I often hear this comment from clients: “I’m not a writer. Can you help?” That’s when I become their ghostwriter. I take their thoughts and ideas, organize them, and write them down. Ghostwriting is a well-established and well-accepted practice in the age of digital marketing.
Why hire a ghostwriter?
Here are five reasons why you should hire a ghostwriter:
It saves you time. Managing a business requires time and attention, and outsourcing some of the work to a ghostwriter lets you focus on your core business. Businesses have hired marketing professionals for years, and today’s digital marketing material includes website content, blog articles, and social media posts.
You don’t have to be a talented writer. The business owners I write for are great communicators, but they don’t always have confidence in their writing. As a ghostwriter, I am the bridge between ideas and words.
You don’t have to be a techie. Clients rely on Writer to the Rescue to post their blogs, upload their website content, and do other techie work. I work with a “league of superheroes” at Packerland Websites who are digital media professionals helping you get found on the internet.
You have input from start to finish. Before I write for you, we will meet at your business (if possible) and have a long talk. Collaboration helps the content ring true. In my writing, I will try to convey your voice, attitude, and style, so the content is authentically yours. Before posting or distributing, I will send you a draft to review and revise.
No more procrastinating. A key to increasing business revenue is to create a compelling marketing message that addresses your prospects’ needs. Business owners know this, but they don’t always set aside the time for regular follow-through. When you work with a ghostwriter, your blog will get done. Your website content will get done. After years in journalism, I am good at meeting deadlines.
End goal is conversions
The job of a ghostwriter is to engage the audience, convey your brand, and build your authority and expertise in your industry. The end goal is conversions. Contact me to get started as your ghostwriter for articles, press releases, website content, blogs, and marketing materials.
Note: Here’s an inspiring story I wrote for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, where I earned my marketing degree.
NWTC student Natasha Clark has come a long way from her days working at the check-out counter of a Lakewood grocery store. After graduating from Laona High School she tried a semester of college, but it wasn’t a good fit. At age 23, she wanted to return to college. She wasn’t sure how, but she knew she wanted something better for herself and her 2-year-old daughter. Going online one night she came across the NWTC Lab Science Technician program, and it changed her life. She enrolled in the introductory year of the LST program in 2016 and will be one of the first graduates of the college program this spring.
“I drive an hour and 20 minutes every day to school, but I love it.”
An Associate Degree is just the first step toward Natasha’s goal of becoming a research scientist. “Since I started taking classes I really fell in love with research, and I’ve decided to go on and earn my bachelor’s degree and hopefully, eventually earn a Ph.D.,” she said.
She is steadily moving toward this goal. For the past year, she’s interned in the physical testing lab at Nature’s Way in Green Bay and will soon transfer to the microbiology lab. She is wrapping up an independent research project at NWTC and plans to study cellular molecular biology at UW-Green Bay next fall. NWTC biology instructor Angelo Kolokithas has witnessed Natasha’s transformation from a shy student to a confident, hardcore scientist.
“She’s like a sponge in every class, and she’s a good thinker.”
“She’s the one always asking the thought-provoking, ethical questions,” he said. Angelo and his colleagues developed the LST curriculum with a two-fold mission, to be rigorous enough to transfer to a bachelor’s degree and practical enough to teach skills for the workplace. Students in the program experience how research is done in real research science labs.
“Students can actually perform their own scientific research, which is unheard of at most tech colleges,” Angelo said.
Natasha said her interest in science is what keeps her motivated to learn more. The hands-on lab experiences, small class sizes, and personalized attention from her instructors made her learning experience even better.
“I gained a lot of practical knowledge regarding the tools and the procedures used in labs.”
She hopes that someday her research will lead to a significant break-through or discovery. “This program really helped my self-confidence. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to do it, but I got here and everyone was so helpful and nice. They really gave me the boost of self-confidence I needed to go on to school,” she said.
My husband, Bill, has a reputation for giving me over-the-top presents on holidays, like a full-length floor mirror he secretly built in our basement and a 6-foot-tall, bright pink flamingo that was equal parts artistry and eye-sore. What do you suppose I received as a birthday present this year? Let me tell you!
Wonder Writer nickname
But first, here’s some background. When I launched Writer to the Rescue, Bill hit upon a nickname that stuck: “Wonder Writer.” Before assuming the persona of Wonder Writer I was a mild-mannered reporter and newspaper editor.
