This is a transcript of the video call I had with Emma Beard. You can watch the video here.
Note: The doors to my course are now OPEN and close at 9PM on 13th October.
Get all the details about my course here.
Eman: Hi, I’m Eman Ismail. I’m a copywriter and the owner of InkHouse.
I’m about to speak to Emma Beard, because I’m releasing my online copywriting course and Emma was one of the first people to experience my content.
I’m going to let Emma introduce herself, and then we can start talking about how she found the course. So, Emma, go ahead and introduce yourself.
Emma: Thank you Eman. My name is Emma Beard. Like Eman, I’m a copywriter. I predominantly write copy for people operating in the health, fitness and wellbeing industries, as well as life and business coaching.
I think I was one of the first people to experience Eman’s workshop. I’m very happy to be doing this and to sing her praises because I feel like she really deserves it.
Eman: Thank you, Emma.
Emma: You can give me that fiver later!
Eman: [Laughs] I’m really glad you could be here because you’re a copywriter and I know that a lot of people who might already have a bit of copywriting experience are wondering whether this is the course for them.
So why don’t you tell us a bit about where you were in your copywriting journey before you walked into my workshop.
Just to explain, I started off doing this face-to-face workshop and I’m now turning it into an online course. So when we talk about the workshop, we’re talking about the online course.
So where were you Emma, before you came to my workshop?
Emma: I think I was still at university, in my last year, and I was dabbling with lots of different ideas for a business to run independently. I was new to the world of copywriting. I’d only recently discovered that you could actually get paid to write for a living. So, it was a whole new world to me.
I came across your workshop because we were both in the same co-working space, and it just sounded like something I wanted to get my hands into. I wanted to learn a little bit more and see if it was for me. I also wanted to check if I was on the right track for copywriting.
Eman: Okay. Was there anything in particular you were struggling with? Or was it just you wanting to boost your confidence?
Emma: Yes, I think it was definitely about my confidence. I was unsure about whether I was doing the right thing as a copywriter. I really did lack confidence in myself and about whether I was doing the right thing.
Eman: And, what did you think of the course content?
Emma: It opened my eyes to the more technical side of copywriting, and it helped me to be more intentional with my writing for clients. It definitely did what I was looking for and I’m not just saying that.
I went into the workshop, and I’d been writing sentences and making everything sound good grammatically and read well. But I hadn’t thought about all the work and effort that should go into copywriting. All the things that you need to think about before you even put pen to paper.
So that’s the thing I walked away from the workshop with: just being more intentional, thinking about who the clients’ audience is and what they want from the copy, not just expecting them to read it and think “wow” just because it was well-written.
Eman: Yes, I think that’s so true for so many of us. Because we write and our sentences are pretty good, we think that’s enough to write copy that actually gets people to do what you want them to do, or to act in a certain way, to buy a product, or to hire your services. And it’s not enough.
I felt really confident with academic writing before I started copywriting, and initially I relied on that ability to write academically to get me through working with clients and writing copy for them. Then I realised it’s just a whole different kettle of fish, which is when I started researching copywriting and realising there’s just so much to learn. It’s so different to any other kind of writing.
So, thank you for sharing that. I completely agree with you. Now, I want to know: have you been using what you’ve learnt?
Emma: Yes, I’ve definitely been more intentional about thinking about my clients’ audience and what sort of copy to write for them.
So like you said, instead of just writing well academically – which was my forte when I left university, I’ve been applying a lot of the principles I learnt – thinking a lot about the ‘what’s in it for me’ principle. Being more aware that somebody’s not going to read your content just because it’s well-written. They need to know what’s in it for them and why they should be reading it. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve taken away from the workshop.
Eman: Perfect. And for anybody who doesn’t know, the ‘what’s in it for me’ principle is something that I teach in my course which is basically the idea that readers will not buy something just because you want them to.
You actually have to convince them that there’s something in it for them. So, you need to talk about what they’re going to get from buying this thing. That’s really the only way they’re going to buy it because as human beings, unfortunately, we’re only interested in ourselves and how we’re going to benefit from whatever it is we buy.
Emma also mentioned a lot about the planning process that goes into writing copy before you actually put pen to paper. That’s also something we go into in the course. There’s a whole section on the preparation stage of writing your copy, working out who your audience is, what they want from you, what they need, what they fear, what they desire and what’s stopping them from buying from you. Then we talk about how to work that into your copy to convince them to buy from you anyway.
