals. I don’t have that structure anymore, but it’s because I did it for so long that I have much more clarity around a few big goals and I’m taking steps toward them at the moment. But if people want to do this and they’re not really sure how to start envisaging it for themselves, I would say that from little things, big things grow. Start with one day, what does your best normal working look like?

So, for me, my ideal day is to work from 5:30 to 10:30AM, and then make a luxurious brunch and then go to the beach, and then do an hour of admin or business development and an hour of study in the afternoon, and then go do my gymnastics classes. That’s what an amazing day looks like for me. And so, I can extrapolate from that. But if I want to do that, I have to have a business that I only need to spend four or five hours on for client work a day, and I need something that is very, very flexible. And then I can… I just look at all the details of my perfect day and start to build out the details from that and go from there.

Rob Marsh:  Okay. I want to go back to what you’re talking about when you got started as a copywriter. You said you found copywriting, and you realized it was the thing that you were already doing. What were you doing, and how did you basically go from that realization to spending more and more of your time and effort writing copy, creating brand voice elements for your clients, all of that?

Liv Steigrad:  So, I was working at a magazine two days a week, and part of that I was writing articles and I was editing, and I was doing all these things, but part of it was I was writing advertorials for the magazines’ clients that had taken out ads in the magazine. And that was my first taste of it. And then when I decided to start my business doing it, I hilariously thought it would take me a weekend to write a website and just get it live and have all that and wow, I think it took me six months. But that was because I had no idea. I’d never run a business. I didn’t know anything about creating services or about having a brand, or I didn’t even know really that much about copywriting.

But the person whose website I first found which I kept going back to, I think I looked at it every day for a month, she offered online coaching. So, I scrambled together a huge sum of money for me at the time. Even today, not a small amount of money, it was a few thousand dollars to get a few months of coaching with her. And not only did she help me get my business and website live, but in that process, I learned so much about copywriting, and for sure would not be… My business would not be in the place that it is today without that initial boost.

So, yes, I love coaching, business coaching, education. I’m such a fan. Every time I’ve invested in it, it has propelled my business years forward.

Kira Hug:  So, I have the timeline straight. When was that? Or do you work with that coach? When was that-

Liv Steigrad:  That was-

Kira Hug:  … you discovered copy? Was that around the same time?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, or shortly after. So, I discovered copywriting, and I think it might have actually been her that I saw posting in the Facebook group and then checked out a website. I checked out a few other people. So, that was about four years ago. And yeah. Did the coaching get my business running? She actually referred some of my first clients to me, which was really great, and yeah.

Kira Hug:  Okay. Then can you talk about where you are today and paint a picture of what business looks like today. Especially thinking about your vision for your business, are you working from 5:30 to 10:30 and then having the brunch, and then doing the admin? Are you there yet? Or how close to that are you today?

Liv Steigrad:  So, I am so close, I can taste it. It is on the tip of my tongue. I can taste the brunch. I’m not there yet because I still have a full-time job. And originally, my plan was… Because even though I like to put myself into things, I also actually plan very carefully. My original plan was to leave my full-time job in one year from now, but I think it is going to be significantly sooner than that.

I think that my business has picked up a lot of momentum in the past year or so, and particularly in the past few months. And I’ve been straddling that point of… I wanted to grow my business to the point where I had to leave my full-time job. And I’ve been sitting there for a while and working harder than I want to work to handle both. And I’m definitely ready to have a more relaxed day very, very, very, very soon.

Rob Marsh:  Will you share a little bit about that schedule? Because obviously working a full-time job, launching a side business that has almost become full-time for you. Initially when you do it’s easy because you just have one or two clients and it’s only a couple of hours, but now it’s not. So, how do you strike that balance, and how has that grown to the point where, yeah, you definitely have to make a decision in the near future.?

Liv Steigrad:  I strike that balance with great difficulty. It helps that I’m a morning person, and I actually wake up around five, so I do have almost a whole other half-day in my day, but it’s also forced me to be really efficient and really streamlined like get my processes down, understand what I need to work without laughing around, because if I have two and a half hours to get this shit done, I need to get it done in that time. So, it’s definitely taught me that, and also forced me to be more considered with what I offer and how I structure them and when I schedule my calls and my workshops. And also, I’ve taken on a junior copywriter who helps me with some things.

Kira Hug:  And because we’re talking about juggling both, and you may or may not leave your job sometime soon, what advice would you give to someone who’s also in a similar position and straddling both and really feeling like, “Okay, this is a lot.” Or maybe it’s not quite a lot yet, but they don’t know when they should leave their full-time job. What advice would you give them?

Liv Steigrad:  I would say appreciate the security of the salary while you have it and take it as an opportunity to develop your business, which is what I’ve done. While I’ve had a salary, I’ve invested a lot in coaching. I signed up for the Think Tank. I’ve bought courses and resources. I’ve outsourced a lot of things in my business, and I’ve allowed myself to take on less client work so that I can focus on developing my business so that when I do take the plunge, I don’t have to spend that money or that time because I’ve built a really, really, really solid foundation for myself, which is ready to carry me.

