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Ash RoyDec 1, 2023 5:20:36 PM

224. Bernadette Schwerdt on Copywriting Branding and Authority Building

224. How you can grow your Brand and Authority using Content with Bernadette Schwerdt


 If you are looking to grow your brand and authority using content then join us as we dive deep into the world of copywriting mastery with our game-changing episode!  Uncover the blueprint for crafting content that captivates and converts.

We will unravel the strategies to understand your audience at a deep level and turbocharge your copy for success! 

We'll explore how Bernadette Schwerdt founder of Copyschool empowered business owners.

Join us on a journey through insights and techniques that have proven to be instrumental in fostering brand growth and establishing a compelling presence in the market.

Links Mentioned:


00:00 Intro

0:58 The importance of understanding the creative brief

1:12 How to balance writing for humans and SEO optimization

1:35 How to leverage customer feedback and understand your audience in copywriting

3:53 Approach to content creation in the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.

6:06 How to tailor content to different stages of the marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration to decision

14:35 How to blend writing for the audience and search engines, using keywords to guide copywriting

23:00 The importance of strategy and higher-level thinking skills in copywriting

Ash Roy and Bernadette Schwerdt Video Transcript (This transcript has been auto-generated. Artificial Intelligence is still in the process of perfecting itself. There may be some errors in transcription):


Ash Roy 00:00

If you're a small business owner looking to build his or her brand, using the power of content marketing, copywriting and better digital marketing strategies that attract lifelong clients who become raving fans and tell their friends about you. And this episode is for you. I'm actually the founder of Productive Insights dot com and the host of the Productive Insights Podcast, and I'm genuinely excited to bring you this episode with Bernadette Schwerdt


Bernadette is an award winning Australian entrepreneur and the founder of Copy School. In this conversation we dive into a variety of fascinating topics that will help you move the needle in your business using genuine, authentic methods to build your brand over the long term. Firstly, Bernadette and I talk about her approach to creating content in the buyer's journey at the awareness, consideration and decision stages, and specifically what questions she tries to answer at each of those stages in her content.


Bernadette Schwerdt 00:58

A lot of business owners don't know this, and that is one of the first questions a client will ask is What do we write? And that's not a simple answer. You have to take a few steps back and look at the creative brief You actually do a whole series of question and answer sort of responses.


Ash Roy 01:12

We then talk about striking a fine balance between writing for humans, but still pleasing the SEO gods so that your content ranks for the correct search terms and is search engine optimized.


Bernadette Schwerdt 01:25

You can sort of infiltrate those keywords into your copy. You merge both the human need and Google's needs so that you come up with a piece of copy that's going to appease both camps.


Ash Roy 01:35

She talks about how to leverage customer feedback and parlay that into your copywriting, and she really emphasizes the importance of understanding your audience. She even talks about how strategy connects at a high level to the copywriting process, which I thought was very important and useful.


Bernadette Schwerdt 01:52

I don't think you can ignore the SEO completely, but at the same time I don't think you can ignore your instinct and impulse as well and listen to what my customers or prospects say. I hear the questions that they're asking me and I take that into accommodation as well when I'm writing copy.


Ash Roy 02:06

And then she also shares how her skills as a mentor and copywriting has helped some of her clients make massive transformations in their lives and build businesses that have given them freedom from the 9 to 5.


Bernadette Schwerdt 02:19

Part of the reason I love what I do and this is only come about since I've started the training, is you realize people want something different in their lives and I get a lot of joy from being able to see people make progress and take information and apply it. And so when I see these people progress on a certain age, it gives me enormous joy just to see how people can take the information, apply and change their lives.


Ash Roy 02:43

So strap in and listen carefully to the pearls of wisdom that Bernadette shares that you can then implement in your business and your life and what your business saw. Oh, and one more thing before we start over. 90% of you who watch this YouTube channel have not subscribed. If you've ever enjoyed our videos, could you do me a favor and please hit the subscribe button?


This helps the channel more than you probably know, and the bigger the channel gets, the better quality guess we can bring to you. So please go ahead and hit subscribe. If you enjoy these videos and share them with a friend. Thanks. And let's get into the conversation with Bernadette, Bernadette Schuett is an award winning Australian entrepreneur, author, TEDx speaker and advertising copywriter.


