This is a transcript of the video call I had with Lisa Clennell. 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 everyone, thanks for joining us. My name is Eman Ismail if you didn’t know that already. I’m a copywriter and I’m the owner of InkHouse.
I’m with Lisa Clennell today because Lisa came to my copywriting workshop a few months ago. Since I’m now turning that face-to-face workshop into an online course, Lisa knows everything that’s in the workshop and that’s going to be in this course, and she can give you a good idea of what’s coming.
I just want to talk through her experience with it. So, welcome Lisa. Thank you so much for joining me.
Lisa: Thank you. Hello.
Eman: I’m not going to keep you too long, so let’s get straight to it. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and your business first, before we start talking about the course?
Lisa: Ok. So, I’m Lisa Clennell and I run a marketing consultancy and it’s called Your Happy Customer. So, I help businesses of various sizes build their customer base and grow their business by basically looking after their customers.
I do a lot of work with them to help mentor relationships, advice and support account management, working out marketing strategy based on customer insight. I’ve found lots of businesses are very focused on getting new customers all the time. So, I’m trying to switch that around by saying: “Look after your current customers really well and that will help you build your business”.
I have been working as a consultant for about a year now, but I’ve got 20 years of experience in marketing for various organisations. So, yes it’s a bit of a new adventure for me but it’s stuff that I know inside out so that makes sense.
Eman: You came to my copywriting course to learn how to write copy that sells. So, tell us a little bit about how you felt about writing copy, before you walked into the workshop.
Lisa: Can I say scared?
Even though I’ve got lots of experience and I’ve had to do this by myself. I’ve worked in large organisations and I’ve had copywriters working with me and for me. So, I guess I felt a bit doubtful about where to start and how to put the words on the page. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was a little bit worried about whether those words were going to be clever enough. And also what my offer was to businesses. I guess I wasn’t very clear on how I was going to communicate it, but I knew what I wanted to say.
Eman: You actually had your website up, didn’t you? Your website was in existence and you did have copy on your website?
Lisa: I did have some copy on my website but I wasn’t very happy with it. I didn’t feel like it was saying the right things.
Eman: What did you feel like you got from the workshop? Because when you came it was a full-day workshop, so you were with me the whole day. We went through my entire course content. What did you learn from the workshop and how did you feel about it?
Lisa: I was quite nervous about it. So, one of the brilliant things about the workshop was that, Eman, in the nicest possible way, made me start writing! She made me put pen to paper and actually start writing something. So, it gave me that little push that I needed to kick things off, and bits of advice like: “Do you know what, it’s not going to be perfect straight away, but it will evolve, and just be genuine. Just be real, just write as you would speak. And that will get your personality across in your writing.”
It was quite a smallish group, so I got individual attention. It was also really focused on what I wanted to achieve, rather than just following a syllabus and telling us what we needed to cover. So, it was very practical, and it just got me started basically. It gave me the confidence to start writing. I knew that I didn’t have to be perfect.
Eman: That’s excellent. You touched on this idea of getting individual feedback. So, now that I’m turning the face-to-face workshop into an online course, if you guys who are watching choose my 3-month mentoring programme, you’ll also be able to get individual attention and feedback, which I think is so important. It’s great learning how to do the stuff, but how do you implement it? When you implement it, are you doing it correctly?
I was really happy to be able to give you that feedback.
You also mentioned the fact that you were feeling really scared about writing, and I think that’s entirely normal. I’ve met so many business owners, because I’ve done this workshop so many times now, pretty much everyone I meet is in the same position as you. They know their business inside-out, but they have no idea how to communicate what they do, and the services that they offer, or the products that they offer, so that other people can understand it.
I think it’s always so hard to write about yourself. Even me as a copywriter, I find it so easy to write about everyone else, and that’s what I do for all my clients. When it comes to writing about me, it’s a different story. It takes a whole lot more energy and effort, I think.
So, what happened once you left the workshop? Because I saw you a week later, and I was so excited by the feedback that you had to give me. So tell us what happened after you left the workshop.
Lisa: I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator, so I spent weeks if not months trying to write copy and then I came to the workshop. I went home that evening, and just sat down and wrote it. So, it was absolutely worth every penny, just to break me out of that mindset of: ‘I don’t know what to write… I don’t know how to say this’. I just took everything on board that I could, went home, sat at my laptop and just hammered out the words that I thought I wanted to say. Then it evolved from there.
Eman: This is for your website, right?
Lisa: This is for the website, but now I need to revisit that website and I need to go back and write copy in terms for some promotional materials and stuff. So, I’m still going back to the notes that I had from the workshop. It gives me that kind of baseline to come back to: what are you trying to say? Keep it simple. Are you being real? Are you being authentic? Are you being genuine? All those values that I’m trying to get across. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It keeps going.
Eman: Thank you, that’s so good to hear. You’ve already answered my next question. I was going to ask: are you still using what you learned, and it sounds like you are.
So, now that you have to re-do your website because your business has evolved, are you feeling less scared than you did before my workshop? How do you feel now about the idea of having to sit down and write?
Lisa: Absolutely less scared. I think the reassurance that I know I’m not going to be perfect, but then I can just do it again and again as I’m learning, is helpful. I think you never stop learning and even the professionals will pick up things. And it will just keep moving, so I’ll just keep working on it.
