How hot is your copy? Content writing tips for creative businesses

How is your copy holding up?

Did you give your written web content a lot of deep thought, or did you quickly put something in writing, just so it had a description on the site? What story are you telling to your site visitors? How are you trying to connect to them?

You see, written content is more important than you think. For many artists and creatives it’s all about the visuals, and that is normal, as that is how you work. And a picture does say more than a thousand words, in many cases. But only if it is a picture that tells your story. Your photos may show off your products very well, that doesn’t mean that the viewer will click ‘buy’. On your website, pictures and writing should go hand in hand.

Go and see what your competitors are writing…

Go and do a little research right now, before reading any further. Keep this tab open, but visit some of your competitor’s websites. What do you like about their written content? What message are they giving out? What problem are they solving? What are they telling you on their About page?

How hot is their copy?

Did you see a lot of difference between the websites of competitors you just visited? Whatever they do, make or sell, the ingredients and method of writing web content for a business should always be the same. Where many entrepreneurs go wrong, is the focus. They think:”Well, it’s not called an About page for nothing, this is obviously where I write about myself”.

But ask yourself why you would click on an About page on a website. Is it because you want to see a list of names of staff members? Or read a complete autobiography? Or is it because you want to find out if this business is trustworthy, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what they do? Would you rather buy from a company that shows warmth and personality, or from a faceless, cold, formal looking online shopfront?

Add some warmth to your content

How hot is your copy? Or, rather, how much warmth do you express in your copy? Just because it is written information on a business site doesn’t mean you suddenly have to go all corporate. There is no reason why you couldn’t write in the first person, if it’s just you running the show. You are absolutely allowed to let your personality shine through. In fact, even better! Let people know who is behind this lovely business of yours, and why you care about what you do.

Especially if you want to start attracting more of your ideal clients, writing in that way will pull those people closer, while keeping clients you don’t want to work with, away. And at the end of the day, that should be your goal: creating your niche, in order to target the audience you love to attract most. Writing in a style that feels natural to you is one of the tools to help you do that.

Use a grammar and spelling check app

Writing like you talk‘ can be a great way of connecting to people and lowering that threshold for clients to make that call. Writing informally, or in the first person, however, does not mean you can do away with spelling check. You cannot skip the punctuation! Whatever style you write in, make sure you throw it through an app like Grammarly. Not just because your SEO will suffer if the text is full of errors, but because it looks unprofessional if the content is hard to read and riddled with mistakes. If you are really not a writer, you could outsource it (a good copywriter will be able to capture your tone of voice in the text). But it’s much better to work on those skills yourself before giving up. So try the app, it will already improve your copy a lot.

Need more help in improving your website copy?

I offer Done-for-you services, such as writing and editing your website copy, and making sure keywords and key phrases are included for SEO-purposes. Have a look at my services page.

What is a Creative Business Coach and why should you care?

I don’t know about you, but I breathe creativity. I have ideas coming out of my ears, ALWAYS. I think, make, write, draw, sing, play, dance. I am never bored. Creativity is my fuel, and it keeps my fire burning. I am also an empath with a natural urge to help others. I meet so many people in my life who are creative, walk around with ideas, or are dabbling in a small business on the side, but play themselves down. “Just a hobby, really”, or “I don’t earn a lot, but I like doing it”. I could be at a birthday party somewhere, sitting next to a random person I have never met, and before I know it I am handing out business and marketing advice. Because I care.

We are all creative. And so many of us have brilliant ideas and are passionate about what they do. I love seeing new projects emerge, small businesses pop up, and individuals becoming empowered in running their own show. In a world where we are ruled by Amazon and Nestle, I want to add fuel to the little individuals with the big ideas. Those budding entrepreneurs who are still on the fence, need that extra push, get rid of the imposter syndrome, and jump into their next adventure. An adventure which I know they will never regret.

marketing course for artists
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Authenticity and staying true to your values

I embarked on an adventure myself three years ago. I moved to Spain, after having worked in the arts sector in the Netherlands and the UK for twenty years. After my move, I discovered that continuing my work as arts marketing manager for the cultural sector in Spain is pretty much impossible without the language skills and a network. So, to earn an income, I started a copywriting business, and have been quite successful the past few years working with a wide range of international clients.

