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StoryBrand: Messaging to Win Customers

StoryBrand lightbulb financial idea

Have you ever had an A-ha moment when suddenly, something clicks? The lightbulb in your head blinks on. That A-ha moment is marketing gold.

How can a brand generate an A-ha moment for its customers? By putting their customer in the center of the story.

Instead of focusing on your own organization, focus on the client. Telling about yourself and your products isn’t what gets a client’s attention. Instead, try telling their story. Place them in the hero role, not you. They’ll be all ears. That little lightbulb in their head will be glowing because you offer the answer to the challenges they want to overcome.

StoryBrand Philosophy

This type of client-centered marketing is the powerful philosophy of StoryBrand. Donald Miller’s best-selling book, “Building a StoryBrand,” evolved into a website, mystorybrand.com, and StoryBrand podcast. Miller created a framework for brand messaging that’s effective, yet surprisingly simple. A client introduced me to StoryBrand, and I was sold from the start. One feature of StoryBrand is the so-called one-liner. The one-liner is a focused, clear message that boils down to three parts. First, sum up the customer’s problem. Second, explain the solution your product or service provides. Third, paint a picture of how success looks.

StoryBrand One-Liner Examples

I love this marketing strategy because it packs a wallop. It directly addresses what customers want, in three parts.

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Success

I’ve used this three-step marketing strategy for website content and marketing material. Each client has a different problem, solution and image of success. Here are examples for a picnic décor provider and bookkeeper.

  • Metro Atlanta residents want to ‘wow’ their guests at special celebrations – without doing everything themselves. A picnic is the answer! Global Earth Studio provides completely portable and customizable picnic décor. Guests will gush about their extraordinary picnic experience.
  • Owners of small businesses have so much to do and so little time to get it all done. CM Business Services provides accountant-ready bookkeeping, payroll services, and financial coaching to help business owners make more money and spend less time managing it.

Try This Marketing Strategy Yourself

The creators of StoryBrand recommend using a one-liner over and over. Get your team to learn it by heart. Share it with customers on the phone. Use it in brochures, website pages, and social media. Add it to email signatures and company bios. By repurposing the one-liner over and over, you strengthen your brand message through consistency and repetition. One message circulates across multiple platforms.


So, what are you waiting for? Create your own StoryBrand one-liner! Otherwise, contact the Wonder Writer at Writer to the Rescue. Writer to the Rescue provides a one-two punch of solid writing and compelling marketing. Contact the Wonder Writer today to get started on you next marketing campaign.

Top 3 Ways to Personalize a Newsletter

sample of newsletter personalized
A newsletter’s greeting is one place to personalize. Instead of the default Hello, drop in the person’s name.

Back when I was a newspaper editor, an outside party performed a full review of our publication. One of the reviewer’s comments referred to writing style. She recommended writing articles in an understandable, personal way. Essentially, it’s like writing to Mom – nothing complex or flashy. Instead of trying to impress every reader out there, just focus on getting the message across to one special reader, like your mom. Good advice! The same recommendation goes for newsletters. Newsletter editors have numerous ways to personalize their message. Here are my Top 3 ways to personalize a newsletter.

1. Personalize the Greeting

One personalization opportunity is the newsletter’s greeting. Instead of using generic terms like Hello, Greetings, or To Whom it May Concern (super impersonal!), personalize the salutation instead. Email programs like the one I use, Constant Contact, allow me to drop in the name of the recipient in the greeting. I know that people read this salutation, because once I sent a newsletter with Hello Bill on every single salutation. Oops! Thankfully, people let us know, and I corrected it for the next issue.

2. Personalize the ‘From’ Field

Another personalization strategy involves the “From” field that newsletter recipients see in the inbox. Which email are you more likely to open? One from a familiar, recognizable name of someone you know or one from a corporation or organization? Therefore, send the newsletter from an individual’s email, not a corporation or organization, and you’ll get more opens. Additionally, your email is more likely to get past filters. Email services like Gmail will filter emails into “Social” and “Promotional” boxes. That’s not where you want your email to land, because it’s much less likely to be opened and read.

3. Personalize the Content

Finally, personalize the content inside a newsletter. Include a short note from an organization representative like the owner, president, or trusted employee. The Packerland Websites’ newsletter includes a photo of owner Bill Koehne in every issue. The photo and accompanying note tell about his hobbies or recent travels. These tidbits remind clients they’re working with a real person. The message is this: We want you to get to know us, and we want to get to know you. Developing personal relationships is a key to business success…and it’s what makes life meaningful.

