How I spice up your copy
If you’re reading this or if you’ve spent any time poking around this website, then I think it’s safe to assume (although, generally, you make an ass of you and me when you do that) you already know that I’m a writer and editor who works with online business owners who want to spice up their copy with more personality and originality.
If you can’t tell from all the exclamation points and excited all caps typing, this is work I am super passionate about and invested in. (I won’t belly flop into all the deets here, but you can totally snuggle up with a snuggie and some tea and read my story here.)
But…what the hell does “spicing up copy with more personality and originality” actually look like? What does it even mean?!?! How do I help online business owners go from boring and beige copy (their words, not mine, I swear) to copy that’s oozing so much personality, has snappy intros and captivating headlines and super spicy language, and feels so unmistakably them that they can’t wait to share it with everyone (in which everyone means the World Wide Web)?
Well, insert disclaimer here that every client is absolutely 100% a unique unicorn with their own special blend of awesomeness and no two horns or colorful manes and tails are alike…
But today I thought it would be fun to take you step-by-step through my process of supporting my clients through this transformation.
Let’s sprinkle some spice and make everything so much more nice, shall we?
Step 1: Figure out not just what my clients needs but wants.
Whether my new amazing client stumbled across my colorful website, has been stalking me on social media for months (or the reverse…ahem…), or was referred to me by another amazing client, I always start with a one-on-one call.
Yep, even on the days when my hair is looking a little more greasy than wavy, when I’ve somehow managed to spill protein powder AND cocoa powder over the front of my shirt yet again, and when the circles under my eyes are so shiny you can see your future in them…
(Okay, kidding, kidding. I wash my hair. Sometimes I wear a hat though. And I always put on a clean shirt. I might work from home, but I’m not a total heathen. And, well, that last one can’t be helped too much, but thank my lucky stars and the heavens above for Zoom’s wonderful touch-up feature.)
This first step might seem superfluous and totally unnecessary. Alas! This meeting is crucial. Because it’s where I get clear on what my client is struggling with, what they’re hoping to get out of our work together, and how they talk when they’re describing these massive mountains of struggle. (What’s that? Client language? Oh you…)
Some clients want more spice (aka swearing and blush-inducing pop culture references); others just want their copy to sound more conversational and less like they’ve got a corporate stick stuck up their ass. This is need-to-know info so I can bring that in to their copy.
Step 2: Reviewing the copy, inserting some spice, and/or removing sticks.
After the kick-off call, I head off to my corner to do some work. It’s actually almost a corner. I mean, the corner is within arm’s reach of where I’m sitting so, yes, you can totally picture me crouching in the corner of my dining room, face illuminated by my trusty MacBook Air (alive and kicking after, I don’t even know, seven years and that one tomato sauce incident…), and getting all bug-eyed from staring at the screen for way too long.
This is where the work gets done. I spend hours (not even joking) poring over my client’s copy, finding places where things aren’t flowing, where a different word would be better, where we could totally scrap a whole section, where we could get away with a Mean Girls joke, where we could have a stronger CTA, where it just doesn’t make sense…
And I leave comments all over the doc. I’ve been told by one super sweet client that the first time she opened a reviewed doc, she was super overwhelmed and had to close it immediately. Never fear, my cool-copy-seeking, friend – I do it out of love! So much love! Also, I’m not a complete screwdriver, and I never belittle, berate, or besmirch my clients. I approach my work as a team effort (ahhh, lessons learned from corporate) and always frame my feedback that way.
It’s not, “You should really delete this paragraph because it makes no sense.” It’s, “We can take this out since we already talk about it in the previous paragraph.”
It’s like “us” vs. “me vs. you” – you dig?
Step 3: Explaining the feedback aka my inner monologue.
This step is sort of a surprise for my clients, and they all love it so I’m of course not going to spoil the entire process! What fun would that be?!
Without being the person who ruins the surprise (surely there must be a name for this? spoilsport?), I will tell you my clients go nuts over this because:
It gives them more clarity.
It explains why I did what I did.
It shows them how much time and effort I put in to their copy.
It lets them be a part of the process.
It gives them a peek inside my kooky writer brain.
It lets them get to know me better.
It sucks getting feedback on something and not really understanding it or taking it out of context. That’s kind of a recipe for frustration and disappointment. So, instead of cooking up a steaming pie of bafflement with extra distress, I walk my clients through my feedback and give them a high-level overview AND a microscopic inspection so they’re never left feeling like they don’t know what to do next or why I made that suggestion.
Step 4: Debriefing (which does not involve the pulling down of underwear).
The final step in my patented process is the oh-so-important debrief. This step kinda sorta piggybacks off the previous one because, again, getting a doc overflowing with comments and suggestions and red lines is no fun. “Wow, I love seeing 378 comments on my two-page blog post!” said no one. Ever.
So I hop back on a call with my client. Yay!
The purpose is manyfold. (Holy shit, manyfold is actually a word! I hope it means what I think it means…) First, questions. What’s the point of giving you all this feedback if you can’t ask questions? You might get stuck or be unsure of what to do so I spend time answering all the questions.
Sometimes, we brainstorm together. If I made a suggestion, it might not work for my client (which is totally normal, by the way…if a writer ever tells you that the suggestions are non-negotiable, well, you might wanna run…) so we brainstorm other ways to address the problem that feel more (groan) authentic to my client.
Some of my clients are super organized and on top of shit so, by the time we have our debriefing, they’ve already got changes and they use the time to get feedback on what they’ve done.
Some just wanna shoot the shit ‘cuz I’m wickedly sick like that.
The point is…you’re never left hanging. The debrief makes sure we wrap up any loose ends, strings, screws, and people so you feel confident making changes to your copy.
Here’s what one of my super cool clients had to say about my copy review services:
“All I can say is: THIS. IS. AMAZING. Your thoughts and ideas and sample language were SOOO helpful, and feel like there's so much more energy and personality springing forth from my work. Thank you thank you thank you!”
Like I said before with my timely disclaimer, every client is as unique as their tongue print (eww, can you imagine leaving a tongue print on something?). But my goal with every single person I work with is to give them copy that they feel good about and that sounds more like them – even if I tried my damnedest to get some Harry Potter references in there and they didn’t make the cut.
As an online business owner, you know how important it is to have a message and for it to be 100% you and sound 1000% like you – which is exactly why there’s no cookie-cutter-copy-review approach here. Every single review is completely unique. Yours might not include any Reba lyrics because you’re a little more Alice Cooper, you know?
Spice Rack is for you, the online business owner (be you a career coach, a yoga teacher, a health coach, a speaker, a therapist…) who wants your copy to have more spice and originality but can’t seem to sprinkle in some personality. (I blame corporate, of course. Also: One-size-fits-all crap.) It’s for anyone who wants to:
Feel beyond confident to share their copy
Feel like writing is fun (because they get to show the perks of their personality)
Have clearer copy that speaks to their audience
Have copy that sounds like them – and not every other coach on the chopping block
Get better at writing (‘cuz the feedback will 100% help you do that).
What’s that? That’s you? Woohoo! Sign up for Spice Rack, and let’s get you some copy brimming with spice and personality and originality.