Stop the battling – collaborateing with your competition
Disclaimer: If you drink too much wine, people in your industry look like enemies. But they can form a community. So you’ll have wine with them, share your challenges and wins and learn from each other. Work Wife Wine Time supports the responsible consumption of alcohol.
Work Wife Wine Time supports the responsible drinking of alcohol. If you drink too much wine, people in your industry look like enemies, but they can form a community. So you’ll have wine with them, share your challenges and wins and learn from each other. Brought to you by Dora Nikolaou, Melbourne. Awesome. And welcome ladies. It’s Gemma here with you today. And I’m ever so excited to connect you with our amazing guest speaker and a work wife of mine, herself, in the flesh Dora Nikolaou, welcome!
Thanks, Gemma. It’s lovely to be here and chatting to you.
Oh, it’s so good to have you. And ladies, today we’re talking about the world of copywriting. As with both copywriters, ourselves and marketers, but we’re just focusing on copy for today. And we’re speaking all about our businesses, our industry, collaboration over competition, and how we support each other. Even though people would say that we’re competitors, we’re both women, we’re both daughters, business owners, and we help each other professionally and personally. And we know that we’ve got each other’s backs. Without further ado, over to you, Dora. So please, can you tell us what is it that you do?
So, thanks, Gemma, as you said, I’m a copywriter and marketer, I’ve been in the industry for more than 15 years, I really help service based businesses with nailing their message and their marketing, to be able to put their brand out there confidently. So I feel that, you know, when it comes to copy, people feel really overwhelmed. So I just take that overwhelm, I help them break it down, we nail the message, and then they feel like they’re more in control of their message, because it’s aligned with them, so that they can go forward and promote themselves confidently.
Awesome. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Love it, and what’s your qualifications?
So I’ve got a bachelor in communications, which was in advertising marketing. I’ve got a diploma in business marketing, just trying to think, just feels like a long time ago, and I’ve got a graduates degree in marketing too.
Oh, goodness, me, look at that. You are all up there with everything. That’s fantastic. Very, very good qualifications in there Dora. So tell us about your past working life.
Um, so I’ve worked in both private and public sectors, I’ve worked in education. So I’ve worked at universities, I’ve worked at registered training organisations so, small educational institutions, I’ve worked in semi-government organisations so governments that weren’t funded by government, but were legislated by government. So I used to do things like annual reports, brochures, email communications, and I’ve also helped professional services like consultants and technology companies as well.
That’s, that’s quite the background. And what what brought you into the industry? Was it because of your studies? Or was it something you thought about when you were younger?
It’s a bit of both, I loved to write when I was young, so I always had a journal and I always had a pen and paper. And I still do in my bag wherever I go. But I think it was just, falling into the Bachelor of communications because I wanted to do marketing advertising. And I got a lot of exposure to the communication side of things, really helped push me into that industry. Not push me to the industry, but really make me love and appreciate the industry and want to work in it.
Wonderful, I can totally relate. And then, after that long career, what brought you to work for yourself, start your own business.
I had just moved from Canberra to Melbourne. I had two young children, both under four. And I was at home, feeling a little bit lost, new state, two young children, no job and I was helping my friends with their marketing and their copywriting, especially the copywriting. So I was helping my friend was in real estate. So I was helping her with her copy, and I was helping another service based business and I was finding that every time I was writing it was like, my mood would change, my spirits would lift and just really light me up. And so I decided, what am I doing? Why am I not, you know, taking some time and offering those services to other people because I absolutely love it. And the feedback I was getting was, you know, this stuff is great. Why aren’t you putting yourself out there? So I started up a Facebook page and started selling from a Facebook page.
Awesome. Love it. And finally, what about a little bit about about you? What do you love?
I love reading, I love wellness. I love walking on the beach, however cliche that sounds even though it’s rainy, and wet in Melbourne today. And after the recent isolation, I’m loving being outdoors, like give me a sunny spot outside, and I’m happy to just sit on the grass. Whether it’s watching the kids or playing with the kids or writing something, I just love being outside. Yeah, so that’s me. That’s me personally.
I love that I can definitely relate to being outside as well. So.
Go away rain, come out sun, please!
Yeah, I could not agree more. Being Melbournians we’re also stuck here. Awesome. So let’s dive into today’s topic, which of course, is copywriting. And I guess the biggest question this one I might hand straight over to you, what actually is copywriting?
