Episode 48: Copywriting and Brand Storytelling with Val Casola

In today’s episode of The Pursuit of Badasserie: The Podcast, we welcome the amazing Val Casola, a copywriter and brand storyteller for service providers. Val is here to drop some copy wisdom on us, folks! She helps female entrepreneurs ditch the DIY messaging and get their brand words aligned with their badass selves.

Val breaks down the importance of storytelling in copywriting, blurring those lines between creative writing and copywriting like a boss. She even shares practical advice on integrating your client’s voice into your messaging and provides actionable tips for business owners to enhance their copywriting skills. 

Plus, catch Val’s pro tips on consistency, brand messaging guides, and speaking your ideal client’s language. Let’s get after it!

The Pursuit of Badasserie: The Podcast, Copywriting and Brand Storytelling with Val Casola

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Meet Val Casola
  • The difference between writing and copywriting and the blurred lines
  • Inspiring others to take action
  • Logic vs emotion
  • Creative elements in copywriting
  • Elicit emotion
  • Adjusting language based on your industry
  • Creating a brand messaging guide
  • How you show up consistently
  • Tapping into the customer’s feelings
  • Voice of the customer
  • Suing client data to integrate into storytelling
  • Copywriting tips for business owners
  • The hero’s journey
  • Client motivation
  • Self-censorship and perfectionism
  • Adapting and changing your brand
  • Growing as a person and a business
  • Self-reflection
  • Identifying how you want to make your client feel
  • Thinking outside the box with catchphrases and emojis
  • Infusing personality and voice into your copy
  • Content writing vs. copywriting

So, if you’re ready to level up your copy game, don’t miss this episode. If you want to connect with Val Casola and snag her free Voice of the Customer Research guide, you can find her on Instagram (@ValCasolaWrites) or hit up her website (ValCasola.com).

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Read on for a transcript of the show!

Lynn Howard

Hi, I’m Lynn.

Amanda Furgiuele

And I’m Amanda. Welcome to the Pursuit of Badasserie: The Podcast. We are back with another incredible guest today.

Lynn Howard

Lynn, tell us all about She’s a copywriter and a brand storyteller for service providers. She works with female entrepreneurs to ditch the DIY messaging and align their brand with words that deeply resonate with their ideas.

You’ll clients and represent truly who they are as the badass business owners that they show up as. And I love copywriters.

I’m so excited. I preach about copywriters and brand storytellers because they can come in different forms all the time.

So welcome Val.

Valerie Casola

I’m super excited. We’re super excited. Thank you so much for having me. yeah, writing and storytelling has become so like important to my life and the fact that I get to be a copy.

I’m a copywriter and do it as a career. It’s just awesome.

Amanda Furgiuele

So I’m excited to be here today. Thank you. Welcome. I just want to every time I this is a total sidebar on and it’s like I’m going to make it about me for a second.

Lynn Howard

But in our first book, we have a section of my second book.

Amanda Furgiuele

We talk about a section of copywriting. And my first fail, my first epic fail in getting an internship and like getting into the quote unquote real world of publishing and copywriting.

Was a copywriting internship in New York? I didn’t understand the difference between writing and copywriting because they’re very different.

Just creative writing, I can write a story, but it’s different than copywriting. So maybe break down for us a little bit why and how copywriting is different from just like I’m going to write a sentence.

Valerie Casola

Yeah, well, I actually might be in a popular opinion, but I like to blur the lines personally in my work and in my studio.

I think that there is so much that we can pull from creative writing into copywriting. so copywriting will define as the act of persuading or inspiring people to take an action.

Right? Copywriting is a language that makes people want to do something. And that’s why it’s so important to advertising.

But when we think about what makes people do things, we can really like understand that people, well, I can make emotional decisions and they pair logic with emotion and what really drives people to.

They actually move from one place in life to another place in life by investing in the right support, whether that be a service provider, a mentor, a product.