But I am not a corporate, sales-driven, mainstream marketing type. And writing copy for factories producing taps and toilets….well, it just made me miserable. I missed the spark, the quirks, the creative buzz, and I realised I was drifting away from who I am and what I love most. I have become a lot more selective since, and now only accept copywriting clients I feel excited about working with. Authenticity is everything, not just in marketing and sales, but in staying true to your own values. Only then you are able to really grow your business.

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Supporting creative businesses on their journey

I recently decided to go back to where my real passion lies: supporting other creatives in their business. Inspiring them, sharing my wealth of knowledge built up over the years, and watching them grow in confidence. I launched The Creative Business Coach late 2020, and am excited. My fire is burning brightly again, and I am in the flow.

My Facebook Group is thriving, and full of creatives who are eager to learn about marketing and attracting more clients, by sharing their authentic story. I have started organising fun Masterclasses on specific topics such as blogging, to take the fear out of marketing. This year will have a lot more in the pipeline, all focused on inspiring, teaching and coaching those fabulous entrepreneurs who are ready to launch and grow their businesses.

Are you one of them? Join Nina’s Creative Business Bootcamp for daily tips and inspiration, masterclasses, and networking with like-minded souls.

How to start earning passive income with an eBook

Passive income, it sounds amazing, right? Making money while not working, is that even possible? Side hustles that allow creators to sell digital products online can help lessen some financial strain and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you run a small business, struggling to make enough money each month because of lockdowns, restrictions and other issues thrown at us lately, then creating something that adds an additional income stream to your business is worth thinking about.

What can you make that could create passive income?

If you are an artist or maker, think of tutorials, online courses, subscriptions or downloadable prints in PDF format. If you are a teacher, could you bundle some of your knowledge in an evergeen course, or a series of downloadable worksheets? As a physical shop owner, could you write tutorials, eBooks or additional guides on the products you sell that are of value to your clients?

Think outside the box

You may only think about your current business or professional expertise, but what other things do you know that could help somebody else? Converting your talent (or quarantine hobby) into a lucrative side hustle is absolutely possible. Have you developed some amazing craft ideas for kids during lockdown? Share them! Easy DIY decor ideas to give your home office an update? Go for it! People digest information in different ways, so offering your expertise in various formats (PDFs, audiobooks, videos, subscription emails, etc) caters for more people than if you only stick to one medium.

Today I am explaining a bit about eBooks.

earning passive income with ebooks
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eBooks: where to start

Know how to put your knowledge into writing? Start creating eBooks and earn money. eBooks are digital publications, and content can range from tutorials and guides on professional topics to romantic novels and anything in between. 

Creating eBooks as a creative business

If you know everything about interior design, smartphone photography, repairing clothes, doing up property, or permaculture, why not write an eBook about it? It doesn’t have to be enormous, you could write a really helpful step-by-step PDF guide on something in just 10 pages. If it is of value to your client, they will buy it. Remember, you are ten steps ahead of someone who wants to be in your shoes. Teach them what you know. And if there are already other people selling the same thing? Then it means that there is a market out there.

How do you price your eBook?

A lot of eBooks are priced around $3-$5, but you can ask what you want. It is your product and if your client is happy to pay more, go for it! I wrote an eBook of just under 50 pages on Moving to Valencia with Children, and I am selling it at $14.95. That is quite a high price for an eBook, but I am targeting people who feel anxious about moving to another country and are spending a lot of time researching online. My guide will give them everything they are looking for, in a PDF. So $14.95 is not a lot of money, if it solves their problem. What problem can you solve?

earning passive income with ebooks
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What software to create an eBook?

There are different ways to create eBooks. You can use Designrr, which offers the option to create an eBook straight from your blog posts. Handy, if you already have a lot of content. The only thing I found (as I am quite picky when it comes to layout and graphics), is that you’ll end up spending quite a bit of time moving content around to make it look the way you want. With the Premium version of Designrr you can publish straight onto Amazon Kindle and other eBook platforms.

You can also keep it simple (and free) and create your eBook on Most of you are familiar with Canva already, so you probably know how to drag and drop images, elements and text into a document. You can use templates (I use the ‘eBook cover’ template). Save the design as a PDF, download it, and publish it wherever you want.

earning passive income with ebooks
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Where to publish your eBook?

Before you run over to Amazon, WAIT. Jeff Bezos is already very rich, so let’s look for some alternatives first – we are creatives, after all.

Amazon KDP has gained a vast audience and hosts a massive library of eBooks. If you want to tap a wider pool of readers, this may be the ideal platform for you. You get a free ASIN number for your book (similar to ISBN), advertising tools, and higher royalties. However, your eBook will be exclusive to Amazon, which means you cannot sell it anywhere else. The royalty can vary anywhere between 35% to 70% depending on the price of the book. 

