Wow, I just struck gold! Wasn’t even looking for it. We’re going to talk about researching words to use in our copy later for your brand. We’re creating a personal brand words list. What even is that?
A lot of branding is constricting usage of words, visuals, and emblems, not remaining perpetually creative in all aspects. Writing a personal brand word list is a lot of work. It’s something that’s going to take time. More than one afternoon.
A personal brand word list is something you can create before you’re finished with your brand messaging guidebook. Before you can tell your helpers what you sound like, you have to decide what your brand sounds like. So lets do some research to create a personal brand word list. Like the piggy bank you had when you were a kid. A place to save for later.
I’m writing a blog about butterflies for my niched-out, Shopify store today. Truth is, I don’t know that much about butterflies. Likely about the same as the next person. Butterflies have affinity. People like butterflies without identifying as a “butterfly person”. It’s not that serious to like butterflies. You can just like them. What are some things that you like that your readers have a pretty good chance of liking, too?
Butterflies are one of the universal flickers of beauty in life. Everyone knows what a butterfly is. You don’t even have to speak the same language as the human next to you to know that you both know about butterflies.
Butterflies have the workings of a thread you can pull into your copy. We define a thread, when it comes to copywriting, as something relatable that doesn’t require loyalty. You don’t have to be a person that identifies as a “butterfly person” to enjoy or know about butterflies.
In my quest for a 2500-word blog about butterflies, I’ve found myself at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus Ohio. Well … Digitally, I am totally there.
The thing that made me put my blog about butterflies down for a moment to come back here and talk about copywriting is the 9,393 reviews averaging 4.7 rating on Google. That’s a good amount of reviews. Last time I researched something with such shimmery copy bank words—’Twas the night Before Christmas.
Finding something beloved by many that relate to your niche is going to give you a jumping start on your copy bank for that subject.
When I start to build a “copy bank”, aka a personal brand word list, for a particular brand, project, or client, there’s an array of word choices I’m looking for.
Surprisingly, I’m not just interested in the word, but surrounding words, too.
A side note tool that is interesting to use for copybanking is called relatedwords.org. & describingwords.io
For “butterflies”, relatedwords.org will get you things like caterpillar, metamorphosis, pollination, nectar, monarch butterfly. Describing words for “butterflies” returns words like “active and vivacious” “splendid”, and “rather large and showy”.
When I’m looking for words to add to my copy bank I’m looking for a few things.
First off, I’m not just looking for words I’ll use to describe [butterflies.]
I’m looking for words people use to describe things they like.
“The best copy is assembled, not written.” Here’s one way we gather a little jar of random screws and nails to use later.
It’s important that you take the sayings out of context. We’re going to use this as inspiration. We may say the exact same words later, but for something else besides describing a butterfly garden.
One specific way to build your personal brand words list is to check out reviews for something related to or standard in your niche. Here are a few words I can get out of these butterfly garden reviews:
“so much thought and effort has been put into this [thing]”
“worthy of walking around”
“So beautiful and relaxing”
“fabulous summer outing”
“pretty good for a cheap date”
“endless opportunities to explore”
“beautiful place to explore when [this place] is cold & ugly.”
“really nice way to spend the morning walking”
“a hidden gem in [place] I totally forgot about”
A [location] treasure and perfect for a Sunday date with
“coffees & conversation”
“cute as heck”
“a romantic place”
“wide array of plant life”
“colorful, pleasing effect”
Let’s try another way. Reviews are one. Something else I love to look at is a reference style book about your subject. Let’s say … Houseplants.
Everyone loves houseplants, right? Fun fact — I grew up on a flower farm but we had ZERO houseplants. Well, okay … There were two cactuses in a greenhouse that my mom built. We watered them in the winter when we went in there to toss our gloves on the wood stove to melt the snow and warm up.
I’m going to snag my most favorite and beautiful book about houseplants — Plantopedia.
Lets go in.
I like to extract single words, double words, triple words, and phrases when I’m collecting for my copy bank. If I’m doing customer voice research, I’ll also be looking for concepts that get repeated by many people .. Things they do want … Things they don’t want …
Pretty Little Words from Plantopedia:
“without a doubt, the best-known representative”
“fast becoming favorites”
We make a list so that we’re taking these words out of context. We’re going to put them somewhere far away from the sentence they lived in when we met them. The phrase or set of words strung beautifully together in one context can turn into something pretty useful in a different setting. Here are some great little phrases that inspire us to keep writing.
“worthy of prime position”
“far more rare and elusive than”
“with the right care”
“periods of survival”
“we recommend planting your [plant] in a plastic grow pot inside a larger cachepot”
“for this reason, it will also do well”
“good air circulation will help keep pests and disease that thrive in damp conditions at bay”
“feeding [your blog] twice a month will promote rapid healthy growth”
“Just try keeping your hands off this bad boy!” **** ( I REALLY LIKE THIS.) I would never say it. Maybe it’s a “review”.
