TCC Podcast #38: Jessica Manuszak

Copywriter Jessica Manuszak joins Kira and Rob to talk all things copy for the 38th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Jessica specializes in capturing the unique voice of her clients. In this interview, Jessica opens up and shares the details of how she’s grown her business over the past couple of years, including… (we added the ellipsis for her benefit—you’ll see why).

•  How she became the top-performing salesperson with absurd scripts
•  The “mixtape” secret for writing in her client’s voice
•  Her process for naming products and services
•  How she “justifies her copy” cuts down on edits by using Google Docs
•  A step-by-step rundown of her process working with clients
•  How she really landed several “big name” clients—she says it was luck : (
•  The thing she hates most that other copywriters keep doing

Lots of good ideas and information from a successful copywriter who hasn’t been in the game for decades, but is doing well nonetheless. Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Sponsor: AirStory

Ash Ambirge
The Middle Finger Project
The Little Mermaid
Spotify
Scrabble Dictionary
Saved by the Bell
Acuity
Typeform
World’s Best Boss Mug
Neil Gaiman
AAA
Dove
The Copywriter Club Email
Lianna Patch
Marian Schembari
VerveandVigour.com
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: 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 Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 38, as we chat with copywriter Jessica Manuszak about her career journey, from working in government to growing her own agency, landing and working with big name clients, finding confidence, and what she sees as the biggest opportunities for copywriters today.

Kira: Hi, Jess. Hi, Rob. How’s it going?

Rob: Hey guys.

Jessica: Oh, hi. I’m good, thanks.

Kira: Welcome to the show, Jess. We’ve been waiting. We’ve been waiting for you.

Jessica: Oh man. I’m so ready.

Kira: So, I think a good place to start, Jess, is just how you ended up in copywriting, especially from government finance.

Jessica: It’s funny because it was a completely natural and completely unnatural transition. Right out of college, I went into telemarketing, selling like skeezy online degrees to people who didn’t need them. I was talking to like 74-year-old women, being like, “No, but engineering would really help you with your goals.” It was not good news. But that was the first time …

Rob: I can think of a couple of degrees I might want to get, actually.

Kira: I know.

Jessica: Right, I think we can do that.

Kira: Are you still selling?

Jessica: Yeah, I’ll hook you up … underwater basket weaving. But that was actually the first time I ever realized how powerful personality can be when you’re selling something. Because everyone else was like, “Oh hello, Jane. Would you like to purchase this degree program?” I was leaving them voicemails, it was like, “Jane, this is Jane from the future and I’m so glad you got that degree,” just like …

Kira: Did you really?

Jessica: Well, yeah.

Kira: Did you really leave those messages?

Jessica: Mm-hmm (affirmative), 100 percent.

Kira: Wow.

Jessica: I actually was the top performing salesperson on my floor while I worked there because of those like just off-the-wall, absurd scripts. So I left that, went to work for a school district, where I was managing a multi-million dollar bond project. Spent a lot of time with rich, White dudes for a while … and that was a learning experience. My boss at the time made a comment on one of my emails that I had sent to another staff member, saying that I had too much personality. He was like, “It’s very funny. It’s very funny. You’re very funny, but you know this is just … it’s not professional.” I knew then that something had to change.

So, I had been following Ash Ambirge for awhile, with The Middle Finger Project and House of Moxie, and I knew that she was my people. Over the course of a month, I actually taught myself how to build websites, basic ones not great ones. So, I built a one-pager about why she should hire me and tweeted her the link. She was not hiring at the time. She emailed me back, later that night, and was like, “Oh my God, I’m crying, like yes, let’s do this!” The rest is history. I put in my notice at my job, worked for Ash for a few years, and then transitioned into my own agency, after she had mentored me and showed me the ropes.

Rob: Jess, that’s really cool. You mentioned a couple of times personality, and I think if anybody starts looking at your website or any of the things that you’ve written in the past, personality is one of those things that really jumps out from what you do. Talk a little bit more about how you use your personality in the things that you’re doing with your customers, but also the work that you’ve got on your website and that you’ve done for other people, it also just sort of … it’s really good at bringing out the personality of your clients. How do you do that?

