I think we can all agree that words are incredibly powerful – they have the power to change our thoughts, beliefs and perceptions on many levels. Not only are they incredibly important in communication, but even more so in business. Being able to speak directly to your target audience is essential for business success, and one copywriter in particular, Shan Richardson, knows just that.
Shan’s love of language shines through in her copywriting approach, leveraging her understanding of exactly what busy women want to know, and combining that with an understanding of the importance of algorithms in the world of online business. Shan connects consumers to brands and their products using her unique narrative ability, and here I sit down with her to learn a bit more about her and work.
Q. Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. Can you share a bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are today?
Shan: I never planned to go into business for myself. In fact, I liked the idea of a 9 – 5 because of the guaranteed paycheck. However, after multiple toxic work experiences, I decided to quit my job in 2019 and start my career as a freelance writer. Today, it exploded into a thriving copywriting and content marketing business filled with over 10,000 community members on Instagram.
Q: What made you decide to start your own company, What Shan Wrote?
Shan: To be a voice within the Black community. When I got into the industry, I was not familiar with any other Black copywriters. It’s a shame. There are thousands of Black-owned businesses who could benefit from the help of a Black copywriter. I didn’t realize how big of a problem it was until my first client asked if I knew how to write for a Black audience. Ever since then I’ve been very intentional about teaching my community how to use personality and persuasion in content marketing/copywriting.
Q: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Shan: The most interesting thing was having someone from my old workplace reach out to me for assistance with copywriting. At that time I was so booked, I turned it down. But. it was reassuring to me.
Q: How did you come up with the ideas for your business, and what are the key steps you have taken to grow it?
Shan: My audience and the industry. I’m so in-tune to their needs that I often receive comments like, “it’s like you’re talking to me” or “how did you know I need this.” I notice that some businesses make their decisions off of feelings or what they “think” is right. Listen to your audience, follow trends, and your business will always stay afloat.
Q: What do you think makes you and your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Shan: I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m unapologetically me and it’s relatable. There’s been times where I’ve gotten on a phone call and it went so smoothly because the client felt like they knew me already. I didn’t have to jump through as many hurdles or prove myself because I laid it all out with my content.
Q: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective copywriter?
Shan: Results are the most defining quality. You aren’t an effective copywriter if you’re not bringing in results. With my help, my community has been able to increase conversions in the form of comments, clicks and sales. It’s what they want the most, and I feel honored to have their trust in my words.
Q: What is one of the biggest decisions you’ve made that has shaped the trajectory of your life?
Shan: Taking Nike’s advice to “just do it.” However you interpret it, I’ll leave be. For me, it was to quit my job and bet on myself.
Q: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received, and what piece of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and copywriters alike?
Shan: Imposter syndrome is real. You’re going to doubt yourself a million times. You need to still show up. I was never perfect at my craft, but I was consistent.
Amazing to chat with you. Thanks so much, wishing you all the best!