That decision is really drawn on by emotion. And there’s so many creative elements in a writer’s tool belt, whether that be from fiction, poetry, like screenwriting.

There’s so many creative elements that we can infuse into copywriting in the right places and they’re at the right time that are going to help elicit that emotion and put it push somebody to take that action instead of continuing to sit on their hands and just wonder, what can I be like instead they’re actually going out and taking that action and making it happen.

Lynn Howard

I love that. I love that you brought up that example for two reasons. one thing is, I always say, one of my favorite phrases to say is stories, words tell story self.

And I love that phrase. And I think that that really embodies that. What a really good copywriter does, they take you on a journey and I think that’s actually kind of in alignment with what you were just saying.

You’re blending the two, you’re having them come along for the ride. But I love that you as an example, Amanda, because I would say, because I think we’re a little older than you, Val.

could be wrong, but we might be a little older than you and a different generation. I know back in the day when we were really selling, there wasn’t a blend.

I can only, it was just like hardcore sales, was more, but now in this more era, you do need that story, you do need that blurred line.

I love that you said that. I know we kind of go back and forth sometimes with some of our copy and different things like that about putting some of that in there.

So it’s really interesting that you brought that up. I don’t know if to say something.

Amanda Furgiuele

I’m just really realizing that it’s I’ve been 20 years since I had that failed. I’m like, wow, that’s just, I didn’t realize it had been so many years.

But then I did the math in my head and I’m like, yeah, I guess that was a different time.

Different era. Different me.

Valerie Casola

just going to add that I also think it’s very like, you know, it changes based on the industry, like how you write and who you’re writing for.

And there are some industries that are so like straight laced like healthcare, where people make more logical decisions and less based on emotion.

And they need to know, like more detailed information that appeals to making decisions and ethics and things like that.

And then there’s also other industries. I particularly like to work in like the lifestyle industries with entrepreneurs who have services that make life easier, healthier, more fun.

in those industries, you have a lot more room to get creative in how you make people feel things and how you make them emotional and how you can connect the dots between the emotions and those possibilities that they will.

Amanda Furgiuele

And I think that definitely speaks to really understanding your target market and how you sculpt your brand because like the voice of your brand makes a difference.

I mean, I think a lot of people, when you’re starting out think brand is just like what my logo looks like and the colors and like maybe the typography if you’re going to get crazy.

But it’s so much more because brand voice makes a difference. So do you have any thoughts on like how to use that?

How to make that a consistent thing because particularly if you have more than just one person in your business who may be doing social media for you or doing blog posts?

Valerie Casola

How do you keep that brand consistency when you’re copywriting? So the first thing that I would suggest is creating a brand messaging guide.

If you don’t already have one, and this is a guide that will detail things like your unique value proposition, the mission statement, the vision statement of your business, your ideal planning profile, and it goes into the nitty gritty of the brand messaging, what are we saying as a brand who we’re appealing to do, how are we appealing to them, what makes us different.

So that’s like the first half of a brand messaging guide, and then the second half has to do with voice.

We are defining how you want to carry on a conversation as a brand. The tone of your conversation, the tempo, the sentence length, the terminology that you use, and especially when you have a team having a dedicated resource like that, it’s really valuable because you can hand that out to everybody and it’ll have examples in it of things you’ll always say, if things you’ll never say, examples of how you appeal to certain emotions, how you ask people to do things, and so a guide like that that’s really comprehensively and intentionally We’ve built to make available.

And your whole team. It’s really useful. But if you don’t have team and say you’re a solopreneur or maybe you just use you in an MBA and you’re really writing all your content or copy on your own and you’re struggling to consistently write in a brand voice, I would suggest that you make it less about you and how you sound and more about how you make your client feel.

Right, because when we create brands, right, when we sit down and we think about this, this really beautiful movement we want to create and this beautiful representation of what’s called us to come to business in the first place, we tend to think of it in a really dreamy perspective.

