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EPISODE 56: Meet Maggie

by Oct 19, 2021Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • Introducing Maggie Grimason, future podcast guest host
  • Maggie’s role at North Star
  • Maggie’s advice for other writers

Your hosts Jessi + Marie will be taking a little vacation soon, but don’t worry—we’ve got some great team members stepping in to hold down the podcast fort while they’re out!

Today, we’re introducing you to one of the Brand Your Voice podcast’s upcoming guest co-hosts, Maggie Grimason. Maggie was the first writer to join the North Star team, and she now serves as a mentor for the other writers, answering questions and helping everyone stay on top of the latest best practices.

 

In Maggie’s interview, she’ll discuss:

  • What she does at North Star
  • Her favorite types of writing and client projects
  • Advice she has for other writers

 

Stay tuned for Maggie’s podcast takeover coming soon! You can also learn more about her here.

Plus, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @northstarmessaging. We want to hear what you’re reading!

TRANSCRIPT

Jessi:
Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

Marie:
…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Jessi:
Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

Marie:
And if you choose to outsource that content you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.
All right, welcome to an exciting episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. And I'm really excited to bring in our second ever guest, actually, Maggie welcome. Maggie is a very wonderful and longstanding member of the North Star team, and I'm really excited to have you here today.

Maggie:
Hello everyone. Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be on the podcast.

Marie:
Me too. I mean, I'm excited for you to be on the podcast. I do this sometimes. And by the way, this is Marie here. If you are just listening for the first time, the reason that I'm bringing Maggie and today is soon, Jessi and I are going to be stepping out of the office for a little while and Maggie and our colleague, Madeline, who you're going to meet in the next episode are going to be doing a podcast takeover for a few weeks. And I'm really excited to see what they chat with you all about. But we wanted to introduce you, wonderful listeners, to Maggie and Madeline before they do the takeover. So you have a little bit of background in terms of who they are, what their career has been like, what they enjoy about writing. And I know you have, they'll have, you know, great, great fun listening to them and things to learn from them. So I'm excited for that.
So, yeah, Maggie, you've been with North Star for... among the longest of anybody. I think. I can't remember how many years has it been?

Maggie:
I know I was actually trying to like do the math in my head right now. Is it three or going on four? I'm not sure. Is that possible?

Marie:
At least at least three. Quite sure.

Maggie:
Yeah. So I think, I mean, tell me if I'm wrong, Marie, that I was like the first writer hired.

Marie:
That is correct. Yes. So yeah, Jessi and I were like a hot mess at that point. Cause we were like, we had more work coming in that we could handle. And instead of turning it down, we were like, I think it's time, it's time to bring in a writer. And we were like, I don't know, like, can another person do this? You know? And, Maggie, I'm so glad we found you because you're better than we are. You're amazing!

Maggie:
Aw, yeah. I mean, but it's truly been, I've learned so much, you know, in my time with north star and it's been so cool to be able to grow with the business, like what a unique perspective on everything that we do.

Marie:
Yeah. Yeah. And, and grow Maggie has with the business and is at this point, you know, in a leadership role we opened up a position earlier this year. I don't know some, at some point in the last, like six to 12 months, I don't know what is time anymore. Right. But this is a writing mentor position. And so Maggie, you and Madeline are both in this role. So you're doing writing still with the clients and editing and content strategy support, but you're also in this mentorship role where you are, able to answer questions for the team, help onboard new writers. You know, I guess say a little bit more about like, you know, what, how you see your role at North Star, just any, any, and all things. What do you, what do you enjoy about the role or like, what are some of the things that, you know, you look forward to?