I don’t know that I would want to pay for a year of Think Tank when I suddenly go full-time, so that’s why I decided to do it now while I still have a salary and I don’t rely on my freelance income to support me so much. So, that’s the advice that I would give. Take advantage of the security, be intentional with the extra money while you have it, but don’t get too comfortable with it. Just remember, why are you doing this? Why are you working extra hard right now? Eyes on the prize. Remember the life that you want to build for yourself, and that, yeah. And also, be proud of yourself that you are doing all this stuff towards it. I think that’s also really important.

Kira Hug:  Okay, Jenn, let’s break in here and talk about some ideas that stood out so far for you. What resonated for you the most?

Jenn Jouhseik:  I really liked the idea of being bothered, and I didn’t think about that when it comes to friendships or connections in general. And to really take notice of different details and bring that back full circle. I know her three-week follow-up period… I’m really bad at following up with people that I network with. So, I’m definitely going to take that into my own practice because I think that really getting… Especially at TCC IRL, I met so, so many amazing people, and I’ve connected with them, but then I never followed up after that. And it’s a great practice to have, and I think that, that’s something that we all should do a little bit more. And whether that’s with our clients, with our peers, with anyone that we want to build that relationship with, because building relationships is super important.

Kira Hug:  That stood out the most to me. But probably from the entire conversation, Liv shared so many great ideas from this entire interview. But that part to me, I guess this is a struggle for me as well, making friends, keeping friends. I think keeping friends feels a lot harder, making friends, I can do that, but keeping them feels like work sometimes because it is. You have to put in an effort and energy, and I know this is something that Liv has done really well. So, when she said be bothered, when she said that, I was like, “Oh, shoot. I am not nearly bothered enough when it comes to my friends. And I don’t feel great about that. So, how can I be bothered more? Especially with older friends, I don’t see frequently. How can I do that? So, I have really been working on it since this conversation with Liv. Just to help maintain those friendships that I do care about. But it is just with business, little kids, life, it just can be really hard at times to maintain it.

So, I like how she talked about it in terms of almost a habit. I don’t know if she actually said that it’s a habit, but the way she talked about it’s that consistency of doing little things along the way. She even said… I think this is, she said, “Act like the person that does those little things that you hear about or see in the movies that don’t seem to happen in real life. You can be that person and you can be bothered, and that will make you in the top 1% of friends.” And so, I don’t know, there’s just a magical way of approaching friendship that will stay with me for a long time.

Jenn Jouhseik:  Definitely. And something that she did from TCC IRL, I’m in her brand voice and she really welcomes everyone in, and it’s just something that’s super memorable. So, I really appreciated that. And just being able to have a touchpoint with someone, whether it’s an ongoing thing or a checking thing, whenever there is time between the ebbs and flows of life, but it’s really nice to just have that extra area where you can reach out and connect with other people too. And so, she does a great job of not only being bothered by connecting with individuals, but also connecting them too.

Kira Hug:  Right. And seeing that opportunity, so you’re right. It wasn’t just making a friend or two from an in-person event like TCC IRL, but it was seen as an opportunity among a community to create something new. This group focused on branding, and so, I think that’s where she’s really leaning into community because that’s something that’s important to her. So, Jenn, what else stood out to you? Beyond being a good friend, which you and I will hopefully improve in this area, what else stood out to you?

Jenn Jouhseik:  I love the idea of doing something that you’re scared of, even though you’re scared of it. And just seeing how it goes, she really takes that and breaks it down into micro steps. And I think that that’s something that me as an overthinker needs to sit down and take a step back and look at everything and break them down into smaller pieces to make the act of doing things that are scary, a little bit more digestible. And as you continue to move into doing certain things, then it’s not as scary as it seems, and it is rewarding at the end.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. And she mentioned the momentum will carry you through. So, even if you break it, you break this scary thing into bite size chunks and do a little bit at a time, you’ll start to feel that momentum, and then you’ll be able to accomplish the big scary thing. So, for you, Jenn, I feel like you do scary things all the time. At least from an outside perspective. At least with moving, you’ve moved a couple of times since I met you. So, how do you approach doing something that is hard or uncomfortable or maybe even terrifying in your business and life?

Jenn Jouhseik:  I think I do what Liv does, and she said it where she says that she could put herself into situations and figure it out. And I realize that sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s just you have to do it to know. Thinking about the idea of something is great, but I don’t know. I’m a mix of a planner, but I’m also leaning into spontaneity a lot. And I think that having a good balance of both really helps bring things full circle, especially with my crazy moves. Those weren’t really planned, and I think it’s been really great opportunities personally and professionally just to do that and then make sure that at the end of the day, I don’t know, the fear dissolves, I guess, and it turns into an adrenaline rush. I don’t know how to describe that, but it does feel like a momentum that carries you through.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. And if you’re comfortable sharing this, you moved first, was it to Austin first?

Jenn Jouhseik:  Yes. There’s a small tidbit before that, but I was based in New York City and my partner and I had visited friends out in California, and it was just to visit, and we discovered a house that we fell in love with, and we decided to buy it. And so, we had an offer and everything. We were in Escrow, COVID hit, and we decided the best thing to do was to pull out of that offer. But we still wanted to move somewhere.