It’s like the best parts of all of us. And the problem is, we don’t always feel that way. There’s days that we’re not going to feel our best.

There’s days that we’re not going to feel like we want to show up. That’s way we’ve decided we have to show up.

And that makes being really consistent with your voice really hard. But if you change your I have to do this and I have to say this to I want to make my people feel X, Y, and D.

Then even if you’re having a bad day, in a bad mood, you don’t feel like writing, you don’t have to focus on, okay, I have to make myself sound like this.

I just want to make people feel like this. And it’s just a different perspective that allows you to kind of drop that performative energy and this performative like I have to be on all the time.

And if I’m just trying to make someone feel a certain way. That’s a lot more. more in my control than how I actually feel today.

Lynn Howard

I love that. I have conversations times. love several things about that. First of all, I love that you’re a copywriter with the content writer with brand because it is so important.

And actually my photographer does the same thing but for photography, for the photography side and my pictures are incredible and like how they transpire and like like trans.

And like who I am is really bar none. And same thing for content when you find the right content creator or you’re using a brand guide.

It’s a completely different game. And I love that you say that. And I’m assuming that you work with your clients to actually walk them through creating that brand guide.

Valerie Casola


Lynn Howard

Yes. Perfect. I love that. You did touch on though, like, about how you want to go from talking about ourselves and our products and stuff to talking and getting the customer or tapping into the customer’s feelings.

what is your opinion on essentially like talking in their voice, not your own voice, but talking in your client’s voice so that way they can hear you.

Valerie Casola

Because I’m sure you’ve had this discussion and kind of what your take on that. Yeah, I love it. I think that, you know, business is

10% about us and 90% about our client. And when we can connect with them using words that, you know, they use words that come out of their own mouth, phrases that they’ve said to their friends, families, ones.

The connection gets so much deeper. And this process of like finding out how your ideal client talks is a foundation of all my copy packages.

It’s called Voice of the Customer Research. And it’s the act of going out into the world and collecting data on how How your clients talk about their struggles, their pain points, their desires, their objections to buying, their living beliefs, holding them back in life.

And when you can go out and collect that data and actually observe or even interview your ideal client and learn what’s going on in their life in their own words as part of their own real experience.

And you can put that into your copy. It’s going to resonate so much more because now this person is finding you for the first time.

Maybe there’s something on your website and she’s thinking to her. I just met Lynn, she doesn’t even know me, but she knows I’m struggling with X, Y, and Z.

And that’s automatically going to make me see you as more of an expert already because you’re showing me that you get it.

You’re not just telling me how many years of experience you have, how many people you’ve helped where your education is from, what certifications you have.

But you’re connecting with me on a deeper level because you’re showing me you understand, and it kind of opens up, you know, safety to be a little bit vulnerable, and in the spaces where that matters, it matters a lot.

so, yeah, voice of the customer research and speaking to your clients in their own language, I’m a huge proponent of it, and it’s built into all of my packages and I do it for all of my clients.

Lynn Howard

I love that and I would add, I mean, it’s not even just that the incline can see that particular business owner or whatnot more importantly I feel like they feel seen heard through the words through that connectivity of the story line.

And it’s just a human need to want to be seen and heard and you can absolutely do that with your content.

Amanda Furgiuele

And it’s so beautiful when it’s done. And when it’s done really, really well, it just resonates perfectly with the right people.

Lynn Howard


Valerie Casola

And I think it even starts to build a sense of loyalty, right? Because once we find our people, like, don’t want to let go and we find the people who we know understand us and they’ve shown us that they do.

We want to be in their community. We want to be in their world. We want to learn more. that sense of loyalty and trust that’s created is just so important.

Lynn Howard

Yeah. How do you, um, lots of one-liners, the lynn-isms are coming out this morning. Um, but how do you keep the balance?

How do you help? Because I’m sure some of your clients are like, but I don’t want to lose my voice in it.

