Melinda Leyshon from Awards Agency

Who are you Melinda Leyshon?

I’m Melinda Leyshon, CEO and Chief Awards Addict at Awards Agency. I help businesses develop awards submissions that don’t just tick the boxes. They stand out like a tutu at a nudist colony

  • I’ve delivered winners at Local, State and National levels.
  • I’ve delivered industry-specific award winners, customer service winners, and businessperson of the year winners.
  • I’ve delivered many incredibly deserving Telstra Women’s Business Awards finalists and helped clients win the gold over consecutive years.
  • I’m a judge for a number of award programs, including the international Stevie Awards and the Australian Institute of Marketing Awards.
  • And my success rate is more than 90%.

But for me, business awards are more than about the bling. They’re also about finding your business voice, evaluating where you are (as well as where you’ve come from and where you want to go), and using the platform to establish your business as an industry leader. When I’m not whispering sweet somethings in the ears of judges, I share the secrets of writing via Awards Agency Academy. But one thing I won’t share is my stash of chocolate-covered liquorice. Just try me.

What did you do before you became a copywriter?

I was in tax and legal publishing (not very exciting) before moving into education (still not very exciting). Then I moved into small business to turn my ex-husbands flailing business around. And in the process, I discovered the power of business awards and the secrets to smashing them.

How long have you been copywriting?

Around seven or eight years, I think.

What has been your biggest copywriting career win?

Growing from being a soloist to having a team—and all from nada.

What was your worst copywriting career fail?

Luckily I haven’t had too many of those. And I’ve wiped the ones I did have from my memory. But recently I received a complaint about spelling errors. We’d run spellcheck, but then I double-checked in Hemmingway and there they were—three little buggers in amongst about 6,000 words. It thought that was okay, but apparently she didn’t.

What’s your number one fave copywriting tool?

How can I choose one? Actually, I’ve only just taken to Pinterest (late bloomer). I’m quite visual and use colours and shapes sometimes to help me find the right words.

How do you deal with self-doubt?

I go back to my numbers. Clients are happy, awards are being won. The evidence is all there. Alternatively, I call in sick and watch Netflix. I know we all joke about it, but mental health days are important.

What work-life balance/ mental health tips do you have?

I’m the worst person to ask! We recently moved into an office, and the difference it has made to me personally is huge. I had anxiety about my team having to see my disheveled mess, and I had no separation between work and home. And while I still work from home, the delineation is easier and I’m more productive. I’m also developing much stronger relationships with local clients who love the pop-in (not to mention the local baristas).

What tip would you pass onto any newbie copywriters?

Keep learning. Stalk people. Find someone who’s work you love and ask them to mentor you. We’re all different in terms of our writing style and our skills, so find someone whose work you love and whose personality you like. We all had to learn somewhere (and I honestly believe good copywriters are the ones who push themselves and keep learning). I hate getting out of my comfort zone, but I love what it creates.  

What’s next for you?

Well, we’re launching an agency! It will be a parent to WriteCopy (tender/business writing) and Awards Agency (Business Awards) and reflect a lot of what we do, which is the creative stuff. We’re always learning so we’re always evolving. For me, it’s about putting the right people in the right places to solve my client’s needs. And it’s all coming together.

Why do you love TCCS?

OMG, for WAY too many reasons. I’ve met some of my most adored friends through TCCS. I have my trusted support network there. It’s a safe place where I can ask for help on a bad day and give help on a good day. I can learn in there, help others learn, and find awesome peeps who give a shit about their work to work with us. I couldn’t love it any more than I do.

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