Speak Up To Find Your (Written) Voice!

In any form of marketing, there is something the gurus refer to as a “brand” voice. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a brand voice is the tone, sentence structure, and word choice used to convey a brand’s unique personality. It speaks to the audience and the ideal consumer compellingly because it “gets” their needs, wants, and (even) sense of humor.

When done correctly, brand voice is genius disguised in catchphrases, quirky one-liners, and perfectly pitched prose.

Today, (I find) there is a lot of confusion around brand voice because of the enormous presence personal brands have in our society, specifically on social media. Some examples of personal brands include food bloggers, fashion bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, and people like me who are running a business under their own name! For these pros, it is seemingly difficult to come up with a voice that represents them well, connects with their audience, and is still seemingly authentic. However, the good news is it doesn’t have to be!

If you are building your personal brand, keep on reading. I have a few tips for how you can find your written voice without sacrificing authenticity or quality!

C’mon!

Think about what your audience wants to hear…but not TOO much.

It certainly makes sense to research your audience, what they like to read, and what type of content they relate to before creating a brand voice. Understanding the length of their attention span, their favorite mediums for digesting information, and their preferred authors can undoubtedly give you an insight on how to create a brand voice that resonates with those you want to reach.

However, there is danger in researching TOO much…because sometimes research causes you to become a slave to comparison and comparison is the quickest way to kill your unique brand voice.

So, while you are researching, be sure to make a note of people who are doing well speaking to their demographics, but don’t try to copy them. Instead, try the next tip!

Write your content exactly as you are thinking it!

Whether you are writing a blog post, or crafting a social media caption, the key to creating a written voice is to write your content exactly as it sounds in your head. If a one-liner came to your mind first when you looked at the picture you want to share, go with it! If you think in bullet points, write it down just like that! Or, if you are someone who likes to really take time to explain things, go right ahead!

Why? Because trying too hard will cause your voice to become confusing and uninviting to your readers.

Read your work out loud.

Before you hit the publish or post button, read anything, you write out loud. I’ll admit, this is my LEAST favorite part of writing (because sometimes it can be awkward), but it is also one of the most necessary.

As you read your content out loud, you will find the parts that don’t flow, feel too wordy, or simply don’t make sense. You’ll also find the portions of your writing that don’t exactly jive with your brand or who you are!

Do it over, and over, and over again!

As you develop your brand voice, it is SO IMPORTANT to use it regularly. Write blog posts daily (even if you never publish them) and post every day on social media. The more you use your voice for your brand, the more you will refine it to be precisely what you want it to be. AKA, you will naturally find ways to weave in the sense of humor you crave or the underlying tones of personality you feel define who you are.

With these simple tips, you are well on your way to defining your brand voice! However, if you are still stuck and find yourself needing a little help, don’t hesitate to reach out! I would love to come alongside you in a strategy session to help you find your (written) voice!

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Doing Its Job?

Newsflash: May isn’t just the perfect time to spring clean your house, it’s also the ideal time to spring clean your job search material – and your resume and LinkedIn profile are the perfect places to start.

Over the past few weeks, I have received several requests to help clients update their LinkedIn Profile along with their resume. More and more job seekers are becoming aware that their potential of acquiring their dream job rests not only on how completely B.A. their resume is but also the effectiveness of their online identity as well.  

As I dove into the world of LinkedIn and my clients’ profiles I learned two things.

  1. People generally think about their LinkedIn ONLY when they start looking for a new job.
  2. Creating an active LinkedIn profile is a task that is tedious, but extremely worthwhile!

So, today I ask you…Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and doing its job?

Whether it is or it isn’t, here are a few tips you can use to make the most of your professional social media presence!

UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN REGULARLY

The first mistake I see people make with LinkedIn is that they treat it as a “set it and forget it” tool. Instead of continually updating it with their most recent accomplishments and accolades they check in on it once a year, add a few new skills and call it quits.

Here’s my advice.  Make it a priority to log into LinkedIn AT LEAST once per month (truthfully you should be doing it more frequently) and update your current position to reflect your most recent accomplishments, connect with any new professionals you have met, and give someone else a recommendation! Doing these few simple tasks will keep your presence active and increase your potential for formative relationships through the site!

REACH OUT FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Out of all the sections on LinkedIn, in my experience, recommendations is the one that is utilized the least.  Perhaps it’s because it can feel uncomfortable to reach for endorsements. I do believe, however, that if you can get over your fear of reaching out to your co-workers, former employers, and professional connections the recommendations section can be the most powerful component of your LinkedIn profile!  

