by Becca Klein, August 11, 2022
Episode #004: How to Create a Brand Personality to Sell Your Stuff with Nikki Trailor
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Your brand – the way you present yourself and your business to the world – is crucially important. That's why I was thrilled when today's guest, Nikki Trailor, brand expert + pro copywriter, agreed to be on the pod!
Let's get into it!
HERE'S A GLANCE AT THE EPISODE WITH SOME TIME STAMPS FOR YOU:
- How Nikki got started – 02:01
- How to differentiate yourself from others – 4:35
- Nikki talks about confidence – 5:16
- Nikki talks about whether your brand should be the same on all platforms – 8:12
- Nikki talks about the importance of brand voice – 9:08
- What should your brand voice say in the important pages on your blog – 11:43
- Talking about brand voice/personality in sales copy – 14:08
- Nikki's DIY copy tips – 16:30
- The importance of interviewing your ideal customer avatar – 18:08
- Should you use templates? – 26:20
- How to pivot to a new brand – 21:56
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BECCA: Okay. So today on the pod, our guest is Nikki Trailor. Nikki is a copywriter and brand voice strategist who works with unapologetic business owners who are ready to unleash their true personality to make more sales. She plays a beautiful, powerful brand. Voice guidance and sales copy that shows off her client's unique personality, and Commands the attention of their ideal customers and convert them into paying ones. All with a fast turnaround. She's trained in conversion copywriting with some of the best copywriters in the beds. She's learned how to deliver impact for her clients. With her signature cocktail of personality-driven, copy and ethical persuasion principles.
And when she's not writing or whipping up brand voice guys will find her exploring the world, probably Mexico. Or dancing Cuban style on a stage somewhere in London, both of which sounded pretty fun to meet. So let's jump into this interview
Okay. So we've got Nikki Trailor on the podcast today.
BECCA: Hi, Nikki. Thanks for being here.
NIKKI: Hey, Becca. Thanks having me. I'm really excited to be.
How to become a copywriter or brand strategist
BECCA: So to start off you're a brand expert. How did you get in into that?
NIKKI: So I'm actually a copywriter and brand strategist. And it was a bit of a long and bumpy road as it is for most copywriters and branding specialists to figure out what it is they actually want to be doing. I started in my career in travel and I was working in a luxury travel brands for about eight years.
Managing the portfolio of the hotels that we sold in south America. So it was a lot of travel. And I would come back and I would put all the hotels onto the website and train the team on the product that we were selling. So there was a lot of writing involved in that and I always loved that side of it.
And then as the pandemic hit in 2020 it got to the point sad where the business was really struggling. And most of our team got laid off. There was a horrible experience, but in a way I'm super glad that happened because it pushed me towards copywriting. And I now feel like I know what I'm supposed to be doing.
So I decided when I had a few bumps off work to. Really dive into things that I enjoyed. And one of those things was writing. So I took an online creative writing course, and then I happened to stumble on this webinar, which was training people, how to become copywriters. And then I suddenly realized that, oh, you can actually make money from this.
What to do when business seems daunting
And maybe I can run a business. The idea of running a business always seemed so daunting before. Cause I was like, I need to set a shop or I need to build a product or whatever that might like. And so when I realized I could just have a laptop and Google doc and a business was like, just. Magic moment.
And I was like, this is what I wanna do. So I put out a post on LinkedIn hit on my network and I was just like, Hey, the guys have lost my job, but here's what I'm planning to do. Does anyone have any work for me? And I got my first few clients and that road was a little bit Rocky, like the first period, like I got a few clients, I really enjoyed the work, but I really struggled marketing myself.
Knowing how to show up
And I figured out that was because I just didn't know how to show up. There's so much conflicting advice online and it took me a long time to realize that I was just. Doing everything that I could to blend in and sound like everyone else. I was saying the things that I thought I had to say showing up on the platforms I thought I had to show up on, and it took me a long time to really start putting my personality out there and that's getting traction in my business.
So that's now what I help my clients to do is figure out how their personality comes across online, how they should be showing up so that they can stand out, sell more, and actually get excited to show up to their business as.
BECCA: That's great. I have a thousand questions on all that.
So to start off I think exactly like you were just saying, when people first get started and I know this was true for me, the easiest thing to do is to look at other people and be like, oh, they're doing this.
