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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.

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Ghostwriting for blogs, website content

5 Reasons why you should hire a ghostwriter

Writer to the Rescue is a ghostwriter for blogs, website content, articlesI 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Writing professionals and freelancers at Untitled Town

10 Tips for Freelancers: Writing Is A Lucrative Business

Writing professionals and freelancers at Untitled Town
As room host at the Untitled Town Book and Author Festival, I had the pleasure of introducing this panel of writers.

At the Untitled Town Book and Author Festival last weekend I gained inspiration from the writing professionals who told their stories of success. Writing can be a lucrative business. Here’s what they recommended:

  1. Have confidence in your writing abilities: Writers have a marketable skill. Everyone can write, but not everyone can write well.
  2. Be inquisitive: Always be looking for good topic ideas to pitch to clients. Pitch ideas based on what you know, who you know, what’s trendy, and what deserves attention. Find something from your background that relates to the topic.
  3. Match styles of writing: Read the blog or publication before you write your articles to get a feel for their content.
  4. Value your time: Charge what you think you’re worth, not what you think the customer expects to pay.
  5. Set your price: Narrow down the scope of the job and estimate the time it’s going to take before you set a price. Offer to revise your content twice before charging an additional fee.
  6. Build your reputation: Pay-per-click ads on Facebook can be effective, but nothing compares to word-of-mouth referrals. When you complete a project, ask your customers to leave a review.
  7. Meet deadlines: Writers who miss deadlines frustrate their clients. Plan ahead, set a schedule, and use your time wisely. Hit your deadlines every time.
  8. Set goals: Have a target in mind to reach, like quarterly sales or the number of projects completed in a month. Goals give you something to work toward.
  9. Develop an effective website: Your website is your storefront, so make sure it represents you well.
  10. Get entrenched in a niche: By specializing, you can have a longstanding and profitable relationship with a client.

Try out some of these ideas to earn some money for your writing.

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Notebook showing Writing Mistake

6 Writing Mistakes You Might Be Making

Notebook showing Writing MistakesDo-it-yourself writing for websites sounds like an easy process, but it’s fraught with pitfalls. Here are some common writing mistakes I see:

Mistake #1: Misspell Names of People and Places

You instantly lose credibility with your audience when you misspell the name of a person, product, company, or city. When readers come across a misspelling or another writing mistake, they wonder what else is inaccurate in your website content.
Tip: Double check the spelling of names with a trusted source. First names can be as tricky as last names, so be sure to check these, also.

Mistake #2: Fail to get a second opinion

Writing and editing go hand-in-hand. A good writer uses a process of writing, proofreading, fact checking, and rewriting, until a final draft is ready. The process doesn’t end there, because no work is finished until someone reads it.
Tip: Before posting a final draft, ask colleagues to read your work and provide feedback. Their fresh perspective can make your content even better.

Mistake #3: Skip a final read-through

Slowly and carefully read through your final draft before uploading it to your website.
Tip: Read it aloud. This helps you find hidden errors. For example, I edited a professional bio that mentioned Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College. Did you notice the error in that sentence? I am a 2017 graduate of NWTC, and I didn’t notice the Northeastern (instead of Northeast) in the bio until I read it aloud.

Mistake #4: Misuse bullet points

Bullet points are great for quick lists. The reader’s eye is drawn to indented words and bold dots, so lists are ideal for engagement. Bulleted items let readers grasp tidbits of information at a glance.
Tip: For optimal comprehension, no more than 7 bullet points allowed. Also, bullet points should be brief: 1-4 words or one sentence each.

Mistake #5: Make grammatical errors

Improve the readability of your website content by using proper grammar. Here’s an example of a grammatical error I came across recently: “We can special order anything your looking for.” The word “your” should be “you’re.”
Tip: Microsoft Word provides a helpful tool; be sure to use the Spelling and Grammar check.