Think about it this way…would you rather hire someone who has three reviews about how amazing they are or someone who doesn’t have even one? It makes a difference!

This week, try reaching out to just ONE person for a recommendation. If you don’t know how to do it, check out this article.

CONNECT, COMMENT, SHARE

LinkedIn is a SOCIAL site, which means it works a lot like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (if you are using them as a marketing tool).  The more you engage, the more effective it will be!

Here’s how you can engage. Connect with new people regularly. Comment on posts on your homepage. Share news articles about your company. Share posts from your peers. OR share your own articles! When you connect, comment, and share, you never know who is going to notice your activity (hint: it might be your next boss!).

ASK FOR HELP!

If you are reading this and still feel overwhelmed about where to start with LinkedIn, my best recommendation is to reach out for help. Find a friend who knows about it and request their advice OR (better yet) send me a message!  I would love to help you make the most of your online presence so you can land the job of your dreams!

How To Find a Knock-Your-Socks-Off Copywriter

I’m going to start by saying this is most definitely a shameless plug for my business because I want to be the knock-your-socks-off copywriter you hire. It is also, however, packed full of information on how to make the most of your money when hiring someone to write the words you need to make your business thrive.

So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and give me a few seconds of your time. If your website could use an injection of personality, your blog could handle a face lift, or you require some killer marketing materials you’re going to want to read this.

#1 Look for someone who is well practiced in their craft.

There are websites upon websites that work to convince everyone that they “have what it takes” to be a six-figure earning copywriter. These websites claim to give them all of the training they need in 6 easy steps. As enticing and exciting as this sounds, unfortunately (most of the time) it’s not true.

I’m not here to say that there are only a handful of people in the world qualified to write copy for you. I’m simply saying, like every other craft, creating quality copy takes A LOT of hard work, time and practice. You don’t just magically become a copywriter overnight.

When you look to hire a copywriter, don’t be afraid to ask them about their experience or ask for samples of previous work. A great copywriter should be able to show you a portfolio and tell you about the type of work they have completed in the past.

#2 Know the difference between someone who will churn and burn your copy and someone who will get to the bottom of what you actually need by getting to know you.

I can tell you firsthand that great copywriters can create content rather quickly. That content, however, is much more effective and satisfying if it is created from a place of understanding and knowledge instead of just on a whim.

The copywriter you choose to work with should have a process in place to get to know you and what you are looking for. You should expect to receive questions from them and exchange in a little back-and-forth conversation before they can get started on your pieces. Asking questions helps a good copywriter get to know your audience and therefore determine the type of voice to use and the best information to incorporate.

The bottom line, if someone (or a platform) promises to turn around your copy in 24 hours for you without asking ANY questions…you will likely not receive the quality content you are looking for.

#3 Find someone who appreciates YOUR talent!

Just like other creatives, great copywriters are talented individuals who have taken the time to master their craft.  That being said, they should appreciate the value of your skills and talents as well! They should show an appreciation for your business and the services you offer. A relationship with a great copywriter should feel pleasant and beneficial for BOTH parties.

The bottom line: If you happen to be looking for a knock-your-socks-off copywriter, I’d love to get to know you and what you’re looking for! Let’s Talk today!

4 Questions To Ask at the End of an Interview

While I was looking for my first job after college I had A LOT of interviews.  I had so many interviews I don’t even remember what jobs I was interviewing for.  This basically proves that I was AWESOME at writing my resume and TERRIBLE at landing the job.  I attribute this fact to one main thing… I NEVER asked any questions.

You heard that right. Zip, zero, zilch.  When the end of an interview rolled around and the interviewer offered their time to answer my questions—I had none.  For some outrageous reason, I thought that asking questions made me look weak.  I thought that if I didn’t ask questions I would prove I knew it all and that I could handle the job.

I now realize how ridiculously arrogant that sounds, AND what a big mistake it was.  The truth is, you NEED to ask questions at the end of an interview. Here’s why.

Questions help the interviewer see that you are interested in the job, that you have done your research, and that you have critical thinking skills. Asking questions at the end of the interview is also a great way to leave a lasting impression.

Now, without further ado—-here are my recommended questions to ask at the end of an interview…

pexels-photo-356079

Why do you enjoy working here?

Asking your interviewer why they enjoy working at the company is a great way to put a spin on the interview. Hopefully, it will also give you some insight on additional perks the company may offer, or a glimpse at the company culture.