So this is how I should talk too. So for people that are in that situation what's your advice on how to figure out your own unique voice, how to show up as you were saying
The importance of confidence in asserting your brand
NIKKI: The first thing generally I would suggest is just test the waters, test out all the platforms and see what other people are posting just to get a feel for what's popular. What are you seeing the most like song when you are looking at other people's content and figure out where you feel comfortable because being comfortable is the most important part.
And I know it takes a lot of confidence to get to the point where you're prepared to put your personality into stuff and show up as yourself, because that is it's hard enough when you walk into a room at a party, let alone, when you're showing up for your business and you've gotta put your face on everything that you're doing.
You have to just start
So I think getting comfortable is the first thing, and I know it's easier said than done, but honestly, just starting. That's the first thing I always say to people, because until you start putting it out there, you dunno what your audience relating to But also it pays to be really intentional about it.
And I think often we can overthink things, but it does pay to also think about what are you comfortable talking about? What do you enjoy talking about? How do you talk to your friends? Because these days, a lot of people want to really relate to the companies that they're doing business with.
So they wanna almost see you as a friend they wanna get that personal element of you. In everything that you're putting out there. Even if you're just like sharing a picture of your cat or the snack that you made whatever those things are that excite you and that make your day, share them with your audience.
And by doing that, you'll start getting more comfortable and you'll start talking about those things in a way that feels natural to you. And then you can start apply that to your work.
How to show your brand on social media
BECCA: So should my kind of a brand personality on Instagram, for example, be the same as on my blog, as on my Facebook, et cetera?
NIKKI: That's a really interesting question. I think it really depends on the type of business that you are running, but I tend to be a little bit more casual on Instagram than LinkedIn, but only mildly.
So LinkedIn, a lot of people say is a very serious platform. A lot of people hate it because it seems really intimidating.
It's very business focus, very networking focused, and it can be a little bit stuffy. What's great about that is that if you show up with even an ounce of personality, you're already doing something different. So people want to be reading that stuff. Cause actually no one cares about that. Corporate stuffy sounding stuff on LinkedIn.
Maybe there's a few people that still have a more old fashioned mindset towards that stuff. But I honestly think you can't go wrong. If you are putting more personality into stuff on Instagram, then there shouldn't be a disconnect between what people are seeing. Everywhere out or posting as well.
So while you might turn it down a little bit, there should be elements of it that are the same. So if you are generally like the example I use, cuz it's quite obvious is I use a lot of swearing in my own marketing because I do accidentally drop a few F bombs there and there. And I don't people to get shocked if they show at selfie or with me.
And they're thinking that I'm a professional for swearing because I don't think it has any bearing on how well I can do my job. To mitigate that problem arising. I will drop an F on my Instagram post. I will put it even on LinkedIn, someone that I shouldn't probably be swearing according to my mom.
And like people know what to expect from me. So I think there's an element of tailoring it to the platform, but there's also keeping it consistent to you and being yourself everywhere that you are showing up.
BECCA: Yeah, I think that makes sense. I know for me, I tend to be more casual on Instagram. I don't know why but, it just seems like a more casual platform. And I feel like I'll pop on my stories and I don't need to have my makeup done or have a script for what of me to say.
I just like talk for a few minutes. And I know I find that for me, it's easier to do that on Instagram than any other platform. But it just works better,
NIKKI: I do agree. Like I, I'm definitely the same, like I will show off on Instagram. You like, same as you like no makeup, whatever state I'm in, in the morning record, a quick video. And then job done. When I wouldn't do that on LinkedIn. So I feel like that's where there's some boundaries that I put in there, but I will speak in the same language.
So when we're talking about a brand that we're using on our blog or on our Instagram what goes into the brand? I, when I hear about branding I think colors and fonts there's more to it.
The importance of brand voice
NIKKI: Yeah, I think a lot of people do forget about how important your voice is as a part of your brand. And I think it's one of those things that is, it's hard to define your brand voice, and it feels like this intangible thing that you can't necessarily link to sales, but actually there's a lot of research into the fact that it does make a difference.
People get used to hearing you speak in a certain way. And if you use words that don't sound like they come from you, then it can be incredibly jarring for someone reading it. And then it, as I mentioned before, it puts in a bit of a disconnect and then people don't necessarily trust you. So it can have a big snowball effect.
