Andrea Ting-LettsCommunications Specialist, SCRIBE Professional Writing
How did you get your start as a writer?
As an only child, my entertainment was almost exclusively devoted to reading. I developed a rather mature vocabulary as a kid (my favourite word when I was 6 was “apparently” – I used it at the beginning of every sentence. Apparently I must have been a little precocious…) I transformed my passion for reading into my own attempts at word-craft, and I honed my skills throughout my high school and university years.
At what point did you direct your writing towards branding and marketing communications?
Early in my professional life I worked in management in customer service and sales for a multi-million dollar cosmetics company. With my customers, I believe I possessed a unique ability to listen for emotional cues, to select the right words, and to offer an appropriate tone of voice and attitude. It was important for me to exceed my sales goals, but it was even more important for me to develop genuine relationships with my customers. I realized that my ability to communicate with my customers was the catalyst for eventually achieving great sales. Many years later, I decided to integrate my writing skills with my passion for customer service and sales, and founded SCRIBE Professional Writing.
What are the biggest mistakes you see small businesses making when it comes to their communications?
Grammar matters. There. I said it. You can and will be judged by your ability to craft a sentence (and spell every word correctly, and use words in their proper context, and punctuate…), and the judgment of grammar fanatics will cast a shadow on your business. They will question your reliability and your attention to detail. Other mistakes I see: using your blog to advertise rather than educate, not using calls-to-action to encourage visitors to move around your site and buy, not using a voice that reflects your true personality. Excessive use of exclamation points. Excessive use of superlatives (“the best ____ ever!”). I could go on. And on.
What is so important about the role of copywriting to your brand story?
Your copy is the voice you use to communicate with your customers. The tone, the words, the attitude you use sets the stage for the experience they have with your brand. Think of Westjet: every member of the organization (from their in-flight crew to their telephone operators) communicates with the same sassy, upbeat voice; all their branding elements use the same voice too. You know what to expect from the experience at Westjet because their voice is consistent. Don’t be afraid to create a voice for your business, but make it authentic to you.
What makes you happiest when working with your clients?
Because I spend so much time in front of my computer, I love connecting in person with my clients. I love to see their faces light up when they see that I “get” them, that I understand the authentic voice of their business.
What are your words to live by?
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi
What does life outside “the Nest” look like for you?
I love being outside – I love to walk or run my two pups in the woods, trails or beaches around Victoria. I find balance by teaching yoga and try to find time to squeeze in my own practice. I love to cook, especially for those I love. A perfect evening is being out on my deck with friends, good food, and wine.