A question I was asked in a business audit recently was, “Should I hire a copywriter?” Hiring an LGBTQ+ identified copywriter can be a great step in improving your business practice by ensuring that the verbiage on your website and/or social media is inclusive. When I was asked if I had any recommendations for LGBTQ+ copywriters in Vancouver, I went searching and discovered Emory Oakley.
I love that Emory is loud and proud with his queer identity and that LGBTQ+ education is one of the cornerstones of his business. After exchanging a few e-mails, I asked if I could feature him in my education series, and this interview was born.
Interview with Emory Oakley
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing copy.
My name is Emory and I am a queer transgender man living and working in Vancouver. I am a writer and LGBTQ+ educator who regularly discusses the intersections of queer identities and mental health. I have been passionate about creating my entire life and have been writing since I was a teenager. I started off my writing journey as a poet. I performed as a spoken word poet at the Vancouver Poetry Slam, competed in national competitions, and toured the pacific northwest. As I came into my queer identity and gained confidence in myself I realized my passion was in education and advocacy. This led me to blog writing and copywriting with the goal of educating folks on the LGBTQ+ community and the inequities we face as well as support businesses to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive in their business practices.
Who are the authors that inspire you?
As a writer who eventually wants to write a novel, lately, I’ve focused on works written by other LGBTQ+ community members or have strong LGBTQ+ protagonists. Two novels come to mind from the reading I have done this year; Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, and The Fifth Season Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin.
I also particularly love authors who have a unique writing style such as Tom Robbins (I absolutely loved Still Life with Woodpecker) and Eric Roth, particularly the novel that was adapted for film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs writing their own copy?
Make sure the copy is easy to read, concise and does not include industry jargon. Think about how you can build a trusting relationship with your readers and ways you can educate them on you, your business, and your services. Finally, think about what your call to action is.
Why should a business owner hire a copywriter?
It’s a copywriters’ job to focus on words and write clear, concise, error-free copy that can help to get a business noticed. They bring an outsider perspective to the business which can help to unpack some of the assumptions business owners make unknowingly. They understand the importance of having a clear brand message as well as understanding the competition. And, of course, it leaves business owners with more time to focus on their business and their customers.
Why is LGBTQ+ education so important to you?
Despite the progress we’ve seen in moving toward inclusion and equality, people in the LGBTQ+ community still experience discrimination and violence – even in Canada. The discrimination that LGBTQ+ people face, particularly those who have intersecting identities such as ethnic or religious minorities, leads to disparate rates of suicide, anxiety, trauma, and depression. Which in turn leads to higher rates of suicide.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community who has some amount of privilege being masculine of centre and white and who has a platform, I feel it’s my responsibility to be visible in order to be a positive role model for other trans folks and to use my voice to educate others.
Should entrepreneurs wanting to develop inclusive business practices hire a copywriter within the LGBTQ+ community?
Yes, whenever possible. Not only then are business owners giving money to someone from the marginalized communities they’re looking to reach, but someone from the community is able to provide a nuanced perspective to their work. They have a working knowledge of LGBTQ+ inclusive language as well as topics that are important to community members.
How can your services help business owners be more LGBTQ+ inclusive?
At times, business owners can unintentionally overlook the people their website or advertisements are not reaching. By working with someone in the LGBTQ+ community, I can help business owners to address potential issues in their website copy as well as support them to create LGBTQ+ inclusive content to address areas of their business that are being overlooked.
I can also provide basic education and consultative services for business owners on working with LGBTQ+ community members such as the importance of not making assumptions based on gender and how to respectfully ask for a person’s pronouns.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you are a business owner looking for content creation, copywriting, and/or support in making your business/website more LGBTQ+ inclusive and have questions about my services check out my website at www.emoryoakley.com. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Should I hire a copywriter?” What is one thing in your business you would like to outsource to a copywriter?