It’s funny when I first started, and I’d say, ‘Oh, you know, I help small businesses with their copywriting’ and people would be like, you’d see their face change and then be like ‘copywriting?’ And you know, really, it’s the words on a page that make you take an action. So when you go to a website, it’s those words. But the difference with copywriting is that they’re there to help the person take an action. So they read something, and they’re like, ‘Yes, I really want that. Yes, I understand what that is about. And that’s what I need in my life right now.’ So it has to be customer centric. So it has to be talking to the reader and it has to be about them to help connect with them. So that they take that action, whether that’s download an ebook, or you know, attend that free webinar, or pay for something.
How would you describe it, Gemma?
Well, basically exactly the same thing. It’s its own art form, or science of writing its own unique writing style. And that’s what it’s for. It’s words for people to take an action, I guess, originally, it was for sales, you know, the ads are there, the words were there to get people to want something, to buy something. And that’s what it’s there for. And it is a very specially crafted form of writing, you know, it’s not story writing. It’s not creative writing. It’s not business writing. It’s its own art form. And it’s so interesting that so many people hear the word copywriting, and they just have this blank look on their face, because they don’t know what it is.
And that’s okay, you know, we don’t know every single word in the dictionary. And I love the way, we’re both in the same industry. And we’ve described it in different ways, different words. Because we’re different in our own ways, right?
Mm hmm. Absolutely. So then what what’s the importance of good copywriting? Why is it so important?
As we were just saying, it talks to that reader, talks to that audience, so you can’t talk to everybody. So I talk to service based businesses. So if a product based business took what I write for service based businesses, it may not actually translate. So that’s why I talked to a particular niche.
So I talk to that audience, and I talk to them about their pain points and present a unique solution for them to help solve that problem. It’s basically talking to them in a language that they understand selling them the benefits. So it’s not about I offer this, this and this, it’s about what my offering does for them, what does it do? What does it get them? So where are they at at the moment? What problem are they faced with? And how do I fix it to make it go away? And how will they feel after that? So it’s all about the feelings and creating that connection with them through the language and the visuals as well.
Of course, so obviously, it’s crucial because if you’re not connecting with people, then you’re not going to grow your business or sell your service or sell your products because if they can’t relate to what they’re reading, then it’s just not going to work.
Definitely not going to be effective, that’s right.
All in all, everyone, it’s very important for business. Now let’s look at the different types of copywriting because there are so many different forms of it, of course so what are the different types of copywriting, Dora?
So there’s conversion copy, there’s online and print copy, there’s video scripts, there’s creative copy, there’s public relations copy, there’s sales copy, and then there’s SEO copy, and then you’ve got technical things like white papers and industry guides as well so there’s so many different types of copy. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot as well. Do you want to add to them?
Goodness. Well, I guess there’s even, if you really want to break it down, people specify in different areas. So you can have website copywriters, which know exactly that form of the copy. Of course, there’s ad copywriters that are writing, I guess, modern ads now with Facebook ads and Instagram ads. You know, of course, let’s still not forget the old medias of writing TV ads and radio ads and newspaper ads and everything like that, there is so many forms of it. And I think people probably should understand as well that if you want a specific type of copy written, it’s always best to go to that copywriter that is an expert in that one, you know, whereas I could probably write a technical white paper, but it’s not my expertise and it’s not my passion so it’s something for me that it’s not going to be the best result for the business. It’s really important to understand that so many copywriters specialise in the areas because there’s so many and then of course, one that we’ve discussed before, is this big sort of word of sales copy.
Good old sales copy!
Good old sales copy, and I think it goes back before to what copywriting actually is, it really is a form of selling, it’s writing words to initiate an action and nine times out of ten that action is for someone to purchase something or to want something, to desire something.
Yeah, so I think when people specifically ask for ‘I want sales copy,’ they really need to understand that copywriting is actually that form and what we’re crafting is sales copy.
Yeah, but it’s not the salesy, sleazy kind of copy. So it’s persuasive, and it connects with your reader, but it doesn’t scream you get a set of free knives with this, it’s not that old school selling.
Yeah, absolutely. Because that doesn’t work anymore. We’ve seen it, we’ve seen all those TV ads, we’ve been screamed at to buy everything and it doesn’t work. So I think it’s really important to educate people that most copy is actually sales copy.