Jessica: Well, I sold my voice to a sea witch in 1996.

Rob: Wait a minute. I think I’ve seen that episode.

Jessica: Yeah, yeah, I know. They made a Lifetime documentary about it. It’s called The Little Mermaid.

Rob: Awesome.

Jessica: That’s a great question. I have always been super into pastiches, where you mimic someone else’s tone. I remember like for fun, in middle school, I was like the chubby, nerdy middle school kid with like gel holding her bangs back, right? During that time, I was such a nerd that I would read books, then try to write in the author’s voice in my journal. It got to the point to where I was winning writing contests for pastiches. It’s always been a skill I’ve developed because I’ve enjoyed the process of it. I love thinking like someone else and feeling like someone else. I think it’s good not just for like compassion and empathy, but obviously for like writing and sales, too. I don’t know if that answers your question. I mean I do it because I’ve worked really hard to be able to do it. I guess.

Rob: Are there specific things that you do to sort of put yourself into that mindset? Or is it just … you’re just to the point now where it just comes naturally?

Jessica: Both. With like my retainer clients, who I work with all the time, that’s a pretty automatic like switch that gets flipped. But for like new clients and stuff, I will actually make playlists in Spotify of songs that have that same tone or … this is going to sound so woo, woo and absolutely bonkeroo, but I go by my gut feeling a lot. So, like I’ll read over a client’s intake stuff and see how it makes my gut feel. Then, I’ll try to listen to music and find music that makes my gut feel that same way — to like create an ambiance of their tone, like I seep myself in their tone. Does that make sense?

Rob: Yeah. Yeah, it does. Now I sort of want to go through your intake form to find out what music matches my personality.

Kira: Yeah, I do, too. I do, too.

Jessica: I’ll make you a mixtape, Rob.

Rob: There you go.

Kira: Yeah, and I want to go over your process and the questions you’re asking on the intake form and all of that. But I feel like first, I want to back up a bit and find out, while you were immersed in copywriting in your first agency experience with Ash, what were some key lessons you took from those writing projects and experiences that you’ve really incorporated into your own agency now?

Jessica: Ah, so many things. If I had to pick one or two.

Kira: You can share 10. I mean we’ve got time.

Jessica: Five thousand, seven hundred and eighty-two things.

Kira: We’ve got all day.

Jessica: The best BuzzFeed article of all time.

I would say, from a business standpoint, Ash does an incredible job of projecting confidence and authority, constantly. Even if things are showing up in her life or circumstances or whatever that kind of indicate a little bit of vulnerability or whatever, Ash is just this unwavering pillar of strength for her community, which means people are just constantly clamoring, like, “Give me your money,” because they trust her, and they should. So from a business standpoint, that was really helpful to see. Because I’ve been kind of a doormat in my life. You know, “Oh, whatever you need, I’ll do it. Okay, sure.” So, to see her be so strong and still liked as a woman was really important for me, especially because when I first started working with her I was mid-20s, early 20s I guess. That’s an important time to like figure out who the heck you are and how you want to show up in the world.

In terms of like a copywriting lesson, everything I know about naming I learned from Ash. She’s the best namer I’ve ever met. She understands how words feel together — like how they taste, like how they, you know? She gets it.

Kira: Are there exercises? Because I don’t consider myself a good namer, and it’s something that I have struggled with. I haven’t really focused on it either. But are there any tricks or just ways we can improve if we’re not necessarily a great namer, but we need to incorporate that into some of our projects?

Jessica: Whenever I’m stuck with naming, I get real intimate with the thesaurus, which I know is nothing revolutionary, but like I won’t even necessarily look for specific words. Sometimes I’ll Google like two-syllable words that start with F, and then spend you know 13 minutes reading through this expansive scrabble dictionary list. Because, again, you’re like looking for those words that pop out at you, that make you feel a certain way. You know the brown eggs amidst the white egg anonymity. You learn to recognize them really quickly, but you’ve got to consume a whole bunch of words first.

