EPISODE 80: Finding Community as a Copywriter
Learn how to find community as a copywriter. In this episode we will cover:
- Understanding that being a writer doesn’t have to be a solo experience
- Shifting from a competitive to a collaborative mindset
- The benefits and the beauty of community
There’s a tendency for writers to feel like they’re on their own. By its very nature, sitting down and physically writing is a solitary experience. There are collaborative ways to write, such as co-authoring a novel, but that seems to be the exception to the rule.
As a copywriting business owner, this can translate to feeling like you’re on a reclusive island with no buoy of support to keep you afloat. Not only does it affect you during challenging times, but also when it’s time to celebrate…there’s no one around to share in your success.
It’s common to adopt the mindset that all fellow writers are competitors, but the truth is there is no competition. There may be a million people who do what you do, but no one does it the exact same way that you do it. And there are plenty of clients to go around.
Also, putting yourself out there as a writer can be difficult. Communities that exist for business owners can sometimes fall flat, because they don’t understand the nuance of the writing profession. But writers deserve to find community, just like everyone else.
As a copywriter and a business owner, your greatest resource is the relationships you build. It is your relationships that will sustain your business over the long term and bring the greatest source of satisfaction. Not business acumen, the ability to create courses, or the skills to whip out a high-converting sales page.
Your community is a referral network, a place to celebrate your wins, to commiserate in your challenges, to ask questions, grow, learn, try new things, and above all, to feel at home. Some writers just want a safe space to ask questions to fellow writers, and that’s ok. But for many of us, we want to find a community where we can be our true selves…no matter how nerdy, overly logical, and slightly awkward we might be.
Finding community as a copywriter can be an invaluable resource. If you’re considering joining a community, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want a community of just writers, or a mix of writers and business owners?
- What do I want to gain from the community?
- What do I want to offer the community?
- Am I looking for a free or a paid container?
- Am I looking for a peer-led group or a leader-led community?
- How do I want to interact with community members? Online? In person? If online, do you have a preference (for example, Facebook vs. Slack?)
Once you know your parameters, turn it into your checklist and start searching!
If you’re looking for a virtual community of writers and writing business owners, join us in the Polaris Lounge!
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…
…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.
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.
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.
Hello. Hello, and welcome to another episode. Today we are talking about finding community as a copywriter and I'm writing solo on this episode, which is a little odd considering it's about community, but this is actually one of the benefits of community that we're going to talk about today, which is having a support system so that someone's there to help out when you're not around. Marie happens to be overseas right now. And so she's not available to record episodes. And so I'm stepping in and recording them on my own. This is one of the great benefits about community, right? Depending on the type of community, you're a part of, depending on the type of community you seek out, you're able to build up a support network.
But before I dive into that in more detail, I want to back up a little bit and talk about why this is an important episode. Because I feel like there's a tendency for writers to wind up in a situation where they feel like they're on their own. You may have experienced this yourself. Writing can just by nature lend itself to a solitary experience. Now that's not always true. There are collaborative way, ways to write, which I've done most of my life through nerdy role plays through coauthoring, a novel through coworking on copywriting projects. But I've also noticed that that seems to be the exception to the rule. In fact, most of the time when I talk about the collaborative writing experiences, I've had other writers have a lot of questions because it's not something that they've necessarily experienced a lot.
So writing just can be a solitary experience. And because the actual sitting down and physically writing part is solitary that can kind of balloon outward a little bit into creating a writing business becoming a solitary experience. And that can be a struggle because you can often feel like you are an island and you don't have support whether it's peer support, whether it is a mentor, whether it's other writers having that support network, it's like a little buoy to keep you afloat. Not having it can make it feel like any struggles that you come up and against are that much more frustrating and any successes you have, you don't have anyone to celebrate them with.
]So it's easy, we've found, for writers to wind up in a place where they are on their own, and we don't want that. It's easy to kind of go it alone and try and forge your own path. But at the end of the day, we're stronger when we have other people to help support us and when we're there to support other people.