Unless your business is looking to be that 90s infomercial. Be a Demtel ad. Perhaps it is, and then we would construct the copy in that way, you know?
That’s right. And those free knives still appeal to some audiences, right? So, you know, it could be done that way too. And it all goes back to who is your audience and really nailing who that is. Because that’s how you create the best copy by really honing in and knowing who you’re talking to, and you can’t talk to everyone because then no one will listen because the messages will be too broad. And the best copy is the one where you go to the website you’re like ‘Yes, what I’m reading resonates! This is exactly how I’m feeling. I’m feeling in the dumps and I really need this thing that will fix my problem and make me feel a million dollars’ so it really goes back to who are you targeting?
That was so amazingly said it just makes me want to cheer. Amazing. It’s so true. It’s just so true. It all goes back to understanding your target audience as intimately as you know your underpants drawer, right? So then touching a little bit more, what does it really do? What does copywriting do for a business?
So if the copywriting hits the nail on the head, like if it really talks to that audience, it can really transform a business. So it can create those real connections with the reader. And then it converts that reader into a customer or client. So it makes them take that action and makes them buy or download that book, whatever the action was, you might just want to educate them. So they change their mind. But if it’s nailed, then yes, it will transform the business, it will boost the growth of it.
Mm hmm. Absolutely. And you and I have seen that through a copy we’ve done for our clients. It really does transform them, because if you’re speaking the right way to that business’s target audience,then you’re going to get them to convert to buy, and it’s going to transform and grow your business, there’s just no other way around it, we’ve seen it happen firsthand.
Absolutely. And as a business owner attracting the right client to your business it’s just awesome, it’s the best feeling, especially if you want to work with a particular type of person, like, we’ve got quite different target audiences, even though we both do the same thing. But I want to work with a particular type of person, and that lights me up. So that’s really important for me. So if you’re a business owner, and you’re nailing your messaging, and you’re connecting with the right people that you want to connect with, not only will it grow your business, but it will build your confidence, and you’ll be doing the stuff that you really love to work on.
Yeah, that’s wonderful, which actually is the perfect lead into our next topic is what’s the importance of niching? So what’s the importance of your business honing in and having a specific niche?
It does lead very nicely into that question. So my niche as a business owner has helped me hone my skills and really understand my client, so I can connect with them, and I can offer them the best services, so I’m not going to offer them a service that isn’t going to fix their problem or doesn’t suit their needs or doesn’t suit their budget. There’s no point. So if I really understand my niche, and I really understand who I’m targeting, then it will really boost the growth of my business. So yeah, well defined niches really helps you understand the industry and your target audience to nail that copy and grow your business.
Absolutely. And helps your business grow because you’re serving those clients to exactly what it is that they need. And you specialise in that area of copy, in this example, so you one, you’re going to be killer of what you do. And you know, you’re going to really, really help those people and niches are just so important. And I think as a business owner, once you know that person that you want to work with, it does, it lights up your day, it changes everything.
It does, absolutely.
You know, it’s just amazing that you can get up every day and work with the people that you want to work with. You know, it’s the dream!
And let’s have a quick chat about how our businesses differ due to our niches, of course, even though we do the exact same thing, we offer the same services.
Yeah, so I target service based businesses and yourself, Gemma, do you want to talk about who you target?
Yes, I target service based businesses myself as well, but my niche is female creative entrepreneurs like myself. So even though our niches are similar, they’re almost completely different and we could have crossovers, but there’s enough work out there for everyone, right?
You and I, as well, we are very different people so we attract different people, through our personalities and our brands, and our copy, and how we market ourselves which brings us back to me working for people I want to work with and you working with with your people.
Exactly. And you want to work with people that light you up and you are very creative and I get why you’ve gone for that niche because it totally suits you. And I love working with service based businesses. That’s what I love to do. And I love to help that niche. So, yeah. And like you said, we have different personalities, we market ourselves differently. We have different branding and I guess this is where the marketing side comes in as well. We’re all so unique and so different. You don’t want to create a brand or business that mimics anyone else in the market. You want to create your own, and stand in your own power and confidence in what you do. And look at everyone else as not competition. But as the community that you’re in, we’re all business owners, and we should all be supporting each other.