Turn Newsletters into Engagement Machines

newsletter personalize

Implementing personalization into a newsletter will help turn the newsletter into an engagement machine. In reality, a newsletter is a valuable communications tool. It’s an effective way to get information out and engagement in. Personalizing a newsletter takes that engagement to the next level.

Contact the Wonder Writer

Although my life as a newspaper editor is behind me, I’m still writing and publishing as much as ever. Currently, I’m editing five newsletters. Each implements various personalization techniques to improve opens and encourage readership. For help with your newsletter campaign, contact the Wonder Writer at Writer to the Rescue.

Bonus Tip: How to increase opens on your newsletter with a killer subject line.

Website content in browser

Questionnaire for website content

Content writing for websites is a little bit like going on a blind date.
Anyone who has been on blind date knows the importance of asking good questions – because the alternative is awkward silence. Good questions lead to good rapport, good conversation, and perhaps, a meaningful relationship.
Here is a list of questions I developed as a starting point for writing website content, especially for the Home page and About Us page.


1. Name of business?
2. Meaning behind the name?
3. Name of Owner/s?Website content in browser
4. History of the business?
5. What problem do your clients face?
6. What solution do you provide?
7. Owner’s experience?
8. Certifications?
9. Training/Education?
10. Insured and bonded?
11. Mission statement/goals?
12. Motto or catchphrase?
13. Advertising messages?
14. Key words people might use in online searches?
15. Selling point: why different than competition?
16. What’s the approach you take with clients?
17. Primary target audience?
18. Secondary target audience?
19. Service area?
20. Locations (home office, branches)?
21. Directions to home office/branches?
22. What do you want customers to do? Call? Email? Visit you in person? Something else?
23. Number of staff members?
24. Selling point of staff members: What makes the staff stand out?
25. Service/product offered? What are their four top benefits or features?
26. What’s your price point? How does your price compare to the competition?
27. Advantages of working with you (quality product, save time, better than do-it-yourself, etc.)?
28. Hours or by appointment only?
29. Awards and recognition?
30. What did I forget that’s important?


I’ve found this questionnaire to be a great place to start when I develop website content for a client. Follow-up questions help to clarify the information, and additional research helps to add detail and industry-specific language. My goal is to engage readers in content that’s meaningful to them, making them more likely to act in a way that meets my clients’ business objectives. Good content can increase traffic to a website and reduce bounce rates.

10 Blogging Strategies from a Ghostwriting Pro

mountaintop in West Virginia is reminder of blogging strategies

My husband, Bill, and I just returned from an amazing vacation to West Virginia. The Fall colors were magnificent, especially when viewed from a mountaintop after we completed a long hike. The extra effort to get to the lookout certainly made the view more rewarding. Obviously, driving by car to the mountain peak just wouldn’t have the same effect. Essentially, the same goes for blogging strategies. If blogging were easy, everyone would be writing and publishing a blog a week. Like I explain in the Secret to Blogging Success article, blogging takes times, energy, and resources. However, the rewards are worth it!

Blogging Rewards

Here are the rewards of blogging.

  • Generate leads
  • Provides relevant content to your audience
  • Builds brand awareness
  • Drives traffic to your website, where conversions take place
  • Positions yourself as an authority in your industry
  • Informs and engages current clients and prospective clients

Blogging Strategies

Here are 10 blogging strategies to get you to the “mountaintop” of blogging success.

  1. Blog about a topic of interest to your target market each month. Be conversational and informative.
  2. Follow good formatting practices regarding length, headings, subheadings, and images. Create a look and readability that appeals to the audience.
  3. Optimize content for search engines with alt tags, page descriptions, categories, titles, and links to other posts/pages.
  4. Publish the blog article on your website.
  5. Promote the blog by sharing on social media, LinkedIn, emails, conversations with clients, etc.
  6. Monitor reader feedback, and respond within two business days.
  7. Review analytics for topics that earn the most attention. Develop related blog posts on these subjects.
  8. Include a Call to Action with each article.
  9. Leverage Google’s keyword analysis by using keywords your customers search for.
  10. Narrow your focus to topics that you’re an expert in. Have a point of view. Be different and get noticed.

Blogging Professional

When it comes to blogging, Writer to the Rescue handles everything. Above all, our ghostwriting services make you look good. Strong headlines and lead sentences invite the reader into the blog, and careful transitions keep them interested. Nontraditional story forms, like checklists, Q&As, timelines, and Top 10 lists, are great formats blogging strategies. So, are you ready to reach the peak of blogging success? Contact us today, 920-639-1865.