Kira: Yeah.

Rob: So, going from Ash to doing what you’re doing now, tell us a little bit more about sort of the end of the journey.

Jessica: I was planning on staying with Ash till the day I died, for sure. As she was growing and scaling, she moved a little bit away from the one-on-one copywriting work, which at the time was like the absolute love of my life. So, that was kind of the main catalyst for switching is just that where she was headed wasn’t necessarily 100 percent where I wanted to go, and so I took that step out my front door and went balls deep.

Kira: What are some of the steps when you launched your own agency? Some of the critical steps that you took first? I’m just asking thinking of the many copywriters in our club who are launching, and they’re like, “Where do I start? How do I find clients?” You know sometimes they’re focused on the wrong thing. So from your experience, what were the right things that you focused on?

Jessica: I did things quickly and kind of haphazardly because I was scared that if I didn’t get it out into the world as soon as possible, I would turn into a chicken shit and just like not do it. So like, my for site, I built my own site by myself like in a 24-hour period marathon. You know my butt was numb from sitting in the chair for so long. Like the last things I did, which I hugely regret, is nailing down my packages. I was so concerned with looking like I knew what I was doing, that I hadn’t actually figured out what I was doing. So I would say, start with what you know you want to do, even if you have one package or your one signature service. Then, build your site and your brand and everything around that, so you can launch with like this complete thriving hub that actually serves a purpose. As opposed to being like, “Look at my great site you guys. It’s so pretty.”

Kira: I’m thinking through the structure of your business now because you mentioned that you’ve like customized packages, and you also mentioned retainers. So, what does it look like today? Do you have primarily retainer clients and the occasional project? Can you just share kind of the structure and how you’re getting paid today?

Jessica: Since the first of the year, all of my rent and bills and stuff have been paid by one retainer client who takes up 40 hours a month. Then, I take on extra projects on top of that depending on like … like right now, I’m getting married in a month and a half, and so we’re hoarding money like a bunch of f-ing goblins, right now. So I’m taking on all the work, just because I can and it’s time to do that.

But you know in like two months, I will likely focus more on that retainer client. I’m probably bringing on another one this month. So, the balance is shifting. For the first like two years of my business, it was completely one-on-one services or one-off services, rather. I had one retainer client, who was $300 a month, and I thought I was the hottest shit when I got her, and I was because she was my first one. But now, obviously, you know that’s grown and changed a little bit. Yeah, I mean it’s in flux right now. I will say I’m making four times the amount of money that I was before I started my own business, which is cool.

Kira: Oh.

Rob: Yeah, that’s awesome. How do you go from the one-on-one clients to the retainer clients? I think this is a nut that a lot of writers try to crack because they like the idea of having monthly income that comes in regularly. It pays the baseline, and then they can add on top of that. Is there something that you have done as you’ve worked with clients, you know maybe one-on-one, to turn them into retainer clients? Or do you start with the retainer? You know what’s your process for that?

Jessica: Some people come to me knowing they want a retainer, and those are obviously an easier sell. This client and the other retainer clients I’ve had have come to be because I’ve just consistently over-delivered. I don’t mean in the sense of responding to emails within three seconds, 24×7, like that’s not what I mean. I mean taking the time to really get to know them and what they want and what their business goals are, and how I can get them there.

I don’t know if everyone does this or not, but I deliver everything in a Google doc. When I do that, it’s filled with comments in the sidebar of me telling them exactly why I did certain things in the copy. This not only cuts down on edits, but it also makes them feel like I’m giving them the most royal, attentive treatment ever, and they want to keep that momentum going in their business. If I can make them excited about their business and hiring me every month means they’re always excited about their business, then that becomes a no-brainer for them.

Kira: Okay, yeah. I don’t think everyone does do that, and I have not. So I just want to hear a little bit more about the comments that you add in the docs. Are you just kind of explaining like, “Hey, I pulled this big idea from your Facebook community.” Or like, “I pulled this from an Amazon review.” You’re just telling them where you pulled the ideas? How do you do that? Like what are you sharing in those comments?