She's the founder of Copy School, the Australian School of Copywriting and is the country's leading copywriting coach. Bernadette's flagship online courses help marketers, business owners and freelance content creators create cut through content that places them at the top of their field and on page one of Google. Today, I am delighted to welcome Bernadette Schwerdt from, and we're going to be talking about how you, our listeners and viewers, can grow your brand and your authority using content.


Ash Roy 03:51

Welcome to the show, Bernadette.


Bernadette Schwerdt 03:54

Thanks for having me. Ash. It's great to be here.


Ash Roy 03:54

I'm very excited to have you. I've been reading some of your books, one of your books particularly, and I found it to be very, very succinct and punchy, which I absolutely love and very biased towards that sort of content. That doesn't waffle a lot. And that's a very Aussie approach to most things, in my opinion. So great to have you.


So, Bernadette, let's start there. Let's talk about your approach to content creation in the awareness, consideration and decision stages and how you approach content creation in each of these stages.


Bernadette Schwerdt 04:23

I think what you're talking about there is the marketing funnel, isn't it? That's how two people come into your ecosystem as a business owner. And a lot of business owners don't know this, right? Because it does help work out what do you want to say? And that is one of the first questions a client will ask is what do we write?


And that's not a simple answer. You have to take a few steps back and look at the creative brief, which is another thing I talk to a lot of my students about is having a creative brief so you don't just go straight into the writing of something. You actually do a whole series of question and answer sort of responses.


So what I do actually, what I train my students to think about is, firstly, who's your customer? Right. Pretty basic. You try and get down to the one person, not so much a group of 25 to 34 year old women who buy groceries. I like to think within that subset, who is this woman? What is her name? Where does she live?


How many children does she have? What does she do for a job? What's her concerns? What's the problem? She'd love to solve here? And it doesn't take very long. I could do it in about 2 minutes with my clients. But once you get down to it, it's Gemma and she's CEO of an association for, let's say, cat lovers or something.


You know, what's her issue? So that's step one. And then you work out what are you selling? And that's another question that often gets overlooked in an advertising brief, because often clients think, I wouldn't want to sell my business, I want to sell myself. It's like, let's take Commonwealth Bank. There's 200 products within a bank. An accountant has probably ten products at best service attacks, service, SMSF service.


It's really important to work out what are we actually selling here in a particular campaign that you might be running, and then you think, well, based on all that we know, the customer avatar, where are they at in their knowledge of this particular organization? Are they familiar with us? Have they bought from us before? Are they brand new?


Are they lapsed? So from the awareness point of view, if they're not aware of us for very well sell it, can't we just take in copywriting as an example? Because that's what I do. I'd say, well, in the awareness stage they don't know anything. They don't know even what copywriting is. So from a content point of view, you think about the queues at that particular customer might have the avatar, and for me it'd be like, what is copywriting?


So I'm going to be doing blogs on what is copywriting, How much can a copywriter earn? What is the difference between content creation and copywriting? So when you think about the questions people have in that awareness stage, when they don't know much about you, it's really easy to start writing content because you just answer the questions and then you move to the consideration of that's moving people through the funnel where they know about you read your book or they've listen to your podcast or whatever they might be doing, and then you think, okay, they might be considering a course that the questions I might be having, what is the best course for me?


Do I need a degree to do this? What experience do I have in order to get the most from this, etc.? And then it comes down to the purchase cycle, making a decision and then think about other courses. How is my course different to the others? What are my success stories? What is my process? What is my money back guarantee?


So you can start to see if you just know the customer, what you're selling, what questions they have, where are they in the purchase cycle in terms of how much they know about us? Then the questions become self-evident and then you answer the questions in your copy. So that's kind of a very long winded way to be distinct in terms of how do you actually use this purchase cycle and marketing funnel to work out what you need in content.


Ash Roy 07:26

That's great. Thank you. For all that context. I would like to add a couple of things to that as well. First of all, I spoke to Joe Polizzi and we talked about something very similar. He said, Create content that meets your customer where they are on their journey. And I think you touched on that as well. When you say the customers, the awareness, consideration or decision stage, I think these are called navigational keywords, everything.


What type questions, consideration stage is answering, How will this work for me, type questions and the decision stage is typically comparison type stuff where the customer's product aware solution away and they just deciding between product and product. Me Would you agree with that?


