creating a personal tagline
I've written dozens of taglines for clients. Which translates into hundreds of taglines actually written to get to those dozens. Hell, I even had one company ask me to write the same tagline for them as I'd written for a competitor, sending me down a spiral of writing and asking friends and colleagues for help.
Recently, in my search for more freelance clients, I read an article about branding yourself, including coming up with your own tagline, and thought, "WHY HAVE I NOT DONE THIS?" If I were a client coming to me for help, I'd ask why I didn't have a tagline. (I don't have a logo, per se, either, but that's for another day.) It's Branding 101. It's your mission statement, your USP (unique selling proposition), and your greatest strengths, all rolled into one short, sweet line.
So it was time I wrote my own. I'll help you write yours too.
My high school Spanish teacher used to say that to us all the time. It means "think about it." So when I have to think about something, even these eons later, her saying that to our classes still flashes into my mind.
Yep, the first step to any tagline is thinking about it. This is supposed to be a snappy line that encompasses you. Start by asking yourself the following 3 things:
What do I stand for? If you need to, like me, you write a mini mission statement for yourself.
What am I an expert at? This is helpful to keep in mind whether you're searching for a job, or you feel unrecognized in an existing role.
What sets me apart from everyone else? This is your USP. It may seem redundant to what makes you an expert, but while you might be an expert at plumbing, what sets you apart is that you have a patented system for unclogging sinks that you guarantee to work.
do your homework!
I swear I'm not harping on a school theme. After I've thought about the 3 factors necessary for any Brand's tagline, I look at what the competition's saying about themselves. This is where Google, LinkedIn, and even Twitter are your friend. Seriously, look at people's professional Twitter bios—they can include quite good taglines. Find people in your field, or the field to which you aspire to work, on LinkedIn, and read the statements at the top of their profiles. If you're writing your own tagline because you're starting a freelancing or consulting business, look at companies who do the same work.
write. then write a lot more.
How many lines do you think Dan Weiden wrote before he landed the hit "Just Do It"? Spoiler: more than 5. That company wanting their competitor's tagline I mentioned above? I wrote at least 7 pages of tags. Seven. Full pages. Single-spaced.
Good copywriters get to be good copywriters because we practice all the time. An ad school teacher of mine would send us home each week with a packet of a dozen stock photos, and we had to come in the following week with at least 50 lines written for each. It was fabulous training for the real world of advertising. I'm not suggesting you write 50 taglines or 7 pages of taglines for yourself. I am saying that you should write at least a dozen to get one good line.
have a creative review
Just as I present work to clients, or show an ad to a focus group, you can ask people you respect to weigh in on your new tagline, or your top 3 options. (Professional courtesy alert: do not give someone 50 lines to slog through to find a gem.) You could ask potential employers or colleagues, former coworkers, or anyone you consider a mentor. But they should be well-versed in your industry. Choose your focus group as wisely as you choose your lines to show them, and you'll be in a good place. And remember, you're asking people for their personal opinions and professional feedback, but in the end here YOU are the ultimate client.
Once you have a tagline that really speaks to you, put it everywhere:
Your professional or personal website
Your business cards
Like any corporate tagline, you want people to read it and start associating you with it. If you have a logo, your tagline should appear with it. Brand recall is what it's all about.
my process ran in the background for years
Because I've been doing this so long, and spent much of 2019 looking for a new job, I've had a lot of time to think about what my own tagline should be. And because I've written copy for going on 2 decades, I have a Google doc of resume and cover letter fodder that's currently 9 pages long. Any time I need to answer a compelling screener or interview question, I write it out in that document to finesse and edit before I submit my answer. Thus I'm basically building a Brag Book on myself, full of professional accomplishments, projects that challenged me, and what inspires me as a leader.
One of the things that came together because of an interview question is the phrase, "meaningful, memorable, measurable." Anyone who knows me knows I like alliteration. But even more than that, the ethos behind those 3 words sums up quite nicely what I've been doing and want to do more of in advertising and marketing.
so my tagline?
"Memorable, Measurable Marketing Maven." It's my tagline because it's my mindset every time I approach a new Brand or campaign. I may not always make the flashiest ads, but I make ads that work. I'd rather create effective, engaging marketing than an hilarious Super Bowl ad for a Brand no one will remember the next day (EDS, anybody?). I stick to the axiom "if you can't measure it, it's not worth doing." That's me in a nutshell.
Now it's your turn. Need help with your tagline? Drop me a line. I don't bite. I write.
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