Thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of The Writing Desk Blog.
Now, imagine I’m about to introduce you to an auditorium, filled with the smiling faces of folks fuelled by caffeine and an eagerness to learn. What would I say?
“Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce…
Diane Wiredu. Conversion Copywriter and Brand Message Strategist.
Diane helps SaaS and B2B companies attract better leads, increase sales and rid their brand of boring through research-driven, personality-packed conversion copy and messaging.
Here’s the part where we’d sit down and try and look comfortable next to the microphones. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin…
Can you name the business book that’s always on your desk? (I’m talking about the one that’s covered in pencil marks, coffee stains and has turned down corners…)
I’m an obsessive tidy-upper so nothing actually lives on my desk except my work diary, but I refer back to this constantly. Most of the corners are turned down even though I have hundreds of bookmarks… somewhere.
What’s your all-time favourite advertising campaign?
Nike’s ‘Crazy’ ad for International Women’s Day 2019.
Nike know how to do bold. They can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, move you to tears, inspire you and get you hyped up for battle in just 60 seconds.
The copy, visuals, message strategy and positioning are always radically authentic. That’s a brand who knows how to brand.
“Everyone has a book in them…” Or so the saying goes. What do you think/know/believe is the secret to good writing?
Tricky one. I think good creative writing comes from a place of truth and desire to share something. There’s no magic potion, but expressing yourself with authenticity is key.
And good conversion copywriting? Clarity over everything. And a solid edit.
If you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself? Which book or books would you read first?
Learn from those who’ve done it before and succeeded. Seek out advice from mentors and be the dumbest in the room.
I’d also tell the old me to stop reading and just do the damn thing.
Silence? Radio? Or music while you work?
Deafening silence when I’m in the writing flow. Barely audible low-fi and instrumental hip hop for marketing and strategy work.
I’ve been told I listen to “the type of music that plays in a hotel lift” while working. Pretty cool lift if you ask me.
What are your top three novels of all time – and why?
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Because I can’t include all 7, can I?
- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. The eccentric humour. Any book that can make me howl is an instant favourite.
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, to name one. I have a penchant for a classic detective story and Christie is the undisputable Queen of mystery.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever written? Why did it rock your world?
Although I’m a conversion copywriter, I’m a secret poet. Can’t tell you more than that I’m afraid.
What’s the last thing you bought? And yes, that packet of chewing gum counts.
Tickets to TCC(N)IRL copywriting conference! I wish it was chewing gum. Woulda cost me less moolah. But one thing I’ve learnt over the past year is that every time I invest in myself, it pays itself back ten times over. The takeaways, the friendships, the experience. — Hope this will too ‘cause there’s steam coming off my bank card.
Who was your teenage crush?
Oh gosh. Legolas. Not Orlando Bloom, Legolas the elf. With the ears and everything. Also Nelly.
Can you describe the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
The best meals are indescribable. They’re just *mimes chefs kiss*
But my brother and I still can’t stop talking about the fried ice cream dessert we had at a Chinese restaurant in Sydney over 6 years ago. If you go to Sydney, go to Mr Wongs. It was TO DIE FOR.
What’s your favourite tipple? Is it wine, beer – a cask-aged malt?
In a bar I’m gonna order one of three things: wine, an espresso martini or a whisky sour. But red wine is my one true love.
Gimme a full-bodied Argentinian Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, or blends from the Montsant and El Priorat regions of Catalunya.
(I studied Oenology while living in Spain so I can be a wine snob at times. But I’ll also happily drink wine from a bag when needs be. So, y’know, it evens things out.)
If I were to give you a private jet, David Attenborough as a tour guide and a month off work – all expenses paid – where would you go and what or who would you write about – and why?
Can I take the private jet, and leave David behind?
Alright then. Since I’ve got to get best use of good ol’ Sir Dave, I think we’ll head to the Amazon. Brazil is the most biodiverse country on the planet. He’ll have his work cut out. I’ll keep a daily journal.
What’s in your pockets?
A packet of pocket tissues. Clearly still following the Girl Guide motto: “be prepared”
Pen and ink, pencil and paper or keyboard and screen? What’s your writing style?
It depends. Writing for the web I’ve learned to think through the keys. And the pace I can set when typing is glorious. Sometimes I’m surprised my keyboard doesn’t set off the fire alarm.
But I adore the feel of paper for jotting down random thoughts and lists. I have more notebooks than I dare to count. I’ve just ordered the Remarkable 2, a paper-feel digital notebook, in a bid to declutter.
Do you read any blogs or magazines about writing? (And I mean read, not just subscribe to and delete/leave on your desk and recycle?)
Hmm… Nope. But I devour podcasts
Four I listen to religiously are:
- The Copywriter Club — Two of my fave copywriters, Kira Hug and Rob Marsh, interview crazy-inspiring copy and content experts. They’re not afraid to ask about the real stuff that goes into running and growing a copywriting biz.