Bernadette Schwerdt 08:02

Yeah, I mean there's lots of different models and funnels. They're all there and it's just a matter of just working out what questions do people have and trying to order those questions appropriately.


Ash Roy 08:09

We have a similar approach in our nine step business growth framework, and the first five steps are just dedicated to understanding who is the customer, what problem are you trying to solve? And I think that's a very, very important question, which is a great way to find out more about the WHO is to also do what I learned as the Amazon strategy, which is basically looking at reviews of books that solve problems around that particular pain point, and then reading the reviews, typically the five star ones and the one style ones.


And in there is that nugget, which is the problem as they see it in their words. Okay. Let's move on to the next question, which is public speaking, then let's shift gears a bit here. You delivered a TED Talk. Congratulations. That's an amazing achievement. Can you tell us how you did it? And for people who are considering it, what should they think about any frameworks, any ideas you would like to share?


Bernadette Schwerdt 08:54

I think as a former actress, people think that actors and presenters don't get nervous and they really, really do. What I do with my training is I teach people to do with their nerves first, because if you haven't got the nerves under control, your content is going to be compromised. So from a TED point of view, there's a whole bunch of formulas and models out there but haven't found them to be that useful.


And when I did mine, I just had to work it out for myself. And you only had 12 minutes. It's a very short amount of time to convey quite a complex argument, which is a lot of what the TED talks are. And so I guess fast to give any advice it to be get really clear about what does this you want to say what is the one liner that you could possibly uses the name of your talk?


How would you fill in the rest of the how to and for mine it was how to bumble your way to success, which was a very a unusual topic because who would publicly and willingly put themselves out as bumbler to a global audience. I did think a lot about that because that is that a brand I really want to be embracing for myself that I did feel so strongly about the concept that I thought, Now take the risk and put it out there.


Had an amazing reception and people still talk to me about it all these years later, and I still use it. And that's why I feel strongly about it, because the concept is in any creative process, be it learning a new skill, writing a piece of copy, learning how to do a podcast, building a relationship with someone, learning a new instrument or a language, whatever that task might be.


The early stages of it is generally filled with bumbling, and there's lots of different names for that. But I've just called it bumbling because that's what it felt like for me. And if you accept that there's going to be a bumbling stage, then you tend to give yourself a little bit of slack and you really be kind to yourself when you will inevitably make up or it's difficult or it's unpleasant.


All those things that happened with a new project, that is, if you don't understand that that early stage is going to be unpleasant and bumbling, you blame yourself. You think, Why can't I do this? I'm so dumb, I'm not good enough, I'm not intelligent enough, I'm not trained. Who do I think I am? And all those kind of negative beliefs that come out and that stops you from progressing.


And if we want to change and grow and do the things we want to do, we have to accept those early stages of a new task are going to be unpleasant. And if it does, give us a little bit of time to get through it, like I'm running a brand new course and it's been quite a massive project and every time I start a new module I'm thinking, Oh, Bumble, and it gets me through and it makes me know that there's an end to this.


It won't always feel this badly. That's kind of what the TED Talk was about. But to answer your question about structure, I think you've got to work at your top line, like, what's the opening line? And I often think it's really helpful to talk about it from a universal truth. It's like it's no secret that dot, dot, dot, whatever that is, Let's face it, we all know this to be true.


There's often these prompts. I use them in copywriting all the time, but they're very helpful. It all triggers, you know, devices to help you understand what is the nub of this whole idea. And it's example. I'm just making this up now, but for mine, it's no secret that starting a new project, relationship or instrument is going to be difficult.


If you know that that's the opening line, then you've got the audience for a start, because they're thinking that's true for me and what I was looking for truth and connection. And once the audience are going, Hey, that means something to me, then you've got them at least for 10 seconds and then you've got to obviously elaborate, but then you move right down to the end of your speech.


The last line is like, What do you want to say? What do you want them to do or feel at the end of your presentation? You know, do you want to feel excited or motivated? Do you feel cautioned or alarmed? And what do you want to do to talk to somebody, to ask a question, to fill out a form, whatever it might be?