And so, our next thought was to move to Texas. And I’ve never personally been to Austin. I’ve been to Houston, and my partner has never been to Texas in general, and we didn’t really know anyone out there and we just decided to do it. And yeah, my family was not too happy about that. But yeah, we moved, and it was such a weird time, especially mid-pandemic, but I think that that really helped me move out of my comfort zone and propelled me to start my business because I don’t think I would have done a jump like that. I quit my corporate job with no plan. And so, I don’t think I would have done that without moving spontaneously to another state that I’ve never been to.

Kira Hug:  And then you moved again, right?

Jenn Jouhseik:  Yes. So, we bought a house site unseen in Florida, and we made the move out here. So, again, yeah, very adventurous, I guess.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, and I think that’s a great example of terrifying and adventurous and stepping out of your comfort zone can look like many different things. And it’s not easy and we can lean into it in different ways. And so, I love the examples that Liv shared in her conversation with us throughout the entire conversation. There’s so many great examples. And then I think your living, breathing proof of another example to surround movement and redesigning your life in a different way, and being really intentional about where you want to be, and not really settling for anything else.

Jenn Jouhseik:  Definitely.

Kira Hug:  All right. So, what else really grabbed your attention?

Jenn Jouhseik:  I think looking at the details of what you envision to be a perfect day or perfect… How you want to build your life, and then believing in it. And I think that the belief thing is so crucial to doing anything, really. If you don’t believe that you could do certain things, it’s going to come out somehow. Whether it’s your expressions or the way that you talk, you have to believe at least enough in what you’re doing to, I guess propel forward. And I feel like when I’ve had conversations with Liv, she’s just been so inspiring about the fact that she really takes this reframe when it comes to thinking about things.

And one of the things that she does that is really awesome, and I’ve kind of tried to adapt it in my own mindset or mind reframes, is that she creates very grandiose statements that are just so over-exaggerated that build on positivity. And so, whether it’s not really true, it’s speaking something into existence. And I think that that’s super powerful because then when you’re in a positive mind frame, you can just feel uplifted about everything, and it opens the doors to opportunities that you probably might have missed if you were stuck on things that you’re worried about.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. And would you be open to sharing it, as a specific example of that, because we didn’t cover that reframe in the conversation with Liv?

Jenn Jouhseik:  Mm-hmm. So, one of the things that I’ve been focused on is I launched a workshop and I’ve been pushing it off for a month and a half or two months. And the reason why that I did that was because I was so caught up in my own web of thoughts that it’s just not going to go well, no one’s going to show up, who am I to talk about anything and why should I be the one to host something?

 And so, after I did talk to Liv, it was eye opening to reframe that and say, “This is the first thing that I’m working on, and I just have to do it. Because if I’m just circling around my thoughts and not actually knowing facts, then I’m never going to know what the outcome is.”

And I think that sometimes when you are scared or worried about an outcome, you just kind of have to propel forward and see what happens, and take it step by step in bite-size chunks and figure out what the best next thing is. Because if you don’t do it, you’re not going to know. And so, I’ve been just telling myself, “This is going to be the best workshop ever. Everyone’s going to know about it, and everyone’s going to love everything that is in there.” And just… I guess, giving myself that pep talk that I need.

So I guess giving myself that pep talk that I need, and that helps so much.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, that’s a great example. So thank you for sharing that. And I’ve seen you present workshops, so I know you over-deliver, and I know it’s going to be that grand, but I also know how we can get in our own way, and I’ve done that plenty of times. So that’s, I think, quite relatable to many copywriters. So Jen, before we wrap up this part of the conversation, I just want to mention one more idea that she mentioned, that Liv mentioned, around just being different. And I guess this kind of speaks to what you’re saying as well, about being really clear about your vision. And what I like about Liv is that she’s so inspiring and helpful around figuring out what we all want. What she wants is very different from what you want, which is different from what I want. And I think just listening to her speak it, at least gives me permission to be like, “Okay, I can want something totally different and I can know that that difference is actually possible, and that’s okay”.

And sometimes I think it’s overwhelming to figure out what that path could look like, especially if it’s not a typical path, like a typical corporate ladder that you can climb, or a typical career path. Even in the entrepreneurial space, there tends to be more typical paths you can take, even as a business owner. And so I think as soon as you realize, I don’t want to follow a typical path, I want to do things differently, it can become very overwhelming, because then you’re like, well, what does that even mean, and how do I do it? What does that look like?

But I think what Liv spoke to that resonated with me is that it’s enough just to know, I don’t want to run my business the same way everyone else is running their business. I don’t want to live my life the same way everyone else is living their life, or I don’t want to raise my kids the same way. And it’s just enough to say that and to commit to it, even if you don’t understand what that even looks like, or maybe even what that means to you yet, and you don’t have that path, that’s a great starting point. And I think Liv is so powerful when she talks about that because she’s living and breathing it and is giving other people permission to think differently about how they can build their business and their life as well. So that was huge for me.

Jenn Jouhseik:  Yeah, definitely. I mean, everyone’s different, and that’s something that we realize once you start talking to different people. There’s no one set way to do anything. And being able to just listen to different paths that other people have taken, it helps you shape what you want and what you don’t want in your own path. And I think that that’s something that’s really powerful to take away, and Liv definitely does that and speaks and lives that, for sure.