Apple iBooks Store

It is a free self-publishing platform for your eBooks in iBook format. Apple iBooks store may not have a massive audience like Amazon KDP, but it’s fairly large compared to others on the list. You do have the alternative to sell your eBook on other platforms, unlike Amazon KDP. However, you will have to convert it into a different format such as text file, PDF or ePUB.  Besides, to get your book hosted on the Apple iBooks store, you require a Mac system. You get an incredible 70% royalty with this platform, which is very high.


Smashwords is another publishing platform with a good reputation. Not only does it offer a free ISBN, but also gets your book on some of the biggest stores, including Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books. If you choose to publish it on the Smashwords store, however, you can get 80% royalty on every sale. If you choose a retailer, you will earn 60% of royalties from sales.


Payhip is a super simple platform I really like, which is a completely stand-alone site, so you have full control. It offers you the option to sell your PDF downloads, physical products and subscriptions (where you send members a PDF document – or a physical product – every month or less often). It’s free to use with unlimited product uploads, but with the paid plans you pay a lower transaction fee. Go to the Payhip website.

The free plan comes with a 5% transaction fee, or you can go up a level if you start to sell more, and pay $29/month for a 2% transaction fee. You can connect Paypal or Stripe as payment options. It obviously does not expose you to an audience like the others do, this part you have to do yourself. But I like the fact that you can easily create your own page showing all your eBooks or products, and link to this from your website, or social media.

Want more great tips and advice for your business? Join my free community on Facebook

Optimise your Instagram account for small businesses

Most of you will be on Instagram, or at least aware of the fact that it can be a powerful tool for becoming more visible online. Because Instagram is such a visual platform, it is ideal for showing off your products if you are an artist or maker. But also for a food related business, yoga studio, or fashion brand, posting gorgeous pictures of your products or lifestyle can create a strong visual presence online. Creating an account on Instagram is easy, but actually making it work for your business is a whole different thing. Here are some of the things you can do to optimise your Instagram account.

Choosing your username and display name on Instagram

Your username is searchable. This is important information, because it means that you need to give it some attention. If you are a meditation teacher or a pastry chef, make sure you have this in your username. No one will find you if you have a mixture of random words, numbers or a nickname in it.

The name underneath your username is your display name. This is an opportunity to say what you do. – so for example mine (username if you are not following yet) is The Creative Business Coach. You have a limited number of characters but if you can add in a keyword to your display name you will be more discoverable.

optimising instagram for artists
optimising instagram for artists

Be specific in your bio

Your bio is your shop window. Make good use of it! People clicking on your profile will decide whether to follow you not only because of the pictures in the grid below, but because of what you are about. This little shop window is your chance to pull them in. What you do, why you do it and how people should get in touch with you, these are the vital ingredients. Also, a little, well-written story does better than a random list of words and slogans.

Mine goes like this:

I teach creative entrepreneurs how to grow their business through authentic marketing and storytelling. Join my free Facebook community:

It matters who you follow

This is something that most of you probably don’t know, but who you follow is an important factor in the Instagram algorithm. Top tip? Have a review of all the accounts you follow and have a clear out. Make sure you follow accounts that are relevant to your industry, niche or ideal client. This will not only help with the suggestions Instagram gives you to follow, but also who Instagram shows your profile to.

optimising instagram for small business
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Tidy up that grid

Your grid is the portfolio of your business. Instagram is a place to impress with visuals, so go for it! You want to show off your products or services and stick to your brand. Even if you don’t have a clear idea yet of what your brand is or should be, at least make sure the images are well-organised, and relevant to your niche. Only post good images that show off your business the way you want, and stick to a certain look, style or colour scheme to pull it all together. If you try to be consistent in content, message and colours, you will soon start seeing a brand evolving.

The deal with hashtags

Most people, myself included, have often used the same hashtags in each post. Out of laziness perhaps, or just because we didn’t know any better. But the truth is, using different hashtags every time you post will send signals to Instagram that you are fresh with your content. You can rotate your hashtags, just don’t use them all the time. Instagram wants content creators, not spammers.