What is a typical day like in this position?

Truth be told, most job descriptions are pretty generic.  They list the basic requirements, but not the nitty-gritty.  Asking about daily tasks allows you an opportunity to find out if you the job might not be everything it seems.  It also allows you a chance to boast about additional skills that you may have related to daily tasks brought up by the potential employer.

Is there room for growth within the company/position?

You gotta have goals.  Asking about growth within the company shows that you have big ambitions, but you are not opposed to sticking around.  Employers like to know what your long-term plans are, but don’t always come out and ask. Therefore, if you ask about company growth and the long-term, they will receive a subliminal green light on hiring you.

Are there any qualities that you want the person taking this position to have that you don’t see in me?

Mic drop. This is a GREAT question on which to end the interview.  Asking about ay missing qualities forces the interviewer to reflect back on your conversation creating a stronger picture of you in their mind.  PLUS, if there are any qualities they are looking for that you haven’t talked about yet, you get a chance to bring them up.

…..

This list certainly isn’t all-encompassing, and of course, you can expand upon or modify these questions in your own way.  If you use any of these questions in an upcoming interview, leave me a comment. I would love to know how it goes!

Good luck!

How To Write the Best Thank You Note After an Interview

I have a confession to make.  I am the WORST…and I mean the WORST at sending out thank you notes.  Here’s the thing.  I always write them, but I can NEVER get them in the mail. I have no clue why.  There have been multiple occasions on which I have had thank you notes sitting on my desk for so long that I have literally had to throw them away because sending them after such a long period of time would just be awkward (yes, I’m talking about my daughter’s birthday parties).  However, there is one occasion for which I never forget to send a thank you, and that is a job interview.

When you send a thank you note after an interview, you do it so that you can be remembered and make a good impression.  Yes, the motive is selfish, but have no shame— you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job.

So, here’s how to write the best thank you note after an interview and make the best impression.

Interview thank you

HANDWRITTEN VS. EMAIL

There is a lot of disagreement and differing opinions on whether you should send your post-interview thank you note via snail mail or email.  Some people think that snail mail shows more effort and leaves a better impression. Others think that email is the preferred method of communication by potential employers.

Here’s what I think. 

Do what feels most natural to you.  If you are someone who carries thank you notes with you and will put it right in the mail, then go for it.  However, I personally always send thank you notes via email because it is more efficient and an email is more likely to reach the person I intend it for.

If you choose to go the email route for your thank you note, there’s a little bit of an art to when you should send it.  Sending it right after you leave their office will leave no impression because they are still thinking about you. But, if you wait until the next morning to send it you will have given them just long enough to forget about you before you show up in their inbox.  This will help you to stay at the front of the interviewer’s mind, which is a good thing

After interview thank you

WHAT TO WRITE

Now, let’s get down to business.  Writing a thank you note can be hard.  You can be generic or detailed, short or long-winded, personal or professional—so many choices so little time.  This is what I recommend.

OPEN WITH GRATITUDE

At the beginning of the thank you note, you want to say “thank you!”  Be sure to thank the interviewer (by name) for the opportunity to interview with them and discuss your future with the company.  After all, it is a thank you note.

MENTION THE ENVIRONMENT

During the interview, hopefully, you had a chance to see the office or some of the space that you could be working in.  Now is a great time to mention how you loved the space or “felt at home” in the environment.  If you didn’t get a tour, that’s okay! Let the interviewer know how you “enjoyed the conversation and getting to know them”.

DON’T FORGET THE TEAM

If you had a chance to meet your potential co-workers during the interview, great! Now is a perfect time to mention them and how you feel you “fit in with the team”.  Perhaps, highlight very briefly how you feel your talents could compliment theirs and how you are “excited to be part of such a motivated team”.

HIGHLIGHT A STANDOUT MOMENT

Pick something special from the interview to highlight.  Perhaps you and the interviewer talked about a unique skill that you have or a big project that you could potentially be working on.  The thank you note is a great time to strategically remind them of how your talents could benefit their business.

CLOSE WITH THE FUTURE

It’s not goodbye but see you later.  Close your thank you note with the assumption that you WILL be meeting your interviewer again. Don’t use the word “hope”…be bold and confident.  You could say that you are “looking forward to answering any questions they may have and seeing them again soon.”

Whatever you write in your post-interview thank you note, make it purposeful.  Give the interviewer a reason to remember you and put your name at the top of the list.  Just like your resume, your thank you note should stand out among the crowd.

Best of luck!