I think if you top and tailor with those two kind of devices, it helps you structure it and helps you work out well. I've only got 12 minutes. And the other thing I do is I work out how many words I can speak per minute, which is about 150 generally. That's most people. And you think, okay, 10 minutes, 120 words is 1200 words.


Therefore you got I've got two and a half pages of content to fill. And if you know you've only got 1200 words, why write 10,000 Now You might do that just to get to your idea. But it's very confronting when you've got 12,000 words and you've got to cut it back to 1200. So if you know that only 1200, you think, what are the greatest hits?


What are the best lines that I've used? What are the best stories that I've been telling that resonates? You just kind of narrow it down a little bit because if you don't know what you're heading for, it's very difficult to write copy.


Ash Roy 1 13:04

Wow, that's a copywriting lesson right there. Start with core message. And I think another very important word you used was connection and alignment. A great book and we've talked about this before is Mate to Stick. I really love how that book approaches that idea of connecting with people and breaking their guessing machines and so on. If you haven't heard of it, I recommend checking it out.


It's called Make to Stick by Dan and Chippy. You've given us some really great insights around how to think like a copywriter. I remember one of my mentors, John Morrow, said to me, If you want to write great quality copy, don't think like a writer. Think like a street performer and I think that is more and more true today.


As people's attention spans shrink, you have to win the first 3 seconds to then win the next 10 seconds to then win the next 30 seconds and so on. And hopefully you will have to love it enough value to keep them for life. But if you don't win the first 3 seconds, you're not going to win any attention from the audience, which is sadly, increasingly fleeting.


Bernadette Schwerdt 14:00

I was just going to say one of the things that I train my students is to think about the opening line and the opening headline and that paragraph four If I don't read the first law, I'm never going to get to that one's the best offers in the world, get buried. And I know there's a temptation with writing copy, and I've done this myself where you think I'm just leading up to, I'm just ramping up.


I'm just sort of setting the scene as like, no, get to the point. Tell them what you're selling as gently as you can early on. So they've got context. Because if you've got this kind of concept of just rabbiting on, it's beginning about how good this thing's going to be and people don't know what you're actually selling. There's no architecture to hang the idea on to get to the points.


Ash Roy 14:33

Some other episodes that you might find useful. I've interviewed some other great copywriters, including Brian Clark as productive Insights dot com slash 116 and Sonia Simon collectibles has to slash 127 and John Morrow Productive Insights podcast slash three. But at it I asked Neil Patel this in episode 212 and I'm going to ask you the same question because I'm interested to know what you think.


Do you write for the audience first and search engines second or the other way around? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.


Bernadette Schwerdt 15:00

I think we have to write for the humans first, obviously, because if you just write for Google and you might get on page one, but the person's going to read it and not connect with it. So it defeats the whole purpose of doing it. But what I would say is you can blend the two at the same time.


For example, let's say copywriting courses is a key phrase that I want to be found for. Then if I know that it makes it a lot easier to write my copy because I can use that as the basis for my copy. So I don't just say willy nilly, I'm going to start from scratch with no concept of what the keywords are.


I think, okay, they are the words. So therefore I might be thinking something along the lines of best copywriting courses in Australia, top copywriting course success stories, so you can sort of infiltrate those keywords into your copy. You merge both the human need and Google's need so that you come up with a piece of copy that's going to appease both camps.


Ash Roy 15:50

One thing that absolutely kills me about that and I wanted to ask your opinion on this is I find SCA restrict or inhibits the creative process for me because I may want to write about something and I go and look it up on a keywords everywhere and there's not enough search traffic for that. And that kind of just messes me up.


And I asked Seth Godin what he thought in episode 200, and he said, I don't use SEO at all. I asked Derek, same as the same question, and he doesn't either. So for those who are listening and watching, you don't have to use SEO to guide all your writing. I like to, but I'm curious to know, Bernadette, how do you not allow that technical SEO process to interrupt your creative process where you feel moved to write about something?


But then the Damasio tells him not to write about it.


Bernadette Schwerdt 16:31

Yeah, I think it is a blend. I don't think you can ignore the SEO completely, but at the same time I don't think you can ignore your instinct and impulse as well. And people know their audiences fairly well. I listen to what my students say. I listen to what my customers or prospects say. I hear the questions that they're asking me and I take that into accommodation as well when I'm writing copy.


