Writing Advice


7 Reasons Your Business Needs A Blog… NOW

Posted by on 7:31 am in Blog | 0 comments

7 Reasons Your Business Needs A Blog… NOW

You’ve been told you need a blog, but why?  It’s a lot of work to maintain and generate consistent content.  So what’s the added bonus?  Well, here are five reasons running a blog may change your mind. 1. Blogging Establishes Friendship Instead of corporate speak and always sounding like you’re selling, blogging gives you a more intimate, conversational voice. Nowadays, social media is all about building relationships.  Instead of being confined to a 140 character tweet, start a blog to bring your voice and personality to customer interactions. 2. Blogging Builds Trust It’s safe to say most people don’t like salesmen.  They don’t want to be chatted up, pressured, even coerced into buying something.  But blogging eliminates all of those uncomfortable moments.  Have your CEO blog about some helpful tips or insider secrets.  Make him or her a real, trusted, relatable person.  Then when your customers are ready to buy, they feel like they know and trust you. 3. Blogging Is Free Marketing If you don’t have the cash for newspaper ads, TV, Google Adwords or Facebook, start blogging!  If you create good, useful content, people will share it.  Your message will begin to spread.  Others will hear about your company and services… and it’s all done for FREE. 4. Your Blog Content Can Make You Money Yes, you give away your blog content for free, but many smart marketers take a bunch of their content and bundle it into an ebook or digital course.  After generating great content for a year or so, there’s nothing to stop you from bundling it into a saleable item down the line. 5. Blogging Gives You Content For Your Social Media A lot of companies throw money to “social media managers.”  They post to your count, share articles, pictures etc.  However, your social media will be that much powerful if you’re sharing YOUR content… and you can do it for free. Instead of paying someone to manage your accounts, post your blogs to your social media and the engagement and interaction with your customers should follow. 6. Blogging Builds Communities Yes, you want to reach your customers through your blog, but you’re also building a community of like-minded people.  Your posts can open the door to an entire new world of business connections across the country. 7. Blogging will build your list When you blog, people subscribe to your blog.  Automatically, you start building your list, and if you’re an online business, you know how important a list is.   You can use that list to continue to build relationships and make sales later on. However, if you’re already over-worked, and have no time for blogging, we get it.  Contact us today for more about our writing...

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How To Write Snappier Twitter Headlines

Posted by on 6:40 am in Blog | 0 comments

How To Write Snappier Twitter Headlines

Frustrated by Facebook?  They’ve changed their algorithm, so if you have a business page, now only a small portion of your audience sees your content.  Some statistics say as little as 16% of your audience now sees what you post.  So basically, now you have to pay for advertising if you want people to see your content.   However, if you sought solace in Twitter… get ready for more changes.  Two weeks ago, the company tested a change to its core product.  In fact, they’re ALTERING the timeline of a small number of users.  While Facebook is hiding content from you, Twitter is doing the opposite – they’re showing you tweets from accounts you don’t follow. Say what? While this is all just preliminary testing, there’s a chance your business tweets could soon have a whole new set of eyes, from people who don’t follow you. Yes, that’s exciting, but it also means it’s time you sharpen your writing skills. Twitter is all about grabbing attention in short, concise sentences. So to write well on Twitter, it’s all about the headline.  You want it to be magnetic, interesting and entirely too juicy not to click.  While great headlines require brainstorming sessions, there are some easy rules to write better copy. Use active voice.  Subject, verb, object.  “The dog ate the bone.” Not, “the bone was eaten by the dog.” Twitter also really likes verbs.  It’s all about action.  In fact, statistics actually show that tweets that have more adverbs and verbs perform better much better than tweets that are weighted down by useless adjectives and nouns. Another Twitter must – include a call to action.  Basically, people will do what you say.  Tell them to download your free report.  Ask for a retweet.  Tell them to share. Now we’ve saved the best for last. Experts have actually researched which words are included in the most re-tweeted headlines.  They include: you, twitter, please, retweet, post, blog, social, free, media, help, please retweet, great, social media, 10, follow, how to, top, blog post, check out and new blog post. So as Twitter now tweaks its algorithm, be ready for the doors to open.  There’s a chance your content will be broadcast to more people… so make sure your writing skills are up to par! If you liked this post, subscribe to our blog for more helpful writing...