Jessica: I usually touch on … yeah, like where I got stuff, especially for like big headlines and callouts. I’ll highlight specific words and be like, “Here’s why I chose this specific word. Like here are the connotations of this word. Here’s how when it’s paired with this word next to it, they interact and the feeling it creates for your reader.” I really get off on reading about the psychology of selling and so there are like a few tricks, a few things that happen in copy, where you can like pull them out and be like, “This increased trust in your readers,” and then you like link them to that New York Times article about ellipses or whatever. They feel like they’re learning alongside you, without the stress of actually having to do it themselves.

Kira: Wow, okay. I mean you’re going as far as linking articles and really teaching them as you’re sharing your work with them.

Jessica: I’m going to give you a really stupid example. I co-work at this coffee shop two days a week, and it’s super trendy and modern and hipstery and intimidating. Last time I got a lavender, brown sugar latte, and I was like, “Oh my God. What’s happening?”

Kira: Perfect for Instagram.

Jessica: Oh, yeah. No, I Insta’d the hell out of that bad boy. One of the baristas there always wears these giant like cowboy-ish hats, but they’re like made out of felt, sort of. They have like this band on it and all these feathers. I thought he was a total d-bag for like a year. It wasn’t until, literally, yesterday it was slow, and I was talking to him about his hat as he was making my latte. He had grown up on a farm in South Africa and that hat had been given to him by someone on the farm, like the night before he’d moved to the States when he was 15. So now he wears it as like this whatever. I immediately went from being like, “Oh, this guy’s a total f-ing tool,” to being like, “Oh my God, I just want to like sit down cross-legged with you on a couch and talk about you know Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell.”

That’s what justifying your copy does for your clients. They can read through it without the comments and be like, “Yeah, this is fine. Whatever.” Then you read through it with the comments and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. Yeah, no totally. Yeah, how did I miss this? Of course.”

Kira: I love that and I’m going to, definitely, I’m going to snag that and start doing it, as well. I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, of course, it’s extra time and effort on your end. Like you said, you’re over-delivering. That’s not required. People don’t expect that. But I can see the power in that and also it shifts their perspective, and they view you as really, truly the expert, not just like some word artist.

Jessica: Exactly.

Kira: So, Jess, I want to just ask another question about retainers before we shift gears a bit. But I haven’t worked with retainers, so it’s not my area of expertise, but I’m kind of afraid of them. There may be people who are considering jumping into a retainer. So do you have any advice about just how to manage them properly so that it works for you and you’re not smothered? Because when I picture retainers or think about them, I kind of feel like I’m someone’s … you know, I’m like their employee, and they can email me at any hour and I have to produce whatever. You know, I just, it freaks me out a bit.

Jessica: I totally get that. There are a couple of things I’d say. First off would be, it does feel like that. It does feel like you’re an employee.

Kira: Okay, so it’s all accurate.

Jessica: Yeah, except, except I will say that like when I took on this big retainer client, I had a lot of the same fears that you have. I made a very conscious effort to set super specific expectations for what she can expect from me. So, like the team knows that if they email me at 7:00 at night, I will not respond until the next day. I told her during our intake like, “I believe that there’s no such thing as a copy emergency, so please do not call me at 1:30 in the morning.” Like, not a thing.

But I also had to shift my mindset to be like, “Okay, is not having 100 percent freedom and instead having 88 percent freedom, but knowing that my bills are paid every month, without fail, is that worth it?” For me, it was. So if I wake up and I feel you know mildly resentful about having to do something or whatever, I just remind myself like, “Not only do I like the client, do I believe in what she’s doing, do I like writing the work, but it’s saving me so much frigging stress.”

Kira: You know you were mentioning that resentment and … yeah, but resentment can take place regardless of whether it’s a retainer or a project-based client. So, I think you’re right. I mean the positives can definitely outweigh the negatives. So that was helpful to hear, especially for anyone considering potentially jumping into that retainer relationship. It sounds like you just have to protect yourself from the beginning and be super clear.

Jessica: Yes. Otherwise, it’ll drive you nuts.

