Classroom to Copy #11 - Q&A: A Day In The Life of a Teacher-Turned-Copywriter + How to Know if Direct Response Is For you
10:32AM Jun 9, 2023
Hey Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of classroom to copy. So I believe this is the 11th episode. I do not have a guest for today's episode, but I have received lots of great questions from transitioning teachers on LinkedIn and I'd love to answer some of those questions. I also have some exciting news to share with all of you who are listening. So let's just get started some updates on where my career is at. So I find myself once again in the midst of a new transition. This time not from teaching to copywriting, but from one copywriting job to another. I've moved on to doing like a paid training programme with Stansbury research as a direct response financial copywriter, I just got my training schedule and I'm very excited for the next three months. I'm excited to see where it takes me. You know, one of my biggest values in life is mastery. Like I love getting better at my craft. So the thought of just spending the next three months deeply immersed in training and being surrounded by some of the best direct response copywriters in the world is just a dream come true. So I'm very excited to have some interesting guests who will be joining us in the next few months as well. So if you're new to direct response copywriting this might not seem like a big deal to you, but I assure you it is. I'm going to be interviewing Chris Orr is a kowski he his website is the email copywriter.com And he is one of my you know he's where I would like to be, you know, five years from now three years from now. And he too was a former teacher and you know, and he's been featured on I believe, like entrepreneur.com business insider.com He has built a massive empire and I am very excited and very honoured to have him on the show. I believe, you know, so far I've featured teachers who are at different stages of this journey. And of course, it's not a linear journey. But there are teachers who are you know, I've answered questions from teachers who are still in the process of leaving. And then I've interviewed teachers who have left and you know, they shared their processes. Also talk about my experience of leaving and, you know, doing this, I've been doing copywriting for a year now. Actually slightly over a year and hopefully you know, the the other people I can't reveal yet but we're gonna also see what it's like six, seven years out of teaching and having a successful copywriting career that's going to be something that's really exciting to share with you guys and I hope you look forward to the interview as much as I do. So there's that and now the next few months I will be very busy. I will be very focused on this paid training programme. I can't give more details other than that. I was very honoured to have this opportunity to do that. And if again, if you're new to this, you might not know why it's such a big deal to me. But Stansbury research is one of my dream clients. You know, I had to go through a pretty rigorous selection process. It was very stressful, because I was also juggling, you know doing this podcast and also working with other clients, so I wasn't sure how far I go but made it and now they're gonna just devote their resources to training the bunch of us for next three months. In I just can't wait to get started. So because of that, I might make some changes. I might have to reduce the frequency of these podcasts. I'm not sure because you know, I love actually just getting on every week and recording. I get lots of questions every week. So it's not like there's no doubt I'm gonna run out of ideas of things to talk about. But we'll see because my my priority right now is to get through that paid training and to hopefully get hired full time. So I guess that's a good segue into some of the great questions that I've gotten recently. I'll share those questions first, and then let's talk about them. The first so that yes, the first question was, I would love to hear more about your story and what a day in the life of a copywriter looks like. Second question was drawn to content creation and editing is copywriting similar. And the third question is I would love to learn more by experience and see if this is a direction I should also be exploring and something I would enjoy. So fantastic questions because I'm not going to act like copywriting is a panacea to all the problems that we faced as teachers. I believe that and this has been discussed in previous episodes. If you want to check out the interview I did with Betsy Salisbury. I think she adopted a very smart approach to figuring out if copywriting was for her. I wonder I wonder percent understand that. You're just coming out of the school term. Like during the school term, you don't have any time to think or research or to see the possibilities. I remember that feeling well. It was just week after week of just trying to get through each day and doing the work. You know, I really couldn't see a future for myself outside of teaching even though I knew I wanted to leave. So what Betsy did was really smart. She listened to this podcast called teacher career coach and it features to transition journeys of teachers who have left for multiple different professions. So you get to kind of, you know, vicariously live through their journeys and and see where they ended up and see if that's right for you. And for Betsy copywriting stood out to her. I believe there's also a quiz on their website. So, you know, all that. Before you even consider copywriting I think, you know, those are very low energy ways of just, yeah, it's summer You should be resting recovering spending time with loved ones, but if you really want to leave, um, that first step of just gaining clarity and considering your options, you know, beyond I know the popular ones are like educational technology, learning design, project management, but there's a huge range of possibilities out there. And if you can spare the energy to just queue up those podcasts and like listen and see which one might be a fit for you. Right? Um, so that was very long way of answering the first question. Well, what a day in the life of a copywriter looks like I cannot claim to represent the daily lives of all copywriters out there. I think situation is a bit unusual and it turned out to be perfect for me. So before copywriting when I was a teacher, what my life was, you know, getting up at 5am so that I could get to the school early and get some work done before the hustle and bustle started, which was basically lesson prep. You know, I did teach art, so sometimes I would have to get to the classroom early to set up art materials and get all of that done before 730 in the morning and school starts. Technically school ends at 2pm but then most days I would find myself leaving at five or in the early parts of my career, I would leave school at 7pm So those would be like 12 to 14 hour work days with irregular mealtimes and just lots of exhaustion, sleep deprivation. I just never felt like I was well well rested.