So how do you help them keep that balance? And I understand that just because they’re talking in the client’s voice doesn’t mean that it’s.

It in place. of their own voice. It’s actually together. How do you walk clients through that?

Valerie Casola

So I wouldn’t look at it as like, I’m going to sit down and speak in my client voice. I would look at it as I’m going to use this data that I’ve collected from my client and my client has told me about what’s going on and integrate that into my storytelling and integrate that into my mission and my vision and my unique value proposition and my process and you know how I describe it.

So my services. so you’re still talking in your own voice, but you’re using those words and phrases that you’ve collected as data to make sure you’re on the right track and make sure you’re saying things that you know are going to resonate because these are things your ideal client has told you whether that’s, you know, you’ve eavesdropped on the online and found that out or they’ve told you in a survey or it was a testimony you received or testimonial who my competitor that you noticed.

So I would think about it as I’m not going to sit here and write like my own. don’t mind.

I’m to talk to them on a really deep level in my special way.

Amanda Furgiuele

That’s awesome. So do you feel like? What do you consider to be some like copywriting tips that every business owner can use to a level their game?

Valerie Casola

So my biggest one is that it’s not about you. It’s about your client. And I feel like a lot of the time what I see when I’m reviewing applications and checking out what work already exists with clients who come into my studio or I’m doing audits, I tend to notice that websites look lot like people’s resumes.

And it’s just a celebration of how amazing they are and all the results they’ve achieved and where their education is from.

those are all great. Like those are such strong trust building pieces in customer journey. But if it’s all about you, you’re not going to inspire anybody to do anything.

You have to show your ideal client what’s in it for them. And if you’re going to move them to take an action that they wouldn’t have normally taken that day or an action that, you know, they’re maybe just like a little unsure of or if they’re procrastinating or they really just need that gentle nudge to realize like what’s waiting for them on the other side of the support that they need.

If you want them to make that move and take that action, you have to show them what’s in it for them.

And so many times I see service providers, you know, talking about how they have a degree from a top rated university or certification from an top rated program or, you know, they’ve been in business 20, 30 plus years, like, okay, but what does that have to do with me and how is that going to help me on my journey because we’re all human.

We all act in our own self-interest and sometimes I think we think that’s a bad thing, but it’s not.

It’s just a fact that’s the two we are. That’s how we were designed to be. And we have to play to that has been disowned.

I have a solution for something somebody wants and I’m here to sell it and help them achieve whatever it is they’re desiring.

And in order to get them to take that action, I have to show them what that world looks like on the other side.

Lynn Howard

Yeah, it’s basically that you brought that up.

Amanda Furgiuele

Yeah, I mean it’s the hero’s journey. It’s you know, if you’re not the hero of the story, your client is the hero of the story.

You’re just like the wild wizard telling them like which mushrooms to gather in the forest.

Lynn Howard

You’re not the hero, they are. Exactly. Yeah, I love that. I love that. You often talk about self-censorship and how it can really either help or hinder one’s journey on essentially marketing and content writing.

Valerie Casola

you talk a little bit around that? Yeah, so I’ve used self-censorship as just this insane pressure to be perfect and to get everything right the first time.

If you’ve ever had this experience where you’re trying to write something and you get a few words in and then you’re hitting the backspace button and you’re trying something else and then you’re deleting the whole sentence and it’s been 20 minutes and your page is still blank.

That’s self-censorship and it’s brought on by this pressure to just get everything right to the first time and call it a day and move on and make it feel easy.

But this isn’t easy, marketing isn’t easy, copywriting isn’t easy necessarily. I always try to remind people that it’s a word document and you can go back and take a walk, your snack, call your friend, call your mom and come back to it and see what changes in your brain.

Look at it from a different perspective and if you’re struggling to get a certain sentence to sound a certain way or to really portray this message that you want, if it’s not working, get up and go out and change your scenery, change your perspective so you can come back and have different thoughts and just approach

And I think it’s really interesting to see that you’re not making progress, and you’re letting this idea of perfectionism dictate whether or not you’re going to get your to-do list done.

