Language Audit For Your Marketing Content

I love helping people fix their words, giving them the power to make their words stand out. I had the opportunity to do that last week for a woman who wanted guidance on how to improve the wording in her marketing emails. As I put together my recommendations for her, a lightbulb went on in my head – why not offer people a Language Audit.

This year I’ve been concentrating on my content training courses, but a course isn’t for everyone. Some people want to learn as they go, and my Language Audit service will give them the opportunity to do that. Basically, I’ll be their writer on top, who they can call on as they create their document for advice on how to add sparkle to the language in their documents.

How the Service Works

You can send me your documents as you create them, so you won’t lose momentum while you’re creating your marketing content. Or you can wait till you’re finished all your documents and send them in a batch before you release them to the world.

I will them draw up a few practical guidelines that you can act on straight away, to help you improve the wording of your documents. This isn’t an edit; it’s about helping you make changes yourself, so you can improve your writing skills and enhance the quality of all the content you create.

Ways to Improve your Language

The guidelines I give you take three forms. First, I’ll highlight ‘weed words’ for you to get rid of. These are words that are used so often that they’ve almost lost their meaning and they lessen the impact of your sentences. If you have too many adverbs or adverbs or too many crutch words like ‘actually,’ ‘obviously’ or ‘seems.’ I’ll flag that and you can weed them out, so your blooms will shine.

This is a pic of a purple weed, with thin leaves spreading outwards on a purple background.
Weeding Out Words: Watch out for words that weaken your language and pluck them out of your content.

I’ll then guide you on words that will strengthen your content, words that create vivid images and evoke colours, sounds and scents. I’ll also encourage you to use action words that convey a sense of purpose. For example, if you say ‘The photographs are taken by me,’ I’ll encourage you to change it to ‘I take the photographs.’ It immediately sounds more proactive.

Some people have problems cutting down the length of their content, because they’re so enthusiastic about what they want to say and they’re afraid their message won’t come across. I’ll highlight ways that they can be more concise. Often, it just means something simple, like cutting down the length of your sentences, or cutting out repeated words. You’d be amazed the difference these changes make.

Why Avail of a Language Audit

This is a great option for time poor people who’d rather learn on the go, and it’s also a budget-friendly way to avail of great content advice. The price of this language is €75 for 5,000 words You don’t have to worry how much content makes up 5,000 words. I’ll set up a tab for you and let me know when you’ve reached your limit. But you’ll usually be covered for all the marketing content you create.

I hope this Language Audit service will be of value to you – it’s an efficient and effective way of improving your writing skill. You can find out more about it by dropping me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie.

How To Stamp Out Weak Words In Your Stories

At the moment I’m having great fun reading two books by authors who are looking to publish – and being paid for it. What a dream job for a bookworm. But I’m reading the books with a professional eye, and when I’m finished, I’ll be compiling reader’s reports, which give recommendations that will help them take their books to the next level.

In these reports, I’ll comment on how their stories work, and I’ll always, always comment on their language. Often when people ask me for a professional critique, they can’t put their finger on what’s not working in their story. But it’s not always the story that’s the problem – it’s the words we use to tell our stories.

There are words that weaken our writing without us realising it, because these words are so commonly used in everyday language. These are words that are so overused that they’ve lost their meaning, or that don’t convey the precise meaning you’re trying to convey. Or they’re words that slow down the action too much.

Alt Text: This is a word cloud featuring multicoloured words arranged in a pattern. The words all feature in this blog post and are examples of weak words. If you'd like to know what the words are, contact derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie
This word cloud features the words that I will talk about in this post, including passive voice, crutch words and filter words.

I’m going to take you through some examples of these types of ‘weak’ words, so you can banish them forever – and make your story shine.

Adjectives and Adverbs

When people are beginning to write, they don’t trust that the words they choose will say what needs to be said. So, they load their writing with overly-descriptive adverbs and adjectives, such as ‘the big angry man shouted loudly.’ If this is you, try taking out every adjective and adverb in your story. Bet you’ll discover that the rest of the words will say exactly what you need them to say.