When my birthday rolled around last month, Bill took the Wonder Writer moniker and ran with it. Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped a Wonder Writer action figure. I couldn’t stop laughing. Wow, somehow he topped the flamingo gift!
My little clone is wearing the green cape, boots, and belt of my high-flying logo, and the similarity doesn’t end there. Thanks to the wonders of 3D printing, the Barbie-like reproduction even has my curly brown hair, my gray eyes, my nose, and my lips. She’s a mini-me! She was modeled after photographs of me, minus the smile. Apparently, 3D printers aren’t good with teeth.
Triumphant and confident
For a prim and proper introvert like me, all of this was a bit overwhelming. But it’s fun, too! When I triumphantly pulled Wonder Writer out of my bag at a networking event, the response was overwhelming. People laughed and clapped and wanted to see her up close.
Nothing gives you more confidence than having an action figure made in your image. Nothing, except a husband who truly believes in his wife’s superpowers and inspires her alter ego to emerge and take her business to the next level.
So if you’re looking for a hero to write your website content, blog articles, news stories, or marketing materials, the Wonder Writer has the superpowers you seek. She’s just a phone call away.
Before jumping ship a year ago to open my own business I was racked with uncertainty about changing my career. I even dreamed I was driving a semi through a revolving door. I still experience a few restless nights, but I no longer feel the midnight fright of driving a run-away truck. Whether you’re contemplating a career change like mine or just want to reinvigorate your career in 2018, here are 10 tips from someone who traded in her ride for a new model in 2017.
Invest in your education. I earned a marketing degree in 2017, and my college experience opened my mind to so many new
strategies and concepts. On a smaller scale, I’ve attended conferences and webinars, read industry publications, and joined professional organizations.
Take pride in your work. I love the freedom of blogging, and I’m proud to create original and thoughtful blog articles, engaging website content, and effective marketing materials. Finding work that gives you a sense of accomplishment leads to happiness on the job.
Create an enriching work environment. My adjustable, sit down/stand-up desk was the best purchase I made for the new work space in our home. I feel more alert when I stand to do my work and less restless at the end of the day.
Know the industry standards. I need to stay in tune with marketing trends and continue to improve my writing and marketing skills so I can offer clients the best content possible.
Be open to new assignments. In the past year I created a variety of promotional materials, including Facebook ads, press releases, whiteboard scripts, and direct mail letters. I enjoy the challenge and the variety of new projects.
Build relationships. Marketing is all about building relationships, and I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to connect with clients. One effective communication platform is a newsletter. Newsletters allow you to educate, inform, promote, and relate to a targeted audience.
Learn new things. Over the past year I’ve gained a greater understanding of SSL certificates, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), WordPress, and some of the ins and outs of running a business. Finding a mentor can ease the learning curve.
Be flexible. I never know who my next client will be! I’ve written about lawn mowing, videography, bicycles, diesel engines,
sandblasting, aquaponics, excavating, froyo, funeral services, and more. Sometimes I’m spoon-fed the information, but I’m responsible for presenting it in an understandable manner.
Contribute to your community. Volunteering at 4-H Summer Camp and lending my writing talents to Walleyes for Tomorrow and Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. have been rewarding. I like knowing that I make a difference.
Hold yourself to high standards. I do more than just show up. I set myself (and my client) up for success by being well-prepared for assignments and carefully completing each project. Nothing is more satisfying than receiving positive feedback from clients.
How can I help you grow your business and reach your marketing objectives in 2018? Contact me today.
I don’t run a vacuum truck or operate an excavator but I have other talents, like the talent to write magazine articles for these industries. As the Wonder Writer at Writer to the Rescue, I enjoy the challenge that each magazine assignment presents.
Magazine articles have common thread
Whatever topic or industry I’m covering, I notice a common thread: People are passionate about what they do. Connecting with people who are willing to share their success stories (and their struggles) energizes me. I feel obliged to put their words and experiences into magazine stories that will interest and inspire others.
One of my magazine articles cracked the Top 10 list in the DigDifferent.com Year in Review, coming it at No. 7. “Weighing the Pros and Cons of Expanding” was published in August and offered industry-tested advice from business owners who expanded their operations and watched their businesses grow. The start of a New Year prompts us to make resolutions and set goals, both personally and professionally. Is expansion a smart decision for you in 2018? According to hydro excavator Chris Angelo, you should ask this question: Do my clients need me to get bigger? Good businesses can pick up on clues to determine the equipment, technology, and personnel needed to fulfill their clients’ needs.
