How Heidi Ellert-McDermott Transformed Speechwriting with Innovation, Wit, and SpeechyAI

Heidi Ellert-McDermott revolutionises speechwriting with Speechy, offering bespoke, witty speeches. From weddings to celebrations, her team, backed by SpeechyAI, crafts unforgettable moments with innovation and expertise.

There are those that stand out not just for their innovation, but for their profound impact on personal moments and milestones. Enter Heidi Ellert-McDermott, a visionary entrepreneur who has reshaped the landscape of speechwriting with her brainchild, Speechy.

Heidi’s journey into the realm of speechwriting was sparked by a cascade of wedding experiences where the speeches ranged from lackluster to cringe-worthy. Drawing from her background as a TV director and writer at the esteemed BBC, Heidi recognized an unmet need for modern, witty, and bespoke wedding speeches. Thus, Speechy was born.

What sets Speechy apart is not just its impeccable craftsmanship but also its adaptability. Evolving from its roots in wedding speeches, the company now offers a spectrum of services tailored to diverse needs and budgets. From speech edits to delivery coaching and even the groundbreaking SpeechyAI, Heidi’s team ensures that every word resonates with authenticity and humor.

But the road to success was not without its challenges. Like any entrepreneur, Heidi faced the daunting task of navigating uncharted territory, from understanding SEO to mastering the art of delegation. Yet, fueled by her unwavering passion and commitment to excellence, she persevered, propelling Speechy to global acclaim.

What truly distinguishes Speechy is the caliber of its team. Comprised of industry luminaries who have graced the stages of BBC comedy shows and penned jokes for renowned comedians, Speechy’s writers bring unparalleled expertise and warmth to every project. It’s this winning combination of talent and empathy that has earned Speechy accolades from publications like The Observer and The New York Times.

As Heidi looks toward the future, her sights are set on further revolutionising the world of speechwriting with SpeechyAI. Powered by artificial intelligence and honed by the wisdom of Heidi’s team, SpeechyAI promises to redefine how we craft speeches for weddings, businesses, and celebrations alike.

In the midst of her entrepreneurial journey, Heidi acknowledges the perpetual quest for balance between work and life, a challenge she tackles with characteristic grace and determination. Yet, through it all, her unwavering dedication to her craft and her clients remains steadfast, ensuring that every speech crafted by Speechy is not just memorable but truly unforgettable.

Join us as we delve into the remarkable story of Heidi Ellert-McDermott and the transformative power of Speechy, where every word is crafted with care and every moment is imbued with laughter and love.

How did you get the idea for your business and why did you think it would work?

In my early 30s I went to a succession of weddings where the speeches were variable to say the least. The brilliant ones added a wonderful moment to the day, but more often than not, the speeches were either awkward or dull. After sitting through a 40 min speech and seeing a trio of best men escorted away from the mic, I realised wedding speakers might appreciate the help for professional speechwriters.

Having worked in the TV industry, I had lots of contacts who I knew could work well with people and create truly unique and witty speeches for them. My team have worked on topical news quizzes and ghostwrite for renowned comedians, so wedding speakers now have access to truly great writers at a reasonable cost.

Over the years, we’ve developed our offering so in response to our clients varying needs, ability and budgets. We now also offer… 

  • A speech edit service (where clients send their first draft and we make it better)
  • Delivery coaching (having directed TV presenters for over a decade, I know the dos and don’t of presenting)
  • Speech templates – (cheap, fast turnaround option)
  • SpeechyAI (combining our expertise with Artificial Intelligence)   

What challenges did you find at the beginning of your journey and how did you overcome them?

Having never run my own business, I was completely ignorant about everything, other than the speechwriting and setting up a strong team!

The biggest learning curve has been understanding SEO as all our business is done online. We are a global business that offers both bespoke services and e-commerce products and we market to a wide variety of demographics (from best men in Australia wanting a bespoke speech, to a mother of the groom in the States wanting a simple speech template) so understanding our keywords and focussing our targeting has been key to our growth.

What makes your business unique?

Without a doubt, the quality of the Speechy team. They really are top of their game; writing for a range of BBC topical comedy shows, appearing in panel shows and ghostwriting for world-renowned comedians. They are also genuinely lovely people to work with and are excellent at building strong relationships with our clients.

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to become an entrepreneur?

It’s not easy! Everything takes longer than you hope and costs a lot more too.

There’s no silver bullet, and not much downtime in the initial years. There’s lots of blood, sweat and tears and running your own business can be tough. But, as long as you know you’re providing a great service or product, the effort feels worth it.

At Speechy as offer a delight guarantee because we want all our customers and clients to love working with us. I personally couldn’t cope if they didn’t! I care too much!

How did you market your business?

Because we offer such an unusual service and we have a lot of expertise, I’ve found it relatively easy to get good PR. We’ve been featured everywhere from The Telegraph to Forbes. I’ve also appeared on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour and BBC Sounds ‘Best Men’ podcast.

We don’t pay for any editorial features; we simply supply interesting and entertaining content.

Due to our growing reputation as the go-to speech experts, the fantastic Little, Brown Publishers released my book, ‘The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches’ last year. Great how-to book, and great publicity too!

What plans do you have for the future?

Our aim this year is to market SpeechyAI – We’re confident it’s a game-changer.

SpeechyAI utilises the power of Artificial Intelligence and the Speechy team’s expertise to create wedding speeches that are funny, meaningful, and memorable. It’s fun to use and affordable.

We’ll be constantly improving it as the tech develops and we’re also hoping to extend its ability beyond wedding speeches to business and celebration speeches too.

Exciting times ahead!

What’s the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur?

Having a work-life balance. (Still not quite mastered that one!)

Important to be able to delegate.

I’ve also learnt not to attempt all marketing routes, and instead concentrate on the few that have proven to work for us. It’s impossible to master all marketing options – especially with so many social media channels, as well as PPC, mailing lists, SEO, and PR to consider.  

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