Copywriting is a delicate business – and one many business owners find tricky. With this in mind, two female entrepreneurs decided to found a startup that provides quality writing to businesses across the globe.
Kelechi Udoagwu – who’s also a writer for TRUE Africa and if that isn’t a sign of quality, we don’t know what is – has just launched Skrife, ‘an online platform that helps entrepreneurs, brands, digital agencies and startups communicate and create quality written content by leveraging on our exclusive community of freelance writers and editors.’
She’s also communications manager at MEST Africa, a training programme, seed fund and incubator for aspiring tech entrepreneurs from across Africa. She was originally one of their ‘Entrepreneurs-in-Training’ and that’s where she met co-founder Tolu Agunbiade.
But that’s not all she’s got up to – her past is proof that a wide range of experiences are always useful for the aspiring mogul. ‘Before getting involved with the tech industry, I studied Accounting at Benson Idahosa University, although that seems like so many lives ago.
‘I used to model and featured in adverts for brands including MTN, Samsung, Fidelity Bank, Haier Thermocool and others. Two of my favorite jobs were a one-week acting stint as Cassie on Mnet’s Tinsel and hosting a web series for Pulse Ghana [she laughs]. I have a rich past.’
The two women founded Skrife in December 2015. They were accepted into the S Factory, alongside Beavly, another MEST startup. The S Factory is an accelerator based in Chile where they received US$15,000 equity-free funding. The team has grown to include in-house editor-in-chief, Tahirah, and two interns, one for tech and the other for digital marketing.
People who don’t write often enough think that writing is a one-time affair.
So I ask Kelechi the obvious. What’s makes Skrife different? ‘We truly, truly focus on making our clients happy.’ They make sure they get to know the client before assigning the job to a writer and give clients two rounds of revision.
‘We are honest and open, and don’t just take on clients because we want their money. There are people who have come talk to us, and we realise that what they need is multimedia content or offline events. We are happy to refer them to other platforms and products that can help them create that.’
Even though a lot of people think it’s quite easy to string a sentence together, oftentimes it’s not. Which are the most common mistakes people make when writing?
‘Not editing enough! People who don’t write often enough think that writing is a one-time affair but it’s not. I think writers should spend more time, at least double the time spent on writing a piece, on editing it.
‘After completing a first draft, leave it alone, let it breathe. Come back hours later to clean it up. Then you leave it again before a final run-through. Especially if it’s an important piece of writing, put some effort into it, people!’
So what should you do to write better?
‘Write more, write often, write honestly. And get another writer (hopefully, someone better than you) to peer review your work before you hit publish.
‘If you’re looking for good books on writing, Tolu also recommends starting with Stephen King’s On Writing, and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.’
We’ve had some wahala clients who don’t understand content marketing and want to squeeze out every possible value for their money.
For Skrife business seems to be going well. Kelechi says that they’ve completed over 150 requests for over twenty clients from seven countries, including the United States, Australia, Nigeria, Ghana and Mauritius. Some brands currently using Skrife include African Leadership University, Paystack, Ingressive, Tress and Start Smart.
‘Uptake has been interesting really,’ Kelechi says. ‘We have so many kinds of clients from different industries, and are still narrowing down on who the ideal customer is. We have had clients who understand clearly what Skrife does and order content consistently and we’ve had some wahala clients who don’t understand content marketing and want to squeeze out every possible value for their money.’
What’s sure – and yes, we know that we would say this – good writing is priceless… and good editing even more so.
Find out more about Skrife