5 E-newsletter Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business

E-newsletter
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Is an E-newsletter or Direct Mail newsletter right for your business? Before you create a newsletter marketing campaign, here are five things to nail down.

Identify Your Target Reader

First, identify your target reader. Get a good picture in your mind of who you want to reach and how. Is your target audience likely to open an email and read a digital E-newsletter? Maybe your audience is more likely to read a Direct Mail print newsletter they can hold in their hands, rather than an E-newsletter.

Set E-Newsletter Goals

Second, think about your goals for an E-newsletter or print newsletter. Once you identify your goals for a newsletter, it’s easier to choose content. So, what results are you looking for?

Potential Newsletter Goals:

  • Send customers to your website to place orders
  • Bring consumers to your store or event
  • Tell the story of your brand’s products and services
  • Offer discounts or announce sales
  • Generates leads
  • Recruit the right people for your team

Tell Your Story with Images

Wonder Writer action figure

Third, you’ll need some great photos to tell your story at a glance. Casual or professional – you choose the images that fit your audience. Show off your team’s personality with photos of your staff. Use action photos to generate interest in your products and services.

Keep E-Newsletter Text Short & Sweet

Fourth, you’ll need words, because text is the meat of your newsletter. Short and sweet is the way to go. Write a summary paragraph about each topic. Add a click-through link to a longer article on your blog or website. Choose a click-bait subject line to entice more readers. To pick the best newsletter ideas, read through your recent social media posts, blogs, or company communications.

Newsletter Topic Ideas:

Strong Headlines in Packerland Websites newsletter
  • Showcase a new product or service
  • Explain how a product works
  • Highlight a member of your staff
  • Share a How-to Guide, Recipe, Alert, Recommendation
  • Publish a Calendar of Events & invite guests to attend
  • Communicate your company culture & vision

Design Like a Rock Star

Fifth, create an attractive newsletter design that’s mobile responsive and easy to read, scan, and click. Match the design with your brand by adding your company logo, colors, and motto. Even better, create a newsletter that mimics your website.

Contact Writer to the Rescue

Need an experienced newsletter editor to pull this all together? Writer to the Rescue offers the one-two punch of professional writing and marketing services. The Wonder Writer excels at using traditional and digital marketing tools to grow your small business. Expand your client base with an E-newsletter or print newsletter. Contact Writer to the Rescue today.

5 Ways to Develop your Brand Image with FAQs

When creating content for a website, I often recommend that clients create a Frequently Asked Questions page or FAQs blog article. Why are FAQ pages so valuable?

FAQs develop brand image

Rich in Keywords

First, FAQ pages are rich in keywords. By asking and answering questions related to your business, you use keywords specific to your industry. These keywords help a website rank higher on Google and other search engine results pages.

Resonate with Your Audience

Second, FAQs let your brand speak for itself. By incorporating your company’s authentic personality and voice, you create messaging that resonates with the audience. Not every question/answer needs to be serious. People love a good laugh. Don’t be afraid to add a couple of fun or offbeat questions and answers, if you think your audience is open to them.

Build Credibility

Third, FAQs show the audience that you’re a knowledgeable authority in your industry. Credibility is important when clients make purchasing decisions.

Differentiate Your Brand

Fourth, FAQs differentiate your brand from your competition. By emphasizing what sets you apart, you describe the value of working with you, not someone else.

Save Time

Fifth, FAQs save you time. Once clients sign a contract, schedule an initial consultation, or register for your services, you can refer them to your FAQs page. Here they’ll learn more about you and what to expect as your client, thus saving you the time answering the same questions over and over.

FAQs in Action

Lastly, let me show you how this works – by creating an FAQ page about FAQs!

Q: How many FAQs to a page?

I suggest that clients pick 6 or 7 questions to answer. What do people really want to know about your business? Include questions that clients are actually asking.

Q: How do I arrange FAQs?

When arranging your questions, group similar topics together. This arrangement creates natural transitions between questions and improves the flow of information. As a result, readers are more likely to engage in the content, which is just what you want because engagement leads to action. You may even want to add subtitles to divide questions and answers into scannable content.

Q: How do I write FAQs?

Questions and answers should be written in language that your clients will understand, so avoid jargon or complex information that leads to more questions. Keep the FAQs simple and straight-forward, with answers written from your client’s perspective. Try to answer questions in a positive way, telling the audience what to do, not what to avoid. When feasible, add images to help explain your words.

