Copy Warrior – Do You Need One?

What is a Copy Warrior and Do You Need One?

What image does the word “warrior” conjure up for you? Probably a mythological soldier type ready to go to war for what he – or she – believes he – or she- has to protect. Sword and shield in hand.

Well that’s pretty much what springs to mind for me. I’m the Copy Warrior – sword in hand (well pen or keyboard) – ready to take on the battle to ensure my clients benefit from clear, accurate copywriting that is going to deliver a clear message about who they are, what THEY stand for, and why they are the ones to deliver for their customers against the competition.


Is being a copy warrior really necessary?

Is “warrior” too strong a word for what I do? Well, no. When I consider how my days are mostly spent, I realise that I am CONSTANTLY doing battle – battle to protect what I have written through the various review and editing stages, ensuring that what comes out the other end still does the job.

Has it been filtered too much? Has it lost its message? Has it completely lost the plot? And the worse case scenario – is it going to do my client more harm than good now that it’s been changed?

Sometimes I go to war over a single word. Is that worth my time? Sometimes, yes, it is. If the replacement word is completely inappropriate, I simply refuse to make the change. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t. In these cases, I have to protect my clients from what they don’t know. When I stand my ground like that, the message gets across and I’ve done what I am obligated to do – protect my client’s reputation. If you hire a copywriter, let them do their job.

I just can’t let it go if the word replaced doesn’t actually mean what the client thinks it does, or it’s so archaic that it doesn’t belong. Choice of word has a lot to do with the register used. If it’s formal, the vocabulary must match. (My personal bug bear is when I hear that a suspect has been “nabbed” in a formal TV news report! He was “arrested” for Pete’s sake!)


The copy warrior protects your reputation

In some cases, I’ve had to guide clients away from words that have a damaging meaning in the context used. I’ve actually had to warn a client against a word that had a bad sexual connotation that the client just didn’t understand – the kind that would be brought out on international chat shows and ridiculed – for the world to see and laugh at. They say there’s no such as bad publicity, but I disagree. If it hurts your reputation, you don’t want that kind of publicity. This product was going to be marketed internationally and the client was well known. Disaster averted!

I don’t fight every battle though. I can make my point and move on if the substitute word has a similar meaning and it’ll do. That’s just a matter of preference, and that’s OK.

So what I do really, as the Copy Warrior, is that I protect my client’s reputation, especially when they are planning to expand into international markets. Here the scrutiny is much more intense on words and messages that seem off point. It gets noticed. Always.




A copy warrior is a must if you go international

When you want to build trust in a new market, the last thing you want is potential clients not buying from you because they question your capability simply based on how you present yourself in your marketing messages. (Remember, first impressions count.) And just because it’s right in your country, does not mean it’ll be relatable internationally. A common mistake I see is some countries using English that is too formal. Writing copy that is not conversational and relatable on an emotional level just isn’t going to sell.

It’s so easy to look at bad copy, particularly incorrect grammar or archaic language, and think, “Well, if they can’t even get THAT right, how can I trust them or their product?” Customers buy because they trust you, and trust is that much harder to win when you “read” incompetent. Often it’s not a judgement on your use of language, but the fact that you didn’t care enough to get it checked by an expert. That then leads to your leadership skills being indirectly questioned.

So as a business looking to build trust, especially internationally, you need a Copy Warrior to go to battle for you (and sometimes against you) to make sure that the copy, the message you put out, is credible, relatable to your target audience, and reflects who you are as a company.

Protect your corporate reputation – find your Copy Warrior.


Protect your corporate reputation with good accurate copywriting.



Creating an irresistible brand with one of my coaching clients

Creating an irresistible brand

I had a fruitful discussion with one of my coaching clients today about creating an irresistible brand. We discussed strategies to develop multiple revenue streams for her business off her brand. And it occured to me that the information we discussed would be useful to any business owner looking to maximise revenue and expand business beyond a brick and mortar offering. So I thought I’d share our discussion with you here.

A coach can add a fresh perspective

When you look at things from just one angle, you can get stuck. Having a coach to mull things over with and brainstorm other possibilities you hadn’t thought of is well worth considering. And this is what happened to my client.

As I spoke to her, it became clear that she could monetise her business in other ways that time doesn’t limit. You see, her main business restricted her to personalised one-on-one treatment sessions with individual clients. She was trading her time for money. AND wasn’t commanding a price that indicated her true worth to boot! Part of her strategy needed to include creating an irresistible brand that could see her charging her true worth.