And I'm not saying okay, it's gonna be this big disaster if you don't nail it every time. But it's something that you just wanna be aware of because as soon as you start writing online, You have a voice already. Like your voice is your personality on paper and it, you want it to be matching the colors and the fonts that you're using in your brand.
So if you've got quite a fun-looking brand it's all bright and bold, then you also wanna think about, okay what language can I use that reflects that? And it reflects my personality because if it's just you behind the business, then probably some of your personality is already in your branding.
So you can think about. Think about elements like that, like whether it's fun and stuff.
Yeah. So on, on top of all of the colors in the fonts, then your voice is this extra element that just adds another dimension to it. And it makes you feel like this really rounded brand, this rounded person that the people reading your content are seeing. Whereas if you don't really consider it and you start sounding a little you spend all this money on a fancy logo, you've really thought hard about the colors that you're gonna be using.
How to distinguish yourself with branding
It's almost like the missing piece of that puzzle. And I think also your branding is a great way to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there. There's a million people with blogs, there's millions of people with online businesses. If you are not thinking about every piece of the puzzle, then you know, you're missing an opportunity to really stand out and be a little bit different.
Now you don't have to have it all done professionally or figured out you can't, this is the stuff that you can do yourself. But it is worth considering you don't wanna be like completely conflicting what you've already been putting out there. If you are operating as a luxury brand or a luxury lifestyle blog, then your fonts and your colors will be considered to match.
And the same with your voice you're probably not gonna be showing up and swearing that right. And center like me. So yeah, it's just, and the final piece of the puzzle and it all together to a total image.
What should your brand voice say in the important pages on your blog?
BECCA: If we're implementing our brand voice, assuming we've come up with one already on our homepage, for example, what are the kinds of things that should be considered in a homepage or in an about page, like foundational pages on your website to show off your brand voice and your brand?
NIKKI: Yeah. You don't necessarily wanna overdo it, but I think. So brand voice, it comes down to these four elements, which I used to break it down a little bit and hopefully give some examples. So it's a bit clearer. So the language that you use is a big part of your voice. So that can be things like, depending on where you live, for example, there might be regional things that you say.
So I would say. Trainers, whereas someone in the states might say sneakers and things like that. So you really wanna be considerate about the language that you're using there and making sure it's authentic to you. The next thing is the tone. So are you coming across as optimistic, positive, like supportive are you quite an aggressive brand?
It, you really wanna be thinking about the tone that you're writing in as well. And does that align with everything else that you're putting out there? And then also style. So that will be things like how you speak, how you write. Do you use emojis in your writing, for example to add a bit of fun and if you, do you know which color emoji are you using, cuz that all makes a difference.
What, how are you laying things out? Do you write everything like broken line after line? How would you say things like, and just what comes naturally to you? That's one of the main things I think about, and also the sentence, like as well some brands speak in very long sentences and lots of adjectives, lots of fun.
And then some use sharp, punchy language. So all of those things come together to make your. So when it comes to using that on your website, for example, on your homepage you can sprinkle in elements of those things. You wanna do all your writing and you struggle to put it immediately into your voice, as you're writing, you can get all the points down that you need to say, and then you can go back through and edit some of that stuff in.
Make sure you are hitting some of those marks okay, have I really nailed this? Or are my sense? Do my sentence lengths kinda match. Do, does it sound like the same person is writing? And a good way to test this is to read it out loud. Cause just if it sounds a bit clunky to you, chances are it's gonna sound a bit clunky to your reader.
So you wanna make it feel natural to you when you're speaking it and then it'll sound more natural on the page.
How to use your brand voice or brand personality in sales copy
BECCA: Okay, so that, for that we're talking about like our homepage, our about page. What about if we have a digital course or a service, something we're selling how does this brand voice brand personality fit into a sales page? For example?
NIKKI: I think it's a pretty new, important element of it. Sales page is an extension of your brand. It's like you're selling something that you wanna cut out there. But also people landing on that sales page will probably have already been a part of your world for some time. It's unlikely that someone's gonna come straight from a Facebook ad or straight from a Google page onto your sales page.
So they're probably someone who's aware of you. They know you. So there's definitely a place for personality on. With sales copy though. I would say that obviously clarity is the most important thing. So you, sales pages are tricky to write as it, you wanna make sure that you hitting all the important marks you wanna have on there.