Kira Hug:  All right, so let’s jump back into the interview with Liv and find out a little bit more about her brand strategy process and what brand story looks like for Liv.

Rob Marsh:  So tell us a little bit more about your business, the kinds of clients that you serve, the kind of work that you do. What does a typical project look like?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, so I do, I mostly sit in the brand strategy space, so I really like working with people that are building new brands or launching sub-brands. I realized the longer I did copywriting, that I actually don’t write very much, and I just want to do the research and the strategy and the thinky-feely stuff and then give that to someone else to roll out.

So I work with a lot of startups, or a lot of younger businesses who have a good product or service, and they’ve been in business for a few years and they have the money to pay me, that’s important, but maybe they didn’t develop a brand properly, or at all, when they started and now they’re growing and now they realize that they need to get their house in order before they get too big and it gets too chaotic. So that’s usually who I work with.

I also partner with some agencies who do similar work, but they tend to have larger clients. So I do a lot of stuff through those agencies like real estate developers, venues, stuff like that. I actually recently discovered a new niche of the brand strategy space, which I am so excited about place-making. And it’s basically the brand strategy for a physical place, but then rolling it out for like, okay, this is the brand identity and this is the narrative. What does that look like for the food and bev offering? And what does that look like for the experiences on offer at this place? And what does that look like for the decor in the hotel rooms? And what does that look like for the… Just rolling it out through every detail. And it is so fascinating, so delighted to have come across it.

Kira Hug:  Okay, well I want to do that. Tell me more about that. Let’s say I want to start rolling this out too, what’s a good starting point? What do I need to start doing in order to do it well and understand what I’m doing and explore it further?

Liv Steigrad:  If you can write a brand story, then the first piece of it. I was trying to explain what a brand story is to my mom once, and I said, it’s like a poem that contains the soul of a brand, and that’s kind of what made her understand it. And I think if you can distill the soul of a brand into a story, you can then use that to extrapolate all these other details. And yeah, I would just say don’t bullshit when you write the brand story. Do it properly and genuinely and with a lot of thought and consideration. Because if that is strong, then it’ll be easy to be like, okay, so how are we going to do this, hotels, staff, uniforms, now. What do they need to be like? Look at the brand story, see what’s there, and it’ll be easy to build it out from there. But if you just write something that sounds nice, and it’s not based in anything, then you will have a hard time rolling it out to other more physically tangible aspects.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I’m curious about what this looks like from a brand guide standpoint. So it’s easy to think about, okay, the voice needs to be like this because you use these words, whatever. Clearly, we’ve all had experiences with brands that are in that space. The IRL, I was at a Virgin hotel, and so there’s cool artwork on the wall. There’s lots of red, the brand colors. But if you were working with a client like this, I know you’re new to this, so I may be asking you some things you haven’t done everything for yet, but how does that show up in the guide? Do you define a particular aroma or do you show that hall smell?

Liv Steigrad:  It is that detailed. Yeah.

Rob Marsh:  Interesting.

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, so for example, if you were working with a hotel and the brand story is where we love music and we have ties to the community and history, and all of that. Then you would have a section about scent branding and you would say, based on the brand narrative, these are the kinds of sense that will enhance and continue building the experience that we’re trying to build. And then you might suggest a brand of fragrance to work with or not, but you might say, we’re going to use rosemary and sea salts, I don’t know, I just made that up. But you know, you would suggest actually…

Kira Hug:  I like rosemary.

Liv Steigrad:  So far as to suggest. Yeah, I like Rosemary too. But you would go so far as to suggest actual fragrances, actual fabrics, actual producers, suppliers that fit in. So yeah, it gets very granula.

Kira Hug:  How are you sourcing all of that? Especially as someone who’s jumping into it, it’s new and exciting, just like a lot of Google searches? Are you building partnerships with suppliers or designers? How do you get started with that, such new territory?

Liv Steigrad:  Ask me that question again in six months and I might have a different answer, but I would say it’s both. I would say it’s a lot of Googling and, over time, probably relationships or you probably, I imagine, would build up a bit of a database of suppliers that can fit a certain vibe and be able to bring them forwards. But yeah, ask me again in six months.

Rob Marsh:  And I want to ask about another thing that I know you do in your business, which is Microcopy.

Liv Steigrad:  Yes.

Rob Marsh:  And I think you have a passion for it. So talk to us a little bit about Microcopy.

Liv Steigrad:  Yes I do.

Rob Marsh:  Why do you like it? Well actually, maybe first, because I think a lot of people maybe don’t even know what it is, but what is Microcopy? We might be able to point to some examples, but is there a definition? So it’s like, oh yeah, okay, I get what that is, and why is it so critical as part of branding and brand voice?

Liv Steigrad:  So Microcopy is all those tiny little bits of copy, for example, if you open an app and there’s like the copy on the buttons and the copy within the app that help you use it. So usually you have an extremely limited character count and a very important function to fulfill. It’s extremely practical copy. So the challenge is to keep that copy functional and clear and easily understandable, but then also inject some brand personality into it. And sometimes you only have 37 characters, and you have to tell the people what is going to happen or what they’re going to do when they click the button. And so it is, it’s a very unique challenge trying to balance the functionality and the brand personality. And that is why I like it so much.