Build a tribe of your ideal clients

She told me of her brilliant idea to expand her reach by creating a “tribe” – a following of ideal clients. She planned to do this by running a series of webinars where she interviewed known experts in niche services related to her business. What a fantastic idea! Not only will she bring immense value to her existing tribe, but will find extra followers from the tribe of her interviewees. Essentially she would be creating an irresistible brand by association!

But then we hit on other ways to expand this. I suggested that she compile a book of all the interviews as a further way to tap on celebrity and build credibility. When you have a book, you automatically become an authority. We also explored hosting her video interviews on her newly set-up You Tube channel, adapting the content to blogs and articles, and sharing the experience on Facebook.


Build a range of products at different price points

Then we really got into the meat of the discussion. My client needed to create a range of education product offerings at different price points. The lower-priced products such as the ebook could hook people in where she hadn’t quite built that trust, then she could add this new tribe into a paid membership site where she could feed in monthly training. Webinar courses at a much higher price point would be a great way for her to reach and help more people than providing her service one on one. Delivering these webinars live on a weekly basis, in other words giving her personal time, would allow her to charge more for the course than offering a recorded webinar alone.


By creating an irresistible brand, you can command a higher price

This led on to my client understanding that by setting up a range of educational products that positioned her as an authority in her field, she would be able to price her one-on-one services higher because she would have a higher perceived value. Why? Because she would be creating an irresistible brand. Then adding on exclusive retreats for a select small group of her clients – a mastermind experience – would command a premium price for her top-of-the-range product offering.

I’m so excited for her and can’t wait to see her put this all into practice, add greater value for her clients and maximise her revenue! And that’s how you create an irresistible brand!






Could use a coach for your business?


Sparking the entrepreneurial spirit in primary students with my marketing advice

Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time at a local primary school for girls and give them some valuable marketing advice. And honestly, it was a bit of a treat to take some time out of my hectic schedule and spend a morning with some seriously inspiring kids!

marketing advice

I was invited to visit the school to empower the girls with some solid marketing advice for their latest project: the end-of-year school bazaar. Like a much cuter and less cut-throat version of The Apprentice, the girls will be setting up their own stalls at the bazaar, selling a selection of products and competing to raise the most profit for a charitable cause.

So what did I cover?

The importance of knowing your market

OK, so school might not quite be the world’s most competitive market, but a good first rule in business is knowing how to choose the right product. There’s no point selling sweets if the other kids want chocolate, right? So I suggested the girls conduct a survey to ask the younger kids in school what kinds of products they’d like to buy, and then select their product to meet that demand.

The girls were worried about pricing their products – what if they charged too low and didn’t make a profit at all? So I also explained a simple method they could use to discover their break-even point. From there, they were able to determine a suitable pricing structure.

How to build a brand identity and marketing strategy

Standing out from the crowd is all about the brand! I explained to the girls how a strong brand would create a greater perceived product value and allow them to mark up their prices. I also taught them how they could create a buzz around their brand by sharing product teasers on social media and designing advertising posters to decorate their stalls on the day.

Marketing advice only goes so far on the day

The groundwork is important. But sales skills are crucial! To demonstrate the best way to close a deal, we talked about sales targets and tactics. I suggested each group select one person to take charge of the stall on the day itself. That person would be responsible for driving sales, drawing potential customers in and pushing the whole team to hit their targets. Every person who walks by is a missed sales opportunity. Pull them in!

And I learnt something, too!

By far my youngest audience yet, the class proved to be very receptive to my suggestions for marketing and pricing their products. I don’t know whether there were some future leading businesswomen in that room (I hope so!), but regardless, I wanted them all to realise that they are more than capable of starting their own business one day.

I discovered that children are incredibly receptive to marketing advice and can grasp the concepts really quickly. Not only was it incredibly rewarding to meet with some mini entrepreneurs in the making, but it was wonderful to see a school providing opportunities like that to 11- and 12-year-olds. I would have loved an opportunity like that when I was at school!

Do you remember the moment you discovered your entrepreneurial spirit?


There is always more to learn in a marketing agency

Working in a marketing agency, we are always on the go. But I got to thinking the other day about how I got to be where I am today. I’m a well-respected marketer running a successful marketing agency, and the things I do today come second nature to me.

