There’s a lot of boring boilerplate writing out there that can’t help but fail to communicate a company’s mission, passion and progress. But I know how to cut through the clutter, banish the jargon and the doublespeak, and tell a story that will resonate with stakeholders and potential customers.
As founder of Linchpin Media, I’ve done just that for a wide-ranging list of corporate, nonprofit and educational clients. I took dense, acronym-filled written content from an international consulting firm and turned it into copy that “sparkled,” according to a partner. I helped an entrepreneur tell his story on his website and create a brand, which led to this unprompted bit of testimony: “Christine is an amazing creative talent. She has the ability to craft compelling, buoyant work from the mundane.”
Here, a review of some of my recent communications projects and their outcomes.
UN is breaking its promise to people of Haiti (Ghost-written and pitched for the co-founder of a global health nonprofit)
Writing an op-ed
Client: The CEO of a nationally accredited continuing-care facility in Atlanta, Ga.
Objective: Ghost-write an op-ed about the effect of the economic downturn on the assisted-living industry.
Strategy: Weave together the CEO’s personal insights with economic data and national context.
Execution: Interview CEO at length, for information and also to capture her “voice;” conduct research on the recession and its impact on continuing-care communities; speak with a representative from the industry’s accrediting agency.
Results: A compelling op-ed appeared in the local newspaper.
Crafting a media strategy
Client: An environmental advocacy group based in Atlanta, Ga.
Objective: Help the organization gain media exposure for an important and time-sensitive issue.
Strategy: Research the organization and its cause; meet with key officials; create a boilerplate about the issue; put together a timeline of legislative actions thus far; interview “real people” who would be affected by this issue and include them as contacts in the media kit.
Execution: Create a detailed media kit with background information, contacts and story pitches tailored to individual news outlets.
Results: Several media outlets took notice. A major magazine expressed interest in covering the issue (ongoing) and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an op-ed co-authored and edited by Linchpin Media.
Contributing to an annual report
Client: A national support and advocacy organization for people with developmental disabilities.
Objective: Contribute compelling human-interest stories to the organization’s annual report.
Strategy: Interview people helped by the organization; research developmental disabilities; work closely with officials from the organization to set goals.
Execution: Create a fact sheet to describe the company’s services, partners and contact information; write up personal stories about people who have been helped by the organization.
Results: The organization’s annual report was clear, catchy and inspiring.
Editing client materials
Client: An international consulting firm.
Objective: Take dense, acronym-filled written materials and strip them of jargon to make them interesting and understandable for the layperson.
Strategy: Meet regularly with executives and stakeholders to establish priorities and strategies; research each topic in the materials to become a temporary expert; provide status updates.
Execution: Reformulate and rewrite existing text; create new copy.
Results: The written materials now “sparkle,” according to a partner, and help draw more attention — and dollars — to the consulting firm. (Project ongoing)
Improving a LinkedIn profile
Client: A senior marketing manager.
Objective: Turn a dull LinkedIn summary into something that will attract potential employers and leave a lasting impression.
Strategy: Interview the client to get a three-dimensional picture of her personal past, her professional present and what she wants to accomplish in the future; conduct research to determine what kinds of LinkedIn summaries are successful and which get ignored.
Execution: Craft a short and catchy narrative to grab the reader’s attention, then meld the anecdote with concise information about her skill set.
Results: The LinkedIn summary now stands out, catching the eye of colleagues and new contacts. (Project ongoing)
Revamping a website
Client: An Atlanta-based small business in the audio engineering field.
Objective: Help an entrepreneur tell his story on his website and begin to build a bulletproof brand.
Strategy: Interview the client; view photographs to get a visual idea of the humble beginnings of the company; survey the competitive landscape; help establish the best identity for the business and pin down the proper tone and messaging; pinpoint the business owner’s goals for the next five and 10 years; collaborate with the client on edits.
Execution: Create website copy that tells a story, grabs the attention of potential customers and establishes the company’s unique identity, vision and brand.
Results: The copy on the company’s website is compelling and sends a clear message about what the company can do — and what it wants to be. The client praises Linchpin Media’s speed, efficiency, professionalism and style. “Christine is an amazing creative talent,” the client says. “She has the ability to craft compelling, buoyant work from the mundane … We couldn’t be happier.”