And that is that your message is clear that directly speaking to your audience. And then you can worry about your personality stuff later. You don't want it to be dry. You want people to enjoy reading it because it's a lot of words on those pages. There's a lot of scrolling going on. So it's an opportunity to have some fun and make people want to keep reading as well.
Yeah. And I think that kind of stuff it can help differentiate my course from someone else's course that might be on the same topic, but. They're really different courses. And so someone can tell, I think I'm gonna enjoy Becca more as a teacher than so and or vice versa.
Yeah, absolutely. Especially, yeah, if you're offering a course and you're speaking on a video or something, and people are gonna be listening to your voice, they can really get a feel for your personality through reading that page. So it is a real good indicator of whether someone's gonna relate to you.
I always use the example of spiritual brands because. Kind of one of those things that you either really resonate with them or you don't. And I think if you go onto a page where it talks about things being heart-centered, soul-centered, spiritual, you gonna get a really strong reaction as to whether that's for you or not.
And it's the same personality. You get a feel for whether you get on like a house on five with someone, sorry. I dunno if that's a really British race but you dunno if you're gonna be like best friends with someone. From reading their stuff necessarily, but you can get a good feel for whether you relate to how they teach, relate to how they explain stuff and break it down.
And whether they really understand your problems.
How to do your own copy
BECCA: So if people aren't at a place in their business yet where they can hire someone like you to do their sales page, copywriting and whatnot. Do you have any like DIY tips for sales pages or any kind of sales copy?
NIKKI: Yeah. I think there are a lot of really great resources out there online. It's definitely something that you can do yourself. The most important thing I would say is to really focus on keeping it clear but also getting to know your customer before you even start writing, because by doing.
Interviewing potential customers is a great way to write your copy yourself
By asking your customer questions. I like to get on the phone with them if I can. So when I'm working with a client, we'll organize some interviews with their customers, already, people that have already bought from them or are thinking of buying from them. And we'll ask loads of questions to really understand what their problems are and what they need from you, so that you can then transcribe those calls and pick out phrases. Really you think are gonna resonate with other people you can look and see what multiple people are saying. Say if five people are talking about the fact that they really don't understand how to make money from blogging, then you know, that's something you pinpoint on and then that's something you make sure you're bringing up in your sales page and your sales copy and you really speak to that stuff.
So I think by talking to your customers, you can get a lot of insights. Just by doing that. And by, by seeing what comes up most frequently gives you an idea as what you should be focusing on the page. So like you don't wanna be talking about a million different problems. You wanna really focus the most problems, your customer, so that they know that you can solve them for them.
The importance of interviewing your Ideal Customer Avatar
BECCA: Yeah, it's funny. You should mention that because I'm actually going through that exact interview process. As we speak I've of course coming out in a few months. My copywriter has been scheduling interviews with people that we think are in the ideal audience. And I've been reading the transcripts and I've gotten so much information from them that I, you know, it, it's not the kind of thing that I would've just come up with, but by myself, without these interviews,
NIKKI: That's it. Oh my gosh. That's cool that you're doing it though. Like it's such an important part of the process and a lot of people skip it. Because it is quite scary. Copywriters do it a lot, but a lot of people outsource it as well, because it's just one of those things that feels a little bit awkward.
Especially if you're introverted and you're running an online business and you don't necessarily want to be putting yourself out there like that, but honestly, the insights you can get from it as you've probably seen, it can even help you figure out. Things that you need to tweak with your, within your course because you are seeing things that like people are expecting and maybe weren't provided, or just those little elements.
You can get some really deep feedback and it's stuff that people won't think to put in a survey because they're busy, they're running around. If you really get them on the phone and talk to them, they're more invested in giving you detailed feedback.
Yeah, I've been really impressed so far by how much information I've been able to get from this. And I've have, I've had a few different courses and I haven't done this process for the other ones. And now I am because I'm at a place in my business where I can afford a professional copywriter and she recommended all this and I'm just.
I'm so glad. And so just convinced that if I had done this five years ago, that previous course could been so much more made me so much more money
it's really easy to skip those steps. Cause I just think you can, you just wanna get it out there, right? You're just like, okay. If the is done, I just wanna bang up some coffee and go and get press go on it. Get it sold.