Maggie:
Yeah. I feel like a lot of my talents are really well used at Northstar, which is really special to find a job that, you know, like I get to exercise all of those things. Because I do a lot of writing and editing, like I have in much of my professional life, but I get to also sort of stretch myself and do things like research at different turns. And now, you know, like sort of extend all my experience, you know, and my knowledge to a position like as a mentor where I get to answer questions for new writers about, you know, like the company itself and our protocols or writing processes, you know, and like, I get to take on a little bit more ownership of some of this stuff in a leadership position where I can, you know, like, you know, how they say, you know, people who cannot teach do, and like teaching is such, you know, it's such a opportunity to really like put what, you know, into practice in this way.
Like being able to explain things succinctly and clearly and take them out of your head, you know, and share them with someone else is such a challenge, but such like a positive, productive one for me. So I've really enjoyed the opportunity to, you know, talk about the things that we do, whether it's the brand voice process, or some of the like more nuanced stuff, like how do you structure, you know, like a landing page or how do you like hone in on word choice and stuff like that. So, that particular role, while I'm still sort of like getting my footing in it has been really exciting and I think like a real opportunity to continue learning at North Star.

Marie:
That's awesome. Well, you're amazing at it. And I'm so glad we have you in the role. And, so you talked a little bit about, you know, over the course of your career. So can you give us like, you know, the 40,000 foot overview of like, what your career and writing has been like, like what's drawn you to this career?

Maggie:
Yeah, I, you know, like, it's funny because since the time, like I was old enough to read and write, I've been writing short stories and stuff like that, even when I was, you know, like at daycare, I would sit in the library instead of play with other kids and like write weird fantasy stories. And I was always really encouraged in that direction. So, you know, like have always been a creative writer and really interested engaged with that stuff. And then when I was in college said, you know, like knew right away that I wanted to study English and, you know, like worked in our writing center at that time. And after college, you know, did a lot of tutoring and writing. I've taught English as a second language and continue to engage with that stuff. And then eventually got my first job, like, doing copywriting at a production company in New Mexico and then eventually kind of pivoted to, to writing for an alternative weekly, being an editor at the same weekly, editing a magazine, and then have continued to freelance while I do all of my writing and editing at North Star, which has provided like a really good balance.

Marie:
So you're saying you're busy.

Maggie:
Most of the time. What's great is like most of the time I don't feel that busy. I feel like I have such a good rhythm, you know, that like this work never stresses me out. And in fact, cause I enjoy it. It doesn't feel too much like work.

Marie:
That's exciting. That's good. Yeah. Did you have like a favorite class when you were an English major?

Maggie:
Oh my gosh. You know, I really liked poetry actually. And I had like a life-changing class on like, um, form that was mostly about Wallace Stevens. And like, I feel like I was like always like crying in the library because I was having some kind of like epiphany about, you know, like poetics. So that has to be it.

Marie:
Awesome. Who hasn't had that moment. Right. Crying in the library over like the sheer beauty or whatever it is of what you're reading.

Maggie:
I hope, I hope everyone has.

Marie:
Yeah. I've definitely been there, like writing in the Stacks.

Maggie:
Yes. Oh my gosh. Oh my God. I wish I could go back to those.

Marie:
I know. I know. Well, Wallace Stevens is still there for you. Yeah. So are there, are there any particular types of projects at north star that you found yourself gravitating towards or particularly enjoying?

Maggie:
Yeah, I often I really enjoy working with our nonprofit clients. That's something that I always, you know, cause I actually felt mentioned this, that I've done grant writing and stuff like that. I guess I've worked in a lot of different spheres when it comes to writing. So I always really feel like I get a lot out of working with nonprofits, seeing how they function and then feel really good about supporting them as they do this good work in the world. So I really enjoy working with our nonprofit clients. I also enjoy working with the clients that we've had that too sort of coaching work and, or like health, holistic health work, just because like, I feel like I get the benefits of, you know, like what they do, what they offer their clients while I'm working on their copy, because I get this like behind the scenes look and I get to hear from them, you know, like the why behind their business and you know, like how they do it. And so I feel like I'm getting coached, you know, like I'm getting all this good wisdom when it comes to my health and that sort of thing while I actually do this work. So I feel like in a super privileged position when it comes to working with those kinds of clients.