Try finding that sweet spot of hashtags. Using hashtags with 5 or 6 figure popularity means there’s enough people are using it and more chance of you being seen for it. Using hashtags with too many users will make you disappear in the masses. If you go too niche, the volumes are too low.

optimising instagram for small business
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Add variety to your content

When you are a designer-maker or artist, the temptation is to only post pictures of your work. But to build a relationship with your followers, you need to start telling your story behind your work. Think of other things you could post images of, such as topics related to your niche, for which you can then use different hashtags. Your content and profile will look fresh and will send positive signals to the Instagram algorithm.

Don’t post and run

It’s SOCIAL media after all. When you are posting, also spend a bit of time commenting on other people’s posts, supporting them and building connections. Actively collaborate on Instagram by tagging customers, colleagues in your industry and others relevant to your post. This shows you are using the platform as a community and not just to push content.

How to plan social media posts for small businesses

Social media can be fun and many creatives are very good at it. For others, it causes a right headache. What on earth should you post about now? And is anyone actually interested in what you are posting? Not only should you post daily, but now you also have to get to grips with video, Lives, Reels and stories. Today I will share a few tricks on how to plan social media posts for artists – or in fact, any small, creative business. Plus, I have a little gift for you.

Why should you post on social media anyway?

There are a number of reasons, and it’s not all about ego. It is actually way more important to focus on your followers than on yourself. These are the basic reasons why you should use social media for your creative business:

To connect.

To learn more about your audience.

To start a conversation.

To get leads.

To drive traffic.

social media marketing for artists

Engage and build trust with your audience

Social media is the ideal way to build a connection with your followers, and try to find stuff out about their needs and interests. Social media is perfect for doing that bit of market research, without being a sleazy salesman. Don’t just post pictures of your work and products, expecting people will jump on you wanting to place an order. Use social media to start a conversation and to connect with your audience. Aim for comments, prompted by a post, video or question you ask. You can also use ‘polls’ on Facebook for example, to get a better idea of why people are on your page, so you can tailor your services accordingly.

Remember: people don’t just buy a product or art work, they buy the story behind it.

Be your own lovely self

People love to see the person behind the business. Don’t be a faceless shopfront on your social media account. Show people who you are, why you started your business and how passionate you are about your work. You may think people are not interested in seeing your face, or hearing your background story, but this is not true. A live video does wonders for your account. You may be shy, but the more you practice, the more it’ll pay off. And don’t worry if you stutter a bit, or feel a little ‘all over the place’; people relate much more to a ‘real’ person than someone who pretends to be someone they are not. Once people get to know you and see how much passion you have for what you do, it is so much easier to sell to them.

The Lazy Social Media Planner for busy creatives

I have created a super useful social media planner for creative businesses like you. Ideal to start practising in becoming more visible online, without losing the plot. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more organised. Does that sound like something you’d like? Leave your email with me, and I will send you the PDF a a gift.

Download your free social media planner today and:

  • Know exactly what to post
  • Feel in control of your social media
  • Get prompts for posts that engage and grow your audience
social media marketing for artists

SEO tip: blog exchange with someone in your industry

Getting your website to rank higher in the search engines can be a right job. All the competition out there, and trying to choose the right keywords. Today I want to share a little insider tip with you, that is far less techy, and that you can all start doing. As a small business coach for creatives, I get a lot of questions about SEO, and many find the whole things rather scary. It really isn’t. Here is something you can do to boost your authority online, and to drive more traffic to your website.

Blog content is worth spending time on

Blogs are sometimes ignored by small businesses, and seen as sometimes ‘on the to-do-list’, but they actually can help you a great deal in SEO. Adding fresh new content to your site will help Google and other search engines discover you, and recognise you as a website that is worth mentioning to people. So have a think about that. Try and blog once or twice a month at least and add something interesting to your site. Perhaps a tutorial, a case study, an opinion, or a story about your life as a creative.

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You may think people may not be interested in reading it, but you’re most likely wrong! People love reading personal stories. How often have you heard from friends and family:”Oh, you’re so creative, I wish I was as creative as you!”? Exactly. They are fascinated by your interesting, unique lifestyle (and are probably a tad jealous too), so tell them about it. Share those quirky everyday stories. A bit of embellishment is fine. They call it artistic freedom, right?

Swap blog posts with a friend

What I was actually going to suggest to you however, is to try and do a guest post on someone else’s website/blog. And the other way around. Why? Because of back links. Back links are the links to your website, on someone else’s website. You can create back links by submitting your listing to online directories and Google business, but having your link on a website that is related to what you do, is also highly recommended. So think about who you know in your network that you could exchange links with. Write a guest post for each other, such as a tutorial or a background story about something, or interview each other.

