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Charting Your Stars Into Constellations: Our Personality-Driven Approach To Brand Voice and Messaging
When a brand designer asked me how The Write Lens was different so she could create a new logo for us, the ideas spilled out. But there was one that stuck.
As 2022 crawled to a close, I dove into the process for my first-ever professional brand design. The look I’ve relied on for years was tossed together using my brief Photoshop subscription, and I haven’t had a chance to stop and think about it since. As the whirlwind of business took over, it just barely did the trick. Enough at least that I wasn’t too worried about it.
But 2023 is going to be a monumental year for The Write Lens (can’t wait to share more on that soon!), and I wanted to make sure we had a logo to match! Enter Maggie Murray, a designer I’d worked with when writing Anne Blodgett’s boudoir photography website.
As we explored possibilities, she asked me about my philosophy on copywriting and what differentiated me and what I was looking for from the largely-serif-fonted, sepia-toned websites of my fellow copywriters. The list was long and flowed easily, but after hours of conversation, one idea really stuck: our reliance on the personalities of our photographers to be our guide. And not their sweetly sanitized personalities—all organized and made sense of. No. The messy, seemingly-contradictory, complicated personalities that are most sincere.
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I believe the most unique, memorable, true brand voices are ones that embrace the opposites rather than trying to resolve them. And I also believe that photographers’ personalities are their most valuable marketing asset as they sell a product that is directly impacted by the connection between the people on either side of the lens.
So, instead of blandifying and archetyping our photographers into boxes that make them easier for us to manage and write for, we try to draw out the weirdness and wildness. Sure, it makes our job more challenging as we try to find unifying themes in stories that are generally so maddeningly unthematic. But, somehow, we always manage it. And when we do…man, you can’t beat a rush like that.
I’ve always been this wacky, whimsical collection of opposites: introverted-extrovert, ballet-dancing comic book reader, the toughest sympathetic crier you’ll ever meet… But I believe opposite-filled personalities that make no sense at all are what actually make humans the most interesting. So, why would I ever want to simplify your story?
But choosing to embrace authenticity rather than prescribing “what works” requires a different approach. While we still strive to make your clients the heroes of your story, we want you to see yourself as a hero in your written content, too—a pair of co-protagonists off to slay dragons side by side.
We place as much emphasis on who the photographer is as we do on what the ideal client needs to hear. And that’s a recipe for a special kind of magic.
Instead of presenting an obvious, time-tested road map to our photographers, we zip off into space and chart new constellations between the stars. We learn what makes you you, why you work the way you do, and why you love the clients you love. We want to hear about the moments in your life that made an impact, the challenges you’ve hurdled, and what initial call drew you down the path you’re on.
We lay out all the stars—no matter how disorderly and dissimilar—and somehow, as we look harder and shift perspectives, we see a picture beginning to form.
From all the pieces of your personality, your hopes, your story, we draw a constellation that’s uniquely you. And we display it for your clients to see!
So, as we blast off into a new year, we hope to commit even more deeply to this mission. We hope everything we do here empowers you to see yourself more clearly, magnify your voice more boldly, and chase your dreams more openheartedly. And we can’t wait to cheer you on as you achieve the impossible.
But after all this talk about the new logo, do you wanna see a little bit of what Maggie created for us?
Ta daaaaa! What do you think?
Can y’all figure out which constellations I asked her to include in the design?! Here’s a hint: one is my zodiac constellation, one is Baby Colin’s, and one is my cat’s name!
I love these to freakin’ pieces, and I can’t wait for you to see everything she created for us in all it’s glory!
A few tips to launch you into the new year.
But you know we love the practical as much as the visionary, so I’m not going to send you off into a new year without a few quick tips to begin 2023 with a bang. Want to bring this personality-driven feel into your web content? Here are a few things you can do today to get started:
DIVE DEEPER INTO YOUR “WHY”| Why do you take the kinds of photos you do for the specific clients you serve in the way you uniquely do it? Don’t just tell me it’s because you love legacy or want to be BFFs with your clients. Pull out a journal and go deeper. Think harder. Get it all out, and let it inspire you.
MAKE A LIST OF YOUR UNIQUE QUIRKS AND INCORPORATE THEM INTO YOUR MARKETING | Hold on, now….don’t go getting “OMG I’m so qUiRkY” on me. You’re not Zoe Deschanel a la 2010. I mean, write down all the things that make you light up and feel most alive and use those as references instead of the tired analogies every photographer has filling their websites. And don’t you dare make a list of your favorite things and plop it on your about page! Do a little work to incorporate your favorites into your written content organically like little treats. They’ll make your ideal clients smile and say “Wow, me too!”
IDENTIFY THE QUALITIES YOU DISLIKE IN CLIENTS YOU WANT TO REPEL | Brand voice isn’t just about drawing people in. It’s about sending them away, too. So, think about the worst clients you’ve ever had. What made them really suck? Now, examine your content to see if you’re signaling that they are welcome in your space. Don’t like clients that struggle to stay organized? Maybe don’t crack that joke about how messy your office is. Dislike clients who refuse to step out in anything but designer brands? Maybe you should remove that nod to their wedding day Jimmy Choos.
FINALLY, MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE FLOWS LIKE A SINGLE STORY | If a potential client read your entire website "cover to cover,” what would they find? Would they see content copied and pasted from page to page? Would they get whiplash reading content that feels written by multiple people? Would they actually get an insight into who you are? If your website doesn’t feel like it tells your story, it’s time to rethink it. Because why even have a website if it doesn’t truly represent YOU?!
I look forward to celebrating year six as a copywriter for photographers here with you, and I’m so excited about everything we’ve got up our sleeves!
But now I want to hear from you!
First of all, as everyone is goal-setting, what’s one big goal you’re working toward this year? Increased bookings? Increased prices? Increased freedom? Tell us what you’ve got on your vision board for 2023 because we want to cheer you on!
And one more question before you go!
This week on Instagram, I did a poll asking photographers to tell me when their busy season begins and ends. And now, I want to ask you:
Is 2023 the year we finally rewrite your site?
Now’s the time to inquire! As your busy season comes to an end, mine cranks into full gear! So, if you’d like to see brand-spankin’ new web content fill your site before summertime, read about my Three-Day Copywriting Experience for Photographers and say, “hey” today!
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