But it's also easy, I think for writers to fall into really any business owners, but I'm speaking specifically to other writers out there, to fall into this trap of thinking that other people who do things that are similar to what you do are competitors. I'm a copywriter so therefore other copywriters are competitors. I write sales pages so therefore other people who write sales pages are my competition. That can be a very easy mindset to fall into. It's something that I fell into quite a bit in the early days of business where I was so determined to bring clients in that I didn't wanna talk to anyone who was bringing in similar types of clients, because I felt like we didn't have anything to talk about, which was absolutely not true turns out. I was coming from a place of scarcity and a place of seeing other businesses as com competition rather than potential collaborators.
It also can be difficult to put yourself out there. I am a huge introvert. I am very far on the introverted side of the spectrum. I even wrote a book about it. In a past life I wrote a book about being an introverted teacher and how you can find ways to survive in the sometimes very emotionally taxing realm of teaching. And that carries over to other areas of my life now. So, you know, if putting yourself out there can be difficult for a wide variety of reasons, there are plenty of social introverts out there. So, you know, if you're one of them more power to you. But whether it's social anxiety, whether it's introversion, whether it's just not really feeling the social stuff, whether it's fear, whether it's a slew of reasons, putting yourself out there can be difficult. It can also be difficult if you feel like you're a little different, whatever that difference might be. Because there's a tendency to, you know, and I think that sometimes it can feel like putting yourself out there in a community is like taking yourself back to high school and being like, oh gosh, did I find my right community? Did I find my group? I mean, it's no secret that Marie and I are giant nerds and navigating a world of business ownership and entrepreneurship we've always tried to gravitate towards other nerds. And sometimes we find them and sometimes it's like, oh gosh, where are our people? And it can always feel a little scary to put ourselves out there and be like, yeah, we love sci-fi and fantasy and we read and write that and we role play and like all of this stuff, that is the kind of stuff that I personally got teased for in middle school, but also makes me uniquely me.
Finding those people who share bits of my experience, whether it's my geekiness or my role as a business owner and a writer, or my queerness, finding someone or finding a group of someone who can help, who can understand that and contribute to that and either not that they have to have the exact same lived experience as me because that's impossible, but who can understand it, compliment it, bring their own lived experience, challenge my views, things like that. It can be difficult to put yourself into situations where that sort of energy is happening and that sort of trust exists. So if that feels scary, you're not alone.
And then it can sometimes, this is writer specific, but it can sometimes feel like communities for other business owners fall a little flat. Not because they don't have a lot to offer, especially in like maybe specific areas. Like for example, right now, Marie and I are in a business community that is focused specifically on revenue generating activities, profit growth, sales basically. It's a community of business owners who want to really just focus on getting their sales cycle really, really aligned. And the other people who are in the community with us are from a variety of different business types. That's great. It fits our need. And we had a very specific need. What we've found is that often if you are a writer and you join a more type of business community or business coaching experience, often, especially if it's in a group setting, a lot of the advice, coaching, mentorship is widely applicable, which means that it doesn't always address the specific needs of a copywriting business or a service based business. Sometimes that can be helpful. And sometimes that can feel like it falls flat. Because as writers, you have unique needs as writers, you have unique challenges. And so communities for other business owners can sometimes be a little difficult to navigate. Not always we've been in some fantastic ones over the years. We've also been in some that felt a little like we're not really getting what we need because our business model is not necessarily designed for this type of community.
So with all of that said, what we really believe, what Marie and I have really come to find out over the years, is that obviously writers deserve community just like everyone else. And there is no lack of the type of right community. It may be a greater business community. It may be a community just for writers. It may be a mentorship community or a peer led community, lots of options. But at the end of the day, even though writing is, can be, solitary, you still deserve a community, just like everyone else, where you can celebrate commiserate, ask question, learn all of the good stuff. As a copywriter and as a business owner, your greatest resources are the relationships you build. I'm gonna repeat that, cuz it's really, really important. As a copywriter and a business owner, your greatest resources are the relationships you build, not your skill as a writer, not your business acumen, not your ability to create courses or whip out a high converting sales page. The relationships that you build are what will sustain your business over the long term and what will bring the greatest source of satisfaction if you find a community that's a good fit for you.