Rob: So, we’ve sort of been dancing around your process and asking various questions I think that touch on your process, Jess. When you bring on a client or start to engage, what does that look like? Sort of walk us through. I know there are no typical projects, but sort of average out the project. What does that look like—working with you, what you’re providing for them at each step.

Jessica: When I get an inquiry email, I email them back with a template I have saved in my Google Canned Responses, that’s basically like, “Hey, it’s so great to hear from you. Before I bore you with too many details, let me lay this out for you: 1) Check out my prices, so you don’t want to slap me with a fish later.” It’s a link to just like on my Services page on my site. I have starting prices for things, so people get a good idea of like … if they want their whole site done for under $500, I’m probably not the best fit for them. So, I say that. 2) I let them know my next available start date. 3) I let them know that I do not create blog content from scratch, I just like edit preexisting blog posts. If they are cool with all those three qualifiers, then I send them a link to schedule a call.

It’s an Acuity link because I’m an Acuity junkie for life. They book their slot, it’s like a free 30-minute “hey let’s talk” call. Before that call, they fill out a Typeform, that’s relatively brief. It’s mostly just like, “What are you looking for? What’s your timeline? What’s your budget?” The last question is like, “How sweet are your dances moves,” obviously important. So after that, we hop on the call and rap about their project. Within 24 hours, I send them a quote via email. I don’t do anything fancy at all for quotes. It’s all just in a plain text email. I list what they’re getting, what the total price is for the project. If they accept, we do 50 percent deposit, 50 percent 30 days later. All my start dates are Mondays.

Kira: Why is that?

Jessica: I feel most organized on Mondays. I like being able to start the week on like a fresh foot with clients, and it rounds it out really nicely. I do two-week turnarounds on everything I do, so the first week I write behind the scenes, by myself. Then, the Friday of that first week, I send them their deliverables. By Monday, they get feedback back to me in the Google doc, via comments. Then, I do the edits. Usually, it’s done by then, but if we need one more small round of edits, then we do that also. But it’s all, like I don’t use super fancy software. I make it as simple and clean as I can for me and my clients because we’re all busy as heck.

Kira: When you’re busy behind the scenes writing, what’s actually happening during that week? What does your research look like? You mentioned you listen to music. You try to find the right playlist. What’s happening behind the scenes?

Jessica: Every day starts with me getting to Inbox Zero because I cannot focus unless I’m at Inbox Zero, which is a curse.

Rob: Oh, wow.

Jessica: Yeah.

Kira: Wow!

Jessica: Well, like right now I have like-

Rob: Yeah, I think that would freeze me for the next six months. That’s not happening.

Kira: He’s out. The podcast is shutting down.

Jessica: …I do that so that I start every day with just like a completely empty, clean slate. My head is clear. I’m set. I sit down. I turn on the playlist for the client that I, presumably, had made. If not, I’ll put it together. I have a lot of … like I have a core group of like three playlists that I’ll just cycle through for a lot of my clients because they fall into similar categories.

Kira: I want your playlist so bad.

Jessica: Yeah, I can see if I can figure out how to … do that. I can just share them on Spotify, right?

Rob: Yeah, do. Send us a link. We’ll link to it in the show notes.

Kira: Yeah.

Jessica: Yeah, cool. So I do that and get all setup, and I have a cup of peppermint tea in my “World’s Best Boss” mug, that I bought the day I quit my job. I wish I had some magical thing where I’m like, “And then I close my eyes and the words flow through my fingertips like a waterfall.” I mean I struggle. I curse at the screen. I look up inspirational quotes on Pinterest to remind myself I’m not a failure.

Kira: Those do come in handy.

Jessica: Neil Gaiman, at some point, wrote a post somewhere that’s like advice for young writers that I’ve been reading when I feel down in the dumps about my writing, since I was 19 or something. So I’ll revisit that, you know. It’s trial and error, like I word dump. I try to just like vomit out as much as I can, like the whole site of just riffing, and then I’ll go through. Usually, I’ll like take a break after — I walk the dog, eat some food, whatever. Then, come back to it, and that’s when I start doing the edits, and I’ll reorganize sections and add in big headlines and stuff like that. But the biggest hurdle for me has always been just getting the words on the page and starting that doc. So, that’s what I do first, to just get it on there.

