faded graphic with two photos of women: Allison Scholes (podcast host) and Haley Burns (guest) for The Boss Lady in Sweatpants Show

How to Put the Pop and Pizzazz Back into Your Unique Brand

Today I have Haley Burns with me. She is a conversion copywriter and launch strategist…basically she’s going to help you improve your writing, so you don’t sound bland! It’s time that you sound like you, and not AI.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why creativity matter! Can’t you just post and write about your business?
  • Ways to truly engage people with voice that sounds like no one else
  • A common myth about writing for your business?
  • Haley’s favorite “hack” to instantly improve your copy’s engagement


Prefer video? Watch here:


Connect with Haley:




[email protected]


faded graphic of a woman with text overlay:  How to Put the Pop and Pizzazz Back into Your Unique Brand | www.bossladyinsweatpants.com


Connect with your host, Allison:

http://www.bossladyinsweatpants.com (It’s my birthday month! Use the code BIRTHDAY to get 10% off the Ignite Your Light journal + free shipping.)


Full transcription if you like to read:

Allison: Hello my friends. Welcome back to the show. Today I have Haley Burns with me. She is a conversion copywriter and launch strategist. So basically she’s going to help you improve your writing, so you don’t sound so bland. It’s time that you sound like you and not AI. So welcome to the show, Haley.

Haley: Hi Allison.

Haley: Thanks so much for having me and I love that you mentioned ai.

Allison: Big buzzword lately and before we got on this call, I poked around your website, and can I just say how impressed I am with your copywriting? Like I have had a lot of copywriters and copy strategists on my show. But your website really popped out at me on how you use words and how we can really relate to it.

Allison: And so if anyone’s listening and they’re like, oh, what’s her website? It’s sugarcopy.com. But don’t go until after you hear what Hailey has to say on the show, and then go to sugar copy.com and you’re going to go, oh, now I get what she was saying. So let’s talk about it. Copy and our brand voice and how we can put all that together.

Why does creativity matter when it comes to improve your writing?

Allison: And the first question out of the gates is, it’s kind of a two part question here is why does creativity matter? And I know what my audience is thinking like I am not creative. And can’t I just post what I want to post and just talk about my business? So I want to know from you, because your website is so creative, your copy is so creative, but so relatable.

Allison: So why does creativity matter? And in your mind, what is creativity?

Haley: Sure. Uh, so one thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and I’ve been noticing is I think during Covid, so many people brought their businesses online, and now there’s a lot of the same offerings. There’s more saturation than ever.

Haley: And I think that is an opportunity for people to just be more refined and more niche and more authentic, to really stand out and get their message heard. Um, I think in 2015, They said like, our attention spans are shorter than goldfish. And I can imagine with TikTok it’s more like ants or amoebas or something now.

Haley: Um, so yeah, just, I think it’s more important than ever to rely on, uh, fewer gimmicks and just better storytelling and, um, you know, people aren’t just buying your product. They’re buying your personality. So, uh, yeah, using creativity to, uh, Not sound like chat, g p t and set your content apart is more important today than it ever has been.

What makes you different?

Allison: And I think when we talk about creativity, I think it’s really honing in on what makes you different from everybody else and how can you put it out there. Creativity doesn’t mean that we have to have these. Big intellectual words or the most beautiful graphics on Instagram. To me, that’s not what creativity is.

Allison: Creativity is really infusing who you are into the work that you do. Would you agree with that?

Haley: Totally. Uh, you don’t have to be good at painting or even writing to be good at writing for your business. It’s just about being yourself and being unique and original.

Allison: Yeah, I, yeah, I totally agree with that.

Allison: So what are some ways to truly engage people with voice that sounds like no one else.

Your Brand Voice… where to find inspiration

Haley: Yeah. So, uh, I don’t think this is feasible for everyone, but in 2018 I went cold Turkey from Instagram and I, uh, I made a pact to myself that instead of scrolling and being like mindlessly turning my brain off, I would try to read more.

Haley: And that started off with me kind of trying to optimize my productivity and only read nonfiction. And after a while, um, I kind of allowed myself, uh, you know, like, it’s like if I’m going to watch Netflix, maybe I can just read fiction. And for a while I thought that reading fiction was kind of like brain junk food, but I found that after a while I.

Haley: It really helped me write more engaging copy and, uh, be more creative. So as I leaned into this idea and felt, uh, less guilty about, uh, reading fiction in my free time, I noticed that I could, uh, draw different skills from different types of writers. And, uh, for example, like, uh, Maybe you’re familiar with Charles Bukowski or, um, Kurt Vonnegut.

Haley: They’re really great at, uh, conveying profound subjects in really short, conversational sentences and being really readable to, uh, A wide audience. And so after spending so much more time reading, uh, fiction by those types of authors, I, I feel like maybe it like, would marinate my subconscious and eventually my writing just became so much more engaging and kind of mirrored the way that these, uh, these famous for a good reason authors are writing.