There's no competition. There are plenty of clients for everyone. Even within the copywriting community, even within the content creation community. There may be a million people who do what you do, but no one does it the way that you do it. There are clients out there who want to work with you because of the way that you do what you do even if you put two people with the same skillset next to one another. There are going to be people who you learn are not a good fit for you, but maybe a good fit for someone else in your community who does similar or the same work. But if you're not a part of that community, you can't build that referral network.
So it's important to build this community aspect of your business for so many reasons, the referral network is one of them, having a place to celebrate is one of them because your success is to deserve celebration. Having a place to commiserate because we all know running a business is not sunshine and rainbows every day of the week. Having a place to ask questions, we're always growing. We're always learning. We're always trying new things. It's just the nature of running a business and having a place where you feel like you are at home. And this isn't necessarily going to be a requirement for everyone. Some of you out there listening might just want a place where you can ask questions and that's it. And that's fine. That's gonna be something we talk about in a minute. But for me personally, I need to be part of a community where I can be myself. That is a requirement of communities that I am a part of. I need to be my nerdy, overly logical, slightly awkward self. And people need to be cool with it. And I wanna be cool with everybody else who's in the community and their experiences and personalities that they're bringing to the table.
So if you are thinking, Hey, I've been going it solo a lot. I don't really have a community of other writers or other people to talk to about running a business, about copywriting, about any of this stuff. I want you to ask yourself a few questions. First of all, I'm gonna phrase these questions assuming that community is something that you're looking for. It's something that you want to add. If for some reason you're not looking for community, I wanna invite you to investigate. Why, what about community feels like not the right fit for you because that might uncover some things that you know are interesting to think about. But assuming that you are looking for community, I want you to set some parameters for yourself. I want you to find the right community.
So ask yourself these questions. Do I want a community of just writers or a mix of business owners? So am I looking for a writer community or am I looking for a larger business community? No wrong answer. Just what are you feeling will fill your well right now? What do you want to gain from the community? What are you looking for? And heads up here. If the answer is more clients, you might wanna rethink it. Not that you can't find clients in communities, you absolutely can. But if this is a community where you're looking to build a peer network and a collaborative network, we're not necessarily looking for a client where we're gonna just go in and sell to them. We're looking for a client where we're going to build relationships. So what do you wanna gain from the community, from being a part of the community? What do you wanna offer the community? What are you bringing to the table? Are you looking for a free or a paid container? Again, no wrong answer.
They do of have different feels though. A free container is often an open door. So it means a lot of different people can come in and go out. A paid container is often not always, but often a closed door. So you get to know people a little bit better and there's often a specific focus around the community and what is expected within it. You can see both there's a venndiagram there. You can see that in of free community too. But paid container, there's a little more skin in the game. So you may get a little bit more engagement from other people in the community. Whereas with a free community, you may have people kind of drift in and out a little bit more, or the feeling may change over time. It may grow dramatically. You're not really quite as sure with a free community. That may be a good thing though. That may be what you're looking for. You may be looking for a community that has a wider open door so that you can get a wider variety of insight.
Next question. How do you wanna interact with the community members? Are you looking for an online community or are you looking for an in-person community? If it's an online community, are there some places you'd like to go and some you don't? Like, for example, are you avoiding Facebook groups because you don't really wanna be on Facebook anymore? Do you prefer slack communities because of the way that they're structured? Or are there communities that you prefer to join? That might be rather than written text, like a Facebook group. Maybe you wanna join a community that does everything via zoom and it's all, you know, voice meetings and video meetings, or something that's like a Voxer group where it's all audio. Think about the kind of community that you want to engage with, how you wanna interact. Because interacting speak as an introvert, socially interacting for me takes energy. So I wanna make sure that when I'm spending energy interacting, it's in the way that feels most natural to me.