Content marketing that sets companies apart
Packerland Websites picked up on clues from its clients when it added Writer to the Rescue as its content writing division in 2017. Clients needed well-written, engaging content for their websites. They needed press releases for newspapers and magazine articles for trade publications. They needed to tell their stories with originality, focusing on what sets them apart from their competition. Writer to the Rescue took flight to fulfill these needs and “Save the World One Word at a Time.”
I invite you to check out the Top 10 stories at the Dig Different magazine website, Dig Different Top 10.
The words of President Ronald Reagan popped into my head today when I answered the NWTC graduate follow-up survey. Reagan posed this question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” That simple question helped Reagan win the election.
I thought of those words because I am 6 months past my NWTC graduation date, and NWTC emailed me a link to the NWTC graduate follow-up survey. The survey reminded me of graduation day, May 19, and my hectic life as a full-time newspaper editor and part-time college student. Am I better off now than 6 months ago? I would like to think so. I’m getting more sleep and spending my nights and weekends doing something other than homework. That’s a bonus right there!
But the survey didn’t ask about nap time or free time, it asked about my employment and my level of satisfaction with the education I received from NWTC. In an email from Pamela Kuffel, NWTC graduate follow-up specialist, she said the feedback is used to improve academic programs for future students.
Life as an NWTC graduate
Of course, I wouldn’t be blogging about NWTC if I didn’t have a positive experience at the college. I’m one of the graduates who clicked “Highly satisfied” to answer the question “How do I feel about the training I received?” Overall, the instructors knew their stuff and made class interesting and relevant to what I’m doing on the job today. The college was close to home and affordable, with the flexible options I needed as a working woman.
At the NWTC website, I checked the survey results from the Class of 2016, and it turns out that lots of NWTC graduates could be writing this blog because they feel the same way I do about the college. Of the 1,425 graduates surveyed, 98% were satisfied or very satisfied with their NWTC training. I’m a bit envious to report that many NWTC grads are making more money than I am. The median salary of associate degree grads is $39,997. Good for them! I’ll get there eventually.
Itching for a career change
I enrolled in the marketing program at NWTC with the idea of changing careers from print journalism to public relations. Just like 25% of the 2016 NWTC graduates, I was itching for a career change. An even larger percentage of 2016 grads (38%) enrolled for employment-related reasons. Instead of working in public relations, I opened a professional writing business. I credit NWTC with giving me a solid education and the confidence to take my life in a new direction. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and these last six months have flown by so fast. One thing’s for sure — I am better off than I was 6 months ago.
I have discovered something that is super helpful in content marketing. To get to the heart of what makes a business tick, I read the reviews left by their clients. In just a few sentences, I learn what sets them apart from their competition.
My husband and I never book a resort without reading the reviews. People read reviews before purchasing all sorts of products and services. Everyone knows the power of word-of-mouth advertising, and an online review is word-of-mouth on a colossal scale. Reviews carry more credibility that advertisements because the reviewers are not on the payroll.
How is your business positioned?
Your best qualities come out in a review. Pretend you run a lawn care business. There are only so many ways to cut a lawn and apply fertilizer and weed killer. When your clients leave reviews saying you work fast and are affordable, you start to see why people like working with you. Price is important to these clients. When others say you’re reliable and answer their questions, then you know they appreciate your customer service.
In the world of marketing, this is known as positioning. The market perceives your business as a cheaper alternative to other lawn care services and perceives your staff as more approachable and quicker than others.
Sometimes your worst qualities come out in a review and knock you down, but bad reviews can provide valuable, albeit painful, feedback.
How can a review surprise you?
Reviews sometimes tell you what you don’t know about yourself. One of the reviewers said Writer to the Rescue cut through the clutter of the information he provided. I didn’t recognize this as one of my strengths. Now it has become a selling point.
Testimonials are useful because they can identify gaps in your branding. These gaps show up in reviews that leave you thinking: “That’s what they like about me? I really want them to like this instead!”
How can reviews improve your SEO?
When writing website content, I like to read through reviews to become familiar with the jargon of the industry. It is a great way to learn the keywords people use and can be worked into the content. These keywords are important to improving your Google ranking, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The robots that index the internet pick these key words to add to their database. When someone types these keywords into a search bar, relevant websites rank higher on search results pages.
