August 20, 2014 at 6:33 am #1123
Test Kitchen Mission – Signature Product
1. Mindmap your Signature Product. Make sure it answers these two questions:
> What do you want to be known for?
As a writer and content strategist who specializes in professional branding for the modern business world.
I think many professionals, myself included, struggle with this concept in the digital age. I was always taught to keep personal and professional matters completely separate; the two worlds were never, ever supposed to collide. I avoided social media like the plague until I changed careers in 2010 and was forced to adapt or admit defeat. That was simply not an option, so I started to get with the program, (albeit grudgingly). Over time, however, I began to appreciate the educational applications of digital media and how I could use that knowledge to hone my professional skills and promote my writing services.
Professional branding played an instrumental role in my own career transition and I’m happy to report that my clients have achieved similar success as a result of my efforts.
My brand and company name, Write Through the Looking Glass, stemmed from my experience and eventual realization that taking ownership over my identity was the only way to make it in this world gone mad. “Content Marketing for a World Gone Mad,” was my original tagline, but I am strongly considering changing it to “Web Gone Mad, “which Tea suggested in her comments on my marketing plan (thanks, Word Chef!!)
The following excerpt from my website (hopefully) clarifies my branding message and explains
Empowerment through Content
Empowerment is the driving force behind the content development services at Write Through the Looking Glass. Why? Words are powerful. If you don’t write your own reality, tell your own story, and take ownership over your identity, others will do it for you. When you relinquish control over the image you portray to the outside world, the result isn’t always pretty. The Web provides users with anonymity and instant access to a wide audience, a powerful combination that often emboldens people to publish inaccurate or disparaging material online. Lewis Carroll drew a clear boundary between the “real” world and the fantastical places he wrote about in the Alice books, but today’s technology has blurred those lines considerably. In this world gone mad, professional success often hedges upon a company’s ability to distinguish itself online. For better or worse, virtual perception is reality, so why not write your own?
> What are your superpowers?
* I have an innate ability to tap into what makes an individual or organization truly unique. Growing up, my family always feared that my tendency to look for the good in people and talk to everyone and anyone would eventually end in my demise. However,I really wasn’t overly trusting so much as interested in people’s stories and learning what made them tick.
* As a writer, this translates into an ability to understand my clients and get to the heart of what they need and want, even if they can’t always articulate it.
* According to my Fascination Report results, my archetype is the Rockstar and my primary advantage is Innovation followed by Passion. I am naturally curious and excel in situations where I can experiment with new ideas and take on different creative challenges. As someone with the Passion advantage, I also connect with others easily and intuitively understand their feelings.
SIGNATURE DISH: Professional Biographies and Linkedin Profiles
My first writing job involved creating optimized custom content for the clients of a Silicon Valley online reputation management firm. Although there were generally only two types of assignments given to writers (professional bios and ghost articles), there was still plenty of variety because the clients came from nearly every industry and walk of life. Sometimes I would have to write as many as five bios on a single person or business and each one had to have its own distinct focus while maintaining at least 85% originality; this could be problematic at times when there wasn’t much information provided by the account manager, but the experience certainly helped hone my writing and research skills. Once I started obtaining my own clients and could control what protocols were put in place, I was able to eliminate that hurdle and create much richer and more personal content.
Recently, I began to realize to see some patterns forming and it dawned on me that professional branding might just be my writing niche. Here is where I get jammed up: Bios, resumes, cover letters, company profiles, about pages, and social media profiles all sort of fall under that professional branding umbrella, so I’m having a difficult time deciding how to approach creating packages for these services. Since I enjoy writing bios more than traditional resumes, I initially decided to focus on bundling just those services (see table below). But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like Linkedin profile writing and optimization should be included as well. With some of the options in the bio package, you’ll see that I offer clients three versions of the same bio in varying lengths. I intended the short version to be used for Linkedin profile summaries and the micro one for Twitter handles. I outline all this on the individual project proposals, but I’ve never tried marketing the service that way. I guess I’ve been more focused on promoting the bio for use on the clients’ websites; the social media profiles seemed secondary.
However, now that Linkedin is blowing up, it seems only natural that the two would go together. I feel like I should maybe package the bios to focus more on Linkedin. This could work for a couple reasons:
* Linkedin is the one social media platform that I’ve used consistently over the last several years and I feel like it’s the perfect venue for a writer focused on professional branding content. I actually taught a class on how to use Linkedin in your job search a while back. If I moved forward with this, I would have to make sure I’m abreast of all the latest developments, but I feel like I have a good handle on best practices.
* SEO. Search engine isn’t rocket science, but I’ve done enough keyword research to offer optimization services for profiles. Speaking of SEO, my guess is that more people are searching for Linkedin profile writers than professional bio writers so it may be in my best interest to change it.
* I plan on targeting primarily businesses and owners for these services, but since Linkedin is the platform, there’s a possibility that I could find a new target demographic with the job seekers. It’s also a great
2. Identify your levels of the Offer:
Okay, I started to put together some professional bio packages (which I couldn’t figure out how to attach, but here’s a link: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s284/nl/46992470/8d62c283-d85c-41be-9d6a-c3fc1eeff720)
but I’m struggling with the pricing issue and whether or no
t I should rephrase it to focus on Linkedin. The “short” versions of the bio could also be used for G+, FB, Pinterest, or any other social media profile besides Twitter. really be used on any social media profile, I am considering including the set up of those profiles and business pages in the biggest package; even people who are active on social media don’t always have their profiles optimized or their branding uniform across different platforms.
3. List the tools and resources you need to execute and deliver.
* If I decide to go in this direction for my writing niche, I should start blogging on related topics.
* Finish this pricing package.
* Reach out to old clients who need bios.
* Create a program in Contactually with potential leads and start filling pipeline with prospects.
* Put together some kind of training manual or web conversion tunnel giveaway (THIS COULD BE THE FREEBIE, RIGHT?)
* Create some content for the website about this service.
* Go through all the Linkedin materials I’ve saved in Evernote; check out what’s new.
I am wide open to suggestions on any and all of this! I am the worst when it comes to pricing things out. Lately, I’ve been trying to stick with Ed Gandia’s pricing guidelines and not overanalyze everything so much – that’s where I came up with the $429 in the middle. I’m flexible, but I try not to go under $250 for a regular bio with an hour long interview. It depends on the client, but these types of projects tend to eat up more time because of the collaboration they often require so I’m trying to be mindful of that and not low ball myself for once. 🙂
August 25, 2014 at 7:07 am #1143
You could also teach a class or do webinars on this as lead generation. Will discuss in our Community Case Studies meeting.
October 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm #1261
Shannon, I love this idea. When working with my web design clients, the biggest pain in their behinds often rotates around crafting the About page. Most of us have a tendency go deer-in-the-headlights when tasked with describing ourselves. Perhaps it has something to do with not tooting your own horn, or fear it’s coming across as something worse.. bagpipes, for instance? Indeed, we’re all being encouraged to be ourselves–that who we are is our strongest asset, but like you, I built my career at a time where you segmented your true self out of things. Having someone to assist with eliminating the noise and finding the authentic pieces is of high value and packaging it with LinkedIn is brilliant. Also, SEO may not be rocket science, but it’s a time suck figuring it out for a lot of people. I suspect if the price point was right (and I’m at a loss on specifics) it would be a no-brainer.
I also love the name of your business, and agree with you that words are powerful. I might brand myself as the anti-design designer by saying this, but words are more important than design any day of the week because the words define the problem. Without a problem, I have nothing to visually communicate or solve. I might grasp a viewer’s attention, but the words must resonate with the problems and wishes of the audience.
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