And I wanna circle back here real quickly to mention that this com this looking for community is different from looking for the watering holes where your target audience is hanging out. That's market research, that's looking for clients, that's figuring out your sales funny. This is- funny sales, funny sales. Funny. We'll go with that. Sales funnel. This is more of a community for peer relationships that can grow with you, referral partners, things like that.
All right. So now that you've asked yourself those questions and I them very quickly: Do you want a community of just writers or mix of business owners? Two. What do you wanna gain from the community? Three. What do you wanna offer with the community? Four. Am I looking for a free or a paid container? Five. How do you wanna interact with the community? And I actually just realized I forgot one looking at my list, but this is an important one. Am I looking for a peer led or a leader led community? So are you looking at a community where everyone is coming like on the same playing field, or are you looking for a community where you have someone in more of a leadership role who's guiding the community? Again, no wrong answer. They both have pros and cons, and you may change what you're for over time, but that's also something to consider.
So once you know your parameters, that's your checklist as you start searching for a community. Spend some time identifying communities and seeing how they match up to your list. You may not find the perfect one that checks all the boxes, but you can probably get pretty close. Limit the number of communities you enter at once. So let's say you find some communities, maybe you find five or six that are pretty good fits. Maybe don't enter all six at once and try to be super active in all six at once, because that is going to require a lot of time and energy. Maybe just limit it to one or two, get a feel for it. See if it works. And if not, that's fine. Go on to the next one. If it does great, then you can just hang there for a while. Ask questions if you're an not sure whether the community is right for you, odds are someone, whether it's the leader, whether it's another member, whether it's, you know, a past member, someone will likely be willing to tell you more about their experience within the community. Don't be afraid to ask those questions. And then finally, once you find the community, that really feels good to you. Make sure you're giving as much as you're asking. So don't fall into the trap of just constantly asking, asking, asking, asking, without ever giving back. That can become a little difficult to navigate over time and it can make your relationship to the other community members feel unbalanced. So just make sure that you're giving as well as asking.
If you do all of these things and you're able to find a community that really feels good to you, then you will have a place that you can go to for celebrations, commiseration, for friendship, for referrals, for so many things that allow you to stop being a writer island and allow you to have this community of people who understand you and understand you on more than just a surface level, who can understand you deeply. Because the more to time you send to the community, the more you get to know people, the more you get to know their stories and the more of your own story you get to share.
This is so valuable as a business owner. And this is so valuable as a business owner who's running a content creation business. Because stories are part of the fabric of who we are as writers and our own story is valuable and important. And often we don't share our story because we're so busy sharing other people's stories.
I wanna invite you challenge that notion you have to be an island that you have to be a business that does not seek out community or help, or that you have to be a business that only seeks it out when you absolutely need it. I wanna challenge you to find a community of other writers or other business owners who can help support you and who you can help support because you deserve it and so do the other business owners.
So your homework for today is to ask yourself all of those questions that we went over and to try and find a community. And if you're already in a community to use those questions as a way to evaluate whether it is a good community for you right now. If it is awesome, great, make sure they know how grateful you are to have found them. If you're still looking for a community and you wanna give ours a try. Our community is a community of writers, specifically business owners who own writing businesses. So rather than business owners, with a lot of different types of businesses, we focus just on writers, copywriters, content, creators, content strategists. Our community is designed for those who are running writing businesses and want a place to establish a better referral network, to ask questions about the business of copywriting, to ask questions about copywriting best practices, and to really just dive deeper into what we talk about in these podcast episodes. Have conversations, share our stories, talk about what it means to be a writer. So if that's something that you are interested in being a part of, we're going to leave the link to our writer community in the show notes, we would love to see you there. We would love to see you testing out the community with us. We're happy to continue the conversation, and we're happy to suggest other communities too. If you decide that another one would be a better fit. We want you to find the community that works for you.
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.
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