But it didn’t always used to be that way. What many people don’t know about me is that 25 years ago I was working in a bank and had no plans to run a business much less market it.

So how did I make the transition? To be honest most of my motivation was driven by necessity. I started as a freelance copywriter offering copywriting services, working from home so that I could look after my two young kids. But then I got busy as demand for my services grew and I ended up having to rent an office and hire extra staff. Suddenly I had a business I hadn’t even planned!

Marketing agency going just fine until the recession hit!

It was the realisation that I now had the responsibility of not only ensuring my own income each month but also my staffs’ that got me researching and learning about marketing. I had to make sure I was bringing in the business to cover expenses and then some. Things were going OK but I hadn’t long set up when the 1997 crash happened. Demand for my services seemed to dry up overnight. I was back to square one. I was so disappointed with myself in letting my staff down and I swore this would never happen again.

Knowledge is power

So I set about making sure it didn’t. I devoured books, I read all I could find on the Internet, I attended seminars, I made notes on what my clients were doing and I learned all I could about marketing. I hired people who knew things I didn’t and we expanded beyond just copywriting. As a team we became a one-stop marketing solution for our clients, from conceptualisation through to publication in print and online.

I set up multiple complementary services to add additional income streams aimed at making my business recession proof. The bonus was they also added value to some of my clients.

Continuous learning to keep up with the times

But despite the learning, I wasn’t keeping up with market trends. When I one day analysed the kinds of enquiries we were getting in from new leads, I realised that the demand had shifted. From getting mostly print based marketing enquiries and the occasional digital marketing enquiry, I realised that the demand had reversed and most of our enquiries were for online content.

So it was back to the learning again! What knowledge were we lacking? How do we fill the gap? Who do we add to the team? And each time Google or online platforms make changes that affect search results or content views, we have to learn again.

None of us were born with the knowledge we have today. We learned stuff along the way and we’ll keep learning because that’s how we get to be the best at what we do.





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I’m a copywriter. But here’s 28 other things about me

As a copywriter, I’m almost duty bound to blog. But I’m aware that it’s easy to forget that there is a human being behind the words we read.

So I thought it important that I lay a few things bare so you can get to know who I am. I give a nod here to Grant Baldwin, public speaker, whose similar blog inspired me to do the same.

So this is me …

1. I’m too close to 50 than I like to think about.

But that’s OK. I actually found my 25th birthday the hardest to deal with, strangely enough. Then I felt that I was no longer in my early 20s and the dreaded 30s were looming far too close for my liking. But hitting my 30th birthday was actually painless, as was turning 40. Now that 50 is approaching, I take comfort that 50 is the new 30, so I get to live it all over again!

2. I live in Singapore.

It’s a great place to live – very convenient, everything works and I can say I have a great life here. However, I wasn’t born here. I was born in the UK. My dad was in the UK armed forces so we moved around whenever he got posted. That meant that I got to spend my growing up years in Malta, that small Mediterranean island between Italy and Libya. I loved it there, but had to leave at age 11 when Malta became independent. I was heartbroken.
3. I came from a great home.

My parents were supportive and loving and I never wanted for anything. Well there was one time when I wanted a Pippa doll and my mum said no, and I never did get a Barbie house. But I was given everything I needed including that fantastic childhood in Malta swimming in the Mediterranean every day.

4. I’m married to a local Singaporean who fills the house with guitars.

This is OK by me, and we have two teenage children, a son nearly 18 and a daughter who is 16 (she is adding to the guitar collection and plays beautifully – all self taught).

5. I have one sister, two years younger than me.

She still lives in the UK and unlike me as an entrepreneur copywriter she is a hot-shot chartered accountant with a global brand. She’s mad about the Beach Boys and, through the community of fans she joined, she met her life partner. He also fills the house with guitars!

6. First concert was David Soul.

(I’m proud.) Second was Iron Maiden!

7. At the age of 14 I discovered Alice Cooper at a time when my friends were into Duran Duran.

Scared myself stupid hanging some of his photos on my bedroom wall, but I adore him still today. I’ve seen him several times in concert through the years, all in big venues in the UK. Then he came to Singapore a few years ago and it was free standing at Hard Rock so I got front row centre and screamed myself hoarse. Someone uploaded it to YouTube and my sister watched, telling me she could recognise my screams! I was in my element! Alice Cooper, if you need a copywriter to manage your social media posts, I’m in!