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How To Use Mystery In Your Messaging

Posted by on 6:16 am in Blog | 0 comments

How To Use Mystery In Your Messaging

The following may defy everything you know about writing… but bear with us. We live in an age of transparency where companies post everything for the world to see.  Customers can easily contact corporations, and corporations will even reply over social media channels. When it comes to those communications, yes, we typically advise using clear, crisp copy.  In fact, it’s usually best for companies to over-deliver when writing content so their customers feel appreciative and well served.  However, when you’re trying to build a brand, and more importantly create INTEREST, you may want to throw out your old ways, and consider being mysterious. Don’t tell them everything.  In fact, tell them very little. Apple is the master of mystery, and they’ve been mysterious for years with everyone one of their product launches. In fact, they just sent members of the media an invite for a “special event” on September 9th where they’re expected to unveil their much-anticipated iPhone 6, in addition to a jumbo-screen iPad.  In typical Apple style, their cryptic and minimalist invite read: “Wish we could say more.” Bingo.  With that simple sentence, they’ve created intrigue… and you’d better believe people will connect on September 9th to see what Apple has to say. Mystery is one of the basics of storytelling.  When we make ourselves mysterious, we make ourselves interesting. When you create mystery with your copy, you cause the customer to lean in, engage, and anticipate.  Mystery is an intangible that adds value to a product through its sense of excitement.  It has the power to build curiosity and focus the consumer’s attention. For example, if your company has an upcoming product launch, you can use a little mystery in your social media posts.  Then sit back and watch.  By writing slightly vague content accompanied by interesting pictures, you can instantly create suspense and even desire. Mystery also eliminates the forever fear of being too “salesy.” Instead of telling your customers to “buy, buy, buy” your clever copy will automatically create intrigue.  You don’t need to actually tell them to buy.  They’ll want what you have.  They’ll want to see what you’re talking about.  They’ll want to buy on their own, without any upfront prodding. So think about it.  Being mysterious isn’t right for all brands, but will it work for you?  Do you need to engage your audience before launching a new product?  Start thinking about how you might leverage mystery to inject excitement into your brand or copy.  Think about what facts you would share, and what you would withhold.  With good writing, you can make your audience crave your...

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Does gluten need a rewrite?

Posted by on 7:54 am in Blog | 0 comments

Does gluten need a rewrite?

It seems like being gluten free has exploded this past year, and wheat is taking the brunt of the bad PR.  With allegations of being less nutritious than it was 100 years ago, and causing problems with weight gain and brain function, it’s no wonder people are walking away.  But there is some misinformation out there regarding what gluten is, it’s current form, and whether or not it is actually required in a person’s diet.    What can help the farmers of America get their message out, and correct the misinformation that is out there?  Good PR and well written content.  They need someone to come in with all the corrections, and be able to communicate it to the public.  People need to be able to understand the facts in a clear, concise manner.  Anything less will simply add to the confusion. First, they need to acknowledge that there are people who are helped with a gluten free diet, and not turn them into the enemy.  Gluten has become a surprisingly divisive topic with people now even wearing t-shirts that exclaim, “I love gluten.”  The backlash over the trendiness needs to be quelled, and that has to start at the top.  They need to help people understand that it is not a trend, or the new thing to do.  There is research showing that there are sensitivities, and intolerance’s, and better diagnoses that are leading to better recognition of the problem. The next thing they need to do is clear up the question of quality.  The last thing you want is for the shopping public to skip over your product because they don’t know what is going with it, or because they are worried about an inferior product.  A simply written and easy to understand press release can help get the word out that while there may some hybridization, the quality is still the same.  The only way people will know is by telling them.  This may seem like a daunting task, but it is doable, and industries have survived worse. This is where we come in.  We can help you with factual and direct writing that helps to get your point across.  We are able to deliver on-target messages that will clear up any confusion, or misinformation that your company, industry, or brand may be suffering...

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Four ways to make your blog a success

