I recently had a chance to talk to one of the best brand writers from the U.K. and learn a thing or two about her past and her industry. Cate Caruth owner of Creativewords.cc shared some great pointers that web creators need to be reminded of. Great read from a sharp lady who’s helped numerous companies shape their brand and become icons of their industry. Enjoy!
How did you get into this industry?
When I was three I wanted to be a cuckoo clock (!) and my Dad knew I would be a writer. For a lot of long and complicated reasons, when I left school I went to work in industry in a Cottage Cheese factory. As my career progressed, I moved into management consulting – initially in supply chain and then, over time, I moved into Change Management and communications. In this role I worked on some big engagement and communications projects as well as some marketing programmes as well.
All the time, I was writing – for my own interest.
Then, four years ago, I started working with a life coach. He asked me ‘what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ and I knew at once that I would leave my job and be a writer – but I knew that writing didn’t make any money, so I would need to find some other source of income to do that. Initially the game-plan was to take early retirement (which would mean waiting six years).
I mentioned this plan to my coach and he then asked if I would help him with his online coaching programme by writing an introduction to the journal he was publishing. I’ve never stopped working with him!
In those first few months producing content for him I realised that, while writing fiction might not be something I could make a living at, content development was.
Within 12 months I had quit my job and set up Creative Words.
So, I am a writer but, because of my consulting experience I’m also a project manager – so I can really make things happen for my clients. I call it Content Alchemy – Transforming Material into Content Gold!
What are the most common errors you see when working with clients?
Without a doubt – inconsistency.
Content is a ‘slow burn’ – you won’t get a result by writing one blog and expecting sales. In fact, it can be a disaster – because if someone visits your website and sees a few blogs, all over a year old, they will think you aren’t trading any more and go somewhere else.
The same goes for the ‘static’ content on your website (Home page and About pages). They don’t get updated – and visitors can tell! Content needs care and a attention on a regular basis.
Any advice you’d give for a successful write up?
Put your audience at the heart of your content – so much content talks about “this is what we do” but your audience wants to know what help you can give them. There is a vast difference between
“We make soap” and “Your skin will feel fresh and clean all day.” The audience doesn’t care that its soap, they care that they feel great when they use it.
Where do you see your industry in 5-10 years?
It’s hard to predict because the technology that underpins it changes too rapidly. The shift to video is certainly having an impact already – I’m working more with people on the spoken word and livestreaming that I was two years ago – so who knows what will come next.
There is talk of AI which can write sales copy – which would be interesting to see too. It may close down some sectors but people crave authenticity, so other sectors may emerge as a result.
Right now the move to digital seems all powerful but who knows? The awareness of the health impact of too much digital consumption could easily see people moving away from online and back to print. That has an impact on the style of the written content and how it is presented.
I’m not overly concerned – speech has been around for over two million years and writing for around 5000 of those. Someone, somewhere is still going to need me in ten years time!
Some great points to consider especially how you should frame your content. As a web developer I often stick to the who, what, when, where, why and how type of content so this has been a solid reminder to going a level deeper in all of this. Oh and personally I would be happy to see a little bit more printed media! I remember enjoying many weekends where I just sat outside and read a magazine or a newspaper. That may be a good change.
Another big thanks to Cate from Creative Words for sharing her time and her industries insight. If you’re looking for a solid brand writer she’s amongst the best in the industry!
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