Corporate copywriter struggles to name freelance business

How to come up with a business name: why mine isn’t called Caroline Voaden Corporate Copywriter

Every freelance copywriter-turned-podcaster-marketing-guru has the same advice: build a personal brand. But here’s the thing. What do you do if someone else has your name?

Every freelance copywriter-turned-podcaster-marketing-guru has the same advice: build a personal brand. It’s all about you, baby. Your personality will reel in your future clients and help them trust you – you’re a stranger on the internet after all.

But here’s the thing. What do you do if someone else has your name?

Ok, so you might not have heard of Liberal Democrat candidate and former Member of the European Parliament Caroline Voaden.

But lots of people have. And Google definitely has.

When I was sat – for months – trying to name my copywriting business and shape the brand (why is it so hard to write about yourself, even as a professional copywriter?) I kept asking …am I giving myself the best chance at success using my name?

If you type Caroline Voaden into Google, the first eight pages are dedicated to my political namesake. But I wasn’t just worried about ranking; I know it’ll take a long time to build up my search engine visibility. Social media is a major part of the online consultant game and every week on Instagram I get mistaken for the other Caroline. Sometimes she even accidentally tags me herself.

We all like the idea of being the star of our own show; the main character in our story. I’m leaving the corporate world to start my own gig – I want to build a brand that is memorable and synonymous with my high-quality work.

But, I understand the importance of digital marketing when launching a freelance copywriting business. If no one can find me online, what’s the point?

What if I'm not a corporate copywriter?

It doesn’t matter if you offer copywriting services or you’re an accountant, consultant or coach. If you’re starting your own service-based business, you’re probably going to have to decide whether to use your name for the business or not.

A big part of that decision will hinge on your digital footprint and search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking.

I decided to choose a business name that isn’t personal because I think it’ll give me the best chance of building online visibility.

But I’m not going to hide behind STORY. Copywriting.

A lot of blog writers, corporate copywriters and other freelancers use a ‘non-personal’ business name as a kind of mask. Some even pretend they have multiple staff on the payroll.

Building a personal brand can feel icky, especially if it’s your first time going solo. But building a personal brand doesn’t mean you have to share every aspect of your life online.

One more time for those in the back: building a personal brand doesn’t have to be too personal.

It’s important to have a voice and showcase your expertise and skills, but you don’t have to whip out a tripod and film how you make your breakfast smoothie every morning. Especially if you’re in the corporate world like me.

Whilst I’m not marketing myself as Caroline Voaden Copywriting, I will be showing my audience that I am human. Potential clients need to feel like they ‘get’ me to trust me and work with me. No pretending to be an agency of five when there’s only one of me.

Storytelling converts, so I plan to get to know my audience (yes, you) and start up a dialogue that will help me work out what they are looking for.

That way I’ll know my content could actually help them DIY their own ‘about us’ page if they can’t afford a copywriter yet.

Still no smoothie recipes though.

Is the personal copywriter brand dead?

In short: no. Building a personal brand as a freelancer is smart. Research the most visible ones in your area – I bet they all use their own name. But none of them are called George Clooney.

When you’re starting out, building your business around your name and personality can be easier than a branded logo or tagline. You might not know your niche yet or what kinds of clients you want to work with so don’t want to pick the wrong brand name.

As a freelancer your name can quickly help establish credibility, confidence and trust in the market. There are hundreds of thousands of freelancers offering copywriting services, but they’re all different people (with different names).

I’ve got over eight years of experience under my belt already – I know who I want to work with and what I’m best at. I’m a corporate copywriter. Plus, someone else well-known has a successful personal brand with my name.

I think I’ll have better success as STORY. Copywriting than Caroline Voaden Copywriting. But I’m under no illusions: I’m going to have to work hard to make my name recognisable online as I step away from agency land.

I have been careful to craft STORY.’s tone of voice and messaging in a way that is close to my own. Sure, it’s a bolder version of how I speak, but it’s not far off. That’s a strategic decision to effectively communicate my skills and approach as an experienced, professional corporate copywriter.

I'm a new copywriter or freelancer, what do I name my business?

It depends. But you don’t have to use your name if it doesn’t make sense, despite what you might read elsewhere online.

If your chances of ranking on search engines are slim using your name, your market positioning is very niche or specific, or you’re looking to grow and scale quickly consider a business name that isn’t yours.

Be warned: this is where the hard work really begins. Did you know there are more than one million words in the English language?

Why settle for a first draft when your content could be a masterpiece? If you need a Corporate Copywriter contact me.

Written by

Caroline Voaden
Corporate copywriter struggles to name freelance business
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