But what would the normal person, this customer, would ask, Okay, well, how can I niche that? How can I long tail it a little bit so that I do create a really interesting phrase or blog or whatever title that might get found a little bit more easily than some of the other ones that I've got a lot of competition so that you can play the game a little bit.


But I think you've got to just always start with the customer in mind. If you don't, it's like, where do you begin? It's impossible actually, I think, to write a copy if you don't think about the customer at the heart of it.


Ash Roy 17:16

So let's talk a little bit about that actually, because to me and please feel free to correct me if you don't agree, but to me, copywriting is about 80%. If not more research, because if you're not in the right conversation, it doesn't matter how good your sentences are. What are your favorite research tools where you go and find out about your audience, who she is, where she hangs out, and so on?


Well, I.


Bernadette Schwerdt 17:36

Have a creative briefing document that I call my single source of Truth, and I use that with all my training and all my students love it because they never knew there was a brief to start with. And that's a revelation for a lot of people that you can actually document or codify the creative process to some degree, and rather than as copywriters, turn up to a client not knowing anything about their business, it feels quite intimidating.


You talk to a manufacturer of rubber hoses or tires or tiles, and I've worked with all those bizarre products that I've worked with. I know nothing about them. I've never used them. It doesn't matter. Yes, I do my research before I go, but if I just have the client in front of me, that's a great starting point. And I asked them these very specific questions and they are very specific.


That gets me started and it gives me enough knowledge to be a little bit dangerous. Then of course I talk to their customers. I look at the testimonials and you mentioned that just a moment ago, which is quite interesting. And I've got this technique from Liz Green, One of my copywriter tests on my students has done exceptionally well.


She's very good. The voice of customer research or VSC. And what she does is if she can't get access to the clients or they don't have any clients yet, they're brand new. She goes to the competitors and she looks at their testimonials, what they say, good and bad or bad reviews. Hopefully not. But if they're there and she says, What's the nub of this?


What is important to these people as interesting? You can actually get it from other competitors. What's important for your client as well? So that's good. If you don't have access to clients, use the product. That's why I say to my students, pick a topic that you really enjoy using your or a product or service that you love yourself like.


It might be yoga, it might be pets, it might be wine, it might be travel because every industry needs a copywriter. So why not start with something that you actually enjoy so that it's not a chore to research that particular product? I've had a student of mine called Ruth, who loved like we did some coaching, We worked out how you can find that first gig, and she did and that is working with Treasury State and she was the last time I spoke, which is at McGill in South Australia, on a hill drinking wine and writing about it.


And she goes, Bernadette, you've changed my life. I said, Well, you did it. We worked together to create that. You had the knowledge and the guts, and that's part of it as well. Have the guts to honor. What is it you love? What do you really want to do? Don't just say something just because you think it might make money.


What do you really love to do? What he read. What's on the bedside table? What would you do for free? What conferences do you attend for free? When you get clear about those ideas, then you know that there's going to be a market for that because every industry needs a copywriter and life just gets a lot easier because you can research to the cows, come home, you don't mind, you're getting better at what you do and you're enjoying the process.


Ash Roy 20:00

I first heard about the Amazon research technique from a person called Danny Ene, who's quite a good copywriter himself. And I want to also ask you, do you use things like Quora or the Amazon strategy and took it to Udemy and did the same thing on there. Do you use those tools at all to do your work?


Bernadette Schwerdt 20:15

A lot of my students do, especially the younger cohort. I don't know particular reason, but yeah, I know a lot of my students love all that stuff and I think if you're struggling for ideas or you'd like to get a really good broad section of read, it's brilliant for that kind of stuff, but it's not something I would turn to for in the first instance.


I'm not saying I wouldn't occasionally do it. They're not my first go to points. Of course.


Ash Roy 20:36

I'll tell you what, in our nine step framework, we are very big on this and that is talk face to face with the customer if you can, because while it's not scalable, having a face to face conversation gives you so much more nuanced feedback on what matters to the customer, what doesn't. We have a lot of communication that happens that we don't even know about through micro-expressions and stuff like that.


So even a Zoom call, if you can get on a Zoom call with a customer and ask them, maybe you use the PEN framework if you want to apply that Neil Rackham selling framework. But this is not just for selling, even for customer research. You can try and understand your customer better by speaking to them face to face.


