About the Author: Nicole Branigan

Nicole Branigan

Nicole is a freelance writer who specializes in crafting engaging content for the web. She considers language and wordage a gift and a privilege. We're thrilled to have her voice here, as well as involved in our clients' Brand Stories. In her free time, Nicole nerds out on poetry and the saxophone.

Recent Posts from Nicole Branigan:

Is your Content Telling your Story Part III

The Newbie

You’re just starting out your business – congratulations! This is a wonderfully exciting time where you get to figure out exactly what it is you want to say. So…what do you say? If you’re like most start-ups you likely don’t have a definitive voice connecting you to an audience or clarifying your presence.

One of the biggest mistakes I see new companies make is the error of fallacy.  Companies without a lot of experience often falsify their professional history, or sound bigger than they are in order to impress their audience. Don’t do that! While you don’t need to hang a, “I don’t know what I’m doing,” flag outside your door, you certainly don’t need to pretend you have a full staff when you and your business partner are conducting business in local coffee shops. (Editors note: there is nothing wrong with using coffee shops as your office.) After all, if you’re not starting out your business on a totally honest foot, aren’t you missing the point?

Fear not, newb. Your brand and identity are in there, waiting to be discovered. Consult your content professionals to discover the best way to display your expertise and business model, without overcompensating due to lack of experience. Together, you can exhibit your business in a way that’s both interesting, and appropriate.

The best way to reach your target is by being you.

Is Your Content Telling YOUR Story Part II

The state of the statistics man (or woman).

You love numbers. Venn diagrams and earnings reports are the stuff your dreams are made of. Clients love your keen eye for detail, and your unwavering commitment for exceeding expectations, and you love that at the end of the day you get to crunch numbers and calculate profits. The question is, how does this translate to what you put on the web?

You should always be telling YOUR story. If numbers and details are your thing, by all means showcase that on your webpages, blog and email marketing. However, it’s important that you aren’t overly statistical in all your content, because you may alienate your audience (content strategists love to talk about alienation). Instead, find a way to display your natural ability for the fine tuned without letting your audience believe you lock yourself in a room during lunch to configure algorithms (you don’t do that, right?)

Being a statistical person makes you an asset to the business world, so become creative in ways you show this to your clients and potentials. Infographics are perfect for displaying a vast amount of information in an eye-catching way that attracts a variety of viewers. Videographers can capture interesting factoids pertaining to your industry and combine them with excerpts of your office, or with carefully designed graphics that really pop. Think outside the cubicle and create something that interests your audience, while remaining true to your personality.

If your business is numbers, get creative with your business.

Is Your Content Telling YOUR story? (Part 1)

The Plight of the Joker

I say it all the time – I can create a variety of tones and writing styles for every client. The reason this is necessary is because no two businesses are alike. Some businesses may have similarities and commonalities, but the true core of what makes each business is intrinsically unique (and one of the reasons I LOVE writing web content!)

It’s important to realize your uniqueness as a business, and how you wish to exhibit that in all of the content you create. From emails to web content, brochures and podcasts, you must always be true to your business and your story. By this, I mean, analyze what customers and clients like about you, and what keeps them returning to you. However, you must also realize that finding a balance between professionalism and personalization is the key to standing out, while becoming a trusted voice in your field.

Do clients compliment you on your upbeat sense of humor? Then talk with your content developer about appropriate ways to bring that out in your email blasts and other distributed content. Humor is a great way to put clients at ease, and make you relatable. However, there is a fine line between an email blast peppered with corny jokes, and an all out roast of your receptionist on her biography web. If you’re using your sense of humor, don’t get personal, and keep it G-rated. Your content developer should be able to tailor a content strategy that is honest and funny, while engaging and professional.

Find a balance, and reap the rewards.

Why You Need a Storyteller

Web guy. Print guy. Tech guy. These positions, while essential to your business and the productivity of your office, have become borderline buzzwords. If you can’t do it yourself, you need someone to develop your website, design your logo and/or print materials, and someone to provide administrative support when things go wrong (they will probably go wrong).

It’s vital to realize that among these helpful support systems, there must be a storyteller. Why a storyteller? Because someone needs to paint the picture of your business, your goals and your personality.

It’s difficult to objectively display your company. You know your company and your model better than anyone. Yet, consider the value of having an outside party recognize and extract the interesting nuggets that truly allow you to stand out from the crowd.

The right marketing storyteller can strategize for you. You may think you have a great selling point or product that makes you irresistible, and you may be right. Consult a marketing professional who can make a story out of your business and properly sell it to the masses time and time again.

It’s all in the details. Talented and qualified storytellers ache over every syllable, and torment over word usage, just as skilled marketing professionals understand the diamonds are in the details. Make sure you’re shedding light on every sparkling facet of your business.

It’s great to have a web developer who can tear through code without breaking into a sweat, or a graphic designer with the fastest turnaround time this side of the Mason Dixon line. These assets aren’t valuable if someone in your support team doesn’t take the time to understand your story is worth telling. More importantly, you need someone that knows how to tell your story, and who to tell it to.

All the great stories have lasted throughout the ages. Will yours?

(This post was contributed by Nicole Branigan, a freelance writer who regularly gets involved in helping to tell our clients’ brand stories. We’re thrilled to have her voice here, and to link to her very deserving freelance site.