Kimberly is a copywriter who specializes in helping creative entrepreneurs – photographers, designers, stylists, illustrators, and other creative visionaries and tastemakers – rise above the online fray with personality-driven web copy that captivates & connects with ideal clients online. She’s worked in advertising and PR, sales and marketing, politics, and public radio, but at heart Kimberly is an introverted creative who loves to read, write, and plot out ways to save the world.
Carrie: What motivated your desire to create your space Kimberly D Houston INK: Copywriting for Creative Rebels?
I was writing copy and doing web marketing consulting for clients in the corporate space – real estate and healthcare mostly – and while I enjoyed it (and still have clients in those niches), I felt a powerful yearning to work with creative entrepreneurs. As a creative myself, I feel like I truly understand this audience, and I wanted to work with clients who are more like me. So I rewrote my entire website and changed my outreach and offerings to focus on creative entrepreneurs – I love working with this audience!
Carrie: Why are you drawn to working with the creative community?
As a lifelong writer and amateur photographer, I’ve always been drawn to other creatives and the work they’re putting out into the world. When I worked in advertising, I was fascinated by what the guys in the creative department were doing – their creative process, how they came up with ideas and concepts, etc. I love the idea that creative people make something out of nothing – they take the tiniest germ of an idea and then create a book, a painting, a design, an illustration or other creative work that has the ability to electrify or inspire the person on the receiving end. I just love that!
Carrie: How can good copy help creatives in the online (and offline!) space?
Good copy creates an emotional connection with the intended audience – whether this is online or in printed materials – that helps creatives bond with their ideal clients, customers and collectors. The end result is that persuasive copy helps creative entrepreneurs sell their goods and services, whichever vehicle they’re using for marketing – brochures, websites, blog posts, social media updates, etc.
Carrie: Where do you get ideas for content?
Many of my ideas come from questions my email subscribers send me. Other sources include questions I see pop up in Facebook groups I belong to, other blogs I read, and so on. Just about anything can spark an idea for a blog post, I find. For example, a few months ago I watched a fascinating news story about a company that created an uber-creative marketing campaign for baby carrots, so I did some research about the campaign, and wrote about it on my blog as an example of how to effectively use personality in marketing.
Carrie: How does the common phrase “starving artist” negatively impact the artist community?
I think it’s a mindset problem that comes from how creativity – or to be more precise, how pursuing creative work as a career – is perceived by the general public. Many of us in creative fields have at one time or another heard that we should “be realistic” or “be practical” when it comes to our creative pursuits; you know, that we should probably do our creative thing on the side and pursue a more “stable” career. There’s also this idea out there that we’re not meant to earn a really good living from our creative pursuits and that if we make even the tiniest pittance of an income, we should be happy. But I disagree, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a kick-butt income from your creative work! I think buying into the “starving artist” mentality keeps many talented creatives from pursuing their work as more than a hobby, and keeps those who are earning a living from it from thinking they can do better and earn more. I used to be a victim of this mentality myself – I thought, “writers are poor, so I won’t pursue that as a career, even though I love to write.” Which is nuts. It took me years to shake off that limiting belief and finally put writing front and center in my life as a career, and I’m so glad I did.
Carrie: Is copy an opportunity to be creative?
Absolutely! There are many ways to express the same idea, so for each client I work with, I take into account their personality, the wants, needs and desires of their audience/clients, and the unique characteristics that make up their business to write copy that reflects their brand. Then I put all these elements into the hopper, from which half a dozen or more ways to write the copy could result. I find it a deeply creative process.
Carrie: When you are writing, do you ever get “stuck?” How do you navigate a lack of inspiration?
I typically don’t have a problem with lack of inspiration when I’m working on a copywriting project; I usually make a long list of places to get inspiration when I begin each new job. For example, I just started working on a copywriting project for a boutique that sells one-of-a-kind vintage accessories and home goods, and flipped through a bunch of decorating and lifestyle magazines and got tons of ideas.
In my own (non-client) writing, I do sometimes feel stuck, but when that happens I try to remember that that’s just my inner critic, that demon that tries to keep me from doing my creative work. I can usually shut that demon up by just sitting down and getting to work!
Carrie: Reading about your path to today, it’s clear to me you’ve had a lot of varied professional opportunity. How have those experiences informed your current creative work?
Everything I’ve done has been full of great lessons on human nature. The very best training to be an effective copywriter, or any kind of writer, really, is to deeply understand what motivates people, what makes them do the things they do, and seek out the experiences they seek out. The throughline in every field or career I’ve worked in has been how to convey the right message to the right audience, and how to connect emotionally with them based on their needs and desires. It was true in my work in politics, my work in advertising and PR, my work in marketing and sales, and my work in public radio as well.
Carrie: I’ve heard the term multi-passionate to describe people with multiple interests. How would you respond to someone who questions a less than linear life path?
We’re all different, so I would say “to each his own.” While some people thrive on choosing one career path and following it to success, others find more joy in pursuing many different avenues and interests. Either path is fine. For me, linear would be no fun, but for others, the multi-passionate life I thrive on would be a nightmare. So whatever you love and however you choose to pursue it is the right way.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
The biggest one for me recently has been finding the time – which really just means making it a priority – to write for myself. I love my copywriting clients and projects, but a few months ago I realized I wasn’t writing for myself anymore, and I really missed it. So I made a commitment to write for 30 minutes at the beginning of each day before I do any client work. I’ve been doing that consistently for seven months now, and it’s brought so much joy and creative fulfillment into my life, not to mention lots of insight and inspiration for other writing projects I’d like to pursue.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity is the ability to create something out of nothing, or to see solutions where others can’t. It’s the ability to see things in a different way, or make connections others wouldn’t necessarily make. It’s the ability to go beyond what’s been done before, to see that edge just beyond, where the field of all possibilities begins. It’s the ability to tap into your intuition and all your life experiences and infuse your work with those insights. I believe every single person on the planet has some form of creativity within them – it’s not the exclusive territory of writers or painters or designers or those in strictly creative fields. I think it’s also kind of magical and ineffable and something that can’t be easily defined or pinned down.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you make your own creative practice a priority? How can you start today? Share your ideas below in the comments; I want to know!
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