Two women. No middlemen.

Two women. No middlemen.

It’s infuriating, isn’t it? You know what you need to say, but you just can’t find the right words?

Welcome to the limbo Penni and Jo were in until June 2023.

Meet Kabo Creative

Penni and Jo Pickering are the masterminds behind Kabo Creative. With Jo as designer and Penni as developer, they create beautiful websites and eye-catching designs. They wanted to update their own website to demonstrate what they could do.

I was a bit ashamed of our old site. It didn’t really represent us. It didn’t represent what clients liked about us, who we wanted to work with, and who we were good for. It didn’t feel right.

Jo Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

But the project was stalling. They were building an amazing new site. But the copy was letting them down.

The copy was super painful to do because it’s hard to do your own copy. I rewrote it five or six times over three years. But we’d put it in Jo’s amazing design and think ‘the copy is totally ruining this, completely ruining it.’

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

Penni and Jo were coming up against a challenge that faces us all: we understand our business, but we’re too close to it. And that makes it hard to articulate and makes the copy hard to write. They began to realise they needed to bring someone in to help with the copy. Someone who could get to the heart of things.

The copy I’d written was all the rational reasons you should use us. And I knew it had to be emotional. You had to fall for us a little bit to buy from us. We were searching for a copywriter that could get us, get why our customers might emotionally fall for us, and then write copy to begin that journey for them.

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

Penni and Jo knew what they needed: a copywriter who could get to the heart of things.

Building trust

A website is so important to your business. It is, as is so often said, the salesperson that never sleeps. So trusting someone with your web copy isn’t always easy.

Luckily, Penni and Jo had already seen my portfolio and liked what they’d seen, particularly the range of voices I’ve worked on over the past 20 years. That gave them a lot of confidence that I could adopt their voice.

There were lines in that portfolio that made me laugh. I actually laughed, on my own, at my desk. That was what we were looking for. Because we’re a small agency and we’re happy, funny people, we need our website to make people laugh.

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

And once we got on that first call, we quickly realised that we would work well together. Which is why I like to get a call in as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter how good things look on paper. You need to chat to someone and listen to your gut feeling about them.

“A lot of it is trust. When you have a conversation with somebody, you have this instinctive feel about them. And after speaking to James, I was all in. I knew I could trust this guy.”

Jo Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

Once we realised we would work well together, the project got underway. And the first step was to conduct customer interviews.

After all, what we think and what customers think aren’t always the same. Interviews are fantastic for understanding what customers value, what works for them and what doesn’t, and to see what sort of language the ideal customer uses.

Then the real work began.

Hooked on a feeling

Each project is different.

Sometimes I do what I call a draft zero, which is like thinking on the page. It’ll be a combination of the obvious, the inspired, and the downright peculiar. Very little survives from a draft zero, but it helps get a handle on the project.

But sometimes you need to know the hook before you can write. A draft zero didn’t work for Penni and Jo; first, I needed to figure out what everything was going to hang from.

So I started with the beginning (which seems obvious, but is less common than you think). I wrote the hook first.

What I came up with was, “Two women. No middlemen.”

The moment we saw it, we were in love with it. I love how it highlights that we’re women, because there aren’t enough women in this industry, And the ‘no middlemen’ is funny and it’s our USP because you get to work directly with us. It’s four words that captures us perfectly and it’s super memorable.

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

Once I had the hook, the rest of the copy flowed from that. Everything tied back to that central concept and adopted a similar tone: something that would make you smile yet encapsulate everything you needed to know.

It was hard work. But it was worth it.

Building recognition

I was terribly nervous presenting the copy to Penni and Jo. I’d seen how passionate they were about their work, and we got on so well. I felt certain I’d nailed the copy. Would they feel the same way?

Yep.

The copy was just so right. It was exactly what we wanted to say. It was us. I wanted to just get it up on the site.

Jo Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

In fact, they were so happy with their copy that Penni couldn’t wait; she shared a screenshot of it before the website was even live!

Not that the site took ages to go up. The copy had got Penni and Jo enthused about their website once again, so the site was live mere weeks after I delivered the copy!

Having the right copy hit our inbox and ready to go into the design, all of a sudden there was nothing preventing us from finishing it. We were excited about it again; we couldn’t wait to get the site up!

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

And the new copy has had immediate results. Penni and Jo host The Marketing Meetup in Northampton, and the members in the community comment on their web copy all the time.

People come up to us and say, “You’re the two women, no middlemen.” It’s so memorable and we get so many compliments about it.

Jo Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

More importantly, customers are commenting on it too. Now that the copy appeals to people’s hearts as well as their heads, more prospects are responding to Kabo Creative on an emotional level. 

Now, when we get on a call with leads, nine times out of ten they say, ‘I love your website.’ This never happened before! And we realised people were getting in touch because they’d emotionally invested in us from the copy.

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

Having people comment on your copy is great as long as you’re comfortable with it. Previously, the web copy hadn’t represented Penni and Jo. So perhaps the most gratifying piece of feedback? Hearing how Jo now feels about Kabo Creative.

I’ve seen Jo’s confidence in representing our business increase, since this has gone up.

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

SHORTER IS HARDER (OO-ER)

These four words represent the hardest part of the entire project.

Yes, I conducted a client interview, customer interviews, and did competitor and keyword research. And I spent hours writing and rewriting and honing the web copy itself.

But, as always, the shortest copy is the hardest. Because you’re packing so much into such a small number of words. I dug out my notes for this project and found I’d written around 60 straplines before I landed on this one.

So seeing just how much Penni and Jo like the line, and all of the copy that flowed off the back of it, has been unbelievably gratifying. Not to mention how nice it was to work with them. Honestly, most of our calls were spent laughing. And who doesn’t want to spend work time with a smile on their face?

In fact, I enjoyed working with them so much that I asked them to design this website. They’ve done pretty good work, haven’t they?

So if you want to work with a content strategist and copywriter who’ll put a smile on your face, get in touch. Because don’t you deserve Your Copy, Righter?

If you are thinking about hiring James to write your copy – do it. We’re so so pleased we did. I have no doubt our website is doing a 1000% better job at converting new customers thanks to that copy. Thanks so much James!

Penni Pickering, Co-Founder of Kabo Creative

Wanna give me a rub?

I’m ready to be the genie in your copywriting bottle.
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