What do you write?
Most of my business is writing marketing emails for business owners who have email service providers such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, Infusionsoft or Ontraport. These powerful programs allow you to connect with your customers and improve sales, which is awesome, but they can also cost hundreds of dollars a month. The problem is that people aren’t using getting maximum value from their investment because they never get around to writing the emails. That’s where I come in. I create emails that help attract, nurture and sell to customers and prospects. This may be as simple as writing a newsletter. Or it may involve creating dozens of emails to help launch a product.
How did you become a writer?
I believe that we’re all born with gifts and mine was writing. I grew up in Ontario, Canada and was one of those highly sensitive kids who consumed books, kept a journal, and preferred my imaginary world to reality. I wrote a novel when I was in first grade and, in high school, was probably the only student who looked forward to writing essays. Decades later, I’m still a voracious reader and a dedicated writer.
So why a degree in business?
It seems odd, right? I majored in accounting at Ryerson University in Toronto, passed my Certified Management Accounting exams, and even taught accounting at college for a while. I chose to become an accountant because it was a stable profession. I believed what I was told – that nobody could earn their living as a writer and I needed a something to fall back on.
Then life intervened. My husband got transferred from our home in Toronto, Canada to Phoenix, Arizona. I did not want to learn the American tax code or take the CPA exams. So I started a company called The BizWriter and was able to combine my passion for writing with my knowledge of business. It was a great niche, because many of the writers who studied journalism were intimidated by the business community.
Where do you live?
In 2007, due to another of my husband’s job transfers, my family moved to Long Island, New York. I consider myself lucky to have lived in two different countries and three very different locations. Due to the magic of technology, I work with clients across the United States.
Do you still write novels?
Sadly, I do not. Once I had children, I quickly recognized that there was not enough room in my brain for a made-up cast of characters and I stopped writing fiction. However I remain acutely interested in people’s stories and the stories of their businesses. This is really helpful because storytelling is very important in today’s business climate – whether it’s sharing the story of a brand or engaging customers through stories in email. So I am still telling stories. Only now they are true and the purpose is to help a company grow!
You describe yourself as a “content creator.” What exactly does this mean?
Content writers are the digital version of copywriters, which was a term coined by advertising agencies in the early 1900s. Copywriters create text – also known as “copy” – for advertising, marketing and email. This is different from other forms of writing because its purpose is to persuade people to take a desired action (such as purchase your product). Copywriters create brochures, sales letters, direct mail and other marketing materials.
A content writer is a copywriter who specializes in online marketing. I write email newsletters, web pages and email campaigns.
What is an email campaign?
There are many other words for this, including “sales funnel” or “nurture campaign.” Basically what happens is that someone signs up for something on your website, such as a free report (which I can also write) or maybe a free quote. This action automatically triggers a series of emails that would describe your product (or service), explain what you do, identify the reasons a customer would need your product, and maybe offer a discount or a consultation.
You could also have a set of emails that are triggered after the person makes a purchase. You could check up on how they liked the product (or service), ask for a review, or maybe sell them an add-on.
These email campaigns can be very sophisticated and targeted. Some companies, for example, use emails to onboard their clients or to educate their sales reps.
Why would a business hire a content writer?
I’ve written a free report about this subject, so feel free to download it here.
The most important reason is because they will get better results, which means that they ultimately get more sales. Generally people find me when they are too busy to write their own content, don’t know what to write, or just hate writing. Sometime it’s a cost-benefit decision, in that they’re better spending their time doing something more lucrative than writing content. Frequently I get clients who are fed up paying for an email service provider (such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Ontraport or Infusionsoft) and not sending anything to their clients.
Once people work with me, they are delighted to have that piece of their business is working and finally be marketing online.
Is there anything that makes you special?
Part of marketing is knowing what makes you different … so of course I will have to answer this!
First is that I am a unique blend of accountant and artist, so I am comfortable in both realms. I love the creative part of writing, but I am also very conscious that people need to see a return on their investment. I’ve found this combination of left-brain/right-brain balance to be very unusual. While it truly benefits my clients, it has been a personal challenge to feel fully comfortable in either world.
Secondly, I’m intuitive and a really good listener. I ask good questions and am very patient. Marketing a business is a process and sometimes people aren’t clear about their customer or their messaging. I take the time to figure help businesses clarify their objectives and figure out what they need.
Finally, I am someone who loves learning. I love learning about my customers, about business in general, and about changes in online marketing. I know that saying I’m passionate about helping customers is a cliché, but I really am and my passion is infectious.
What types of businesses do you work with?
During my 20 years as a professional writer, I’ve worked with a wide variety of businesses and non- profits. This has been by choice, as I truly enjoy learning about different businesses and industries. Most of my current clients are professionals (including physicians and dentists) who use online marketing to attract and retain customers. Over the years I’ve worked with coaches, consultants, educational institutions, performing arts facilities, fresh fish importers, manufacturers and retailers. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of business leaders for magazine articles, written more than one thousand blog posts, and produced my own weekly newsletter for three years.
You also do speaking and business coaching?
I quickly found that many businesses had no idea how to create content and could not afford to hire a content writer. So I began conducting workshops and lectures where individuals can learn how to write blogs, newsletters and marketing emails. Participants leave these sessions feeling more confident about their writing and empowered to create great content.
I also provide private coaching to a select group of business owners. We speak semi-monthly, discuss their unique challenges, and work on everything from marketing to mindset. Although I have completed many coaching courses, I come to each session with the intention to help the business owner move ahead on their goals. I do not have a one-size-fits-all formula or secret sauce to guarantee success.
What philosophy shapes your writing?
My belief is that economic success gives us power. My goal is to help businesses grow so that they can increase in power and influence, in order to create a more compassionate and loving world. I feel that this has become more important over the last few months as our president makes decisions that are neither kind nor loving.
Can you describe any personal experiences are relevant to your writing?
One of the most profound was having weight loss surgery in 2013. At that point I lost 130 pounds, which was weight that I’d been hiding behind for decades. Since my surgery I’ve worked hard to become more visible as a person and business owner, which goes against my natural introverted personality. I’ve discovered that, like me, many of my clients are comfortable being the biggest secret in town. I help them gain the confidence and clarity needed to make their business more visible online.
What role does meditation play in your life?
I’m a big proponent of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which is an evidence-based, secular approach to meditation. During my 30 minutes of daily meditation, I try to empty my mind and be present in the moment. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how meditation has impacted my life. I believe meditation has made me calmer, as well as more accepting of myself and life’s challenges.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I would love to say that I have the whole work-life balance figured out, but I don’t!
I’ve been married for 30 years and have two adult children, as well as two mini dachshunds. In addition to spending time with family, my interests include reading, meditation, quilting, line dancing and watching reality TV shows. One of our dachshunds is a rescue puppy, so I’m currently spending a lot of time at doggie obedience classes.
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