Writers on Writers: Pressboard chats with Domain7

People chatting in a cafe

Photo credit: Jim Pennucci

Writers on Writers is a monthly Pressboard-exclusive series of interviews between two writers. Breaking down barriers, Writers on Writers encourages conversations about innovation and rising to the challenges faced by the publishing industry today. From print to digital, inspiring stories continue to be published everyday. Writers on Writers gives you the inside scoop on how that all goes down at our favourite publications.

Hi, my name is Rosie Sidle and I’m a Master of Publishing (MPub) student. You might have seen my name on a few Pressboard pieces too! I keep busy writing for Pressboard and a few other organizations. I try my best to always have a story on the go.

You can see then why I was stoked to interview another publishing junkie, my dear friend and MPub classmate Amanda Lee Smith. Like me, she always has her pen scratching multiple pages. Her formal title is Communications Specialist at Domain7. She’s a pro who works with many clients—each with individual voices and personalities. As a junior writer, I was keen to pick her brain about how she develops and maintains a consistent company voice.

Developing a company voice is key for content marketing. Spunky or straight-laced, the voice gives off the sense that a real person is behind the company. No robots allowed, and definitely no “corporate blah”! Great products and services need a compelling story. A solid company voice is helps us tell stories that people want to hear.

I asked Amanda about what it’s like to work with many clients. How does she keep it all straight? “Many of the companies I work with have already established a clear personality—so the challenge is being true to that voice but also allowing it to evolve naturally as the company grows or changes,” said Amanda. Over the years, Amanda has cultivated Domain7’s voice as, “super smart but approachable.” Another client she thinks of as “affable, but down to business,” and one of her lifestyle brand clients she calls “the lazy sophisticate.” You want to be a part of that group don’t you? I do!

What about those companies who don’t have a clear personality? Not everyone can be a Warby Parker or a Kinfolk. To my surprise, Amanda commented that she finds it most exciting to work with companies who don’t have an established voice. She loves digging in and revealing the magic behind every successful business. This is an indispensable skill to have. I haven’t aced it yet, so I delved deeper into the topic! How do I separate my personality from my writing? Amanda recommended that I look to the leader of the company. Get to know this person. When he’s passionately speaking about his business, what’s his tone? When she’s selling the business to investors, what’s the magic in the pitch? When he’s enjoying a beer on Beer Friday, what’s his go-to subject? These are teases into the founder’s psyche. They provide endless inspiration for a company voice.

Amanda’s best tip for writers

I couldn’t end my interview without asking Amanda for her best tip for writers. At some point, every writer experiences the dreaded creative drain. A week-long vacation is one way to address it, but unless you have conveniently timed writer’s block, you’re going to love this next tip. Amanda interacts with her clients and her Domain7 coworkers as often as possible to learn what they have on the go and what topics are humming around the office. It’s easy to get caught up in one’s own work. She makes it a priority to engage her curious side. She’s often jotting down notes as they chat to discover how top-of-mind topics can be turned into content. That’s how she turned a conversation about top-level domains (TLDs)—a seemingly dull topic—into a thought-provoking article. Genius. Amanda tells me to never stop being curious about what my coworkers are digging into. Take out your headphones and listen to the buzz around you!

Want to learn more secrets of the trade? Follow this rad writer at @coterieco

Pressboard thanks Rosie Sidle and Amanda Lee Smith for sharing insights on what it takes to develop and maintain a company voice.

Thanks for reading

For more insights into the people behind the stories, check out Writers on Writers: Textbook chats with BCBusiness

 

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