Community Chat: Ami Williamson of DAMN WRITE

A self-described slightly evil genius, Ami is owner of the copywriting business Damn Write. An advocate for small businesses using personality-driven copy, Ami shares her thoughts on branding, content and why it always pays off to embrace your archetype.

1. Alrighty, I think the first thing we have to talk about is you branding yourself as 'slightly evil'. 😳 Ay, caramba! There's an attention grabber if ever I saw one. But I feel like it needs a bit of explanation because you strike me as really lovely and definitely not the horror movie type of evil. 🔪

Why do you refer to yourself as a ‘slightly evil copy genius' and how does this help your brand?

That’s part of the magic to it — it’s an attention grabber! It was based on my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type, which I seem to share with a lot of fictional villains (Voldemort, Moriarty, Emperor Palpatine… such good company, right?).

In terms of my brand, I’ve leaned into the Rebel and Alchemist archetypes which have helped me attract my ideal clients. And repelled the ones who aren’t the right fit.

But it’s all very tongue in cheek, too! World domination isn’t my actual end goal. I just like the idea that getting into the heads of your customers (with customer research) and using it to persuade them sounds a little maniacal. I get to play slightly evil while helping good businesses do better.

2. Speaking of branding, what would you say is the relationship between brand and copywriting? And what's the difference between copywriting and, your speciality, 'personality-driven copywriting'?

Copy is a vital part of branding but often overlooked. It’s easy to focus on what you can see, which is why I think a lot of businesses happily invest in visual identity and leave copy as an afterthought.

But the magic happens when the two are aligned — when the visuals and the copy work together.

Personality-driven copy helps businesses connect with their audience and attract clients, or customers, who resonate with it. And it helps differentiate your business because nobody can consistently mimic your personality. They can try, but they can’t keep it up.

Most copywriters will ask you how you want your copy to sound, and maybe give you 3 or 4 options. Personality-driven copy uses archetypes (and A LOT of questions!) to create an extensive, accurate brand personality.

3. I've listened to your podcast interviews with both Suz Chadwick and Stevie Says Social around how businesses can be better at crafting personality-driven copy. For anyone running their own biz, both of those episodes are a must-listen. But for those peeps in our community who are short on time right now and would prefer to read something, could you summarise your advice for us into just 3 main points?

  1. Get clear on your brand personality (you can use personality traits and archetypes to help with this)
  2. There is no magic word count to increase conversions. It depends on your customer’s stage of awareness. You need to join the conversation already happening in their head.
  3. Talk to your customers. Surveys, chat logs and interviews will uncover a whole heap of things you’d never have thought about. And it gives you insight into how they talk about your business, which you can then repurpose into your copy.

4. Being a freelancer – and also someone who advises freelancers on the way to communicate – do you think a freelancer should use "we" or "I" when referencing their business? This is one of those topics that people are totally divided on, but I'd love to get your thoughts and the reasoning behind your preference.

It’s simple:

Use “I” if you’re the only one dealing with clients and/or shipping products. People like to support small businesses, and this can work as a selling point.

Use “we” ONLY if you have a team. If there is a legit “we” to refer to, then go ahead (but make sure you’re showcasing that team on your socials and website!)

Consumers smell fakery a mile away and it can destroy all the trust you’ve worked so hard to build. I saw someone using “we” on their socials recently and they got called on it in the comments — asked straight out “wait, do you have a team?”. Don’t be that person.

5. Tell me a little bit more about your day-to-day. How do you manage time working on client stuff vs building your own business? Are there any particular tools you use to help you stay on track, promote yourself, manage your time, do the actual writing, etc?

I’m prone to get too caught up in client work and I forget to market my own business, but I try to have 1 day a week to focus on my business.

As far as tools go, I use the Pomodoro technique and Brain.FM to get shit done. That's my magic formula for fighting procrastination (and avoiding Netflix).

6. What platforms do you prefer for your own marketing activities? Why? Has your marketing strategy changed over the years or has the same thing been working for you for a while? Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting out today?

Instagram has been my main focus since I started and has served me well over the years. Building relationships through DMs is SO powerful too — I’ve been able to grow my support network, connect with people I admire and get clients.

If I had my time again I’d start connecting with more copywriters from the start. The Copywriter Club group and podcast were game-changers for me. I stopped thinking small, got better at what I do and… I think world domination is the next logical step, yeah?

7. I've been a fan of watching your community grow. And I love your Instagram captions! I have no doubt you're kicking some big goals with your business. And I know our community of self-employed folks would be interested to hear how long you were running the business before you started paying yourself? What did you do to manage those first few months?

I paid myself from day ONE, and I think when possible, that’s important to do. I was still working part-time at the same time, which allowed me to be picky with client projects and find my feet without the pressure of a regular paycheck. But giving myself a percentage of each project helped motivate me.

8. And from a future-Ami perspective on ‘the monies’, I’d love to get your thoughts on super. Was super part of your 'business success' strategy from the outset? Is it something you only started doing once you felt comfortable with your earnings? Or is putting money into super still on your to-do list?

It was probably a year-ish into it that I started putting a percentage aside for super. I realised that if I wanted to ditch the part-time job then I couldn’t think of that as my retirement plan.

9. What resources do you turn to for inspiration, motivation, and business growth/development? Any fav books? Podcasts? Courses?

SO MANY!

Copy stuff: Copy Hackers (Joanna Wiebe will always be QUEEN), Kirsty Fanton (persuasion genius) and Joel Klettke (solid, BS-free advice).

Podcasts: Hidden Brain, Stop Collaborate & Listen and Finely Crafted — the first 2 seasons helped shape my views on branding.

Books: Building a StoryBrand, This Is Marketing (or ANYTHING Seth Godin puts out) and Being Boss.

And this one gets its own category because it’s SO good: HAMYAW (Hillary & Margo Yell At Websites). It’s the best thing on YouTube.


10. And finally, what do you feel is the single most important takeaway from our chat that you would want a freelancer/solopreneur to take away with them today?

Personality is NOT unprofessional! Sounding like a real human will always win out over corporate or bot speak.

Rapid Fire Questions:

Who is your favourite cartoon character and why? Webby from the Duck Tales reboot (which is amazing!) - Kate Miccuci does the voice, and she’s just hilarious.

What's the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? I’m a picky eater with the most basic, unrefined palate. Probably a bite of some cabbagey Dutch dish that my Nanna made.

Any pet peeves? TOO much personality in copy… I know it sounds ridiculous, but there’s still a line. Personality is like garlic — easily overdone.

Kale or donuts? Donuts!

If you could win any award what would it be, why? Awards aren’t really my thing, but I LOVE when someone tells me how much they enjoyed reading my copy. Low-key shoutouts make my day.

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Connect with Ami:

Website: https://www.damnwrite.com.au/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/damnwrite/