Haley: And on the flip side, uh, Kind of turning to books that are a little more verbose and descriptive, uh, with, uh, for example, Cormack McCarthy. I don’t know if you’ve, no, I don’t have heard of him. He passed away a couple months ago. Uh, so sad. He has been called like the Hemmingway. Of our time. Okay. Really, he, he is so visceral.

Haley: His imagery is, uh, so emotional and it’s, uh, just spending a little bit of time reading something like that really helps you plug into humanity and learn how to, um, really, uh, tug at people’s heartstrings and like an ethical way. So on the flip side, um, instead of reading, you know, really, um, direct straightforward fiction reading, something like that, um, Has just opened my mind to new, new metaphors and new ways of describing things that makes my storytelling and my copy so much more impactful.

Haley: And so I think just keeping an open mind and exposing yourself to that type of writing in your free time can really help writing for your business.

Phone vs. Books (to improve your writing)

Allison: You know what? That’s some really great advice that I’ve never heard from anyone else. When it comes to writing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be writing all the time.

Allison: I love that advice about putting down the phone, because honestly, when we’re scrolling those social media apps, it is mindless, right? And you just kind of go brain dead. So put down the phone. Pick up a book and honestly give yourself permission to give up feelings. Like, uh, handcuff to social media. cause honestly, at the end of the day, like that’s not what’s really going to sell your business is how many times you post on Instagram a week.

Allison: Like, let, let’s be honest, that’s not how it goes. So putting down the phone, picking up the book, I love that. I read every night before I go to bed, but now I’m kind of thinking instead of scrolling after dinner, why, you know, the kids are doing whatever and the husband’s doing the dishes. Pick up a book instead of picking up my phone.

Allison: I love that advice. And then when you talked about storytelling, that’s kind of a buzzword too. A lot of people, when they hear the word storytelling, think it needs to be like this big, massive. Transformational story, and I don’t know how you feel about it. I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s more about these little micro stories that happens day to day that you think might be boring, but in reality it’s very relatable to your audience.

Allison: And then they feel closer to you and then that’s how they begin to trust you. So when you talk about storytelling, are you talking about yes, it could be big story, transformational stories, but it also could be those little micro stories?

Haley: Totally. I think it can be both. And uh, I, I think you’re spot on with people, uh, racking their brains thinking they need to, you know, I don’t know, be the next Steven Spielberg in their e launch email.

Haley: But, um, it could just be like a slice of life day-to-day thing that you, you start, and I think people maybe even enjoy that more because they see you, uh, they see you head to head with you.

Relatability in your Brand

Allison: Yeah. And a good example of this is, I try to make my stories relatable to movies. My audience has learned that I love to watch movies.

Allison: I love to watch Netflix. So if there’s something that you absolutely love, maybe there’s like a TV show that you’re obsessed with, can you start thinking of little micro stories in your life that kind of relates to like a certain episode or relates to a character? And then you could put that in an email and have a gif of that character, and it’s so relatable.

Allison: You’re telling a little micro story, but you’re also relating it to something else that someone might also encounter. So I think that’s like little tricky ways that you can do that and put it in your copy too.

Haley: Yeah. Yeah. It doesn’t even have to be your story. It can be about a character. Yeah, absolutely.

Haley: But then they, then they want to go watch it.

Allison: Yeah. No, I love that. So, I want to know from you, are there any common myths about writing for your business that you want to bust today?

Common writing myths

Haley: Yeah. Uh, I think this, this kind of ties in with, uh, how being a generalist today is kind of the death of some online businesses and, uh, how important it is to have personality in your writing.

Haley: Um, but you know, I think there’s a myth, especially with people starting out, that you need to sound super professional and formal and every, all of the grammar needs to be all. The grammar. And, uh, uh, one thing I learned early on in my, in my writing career is from, um, copywriter Ben Settle. He’s like an email marketing God.

Haley: He’s known for being really witty and, uh, controversial, but that’s what makes him successful. He, uh, he calls this technique, uh, language butchering, where, uh, Instead of, instead of saying like, I think he’ll be like me. Thanks. And I think it makes copywriting really engaging and his emails are wildly successful for that reason.

Haley: They’re just really funny. Um, he just talks like an or sometimes, and, um, It’s just, uh, people don’t really want to see. Perfect. And I, I think kind of just leaning into like using slang and uh, and writing how you talk is, uh, is, is what works. And so, um, I think one way to kind of like, uh, practice, this is just reading out loud.

Haley: You’re writing and see if it sounds like, you know, you’re talking to your grandma or you’re at a cafe with a friend. Um, or like, don’t overthink it at all and just let the words pour out and like, just write how you talk.

Talk it out to improve your writing

Allison: Right? And a lot of these, like I don’t, I know like word, like if you’re going to type this out, maybe in Word you can do the speak portion, just speak it and then you can kind of pick out your slang.

Allison: Totally. Totally. And then you can, because I know for me, every email I send out, I always start with, Hey. Yeah, yeah. It’s not like dear or whatever. It’s, Hey, it’s, hey, whoever. Like, and that’s how I talk. So if that’s a really good tip for our audience is instead of writing the email, let’s just start with emails today.