Marie:
I totally agree. Like there's so many clients that we've had over the years that I'm like, and I'm going to be your client because you're amazing. And I learned so much from you just like, you know, just having those meetings, even with them to learn a little bit about their perspective on life, whatever it is, you know, it's, you're right. It is a privilege.

Maggie:
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Like it's definitely, you know, and because I have an interest in that sort of thing, it's like a, you know, like I am doing like self work while I'm doing my paperwork, which is great.

Marie:
That is cool. So do you, so when you were talking about your sort of your favorite types of projects, you were really gravitating towards the types of clients. Do you also have favorite types of writing projects? Did you, or is it really more just kind of like, Hey, if I like the client, whatever they need, I'm excited to do it.

Maggie:
Yeah. You know, I really enjoy, you know, like writing copy for podcasts, for example. Cause then I feel like I get to like listen and really actively listen to a podcast, which is like, you know, that's a fun thing to do in general. And then create copy around it. So, you know, like do you know, like some work on my end, like pulling out main themes and stuff like that. So I get to reflect on the podcast while I listened to it, which I think is like a really good opportunity for me to like really engage with that information. So I like that kind of stuff. I like, you know, we've worked on some projects where we've created like eBooks and that sort of thing. And I really like working on those, because you know, it's like, I like a long form project.
And so I find that fun to like really create, you know, page after page, you know, 20, 30, 40 pages on a certain topic. Like I think that's fun to outline and then execute. And you know, we've started doing these kind of like longer brand voice guides, like that really, really, really go in depth on a client's voice. And I think that that is challenging, but also really rewarding, you know? Cause you really think like a great deal about like every piece of phrasing, like all the tone, you know, like what this says, if we say it this way versus this way, you know, like what is the contextual meaning? I think that that is really interesting.

Marie:
Yeah. I agree. And it's also, I think maybe especially good proving ground for that type of brand voice process, because these happen to be non-profits that are also in like the social justice sphere. And so they're especially cognizant of their language and they, they understand the power of messaging. Maybe even more than, you know, just sort of your average organization. So have you found that that is something that you know is valuable for them, for you? Like, are there parts of that process and you were talking about the brand voice process earlier, like are there parts of that process that have changed how you think about copywriting?

Maggie:
Yeah, I think that like, it has proven to me how, no matter how you do it as a business or as a copywriter, how important it is to really challenge yourself to answer some of the questions that come up in those interviews and that sort of thing about like the, how and the why and really everything that is like behind you, standing behind you when you're doing this work and then even looking to the future, like, what is your big ambition? Like why, what keeps you inspired? You know, that sort of thing.
I've just learned the importance of like, of having, you know, like really thought about those topics on both ends as a writer or as, you know, like a business person as the leader of a nonprofit, whatever the case may be. And then, I also think, you know, especially like, as we were talking about like with some of those clients that, you know, like working in social justice, like really being intentional, like it's just like such a powerful example of the power of words. Because you have to have to be really thoughtful, you know, and like really think about like, what does this mean? You know, like when you use this phrasing and being really intentional about how you communicate. And I think that that is just like a really great example of how important it is that we communicate clearly and compassionately and it, and it's just a great reminder for me as a person, not even as a reader, as a writer.

Marie:
Yeah, no, that's, that's really true. I mean, I do think the work that we do carries on, you know, into our daily lives and how we conduct ourselves.
Another thing that I just, I really appreciate about you Maggie, is I feel like you've asked really probing questions, but you also you think very strategically and, so I'm just curious, like, you know, is there anything else you want to say, I guess, about your approach to the work that you do? Not just with North Star, but just in general, anywhere like really with writing, like, are there certain parts of that process that would be useful maybe to somebody listening to this that like other like lessons learned, or like pieces of advice that you might want to give fellow writers that you've just picked up or for the years?

