The Signature Collection Client Guide

Your project is booked. Your date is on the calendar. But what’s next? Let’s break down the full experience ahead, explain some of the aspects of the process in greater detail, and help you prepare to create written content you’ll love for years!

LET’S GET YOU PROJECT-READY!

First, let's bust a myth...

One of the biggest misconceptions about working with a copywriter is that we can spin incredible written content out of thin air. While it hurts my feelings a little to bust this particular myth (I kinda dig it when clients think I’m a psychic word-witch, tbh), the truth is that we can only create with what you give us.

That’s right: I can’t just take a nothing-personality, a nothing-business, and a nothing-understanding-of-an-ideal-client and turn it into a fully-booked, breathtaking brand for the ages. Sorry to burst that bubble.

Great written content comes from devoted preparation and intentional information gathering. It comes from embracing who you truly are and rejecting this copy-paste mentality that infuses the boss-babe online business space. It comes from putting aesthetic aside in favor of authenticity. But how do we do it? Let’s dispel some myths, illuminate parts of the process ahead, and prepare you like a pro to get the most out of this copywriting adventure? Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

Erica Comitalo client guide photo

The Process

LET’S BREAK DOWN EACH STEP OF THE JOURNEY!

Your copywriting project is similar to a photography session. Sure, the most important part of your job happens on the session day, but you and I both know that great photography takes so much more than just what happens when your client is in front of the camera! A great photography experience begins the moment they book. The copywriting process works the same way. So, let’s break down all the steps in this copywriting process to help you understand what’s happening when and what you should be doing to prepare effectively.

While I can help you discover the uniqueness of your brand and how to connect in a meaningful way to ideal clients, I have to follow your lead. If you’re torn between two extremely different tones, don’t know your own personality, or are uncertain how you want to present yourself, it will lead to wishy-washy content you aren’t happy with. So, before we do anything at all, sit down with a journal and think about who YOU are and how you want to make an impact as a business owner. As long as you have a basic understanding or vague direction, we can take it from there!

Your perspective on your business is only one piece of the puzzle. To get a full picture, we need to know what your past clients think! They can help you understand what makes you unique, how you serve them well, and what they love most about your brand. Why guess when you can just ask! It will make your content more effective and truthful while helping you stand out from the crowd. Later in this guide, I’ll share some questions to send past clients to get started! And remember: only ask clients who are similar to your ideal client!

Now that you have true insight on your business—both from internal reflection and external input—you’ll have better info to share in your prewriting deep dive! The process of filling out this form will probably bring up questions you’ve never, ever considered and that’s okay. Answer each question as thoughtfully as possible and we can dig into more difficult questions during our branding call. Don’t rush. Take breaks. Make edits. This is what we are going to pull from to write your content, so accuracy and intentionality are vital! Then, submit your form by the Friday before your project date.

Hurray! Your project day has arrived! We’ll begin the day with an hour and a half call to clarify your ideal client, brand voice, and content strategy. Don’t be nervous or feel like you have to bring super deep answers. We simply want you to be yourself so we can understand who you hope to work with, who you are, and how we can build a word-bridge between the two of you. So, throw out everything you think a photographer is or should be and let’s explore what’s true to you.

After your branding call, I’ll take the essentials and distill them down into a streamlined brand voice guide for you. It’s important to make sure the guide feels accurate to you, because this is what we will refer back to if we work together on future projects, but more importantly it’s a tool you can use in your business! Scroll down to find a break down some of the timesaving, clarifying uses for your brand guide.

As soon as you approve your brand voice guide, you’re done for the day! Head out to a photo session, get some editing done, or just take a nap—we know the branding calls can really take it out of ya! Meanwhile, we’ll spend the afternoon writing your content. If we have any additional questions, we’ll make a note of them as a comment in your content doc, so you’re totally good to go! Once all of your content is written, it will go into a copyediting phase to make sure it’s all cleaned up and ready for your editing day. And as soon as that’s finished, I’ll email you your doc to prepare for your editing day!

On Thursday morning, you’ll be able to read and request edits on your brand new written content! You have until midnight to ask for as many adjustments as you’d like. Feel free to share your new content with friends, family, and mentors for their opinions if you’d like. Just make sure you are the ONLY one leaving comments on your content. Then, I’ll check in throughout the day to either make your requested changes or reply with comments of my own. We’ll continue to make edits throughout the day, and either at midnight or once you feel the content is ready to go, we’ll finalize your project!

Finally, it’s time to complete your project so you can put it to work! I’ll send you a final proof to read and sign, giving you one last chance to request minor edits. It also ensures that you have two copies of your content, so if one gets deleted or lost, your content is safe! Once you sign the proof, the content is all yours! Feel free to move it into your website or continue editing it if you choose to. But remember, your content was written with strategy and SEO in mind. So, making major changes to the content could hinder the content in achieving the goals we had in mind when writing it. Most importantly, your content can only do its job if you share it! So, get it out in the world ASAP, and when you do, let me know so I can celebrate with you!

