danniewriter

Tell your story with enthusiasm

No one “just” runs his own business or “just” leads a community non-profit organization.

Use the word “just,” and suddenly you are saying that who you are, and what you do is ordinary.

I’d be willing to bet it isn’t.

The story of your business/organization is unique. You’d probably be surprised to learn how interested your customers/supporters are to hear those stories.

Business/organizational leaders who wear multiple hats and direct small staffs don’t have much time for brainstorming, or what I sometimes refer to as “bellybutton gazing.” That’s why I really like Tami Brehse‘s approach to storytelling as marketing. Brehse, a former television news anchor, runs her own marketing and public relations consultancy in Florida.

A column she wrote about how to use storytelling to develop your company’s brand was distilled nicely into this infographic:

She also provides a free worksheet that will help you clarify your thoughts. From these simple tools you can develop the story of your company/organization that your audience is itching to hear.

If you need assistance in telling that story, don’t hesitate to contact me. The initial consultation is free.

The point about touch points

In an exercise in taking my own advice, I’m

  1. Recycling content that I think has value, and
  2. Attempting to share posts that are concise … and brief.

A trendy term tossed around marketing circles is “touch point” which is mentioned in Dale Partridge’s excellent article on branding that I shared previously. Simply put, a touch point is every point in the customer/donor/employee process where those individuals interact with the company or organization. For example: Touch points for a small business could be a newspaper/TV/radio or online ad. A catalog, printed or digital, is another touch point. The process of making a donation and receiving an acknowledgement letter are a couple of touch points for non-profits. For your employees, touch points are the interview, hiring, training, performance evaluation, payroll and benefits processes.

No matter how small your business or organization is, it is a system that needs to be analyzed and reviewed frequently. You may find that your advertising and social media presence are effective, but customers are frustrated by the lack of parking near your store, or the online catalog that frequently times out before a sale is completed. Maybe your non-profit does a great job of quickly processing financial gifts, but it takes too long for acknowledgement letters to go out for in-kind donations. For your staff, maybe a failing touch point is in training or performance evaluations.

It’s easy to see that there are dozens of touch points that can impact your business/organization’s brand. As you gather data and feedback from customers/donors and staff, and make improvements, your brand will begin to stand out among your competitors.

If you need some assistance on finding out what your brand really is, give me a call. I’d love to help.

Choose to accept this mission

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Remember Mission: Impossible? I loved that show, especially the opening scene when Mr. Phelps received details about the next Cold War caper upon which his team would embark. The serious voice on the audio tape always told Mr. Phelps that he had the option to refuse a mission, but of course, he never did.

I suppose the creation of a mission statement is, in the strictest sense, optional, but it is unwise to forego the exercise. This is especially important for non-profit organizations. Many businesses are self-explanatory, although many successful businesses also craft effective mission statements, but a non-profit without a clear and compelling mission statement is like a ship without a rudder. Additionally, the mission statement is the point from which your marketing and communications efforts flow. Again and again you will return to it to clarify your strategy when too many ideas, often many of them excellent, muddy the waters.

Always ask yourself, and your staff, if a proposed letter, ad, blog post, project, or event clearly supports your stated mission.

To get started, check out this 75-second (yes, only 75 seconds!) video from TopNonprofits. It’s excellent.

For inspiring examples, follow their suggestion and check out the accompanying article.

Pressed for time? Set a limited amount of time to work on this project, perhaps an hour per week, until you get it nailed down. Bounce ideas off staff, key supporters, and board members.

I would love to assist you in crafting your organization’s mission statement. Please give me a call.

The power of words

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Writing is a pretty basic skill, yet not everyone has retained spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills from their school days. If you are a small-business owner, or direct a community non-profit organization, chances are you are the primary writer, whether it’s a website, letters to donors, advertising copy, or a few lines of text on social media.

Poorly constructed writing can devastate your brand. It’s money in the bank for you to

  • Take your time.
  • Read your copy aloud.
  • Ask someone to proof your work before you post or print.

Here are a couple of resources to bookmark to provide you with guidance, tips, and inspiration when it comes to wordsmithing.

A Writer’s Relief infographic of commonly misused and confused words is an excellent “cheat sheet” to print out and keep handy, or to bookmark and return to as often as you need the reminder.

In the Mad Men era of advertising, it took big bucks to research the effectiveness of messaging. Today, it’s a matter of a Google search and taking the time to give more than a cursory glance at the reputation of the source you’re considering. One that I’ve found, in addition to Writer’s Relief, is Ellipsis. Ivy Sprague, manager of operations, penned this very helpful piece on words that work. Try to incorporate these in your promotions.

If you still lack confidence in your skills, give me a call. A wordsmith of your own may be more affordable than you think.