8. We had a golden Labrador called Fella.

He was gorgeous and such a character. Could never be replaced.

9. In the sixth form, I took up a secretarial course.

This was as a substitute for one A level and my form teacher literally dragged me out of the class on the third lesson saying I had to take another A level because I had to go to university. Her intentions were good, but had she left me in that class, I would now be able to speed type and use shorthand, both skills that would come in handy in the work I now actually do as a copywriter! Did the A levels do me any good? No way.

10. I used to wear all black to school.

Bit of a goth. When it turned summer, I switched to white and my form teacher on walking into the form room exclaimed: “My God, it must be summer. Ange’s not wearing black!”

11. My favourite subjects at school were Art and English Literature.

I was really good at drawing and regret not pursuing that further. My son has picked up that talent and I hope he follows it.

12. My first job was not a copywriter but working in a bank.

I did that for 8 years and had a great time socially as the people I worked with, both in Harrow and Sheffield, were great fun. But I can’t say the work inspired me. I’d say the one thing I got from the experience professionally was an appreciation for customer service excellence, which has allowed my business to excel today as a result.

13. When I got to Singapore, I started teaching English as a foreign language in a local language school.

Training for this was embarrassing. I had no idea of grammar rules or tenses and their uses, so I had a steep learning curve at the beginning. Asa first language, we just didn’t learn the theory in those days. But today, I can answer any question on the intricacies of the English language. Challenge me!

14. Teaching was a fantastic (and hilarious) experience.

And there’s a book inside me about that.

15. I got into copywriting by accident.

A friend who ran a design agency asked me to write a brochure for her client and from there I was hooked. I realised I could do this from home while my kids were young. Only that didn’t go quite to plan as I got so busy that I had to hire staff and find an office.

16. Running a business has been a roller coaster ride.

I had no experience or reference to go to to run a company and I made every mistake in the book! But along the way I got some great coaches and I’m a lot better at it today!

17. Even though I travelled across the world to live in Singapore, I’m not a great traveller.

I’ve been in Singapore for over 20 years and have managed to visit Bali, Thailand and Malaysia, each one time only.

18. If I do have to travel, then I love going by train. 

And I love to fly by myself. I just stick in the headphones and play my iTunes catalogue.

19. I’m an introvert, but no one I know would tell you that.

In fact, they would vehemently deny it. But I had to come out of my shell to run a business, get clients and stand up for myself.

20. When I first started in business I hated clients haggling on price.

As a new copywriter, I had no idea of my own value and always gave in. Now I know my worth and I can leave business on the doorstep if I feel my work is not being respected. I don’t enjoy dealing with clients who don’t understand the importance of value and who negotiate only on price.

21. I got this one from Grant – I too am not that compassionate.

I cry at sad movies and I give to selected charities, but can’t find compassion for people that can help themselves but don’t. I hate to hear people complain about their lives and play the victim card. You don’t like it, change it. I worked really hard to get to where I am today. It didn’t come easy as a copywriter with zero experience, and I invested many many hours into relearning, and still do. And I didn’t get “lucky”. So when I see people think they are entitled without putting in the work and doing the time, it gets me mad.

22. I’m a big picture kind of person.

As a result, I’m very impatient. When I ask questions I expect a short direct summarised answer and not all the ins and outs. And people who speak too slowly drive me totally round the bend!

23. I’m a workaholic.

I’m trying to resolve that and give myself time to relax and do other things. Music is a big part of my life and that’s how I relax. It can be hard rock, soft rock, jazz, blues, and I’m a sucker for a strong voice.

24. I hate cockroaches.

But I don’t mind geckos at all.

25. I don’t have a sweet tooth and can do without dessert in any meal.

I love tea and coffee (both without sugar) and am partial to red wine.

26. My office is next to the best café in Singapore.

So I’m good for coffee every day. The fuel for many a copywriter!

27. People find me friendly and bubbly.

Life’s too short to be miserable. I get nervous talking to people who don’t smile.

28. I love shoes.

What woman doesn’t?


OK enough about me. I think I’ve said enough for you to see I’m not an anonymous presence on a screen. What about you? Anything you identify with above? If so, I’d love to read your comments.



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