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.



How to be more productive in content creation

You know you’ve got to be putting content out there. But you’re battling against time as usual. And perhaps ideas too. You need to find out how to be more productive in content creation.

Or do you?

There’s so much out there about being productive, about increasing your productivity. There’s great books such as Get Things Done by David Allen (great book and it’s helped me a lot).

Then there’s all the apps that get you organised. You’re so grateful for them. These are going to save the day. Finally a tool that will get me organised, and I’ll be able to produce masses of content!

That’s what I thought anyway. I became obsessed with being productive – getting things organised. I spent so much time reading books and learning how to use software and systems to make me productive. But in the end, they were eating up the time I SHOULD have been spending creating my writing plan and, guess what? WRITING!


Spend less time organising and more time writing

When writing, you need to get organised, as in plan what you are going to write. You shouldn’t miss that crucial step in the writing process. But don’t let it eat into your writing time.

Apps may end up sucking your time because they aren’t built around who YOU are. We are all different. We organise things differently. We think differently. For me, planning out a mindmap works. For others, it just doesn’t help at all.

You’ve got to find what works for you and stick to it. Know what habits you can stick with and which you can’t. For example, if someone advocates getting up at 5 am daily to do an hour of writing, you need to recognise if that’s for you or not. It worked for that person because they COULD get up daily at 5 am. But that might not be you. Maybe you write better at night, or in the afternoon. Know your strengths and weaknesses and don’t try to be something you’re not.

Once I let go of trying to fit my work into what the apps and books told me was being productive, and actually worked to what suited me, I actually got down to writing!


How to be more productive in content creation? Just write!

how to be more productive in content creation


I remember seeing an interview on TV once with the author Neil Gaiman, and his answer to the question “How does someone become a writer?” stuck with me. It’s simple and it’s obvious, and yet so easily resisted. If you want to be a writer, write. 

It’s the same with creating content. If you want to know how to be more productive in content creation, the answer’s simple. You’ve got to do the work. Planning to do the work isn’t going to get it done. Doing the work is. So plan the time to sit down and write, and then do the writing.

Excuses, productivity planning and productivity apps aren’t going to get it done for you. There is no substitute for writing. So once you accept that it’s just got to be done, you’ll find how to be more productive in content creation – in your own way. Your own way is the ONLY way you can be productive on a regular basis.

So own it, and start writing.






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Content fairy godmother never takes the easy road

As the content fairy godmother, my role goes beyond taking briefs and spewing out relevant copy as a paid copywriter.

It’s about really taking care of my clients. Making sure that not only do they get the copy they want, but they get the copy they NEED.


It’s as much protecting their corporate reputation as creating valuable content.

Over the years, I’ve had to guide clients away from inappropriate product names and embarrassing text, and help them change text to avoid saying the opposite of what they meant to say, all on top of the expected correction of grammar errors so they can build customer trust.

Sometimes that involves me having to put my foot down to the point of being a pain in the ass. Sometimes it takes a while, but they usually come round.

But sometimes it takes more persistence.


When your expert advice gets rejected 

When a client once requested to change a particular term in their text to something else, I declined and gave a simple reasoning for why their suggestion wouldn’t work.

They came back asking if there was some way I could make it work.

Well, no. I can’t change the rules of the English language just because it doesn’t suit!

So I sent a more detailed explanation along with a dictionary excerpt of the word’s meaning.

They felt their readers wouldn’t understand the proposed term nonetheless. I didn’t agree, but as a workaround I offered two alternatives that would work across the board.

They proposed a third longer phrase that would only work in one instance and would be ridiculous everywhere else in the text.

By now I was beginning to think it was getting personal! Was it a matter of losing face even though I was acting in their best interests?

At this point, I could have just given up and told them, if that’s the phrase you want after all I’ve sent then go ahead. But you know what? I couldn’t.