Kira Hug:  All right. I am jumping back to brand strategy. Sorry, but I have more questions, because it comes up so frequently and so many copywriters are jumping fully into it or dabbling. And I wonder how you sell your brand strategy and if you have advice for selling it. Because it can be difficult for some copywriters to sell it.

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, I have a few different ways. Number one, when people come to me asking for web copy, I ask them some questions to find out where they’re at with their brand. And if they are nowhere with their brand, which is often, I’ll just kind of explain to them that I can’t do it without a brand strategy. That all of their web copy and everything needs to be based on this piece, and if they don’t have it, their web copy and their socials and everything is going to not be cohesive. And usually that is enough, because people want to feel reassured that their business is being taken care of, and when I explain it in the way that you need to rewind and do all this research, and I kind of present it as this really thorough, important piece, then people tend to like that. They’re like, oh yeah, I do want my brand to be based in research, not just words.

And the other way is I just present it not as an option. Like, if you want to work with me, that piece has to be done first and it’s built into my project pricing. And it’s not like, okay, if you want me to do your web copy, the web copy is this much, but we also have to do the strategy, which is this much. It’s just one thing, it’s just one lump price, I don’t separate it out. So they don’t have that feeling of, oh, do I really want to spend this much extra money to pay for that? No. You just have to. That’s it.

Rob Marsh:  I like that approach. We’ve gone back and forth, I know Kira does the same thing with research and copy and I don’t, I itemize it. And I guess it works both ways. Okay, so my next question for you is about your framework.

Liv Steigrad:  Yes.

Rob Marsh:  This is kind of a callback to what we were talking about earlier. You have a propensity for bravery and doing things that are maybe a little crazy to some of us, but you have a framework, BRAVE. Will you talk to us about that and walk us through the framework, but why did you develop that, and your thinking behind it?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, so I was trying to put some structure into the way that I approach brands, and I realized that I did not have a step by step way of approaching it, but rather I had this kind of constellation of angles of examination, which I found would cover all the bases. So the acronym is BRAVE, and it stands for body language, relatability, articulation, values and expression. And funny that we were talking about microcopy because body language, it refers to the UX. So my whole approach to brand strategy and branding is that humans have mannerisms and personalities and all these things that we’ve been enculturated with from a young age. And when you’re building a brand, you have to construct all of that stuff intentionally.

And when your brand lives online, it doesn’t have a physical body to give off signals. But there’s such a high percentage of the way that our brains take in information, is through nonverbal communication. So if you want to try and use that with your brand and use that to connect with your audience, it’s the UX that kind of provides that body language. And so it’s the usability, it’s where your brand lives online. Is the messaging appropriate for the platform that it’s on? Is it easy to use? And that’s so important these days because literally anyone can put something up on the internet. We know not to trust just anything that we see on the internet these days. And so if your website or app, or whatever, looks a bit dodgy, like bye-bye. No one is going to trust your brand if it doesn’t come across as authentic or legitimate online.

And then relatability is about understanding your audience’s psychology and emotions so that you can build those relationships. Articulation is not so much what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. So finding your unique verbal style, and that’s done through voice of customer, research and some competitive research as well.

Values. The value part is not just about your brand’s values. It’s good to know those, but you also need to know your customer’s values, and how your brand helps your customers become more aligned with their own values. Because if you understand that, then that’s really, really powerful stuff.

And then expression is more of the technical sides of how your brand is going to communicate. So that’s more the stuff that you’d normally find in a brand voice guide. Your formatting and your tone of voice, and how you use emojis, and what your sense of humor is and how that comes across, and all of that. So yeah, that’s the constellation. And I found that it’s also a really useful diagnostic tool if you have a brand that already exists and you want to ask how strong it is, you can look at it from each of those angles and see if there are any gaps, or if there are any weak points.

Kira Hug:  Where do you think most copywriters struggle with the first part of it, the body language and the UX part? If we can make one or two changes to most copywriter businesses, I know we’re generalizing, but what would be some changes we can make to improve our body language?

Liv Steigrad:  That’s a great question. It’s hard to say because copywriters vary so much, but just digesting some resources on UX, or trying to have a closer relationship with the designer that you’re working with, will help. But I think that most copywriters have some intuitive understanding of this because copywriting’s not just what you’re writing, it’s also how it is laid out, is it readable, is it scannable. And just go deeper into that part of copy and you’ll find yourself in the world of UX.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, as I think about that, there are definitely copywriters out there that are using a lot of the same images. And it’s, of course, not just copywriters. I think about ESPs and the headlines are all kind of the same, email service providers, they all promise the same kind of thing, they all use the same fonts, similar colors. So it’s something that I think a lot of categories do, or they sort of adopt what everybody else is doing in their industry, and we don’t try to be different enough. But I do think you’re right, there are copywriters who get it and they’ve done it, but is that what we’re talking about when we’re talking about body language?

Liv Steigrad:  That’s part of it. So all of the elements of my framework are intentionally a little bit vague, and that’s because everyone’s businesses and everyone’s brands are really different and I wanted them to be applicable. So it’s kind of like a horoscope, take what is relevant to you from it.

Rob Marsh:  Today is a good day for me.

Kira Hug:  Take what fits.

