Power up Your Copy with Wireframes
Joel Klettke is a copywriter and entrepreneur who runs Business Casual Copywriting. We discovered him through his entertaining and informative video called "Wireframing With Balsamiq for Copywriters Who Don't Suck."
In the video he makes a strong case for using a wireframing tool like Balsamiq for presenting copy to clients. By showing words in the context of the page they fit into, he sees (and can show) a much clearer picture of how effective they'll be. It's great for people on both sides of the project.
He describes situations where, without the aid of wireframes, his copy "lost all its power" by being overshadowed by useless images or placed poorly on the page. As our other copywriting case studies have shown, context matters when it comes to copywriting.
Here's his video:
And if that's not compelling enough for you, he's also (apparently) "the best looking freelancer in the world." 🙂
Read on for our interview...
Q&A with Joel Klettke
What industry do you work in, and what is your title or job description?
I'm a conversion-focused copywriter; I primarily work with B2B clients like SaaS companies. My job is to help them improve their conversion rates by improving their copy and messaging.
What kinds of things are you excited about in your industry?
It's still a relatively young industry that is constantly evolving. The level of data we are able to collect on customers is constantly improving, and the tools for measurement are getting more and more accurate as prices continue to come down. I'm really excited to see how copy and design are becoming increasingly intertwined; clients are beginning to understand that how copy is presented is incredibly important.
I'm also excited that more and more companies are seeing the value in conversion optimization and copy as a whole. Where in the past, copy was an oversight or an afterthought, now it's being seen as a critical part of any website or marketing campaign.
What suggestions do you have for someone looking to succeed in your role or industry?
It's not enough to be a good writer. You have to invest time in learning about UX, understanding analytics, and knowing how to pull apart data to understand what's really going on. Your ability to research is going to be what separates you from the pack. If you know how to dig; how to ask the right questions and interpret the right data in the right way, you'll be head and shoulders above your competition.
Why and how do you use Balsamiq?
I use Balsamiq to create wireframes of landing pages, websites, and even in-app experiences to show my clients how the copy I write might look when it is live.
I don't just send my clients a word doc, because even the best copy can fail miserably if it is presented the wrong way. Having a tool like Balsamiq gives me, someone who isn't as deep on UX or design, a medium to better communicate with designers and developers so that we all pull in the same direction.
Plus, my clients love seeing that I'm thinking about more than just the "words" part of the equation.
Do you have any feature ideas or suggestions for how we can improve our product(s)?
Honestly, I'm very happy with Balsamiq. I do wish that formatting text was a little bit easier; a WYSIWYG editor for text boxes would really speed things up and minimize the amount of markup I have to do.
But outside of that, I have a hard time coming up with ways to improve on what's there.
What do you like most about what you do?
I love that my work is always changing. you can never really know it all. What worked for one client may not work for another; you're always being tasked with creative problem-solving. I absolutely love the research phase, because I get to peek behind the curtain and dissect what's working, what's not, and why. The data is a puzzle that points to behavior, and when I can solve it, everyone makes money.
What's the most important thing you're better at now than when you started?
As my career progresses, I continue to get better at understanding how copy and design interplay to influence decision-making. I'm not a designer or a UX specialist, but the more I work with them, and the more I design landing pages on my own, the more I come to appreciate how much critical thinking needs to go into how you present information.
What's challenging about your job and how do you deal with it?
The same thing I love about my job is what makes it challenging: you're constantly trying to solve problems using whatever data and insight you have at your disposal.
Sometimes, and maybe even MOST times, things won't work as expected. From there, you've got to understand why. You can't have an ego in conversion optimization; the ideas and variants you like best are often the worst performing.
I have to learn to let the data tell the story, and to put my personal biases aside. I sometimes have to convince others on the project to do the same!
What other tools do you use for your job that you like?
I'm a huge fan of tools like HotJar, Inspectlet and FullStory for onsite analytics. When you can watch how a user navigates a page, it adds a deeper layer of insight than static data ever could.
Without those tools, I feel like I'd constantly be guessing.
What are you into outside of work?
Whenever I can, I travel. I lived in New Zealand for 8 months last year with my wife and two of our friends; this year I went on a five week trip through Scotland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland.
I play a few too many video games for someone pushing 30, but I love a good story and I'm pretty competitive, so they're a good outlet for that.
And any time I can go out for wings with friends or try out a new brewery, I'm game.
Do you have any podcasts or websites that you recommend? (And/or, Who do you look up to in your field?)
Joanna Wiebe is someone who has helped shape my career in so many ways. She was the one who first showed me how to wireframe and encouraged me to take it seriously.
Podcasts... I love The Copywriter Club podcast. It's so well done, and the people they get on there are always sharp.
Great stuff, Joel! Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Do you have a story to share about the awesome things you do with Balsamiq? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories or blog posts!