Maggie:
Yeah. You know, something that I think is really important, you know, to consider like in the brand voice process, you know, and sometimes, like when you're strategizing with the client and then, you know, like even in the rest of my personal writing life, interviewing different people for stories and that sort of thing is the importance of just listening carefully. Like, I think that in the past, when I was a little bit newer to this work, I'd get really caught up with, you know, thinking about like my next smart question that I might ask and like, just getting ahead of the conversation, but instead remembering that it is a conversation and do you know, like, you don't even have to always ask a question, you know, like just you can reflect what you're hearing, you know, or just, you know, contribute something and ask, you know, is that true or that sort of thing, like take it as an opportunity to learn. And so I think, you know, by extension, just like being curious, you know, and like staying engaged with the client or the interview subject or whatever it is like as a person and the work that they're doing and how they're connected to it. And I think that that always kind of makes for the most productive sessions.

Marie:
This is some wisdom here, right? Like, yeah, it's not about asking the next smart question. It's about staying present moment and critical was saying, and you're right. Like it's kind of magical I find when we reflect back to our clients, what they're saying, because A, it gives them a chance to say, oh no, that's not what I meant or, oh, that made me think of this also, or yeah, I feel so heard, you know. And I feel like as a whole, the brand voice process is kind of like that in a nutshell, right. It's reflecting back to them, like what they're communicating maybe with some refinement and some curation to help them stay more on target in terms of their desire messaging. But it's funny, like, have you had this happen to you Maggie, where like a client will be like, wow, I feel like really heard. Or like this did a great job of capturing my voice. And I'm like, yeah, because we just wrote what you said.

Maggie:
Yeah, totally, totally. And I think that it is like that question, you know, like it is that careful listening and then the refining, like you said, because, you know, like, I think that a lot of it is clear enough to the person who's headed in, but they haven't condensed it down to something that's a little bit more succinct, you know, like, and they haven't, and I think that that's a process that sometimes takes like another person to really hear you and do that like work of reflect.

Marie:
Yeah. Totally agree. Totally agree. Okay. Well, let's wrap up with a fun question. I'm sure our listeners will be curious to know what are you currently reading right now, Maggie?

Maggie:
Well, I just finished up the second in Hilary Mantel's series on Thomas Cromwell and which is excellent, but they're long and very historical fiction-y. So I'm taking a palette cleanser because I think August is the official start of Halloween season. And so I picked up, I picked up two books, Mexican Gothic by, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and also The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. And I started reading that recently, like both like really well done, sort of like thrillers as far as I could tell. So I'm just getting started with those two and they're really good so far.

Marie:
I've heard amazing things about both of them. So they're going to go on my list.

Maggie:
And you?

Marie:
Yeah. So I'm currently in the middle of, well, I also write fiction if- I know you know that Maggie, but the listeners may not know that. But one of the books I'm currently working on is a secondary world fantasy heist. And so I'm reading more fantasy heist right now just for inspiration. So, I'm currently reading Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennetts and I'm maybe a quarter of the way into it, so I'm actually not even sure if it is a highest yet. I do know that the main characters of thief, so it's sort of thematically there, but we'll see. It's very... I don't know the word... it's a romp so far.

Maggie:
Cool!

Marie:
Well, so listeners, if you want to let us know what you're reading right now, or any of your favorite tidbits that you got from Maggie, any like wisdom that you gained from her or questions that you may have for her, cause this could help inspire some of the episodes potentially coming up where she'll be hosting along with Madeline, who you'll meet in our next episode.
Follow us on Instagram, we're at North Star Messaging, and let us know in the comments or send something into our DMS and let us know what you're currently reading right now. And any wisdom that you learned from this episode. So thanks for listening and Maggie, thank you so much for joining.

Maggie:
My pleasure.

Marie:
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Make sure to visit our website, northstarmessaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more.

Jessi:
If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you, and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 


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