The second best option is maybe on the phone, and the third best is through survey. Surveys are very scalable, but I am very biased with the face to face. And once you have enough of a feel, which is what I sense, you do better that for your ideal customer, then all these other things just become more.


Bernadette Schwerdt 21:26

Supportive, really supportive, backup.




Augment. That's it. And the other thing to ask is podcast. I have a podcast and I interview a lot of my students because I'm thrilled and fascinated by how they've progressed, and it gives me permission to say how did you do that? What was the defining moment for you? When did you just leap into the unknown and give up your job and start copywriting?


What was going through your head? What did you do to find your first client? And if you do have a podcast, bring your clients onto it and use that as an elevation for them and also market research for you. And that's not why I do it. But I'm always intrigued as to how people succeed. That's a nice way of doing it and a really respectful and fun way for both.


Ash Roy 22:01

I couldn't recommended more highly. I did a podcast with one of my clients, Amanda Farmer. She's a lawyer and we interviewed her twice, actually, first when she was six weeks post launch for her podcast. I helped her launch podcast and then 20 months in she ended up on Sky News and Channel Ten. She really took it to the next level and it was a great way to showcase her skills, but also that this framework that I have actually does work.


A couple more tools I would like to recommend to people listening or watching Spark Toro, which is the newest bit of software created by Rand Fishkin. I've been using it for about a year. I find it incredibly helpful. It actually looks at people's profiles to get a better understanding of the customer. It's not keyword centric, it's more person centric.


So you really understand your audience better and you can learn more about that. In my conversation with him in episode one, five nine. And the other tool which we'll just quickly touch on is chat CBT, which is all the rage at the moment. What used to take me seven, 8 hours is now taking me maybe half an hour, so you should be using that.


Otherwise you're at a competitive disadvantage. If there's anything you'd like to add to that, you're welcome to do so.


Bernadette Schwerdt 23:00

Yeah, it's a hot topic, isn't it? Everyone's asking about it and with good reason. It's an amazing piece of technology and I think it has opportunities and it has threats. And you're absolutely right. Get on it, use it and start to see how it could be useful to you. And as copywriters, I don't think it's going to cut jobs out any time soon.


It might compromise some things like product descriptions and things like that which are kind of rote and very formulaic in some respects. It can fast track that you still need the human touch, but I think where we can really have a point of difference to the chat bot is to think about the higher level thinking skills that are required here.


We need the customer audience What stage of the process that they at, what are the things that matter to them? And I think we have to get the strategy right before we even bother ourselves with writing the content. And I think that's not what the chat bot can do. It can't do strategy, it can't work out what is it we need to say and should say.


And that's what US copywriters and digital marketers need to be good at. So I think once you've got that sorted, by all means it's going to make life a lot easier. But when we're talking to clients and a lot of copywriters are concerned that they might be losing revenue or whatever, I think be honest about it, say look, I use it, but you're going to get a better result because of what I'm doing, my time, my expertise, my work.


You're going to get a better result. It doesn't mean I'm not writing it, it just means I'm using it as a starting point so we can fast track the writing process. So I think it's good opportunities and threats and you just have to use it and see how it works and see where it's going.


Ash Roy 24:26

I recently attended a conference with Bryan Clark and Robert Bly, and I really like one of the things that came out of that, that it produces what they called be great copywriting, which means that you can still use it, but it doesn't have things like emotion. It doesn't have examples of how the particular product works or what you're saying actually, unless you ask it for those examples, it's not perfect yet.


Bernadette Schwerdt 24:47

Well, I think what it can also be is a great research tool for you researching your client. Yes. It's talking to a colleague just a moment ago about this and he was looking at toddler sunglasses and he put in the prompt. Tell me about toddler sunglasses. And he got all this information about that. He wasn't even conscious of that, that ISO standards and quality control, which he was able to take that and bring it into his copy.


But he had no concept that that was important to that particular topic. So I think we can use it as all like a tree, sort of the pillar of the kind of content pieces that we'd like to investigate. And we got okay, didn't know about that bit, I'll grab that bit and then I'll research that again so it can be a lovely sort of fountain or source of information that we might not have been privy to previously.