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rob Marsh:  I like that. And I also like that you described it as this constellation of things, because oftentimes we think about a framework as step by step, and of course process frameworks are like that, but that’s not the only way to do it. And I like that you’re doing it differently, like you do so much stuff differently.

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, and another reason I did that was because it’s an iterative process, so I wanted it to be something that people can come back to every six months and check, am I still going strong with all of these, have I improved in this one that was struggling a bit. And you don’t have to go through all of them, you just look at the one that needs attention each time. And so I wanted it to be something that people come back to again and again and again. And I really strongly believe that the best system is one that people will actually use. And if I made it a step-by-step, process it, that might have just been too long, it might have just been too much effort for people. So doing it this way, people can pick and choose what they need at the time, and that makes them more likely to actually apply it.

Kira Hug:  I want to go back to what you were saying about your business and building momentum. We talked about some of the things you’ve done, like investing in your business and investing in coaching, but I’d love to just hear any specific changes you made that helped you build that momentum. For anyone who’s listening, who’s like, I want to have momentum too, sounds like I should probably invest in myself, but what else, why am I investing in myself, what do I actually need to do once I invest. Or can I do it without investing in a coach?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, I think the biggest piece of advice that I would give to people if they wanted to build momentum in their business and they didn’t or couldn’t invest in a coach, is the same thing that I would tell people who wanted to make more friends, which is just to be bothered. Like check in with your past clients two months later and be like, hey, how’s your website going? Not necessarily with the intention of getting more business.

Like, for example, ages ago, like three years ago, I did some work with a naturopath, helped her with a website, product, email, things like that. And then two weeks ago, I saw that she had partnered with a skincare company that I really like, and her products were featured in an email that they sent out and they had put together some bundles together. So I emailed her being like, hey, how are you? Hope you’re well, I saw your products on this skincare website’s email, that’s super cool. I love that you’ve partnered with them. I think your brands are a really good fit. Hope you’re well. And that was it. And she replied, we had a little chat, but it’s that kind of thing that just shows that you care and that you remember and that you’re not necessarily thinking about them, but.

… that you care and that you remember and that you’re not necessarily thinking about them. But if they do pop into your mind, let them know. So yeah, just be bothered because if people believe that you care about their business, even if you don’t really, or you know, don’t have to hold them deep in your heart, but if you care about them enough to remember little things like that, then they will come back to you and they will refer people to you. And that has definitely made a big difference for me. I have a few clients that I’ve been working with for three years or three and a half years, pretty much since I started my business and I’m still working with them. And I think that’s because I act like I care about their businesses.

Rob Marsh:  So, you’ve obviously had a really good year, quadrupled your business over the last year. You mentioned investing in coaching, being bothered. Is there anything else that you have done to create this environment where you’ve been able to succeed that maybe some of the rest of us can borrow some of those ideas and also succeed?

Liv Steigrad:  I’ve done a lot of work on refining my services, upping my prices, networking, getting my name out there, working on my visibility, all of that standard business development stuff.

Kira Hug:  Maybe I can flip that question then, and what is a struggle today? Because it sounds, just listening to the show, it sounds like you have it figured out, it’s going well, you’ve done the right things, you’re just approaching it in such a great way and with intention. So, what is a struggle for you today other than what you mentioned? I mean, juggling a full-time job is really hard, but other than that.

Liv Steigrad:  I know that I talk about it all very calmly and happily, but it’s a rollercoaster. It is such a rollercoaster. So, a big thing that I’ve struggled with is feeling like I have a right to show up in a certain way. I often have to remind myself that I actually do know what I’m talking about. And I do have valuable knowledge and I’ve been doing this more than full-time for four years, but in my head, I’m still like a baby. So, that’s been a really hard and constant challenge. But I have embraced feeling like a novice and embraced doing things anyway.

So I think a good business skill to have is to get used to doing things while you are scared. Being brave in life and in business is not being scared. It’s about doing things despite being scared and learning to be okay with that. Yeah, it sort of gets easier or you get more comfortable with it. But I think it’s a constant thing because when you’re growing your own business, you never achieve it. You’re never finished. There’s always the next thing and a bigger thing and a new thing to do. So, I think just accepting that has been a big challenge, but a good lesson.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. So, I was going to say or ask what’s next for you, but you’ve told us the experiential branding thing and launching into your own business at some point in the near future. So, really my question is what’s the ultimate goal? Not what’s next, but where are you going to be in a year or two or five years? How big is the live empire going to be?

Liv Steigrad:  Look, I want to be the next you guys.

Rob Marsh:  So, not that big. It’s not that big.

Kira Hug:  No potatoes. No potatoes.

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah. Not anytime soon. But I definitely see myself building a community at some point. I think that I would be good at it. And I also think that I would get a lot of satisfaction out of it and creating the space that I want to exist in has always been a very salient feature of my life. So, in the future, maybe in a year from now, I will start thinking about what that might look like. But until then, I’m just going to keep going with my brand voice group chat.

Kira Hug:  All right. I’ve got two lightning round questions. Maybe I can throw in another one. Because I feel like we need to have three.

Liv Steigrad:  Okay.

Kira Hug:  But gymnastics, can you share a business lesson from what you’ve learned doing gymnastics?