- Hot Copy podcast — With Belinda Weaver and Kate Toon. Heartwarming blend of relatable humour and rock-solid advice. I rarely finish an episode without a chuckle.
- Everybody Hates Marketers — Louis Grenier brings the no BS, anti-hack approach to marketing (the way it should be) delivered in his own authentic style. I always take a tonne of notes. And I’d say he’s one of the best interviewers out there.
- The Marketing Meetup — Joe Glover, the ‘positively lovely’ marketer, hosts weekly webinars with industry leaders on a whole range of topics. Catch ‘em live for full effect.
Oh, hang on… I lied! I do read a couple of blogs…
I read anything and everything by CopyHackers and CXL. But I don’t consider them ‘blogs’. Doesn’t do them justice. Their articles and free resources are more like mini-degrees in conversion copywriting.
Tea – or coffee? What’s your poison?
Coffee. A freshly-brewed moka pot in the morning, or a flat white if I’m oot and aboot.
Do you have a favourite cup or mug? Can you describe it?
Nope. I’ve moved house (and country) so many times, I can’t keep track of anything.
Although I had Cath Kidston flower mug many moons ago that I loved.
What was your most adored children’s book? And character?
Anything written by Jacqueline Wilson. If she wrote a book, I bought it. The way she captured emotions spoke to my angry teenage soul. Couldn’t tell you my favourite character but the Illustrated Mum comes to mind.
Your favourite word?
Comfy. And you didn’t ask but I’ll tell you, my favourite Spanish word is muchedumbre. FYI.
Your most loathed word? (You know, the one that makes you shudder and say “Ew!”?)
I don’t loathe the words themselves (it’s not their fault), rather phrases.
In particular, lazy, filler phrases that add nothing. “At the end of the day” makes my eyes roll to the back of my head. And it’s why I can’t stand post-match footie chat anymore.
Where can we find you? – Browsing online or lost in the aisles of a bookstore?
Nowadays, online. Adding books to my Kindle library with reckless abandon. But I’ve whiled away many an hour in Waterstones reading books and then skidaddling once I got my fill. Oops.
Favourite song lyric of all time? And why?
“A change is gonna come” —The moving contrast of struggle and hope.
Name the artist who is guaranteed to get you up on the dance floor.
It doesn’t take much. I’ll dance without music. But anything by Destiny’s child or the Queen Bee herself will have me clearing a path to the dance floor.
(I’m such a millennial)
Do you have any strange writing rituals you’d like to share with us?
I practice daily free-writing. Or as I like to call it ‘brain blurt’.
What are you working on today? What’s in the pipeline?
Right now I’m finalising the web copy for a London-based digital marketing agency.
They’re undergoing a rebranding so I’ve helped define their brand message strategy, created a new value proposition and optimised their entire messaging hierarchy.
The first draft is penned, so next up I’m killing my darlings.
Can you describe the last photograph you took?
A picture of a post-it note stuck on my wall that says “action cures fear”. I sent it to a close friend who is starting a business.
What piece of advice really changed you as a writer?
Clever copy doesn’t convert.
What was the last thing you wrote that had nothing to do with your job?
This morning’s brain blurt. A Google Doc brimming with unfiltered jibber jabber.
What’s your favourite quote about the process of writing?
“Copy is not written. Copy is assembled” — Eugene Schwartz
Who is your favourite Mad Man – or Woman?
Can you name your favourite film – and tell us why you love it?
Of all time? The Lion King. Need I say more?
Which book or books is/are by your bed today?
I always have multiple books on the go. A physical one, at least one on my kindle and another on my iPhone.
The book currently next to my bed is The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J. Schwartz. The post-it quotation I mentioned earlier is taken from this book.
Who was or is your greatest teacher?
My mum. She was a teacher back in the day, which helps. She’s taught me everything I know about how to navigate the world. How to assert myself, own my space and reach for the stars. And how to bake.
Who is your favoUrite artist?
Salvador Dalí. I’m mildly obsessed. I’ve visited his house in Cadaqués, the museum in Girona and have postcards of his work dotted around the house. His art is pure genius.
I also have a soft spot for anything by Botticelli, after my Italian studies days.
Where do you like to work best – is it at a desk, in an office or in a coffee shop? And would you send us a picture of where the magic happens?
At a desk. But if I can work outside, that’s where you’ll find me.
Even if I have to grab the garden table and a plastic chair, or head to café with outdoor seating, I’m happiest when soaking up the sun. Gimme rays over comfort any day.
(Glass of wine is optional. After 5pm, of course)
And finally, where can this caffeine-fuelled audience find you?
If you want conversion-focused copy tips, brand message musings and some rather questionable stories in your inbox, sign up for my upcoming newsletter. Expect GIFs.
For compelling copy that resonates with your customers and converts, then shoot me an email or head to my website.
My favourite place to hang out and write online is LinkedIn. Gimme a follow or send a personalised connection request, so I know from whence you cometh.
Failing that, for inside thoughts that somehow made their way onto the internet (and an obscene amount of GIFs) then catch me on twitter.