Tell your brand story- it’s the core of effective communications

Tell your brand story- it’s the core of effective communications

As either a long term Blue51 aficionado or a new visitor arriving via Google, social media or because your friend said ‘you have to check out Holly’ *waves hello* you may not know that ‘tell your story’ is my tagline. Yep, that’s it.  More than a tagline, it’s the core of my brand story, the essence of what I do through my communications, writing for business and social media services. It guides everything I do in terms of the services I offer and my communications and marketing.

A good brand story will share how and why your business was established, your motivations, drivers, criteria for success- both yours and the people you serve. Basically, they provide an insight into your work and the people involved, both as providers and recipients, and the relationship between the two, in the context of the benefits your work provides others.

I love writing brand stories for clients, and I think they’re incredibly important to use in your communications toolkit. They enhance and facilitate connection and engagement which are essential to building relationships. It’s an articulation of your values, the core of your work, and so it’s not a set and forget task to tick off. You’ll use iterations of your brand story across all of your business communications, from your website (not just your about page!), your social media posts, your marketing and sales funnels, your client work process, in fact your entire client experience journey should emulate your brand story.

OK, so this sounds quite wishy-washy, which is soooo not me. I’m all about the practical and action based, so here’s some examples and tips for sharing your brand story:

  • Write out your brand story (the who, the what, the why) in the first person wherever possible. First person point of view resonates and is engaging.
  • Turn this into a blog post, or copy for your about page after giving it a decent edit.
  • Write a set of at least five key messages that fall out of your brand story and align these to the different services/arms of your business and what you do. These will become prompts for your social media strategy, or your captions, to be more specific.
  • Include elements of your brand story in your client touchpoints including proposal documents, invoices, website contact page and emails.
  • Weave your brand story into your bio and elevator pitch. The why is almost always more interesting than the what, and together they’re a pretty compelling combo.

Tell me, do you have a clear and well articulated brand story for your business?

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This is a post in my Communications Toolkit series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my communications and copywriting bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock copywriting a range of products, tactics to communications glory and how to use communications and PR to solve your business marketing problems. If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

How to create fabulous brand touchpoints for your business

How to create fantastic brand touchpoints for your business

We have contact!

There are multiple ways a person comes into contact with your brand and your business, and a huge part of my communications advising work with my fabulous clients is ensuring their business has consistent, accurate and compelling communications across almost all touchpoints.

Look, there’s a gazillion ways you can market your business, but rather than try everything to see what sticks, pick a number of essential tactics or strategies that are aligned to touchpoints, ie that make sense to the way typically somebody comes across your business, and do them well. I usually advice on five touchpoints to focus on, and the five will complement each other and are manageable in the day to day of running a business.

Your five touchpoints could be:

  • Your website and SEO
  • Your social media- of course, pick the platform that’s best aligned to your business goals.*
  • Your mailing list
  • Your branding- particularly important for businesses with a physical location
  • Your event schedule including external events such as networking and conferences.

It’s believed that someone will need to see a message around five to ten times before they make a purchasing decision, so the more contact they have with your business across different channels, the better.

Now, here’s the kicker:

Ensure that there’s consistency in communications across all of your touchpoints. What does this mean exactly? The voice that’s on your website should be the voice that you use in your social media captions, and when someone meets you at a networking event there’s no disconnect between your online persona and the real life experience of speaking with you. The pitch you deliver verbally about your work and your services should echo the information that you’ve included in your website copy.

Tell me, do you have consistency in communications across your touchpoints?

*Here’s a little freeby checklist to help you be on the right track in terms of choosing a platform.

Pick Your Perfect Social Media Platform

This is a post in my Communications Toolkit series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my communications and copywriting bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock copywriting a range of products, tactics to communications glory and how to use communications and PR to solve your business marketing problems. If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

Blue51 Show and Tell: A bright, shiny new website

writing a new website

Gosh, what a fabulous feeling it is to set a beautiful new website live in the world! A website is a business’ online home, so it’s important that it reflects that business accurately, professionally and effectively. Today’s Blue51 Show and Tell does exactly that.

