Ashlyn Carter is a conversion copywriter and marketing strategist specializing in wedding and creative industries. She traded in her fortune 500 clients in corporate and marketing to bring in more than seven figures in her business writing for creatives like Jenna Kutcher, Beth Kirby of the local milk, Julia Solomon, Katlyn James, Hilary Rushford, Lara Casey, the cultivate what matters shop and so many more. Her launch funnels have generated upwards of $500,000 in revenue for her clients. She’s been a contributing editor for creative live convert kit and HoneyBook. She’s also been featured in places like Southern living style or any pretty and so many more. Ashlyn lives in Atlanta and convinces her hubby and their little baby boy to go grab marks and tacos weekly.
I wanted to invite Ashlyn on the show today to talk about why words matter. Ashlyn is such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to how we can use our words, but more specifically our stories on our website and in our marketing to help connect us and book our dream clients. If we can’t articulate what it is about our services and our experience that sets us apart from the rest of the photographers in our area, then we are forced to compete for clients on price alone.
“They’re both vehicles to communicate the overarching brand message. I think a lot of times, especially as creatives when we think branding, our brains go to the visuals and I don’t know if you’ve seen me do this, sometimes in the Facebook group, we’ll have a student or say that they do branding for entrepreneurs, And I’m like, you do maybe the visual branding, branding is a big word to say that you do. That’s like saying I do finances for creatives. Well, do you do the bookkeeping? Do you do consulting? Do you know what part of it you do?”
“It’s the same way with branding. So if we look at, if your message is trying to communicate a story in voice, just become those are just tools to get it out. Figuring out, actually pinning and putting that down I think is the best. It comes back to the audience, the realm we’re both in, we’re craftsmanship. It’s so important to create it. So I think that that’s why there’s such value in taking the time to write stuff out and workshop it and figure it out on paper because then it’s so much easier to communicate. As far as figuring out voice, that’s just the tone and the syntax and like the the sound, the rhythm, the word choice, and then story. And we can park on the story for a while.”
“But I do want to demystify story a little bit because I think a lot of people hear the story and they’re like, “oh, and the hard thing is to tell,.” You and I both have, I guess especially you have this, you have a crazy life story. And I think that some people look at that and they think that’s not something that they have. Story is just a vehicle. And it can be something as simple as an anecdote or an analogy or a moment in time that happened in your kitchen where, you know, your kid said something and that like, that is a type of story.”
“I do want to say, even if it’s just weaving a story into your email newsletter each month or your Instagram caption, don’t worry. It does not have to be this life changing hero’s journey. Every time you try to figure out how to use a story, it’s just as simple as trying to help people, put them in a moment and let them see something that you’ve been going through or went through even if it lasted for a couple of seconds.”
“I think with Instagram, people want to know how to make their Instagram better but there’s a problem underneath that. Sometimes that’s how I feel with voice. Yes, it is important, but what is actually more important that we need to figure it out and that it’s what your audience is saying and how we merge those two things together. But I do think voice is one.
It’s probably because when you start out your creative entrepreneurial journey, your DIY and everything, you very quickly are your pro, you’re not even using stories as much as the vehicle first. You’re using voice, you’re trying to set parameters in place. You’re reaching out to those clients for the first time.”
“So voice is the first, I think fork in the road where you actually realize when you’re running a creative business like – oh shoot – I’m writing a lot all the time and I have to figure it out. What do I want to sound like? I think that’s why voice comes into play first. But very quickly on the other side of that, and when I say story, I mentioned there are some that I think everybody needs, I think you need your origin story. The thing that made you realize that this is something that you’re passionate about. You need your “Aha moment”, the moment when you realized you could make a business of that and you need one good testimonial story. But having that transformational story, whether it’s your transformation or a client’s transformation that hero’s journey story is really good to have in your business.”
“Yes. So, and I think like a great example is to talk about the first origin story, that is when you first recognize, think back to the first time you realized you wanted to be a photographer or just saw that you were drawn to light. That’s really it for a lot of people, especially as creatives. Childhood comes into play with this as well. The “aha moment” is a little more difficult. So I’ll explain it with an example. You mentioned Jenna earlier and I know one time we were laughing because anybody that has followed her branding for years will know how she says, like, it started my business with a $300 Craigslist, Camera. And like at one point said something like, take a shot every time Jenna mentioned the $300 Craigslist camera, she responded that she was like, “Oh, you’d be pretty tipsy.” Jenna knew what she as doing and she was marrying so much that concept over and over and she would weave it into her message that people knew that that’s how she started her business.”
“So that’s kind of how you want your origin story to be. I think I talk about my journey a lot with going from an eating disorder into what I do now. And it was something that, just over time people have heard it and I don’t plan out when I’m going to talk about it every year. But just making sure that you, as you grow and as you gain more followers and more people along in your business. And that’s why I think things like a welcome sequence if you have an email list are important. So you can take that in there and you do introduce everybody to that moment where you thought, “Oh, I have a marketable skill that people will pay for and I’m passionate about it.” So that’s your aha moment.”
Listen here, to learn Ashlyn’s advice on the number one mistake that you see creatives making when it comes to using words to communicate what they do and how to book clients!
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