In our latest interview we caught up with husband and wife team, Ruth and Steve Letch from Struth Copywriting. Ruth with a love of words and storytelling and Steve’s extensive knowledge of technical and business writing from 20 years in corporate communications, sees a powerful combination for any business looking to improve their communications to their clients.
Wherever words are needed, Ruth and Steve strive to get to know their clients, so they can represent them fully in all written content they deliver and help them get their message across to their customers. In their interview, Ruth and Steve share how a good copywriter can really add value to a business and some great tips for anyone looking to invest in a copywriter.
Tell us a bit about Struth Copywriting?
Struth is us – Steve and Ruth. We’re a husband and wife team who started the business with the desire to help people communicate better in business.
Steve has a 20 year background in event technology and understands what’s needed from a business perspective. I love words and have been writing for years. I’m also fascinated by what makes people tick – so delving into the details about someone’s business and then helping them achieve their goals is incredibly fulfilling.
Our skills and understanding are quite complementary – Steve is much more technically-minded, and I have a more creative bent. But we’re both fanatical about spelling and grammar – and our clients have built-in proof readers because we consistently check over each other’s work. It’s also great to have someone to bounce off when we’re stuck. When I’m in the middle of something, I often yell out ‘what’s the word for ….’, and, more often than not, Steve will find it, (although he does sometimes tell me to look it up!) All up, we have created an effective working combination.
What type of clients do you work with?
Over the past few years, we’ve worked with start-ups and small to medium sized businesses across a wide range of industries and professions. We enjoy ongoing work for a number of financial advisers but Ruth also has a fair few clients in the dance industry, which is awesome as supporting the arts is something that means a lot to both of us.
The common factor between everyone we work with is that they have something to say to their clients and they want help to tell their story clearly and effectively. So really, as long as we understand their business and their message, and undertake the necessary research, we can work with anyone.
How can a good copywriter improve someone’s business?
Wherever words are needed, a good copywriter can add value to a business. From something like a social media post, to entire websites, brochures or even video scripts, we can help you get your message across to your customers. The important part is to show your clients what you can do to make their life easier or better – it’s about speaking to your clients in a way they will understand and appealing to their needs.
Early on, we made the decision to strive to get to know our clients, so we can represent them fully in all written content we deliver. ‘You have the voice, we have the words’ explains that we write in our clients’ voices – it’s their personality that is important, not ours.
A lot of people simply don’t have the time, or ability, to create good content and communicate effectively, so it can end up being quite generic or inconsistent. The work we do helps people build a relationship with their customers by building trust and positioning themselves as knowledgeable and relevant in their field.
What tips would you give someone who is looking to invest in a copywriter?
Ruth: People often come to us for website copy. Building a new website, or even rewriting an existing one, can be a long process so it’s great if we can be involved early on so we can work with the web developer/designer to create the best outcome for the client.
Also, there are lots of ways we can be involved in improving someone’s business communication. I once wrote the story of a local artist’s business journey – but she needed it in 80 words as a decal for her shop window. Not something I had done before, the finished copy was almost poetic.
One of the best things about our job is the variety and creativity – it’s not just websites and tag lines.
Steve: Have a really good think about who your audience is and what benefits you are going to bring them at any time you are trying to communicate with someone.
As well as that, you need to know who you are. Your values and what you want to achieve from your business all play a part in getting the right message across.
Our ideal client has already sharpened their marketing plan and has a really good grasp on who their audience is, what they need to know, and why. So, taking the time to work this out is really important before good content can be created.
What’s been your biggest highlight / achievement for your business?
Ruth: I think navigating living and working together, plus raising our four kids, is a pretty good achievement!
I feel a sense of achievement every time a client is happy with the content we have written. I’ve been writing for a long time but I still get scared when I send that first draft off – so it’s always a relief when they are happy and appreciative – and I always get a buzz when I see our words in print or online.
Steve: It’s great to hear when our work has a positive outcome for our clients. For example, we wrote an application for one of our clients who was nominated for an industry award – and they won! While they didn’t win because of what we wrote, we were able to help them showcase their business and achievements in the best possible way. It felt pretty good to contribute to their success.
What is the best piece of business advice you have ever been given?
Ruth: ‘Be yourself.’ My first client, who is now a dear friend, said this years ago, when we talked about turning my writing into a business. I sometimes have to remind myself to not try to be someone I’m not. You’re more likely to find me in ripped jeans and a singlet than business-suit attire. But, by being me, I get to do what I love – write and help people achieve their goals.
Steve: ‘Plan to succeed.’ Your plan might change along the way but it will make sure you stay heading in the right direction.
If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you bring?
Ruth: Is there a PowerPoint because I don’t think I’d survive without the library of books on my phone? Seriously though, I’d have to at least take a notebook, a hair tie and my four-coloured pen.
Steve: A hammock, coffee and a guitar.
Ruth: That works well, you can serenade me while I’m writing!
What’s next for Struth Copywriting?
Well, we’re looking at a big family holiday next year, which should be fun. Our eldest is about to sit his VCE exams and we’ve only got a year before the next one hits Year 11, so we need to take the opportunity now.
From a business perspective, we’re concentrating on the things we enjoy the most. I guess, like everyone, we’d also like to take more time to reflect, work on our business and undertake some further study.
2020 is looking pretty exciting as we have some long-term projects coming up where we will be turning people’s life and/or business stories into blog form or book content. Sharing in someone’s journey while you help them tell their story is great fun, although emotional and difficult at times, but it is always an honour to be trusted to take care of something so personal and meaningful.
Bios – Steve and Ruth – Partners in life and in business
I think of myself as a wordsmith – a writer, reader and talker who is fascinated by human nature. I’m often in trouble with the kids for making them wait while I’m chatting to people, whether they be good friends or random strangers. Struth Copywriting is the perfect platform for me to indulge my love of storytelling, writing and helping people achieve their goals.
I understand the time, dedication and passion that go into delivering a great business. Twenty years’ experience in corporate communication has taught me the power of the written word. I now bring that same passion closer to home. Through Struth Copywriting, I will work to support others in their drive to develop better commercial communication and relationships.