Adults like stories, too

 

The Bumpy, Grumpy Road

Take your readers on a journey!

In 2012 I published my first children’s book, The Bumpy Grumpy Road. It’s a metaphor intended to help children understand that they are in charge of their emotions, actions and reactions.

As parents bought the book for their kids, I heard more than one time “This book helps me, too.”

And when you read the story behind the creation of this book, you’ll understand why I’m not surprised. The metaphor was easy for my preschooler to understand and to remind me when I was driving down my own bumpy, grumpy road.

Adult readers don’t need fancy multisyllabic words to engage them. Adults need a strong message with a compelling storyline that gives them something useful for their daily challenges. Next time you’re writing for your co-workers, your manager, your current customers and your potential customers, make sure you’ve told a good story.

How can knitting improve your writing?

Knitting, yarn

The more you practice, the better you get.

Knitting is an obvious metaphor for writing. Using your own two hands, you hold the needles and weave together a lovely fabric. You choose the yarn, you choose the pattern and you choose the end product.

Along the way, you encounter problems. You miss a stitch. Holes appear. Something goes wrong.

You have choices in knitting – you can back up and correct the problem or you can plow ahead and accept the finished product with all it’s flaws. When you choose to go back the awful feeling that you might never finish the project looms over your shoulder. Plowing ahead means you might feel embarassed to show your imperfect work to others.

Luckily, writing isn’t exactly like knitting. When you write, you can lay words to paper, plow ahead and then go back and make the edits and corrections you need. But even the best of writers needs an experienced editor to look over their work.

Have you recently completed an incredible piece of writing? Do you need a skillful editor to find the holes, the places where you left a stitch unworked? Give me a call and give you work the attention it deserves, so you can be proud to show off your finished product!

Word Choice is Key

If you don't know what this means, better ask a local.

The language and words we choose show if we’re locals or tourists – and if we know what we’re talking about.

When you visit New York City, you want to go to “the Hi Line” not “Hi Line Park.” And if you’re looking for good Cuban food you ask the taxi driver to take you to Broadway and Houston- but you pronounce it “How-ston.” Then you’re speaking like a local.

When you visit Pittsburgh, don’t be offended if you someone mentions that you’re not a Yinzer but do be offended if someone in Cork, Ireland calls you a langer.

When you’re looking for someone to write your copy – whether it’s for the web, ads, brochures or a simple customer letter – make sure you’re using a writer who knows how to speak the vernacular. Give me a call and let’s talk about the language your customers will understand best.

Need social media content? Become an Alchemist

Turn their two cents into content gold!

Can’t think of what to write for that next blog post, tweet or update? Even the most creative writer gets in a slump. I never get “writer’s block” because I’ve discovered that I’m an alchemist. What looks like ordinary matter to some is pure gold to me.

After I get my feet wet working for clients with several employees, I turn on my nosey side. Actually, that side is rarely turned off, so let’s say I ramp it up a bit and market it as “the natural curiosity of a writer.” I will actually linger in the kitchen and strike up conversations with folks I haven’t met. I’ll start a hallway conversation and invite passers-by to comment on a topic I’m covering. I’ll pop my head into someone’s office, asking if they’ve seen so-and-so (who I know isn’t around) and then casually get their opinion on a current project. I rarely talk – my goal is to get them talking. And each time I engage in one of these tactics, which could appear to be time-wasters, I’m turning what could be ordinary information into writer’s gold.

No one person knows the complete ins and outs of a medium to large organization. There are tiny pockets of useful information stored all over the staff and as a writer and social media strategist for several clients, I know you cannot sit at your temporary desk or in your cubicle-on-loan waiting for people to drop juicy details in your lap. You’ve got to go and uncover them, sometimes with the delicate brush and other times with a pickaxe. As an outside consultant, I’m fortunate to see connections that others inside the organization take for granted and overlook. It’s probably a little easier for people to share things with me than to share with their co-workers or managers. I’m thrilled when someone begins a sentence with, “No one else really knows this but…” That usually means they are about to share something really exciting and I can bring it to the attention of eager customers and loyal followers.

I also never take the credit for content I get this way. I share the love. I mention to my point person how valuable it was to speak with the lady in accounting, or the man in tech support, or the folks in operations who pointed out a new system they are trying to streamline a project. I want to person who hired me to realize what a great team they have in place. I also want the people who shared ideas and thoughts with me to realize they have a lot to offer.

So if you’re trying to go it alone and create all the content for your business blog, Twitter feed, Facebook posts, Pinterest images, Google+ page, or YouTube channel – take a step away from your computer and become an alchemist. Turn that ordinary material into social media gold!

How do you handle negative comments?

Many businesses worry about having Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest pages or a blog that allows

Prepare for best & worst case!

people to post comments. They wonder, “If people complain about us on these platforms, it will make us look bad!”

What really looks bad is not receiving negative comments, but handling them poorly. Take a look at this negative review that one of my clients received:

Review of “The Business”
Posted by “Customer”
The Business advertises itself as place to help not only normally developing children, but one with disabilities. I was informed that their social butterflies program would be good for my son with autism as they have a “developmentalist” who leads the class. I was also told by my wrap around agency that the agency which head behavior services that I could not take my son’s TSS to the program because The Business has their own developmentist and in essence it would be like paying two people the (TSS and the developmentalist at The Business) to do the same job. So I went to The Business with my autistic son who is almost 3 to find that the developmentalist completely ignored him. She never prompted him once to do anything. She never gave me any instructions and expected me to figure it out on my own. And ontop she keep opening the door to class which allowed my son to keep running out. In fact the main doors to building were wide open to the street!!!! Completely irresponsibly and lacking in understanding of someone with autism!!! Clearly The Business is falsely advertising about their programs or their developmentalist is not qualified. I was disappointed and also do not understand how they are also allowed to provide services for the county.

Would you choose to respond to or ignore this comment?

I advised this client to respond and to respond in a positive, nonspecific way that encouraged the parent to speak directly to the service provider about the experience. Here’s what they wrote:

Business Response
Greetings “Customer”. Thank you for your feedback. It appears that there has been some miscommunication along the line, so please feel free to be in touch with us directly to further discuss. We value all children and their families, so we hope we can chat with you about your feedback and concerns.

It’s a great reply that shows this business watches it’s online reputation, that it seeks to assist customers who did not have a great experience, but also doesn’t air dirty laundry or get into battles online. It’s the best way to handle negative comments in this social age.

Have you ever received a negative review of your business? How did you handle it?