Kira: What about with just … you mentioned that you are taking on extra projects now. You’re saving up for the wedding. So when you’re in kind of that crazy zone of lots happening, are you working days and evenings? Weekends? How do you structure it so you still have a life? Or do you just kind of forget about the life and just go all-in and just bust it out?

Jessica: I am a self-admitted workaholic. I’m a workaholic and I’m not endorsing this, PS, but I think I’ve only taken like two or three full days off since the first of the year.

Rob: Including weekends?

Jessica: Yeah.

Rob: Wow.

Jessica: Yeah. Because right now, I’m in this position where I’m scaling so fast and I’m growing so fast, I don’t want to bring someone else on. I’m interested in having an umbrella of people underneath of me. So, I’m just kind of doing what I have to do to see where this wild adventure takes me. Like I don’t want to be 50 and working 60 hours a week, but you know being 28 and working 60 hours a week, like that’s okay. That’s okay for now. My dog can deal for a couple months.

Rob: Yeah, wow.

Jessica: So yeah, I’m working mornings, nights, weekends. There is a caveat to that, and that is that I have Type II Bipolar. There are some days when I cannot work — when I can’t get out of bed, when I’m so anxious I’m throwing up — things like that. So, my relentless work habits and the trust that I build with my clients means that I have the luxury of guiltlessly taking those self-care days to do what I need to do for myself and my life, and then seamlessly jump back into that work when I’m ready, without missing a beat.

Rob: I love your process. It’s really interesting. If I were a client, what is sort of the thing that I could expect to pay to work with you to get an average project done?

Jessica: It depends on the client, which I know is not super helpful. But I mean a good litmus is that for a homepage, I would charge like $798. Emails, like one email, is $298. Those are probably going up because I’ve recently found the emails take me for-frigging-ever, you guys.

Rob: Yeah.

Kira: Me, too. Me, too. I’m raising my email rates, too.

Rob: The perceived value of an email … yeah, it’s crazy.

Jessica: Yeah, it really is. I had no idea. It’s only been … like, Kira, that series I worked on with you was the first like big email series I’ve ever written. So this is totally new to me.

Kira: Oh, wow. Yeah. Which was so good, too. So on point.

Yeah, I’ve realized recently … my emails, they’re like little, mini-sales pages. They take a lot of time. But anyway, yeah, everyone raise your rates. Raise your email rates.

Jessica: Raise your email rates.

So I would say that in the big spectrum of copywriting, I’d say I’m pretty like middle of the road in terms of rates. That is on purpose.

Rob: Why is that? What’s the purpose?

Jessica: I’m really, this is … people are going to be so mad at me. I’m really over this whole like, “Oh, you’re a freelancer? Charge what you want. Charge what you’re worth.” No, that’s not the way business works. Charge what your work is worth to your clients. Charge what your work is worth, not what your life is worth, not what your freedom is worth.

You are providing a service and you are a business owner, so run your bleeping business. That’s my sense on that. So I very like carefully and intentionally raised my prices when clients have come back to me and been like, “Oh, this sales page you wrote me increased my profits by 800 percent.” Like well, time to bump up my rates a little bit. So they’ve been really tiny baby steps. I never like wake up and I’m like, “Oh, I feel like hot shit today. I’m going to double my prices.” It’s just not for me.

Rob: Okay. Makes sense. So another thing I want to ask sort of related to your process. You’ve managed to bring on several, what people would say are big named clients. Is your approach to them any different? Do they just find you? How did that happen?

Jessica: Word of mouth. The first big client I had ever gotten was AAA. I did a campaign where I compared New Jersey to Gotham City, and it was so fun! So that was my first big one, and then it kind of dropped off the radar. I was like, “Okay, well, that’s kind of the end of that.” Then, I got contacted by Dove, who actually offered me a position, like a full-time copywriter position in Maryland. It wasn’t the right fit for me, so I said no, but they still brought me on to work on a commercial script with them, remotely. I did that in December. That went well, and so then you know they’re kind of referring me to other people in that circle to get my toes in there. So, it’s all been word of mouth and luck. So much luck, and I cannot stress that enough.