How should I ask for a review?
The best way to ask for a review is to email customers, thank them for their business, ask for a review, and provide a link to your Google account. It’s as simple as that.
So now you know one of my secrets to content writing. After reading reviews, I know the features that distinguish my clients from the competition and promote these features to their target market. Contact me to find out how to use this secret to your advantage. As the Wonder Writer at Writer to the Rescue, I write website content, blogs, news releases, and a wide range of marketing materials.
Do you remember this memorable phrase from The Wizard of Oz: “Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!” My husband, Bill, borrowed the jingle for the headline of the Packerland Websites‘ E-newsletter. In the subject line was “Photography, Robo Calls, and ADA Compliance, OH MY!” It was his way of linking together three unrelated topics.
We recorded a 51% open rate on the newsletter, far outpacing the industry average of 11%. Getting people’s attention is the first step to enticing them to read an article, so it pays to write strong subject lines and headlines.
Here are 10 tips for writing “click bait” subject lines and headlines.
1. Use Numbers: Make your content easy to scan by creating a list and writing headlines like these: 5 Must-dos…, 10 Tips for…, and 3 Steps to…
2. Keep it Conversational: Avoid long words or industry jargon your audience might not understand. Know your audience’s level of familiarity with your subject, and don’t write something so technical it will be a turn-off to readers.
3. Touch a Nerve: What are people unsure about? Headlines can draw people into an article by taking advantage of their discomfort. For example, start your headlines with phrases like: What you need to know about… and Be Wary of…
4. Tantalize: Everyone wants to know the latest gossip, so headlines should reflect that craving. Start with words like: The secret to… or The latest in…
5. Make it Snappy: Spend time brainstorming and playing with words. The way Bill recycled the Wizard of Oz jingle of Lions, Tigers, and Bears is a good example of a catchy subject line.
6. Ask a Question: Pique the interest of the reader with a question that is answered in the article.
7. Tell How It’s Done: “How To” articles are wildly popular, so topping these articles with a headline that begins “How to…” is a sure way to invite the reader to learn more.
8. Be trendy: Writing about current trends or future predictions can set you apart as a thought leader in your industry. Highlight these articles with headlines that begin with Why 2018 is the year of… or The Latest Trends in…
9. Match the Headline to the Space: How your headline appears is something to consider. Font color, style and size should appeal to the reader. The length of the headline should fill the space available. In the case of an E-newsletter, the largest, boldest headlines should be at the top of the page, with smaller, lighter headlines in secondary stories.
10. Spell Check: Do you remember the time the local newspaper misspelled Chicago in a Green Bay Packers/Chicago Bears article? It’s easy to mistype a word. That’s why proofreading and spell checking are so important.
Bonus Tip: Trust a professional. Over my 10 years as a journalist, I wrote thousands of headlines and articles. Contact me to help with your next writing assignment.
One of my business clients described herself as a “dumb blonde with a Smartphone.” That certainly wasn’t true, but it’s a feeling many of us Generation X-ers can relate to. We didn’t grow up in the digital age, with a phone in our pocket, a laptop on our desk, and the world at our fingertips. Some of us didn’t even take a typing class.
Dinosaur in the digital age
When I enrolled at NWTC in 2015 I was carrying a flip phone. That pretty much sums up my digital literacy at the time. To get ahead in today’s workforce, it helps to be tech savvy. It’s one of the reasons I returned to college. I wanted to feel more comfortable using the technology most people take for granted. I really challenged myself by enrolling in the Social Media Marketing program.
Marketing instructor Ronnie Coyle once told me “Age doesn’t matter.” When it comes to adapting to the digital world, what’s important is a willingness to learn, experiment, and spend time with the technology.
Learn as you go
My Microsoft Word class laid the foundation for working on posters, reports, and presentation materials. My Excel class helped me with accounting homework. Over time, using these programs became more comfortable and intuitive as I kept experimenting. Plus, I learned the power of the phrase “Just Google it.” Chances are someone has already asked your question, and someone else has answered it. I view Google as an embarrassment-free way to ask a really silly question. In my social media marketing classes I created a Twitter handle, Instagram account, and WordPress site for blogging. When I told my sisters “You should follow me on Twitter” they just laughed because they knew I was way out of my league. What they didn’t realize is that I was making progress.