so when I left teaching, I became a I mean, I wanted to become a digital nomad, but I haven't been very nomadic because I have two cats. So I've spent almost, I think exactly a year and a half in Tbilisi. Georgia now which is in Eastern Europe. And when I start working with American clients, discovered and embraced the fact that I was a night owl so what that looks like is I get up at 10 Every day. Make sure I've I've been more disciplined about this in the last few weeks, I make sure to get, you know, as much sleep as I can at least eight hours and I get to prioritise and put self care as the first part of my day, which looks like going to the nearby forest for a walk with my partner. There are lots of friendly dogs in that park so I get my daily oxytocin boost by playing with them. If time permits, I will journal I will do meal prep. I would just have some quiet moments to sit with my partner and my cats. Yeah, just putting all of these things that are like really essential to my mental and physical health first thing in the day, and I can't really say the morning because I wake up two hours before noon. And then I start work in the afternoon which is like one or two and that's my deep work time. That's before America wakes up before I get messages on Slack before meetings. Preferably I don't check my email before 5pm My time which is eight hours ahead of American Eastern time. So Eastern Standard Time. Yeah, so I spend a few hours writing. Don't you know, I actually log out of my main user account on my laptop and I log into another one where there's very few distractions on there. I'm not logged into Slack or my email or any social media. That account is just for writing. I think that's very important to preserve. Like copywriting requires you to get in a headspace where you can visualise yourself connecting with the audience. At least that's how I do it. And if I don't have that quiet time to do that, I know my writing will suffer. So my deep work is in the afternoon and then most of the meetings take place at like five 6pm In the evening, sometimes eight 9:10pm So some of my colleagues, my ex colleagues were really worried about me when they realised I was still awake at like 10pm Tbilisi time and I had to explain to them that you know, I'm a night owl. I go to bed really late. Lately that's been between 12 midnight to 2am. But I also get like copious amounts of sleep and I sleep in every single day. I do all the lovely things that I just told you about first thing in the day. So ah, he told me that this was possible and I had to shed a lot of the I have to do a nine to five schedule I have to work like everyone else does. I have to follow what I did when I was a teacher. And just share I love that and love guilt to suspect that this is the optimal working rhythm for me. And I really couldn't care less if someone's going to judge me for it because I bring results. I know I do. So it's really nobody's business. If I don't keep normal people hours, if that makes sense. So the second question is about you know, I guess essentially, what's the difference between content writing and copywriting? And is this something that you should explore? Is it something that you shouldn't that you will enjoy? So let's just very quickly talk about what direct response copywriting is, like what it is, it's, it's actually selling with words. It's like selling on paper. You got to sell someone on the product or service or getting them to take action. It's a direct, it's not an action that you're, you know, waiting for them to take over a long period of time. Your writing should be able to get them to to take action on the spot. So I mean, there's so many similarities of teaching, right? You got to grab your audience's attention, you got to keep them engaged, which means you know, you need to know how to speak their language and get them to take action on ideas, topics, and then as teachers homework. Another very distinct aspect of direct response is that we rely heavily on data to tell us whether or not our coffee is working. And the judge of good coffee is not how creative it sounds, how interesting funny, poetic It might sound. You know, in fact, the more poetic or like traditionally well written in the sense of like English literature, the more you might lose your audience because you're supposed to speak, you're supposed to write the way they speak, connect with the conversations that are already happening. In their minds. So the judge, the ultimate judge of whether or not you write good copy is the data and the data never lies. So you might write something and be completely shocked that this is what resonates with the audience. This is what gets them to click. This is what gets them to buy, but it's very objective. So how is it different from content writing, they can look very similar. I've written copy that looks a lot like content because, you know, I think good copy should also be valuable, even if the person doesn't buy anything. That day. You manage to teach them something, it builds trust with them. And then if they don't buy that day, they remember the valuable information you offered them. And they might take action at a later time. But at the end of the day, direct response is about taking immediate action. content writing is something you can do over time to build a relationship with your audience. You might not see an immediate response. What does content writing look like? It looks like blog. posts, articles. YouTube video scripts, tutorials, is a indirect response. It might look more like an ad like a Facebook ad. getting emails sales page. So one isn't better than the other. They're like intertwined. Every business needs both is just about whether or not it depends on you your preference whether or not you enjoy one or the other or maybe you enjoy both. So to answer the last question, like is this something that you should also explore and enjoy if you're currently writing content? Um, I think the best way for me to answer this is you have to ask yourself, you know, are you more drawn to like a freeform expression of creativity, creativity and creative writing? Because I think content writing has a bit more room for that. Whereas direct response we are very much like focused on the consumer. And no know you might find yourself and like you might end up writing for maybe a niche or an industry that and you realise you just don't enjoy writing for that specific audience. And if you're not comfortable with that, if you don't, if you don't like your creativity to be constrained by what the audience wants, that's totally fine. Like I think content writing is a great alternative. There's a lot of data analysis and research and understanding consumer psychology involved in direct response copywriting. So is that something that appeals to you because it's as much a science as it is an art. So again, back to the you know, are you more of a just a traditional creative fiction writer? Right? Are you like, going deep into a topic in a blog post and finding interesting and unusual ways to present the information? Not that there isn't space to do that in direct response copywriting, but it requires lots of testing to know if that will work.