Q: How do I format FAQs?

Make them reader-friendly. Don’t make your readers work to find the information they want by scrolling through long paragraphs. Instead, I recommend a jump feature or an accordion design. The questions are visible, and when a user clicks on a question, an answer appears. The FAQs expand and contract like an accordion. Additionally, questions can be formatted in bold or underlined to separate them from the answers.

Q: How do I promote engagement?

Promote engagement by linking the questions and answers to articles or web pages related to your topic. You’ll also want to end the page or post with a Call to Action that encourages visitors to take the next step. Be sure to update the page or post regularly to keep your content fresh and emphasize what’s new at your business.

Q: How can Writer to the Rescue help with FAQs?

By working with Writer to the Rescue, you receive professionally written and formatted FAQs that are ready for publication. FAQs are an important part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Contact the Wonder Writer at 920-639-1865 to get started.

gathering information for a blog

Gathering information for a blog

When I begin blogging for a client, we review three main points. First, we talk about what the client wants to accomplish by blogging. Second, we talk about the logistics of gathering information for a blog, writing, and publishing the articles and images. Lastly, we discuss ways to market the blog. Let’s take a closer look at gathering information for a blog.

gathering information for a blog

Gathering information for a blog

As a ghost writer, I often blog in first-person, so each article has to reflect a client’s personality. A conversation over the phone or in person lets me capture my client’s individuality. I translate his or her ideas into a credible, readable article. We discuss the tone to strike with the audience. Formal or casual? First person (as if they’re writing it themselves) or second person (from an outside observer).

To make the best use of my clients’ time when gathering information for a blog, I often cover 2-3 topics in one phone interview. Additionally, we connect during their downtime, not their busy time.

Identifying specific keywords

We talk about keywords for their industry, and specifically, for their business. For example, I blog for an asphalt company that provides four services: paving, striping, seal coating, and crack repair. I work those four keywords (and other keywords) into their blogs. Keywords help a website rank better on Google and other search engine results pages. Users who type in a query like “Seal coating companies in Green Bay” can connect with companies that offer this service.

Furthermore, keywords are my guide to optimization techniques. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) includes links, images, tags, page titles, and page descriptions. I use the keywords I gather from a client to complete this behind-the-scenes optimization.

Giving clients control over content marketing

Once I’m done gathering information for a blog, I begin writing. After a blog is written, it’s time to get the client’s seal of approval. Thereby, my client maintains control over the message, which is so important when defining and maintaining a brand image. The first set of revisions is included in my base price.

Working together to tell a story

Gathering information for a blog is just part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. By working with a professional blogger, my clients develop marketing and branding strategies that get results. A content marketing expert like Writer to the Rescue skillfully tells each client’s story.

Contact the Wonder Writer at 920-639-1865 to discuss how we can work together on blogs, website content, news releases, or magazine articles.

written content

How good content builds your customer base

content writing

I previously worked with a client who needed fresh content for his revamped website. As it turns out, the text on his old website had been “borrowed” from another company. Needless to say, it didn’t reflect my client’s products, brand identity, or way of doing business. It was just a quick way to fill a page. Copycat content certainly is never a good idea.

Website pages are more likely to engage the audience by being authentic, original, and conversational. Above all, this is what builds customer trust. The audience will be pulled into the message as a result. They’ll see the company as a solution-focused adviser and expert.

Emotionally connect with the audience

The goal of good content writing is to emotionally connect with the audience. This involves sharing useful information that answers the customers’ basic questions. Furthermore, the focus needs to be on the consumer’s desire to learn “What will this product/service mean to me?” and “How does this make me feel?”

Focus on your customer’s success

Here’s an example of a shift in focus, from company-focused to consumer-focused. The first example is written from the perspective of the marketing company, working for a manufacturing firm.

“Company X is a team of marketing and branding professionals based in Janesville, Wisconsin. We help manufacturers tell their story and build their brand. Our customer-focused, proven strategies allow manufacturers to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign at a small price.”

Write from the customer’s perspective

In contrast, the second is written from a customer-focused angle. It describes what the marketing services will mean to the client (growth and success). This example also spikes an emotion: anxiety. It also provides a solution (simple, understandable strategies).

“Company X, Janesville, helps manufacturers grow and succeed through smart marketing and branding strategies. We understand the marketing anxiety manufacturers face. That’s why we offer a full scope of simple, understandable strategies. We provide everything a small manufacturer needs to present a “big company” presence.”