Find a buddy
I know I have plenty of company when I say my kids taught me almost everything I know about using technology. My daughter was my go-to person, and she helped me take my first selfie and design my first marketing poster, created for the NWTC golf outing. After enrolling at NWTC I took the orientation course for Blackboard where I learned how to submit assignments and use the online discussion board. In my NWTC classes, I was an observer, watching and learning how to create, share, and change a Google document and answer questions in Kahoot!, an online quiz game.
It all took patience and practice, and I’m still learning. I know NWTC has my back, with academic resources and classes to help me continue learning. If you recognize your own shortcomings while reading this article, take heart! If a dumb brunette with a flip phone can jump into the digital age, so can you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Koehne, of Abrams, is a 2017 graduate of NWTC. A former newspaper editor, she co-owns Writer to the Rescue, the content writing division of Packerland Websites.
If you believe your employees are your greatest asset, then the Staff Page of your website needs to reflect this belief. The Staff Page gives you a platform to showcase the people who make your business tick. Web visitors can identify who’s who by looking at the photos of key people posted on the page. These photos build an association between the individual and the brand they represent. Each photo should be accompanied by a professional biography that is written with flair. A catchy biography keeps visitors engaged and interested in learning more about you and your brand. That interest can lead to conversion in the form of sales and brand loyalty.
Professional bios are easy as 1, 2, 3
Here is the three-step process I use to write an employee bio.
I begin with brainstorming. I make a list of things that are important, like job responsibilities, current and past employment, hobbies, accomplishments, and interesting facts.
I narrow the list to several key ideas.
I take these ideas and work some magic on them to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.
Focus on a strength
Here’s an example from my own professional bio. In the brainstorming phase, I identified writing as one of my top skills. Then I came up with the following:
“Joan Koehne has been correcting people’s grammar since she was a kid. Since then, she’s turned this annoying tendency into a career…”
Recognize your hard work
In the brainstorming phase, key words should pop out to describe employment, past and present. Adding employment history reveals the scope of career experience and highlights some sought-after skills.
Here’s how I wove my work experience into my bio:
“Joan … now works as editor of a weekly community newspaper in Oconto Falls, where she’s a prolific writer and passionate photojournalist. Before covering this beat, she had a rewarding gig as a substitute teacher and religious education facilitator.”
Emphasize lifelong learning
Aside from work experience, education is another topic to incorporate into a bio. Earning a degree demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in a particular subject area, so it’s important to include college studies in a bio. Formal schooling isn’t the only path to wisdom, so expertise learned in nontraditional settings should be considered, also.
Here’s my example showing how I integrated my college degree and current studies into my bio:
“Joan is a college graduate, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and recently hit the books again, this time as a social media marketing student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.”
Blow your horn
Do any awards or recognition appear on the brainstorming list? A professional bio allows employees to blow their own horn without sounding pompous.
After graduation, I added this line to my bio:
“A 2017 college graduate, Joan achieved highest honors and the Marketing Student of the Year award.”
What’s your happy place?
I add personality to casual professional bios by showing what brings the person happiness. Here I tell what a person is passionate about outside of work: hobbies, interests, community involvement.
This is how I concluded my bio:
“She’s crazy about her husband, her two kids (Can they really be that smart and be my children?), the Milwaukee Brewers and her Catholic faith.”
Match style with audience
I wrote the bio above while I was a marketing student at NWTC as a way to introduce myself to other students and to my instructor. My bio was written in a casual style to match my audience in a college setting. Once I graduated from NWTC and started a business, my professional bio needed updating.
Here’s another sample of my professional bio, written for the Staff Page of on the website of Packerland Websites and used as my blog signature:
“Once a mild-mannered reporter and editor, Joan Koehne has taken on the persona of her alter ego, Wonder Writer, and is saving the world one word at a time. In 2017 she went up, up and away to launch a writing services business, Writer to the Rescue, a division of Packerland Websites. A 2017 college graduate, Joan achieved highest honors and the Marketing Student of the Year award.”
The professional bio I send to news outlets to accompany news releases is short and formal:
“Joan Koehne is a former newspaper editor who co-owns Writer to the Rescue, a Green Bay-area writing services company that specializes in website content, blog articles and news releases. To learn more, visit WriterToTheRescue.com.”
Let’s get started
Writing professional bios is one of the services I offer clients of Writer to the Rescue, a division of Packerland Websites. Employees need professional bios that “sell” them to their audience. I can help make that happen. Contact me today to get started on a professional bio for yourself and your key employees.