And I think when I was first starting out, I didn't have a copywriter. And so I was trying to follow like templates for a sales page or a Facebook ad that I got from a course, or maybe just a freebie from someone's blog, post or something. And. It didn't work that well.
How to use copywriting templates
BECCA: I had a sales page, but it didn't sell that well. And I think that a lot of that is because I was just following a template as opposed to really thinking about my audience and who I am and like why my course is different and all the kind of stuff we've been talking about.
NIKKI: Yeah, I have a bit of a love, hate relationship with templates. They are great in that if you are very new to writing your own copy and when you're running a business online or running a blog, there's so much writing to do and no one really for warns you about that you're just thrown into this and it's like right now I have to write all this copy and I don't even really know what that means.
So templates can be great. They're a really good jumping off point, but I think what it's really easy to do with templates is. Start just being really robotic and formulaic, and you're just filling in the blanks, but not really thinking about it from a, am I adding personality into this? Am I really speaking to my customer?
And if everything starts sound the same online as well, then people are just gonna start eye rolling, start scrolling past stuff. So you've gotta be really intentional when you're using those templates to make sure that you are actually selling your stuff.
Yeah, I totally agree. And I love templates too, and I have templates for like everything, but they can only go so far.
Yeah, that's it they are really useful and I would never tell people to not use them because I know that you can't invest in everything in your business. You can't always hire a coffee writer. You can't always hire a graphic designer. Like sometimes there's going to be an element of doing it yourself and.
You are having to wear all these hats. You're learning all these new skills. So of course you can't know how to do everything, so yeah, of course, grab a template and do your best with it.
How to change your brand
BECCA: For people who are listening to this and realizing okay, I haven't really been branding myself the way I should be. I don't really like the brand voice I've been using. How do you, if you've been doing things one way, how do you pivot and all of a sudden start a totally different brand voice.
NIKKI: That's a really interesting question. I think, it's a tricky one to navigate. I think if you've been writing in a certain way and not being intentional about it, the chances are you are not doing anything too far from your natural voice. I would say, if you are crafting a brand voice, unless you are going down a specific route, you don't want it to be like crazy far from your personality and the personality of your business, because that would be weird.
So I think if you just start using your new voice, there doesn't need to be this big announcement because probably there's not gonna be like a huge shift. It's just gonna need to tighter. And people aren't necessarily gonna be like, Oh, damn. Like I just don't get this person anymore. You're just suddenly now, like speaking to your audience properly and saying things in a way that's gonna really resonate with them.
So probably people are gonna sit up and notice, but in a good way no, one's gonna be thinking, oh my God, like this girl sounds nothing like she did before. I hate this.
Yeah, because it's gonna be a positive change. So I don't think you need to have a massive announcement. If you feel more comfortable announcing it.
I don't see a problem with that because you are going on this business journey and there's nothing wrong with sharing that with your audience. In fact, some of them might like that, so you can be like, oh, Hey, like I've been going through this. I've been working on my PR voice. I'd love to know what you think, get their input.
And that can help you even tighten it up even more.
Yeah, that's a good idea. I know I've pivoted my brand a few times. Sometimes just cuz I'm like indecisive, but sometimes also just I decide that there's gonna be some kind of shift in my business and I've never known exactly how to do it. So just, all of a sudden, my website's totally different.
Yeah, I do the same a lot of the time. Like I've, so I've shifted a little bit since I started my copywriting business, I started out working with travel companies because that was my main experience. And it, I knew a lot of people in my network that I could. Go to for work. So I did all my copy and my voice and everything targeted to the travel.
And I decided that actually it was still middle of the struggling hire,
wanted tactics, just more, have more fun with my business as well. Cause it was just really bland. And yeah I didn't really do an announcement as such. I just started. Talking. I started really, I announced the type of people that I wanted to be working with and the kind of office that I was now having, but I didn't give them any real forewarning.
I wasn't like teasing it oh, there's something exciting coming because I also didn't wanna offend the people that I'd already been working with. So I just steps away from that and let it drift out.
All right. Thank you so much for talking to us, Nikki. I think this has been really helpful and I know that there's definitely some stuff that I can use in my own brand voice.
Awesome. I'm really glad it was helpful. And yeah, I hope that it helps your customers as well.
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