01. How To Gather Information About Your Ideal Client
INSTEAD OF GUESSING VAGUELY ABOUT FUTURE CLIENTS, LET'S LEARN MORE ABOUT PAST CLIENTS YOU LOVE

During our branding call, you’re going to answer A LOT of questions about who your ideal client is, what they believe, and what they want. Now, you could either guess and hope your answers are correct and helpful. Or…you could just ask your favorite past clients for their input before our project begins! Trust me, this will make your branding call WAY easier.

To get the most out of this activity, you first have to identify which of your past clients are most similar to the clients you hope to work with in the future. Then, once you’ve chosen the top 3-6 past clients, send them an email explaining that you’re in the process of a rebrand, and you’d love to gather some input from them to make the process more fruitful! People love knowing that their opinions matter, so they’ll be much more likely to respond if they understand why you’re asking. 

Then, ask them the following questions: 

  1. What expectations/beliefs (positive or negative) did you have about photography before working with me? What about my process met those expectations or subverted them in some way?
  2. How did you feel about photography before we worked together? How do you feel about it now?
  3. What was your favorite part of the entire process and why?
  4. Which photos were your favorites in your final gallery and why?

Answers to questions like these help you get to know how your client comes into the process of working with you, what they truly thought about the experience, and how they were changed by what you did for them. The secret to your unique value proposition probably lies somewhere in the answers to these questions. So, now, instead of trying to guess why you’re unique, you’ll actually know for sure!

Then, I recommend going full detective mode to learn more about who these people are. The more we know about what jobs they have, what they do for fun, and what they believe in, the easier it will be to build connections with them on something beyond a need for photos.

Don’t pretend you don’t know how to learn about someone on social media! Blow the dust off those Insta-stalking skills and find out more about who your ideal client is. Can you discover:

  1. What shows, movies, podcasts, music, and books do they enjoy?
  2. What brands do they love?
  3. What do they do for fun?
  4. What values do they hold?

If you can gather answers to both sets of these questions, you’ll be well on your way to TRULY understanding your ideal client—hello, vibrant and effective written content!

Answering some of the FAQs photographers have about copywriting

02. How To Share Effective Client Testimonials On Your Website

All positive reviews are not created equal. In fact, when we look at most of the reviews photographers share on their websites, they are just…bad. Here are the top reasons why your current testimonials might not be doing the trick:

  1. They are too long—don’t let them go any longer then two, MAYBE three sentences. Just keep the most interesting parts.
  2. They are too bland—if a review doesn’t use interesting, emotive language and share about something very specific, it’s not a useful review.
  3. They are all stuck on a “testimonials” page—delete your testimonials page NOW and pepper those reviews throughout the site instead. I recommend at least one per page.
  4. They are irrelevant—each page should have one piece of social proof that supports a claim you make on that page. Choose and place your testimonials more intentionally.

Client reviews can work wonders for your business or just fill your site with meaningless chatter. 

03. How To Ask Better Questions On Your Inquiry/Contact Form

As we start thinking more intentionally about who your ideal client is and how to attract them, there’s a massive piece of the puzzle we have to consider: your inquiry form.

If your inquiry form still gathers contact information and then just has a big blank box labeled “message” we’ve got some serious work to do! Not only does the information you gather here help you run more interesting discovery calls and understand your clients needs better (enabling you to serve them better in the long run), it also helps you determine whether or not they are an ideal client from the get-go!

A new client just isn’t going to know what to share in an inquiry form without proper prompting, so let’s start asking the right questions in order to gather the information we need!

I feel this is SO important to your business as a whole that I’ve created a whole freebie on the subject! I encourage you to grab that today, and revamp your inquiry form before our project begins!

Editing day how to
Thumbnail for choosing the perfect website template

04. How To Choose The Perfect Template For Your New Website

With fresh written content on the horizon, you’re probably considering a new design for your website, too! Psst…and if you aren’t you might want to.

But choosing the right template can be tricky, especially with so many options out there. So, let me give you a hand by sharing a few of my favorite web template creators with you!

I’ve even written a blog post that shares my favorite templates!
 
There are all kinds of great templates to choose from across the web making it possible for you to have a beautiful new design without the cost and wait-time of a custom design. However, I won’t be able to rewrite your content to fit a new design after your project day! So, it’s vital that you choose your template BEFORE our project to ensure we write to fit your new design. 

05. How To Put Your Brand Voice Guide To Use

After really nailing down who your ideal client is and what your brand voice is, don’t let me be the only person who puts that information to use!