Ash Roy 25:30

A great research assistant. In fact, I just remembered what I was going to say before, and that is it's a case of garbage in, garbage out at this moment in time. I don't know how the next version is going to be, but in this version, if you don't ask the right questions and if you don't put in the correct input, you're going to get very substandard output.


So that's where the skill comes In. Your experience as a copywriter or a business owner or whatever it is you do, it's about asking the right questions off the software. Researching is important, but an important part of research is knowing which book to go to. Who are the authorities in the field? You don't go and read some B-grade book and assume that that is correct.


Not everything on the internet is true, so you need to be able to filter the curation element and that you don't get in this version of Chatty, too.


Bernadette Schwerdt 26:12



Ash Roy 26:13

All right. So let's talk about how your skills as a copywriter help to change a life or a business.


Bernadette Schwerdt 26:21

Part of the reason I love what I do and this is only come about since I've started the training is you realize people want something different in their lives. I get a lot of teachers coming through my program and I use them as an example because their world is being impacted by this very technology that we've just been talking about.


And COVID impacted them dramatically. And we're coming to a point where they say, you know what, I can't do this anymore. So I've had a lot of teachers say, is this really a thing? Could I possibly make a career out of this? And it's a serious question because they're giving up a job to go and become a copywriter.


So they need to know the truth. And I've interviewed a number of my students on my podcast, so I know their stories quite intimately. There's one woman I'm thinking of who was a teacher, head of the private Glasgow School of English, head of the department, and just wanted to be home. I wanted to be with a dog. I wanted to walk on the beach during the morning, didn't want the stress of the classroom and everything.


So she took my advice and she did the training and she saved up a little bit of money just to have a bit of a back up. And she just resigned from a very high paying, very respectable and prestigious job. And she just went to a first networking event. She was terrified. She used the script that we gave her.


She found a first client. She did it again and again and basically rinsed and repeated the process and now she looks back and she says, I can't believe I'm learning as much as I was as a teacher. I work when I want with whom I want, I'm challenged. It's creatively stimulating. It's intellectually demanding. I'm respected for what I do, and the need is growing and I can work with the advice that I want.


So I get a lot of those stories where people have given up jobs that they didn't see a future in it and they feel stuck. And I get a lot of joy out of that from being able to see people make progress and take information and apply it. And I take great credit for that. I give them all credit because knowledge is there.


It's who applies it that really makes a difference. And I've seen students that I've worked with 20 years ago, like one man, he was just a young guy at a bar in my study web design, and then he got a bit of confidence from the course as well. And he did an award school, which is like a sort of industry training program.


He was like one of the top performers in that particular program. He got picked up by clemencies and he rose to the top of Clemenger, as was the creative director. He won every con award, which is the advertising equivalent of the Oscars, 28 of them. And just extraordinary. Now he's on my podcast as well, and I'm still in touch with this beautiful man.


And he just says, Your course was the gateway drug. And I look at his life now. Again, don't take credit for what he's achieved, but I was privy to the beginnings of it. And so when I see these people progressing on a certain age and I've been able to see people move through over the 20 years I've been doing this, and it gives me enormous joy just to see how people can take the information, apply it and change their lives.


Ash Roy 29:00

I love your generosity and the acknowledgment that as consultants or coaches or copywriters, we can provide frameworks, but we can't lift the lights, we can't do the execution. It is up to the business owner or the client to do the execution, unless of course, it's a done for you service, which is another conversation altogether. Are you comfortable sharing how our audience can listen to that podcast?


Bernadette Schwerdt 29:22

Because yeah, of course all these people have been mentioning on the podcast, it's you want to be a copywriter and you can just look that up and wherever you get your podcast, you can get a copy., it's my website and you can find it there. And if you want to be a copywriter, you can work out what you can earn.


We have a rate card that you can download. It's a lovely matrix that tells people what mediums you can work in and how much you can earn. And we've got a beginner price with an experienced price. We've got an in-between price. In case you don't feel very confident, one of the things I do say is try and move from free to fee as quickly as you can because the amount of work you put into something for free is the amount of what you put into something you pay for.


So what's the difference? It's just your belief in the material that you've created. So if people want to learn how to get paid for their work, there's a beautiful rake out there they can download.


Ash Roy 30:02

How do people find out about this right card? This sounds really interesting. Do they just go to copy school dot com? And what do they look for on your website?