The phrase just didn’t fit, didn’t serve the purpose of the communication and would have left their intended audience in confusion. I wouldn’t have been doing my job.

So I put my foot down again and told them, look the rules don’t change just because you don’t like them. Here’s a sample with your suggested phrase and here’s the same with mine. Tell me honestly that yours works. I dare you.

Well, they kind of backed down in as much as they dropped their suggestion, but went back to their original suggestion rather than accept any of my alternatives. Groundhog day!


Still my duty to somehow make it work

So the wrong phrase is going in against my advice and multiple attempts at saving the text.

Well I did the best I could.

I played my part as the content fairy godmother. And still looking after the client’s best interests, I still came up with a workaround – providing a definition of the term for the purpose of this text only. It’s not ideal, but I’ve got to make it work somehow.

Getting an insight into why my hair’s grey?







For copy done right, call in your content fairy godmother


Content is king of online marketing for generating more leads

I thought I’d spice things up this week with a video on online marketing. This is the first of a three-part series I’ve put out as an introduction to online marketing, and how to become a content creation machine for your business and get leads online.

Today is the golden age of marketing. We have literally never had it so good!

Yes, there’s a lot of noise out there, and you still have to market smart to get your voice heard, but compared to 20 years ago, we’ve got it easy!



Before the Internet (can you remember those days? How did we manage?), marketing was almost a one-way street. We put out an ad but didn’t really have much control over who saw it. Then we had to wait to see what impact it had. Interaction with and understanding of our target market was a hard thing to come by.

But today, we are so spoiled by comparison! Here’s why:


1. We get to interact with our audience and find out exactly what they want and then we can just give it to them!

2. We don’t share our content with everyone. Oh no. We are choosy about who we communicate to because now we can choose so precisely who we want to target – those that we know WILL buy from us.

3. We get to share what we know and set ourselves up as experts in our field – the authority on the subject matter. That builds trust with our buyers.

4. And the part I love the most – potential customers come to us not the other way around! Inbound marketing is just so much more pleasant because you are delivering what your customers want and when they value what you offer, that’s a win-win for all.

5. And get this – there are so many cool software tools out there that let us automate the entire process from planning, creating, curating and sharing content to scheduling it for publication to the right platforms. It’s so easy!

I mentioned value earlier. The content you put out should be valuable to your customer. So what makes it valuable?

It’s got to be:

  • Relevant
  • Timely
  • Educational
  • Easy to follow and implement
  • Engaging

That’s all well and good. But why do you need to get to grips with online marketing in the first place? We’ve seen how it can benefit your customers. But what do you get in return?

You’ll love this …

  1. You’ll get noticed.
  2. You’ll be seen as an authority.
  3. Your customers will trust you.
  4. Your network will grow.
  5. You’ll build your personal AND business brand.
  6. AND your business will grow.

That’s six great reasons to get good at content marketing.

Watch out for my next video where I’ll cover how to mix up your content by delivering it in different ways. As we mentioned earlier, the more places you can show up, the more you’ll get noticed and the leads will flow in.

Want to get up to speed on becoming a content machine? Click the link and scroll down to download my free report here.



the missing piece
of your marketing puzzle.


Copywriters should Brainstorm or Think Shower?

Should my copywriters brainstorm or think shower? Copywriters and graphic designers beware! Heard on the news today that using the word “brainstorm” is now politically incorrect because it may cause offence to those with mental health problems.


There are plenty of examples of taking things too far with being PC and this is just the latest in a long line of the sublimely ridiculous.

Why copywriters brainstorm

At Proof Perfect, we brainstorm when we start tackling each project. It’s a necessary part of the creative process for our copywriters and graphic designers to throw out ideas uncensored before we start building on the suggestions that seem to be viable.

If we thought shower, will we get the same results?

The suggested alternative phrasing to use now instead of “brainstorm” is “thought shower”. I don’t know. To me that just conjures up images of my copywriters and graphic designers, and even project managers, running round the office dressed in fairy costumes and showering us with ideas like fairy dust as they gently run past on tippy toes.