Absolutely, it’s so important now, because especially from our backgrounds, of most people’s backgrounds I think, it was always such a push on competition. And ‘no you’re you’re in competition with that business, you’re in competition with that person, you’re in competition with that competitor,’ but it’s just transformed the other way. We’re in the same space. We have similar target audiences, but they’re niched, down deeper, but due to our marketing and who we are, we’re attracting different people. And you and I are both our unique brands, offering the same thing. And it’s so important for other female business owners to understand that and to embrace it, it’s female power, I say.
How do we collaborate together, you and I? We’re each other’s work wives, we turn to each other for help, chin wags, whinge about things, to celebrate successes, to ‘here’s my blog, help me, give it an edit and proofread!’ How do we support each other in that way?
I think we support each other in so many ways, like whether we’re having a bad day, and we reach out to the other, or if we message each other, and we’re like, ‘Hey, how are you?’ And the other says, ‘I’m having a really great day’ or whatever. So we celebrate our wins, we celebrate our ups and our downs. Sometimes we just don’t celebrate, we just do whatever like, we went for a walk and we just chatted and we know we’ve got each other’s backs, we know that if we need anything, we can call on each other, if we get stuck with something or we come up into a tricky situation, whether it’s something we haven’t worked on before, or something was stuck with words, like, ‘Hey, what do you think? We go for dinners and coffees, and I guess we just encourage each other, and we’re accountable to each other. So, I’ll say to you, I really need to work on this. And you check in on me and I do the same to you. So it’s that accountability, and we understand where each other is coming from, because we’re in the same industry working on the same things and facing the same challenges and the same wins.
Yeah. No, it’s great. And it just really, aside, even from the accountability, it’s the support. My closest friends and family, I guess aren’t business owners, they have other jobs and do other things. So when you don’t have other people around you that are doing what you’re doing you need that support, and collaboration, and push sometimes because it can be difficult when other people don’t understand what you do.
Yep, absolutely. It’s different running your own business and working for someone else. And it’s different being a copywriter from other businesses, running other businesses. So, and that’s a great thing about having someone who’s got your back, who understands the industry and how it works. And the ups and the downs.
And I really appreciate having you around to bounce ideas off and brainstorm. Yeah, it’s great.
Well, we’re right back at you trust me! Let’s lead into some tips, so tips for our other awesome female business owners out there and some key takeaways they can ingest today and walk away with to help improve and embrace collaboration over competition.
Yeah, cool. So I guess my number one tip is don’t see people in your industry as your enemy, or as your competitor. We all do the same things, but we all do them differently. We all have different training, we have different background, we have a different story to tell, and we attract different people. So just because we’re in the same industry doesn’t mean we have to be competitors or enemies. We can be on the same side supporting each other like we’ve proved that through our story, through this podcast, through what we do on a weekly basis. Number one tip is don’t see other people in your industry as your enemy. My second tip is we can all learn from each other. We can use our knowledge to help others grow and they can help by sharing their story and what they’ve learned to help us grow so let’s lift each other up, be kind and make the world go ’round.
That was lovely almost, bringing a tear to my eye there. That was wonderfully said, ladies, let’s embrace collaboration over competition. You know, don’t see other people in your industry as the enemy or as your competitor. That’s so well said. And we can always learn from each other. There’s always something new to learn. No matter how long you’ve been doing something, you’re always going to learn something, no matter what.
Moving on then, wonderful Dora, can you tell me where can our listeners find you?
So I’m on Facebook and Instagram I’m @DoraNikolaouOnline and my website is DoraNikolaou.com.au that’s N-I-K-O-L-A-O-U because it’s a difficult one to spell it took me ages when I got married to learn how to spell my surname.
I’m right with you there with the long difficult to spell and pronounce surname.
Yeah, I’m not going to try and say yours.
It’s okay, no one can, it’s fine. Unless you’re Italian. Thank you so much for coming on. I think it was really important to help our listeners understand how to embrace collaboration, how to embrace the people who may be your competitors but aren’t really, how we lift each other up and explain a bit more about copywriting to those who still get a bit confused as to what it is. But thank you so much for coming in Dora.
Thank you so much for having me, Gemma, and for being an amazing support and just being awesome. Thank you. It’s been great since we’ve met and we haven’t been able to see each other lately but, it’s been lovely. Even just knowing someone’s their supporting me. So thank you.
You’re so welcome. And same back at you. So that’s a wrap for this week’s episode. And as always to our fellow kick ass women out there, business owners, fellow work wives. Remember, you are not alone, because collaboration is power. And most importantly, we all get it.