Amanda Furgiuele

I’ve been there. a recovering perfectionist.

Valerie Casola

I know all about that.

Amanda Furgiuele

So much. And it’s your right, though, because in the end, there is no such thing as perfectionism. There’s no such thing as the perfect sentence, the perfect marketing ploy, the perfect copy-written sentence, whatever.

There’s no such thing. It’s progress over perfection. Any day of the week, you’re never going to get as far as you want to.

you strive to be perfect, it’s never going to work.

Valerie Casola

Sorry, folks. And if you find something’s not working, you know, maybe you’re You have a headline that is not making people stay on the page or capturing their attention.

You can go back and change it. It’s not like it’s carved into stone and what you come up with has to be the legacy of your business.

You evolve, we evolve, as we evolve, our businesses evolve and our messaging is of course going to change. we can log into our web service provider, whatever whoever’s hosting our website and we can go in and delete things and change things.

We can ask our close friends. And entrepreneur friends like hey, does this resonate with you? this working? What do you think I can do differently?

You can go collect data about your ideal client and see if you can put that into the headline. You can go back and change these things.

Because you have to change something that doesn’t make you a bad business owner. That makes you an adaptive and a flexible business owner.

Lynn Howard

Which are traits that you have to have.

Amanda Furgiuele

And a smart one.

Lynn Howard

Because we grow and change. As you’re saying, all I can think about is like, I don’t know. I could be some photography as an example, but the realtors who still have the picture from 15 years ago on their business cards, they’re probably not changing their website except for the properties.

it doesn’t look good for brand. I guess that’s what I’m saying. You can absolutely go in there and change.

And you should because we grow, we evolve. Hopefully we’re getting more comfortable in what we want and what we’re attracting or both.

Valerie Casola

Yeah, and it’s such a beautiful part of business too. Being an entrepreneur, you don’t just make money. You grow as a person and your goals change, your dreams grow.

evolving is nothing to be afraid of. think it just shows that you’re doing the right things and you’re being open to the journey that the entrepreneur is.

Lynn Howard

Absolutely. So what is one piece of advice that you would give someone who’s listening to

Valerie Casola

So I would actually grab a journal, grab a paper, you have, and do some self-reflection. And actually, like, pick three words that describe your personality.

And then think about how you want to make your ideal client feel when they come to your presence, whether that be an email or a sales page or a website or an Instagram.

And I want you to identify how you want to make your client feel. And then think of the way you make people feel that way in your own life.

So if one of the pillars of your brand voice is you really want to make people feel safe and comfortable, how do you make your people in your own life feel safe and comfortable?

And write down all the ways that you do that. And you can write down action, you can write down like phrases, things you’ve said to your family and your friends, things you’ve said to yourself.

And then take those three personality words and see if you can like, zhuzh up those actions and phrases you came up with that you already say and see how you can make them sound like those three personality words.

So that’s one way. And another way is just like, there’s three places that I would like to recommend. You have no idea where to start with your brand voice.

For example, let’s just say you have like a content vertical, it’s a weekly email newsletter. Give it a name that represents your business, right?

This is, you know, my friend Laurel, she’s a Pinterest manager and she has a email newsletter called The Flourish and Thrive Weekly.

And it reflects your brand values. So that’s one way to sneak in your brand voice by naming a content vertical.

Another way would be to come up with greeting for your audience. Like how do you address them every day?

How do you address them when you put on social media? How do you address them when you send that email?

How do you say goodbye to them? Like what does your closing signature look like? what do you always say at the end of an email?

That’s a great way to bring some personality into your brand voice. And another way is even like picking emojis.

That you like associating your brand with certain emojis, whether that be because of the color, the content, the feeling.

That’s also another fun way to get thinking about your personality and your voice and infusing that into copying you already have.

Lynn Howard

I love all of those.

