Speaker’s Corner: Featuring Justin Blackman, Brand Voice Expert & Copywriter at Pretty Fly Copywriting
Justin Blackman has written for more than 419 different people and managed to sound like every one of them. He uses an ultra-specific voice mirroring process called Brand Ventriloquism® to analyze and replicate the nuances that make your writing unique, and documents it so you can scale your content without sacrificing authenticity. He has created voice guides for industry experts such as Amy Porterfield, Stu McLaren, Bobby Klinck, and Danny Iny. And he also has a writing workshop called Write More Personality-er, where he shows you 57 fun ways to make your copy a little less Ross and a lot more Joey.
What have been your main takeaways as a copywriter for multiple entrepreneurs and brands?
Voice is a lot like stories. There are thousands out there, but they all come down to seven different types. Once you boil it down and remove all the padding, you have a much clearer definition. With voice, there are nine types. Define yours clearly enough, and everything else falls into place
How can voice guides be used as an effective tool in keeping writers on brand? How do you ensure this?
This may not win me any brownie points, but I honestly think most voice guides out there are garbage. And I say this having looked at hundreds. The problem is, they’re written for marketers and not writers. They’re too vague and leave room for everyone to have an opinion. A good voice guide will include tight parameters that bump the writer back onto track, and give them enough rules so that they can defend their work and research from everyone who simply wants to put their finger prints on it.
What is your biggest objective as a speaker?
I want my presentations to be actionable. Entertaining is a bonus – but my main goal is to get the audience to implement a change rather than just think about it and forget it by morning.
Take us through the core points of your presentation “WTF Is Your Brand Voice” at CMC. What are you hoping to accomplish via your session?
Contrary to the hippy-dippy opinions that voice comes down feeling, I treat voice as a measurable asset. One that can be tracked, adjusted, and evolved with tools, rather than mysticism. Voice comes down to three things: Your words, your tone, and your frequency (aka, your vocabulary, your emotions, and your cadence). By tracking those, you know exactly what to adjust to get your voice on brand.
As a follow-up, do you feel that digital events give you a similar level of feedback/result vis-à-vis the live versions? What would you say were the biggest pros and cons of both formats?
I received some great feedback from people who watched my presentation. I’d say the type of feedback is in par with live versions, It’s just not instant or nearly as much. The pro would be that it opens your presentation to a more diverse audience. The con would be the lack of immediate feedback or control over what happens when it’s over
As you know, our start-up is a review platform for B2B events. Given how review-driven our lives have become today, do you think reviews will bring in a level of transparency to the events industry? Would you rely on event reviews from other speakers if you had to make a speaking decision?
Reviews are here to stay, but they need to be done well and they need to be authentic. Reviews from other speakers among the most important factors in any speaking decision I’ll make.
Finally, do you have a favorite/go-to podcast? What is it?
I mostly listen to copywriting podcasts. My favourite is The Copywriter Club, with Rob Marsh and Kira Hug. I listen to it religiously.
You can follow Justin here.