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah, I can give you two business lessons actually. Number one is that nothing is as easy at it as it looks, but you can get there with consistent effort. And number two, embrace being bad at things and don’t let that stop you from trying new things because you will surprise yourself.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. And when did you start doing gymnastics? It was recently, right? Not that long ago.

Liv Steigrad:   Yes, it was five months ago.

Rob Marsh:  You’re like a handstand expert as well, or maybe that’s part of the gymnastics.

Liv Steigrad:  Not an expert, but I have been doing handstands for about two years. But I started gymnastics five months ago and actually yesterday I landed my very first front handspring by myself. So, a good day for me. Yes.

Rob Marsh:  Good for you. Yeah.

Kira Hug:  Big move.

Liv Steigrad:  Thank you.

Rob Marsh:  I think I would break something.

Kira Hug:  I liked gymnastics as a kid, and I was not the best. So, I respect everyone who can do gymnastics. Next lightning round question, skincare routine. I feel like I’ve heard you talk about this, but maybe not really also, I mean-

Rob Marsh:  Yes.

Kira Hug:  … can you share your routine or any advice, skincare advice for anyone listening? I’m always-

Rob Marsh:  It doesn’t sound very lightning round to me. Kira, that sounds-

Kira Hug:  … Is that not a lightning round to question? I don’t.

Liv Steigrad:  That’s a whole other thing, but oh, there are so many angles to come at this from and I’m not sure which one to take. Skincare is, it’s about the ritual of feeling good. So, do whatever it takes to immerse yourself in the ritual of feeling good and also wear SDF. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone, wear SDF every day, even in winter. And don’t forget your neck.

Kira Hug:  And your hands and your hands.

Rob Marsh:  Good advice.

Liv Steigrad:  And your hands.

Kira Hug:  SDF, I will always remember that. Okay-

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah. Exactly.

Kira Hug:  … last lightning round question because again, we need three. What do you believe is possible for copywriters today that feels really exciting and is possible for all of us in the future?

Rob Marsh:  Oh, that seems like a really big question for lightning round too. I thought lightning round was lightning was like-

Kira Hug:  Okay. It’s not lightning round.

Rob Marsh:  … being your favorite Muppets or-

Kira Hug:  I clearly don’t understand the concept of lightning round.

Liv Steigrad:  Again, so many potential angles to approach this question from. So, I’m going to choose the one that is kind of relevant to the other stuff that we’ve been talking about. And I think that copywriters, it is possible for copywriters to design the life that they want to live, whatever that looks like for them.

Rob Marsh:  I like that answer. Yeah, and everybody’s, everybody’s can be a little different to match what they like.

Kira Hug:  That’s great. Lightning round answer, even though I did not give you a great lightning round question. All right, so for anyone listening who wants to connect with you, who wants just to hear more, where can they go? Where can they go to connect with you?

Liv Steigrad:  So, they can find me at my website, which is And you can also find me on LinkedIn just under my name, which is Liv Steigrad. Check the show notes for the spelling of that. It is a German last name, so don’t try and guess it.

Rob Marsh:  Awesome. Thanks, Liv. This has been… It just in so many ways, just talking about being brave I think is a great message. And I’m not going to be skydiving or life modeling anytime soon, but maybe I’ll find something else to be brave with. So-

Kira Hug:  We should go skydiving.

Liv Steigrad:  Let me know when you do. I’d love to hear about it.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, thank you. This has been really fun and inspiring, so thank you.

Liv Steigrad:  Yeah. Thank you.

Kira Hug:  That’s the end of our interview with Liv Steigrad. But before we go, there are just a couple ideas we want to touch on. Jenn, why don’t you kick it off?

Jenn Jouhseik:  I love the idea that she, Liv called to think about brand story as a poem and how she said that to her mom and really distilling the soul of a brand into a story. And then, you can extrapolate details from sense to feelings to sounds, to all of the things that will tie directly to make a brand like a living thing. And that, I know as when I do brand messaging and brand voice, it’s a huge thing to really wrap your head around all of the different intricate details that can make a brand story, a unique brand story for each individual and company.

Kira Hug:  It was a really beautiful way of talking about branding and what’s really cool about what she’s doing that’s stood out to me, at least from the conversations we’ve had with other copywriters, is that Liv is now pulling her work and brand strategy and pulling it into other areas that touch a brand and a business. So, I think she was talking about working with hotels, I believe it was hotels and pulling in elements from the original brand guide to start to talk about physical objects in the space and what that looks like and talking about products and what are the right products or the right design elements to pull into a hotel.

And the sense that you want to pull in and even it could be the type of lighting you want and the type of visual elements that you can start to source too. You can start to provide recommendations and not even just Pinterest boards, but you can actually start to pull together the products and you can start to build relationships with different vendors to become this really valuable resource that’s more definitely more than a copywriter and become more of a consultant.

And that opportunity is something that is open to all of us and it’s not everyone’s strength, it’s not everyone’s interest. You do not have to do that. But it’s something that, again, not many copywriters I know are going to that level in our space, especially more of the freelancer space. And that’s such a great fun opportunity to take just to see the brand strategy come to life in a way that sometimes we can see our messaging on the internet, but it’s like how fun would it be to actually see products and even furniture that stemmed from the strategy that you created for a client that’s really rewarding. And again, there’s a great opportunity for revenue and for larger packages too, if you want to think about it that way. So, that’s something that is worth checking out, thinking about even reaching out to Liv if you’re interested in learning more about that, that grabbed my attention.

