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Writer Joan and Mathmatician Janet

40 hours to kill

NWTC graduation. Marketing classes helped Joan become a better writer
My college days are behind me! On May 19, 2017, this “Wonder Writer” crossed the stage to receive her diploma.

How can I help with your writing needs?

This month Writer to the Rescue took flight full time for the first time since I stepped into the Spandex suit with the “W” on the chest in January. I’m now a graduate of two colleges, UW-Eau Claire (journalism) and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (social media marketing).


 

What do I do now? People ask me this all the time.
I write website content…
I tell the world about businesses, fashioning original, key-word rich content for the About Us page, Home page, Services pages and more. I’ve already written content for an excavator, restaurant, videographer, and asphalt company, just to name a few.
To make it easy on everyone, I developed a one-page questionnaire as a starting point. Some clients fill out the questionnaire and respond via email. Others respond over the phone or in person. I frame the website content around the responses to these questions and around the industry-specific research I conduct.
…And I write blog articles
What’s the topic this month? That’s my starting point for writing blog articles. I look at what’s seasonal or trendy. What do people wonder about? What connection can I make between writer and reader?
I want to position my client as an expert in the industry, as a trusted source readers can call upon for products or services.
But what good is a blog article if no one reads it? That’s why I use keywords, distribution strategies and search engine optimization techniques to help the article get found.
Posting blog articles to websites is a great social media marketing strategy. The infusion of original content provides more opportunities to convert visitors to customers. Blogs also enlarge a website, potentially improving its ranking on search engines.
…And I write news and magazine articles
Drawing from nearly 10 years of experience as a journalist, I create superpowerful news or magazine stories. Here’s my approach:
• Gather who, what, when, where, how and why.
• Gracefully weave the story together.
• Wrap it with a strong lead and satisfying conclusion.

Writer Joan and Mathmatician Janet
Writer Joan and Mathematician Janet make a good pair.

• Add an attention-getting headline and quality photograph.
• Submit the package to media outlets.
…And I write and edit specialty assignments
If you need something written or edited, I’m there to help.
• Whiteboard scripts
• Magazine and newspaper articles
• Pro staff agreements
• Invitations
• Newsletters
• Tutorials
• Sales presentations
In need of professional writing services? I’m happy to oblige. Now that I’m full time, I’ve got 40 hours to kill.

 

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Blog photo of flag and grave for Memorial Day

Blog writing sample

When a local funeral director rolled out a new identity for his funeral homes, I offered to help tell his story. One of the ways to get his message across is through monthly blog articles.

Why would a funeral home want to work with a blogger? Plenty of reasons.Blog about Memorial Day

Tell your story

Blog articles help build brand recognition; in this case, for the recently renamed funeral home. The initial blog explained the changes taking place at two funeral homes now operating under one umbrella. Blogs allow businesses to tell the world what’s happening: new products, recent acquisitions, leadership changes, etc.

The first-person blog I wrote about Legacy Funeral Chapel’s changes was conversational and descriptive, honoring the history of the generations-old funeral home while emphasizing today’s modern facilities and services.

Be viewed as an expert

Another goal of corporate blogging is to cement your status of authority in your industry. What business owner doesn’t want to stand out as a leader in their field?

Take this sample blog as an example. Families of veterans are often unsure what benefits are due at the time of death. Turns out, they may be eligible for a whole slate of free services! The funeral home staff is a knowledgeable and helpful resource for this topic – and lots of other topics, which will provide plenty of fodder for blog posts in the future.

Get the message to your audience

Blogging isn’t just about writing; it’s about getting read. That’s why I use the right keywords, posting strategies and search engine optimization techniques to help the blog get noticed.

Posting your blog articles to your website is a great social media marketing strategy. The infusion of original content provides more opportunities to convert visitors to customers. Blogs also enlarge a website, potentially improving its ranking on search engines.

Blogs are valuable if they focus on information customers really need. If a blogger provides valuable, relevant and compelling information, chances of resonating with an audience are good. When you resonate with your audience, you pick up sales.

When the time comes for someone to choose a funeral home, Legacy Funeral Chapels wants their name to come to mind. Blogging can help.

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Lessons learned from the likes of Alice and Olive

It’s time to regroup from a hectic weekend; and what a weekend it was! Saturday night was spent at the 70th annual Alice in Dairyland finale at the Lambeau Field Atrium. On Sunday I celebrated Mother’s Day and watched the Machickanee Players’ performance of “The Odd Couple,” female version.

Halfway through my weekend I noticed a theme developing – talented women are everywhere. I certainly saw my fair share on Saturday and Sunday.

Amazing on-stage presence

The six finalists in the Alice in Dairyland competition were outstanding; all were knowledgeable about agriculture and well-prepared for the competition. I marveled at how casually they took hold of the microphone and launched into their 5-minute talks, without the aid of notes. All six had college-level training in marketing or communications, and it showed.