The project:

Copywriting a beautiful new website.

The client:

SciDoc Solutions works with companies and organisations providing R&D, manufacturing, quality assurance and clinical research project management and documentation solutions for life sciences industries and organisations.

The client’s target audience:

SciDoc Solutions target audience are start ups in Biotech, medtech, manufacturers, clinical research organisations and medical associations.

The approach:

Dr Esther Apos, Founder of SciDoc Solutions, wanted a website that clearly articulated her diverse services across a range of somewhat diverse health science industries. Dr Esther had already developed a strong visual identity and branding elements, and I was thrilled when my gorgeous web developer extraordinaire, Felicity from Metrix Operations, acted as matchmaker between Dr Esther and myself to get her website copy written in a way that reflects her extensive experience and skills.

The results:

SciDoc Solutions now has a beautiful new website, and Dr Esther has a website that she’s proud to tell people to visit, one that articulates her professionalism, her attention to detail and her ability to get the job done, all of which she is so well known for within her industry.

Tell me, does your website accurately convey who you are and what you do? Please get in touch– I’d love to help out.

Website Essentials Checklist

This is a post in my Blue51 Show and Tell blog series . Each month, I share some of the projects I’m working on for my fabulous clients. I can’t wait to show you both the work we’re producing, as well as the amazing results they’re achieving in their businesses. 

There’s more unabashed bragging on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help.

Blue51 Show and Tell: My Five Favourite Business Tools

my five favourite business tools

One of the best things I believe about working for oneself is the ability to trial different processes and strategies. When I worked for others, I was locked in to their systems and software, many of which were fabulous (and fabulously expensive) but when you’re someone who wears almost all of the hats within a business, some flexibility and creativity in terms of approaches makes for a much more productive, efficient and effective workflow.

I have a number of tools that make my working life easier, and here’s my top five*:

Yoast SEO

OK, so SEO is a bit of a dark art, and there is a TON of information, courses and programs out there about getting your website ranking well, as well as a TON of super-dodgy businesses selling SEO packages for a gazillion dollars a month to manage your SEO. I manage my SEO with this super easy plugin. A traffic light sits below every page of my website including blog posts, and by filling in the blanks, each page becomes optimised for my chosen keywords, and I get a red, orange or green indicator telling me how well I’ve optimised.

ASANA

Here’s the thing- I’m a bit of a control freak. I know, right? I live and and work by routines, checklists and processes, and Asana is a way to have them all in one place. My processes allow me to work efficiently and to banish the fluff, and I have a checklist for almost every action within my business, from onboarding a new client, to closing off a project, to managing meetings, to invoicing processes (paired up with my accounting software) and following up networking events. It took a lot of work initially setting everything up, but the end result is an effortless, consistent approach to everything I do in my business.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a tool I use both within my business and in for my social media management clients. It’s a tool with a simple, beautiful interface for scheduling social media posts, for managing engagement and for content creation.

Canva

I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that I use Canva at least three times a week, either for myself or for clients. I love that it gives a complete design-phobic like me the ability to quickly come up with beautiful graphics for social media and for blog posts that are on brand. That said, I have no hesitation in sending off anything that needs more care and attention to a professional- it’s good, but it’s not a graphic designer.

Cookidoo

OK, so this one isn’t strictly a business tool, but let me tell you that this freaking genius piece of software makes my life easier Every. Single. Day. It gives me access to around 11,000+ recipes from around the world, it allows me to spend less than 7 minutes deciding what the family is going to eat for the day/week/month, and it emails me a shopping list based on this straight to my phone, so I don’t have to fluff around the stupid-market for a second longer than I need to. It even syncs to my Thermomix  so when feeding the family (why do they have to eat every day?! Why?) I don’t even have to have a recipe out on the iPad or in an actual book. I just have to hit ‘next’ when told to. The mental load it decreases is sig-nif-ic-ant, and I’m someone who actually enjoys cooking. If you hate cooking, then this is life changing.