“biggest, most extravagant”
“fancy leaf/ /leaved”
“easily propagated” — omg, this for a way to talk about reusing content. “Long-form content can be easily propagated.” hah! See? Now THAT is how you teach plant moms how to repurpose long-form content.
PSS … Are YOU a plant mom? Check out our favorite earthy home decor store: www.earthtodaisy.com. (Ps, it’s us. That’s why we love it.). The Spanish production crew of Supervivientes taught me in Honduras to always look out for number 1. (That’s me.) I’ve been listening. Do you know who Is *not* going to build a sustainable business for you? Literally, everyone you meet. No one’s going to do it for you. You have to do it for yourself. #endrant
Note to self: Write another blog about copy banking all from Jen Olmstead’s #longandweird newsletter for #TonicSiteShop. —>> Add this to your workflowy or Notion database blog idea template.
When I worked 48 hours per week in a giant call center with 300 reps in the same room as me, we played a little game. Not everyone, just the people who had their hard and soft skills in working order so that they can play a little mental game with their friends while also providing a “one call resolution” to clients while also fiddling with all the freaking programs. It was to look up the “word of the day” from (I want to say Westminster, but that’s the dog show … What’s the dictionary?” Webster’s. Word of the day. And use it on a call with a customer. Let’s see what today’s word is … “telegenic” … It means, someone well suited to be on TV. Like, Betty White. Okay. Cool.
Just a quick note from my inner critic.
The word of the day is super hard to use in a customer service phone call about a power outage. (“By the way, shall we just take care of your bill? We have three months of free HBO; shall we plop in that promo for you? How’s your day going, Suzie? Oh, the kids are throwing tantrums today. Too bad they didn’t come out Telegenic. They could be paying your cable bill, am I right?
Not super easy. It’s a stretch. Using a random word of the day in a sentence is a challenge. It’s fun, but it’s adding more to your enjoyment of life through jokes rather than adding oomph to the conversation for your client’s benefit.
Actually, I’m really impressed with the wit on that one. What’s cool about practicing being funny a lot is that you actually start to find jokes both in your ass and out of thin air. They just sorta appear. Like a poem in the wind. (That’s a Big Magic reference of Ruth Stones’s poetry process.) Catch a tiger by the tail, anyone? So you can hear the poem whistling on the wind for you?
Want an easier way to speak to your clients than to challenge yourself to include Webster’s word of the day in your blog?
Grab a reference-style book in your niche, and look through it. The point is to take the words you find, the way the describe something, the on-brand adjectives … Out of context. You’re going to give them a new home, somewhere else in your spiel.
“growth will be slowed”
“will have a detrimental affect on growth”
“it tends to do best with adequate support”
“considered a weed”
“plenty of bright light”
“bright indirect light” <<— trending!
“continue to thrive”
“looks incredible trailing down a bookshelf or plant stand”
“sweet little succulent”
“easy to care for and cute to boot”
“name is a little misleading”
“slightly shaded spots”
“Succulents have the ability to store water in their fleshy foliage”. – Succulents = SEO blogs! They store nutrients and water inside for later! (booom! see? An original idea about marketing. This pairs well with (some on-brand messages for TONIC) my concept-in-cocoon that sales is more like a walk through the garden than a boring-af funnel.
“needs protection from harsh afternoon sun”. What would protection from the harsh afternoon sun be in my copy garden?
-admired like trailing growth of ripsalis or Donkey’s tail sedum. (original idea for copy that came to me from marinating in this book.
“shrub-like growth habit”
“large, leathery, lime green leaves” Green Shield Alocasia
“brilliant turtle shell patterns”
“a good soak”
“a good soak roughly once a week should do the trick”
“should do the trick”
“implement a regular watering schedule
“it will communicate it’s thirst by wilting”
—>> You ever check out the #thristyscience hashtag? @Experrinment on IG
“avoid hot and cold droughts”
“if you can [get your hands on] this [tropical vine] you will be rewarded with a fast-growiing, easy-to-care-for [houseplant]”. (community?)
“You can further increase your chances of success”
“there are a few things you can do to manage [low humidity] / / [your blog ideas] ** link to blog about Notion databases. Refer to story about mom getting a custom database for her daylilies. (we had 1200) (link to blog about storybanking)
Types of soil:
Coarse + sandy
It’s a little Mad-Lib-ish.
“providing adequate [draining]” / / [training] / / structure? Feedback?
“it is perfectly acceptable to [do this] but be sure you [do this]”
“after this, you’ll need to start adding your own [stuff]
“we recommend using [this] to [do this].”
“we’re here to help you establish which [things] fit best with you and your [space].
“also, keep in mind that”
“avoid harsh afternoon sun”
“keep in mind that [light conditions] change with the season”
“begin to form”
“in the wild”
“will thrive for many years”. – We’re all about cultivating a sustainable business that will thrive for many years. (IS THAT MY NEW TAGLINE?)
“more suited to a life [indoors]”
Babes. I’m hitting publish. Pick out a book and look for some cool word pairings. What speaks to you more? Double words, or triple?