Posted by on 6:17 am in Blog | 0 comments

Four ways to make your blog a success

Keeping a blog engaging and consistent is a challenge.  You need to keep content interesting in order to keep people coming back.  You also need to post frequently – daily is best – for a shot at staying in people’s minds and on the front page of Google searches.  What does it take to stay on top of the blogging world?  Here are things that need to be reflected in your blog to guarantee success: 1.  Content – Simply put, you need to put out what people want to see.  If you are writing about an obscure lizard only found in the Amazon, your audience isn’t going to be very large.  If you want to draw readers, you need to find a way to communicate about your topic that draws in the optimal number of readers.    2.  Engaging writing – Once you get those readers, how do you keep them?  Simple: Good writing.  Using bland language and boring sentence structure is a sure way to put people to sleep.  That’s not what they want, and it’s not what you want.  You need be able to get readers, and keep them.  The way to do that is with writing that they cannot stop reading. 3.  Find your audience – Understanding who your audience is should be your first step in knowing what to write. If you don’t know who they are, you can’t be sure what they want. Without being able to meet an understood need or a felt want, you will not be able to effectively engage your audience. You’re just putting words on a screen. 4.  Promotion – You can have all of the above three components be spot on in your blog, but without promoting your blog, how will people find you?  Part of that is using the correct tags, and keywords, but you also need to engage in social media.  To get the broadest range possible, you need to have a presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and even Instagram.  But you cannot just paste everything to your wall or slap it into a Tweet. You need to have a targeted, comprehensive social media communication plan. With these four steps, you are sure to find success as a blogger.  But what if you don’t have time to follow all these steps, but still want to enter the blogosphere?  That’s where we come in.  We can provide content that is engaging, and will reach your target audience.  Whether it’s just a few blog posts a month, or a developed content marketing campaign, we are here to help...

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Hitting the harder side at Sears

Posted by on 9:26 am in Blog | 0 comments

Hitting the harder side at Sears

With the news coming in that Sears has yet again had a lagging quarter, its ninth in a row, it’s time for them to take a look at what they are doing wrong.  However, it may be what they are not doing at, that is leading to these money problems.  While there was a small uptick in stock value after they spun off Land’s End, stock numbers once again declined, and projections have since remained gloomy. Sears isn’t the only retail store with losses.  Walmart and Target both reported that things could have been better, but both remained optimistic about the future, and the coming school, then holiday, sales seasons.  Some stores even reported some significant gains.  Macy’s, and TJX owned TJ Maxx and Marshall’s both reported gains 13% So what are they doing that Sears isn’t?  Evolving, and planning for the future, while keeping what it made a big player in the retail game.  It seems that Sears is looking for a quick fix to keep themselves afloat rather than address the main problems of lower quality items, and aligning themselves with some celebrities that are certainly divisive.  It’s time for Sears to take a step back, and remember what they did best all those years ago to become one of the biggest, most successful American made businesses in the country.  Much like Macy’s, Sears has a long history as being a go-to store for many things for the whole family.  While they have kept that idea, what have they lost?  Relatability. Sears needs to readdress their core customers, and entice them back to the stores.  There are many people who will always associate Sears with being the store to go to when you need a hammer, some jeans, and maybe a washing machine in one trip.  But there are others who see it as being just tools, or just appliances.  Sears needs to remind their customers that they are so much more than just hardware.  They need to enlist the right PR company to get that message out there, and in the right hands.  A two-handed approach that not all PR companies are equipped to handle.  They need some good copy that highlights, short and sweet, what they are about, and have always been about. To get the attention of a new generation of customers, the approach needs to cover all bases, and needs to be attractive.  Hiring the correct writers, and PR firm can take their losses, and turn them into gains.  After two years of being in a downward spiral, what do they have to lose by updating how they interact with the public?  They’ve become a victim of the new rapid fire, quick read society that has overtaken the world, but worse, they allowed it.  They can no longer count on just their name to see them through the tough times.  With so many options for consumers, no retail company can take customers for granted. So how can companies avoid falling into this trap of letting themselves become outdated?  They must find the right PR and writing firms that are up to date on the latest information of what it takes to get and retain consumers, and even draw back old ones.  Let us help you stay relevant, and handle the harder side of...

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Market Basket leaves customers with empty carts