But what else can you do with a brand voice guide beyond write your website content with it? Well, here are a few ideas for you going forward:

  1. Refer back to it when writing blog posts, client guides, emails, Instagram captions and more—using your brand voice guide will help you build a consistent voice (and trust!) across platforms.
  2. Use your ideal client description when making decisions and setting goals—is what you’re planning to do actually in service of your ideal client?
  3. Share it with future contractors—next time you work with a graphic designer, mentor, coach, accountant, web designer, etc. share your brand guide with them so they can understand your business without having to explain it all from scratch.
  4. Give it to business associates—get your second shooters, editors, and VAs aligned with your brand using your guide!

Your brand guide is your secret weapon in building a solid, sustainable, true-to-you brand! Don’t let it sit forgotten and unused on your computer after our project ends.

Sneak peek of Anne Blodgetts brand voice guide

06. What Is Professionalism, Really?
And does it have anything to do with your brand voice? (spoiler: no, not really.)

If you’re a photographer moving from entry level to intermediate or intermediate to high-end, you’ve probably agonized over how you can sound more professional to your new ideal client. First of all, don’t feel alone. This is an extremely common worry and the source of so much renewed imposter syndrome. But the solution isn’t to give into it; it’s to overcome it!

When I write for clients in this position, things can get tricky.

Here’s what always seems to happen. A photographer says they want to attract a high-end client, but they also want to deliver a relaxed experience. They are naturally very jokey and chill Their reviews talk about how fun they are to be around and what a lighthearted addition they are to a wedding or session. They love modern pop, watching Netflix, and browsing Target. They’re a real person who is relatable—someone you want to be around.

Then, when the time comes to write their website, they go into robot-by-way-of-Jane-Austen mode and start using words like “effervescent” and removing all the contractions. They speak in an aloof way, removing all conversational elements and becoming a parody of what they imagine a fancy photographer to be.

…why? WHY. We have to break the cycle of throwing our pinkies in the sky every time we want people to see our work as luxurious or professional.

Luxury and professionalism aren’t found in your brand voice; they are found in your client experience, your timely communication, your service, and your work. I repeat: it’s NOT about how you talk or write.

Plenty of clients seeking luxury experiences and expensive galleries also love to laugh, tell dirty jokes, and tear it up on a dance floor. The key is learning who your ideal client actually IS rather than imagining a caricature of a “luxurious” person in your head. And once you know them, you can speak to them like people. As yourself.

If you feel like you have to dampen your personality or become the Grandma from Downton Abbey to market yourself as luxury or high-end, I hope this good word releases you today. Be yourself. Speak like yourself. And deliver a service unlike any other. Now, THAT’S luxury.

So, as we write your content, don’t be afraid if your ideal client is a millionaire but your voice sounds down to earth. The job of your brand voice is for it to SOUND LIKE YOU! Not to serve as a mask.

07. The Role Specificity Plays In Your Written Content

“The bride was gorgeous. Her dress was beautiful. The smell of her bouquet filled the room. The wedding was amazing.”

See how boring that paragraph was? You could even spice it up with more varied sentence structure and that couldn’t even save it. Why? Because the words are about as bland and broad as words can be! This is what we want to avoid when creating your written content.

Instead, we want to describe the glittering Vera Wang gown, the scent of lavender drifting on the air, and the towering, mossy oak tree where the couple said, “I do.” This paints a picture that will stick in the mind of your ideal client, setting you apart and helping them to imagine YOU at their celebration.

But photographers often get spooked by specific language in their content: “well, not all of my clients are going to use lavender in their bouquet.” And has that ever been a reason a client hasn’t booked a photographer? As long as the specifics attract your ideal client, it doesn’t have to be TRUE for all of them. So, what specifics can we incorporate into your content?

client guide on specificity
A thumbnail about how to edit your content

08. How To Edit Your Content

When your editing day arrives, you have a giant Google doc full of content ready and waiting for your feedback. But what now? Don’t worry! When your editing day approaches, I’ll send you an email with information on how to properly edit your content—complete with a little video to make sure it all makes sense!

But what should you be focusing on while you edit? Well, you can pick nits if you want to, commenting on every “cool” you’d like to switch out for “rad.” But remember: you’re allowed to keep editing your content after our project ends. So, if there are little changes like that you feel confident making for yourself, you can hold off a day and just make those changes solo. 

Instead, concentrate on accuracy (is this all true?), voice (does this sound like me?), and purpose (is this achieving all the goals I have for my content?). If something is incorrect, off-tone, or missing the mark, be sure to point it out! Then, we’ll fix it up! But this isn’t the time to totally change directions or second-guess what you shared in your form or on your branding call. Rewrites of that scale will result in additional project days and fees. This is why it’s so important to be thoughtful when gathering and sharing information throughout your project!

Thank you!
I can't wait to begin this process with you!

Now that you have a better understanding of what’s coming and how to prepare, I hope you are as excited as I am for your project day to arrive! As you begin all of the preparations, you’ll continue to receive check-in emails from me from time to time. However, if you have any questions about anything you read in this guide or anything else, I’m always here to help! Feel free to shoot me an email anytime, and I’ll give you a hand. Now, let’s get writing!