Allison: Talk it out. Speak to it maybe on your, on your phone, in the memo section. Just say what you want to do and then just transcribe it and put it in words and kind of pick out your slang, kind of see how it is, kind of see what you know. If you have short sentences or long sentences and you kind of get an idea of what your personality is too.

Allison: Do you have any other like advice you would give when someone, because I think that’s how most people start when it comes to writing. It’s like, okay, I need to email my audience. I want to start emailing them. How would you tell ’em to get started with infusing their personality and emails?

Haley: Yeah. Um. Like I said, just don’t overthink it.

Haley: Just kind of let the words pour out. I mean, obviously there should be some structure, but, um, it definitely shouldn’t be a whole, um, to whom it may concern situation. Um, and yeah, I mean, using storytelling, I, it’s not even wrong to use storytelling in every email. If you want to tell a story in every email. I think people love stories and that just keeps them reading until the end.

Haley: And, uh, definitely, uh, being mindful of, uh, Sometimes I see with a lot of, even like really big brands is they’ll start emails with like a big block of text. So just being really mindful of the layout and readability as well. Like it’s totally okay to use two word sentences and um, Yeah, one, one sentence paragraphs.

Haley: So I think that’s really important as well.

Allison: That’s awesome. Now, before I jump to my last question, where’s the one place people can really learn from you? I know I mentioned sugar copy.com, but is there somewhere else that they can really see your copy and your personality?

Haley: Yeah. Um, basically I’m not a big social media person.

Haley: Like I said. Um, you can find [email protected]. My portfolio is there. Um, I’m also on LinkedIn, and then I’m also to a lesser extent on Facebook, uh, which is facebook.com/haley.copywriter. So those are the three horsemen.

Allison: and I mean, and if you’re listening, you have to go check out sugar copy.com. cause I was having a real fun time this morning.

Allison: Good. Just checking out your website. And I was kind of like, oh, how can I, like, what can I use? Uh, cause you use food. Yeah, it makes you hungry, like, yes, diabetic, like, so your thing is food. So if you’re listening, I want you to think of what’s the thing in your life? Are you a coffee snob? Uh, is it food? Is it movies?

Allison: Is it tv? Is it books? You know, think of what makes you quirky. Hmm. That’s how I like what really makes you stand out. Like if you were to ask, you know, five friends, what’s the one thing that stands out about me? Let them tell you and then start infusing that into your copy. So here’s my last question for you.

Allison: What is your favorite hack to instantly, I mean, instantly improve your copies engagement.

Favorite hack to instantly improve your writing

Haley: Yeah. Uh, so one thing, uh, people do a lot in their emails or even sales pages is there’ll be a lot of, uh, warmup copy or like buildup copy in the beginning of the, uh, in the beginning of the text. And it’s just simply stuff that people guilty don’t care about.

Haley: Maybe it’s like a history lesson or setting up the story or whatever. Okay. And actually in, uh, really, uh, really great movies and books. They use this technique called In Media Res, which in Latin means, uh, in the middle of things. Uh, so it’s totally okay and actually better to start an email or a sales page like with.

Haley: Dialogue or just like directly in the story, like the context comes later and that’s what gets people to keep reading. Like they don’t want to hear, you know, just, uh, the background. I think it’s, you just got to start in the action, drop people right into the madness. And that’s what is really great for engagement.

Haley: Kinda like a movie

Allison: where they kind of show the middle. Yeah. Yeah. So you’re like, what just happened? Yeah. Yeah. And then you’re hooked, right? You got to know what happens. Okay. Exactly. Yeah. No, I like that. It’s kind of like we would just watch the quiet place. And it just starts off with everything.

Allison: Everyone’s gone. There’s nobody around. They’re being super quiet, and you know, there’s monsters, but you’re like, how did it get like this? Yeah, right. Your blood pressure. They don’t go into them, they don’t even start with how it started and their perfect lives, and then they come like, it was just, boom, it’s in.

Allison: And we were hooked. We, and then we had to watch the second one. Yeah. So I, I love that advice starting like somewhere in the middle and then. Is it almost teasing them or are you just telling them what it is?

Haley: Um, I think you can do both, but I just think it’s, uh, really important as you’re writing to kind of ask like, so what, like why does this matter?

Haley: And okay, will, is there an incentive to keep reading? What can I remove? Just constantly trimming the unnecessary stuff that isn’t going to get people jolting, like word by word.

Allison: Okay. No, I like that. That’s going to make me kind of look at my stuff and go, okay, what would just make them go, yes, I need this right now.

Allison: Yeah. And I don’t even need to know exactly what it’s all about. They don’t need to know every single feature, right? Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. They just want to know the transformation, correct?

Haley: Yes. Yeah. Every

Allison: word matters. No. I love that. Haley, this was a fun conversation. I know it was quick, but it was just a lot of good juicy little nuggets for the audience to really just get their brand voice and their copy.

Allison: If you’re listening, Go check out sugar copy.com. And again, Hailey, this was a lot of fun and thank you so much for being here.

Haley: Yeah, thanks Alison. It’s been such a pleasure. And, uh, you know, we’re both in the Chicago area looking a little dreamy, so stay safe.

Allison: Thank you.

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