Amanda Furgiuele

That’s a great question.

Lynn Howard

should have written those down.

Valerie Casola

Oh, wait, know.

Lynn Howard

We get to listen to the podcasts. all I can think about it is every time we get on the podcast.

We’re like, we’re super stoked. We’re like, dang, we should learn something new. That’ll just gave us permission to use that as part of our brand voice.

Valerie Casola


Lynn Howard

We’re always excited to be on a podcast. I love that. I do want, before we start closing, because we do need to close here for a second, who I have not bet, although Amanda and I are authors.

both just finished our third book. She publishes already, but I’m mine. We’ll go into formatting, so obviously we write, we write our content, but I’ve had many content writers, and I’ve had some really good ones in the past.

what I really want you to plug why hiring a content writer is such a value to one’s business, because it is.

I could take the whole podcast and talk about it. I love when I find the right content and copywriters to be able to help us either with our books or with our own content.

So please plug away.

Valerie Casola

Yeah, so well, copywriting and content writing are a little bit nuanced and they’re a little bit different. So like I mentioned earlier in the episode, copywriting is a form of writing that encourages people to take action.

Whereas content writing is more to inform people and create content that’s going to inform people’s knowledge or part of your customer journey.

Lynn Howard

Like downloadable and stuff like that.

Valerie Casola

Exactly. And you should hire either one of them because you want to create a robust brand that is memorable.

And you know people always, you know the famous quote people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but the mother forget how you made them feel.

And a copywriter is going to take that feeling you want to create and infuse it into every piece of your website or every piece of your email, every piece of your sales page.

And you know there are certain strategic decisions that you know we learn as writers that you know affect or appeal to different areas of psychology, different areas of rhetoric,

We have a lot who have been in a company, and they have been in a company, a So, if you’re on the fence about having a copywriter, think about, you know, how your business could change, how your life could change, if you knew that your copy was written in a way that was going to resonate, and you knew that the things that you were saying were going to inspire your people to take action and contact you for a discovery call, buy your product right then and there, or want to learn more about your services and even tell their friends about them.

So, if you want to know that that’s happening and that you’re well equipped to start that process and create this beautiful customer journey that makes people remember you and makes people feel something and makes people excited enough that they want to act, that sort of copywriter will do for you.

Amanda Furgiuele

Love it. And I’m a big fan of copywriters, even though, like as Lynn said, we both write and we can write, sometimes you just need to not be the one writing it.

And I say that in with love, you need to step outside yourself little bit because particularly when you’ve been, and I’m speaking to what you said earlier in the episode about how a lot of these websites are just like this giant resume, the CV of your life, and it can sometimes help to get another person’s perspective and how you work things, particularly your sales pages.

Sometimes you’re too in it and you need someone else’s perspective. So I absolutely recommend copywriting. Obviously, I did that to get my shine starting copywriting, but I do, when you find the right copywriter, they can make all the world a difference in your content and what you have out in the world.

Lynn Howard


Amanda Furgiuele

Absolutely. So can people get in contact with you, Val?

Valerie Casola

Yeah, so I hang out over on Instagram most. You can find me at Val Casola rights. You can find me on my website at Val Casola.com.

And if you’re over there and you happen to see, I have a free resource. It’s my voice. So the customer research guide, and I know we talked a little bit earlier in the episode about why voice of the customer research is so important and how it helps us collect data from our clients that allows us to write better copy.

And I’ve outlined my entire process for doing so in this resource guide and it includes a data bank for you to store all of your information for future use as well.

So you can grab that for free on my Instagram on my website or in the note to this episode.

Amanda Furgiuele

Awesome. Yes, everything will be in the show notes.

Lynn Howard

So if you have not, if you’re not currently on our website, if you of on the podcast and just have a conversation around that.

So thank you so much.

Valerie Casola

Thanks for having me.

Amanda Furgiuele

All right. Per usual, like, share, follow all the things and we will see you next week. Get after it.