Posted by on 6:20 am in Blog | 0 comments

Market Basket leaves customers with empty carts

How do you destroy a successful, and wildly popular 98-year old company in just a month?  Hire the wrong CEO, or in this case, CEOs, to replace a beloved CEO, and then mismanage the PR.  Market Basket, a family owned grocery store in New England, is writing the book on cutting off your nose to spite your face.  With little coming out of the board room except layoff threats and ultimatums, the DeMoulas family has created a serious PR problem.   According to various media reports: the family/business turmoil started when the original owners of the store sold it to two of their sons.  When one of them died unexpectedly, things started to go downhill.  The surviving brother, the father of Arthur T. DeMoulas, was accused of defrauding the deceased brother’s children, among them, Arthur S, DeMoulas, out of all but 8% of the company’s stocks using shell corporations.  When the case was tried, the judge ruled in favor of the children of the deceased brother, and awarded them 51% of the stock.  From then on, things have been strained. Fast forward to about 5 weeks ago, and things have gone from strained to flat out broken.  The major players, Arthur T and Arthur S, have been able to throw away tens of millions of dollars by simply keeping their mouths shut.  Arthur S, in a board room coup, ousted Arthur T, and replaced him with the former CEOs of Alberton’s (Felicia Thornton) and RadioShack (James Gooch).  The backlash from employees and customers was almost immediate.  With their benefits, bonuses, and possibly jobs in jeopardy, the employees began protesting, encouraging customers to join them.  The stores have become ghost towns with no fresh produce or meats coming in, and only a smattering of people walking the aisles.  Part time workers have been told that there are no hours for them. What could have been done to prevent all this?  Get out in front of possibly troubling news with a strong public relations plan.  While a laundry list of coming changes isn’t needed right away, something that sends the message addressing the employees’ fears should be included. Many family run businesses can learn a huge lesson from this whole debacle.  First, keep family squabbles in the family, and don’t let it affect the business.  Most importantly, though, get information to the employees and customers.  Have a PR firm in your corner who can keep the message simple and on point.  This business is so entrenched within its own history that to ignore the employees has become corporate suicide.  Many have been there since before completing high school, and feel just as much ownership over the company as the DeMoulas family.  Leaving them out of the loop created many of the problems currently plaguing their beloved company. Is your company a family run business that can use some well written PR?  Contact us now to let us help you stay out of this kind of...

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Starbucks Takes Negative Comments to Heart and Changes Scheduling Policies

Posted by on 7:36 am in Blog | 0 comments

Starbucks Takes Negative Comments to Heart and Changes Scheduling Policies

Recently, an article was published in the New York Times that revealed that hassle caused by the scheduling policies of several large corporations. With one of the fastest response times in history, Starbucks has responded to the negative article and announced that it would be changing its policies. This demonstrates the company’s commitment to its workers and has turned the whole situation around from one in which Starbucks is viewed negatively to one in which it has a positive image.   It is no secret that workers in the service industry suffer many hardships. Oftentimes it is something that the world wants to turn a blind eye to, or that cannot be helped. In the area of scheduling, however, something could easily be done. This was the purpose of an article that recently went viral online. The article discusses the hardships that single parents face when working and trying to arrange for someone to watch their child. The main problem that the article emphasised was that many businesses do not have regular schedules for their employees and only schedule a week in advance. This makes it very difficult and nearly impossible for single parents to plan ahead.   The article was not flattering to businesses such as Starbucks, and it used the personal experiences of several single parents to get its point across. In response to the article and the negative backlash, Starbucks has announced that it will be changing its scheduling policies. Some of the changes that it will make include giving employees more notice of the hours that they will be working and eliminating “clopening,” the process of closing one day and opening right away the next.   The tone of the article is not positive or forgiving. It paints Starbucks and other companies as uncaring and inhumane conglomerates that do not care at all about their workforce. In terms of public relations, it is a nightmare. The companies involved need to consider carefully how they will handle the fallout from this article.   Starbucks has already made great strides in turning things around. One of the most important things to do when facing major negative PR is to respond quickly, and Starbucks has had one of the fastest response times to this PR crisis in recent years. This quick response has restored some of the positive public opinion about Starbucks. By addressing the problem right away, the company has demonstrated that their employees are important and that they are willing to make changes in order to make their employees happy.   In a world in which the Internet and social media make it possible for information and stories to be shared at lightspeed, it is vital that companies have an equally fast response to negative PR. A slow response makes it seem as if the company is ignoring the situation. Because it responded so quickly, Starbucks has reassured its customers and its employees that it cares about working conditions and it is willing to make changes to make the working environment better for employees. This has raised public opinion and given Starbucks the opportunity to turn the negative PR to...