Jenn Jouhseik:  And building off of that Liv’s brave framework, the way that she calls it a constellation of angles of examination to cover all of the bases is a really unique way of approaching a framework because normally it’s a step by step process, but Liv’s approach is creating the different angles of, I guess back to that constellation that anyone can come back and grab what they need at the time and it’s the best system that people will actually use because it’s, it evolves with them and it’s not just a once direction. And that speaks to her overall messaging in terms of what she was saying about finding ways to be different. And I think that that speaks throughout everything that she does. And it’s really cool that she could bring brands to life through those tangible physical items and then, also create a web of angles to think about as that brand grows to work on over time.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, I mean it’s a really powerful framework for her, because not only does it speak to how she approaches her work, like you said, the constellation of different angles of examination when you’re thinking about branding. So, it speaks to how she approaches a problem that she’s about to solve. But it’s also so cool. I love when a framework connects to the individual, the service provider, the copywriter as well, of course brave. That captures the entire conversation with Liv. And if you hang out with her, you quickly grasp that she is someone who is brave or is facing, is courageous and facing fear frequently, even though it’s not easy for her. So, it’s such a great way to approach a framework where it’s personal and you have stories you can connect to it. So, Liv has so many stories she could connect to brave, then you can also apply it to the work in a sales message.

And so, it has legs, it can go in many different directions, and I think that’s the type of framework that works best. And I agree with what you’re saying Jenn, it doesn’t just also prove that frameworks don’t have to be so prescription based and even methodical. They could be, It could be, here’s my framework to show my process step-by-step, but it can also be more conceptual and even artistic Liv where it’s more like, here’s how I approach my work. This isn’t necessarily a step-by-step guide, but here’s how I think about it and here’s what it will feel like and look like when we work together.

Jenn Jouhseik:  Beautifully said.

Kira Hug:  And before we wrap, Jenn, anything else that you want to touch on?

Jenn Jouhseik:  I just want to call out the gymnastics thing, because I definitely feel like it’s not as easy as it looks for sure. And consistently. Consistency is the best way to continue practice makes perfect, right? And I recently tried to challenge myself to do a handstand. It looks super easy, my partner can do it with no problem, but it scares the hell out of me. And so, I’ve been practicing on how to do it and I felt so silly. But I love that Liv is saying to be okay with being silly and to just keep going at it. And after doing it for I think about a month, I was finally able to feel more comfortable in the motions and I could do one, but I still need an assist. But it’s all there.

Kira Hug:  That’s incredible. I didn’t know you were doing that. So, I want to see Liv’s backflip, back handspring-

Jenn Jouhseik:  Me too.

Kira Hug:  … it was either the front handspring or back handspring, I don’t remember. I want to see that. And then, I want to see your handstand and then, I want to see Rob do a summer salt or something-

Jenn Jouhseik:  Oh my God.

Kira Hug:  … basic, I want to see that too.

Jenn Jouhseik:  And he still has to do a TikTok dance.

Kira Hug:  Right? And he has to do a TikTok dance. Yes. Well yeah, before we wrap, I think the last note I want to mention, we touched on it in the lightning round, was Liv’s advice around skincare. And what I really like is what she said around, it’s a ritual of feeling good. We didn’t get into the weeds about all the different cleansers and creams; I would’ve had fun talking about that. But at the core, it’s a ritual about how to feel good in your body, in your skin, in your mind. And I think that’s really important to think about because there are so many rituals related to what we do as copywriters.

And so, even though the question was directed towards skincare, I think it’s important as we build our own rituals as business owners, as copywriters that were questioning and thinking frequently about does this feel good? Does this work feel good with my client? Does this business decision feel good? Does my morning routine feel good? We can do that frequently and it’s really easy to get to the point where things do not feel good and we just continue to do it because we feel like we should. So, I like that she ended the conversation on that point, because we can pull it into so many different areas of our lives and our businesses. So, I appreciated that.

Jenn Jouhseik:  Same. Definitely, something that I’m going to ask myself all the time.

Kira Hug:  Yes, me too. So, we want to thank Liv for joining us on the podcast today. If you want to connect with her, you can find her at, which we’ll link to in the show notes. If you want to listen to more episodes similar to this one, definitely check out episode 215 with Brandon Burton about saying Yes to scary things. Check out episode 118 with Sorcha MacKenzie about branding and copy. And you can also check out episode 187 with Melissa Berkheimer all about what copywriters need to know about design. And if you want to learn more about the Think Tank Liv as a member, we talked briefly about that. My co-host Jenn is also a member. If you have any interest in learning more about the Think Tank, you can find details in the show notes. And I also want to thank my co-host, Jenn. Thank you for being here and giving us your time today. If anyone wants to connect with you or learn more about your business, where could they go?

Jenn Jouhseik: They can go to, J-O-U-H-C-O and connect with me also on Instagram @jouhco_. And that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Metzer. If you’ve enjoyed what you heard, please visit Apple Podcasts to leave your review of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.





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