Happy New Year from The Brandstalk!
Have you resolved to give your business a kick this year?
One way to do that is to hire a professional writer. But how do you know if you need one? I asked Bridget Lyons, who is the Interpretive Sorceress behind Spiralglyph Media, to help me give you guys an idea on when it might be time to pass the pen. Take it away, Lyons…
5. You’ve noticed that your sentences often go on for three, four, or even (gasp!) five lines.
You might ask your employees to multi-task, but you shouldn’t ask your sentences to do the same. In the ideal world, each of your sentences should be carrying the weight of one – and only one – concept. But your brain is so familiar with your thoughts, your business, and your stories that it thinks a convoluted multi-clausal sentence dotted with and’s, but’s, and semi-colons is presenting only one idea when in fact it’s packed to the gills with information (see what I mean? That sentence was too long!) It often takes an unbiased third party to hunt these Tetris-like rascals down and break them up. That third party is a professional writer.
4. You’re repeating the same words, over and over and over…
Let’s face it, we’ve all got our own vocabulary. We use certain words so often that they identify us. (Ask your friends – they’ll tell you what your favorites are!) In person, these words give us personality. In writing, they make us look boring, milk-toasty, and even – god forbid – dumb. Great marketing text is spicy, sparkly, scintillating. What creates flavorful copy? Juicy words. These gems are the currency of the professional writer.
3. For your “elevator speech” to work, you’d have to be in a 200-story building.
Seriously, you know you’ve got to be able to articulate your unique offering in under a minute. These oft-touted “elevator speeches” do not sprout up spontaneously in the backyard of your consciousness. They are earned through a long process of thinking, brainstorming, and wordsmithing. A professional marketing writer knows the questions that get this process going as well as what to do with the answers you provide. Imagine being handed a perfect three-sentence encapsulation of your service or product that reflects your voice and style. You can commit it to memory, shout it from the rooftops, and plaster it all over your marketing materials. With some professional assistance, this could be your reality.
2. You think you have a story to tell, but you’re not sure where to start.
“It’s all about your story,” everyone says. And for a good reason – your company’s story is a big part of what draws your customers to you. It’s an even bigger part of what keeps them around. Compelling stories are key, and so is the telling of them. How do you get your tale on paper (or on screen, as is more likely the case these days) in clear and engaging language? It’s not an easy task – that is why professional writers exist. This is what we DO. Like, all the time. We listen. We ask questions. We write. And then we add and delete and spin and spit and polish until we are blue in the face and your copy gives us goose bumps.
1. You don’t know the rules of comma usage, and quite frankly my dear, you don’t give a damn.
Fair enough. We writers know them all, and we think they’re fascinating, but we’re verbal dorks. If you didn’t think grammar was interesting back in high school, you’re probably not going to now. Sure, you could hit the books and learn all the rules. And you could also teach yourself website design, bookkeeping, stock trading, head-shrinking, and all the other services you hire people to do for you. Or you could contact a writing professional and use your free time to do something YOU find fascinating.
Bridget Lyons likes to call herself an Interpretive Sorceress, which really just means that she’s a word geek and a design dork. Through her company, Spiralglyph Media, she helps businesses and individuals craft timeless visual and verbal expressions for web and print. She also edits fiction and non-fiction texts for budding authors and is currently working on her own second novel. Bridget and Erica play well together in the creative sandbox and enjoy collaborating on a variety of branding and marketing projects.
Thanks Bridget! We love comments and tweets about when you realized it was time to bring in the big guns. Or maybe it just happened while you were reading?