That’s it! My favourite tools that keep my business and broader life ticking along beautifully. None of these tools are affiliate links- I just really love them!

Tell me, do you have some business tools that have become your go-to?

*These are my top 5 for now– I’m always open to trying something new with the goal of making my life better.

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You’re on record- quick tips for interview gold

 

You’re on record- quick tips for interviewing gold

Did you know that almost all of my clients complete a questionnaire as part of my onboarding process? It’s basically a way for me to get to know a client’s business, goals and plans in order for me to provide the best possible communications advice, writing services or social media support. The questionnaire is a written document that I send, and one which guides my research before we get together to bash out a project. It’s a process I’ve adapted from my younger, high-heeled days when I blended my communications roles with life as a freelance writer, and is based on the process I learnt as part of my Master of Writing and Literature, and used to interview people for magazines, newspapers and journals.

Whilst the days of freelance writing for publications are behind me, THANK GOODNESS, I still use the skills of interviewing almost every day in my business. The process of interviewing is a fantastic way to collect information that’s part of a bigger and broader story. If content marketing is part of your communications toolkit, then you will love, love, love my quick tips for interviewing someone:

Get to the point

Know the focus you want the interview to have, otherwise it will end up as a bit of a rambling mess. Do some research of the industry of the person you’re interviewing as part of your preparation so you can develop an informed line of questions that support your predefined focus.

Do your research

To support your question development get some background information to guide their creation. Knock up a list of questions with a mix of open and closed questions that are informed, intelligent, respectful and relevant. You might like to include presumptive questions in your mix- questions that assume your interviewee feels a certain way about a certain topic. These can be fantastic to fire up an interviewee to get them away from the company line and be more spontaneous in their response.

Be prepared for the unprepared

Not easy for us Type-A people, but don’t be afraid to veer away from your prepared questions. Being spontaneous and asking questions in response to what your interviewee says will open up the conversation and give them an opportunity to expand on a concept you hadn’t previously considered.

Tell me, do you interview people as part of your content marketing?

Psst… feeling stuck for writing ideas? Check out this bad boy:

My Top 10 Go-To Writing Prompts

This is a post in my Writing for Business blog series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my social media and digital marketing bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock online communications and how to use digital marketing to solve your business marketing problems.  If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

Put your followers to work

Put your followers to work User Generated Content campaign

When it comes to social media and children you shouldn’t play favourites. That said, Instagram, you’re my favourite. I think Facebook is an essential tool for business, and LinkedIn has it’s strengths (but not a lot of personality), but Instagram for me is such a powerful, often overlocked tool.

Oops-

Let me just interrupt myself here with a gentle reminder- the most essential social media platform for your business is the one that’s where your ideal client is hanging out. Here’s a sneaky little freeby to help you determine exactly that:

Pick Your Perfect Social Media Platform

One of the things I love best about Instagram is how bloody simple it makes creating user generated content campaigns- aka putting your followers to work. There’s some fabulous examples of businesses doing really, really well at this:

Frank Bod

De Lorenzo Haircare

Globe West

and my absolute favourite

Forman Art and Framing *

There’s a number of ways to create user generated content campaigns:

An Instagram photo contest is fun and (relatively) easy. You can team up with another business for your competition, with a prize that’s attractive to both of your audience, which is a fabulous way to gain followers and brand exposure in tandem with another business.  Have a clear call to action that confirms the process of entering the competition. For example, it might be an image of your product, tagging your business and using your specified hashtag.

Tag to win competitions are popular because they ask very little of followers and they can rapidly increase followers and brand awareness. The call to action in these types of posts are to tag a friend or two (or three or four, although my preference is just one, because more than that is just annoying), and a condition of entry is each entrant must be a follower of your feed.

On conditions of entry:

Instagram has a set of rules about competitions, but it’s also important to state the rules within your post, and it doesn’t hurt to have a specific page on your website that includes rules and conditions of entry for competitions. Include start and end dates, and a comment about how many times someone can enter.