Eman: Exactly. And just to touch on that, Lisa is talking about the fact that in my course, we talk a lot about the planning process for writing copy; the writing process. Then we talk about the editing process which most people don’t think about.
Because most people think that writing copy is this process where you just write one draft and then that’s it. That’s your final, perfect, polished copy. And actually, in the course I go through the idea that writing copy is a process, and the editing is really where the best copy comes from. So, I go through not only how to write, but how to edit it so that you can have copy that you’re really happy with. And how to feel ok with going back and editing it, over and over again, until you get the right copy that you’re happy with.
So, you’ve spoken a lot about confidence, which is amazing. And I’ve been trying to tell everyone that this is exactly what my course will give you. It will give you confidence. How did you feel about the techniques that we spoke about? Because we talked a lot about copywriting techniques. How was that?
Lisa: They were just very practical. I mean I’d never touched on any copywriting before, even though – like I say – I’ve got lots of marketing experience. So, having those practical tools and techniques to go back to just really help. You need that. You need that structure to base things around.
Eman: Agreed. Excellent. And you’re the perfect person to ask actually, because I have a lot of business owners that come on my course. I have a lot of newbie copywriters who are right at the beginning of setting up their copywriting business, who want to improve their copywriting techniques and their foundational skills. But I also have a lot of marketing professionals. So I have companies that send their marketing managers, or marketing assistants, to come and do my workshop. I’m also trying to tell everyone that this course is applicable and available to marketing managers and professionals who actually work within a company already. So, how do you feel about that? Do you agree with that?
Lisa: I do agree. I think people on various levels can benefit. If a person thinks they can write perfect copy, then they’re totally wrong. I think people need to keep learning all the time, and working in marketing, I think you get absorbed into your own little world. My big emphasis is on customer experience, so you need to be stepping into the shoes of your customer on a regular basis.
In terms of writing copy, you need to be writing things that are very clear and very simple to understand. And not just in your head, but in someone else’s head. I think in terms of the workshop, it gives you that different perspective as well. Are you writing something that just you understand or that other people will understand clearly?
So, for example, when I was writing on my website that I have over 20 years’ experience, the workshop taught me to say: “What does that mean to somebody reading that? What does that translate to?”
And that to me translates into confidence, experience, and the fact that I’ve seen most of these situations before. I’ve dealt with various people at all levels.
So it’s hard to write things that mean something to your audience. I think in terms of marketing professionals, you were telling me about TV producers… anyone who needs to get messages across to people will benefit.
Certainly small business owners, because I think that as you said, at the very start of your business journey it’s so difficult to put into words what value you’re offering to your customers.
So, yes get that sorted straight away. It’s quite a small investment in terms of business, but once you’ve got that in your head, it’ll just pay dividends a thousand times over.
Eman: Excellent, thank you.
Lisa was talking about the fact that a BBC producer came to one of my most recent face-to-face workshops. So, this BBC TV producer has a lot of experience writing content, and she actually works for Newsround. So, she knew how to write, but she came to this workshop and still came away saying she learnt loads of tools and techniques to help her write even better copy and content, which was fantastic.
We’ve almost finished now, but I wanted to ask you, are you surprised that this face-to-face workshop has evolved into an online course?
Lisa: Not surprised, because I think making it available to more people in more ways is perfect. I think the more accessible it can be, the better.
I think I love doing face-to-face, I love talking to people, and I loved the group dynamic that came with the face-to-face workshop. But as long as you get the support, whether you do it online and fit it into family life and working constraints, if it’s available to more people, then online is a great way to do it – but like you said, you still get the support, so that’s the ongoing mentoring and the ongoing feedback which is a key part of it. I wouldn’t like to see that lost, but online would be great. I needed the discipline, someone sitting in the same room and saying “write this now!”
Eman: Well, this is the thing. I love face-to-face workshops too, and the only reason this workshop has turned into an online course is because I was getting emails from people all over the world, and across the UK, in places like Germany and Australia and America, asking if it was available online. So, that’s the first time that it occurred to me and I thought: “Oh wow, let’s see if this can work.”
Lisa: Yes, it makes absolute sense and then you can sort of provide the back-up online system. I mean I’m lucky to be in Manchester, and I’m quite close, but distance shouldn’t be a barrier for people to be able to access this stuff.
Eman: I agree. Thank you. My final question is, who would you recommend this copywriting course to?
Lisa: Anyone who needs to get a message across to a customer, their audience, however you define it. Anyone who needs to distil content out of that message, and just be clear. I mean there’s too much emphasis on being clever, using long words, and being convoluted. I’m a very sort of simple, straightforward person. I love it when someone just says it how it is and is real and genuine.
So, I think I’d be struggling to find someone who wouldn’t benefit, but especially people who are starting their own business, because I think it’s just so important at that stage to get your offer right and to get that value across to potential clients.
Eman: Exactly. Thank you so much Lisa. I really appreciate you talking to me, and I’m so glad that I got to meet you. We’ve stayed in touch since that workshop, and I’m so excited to see where you go with your business as well. And I’ll be watching!
Lisa: Ok, cool, that’s great. Thank you!
Eman: Thank you so much.
Don’t forget: if you are interested in signing up to my online course, the doors are now open but they close on Sunday 13th October.
Find out everything you need to know about the course here.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for watching and I will speak to you soon. Bye!
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.