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…
Giada Nizzoli, a website copywriter & blog writer helping small businesses with a BIG concept stand out.
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…)
As you can see in the pictures, I have quite a few favourites, but the real game-changer for me was Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller. It helped me reframe the way I write copy, both for my own marketing materials and my clients.
Any business still thinking that they are the hero of the story should read it RIGHT NOW.
What’s your all-time favourite advertising campaign?
‘Now that’s a M*** F*** burger’ by the veggie company Meatless Farm.
With it standing for meat-free, of course (not what you thought, you dirty mind).
“Everyone has a book in them…” Or so the saying goes. What do you think/know/believe is the secret to good writing?
When it comes to copywriting, I’d say empathy and an audience-oriented approach. Excellent copy taps into a target audience’s pain points, worries, and ambitions. It should make a potential customer think, ‘OMG, they must have read my mind!’
At the same time, a good writer should be humble enough to focus on what matters to their target audience rather than what they personally enjoy or what would easily stroke their client’s ego.
If you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself? Which book or books would you read first?
It’s ok to feel that you’re not ready and don’t 100% know what you’re doing: most business owners don’t, to begin with.
As for books, as well as Building a Storybrand, I’d go with Content Marketing for Traffic and Sales by Daniel Daines-Hutt, Persuasive Copywriting by Andy Malsen, and The 20% Rule by Catherine Gladwyn.
Silence? Radio? Or music while you work?
Oh, I so wish I could work with music! Whenever I need to concentrate, my brain requires radio silence. However, I do open my Spotify when working on simple or admin tasks. That does mean bursting into a few Mamma Mia choreographies most of the time, though.
What are your top three novels of all time – and why?
Love in the Time of Cholera – despite the macabre theme, this novel is the closest fiction can get to poetry, in my opinion. As the NYT described it, it’s ‘an anatomy of love in all its forms.’
Wuthering Heights – my favourite classic! I love the connection between setting and emotions, as well as the fact that its protagonists aren’t the most likeable characters.
Ocean Sea – a hypnotizing, at times dark but always fable-like postmodernist masterpiece with a charming seaside setting and connection.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever written? Why did it rock your world?
While I’ve also been looking after their blog, I’m super proud of the about page that I wrote for Project Cece, a search engine for sustainable fashion.
I absolutely adore their mission of making ethical clothes easier to find, and with their about page I was excited to make their target audience a part of their brand story.
What’s the last thing you bought? And yes, that packet of chewing gum counts.
I’m becoming more and more of a minimalist, so I rarely buy material objects (except for books and houseplants, at least), but the latest noteworthy purchase was a tartan shawl during my holiday in Scotland. Very Outlander!
Who was your teenage crush?
Paul McCartney in his early twenties. Shame that none of my time-travelling attempts worked!
Can you describe the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
I’m not usually one for fancy restaurants as I prefer smaller independent places with their own twist, unashamedly hipster décor, or a breathtaking view. I’ve had so many tasty meals that it’s hard to choose, but we do have an insane taco place that’s do die for, in Chester (it’s actually called Death by Tacos).
What’s your favourite tipple? Is it wine, beer – a cask-aged malt?
Red wine, but I like a good beer or a rum & coke, too.
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?
Across South America, probably. And I guess I’d end up writing some magical realist short stories or a novel, much like one of my favourite authors (Garbiel Garcia Marquez).
What’s in your pockets?
Well, I’m currently wearing pyjamas (as I do most of the times when I’m working). Sorry to disappoint.
Pen and ink, pencil and paper or keyboard and screen? What’s your writing style?
Keyboard and screen for my copywriting and fiction (although I do sometimes start by brainstorming on paper), pen and paper for my poetry. The latter is more spontaneous.
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?)
I’m subscribed to (and actually read) Freelancer Magazine. Spoiler alert: I’m one of the smiley faces on the issue 2 cover).