Here’s an example of a competition caption I wrote for a client:

Want to win a free {insert service} ? Here’s the deal-

Tag two friends between 8am and 8pm Melbourne time. If you get picked out of our hat you and your friends will get a {insert service} on us. We’ll DM the winners.

To enter, you must be followers of {insert account name}. Winner will be drawn on {insert date and time} and must be able to get to our {insert business name and location}. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram.

Tell me, do you have a campaign to put your followers to work for you?

*Disclaimer: Kara is a client but I do declare that I learn more from her than vice versa! The girl is on fire…

This is a post in my Digital Marketing blog series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my social media and digital marketing bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock online communications and how to use digital marketing to solve your business marketing problems.  If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

Case study your way to communications gold

Case study your way to communications gold

Gosh, I love a case study as a communications tactic! I think they’re under-utilised, possibly because so many of us were drowning in churning out academic case studies for university which were often dry and boring. However, when written beautifully (but of course!) and used strategically across communications channels they can be a powerful tool.

Here’s the key benefits of including case studies in your communications:

  1. They describe a problem or an issue and how you as an expert solved it;
  2. They help establish your credibility and authority; and
  3. They promote your business and your expertise so you become the go-to.

Here’s an example of a fantastic case study, and another, and perhaps one more. In fact, here’s a whole slab of case studies for your reading pleasure.

Want to know how best to use your case studies in your communications?

Easy peasy- sprinkle them like glitter:

  • On your website
  • On your testimonials page
  • In your social media schedule
  • In your blog
  • Included in your pitch, proposal and quote documents
  • In your media pitches
  • Verbally at meetings and events.

Tell me, do you use case studies as part of your communications toolkit?

My Top 10 Go-To Writing Prompts

This is a post in my Communications Toolkit series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my communications and copywriting bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock copywriting a range of products, tactics to communications glory and how to use communications and PR to solve your business marketing problems. If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

Blue51 Show and Tell- Let your services copy tell your story

Let your services copy tell your story

There’s nothing like using the principles of story to translate sales and services copy into a narrative that conveys passion, enthusiasm and experience, aka a story. Blue51 Communications’ tagline is tell your story, and today’s Blue51 Show and Tell gives an insight into the writing process behind helping a business owner do exactly that.

The project:

Launching a new set of services alongside the launch of a beautiful new website.

The client:

Style With Substance provides styling services to equip women in business to make confident outfit decisions each day, with a wardrobe that is creative and practical, functional and fashionable.

The new styling services devised by Style With Substance are designed to make the act of getting dressed effortless, so busy women think about their wardrobe less, so they can focus on what really matters more.

The client’s target audience:

Style with Substance has two clearly defined audiences:

1- business owners who need their personal brand to be enhanced through a practical and creative wardrobe; and

2- women in the corporate sector wishing to blend accepted dress codes with individual expression.

The approach:

When I first met with Louise, Founder of Style With Substance, she had an a3 artist’s sketchbook tucked under her arm. She opened it to reveal a mind map of her proposed services, complete with indecipherable scribbles in different colours, huge question marks and big ticks next to different items. My Word Nerd heart swelled and I knew this was going to be a fantastic project!

Louise has two distinct target audiences, yet her services are applicable to both. The challenge was to write her services in a way that appealed to both. We went with a descriptive approach for each service, asking a few key questions to help readers resonate with the text and the service as it applied to them, with a list of key inclusions to clarify the detail of the services. There was a risk that there’d be a little too much fluff- and indeed, my first draft had quite a bit of ‘texture.’ I went much deeper than a simple edit- rather I wrote the content with an eye on the bigger picture to ensure it was aligned to Style With Substance’s overarching business communications. Moving way beyond spelling and grammar, I removed all traces of fluff whilst adding clarity in messages, consistent with business goals. Fear not; the fluff was recycled (somewhat) as some of the content was perfect for social media captions.