Kira: Why do you say luck?

Jessica: It’s a very much like being in the right place at the right time. Like, if I had been having an off day and my email to AAA like hadn’t been engaging enough, I never would have gotten that client. Then, it wouldn’t have created that domino effect across everyone else. Actually, now that I think about it, AAA found me because of Acuity.

Kira: So maybe it’s not luck, but it’s because you’re super talented and you wrote a really killer first email. No, it couldn’t be that.

Jessica: Hmm, it’s because actually I’m a Mob Boss and so everyone’s real scared of me.

Kira: Okay, Jess, I wanted to ask you because I like asking this question. You’ve seen other copywriters, like you’re in the space. Where do you think other copywriters, whether they’re new or maybe they’re experienced, are kind of missing opportunities or could be better, but they’re not doing this or just based off your experience and what’s working for you?

Jessica: Oh, yeah. People are going to be mad about this one, too. Ellipses … ellipses.

Rob: Don’t say it. Don’t say it.

Jessica: Oh my God, ellipses, you guys.

Kira: No!

Jessica: To be fair… to be fair, to be fair it’s only… I’ve seen so many teasers, like little pre-headline things that are like, “Want to know the number one secret… to blah blah blah,” and I’m like, “Do I want to know the number one secret to what?” Like I read it like, “Do you want to know the number one secret to… “ So, I just hate it. I hate it. It’s a pet peeve.

Rob: Don’t subscribe to The Copywriter Club email then because I stuff it full of ellipses.

Jessica: Too late. It’s too late, Rob.

Rob: I’m going to put in extras this week.

Jessica: Oh man, I hope so. They’re like extra sprinkles. Perfect.

Also, I would say like, I think, and Kira, you probably have noticed, too, like copywriting with personality has started gaining some momentum. People are feeling more comfortable not only expressing themselves in their writing, but companies are feeling more comfortable injecting that humor. Lianna does, obviously, some amazing stuff with that, too. But I’m excited for these really, really big companies to use humor, like if Dove had let me write in my natural, humor-laced voice. I think that will be really powerful, and that’s a major hole in the market and something we’ll see filled probably in the next … I’d say like six to eight years.

Kira: Interesting. So they just haven’t caught on yet or the leadership has not caught on yet.

Jessica: Yeah, I was naming an event for a big brand the other day, and I wanted to use AF because they want to appeal to like the millennial, flower-crown-wearing carnival crowd. They’re like, “No, no, no, too trendy.” I was like, “No, but you want to be trendy.” So, it’ll happen.

Kira: All right, well I’ve got one last question for you. You know because I just want to know where you’re going and what you’re scaling to. Because I think you mentioned that, “You know I’m scaling and putting in the work now,” so you don’t have to work when you’re … well not that you don’t have to work, you don’t have to work crazy hours when you’re 60. What are you building right now? If you don’t mind sharing that with us.

Jessica: Marian Schembari and I are working on a set of templates that can be reused, over and over and over again, for business owners and copywriters, for things like sales pages. Then, trying to figure out how to move away from one-on-one client work, without being like a Facebook coach, mostly, because I’m just not interested in doing that right now. I don’t know the future is a wide, wild, open space. I am so excited to tiptoe through the tulips.

Rob: This has been a great interview, Jess. If people want to connect with you online, find out more about you, read the crazy things that you’ve written and some of the un-crazy things, where would they look for you?

Jessica: My company website is: verveandvigour.com. It’s V-I-G-O-U-R. That has like portfolios, site info, blah blah blah. Of course, friend me on Facebook. I’m super friendly. That’s all. That’s all I got for you.

Kira: Thank you, Jess. I really appreciate your time. This has been really fun.

Rob: Yeah, it’s been great.

Jessica: Yeah, this was great.

You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available in iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, and full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.

 

 

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