Create back links on relevant websites

Make sure the website you are exchanging with is relevant. A back link to an interior designer on the website of a dog food supplier is not going to help. Search engines are very clever and will only take note of links that make sense, not the ones that are too random. If your websites are complimenting each other, or your services are in the same industry, this will tell the search engines that your website is trusted (and so is your friend’s), because you are recommending each other within the same branche.

Have a think the coming days…who do you know you could ask to create back links with? Who could you interview or write about on your website? On whose website could you write a guest post yourself?

Work with me

creative business mentor coach

I coach many creative businesses like artists, photographers, designers, travel businesses, quirky event businesses, life coaches, and other solo entrepreneurs. I help them get more clients, through authentic and joyful marketing, boosting their confidence, and clarity in their business.

Are you interested in working with me 1-to-1? Book a free call with me today to see if we are a good fit.

Marketing is a dirty word. Building bridges in the art world

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, as it’s a bit controversial, but I’ll do it anyway. Marketing is a dirty word. At least, for some of you.

Marketing and art make a funny couple, don’t they? It’s a real love-hate relationship. I’ll tell you a story about something that happened to me around fifteen years ago. It’s a bit of a long one, so grab a cuppa.

Being a trailblazer

Back in 2005, I used to work as communications officer for a contemporary arts centre up in the North east of Scotland. I was doing the PR for very niche, conceptual art exhibitions in an obscure gallery, down a dark alleyway. Bit of a challenge that, if you know Aberdeen. The great thing was though, that each year my boss let me travel down to the amazing annual Arts Marketing Association conferences held somewhere in the UK, which always made me come back buzzing with ideas. I learnt so much in those years, especially as social media hadn’t been around for that long and it was exciting to feel like a real trailblazer.

Photo by Matheus Viana on

Selling your soul to the devil

One Monday, after another one of those conference weekends, I told my boss, who was the director of the art centre, that I wanted to change my job title. “I want to be called Marketing manager from now on”, I said to him, as I was sipping my coffee. My boss looked at me in horror, as if I had just handed him a disgusting handkerchief. “Marketing?” He replied, pulling a dirty face. “Isn’t that for, like, commercial outfits?”

You see, his reaction was not surprising. The word marketing makes most artists cringe to this day, as if they have to sell their soul to the devil, lower the quality of their artistic output, and dumb down their work. Marketing is for money-grabbing big business, not for the humble, not-for-profit arts organisations, funded by public grants and sponsorship.

But what if marketing is nothing more than building bridges between you and your clients? The friendly smile, that pulls them in?

From one-way invitation to a two-way conversation

That is what I felt I had become, when I asked for that change in job title; a bridge builder. I no longer saw the point in sending out random invitations for opening nights, without any idea who is actually on that mailing list. You know, the gorgeous postcard invite, with only the name of the artist on it and some fancy show title, that leaves the audience guessing what’s in it for them. A few dozen guests (often the usual suspects) would then turn up at the event, drink all the wine, glance at the artwork and chat to each other. The weeks after that you’d find a very quiet gallery. Tumbleweed.

Leave your jargon at the door

I knew the days of one-way communication were over. From then on I was actively starting to grow and engage our audience, on social media and in all other marketing, getting to know them, building trust, and lowering the threshold. Yes, you are welcome! Art is for all. I managed to get people excited about forthcoming events, by writing about it in an accessible, engaging way. Dumbing it down? No, just cutting out the mumbo jumbo (or, as they say in the art world, ‘art b*llocks’, but I won’t use that term here!).

Writing for your audience

Yes, I did have some head buts with artists who didn’t like me editing their high brow copy. Some even made me feel I was less intelligent than them, because I wasn’t ‘getting’ it. I have a Masters in Art History, but surely if I wasn’t ‘getting’ it, then how on earth would Joe Bloggs in Aberdeen get excited about visiting? I said:”Who are you writing this to? Your own network or local art lovers who want to know why they should be coming to your show?” Oh, I got a lot of grumbling in those days. Luckily I mostly worked with lovely artists who were happy someone was better at writing promotional copy than they were.

And guess what? More people made that trip down that dark alleyway and into the gallery the following years. We built a buzz around upcoming events on social media and in our invitations that attracted a much younger audience. And I got a promotion not long after. And that change in job title.

I hope you are building some bridges too, wherever you are!