The results:

Style With Substance has a beautiful new website, and a set of services that are clear, easy to navigate and destined to make recipient’s lives much, much simpler so they can focus more on what matters- getting on with being fabulous!

Tell me, do you tell your business story effectively? Please get in touch– I’d love to help out.

 

The Blueprint - Monthly Newsletter

The Blueprint - Get gorgeous communications direct to your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a post in my Blue51 Show and Tell blog series . Each month, I share some of the projects I’m working on for my fabulous clients. I can’t wait to show you both the work we’re producing, as well as the amazing results they’re achieving in their businesses. 

There’s more unabashed bragging on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help.

How to write a bloody good flyer

How to write a bloody good flyer

A promotional flyer can be a fantastic tool in your strategic communications toolkit- as long as it’s part of a broader strategy, of course and not a random letterbox drop. Ugh…

Here’s some pointers to write a fabulous flyer that promotes your business- ‘write’ being the key word in this sentence. I’m a big believer in hiring your weakness, and leaving things to the professionals, in this case, Graphic Designers. I’m also a big believer in paying them their worth and not going for a cheap (and nasty) option. Graphic Designers will create a flyer that’s a visual representation of your brand, the perfect counterpart to your beautifully written copy.

Here we go!

  • Be clear on the purpose of the flyer in terms of communications objectives. This will guide every word and syntax choice.
  • Keep the copy tight and focused. A flyer is not the place for waffle!
  • Incorporate your business’ communications key messages into the copy if possible.
  • Identify the number one action you want people to take when they have your flyer in their hot and sweaty paws.
  • Your headline is king so keep it simple. Use your call to action (above) or your business tagline.
  • Include benefits within the copy- either listed or as part of a narrative.
  • Write to your audience.
  • Proof the plucking daylights out of the copy- including contact details!

That’s it- some quick and dirty points to keep in mind as you write.

Tell me, do you have a flyer for your business?

My Top 10 Go-To Writing Prompts

This is a post in my Writing for Business blog series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my social media and digital marketing bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock online communications and how to use digital marketing to solve your business marketing problems.  If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

Generate a buzz on the cheap

Generate a buzz on the cheap

Have an urgent issue to be addressed? About to launch a fabulous new website/service/product/event/something? Have a massive launch coming up and you want to make the right communications calls to really generate a buzz and get your ideal client connecting with your business? Have a budget that’s actually not really something you could in all honesty call a budget?

Your best friend in this circumstance is social media! Whilst the Instagram and Facebook algorithms aren’t as generous as they used to be, they’re both still incredibly powerful platforms for getting your business in front of your ideal client. Even without committing to a Facebook ad campaign (which you could absolutely explore, and get good results for your spend) there’s a few tips and tricks you could use to generate a buzz online with very little spend other than your blood, sweat, tears and creativity:

  1. Create a clear and clever social media strategy for the project that’s aligned to your broader social media strategy.
  2. Create a set of gorgeous content for the above including sneak peeks, teasers and molto, motto enthusiasm and excitement.
  3. Use a scheduling tool to ensure your content is going out at the right times and is consistent.

Boom! Three steps to generate a buzz using social media- of course this is ridiculously oversimplified. My communications advising sessions with clients are a pimped up version of this- I come up with a comprehensive plan to integrate your strategy with tactics and actions for you to implement, step by step.

One further point- social media, whilst a communications tool for your business, isn’t strictly or solely an advertising channel. Play nice and tell your story appropriately for the medium.

If this all feels too hard, get in touch. I’d love to help out.

Tell me, do you think social media is a cost-effective way to generate a buzz?

Psst- are you on the right social media platform for your business?

Pick Your Perfect Social Media Platform

This is a post in my Digital Marketing blog series. Each month, I share insights, hints and tips from my social media and digital marketing bag of tricks. I’ll show you how to rock online communications and how to use digital marketing to solve your business marketing problems.  If there’s something specific you’d like to know, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.