In this week’s episode, I interview Rachel Greiman, of Green Chair Stories. She founded her company, a copywriting collective for photographers, in 2014 and is now a team of 5 writing websites, selling products, and offering coaching for photographers as well. I love Rachel’s passion for not only working alongside designers but helping them find their voice for their copy.
Rachel Greiman is very passionate about good copy for entrepreneurs’ websites but wants to change everyone’s mindset around it. Copy is not just to make you more money or to just increase your sales. Of course, an increase in money can be a driving factor around why you would hire a copywriter, but what it actually should do, is to bring in those people and clients who are aligned with your business values.
In her business, Rachel focuses on both finding the right people and helping her clients make money because one doesn’t matter without the other. You can have a pretty website with good copy but if it’s not attracting the people you want to work with, it’s not doing a service to you. For copy to be great and effective, it needs to magnetize your dream clients to you.
We’re taught to infuse our storytelling, life experience, and personality into our marketing and copy. For me, I think there can be such a fine line between oversharing vs being relatable.
When we launch our businesses it’s easy to make everything about ourselves. Our goals are the business’s goals, our values are the business’s values, and as we grow that line can start to get muddy and confusing.
Rachel thinks as your business grows (and you grow along with it) it’s important to start acknowledging yourself and your business as two separate entities and to have your copy and marketing reflect that.
Rachel saw this when she became a mother. Her life at home with her kids slowly started to creep into her marketing and her business. She decided that she needed to make a distinction between Green Chair Stories the business and Rachel Greiman the person. Rachel acknowledges that if her business was centered around children or motherhood it would be a natural fit to share her journey with motherhood, but since Green Chair Stories does not, she started to question whether she was sharing for attention or building value with her audience?
There is so much we can share about our daily lives that still shows our audience our personality but is not personal. How we take our coffee, or how what we eat that day, are not too personal but show a side of us. And as Rachel acknowledges, she still shows her personality in her work and marketing. She is still human and it comes up, but it is no longer a pillar in her marketing. Rachel found that showing her kids in her Instagram stories was a crutch she was using instead of taking the hard steps of truly showing up to add value to her audience.
So how can you infuse your personality into your copy and still create value? Rachel says to take note of the things you talk about with your current clients, that do not have to do with their project. What topics keep coming up? Is it a TV show? Clothes, fitness, what you eat, daily habits? What do you find connecting with your clients on? Take those topics and infuse them more into your copy. This again will attract those types of clients that you are looking for. It will feel personal even if it’s not intimate.
I think sharing your personal life and feeling the tug to constantly share online can lead to burnout (especially if you are a private person or more introverted). It is so hard to “show up” in your business and build that trust when you feel overwhelmed in the process. So how can introverts share more openly with their audience? And reflect their personality in their copy?
Rachel believes introverts, just because they may seem quiet and reserved, still have a unique voice and perspective to share. She recommends starting with your beliefs as something to easily share and put yourself out there. Speak in a voice that is both true to you and can still be of value to your audience.
Rachel recommends that if you are feeling unsure of how to use your voice on social media, take a break from it to gain clarity too. Rachel took 9 months off (she realizes not something everyone can do for their business) because she was posting about topics outside of her business, comparing her mothering to others, and comparing her entrepreneurial journey to others, and started noticing her mental health declining. Once she came back from the break, it gave her the clarity on what to post about that would speak to her audience and still be true to herself. She was able to figure out what she wanted to say, deliver a better value in her social copy that coincided with her business’s value, and make peace with how to show up on the app.
So where did she find her audience for those 9 months off of social? Rachel chose to focus on showing up on lots of Podcasts and her newsletter. She chose to double down and focus heavily on growing her email list. Rachel notes too that you do not have to have a large email list to make an impact. Her list, while around 2000 subscribers, continues to grow and continually provides amazing content for her readers. She planned for 3 emails a month and was able to keep her business steady and busy.
And I can attest that she writes amazing emails. They are packed with personality and even just her normal email communication (not marketing) is infused with personality. Rachel recommends when growing an email list think about who your audience is. Not just about the people you have on your list, but who do you want to attract to your email list? You need to set aside some time and define your one reader. From there you can create a schedule and come up with ideas around that ideal subscriber. There is no need to reinvent the wheel each time. Come up with a series around your interests, audience, and voice, and use those ideas again and again. Your email communication becomes the experience you give your client and audience to what it is like to work with you. Those little emails all add up to their overall recommendation of you.
Most designers know how important copy is for their own business, but it can be difficult to share that value with our design clients. I think one of the biggest frustrations we designers face is getting copy from clients on time if they aren’t working with a copywriter. The design captures attention and builds trust but the copy is really what influences buying decisions.
Rachel knows that some designers are afraid to pitch a copywriter because they fear it will cut into their value as a designer. That if you come off as not having all of the answers, your client won’t trust your value anymore. But what she wants every designer to note, is that just because someone is willing to invest in design doesn’t mean they won’t also invest a lot of money with someone else, like a copywriter.
If you look at your clients as someone you want to help in the most holistic way possible, then design and copy together are going to be the way to do it. Rachel notes that she would rather make less, and offer her client a designer to work with because it offers an overall better experience for her clients than just giving them copy without a designer’s touch. Rachel thinks the reason clients don’t hire a copywriter right away is a designer’s mindset, not the client’s. If you approach copy from the very beginning and set the expectation as it is a need for the client’s success, then it becomes an easy sale.
Copy is an important part of both your client’s business and your own. Don’t overlook how your voice is used in your social, website, emails, and anywhere your brand may reach its audience. Take Rachel’s ideas and steps and put them into practice. How can you infuse your voice into your copy today to better attract your dream audience? Talking directly and authentically to your people gives them value, keeps them engaged, and continues to build a strong relationship that brings people back again and again.