Kori Whitby is a quirky, outspoken copywriter who uses storytelling skills to help companies learn their audience and understand how they can amplify their influence. Throughout this article, we discuss her story, the need for copywriters, and her thoughts on the Rode vs Wade case.
“I went to college for theater, and left school thinking that I would be a playwright or work in the literary department of a new works theater. I quickly realized that the literary corner of the industry is tiny, and that it would be nearly I’m possible to find a job without working as an unpaid intern for at least a year. That wasn’t feasible for meat the time (is it feasible for anybody, really?) so I pivoted.”
In addition to working at the front desk of a real estate firm , she worked as a copywriter on the side. She realized she could turn her passion for writing into a profitable business by doing this “It took m e a few m ore years to have the guts to try, but obviously I did, and it worked out. I get to exercise my creativity in a different way, and feel super fulfilled by my work.”
In the beginning, she started as a virtual assistant since it was a trending career path, but soon realized it wasn’t her cup of tea. Eight months later, she became a full- time copywriter.
Kori isn’t the only storyteller in her fam ily. Her father is a journalist. While working for an independent newspaper in FL, he pushed the boundaries of traditional journalism and exposed corruption in local government. “They got in a lot of trouble because of this, but my dad and his staff were focused on telling the truth no matter the outcome. My dad taught me about satire, how to be unbiased in my writing, and everything I know about grammar. ” She continued, My dad will be the first to deny this, but he is the funniest, smartest, bravest person I know. I still call him to this day whenever I’m stumped by sentence structure, punctuation, or how to land a joke in my writing.
Copywriting is becoming increasingly popular in the business world. Why do you think that is? Years ago, the term wasn’t widely used.
I think with the recent influx of independent business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, people are starting to understand that building a sustainable business is a lot more complicated than simply “showing up.” In recent years, I’ve noticed an emphasis on brand recognition, longevity, and marketing. Copywriting sits neatly in the middle of that venndiagram . Copywriters used to be viewed as the people sitting around ad agencies writing cheesy slogans, but since a strong digital presence has become so crucial for businesses, copywriters have evolved into the heartbeat of said businesses. We control the voice, perception, and message of a brand. It’s important exercise my creativity in a different way, and feel super fulfilled by m y work.”
What makes copy so important for a business’s success?
This is a tough question. I think that a business technically can be successful without copywriting, but copywriting makes it so much easier. These days, people are searching for connection, even (maybe especially?) with the brands that they are buying from . Copywriters foster that connection in a way that is personal, strategic, and data- driven. It’s our job to understand how to connect a brand with their audience in an authentic way. Conscious consumers are looking for brand personalities that they can latch onto, and when you work with a copywriter to nail that brand personality it becomes so much easier to create a loyal audience of buyers, supporters, and fans
What kind of experience do you offer toy our clients when they hire you to do their copy?
I custom tailor the experience to every single one of my clients. A lot of people will encourage freelancers not to do this because it makes our job “harder.” But my clients are people who are deeply passionate about their business, and I would be doing them a disservice by trying to fit them into a rigid formula or workflow. I say yes to “crazy” ideas, flex the boundaries of what a copywriter “should” be and do, and encourage my clients to think outside the box. Most of my clients end up becoming my friends, and I have made some great connections just from being willing to do things a little out of the ordinary.
How difficult is it for you to write copy for yourself versus for others? Why is that so?
Writing copy for myself is wishy washy. Sometimes it flows out of me and I can write a sales page or email funnel for myself in like, 30 minutes. Sometimes it takes weeks. I think part of it is because it’s easy to procrastinate on my own work in favor of my client work. It’s also typically easier for me to step into someone else’s brand voice than my own. I think that’s because it’s easier to second guess myself when I’m living in my own brain. Someone else’s brand is spelled out for me on paper. Mine feels amorphous and liquid because I am always thinking about it.
As a business owner, how do you balance life and work?
I don’t (lol). I am a chronic overachiever who is desperately trying to separate her sense of self- worth from her career accomplishments. I find it really hard to “clock out” at the end of the day because even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer actively working, I am still thinking about m y business. I’m working on it and when I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
One thing that I will say is a huge relief to me is trusting other people to do the things that I hate doing. It’s hard for me to release control of anything in my life, but hiring people like a business manager, jr. writer, and graphic designer has made it easier for me to step away sem i- peacefully at the end of a work day.
Scrolling through your stories, I noticed your frustration over Rode v s Wade. Could you please share your thoughts about the situation a little bit more?
Gathering my thoughts around this subject is hard for me, because I get really emotional when I think about it. To be honest, I’m terrified for the future of this country. At the end of day, the only thing that we truly own is our body. If we don’t have autonomy over it, then we have nothing.
Roe v. Wade being overturned is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who thinks that they won’t be going after gay marriage, (even m ore) trans rights, interracial marriage, and more, is being intentionally naïve. Nothing is safe in a post- Roe world, and we have to stop with the “how could this happen???” reactions. We KNOW how this happened. Am erica has never been the land of the free, nor the home of the brave.
In y our opinion, how can women rise up and make sure that women’s rights will continue to exist in the future?
This isn’t something that I can pretend to know the answer to. I find myself teetering between anger, despair, and desperation every single day. What I do know is that women alone can’t do it. People have to care about people that they can’t relate to. All too often, we have to be personally slapped in the face with the ramifications of something in order to care about it. That has to stop. We have to care about problem s that aren’t our own, and fight for each other. The American government is systemically corrupt and has been rotting from the inside out from day one. If it were up to me, I would scrap the whole thing and start over. Abolish billionaires, abolish the police, abolish prisons.
Connect with Kori here.
This interview is in Issue 46. You can see it free here.