So was that something that surprised you, Emma? Because it sounds like it’s something you’ve been using, which is great to hear.
Emma: Yes, definitely. I hadn’t even thought about it. Like I said, I thought because I could write well, I could do this.
My writing did impress clients, but sometimes the client doesn’t always know what they want. Even though I could probably spin something and grammatically improve what the client has written so they read it and think wow, I don’t think that my writing prior to the workshop was as compelling as it probably is now. I’ve got a lot to work on, but it’s still helpful to have that preparation before you put pen to paper, which is really useful and something that I’ve held onto.
Eman: Excellent. This is all stuff people don’t think about. I don’t think you’re the only one who hadn’t even considered that. Most people just go straight into writing.
At the moment, I’m writing some copy for a big client and I’m really eager to start writing, but I know not to. I’m going through all my processes: working out who the audience is and what they want. It is a long process, but it has to be done and it makes your writing so much better.
This is all stuff we go into in the course as well.
I wanted to ask you, Emma, whether you’re surprised that I’m turning the workshop that you went to into an online course?
Emma: I’m going to say no.
I’ve said it before (and I know you’re not going to like this) but there’s one thing you don’t do: and that’s mediocre.
I’m not surprised. I think there’s still a huge market for people to upskill and to be able to do that from anywhere in the world. So it makes sense that if people have gotten value from your workshop, and I can say categorically that they have, because I have, then it makes complete sense to share that with people who are further afield and can’t come and experience it in person.
Eman: Thank you! Would you recommend the course?
Emma: Yes. Yes, definitely.
Emma: Because like I said, I was getting a few clients here and there and getting a bit of copywriting work, and I didn’t realise how much value I could have got. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Doing the workshop gave me so much more confidence. It gave me the confidence to charge more because I knew that I’d gained skills that not a lot of people have.
Like you say, if most people just start off like me and jump straight in because they know they’re good writers, there’s this whole world of preparation and tools and skills and principles you don’t have and don’t know about. Once you have those, I feel like you can give so much more value to the client and therefore you can charge more, and the client is still getting value for money.
So absolutely, I’d thoroughly recommend the course for newbie copywriters like me when I was starting out, and even people with a bit of experience or a few years of experience just to check in on their skills and top them up.
Eman: Excellent. And you’re not the only copywriter who’s done this course.
I’ve also had a few marketing professionals, and although their specialism isn’t copywriting, because of they’re marketing credentials they’ve found themselves doing a lot of copywriting. And like you said, they’ve found it helpful too which is great. And even if they already knew some of the principles I taught, it was still good for them to go over them and relearn them.
I’m so happy this led to you increasing your rates and being more confident about the copy you create. It sounds as if the workshop really helped you to understand the value of copywriting.
Emma: Yes, I think it did. I think that with the marketing professionals, even if their main job isn’t to copywrite and their organisation is thinking about outsourcing, it always helps to understand what goes into copywriting because then you can spot a good copywriter from a bad one, or one who isn’t quite there yet. So, they can tell whether the copywriter they’re looking to hire uses the principles that you talk about, which I think are key to any well-written copy.
Eman: Absolutely, I totally agree. I think that’s why people hire so many copywriters and it never works out, because they don’t know what to look for. They don’t know the difference between good copy and great copy.
Thank you so much, Emma. Is there anything else you want to share before I let you go?
Emma: I feel like I’ve said everything that I want to say, and I’ll say it again and again and again. There’s one thing you don’t do: and that’s mediocre. That’s it. That’s the only thing that you don’t do. You’ve helped me so much. You’ve given me a lot of time and helped me on my own journey being a fresh little newbie, not knowing what copywriting was, to where I am now.
I’m still on a journey but I’m feeling much more confident and I look forward to getting your newsletters every week. I get so much value from them.
Even though we’re both copywriters, it’s great to make friends in the space, especially those who can give you as much value as you do. So, if anything, just thank you for doing that.
Eman: Thank you, Emma. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me.
To everybody reading or listening: you can secure your spot on my copywriting course from Monday 30th September. The doors close on 13th October.
One spot has already been sold, so there are only 9 left!
Get all the details about my course here.
Eman Ismail is a UK-based copywriter and the founder of InkHouse. She works with businesses and non-profits across the world, writing marketing materials and content that increases their exposure and attracts their ideal audience.
When she’s not writing or delivering copywriting workshops, you’ll find her glued to a podcast in the corner of a cosy cafe.