Is it us?

Back to reality. I can just imagine the incredulous expressions on the faces of my team members if I were to say tomorrow, “OK guys, let’s have a thought shower.” A what???!!@! and who’s this impostor because this ain’t Ange?!

Firstly, the new term doesn’t really define the action strongly enough. Thought shower. It’s just too gentle somehow. We need some serious stirring up of the cerebral juices to be going on, not a pathetic shower. Tell it like it is, I say. In other words, if it’s a spade, call it a spade. Don’t read meanings into it that aren’t there.

Secondly, it’s just not my personality. Sorry, “thought shower” just makes me cringe. And I’ve always been one to call a spade a spade. Though I’m sure some would suggest labelling it a garden spoon because “spade” is now suddenly offensive for some reason.

Back to common sense

Who the hell’s really going to take offence at the word “brainstorm” anyhow? Only those that have no command of the English language and those with such active imaginations as to manage to equate the coupling of the words “brain” and “storm” with mental illness! Sorry, I just don’t see a connection.

Give me a break, people!

Who’s being oversensitive here? Your thought showers are welcome!

Or get in touch with me here.


the missing piece
of your marketing puzzle.


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.





the missing piece
of your marketing puzzle.


Is setting a small business marketing plan too complicated?

I’ve been speaking to some of my small business clients over the last few weeks about the challenges they face putting their small business marketing plan into action.

The same responses kept coming up time and time again:

  1. I just don’t have time to do it all, keep up with it all or orchestrate it all
  2. I don’t really know that much about online marketing so we stick to the offline channels only
  3. I try some online marketing but to be honest I’m just targeting everyone and hoping something sticks because it’s too expensive or time consuming to put things out to different target audiences
  4. I’m not sure I’m reaching my target audience or even that I really know who my target audience is
  5. What marketing plan?

For response 1: I get it. You really need to be focussing on your business and hand over the marketing to someone who has the time and means to put your small business marketing plan into action.

For response 2: You’re missing out on so much! The world’s moved. It’s all online. Think of the younger generation today – grown up on technology. This is the majority of you buying public and the percentage is only going to get bigger with every year! Get online!

For response 3: It’s great that you are doing things, but hoping against hope is not much of a strategy. You need to get in front of the right people and laser focus your marketing.

For response 4: Knowing who you are communicating to is crucial. You need to be speaking the language your audience can relate to or you are wasting your time.

For response 5:  Call me!

What could we do to help small businesses create a good small business marketing plan?

So I got to thinking: Since so many small businesses seem to face the same challenges, and since it’s small businesses that need marketing support the most, why don’t I come up with a system for them to systemise their marketing actions to make it easier to manage and so that they have a small business marketing plan.

Then it would make it cheaper for my business to be able to manage their whole plan for them at a FAR lower cost than if they came to us on an ad hoc basis.

So I put together a monthly marketing action plan called Market My Business For Me that we can systematically action for any small business for less than it would cost for them to employ ONE good marketing manager per month.

And with that manageable fee, they get not one marketing support staff but our ENTIRE team working for them AND they get all their marketing communication pieces written and designed and uploaded for them into the bargain! And they have their small business marketing plan in place to work from!

I am so excited to roll this out because I foresee that it is going to help a LOT of small businesses to get in front of the right customer and convert interest into DRAMATICALLY increased sales.

After all, you can’t sell if no one knows you are out there. It’s all about getting seen, and seen in the right places by the right people.


A FREE marketing toolkit for businesses that want to get started right now

I know that some of you are desperate to get going, so I’ve also put together a marketing toolkit packed with the essential elements to get you going if you want to handle it all yourself.

So head on over to download it now, and do get in touch with me if you have any questions getting it going. I’ll be glad to help.

So looking forward to talking to you!



the missing piece
of your marketing puzzle.