A lot of direct response, you know, it's kind of based on what already works. And then how can we optimise that? Yeah, you're writing about a specific product or service and their benefits, you're writing what works for that audience, you have to use their vocabulary. Sometimes you also have to write in the voice of a particular personality who sells that product. So if you find yourself if you find that that constrains your creativity and direct response might not be for you. Also, we measure our sales, we measure our clicks, we measure our email, open rates, and that can be stressful, right? If you feel that your work is solely judged on numbers, and as someone who's leaving teaching and if you didn't enjoy that aspect of the job, being judged by your test scores. This might not be for you either. For me, I came from I was trained as an artist and a creative writer. And what drove me crazy in art school was there's no objective way of knowing I was getting better, which I love about art. I love how such subjective it is. I love the freedom to interpret and to decide whether or not something is good or bad art for you. Like that's very personal, right. But when it comes to making a livelihood out of it, I like having an objective way of knowing if my writing is doing well. That's the need that direct response. Copywriting fulfils for me, and I know that it's not for everyone. All right, and then the last point is, you know, a lot of people face a shift, click this first right a lot of people face this objection. And considering direct response copywriting and it's the first thing that I mentioned about direct response are basically a salesperson on paper. And to a lot of people that can seem kind of sleazy. They get uncomfortable and the idea of selling direct response is ultimately about driving sales. So if you feel uncomfortable about, you know, using your writing to persuade people to buy products and services that help them you know, help solve a problem in their lives. You know, at the end of the day, it's still part of the huge Kapitalismus machine that we're, you know, we can't escape. Some people have objections to that, and I totally understand, you know, so if you think that this is, if you've, if the idea of making sales with your words, something that's not for you, then there's lots of alternatives, right? There's content writing, there's social media marketing, there's lots of other things that are out there in marketing, that are closely aligned with what a teacher brings, like a former teacher brings to the table as a marketer, especially if everything I've shared about direct response does not appeal to you. So I don't say any of this to discourage anyone because everything that I've just said is also what appeals to me about direct response. I love understanding consumer psychology. I love doing market research and understanding how my audience speaks so that I can speak their language. I love the data. I love that there's an objective way of knowing, especially with like email marketing you you see the data week after week, whether or not your writing is getting better. I love it, this is really important. I don't just write copy for any old product like I have to believe that it works. So you do have agency over that you have you do have control over that, you know, you get to choose products. And services you want to write for. And in fact, the more you believe in that product and its ability to solve your target audiences problems, there's going to be more conviction in your copy. So I for me, I don't have any qualms about helping to write, copy for products that bring great results to my target audiences lives. So yeah, I hope that answers the three questions day. In the life of a copywriter. I'm again I'm an anomaly when it comes to that I believe in the second one, you know, what's the difference between content writing and copywriting and then the third one was, you know is direct response for you. Alright, so that's all for me this week. Stay tuned for the upcoming interviews I have with all of these amazing, experienced teacher turned copywriters and I'll see you next week for the next episode of classroom to copy feel free to email me any of your questions. I love answering them. And if even if I don't have all the answers, I have a huge community of teachers turned copywriters, and other fellow copywriters who have the answers for you. So don't feel shy to drop me an email or to hit me up on LinkedIn and ask away