Mistake #6: Not contracting with Writer to the Rescue

Writing is my specialty! As the “Wonder Writer” I deliver a one-two punch: Strong writing skills and compelling marketing strategies. Writer to the Rescue produces professionally written magazine and newspaper articles, website content, ad copy, and more.
Tip: Avoid this common writing mistake. Contact me today at joan@writertotherescue.com or 920-639-1865 to get started on your next writing or marketing project.

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Satisfaction shows in client review

Why You Should Ask Clients to Leave a Review

What to know a secret?

Satisfaction shows in client reviewI 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.

 

 

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Packerland Newsletter with strong headlines

Lions, Tigers, and Headlines, Oh My! Increasing Opens on Newsletters

Packerland Newsletter with strong headlinesDo 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.

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Professional bio written by Joan as newspaper editor

3 Steps to Writing a Catchy Professional Bio

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 written for Packerland Websites' staff
Three members of the staff of Packerland Websites.

Professional bios are easy as 1, 2, 3

Here is the three-step process I use to write an employee bio.

  1. 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.
  2. I narrow the list to several key ideas.
  3. 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

Professional bio written by Joan as newspaper editor

I used words in a creative and effective way when I worked as a newspaper editor, and I use the same skills when writing professional bios.

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.”

Professional bio includes Joan as NWTC award winner.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.

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13 Tips for Writing Superpowerful News Releases To Get Your Audience’s Attention

Hi,
This is Writer to the Rescue with a powerful promotional idea for business owners and organizational leaders.

News releaseBefore I start “saving the world one word at a time” by telling about the superpowers of a news release, I’d like to talk numbers. As a mild-mannered newspaper editor – my alter-ego for the last 7-plus years – I touched 70-90 articles/photos a week. Included in those files were press releases of all sorts.

According to my calculations, I’ve processed nearly 8,000 news releases in my lifetime. I’ve read plenty of really good news releases, and some, well, let’s just say they fell short of their mission.
Let me offer these 13 tips about what makes a good news release:
1. Be Newsworthy: Choosing your topic is a good first step. Write a news release when you have an announcement to make like a milestone anniversary, new acquisition, open house, etc.
2. Be Timely: Distribute your news release within 2 weeks of the event or date you’re recognizing. Know and follow the publication schedules of your news outlets.
3. Be Courteous: Address editors by name and write a short note explaining your purpose for sending the news release. For a time-sensitive news release, suggest an ideal time for publication. Thank the editors for their consideration. Attach the news release as a Word Document and photos as .jpg or .png images.
4. Be Thorough: Make sure to include all important details, like name, address, email and phone number. For events, use the formula of time, date, then place for consistency and simplicity.
5. Be Readable: Ask yourself what your audience wants to know, then answer those questions. Keep the news release under 400 words, and check it closely for grammatical and spelling errors before you submit it to news outlets. Use short sentences and short paragraphs.
6. Be Conversational: You can use templates to provide a structure for your news release, but put the information in your own words. Otherwise, the news release sounds “canned.”
7. Be Visual: Include 1-2 photos with the news release. Write a caption explaining what each photo is about. Identify people in photos by first and last name, left to right. Identify them by title, too.
8. Be Promotional: It’s OK to blow your horn! A great way to do this is by quoting someone who has something positive to say. Quotes are great because they let people tell their own stories. Plus, the reader’s eyes are attracted to quotes.
9. Be Informational: As an addendum to your news release, include an “About Us” paragraph describing your business or organization. It’s your last chance to leave an impact on the editor, so make it professional and descriptive, but brief.
10. Be Patient: Write it. Edit it. Share it with colleagues. Tweak it. Sleep on it. Then submit it.
11. Be Careful: When you submit a news release to media outlets, be sure you attach the correct document and photograph. This prevents embarrassing follow-up emails to correct your mistake.
12. Be Knowledgeable: Do some research to determine the best media outlets for your announcement. Use the correct email for the media outlet or the submission process that is standard for the media outlet.
13. Be Smart: Consider partnering with a professional like Writer to the Rescue to prepare your news release. What’s your specialty? Chances are, it may not be writing news releases! It happens to be a specialty of mine. To get started, contact Joan@writertotherescue.com.

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