Alice in DairylandWe heard two presentations from each finalist and a heartfelt, humorous farewell message from Ann O’Leary, the 69th Alice in Dairyland. During her reign she spoke to thousands of fourth-graders and answered questions like “Why is cheese yellow if milk is white?” and “Is your name really Alice?” Her response to the second question: “No, my name isn’t Alice, but it would be a lot easier if it were!”

Crystal Siemers-Peterman of Cleveland will wear the tiara (bedecked with gems native to Wisconsin) as the 70th Alice in Dairyland. She begins a year-long, full-time job with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, travelling the state to promote Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.

Comedic timing was superb

That brings me to another performance featuring talented women. Oscar and Felix were replaced by Olive and Florence in the female version of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” performed at the Park Avenue Playhouse in Oconto. The classic comedy about the mismatched roommates – one a neat freak and the other a slob – was both funny and poignant. I especially liked watching Olive, Florence and their four friends bond over their weekly Trivial Pursuit match-ups. They showed how female friendships can be cheeky and wacky, yet tinged with warmth and honesty. The cast pulled it off beautifully! I could just sit back, relax and drink it all in.

Moms have hidden talents

Mothers were the third set of talented women I came in contact with this weekend. The talents we share with our families day-in and day-out largely go unnoticed. Our contributions go beyond household chores and childcare duties. We give our kids support, show them our love, and most importantly, help them move out! But honestly, I love having the kids come home, whether for a weekend or a summer.

On Mother’s Day, I was reminded of the time our college-aged daughter called home, saying she needed to talk to someone. “Aren’t your roommates around?” I asked, clueless. I could hear the impatience in her voice as she said, “I want to talk to you!”

I didn’t say any magic words or quote any great philosophers, but by the end of our conversation I’d said enough to put her life back on track.

That’s a talent all in itself!

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Robot Wizards

News/Magazine Article Sample

Newspaper story about robotics team from Wisconsin wins national VEX robotics competitionAfter being contacted by parents with well-deserved pride in their children’s accomplishment, I dusted off my reporter’s cap. It easily fell back into place, and I was once again a journalist. This time my title was freelance writer, instead of newspaper editor.

What makes this newsworthy?
I had an opportunity to return to my roots in journalism to tell the story of a talented group of teens who are passionate about robotics. It was a privilege to write about their accomplishments and snap a few photos.
I can assure you, this was much more exciting than reviewing sheriff’s reports and following court cases.
This was one of those fun newspaper stories to write because of the unique storyline and its positive message. I was impressed! This trio of engineering and robotics experts succeeded on the national level. My goal was to tell a story, not just write one.

Why choose a freelance writer?
Newspaper staffers are often busy with multiple assignments and the day-to-day operations of publishing their product. Sometimes the opportunity to report on a newsworthy event gets missed, and the subject of the article and people involved miss the recognition they deserve.
When I write and submit a story as a freelance writer, I am not always guaranteed the article will be published. Emphasizing its timeliness and its human interest angle often makes it an easy choice for editors to find space available in their publication.
Editors are often looking for interesting, well-written articles that are relevant to their readership.

How does this fit my situation?
Depending upon your topic and event, I can help you determine where it fits best – as a news story, feature article, press release or guest column. In most cases, I’ll save you the hassle of submitting the article. I’ll make sure it gets to the appropriate news outlets.
I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to share a story with a newspaper audience. Journalism allows me to do something I truly love and help people at the same time.

 

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Wonder Writer Meets Her Match, Squares Up Against the Best in the Business

The big news out of Titletown this weekend? The Green Bay Packers 2017 draft picks. What about the big news out of Untitled Town this weekend?

Never heard of Untitled Town? It’s a first-time event in which readers and writers congregated for three days of homage to the written word.

The Untitled Town Book and Author Festival incorporated more than 70 events in 7 different locations in downtown Green Bay. At writing workshops, panel discussions, and readings I found solidarity with others who truly love words.

Joan Koehne at Untitled Book and Author Festival
Joan Koehne attends Untitled Book and Author Festival.

The presenters were generous in dispensing nuggets of wisdom about their writing. Here are a few gems I packed away:

  1. No finished work is done until someone else reads it.
  2. Writers are divided into two categories: Plotters, who plan carefully, and Pantsers, who write by the seat of their pants.
  3. Readers are seeking a “rabbit hole” — an escape from their jobs, their kids, and their dirty dishes.
  4. Writing is a process. Stories don’t just pop out full-borne. They need to be massaged over time.
  5. Two things are critical to improve your writing: Read a lot, and write a lot.

I call myself Wonder Writer, but I think I met my match this weekend!

These writing professionals are fervently dedicated to their craft. After all, it can be a years-long journey from the first word written to the date a novel is published.

When I consider this daunting scenario, I’m thankful I spend my days crafting 250-500 words at a pop in the form of website content, blog articles, news releases and the like.

I walked away from the conference inspired, yes, but even more so, I felt proud of my role as a storyteller (minuscule as it is) in a vast and diverse writing industry. For this, I thank the creators of #UntitledTown. Can’t wait for next year!

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