Tea – or coffee? What’s your poison?
*shaking and jittering after my fourth cup* coffee, I guess?
Do you have a favourite cup or mug? Can you describe it?
It’s a minimalist coffee cup from Jaunty Goat, one of my favourite local cafés (a gift from a friend. I didn’t steal it)
What was your most adored children’s book? And character?
A Series of Unfortunate Events (happy childhood, I know), and I did admire the resourcefulness of one of its protagonists, Violet.
Now, given my passion for words, dark humor, and unrequested literary references, I realise I’ve become more like Lemony Snicket himself.
Your favourite word?
Quite a few, especially those that only seem to exist in a specific language and can’t be translated in just one word. For example, hiraeth, which is Welsh for ‘a nostalgic longing for a home you can’t fully return to.’
Your most loathed word? (You know, the one that makes you shudder and say “Ew!”?)
Rather than just one word, it’s whenever people spell ‘could OF’. EW!
Where can we find you? – Browsing online or lost in the aisles of a bookstore?
Bookstores. Indie ones in particular.
Favourite song lyric of all time? And why?
‘Blackbird singing in the dead of night
take these broken wings and learn to fly.’ – The Beatles
It reminds me of my strength and resourcefulness when I start to doubt them.
Name the artist who is guaranteed to get you up on the dance floor.
Pretty much any 80s singer or band (I even got a perm earlier this year). Come on Eileen is my happy tune
Do you have any strange writing rituals you’d like to share with us?
Nothing too strange, but I always read everything out loud before hitting send: I find that it really makes the difference, both when it comes to spotting mistakes and to hear the flow of my sentences.
What are you working on today? What’s in the pipeline?
Blog posts on the most random and unrelated topics (which is actually one of the aspects I love the most about my job): interior design, slush machines, and digital marketing.
Can you describe the last photograph you took?
My breakfast. How so very millennial, right? It involved some slices of fresh bread from a new indie bakery in town and my coffee, of course
What piece of advice really changed you as a writer?
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” A. Chekhov.
What was the last thing you wrote that had nothing to do with your job?
Does my to do list for the day count? If not, poetry, poetry, and more poetry. I actually released a collection last year.
What’s your favourite quote about the process of writing?
“The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it.” Jules Renard
It usually works for client work, too.
Who is your favourite Mad Man – or Woman?
I actually had to google this (have I been living under a rock?), but it sounds interesting. Ask me again once I’ve watched a few episodes?
Can you name your favourite film – and tell us why you love it?
I think 500 Days of Summer because it’s so delightfully indie and quirky, but mostly because it destroys the soulmate cliché and stereotypical romcoms in general.
A special mention to Call Me by Your Name (ah, the aesthetic of Italy in the 80s!) and Trainspotting (iconic).
Which book or books is/are by your bed today?
The Guilty Feminist: From Our Noble Goals to Our Worst Hypocrisies by Deborah Frances-White, The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis, and the poetry of my not-so-platonic-love, Lord Byron.
Ironically, this ties in well with the ‘I’m a feminist but’ theme of The Guilty Feminist: I’m a feminist, but I do have a soft spot for Lord Byron.
Who was or is your greatest teacher?
I was lucky to be mentored by Steven O’Brien, poet and editor of The London Magazine, when I was at uni.
Who is your favorite artist?
The Beatles (and not just because of my teenage crush on Paul McCartney, I’d like to specify).
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?
90% of the time, you’ll find me in my little writing room. Having a separate one for my work and writing made such a big difference, both to concentrate more easily and to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Still, one of the many reasons why I enjoy running my own business is that I can work from anywhere that’s got WiFi. This wasn’t obviously possible during the pandemic, but I do try and head to an indie café once a week to work from there.
And finally, where can this caffeine-fuelled audience find you?
I also have a free newsletter for small business owners looking to generate more leads and sales through their website. One actionable weekly tip, no boring corporate news.