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McDonald’s Fights To Change Its Junk Food Image

Posted by on 6:14 am in Blog | 0 comments

McDonald’s Fights To Change Its Junk Food Image

The home of the McNugget is trying to change its image.  As more and more Americans pay very close attention to what they eat, McDonald’s wants to shake its reputation for serving cheap, unhealthy food.     How are they doing it? By wooing reporters, bloggers and other so called “influencers.”  They’re inviting these special folks to fancy, fresh dinners at McDonalds, and telling them about their new campaign.  In exchange, they’re and asking them to write and speak about McDonald’s new healthier image.  Smart. They’re getting others to create the message for them. Now McDonald’s means business. In the past 18 months, the chain has been taking baby steps to healthier options.  They now have a chicken salad wrap with fresh cucumbers, you can get a salad instead of fries with your combo meal, and you can substitute egg whites into their egg dishes. But, is their message falling on deaf ears? CEO Don Thompson has said in the past, “We’ve got to make sure the food is relevant and the awareness around McDonald’s as a kitchen and a restaurant that cooks and prepares fresh, high quality food is strong and pronounced.” He went on to say that with McDonald’s volume of customers, their produce was indeed fresh… “fresher than what’s in your fridge,” because they go through it so fast. But, are you hearing the freshness message? A quick scan of the McDonald’s Facebook page revealed a lot of pictures of Coke, burgers and bacon.  If they really want people to think of McDonald’s as good, quality, FRESH food, they need to write about it more.  Blog about.  Share it in social media updates. Studies show people still don’t think of McDonald’s as a place to get high quality food… in part because the prices are so low. Also, Americans want more than just fresh. Sure, McDonald’s promotes their yogurt parfaits and salads, but now people want organic produce and meats raised without hormones. Is McDonald’s doing enough? You have to give them credit for trying.   They’re trying to change their messaging and are reaching out to bloggers and the media.  However, they’re also a little stuck. Since they started, they’ve been known for cheap, fast food.  They would have to raise their prices to bring in the high quality food Americans want… and if they raise their prices…  Is it really McDonald’s? As McDonald’s reworks the messaging, chances are a lot of people will be resistant to the change.  It’s hard to imagine a blogger who writes about healthy, organic family meals, telling her community of readers to “Go to McDonalds’ for a chicken wrap and side salad.” Most people can’t ever imagine uttering the sentence, “Let’s go to McDonald’s for some healthy food.” So, admittedly, it’s a hard mindset to change, but McDonald’s knows that, and they’re taking the right steps by trying to win over opinion...

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How to Fix a PR Disaster

Posted by on 2:31 pm in Blog | 0 comments

How to Fix a PR Disaster

Imagine sitting down with your family at a fast food restaurant, taking a sip of iced tea, only to be poisoned by what feels like acid sliding down your throat. That’s what happened to 67-year-old Jan Harding of Utah.  She unknowingly drank iced tea laced with an industrial cleaning solution at Dickey’s Barbecue in a suburb of Salt Lake City. Authorities have discovered it was all an honest mistake. A Dickey’s employee confused the heavy duty cleaner for sugar.  The employee accidentally re-filled a tub of sugar with the industrial box of cleaner. Later the chemically laced sugar was accidentally dumped into the iced tea. The industrial cleaning product is meant for degreasing deep fryers and contains the odorless chemical lye, the active ingredient in drain cleaners. Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. came out and said it was an isolated incident, and nothing like it has happened in the 73 years the Dallas-based chain has operated. “There’s nothing more important to us than the trust and safety of our guests,” the statement said.  They also added the franchise owner, John Thomson, was deeply saddened and working with police. So yes, they’ve made their initial statement, but what else can Dickey’s Barbeque do to try and fix this PR nightmare? The answer is communication. Bad publicity is never welcome, but how a company handles bad publicity can be the making, or breaking of their business.  Dickey’s can take this opportunity to show its business in the best possible light under these horrible circumstances. For example, silence is never good.  Now that they’ve extended their condolences and admitted it was an honest mistake, their next move should be with effective content to reach their customers. They can also continue to fully cooperate with both the police and the media.  They will help their image by answering media questions fully and factually.  Saying, “no comment” or withholding information never makes your company look good. Once the initial panic died, Dickey’s could  use their communication channels – social media, blog posts, etc. to make the public aware of the lengths they are going through to get to the bottom of the investigation and make sure Harding heals quickly. In this, or any PR nightmare, the best thing a company can do is aim for transparency.  The more the public knows about how a company operates, the less likely a consumer will go looking for dirt. Companies also need to be patient after a PR nightmare.  Everything takes time.  Right now they need to focus on Harding’s injury and publicly show concern for her healing. Once the entire story settles down, Dickey’s can emphasize positive stories.  They can write content showing improved practices, better employee training, and even show how they’re giving back to their community. At least police have determined Harding was the only victim. It appears she was the first to drink the tea, and Dickey’s employees disposed of it after she was...

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