Bernadette Schwerdt 30:10

Yeah, there's copies and there'll be a little icon saying Download the right card and you can download it and get it instantly. So it's on the home page.


Ash Roy 30:18

I'm going to do that. One tip I wanted to share with our listeners and viewers is the benefit of using something called the alter ego effect, which I learned from a guy called Todd Herman, who's written a book by that name, and he was a guest on episode 176. And for me, I do have a lot of mindset issues which have got a lot of baggage from childhood and so on.


But I found the alter ego effect approach to be very useful in sidestepping a lot of the baggage rather than having to deal with the baggage, which I still think you need to deal with. We all have our demons and we need to work through them. But I found it is a very quick I don't want to use the word shortcut, but it's a quick sidestep, so I'm just going to give a really brief overview on how it has helped me and maybe it will help people who are watching or listening to this.


The idea of the alter ego effect is not new, and it's been around forever. David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust and the Beatles had Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Beyoncé, who I would like to say I'm not a fan of. I just don't like her. Music created Sasha Fierce, which was the name of her first album. One of the challenges, I believe, was she wasn't comfortable with all the suggest of going to dance moves that you had to do to make it big in music, because she was raised in a fairly conservative background, so she created Sasha Fierce and that became her alter ego and that helped her to break out of her own


mental stories that were holding her back. So if you are struggling as a writer or a business owner and you are having difficulty getting rid of those stories, a great way to do it is to create an alter ego. Another version of yourself, if you like. In Todd Hermann's case, you'll see the book has a pair of glasses on the front, so he has his reverse Superman where he puts on the glasses and he's like Superman kind of thing.


And you step into that ego. You have a totem, and that totem kind of activates that alter ego and then allows you to do things that the normal you would otherwise would be fearful of. But over time, the alter ego and the real you sort of meet in the middle and you form a sort of a new persona and there's a ton of different use cases for this and for Hermann's work with Olympians and also to athletes of various levels.


And it seems to work. That's my $0.02.


Bernadette Schwerdt 32:16

I love that so much. And I've heard other variations of it, which I find really interesting, too. The one woman I don't know personally, but I heard her tell a story that she was starting up a business and she didn't have any staff and she felt really uncomfortable emailing people about sales, like, Are you going to buy my product or not?


Or can I get a testimonial? So she created an assistant called Like Lucy or somebody who didn't exist and so whenever she sent me emails from Lucy, the PR or Lucy, the publicist or Lucy, whoever it was. So even though it was her because it was under the different name of somebody else, she felt a bit of a distance.


So she didn't actually have to go through the emotional wear and tear of sending it herself. So I thought that was really interesting. And I've often said that to my students that asking for testimonials can be quite challenging. So either email it so that you don't feel you have to ask it personally or do get a PR or a VA to do it for you so you don't even know it's being done or when it's being done, it just gets done.


Or if you can't afford that, use this alter ego that you've just mentioned. I love it. Great idea.


Ash Roy 33:13

Yeah, and don't forget to have a totem to activate it. So one of the people that inspires me the most is my wife, who is an incredibly strong and accomplished human being, and she received a monogrammed coffee mug. I kind of stole it from her. And I have it on my desk and I look at it. That's my way of saying, well, if she can achieve what she has and overcome the obstacles she's overcome, I can do it, too.


And that's the other thing. Your idol or your hero doesn't have to be someone who's written 25 books and whose name is up in lights. It could be someone you're married to now.


Bernadette Scwerdt 33:44

I think it's great. Another way is Radiohead. It's like, what would so-and-so do in this situation? What would Oprah Winfrey do here? What would Elon Musk do? What would the pope do? You know what it Gandhi either. So sometimes just stepping into the realm of another persona who's renowned for that particular quality that you want to adopt, that's often a useful thing to do as well.


Ash Roy 34:03

Well, that was a wonderful conversation. Is there anything else you would like to add, Bernadette Nothing.


Bernadette Schwerdt 34:08

I think you've covered a great plethora of topics there. Ash, It's been a delight talking to you and thank you very much for having me.


Ash Roy 34:14

Lovely to have you. And maybe we'll talk again soon. Thank you so much for being on the show.


Bernadette Schwerdt 34:18

My pleasure.


Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!