Most importantly, the second example shows a concern for the client’s success. It has a “We’re in this together” feel of a partnership rather than a top-down approach.

Build relationships via written content

Essentially, relationships are at the heart of sales conversions. Building these relationships through clear and compelling content is the key to developing loyal customers. Certainly, original content that tells a company’s unique story is a good place to start.

Work with a marketing professional

For website content that builds a loyal customer base, contact the Wonder Writer, 920-639-1865 or Joan@WriterToTheRescue.com.

blogging

Bloggers’ Bible: 10 Tips to Get You Rolling

First time blogger? Blogging is an effective way to define your niche and interact with others online. Blogging fosters your relationship with your audience and sets you apart as an industry expert. Bloggers who capture the attention of their audience reap the benefits, becoming well-respected sources of products and services.

Here are 10 tips to get you started as a blogger.

  1. Brainstorm ideas. Consider what people want to know. I chose this topic after talking with a business owner at a banquet. He wanted to start blogging and didn’t know how. What questions did you answer today?
  2. Consider your brand image. The content you create and share is a reflection of your company. Make sure your messaging style is consistent with your overall marketing plan.
  3. Write an outline. Consider your key points and put them in order.
  4. Share your expertise. You’d be surprised by how much knowledge you have of your industry.
  5. Keep it interesting. Write in a conversational style that fits your audience. Use transition words (in addition, because, seems like, etc.) so people read it start to finish. Make it a readable length (300-350 words), and use subheadings, lists or bullet points to break up the copy.
  6. Write an introduction and a conclusion. Begin with a sentence that draws people into the blog, and end with a sentence that leaves them satisfied.
  7. Read it aloud, slowly. Look at every word individually and how it fits in a sentence. Remove or rework awkward phrases. Divide lengthy sentences (20 words or more) into shorter sentences.
  8. Use spell check. Save yourself the embarrassment of typos and misspellings. If your blog is peppered with errors, you undermine your authority as an expert.
  9. Create a list of headlines. Incorporate attention-getting phrases, like “How to…, Why you should…, The future of…, 5 ways to…” Take your time and write a winner.
  10. Promote your blog. Share it on Facebook and LinkedIn. Link to it in your company’s eNewsletter. Send it to media outlets as a feature article or letter to the editor.

Every blogger begins somewhere. I hope you use these tips to start blogging.

If you’re still gun shy, contact Writer to the Rescue at 920-639-1865 to discuss how we can work together on blogs, website content, news releases, magazine articles, and more.

blogging
writing website page

How to Write a Wicked Website Page

writing website page

In order to make a sale, the text on your website needs to written with purpose. It needs to punch through the online clutter and deliver a clear message to your audience. When writing a page of website content, I use a multi-step process. First, I contact a business owner to learn about his or her business. Second, I follow up with online research to learn more about the industry. Third, I identify keywords, key phrases, and key concepts. Finally, I begin writing. As you can see, a website page isn’t whipped together willy-nilly. It requires a clear strategy. Here’s my approach to writing a web page.

State product benefits

I start by answering the question: “What’s in it for me?” I put myself in the shoes of the consumer and focus on clearly stating the benefit of the product or service, from the consumer’s point of view. Here’s an example from the Writer to the Rescue Website Content page: “Who knows your products and services better than you? Writer to the Rescue can bridge the gap between your thoughts and ideas and effective content for your website.”

Use keywords to improve SEO

I follow up with a product description, instructions for use, and examples of how it makes life better. To improve search engine optimization (SEO), I weave keywords into the website page. I also highlight keywords in subheadings to give the keywords more weight. When someone types in a query, Google or another search engine will index the Internet to find a suitable answer. I want my web page to rank as high as possible, so people are more likely to click-through to my website.

End with a call to action

Each web page ends with a recap of the main point and a call to action. Here’s an example: “Contact Writer to the Rescue today for a quote.” For better conversions, this call to action links to my contact page.

Write web pages with intention

To keep the reader engaged, a web page needs to have a tone that’s understandable and conversational. It should be free of grammatical and spelling errors that undermine your professional reputation.

To improve readability, I intentionally use:

  • Active voice
  • Transitions
  • Readable sentences
  • Short paragraphs

Increase traffic to website

A well-written website page increases traffic to a website and keeps visitors engaged longer. Bounce rates go down, and conversions go up. For strategically written website content, contact me for a free quote, 920-639-1865.