Crutch Words

There are words we use in our everyday conversation to prop ourselves up while we’re formulating our points, words like: really, actually, like, okay. But these words don’t translate into our writing. They dilute the meaning of our sentences. If you take them out, your sentences will be shorter and sharper, and readers will feel the full impact of your words.

Repeated Words

We all have favourite words, words that we’re very attached to, and we repeat those words endlessly throughout our story. These may be words we like the sound of, such as ‘quintessential, or pronouns, such as ‘I’ or even ‘It.’ Too much repetition gets annoying for readers, so we need to drop our attachment to these words, so that we give our readers a greater variety of vocabulary. You’d also be surprised how much your word count will tumble when you remove these repeated words.

Filter Words

When you’re learning to write, you feel as if you need to explain everything, so you use a lot of filter words. Filter words explain the action, usually through sensation, such as ‘He seemed calm’ or ‘I heard the train coming.’ That means what’s happening in the story is filtered through these words, so the readers feel distanced from the action. Readers will find it much more exciting to read that ‘the train was coming.’ They’ll hear the sound themselves; they don’t need to be told.

I can give you advice on how to weed out these pesky weak words and make your story sparkle. Have a browse on my website to find out about my Writing with Me service.

Active v Passive Voice

If you’re describing an action that takes place in a story, you need to tell readers who did it. That’s why you choose the active voice over the passive voice. With the passive voice, you say the treasure was stolen; you don’t specify who stole it. Sometimes you don’t know who stole it, and then it’s okay to use the passive voice. But if you choose the active voice and say ‘A thief stole the treasure,’ it immediately conveys a sense that something important is happening, and you’ll hook readers into your story.

He Had Done It

The tense you choose for describing the action in your story may also distance readers from the action. For example, you may be writing a flashback and say, ‘Jane had gone to Spain.’ This slows down the action too much; the use of ‘had’ may give a sense that this happened in the distant past. Stick with the present tense or the simple past tense for verbs. ‘Jane was in Spain’ or ‘Jane is in Spain.’ This gives more of a sense of immediacy. 

What weak words do you want to stamp out of your stories? Send me your thoughts via derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie.

How I Showed Entrepreneurs to Write Brilliant Content

Today I am feeling happy and relieved. That’s how you want to feel after you’ve done a presentation. The presentation I gave was for Network Ireland Waterford, an organisation for women in business. They were running a Let’s Talk Digital event; I talked about creating brilliant content and Linda O’Connell from Digi Nomad demystified SEO. 

It was delightful to get back into the content training game after the summer. I gave people a whistle-stop tour of the storytelling module on my content training course, showing people how to use the storytelling techniques of bestselling authors to create brilliant content.

Why Bother Writing Content

Before I launched into the techniques, I talked about why brilliant content is worth writing in the first place. It comes down to this. If you invest time in telling an interesting story, it will stick in people’s minds when they’re reading it.

They’ll remember you and ultimately they’re more likely to buy from you. It also saves you time because once you’ve written your story, you don’t need to keep creating content from scratch every time. And it does actually get results you can measure.

This infographic from SEMrush demonstrates the importance that companies put on content and the results they see it giving them. It shows information with percentages in coloured bubbles. For example, it says 84% of companies have a content strategies but only 11% of companies regard it as excellent.

First Storytelling Technique: Character

Then I launched into the three storytelling techniques. The first one is character. I believe that by treating customers as characters in your story, you can get under their skin, understand them better and create content that speaks to them. Authors create character sketches, or profiles of their characters, to get to know their characters.

You can a character sketch for your customers, to figure out what they buy and how they buy it. Above all, you can identify a problem they have that needs solving – and demonstrate how you can solve it.

Second Storytelling Technique: Plot

The second storytelling technique, plot, will help you tell the story of how you solve your customers’ problems. In the presentation, I talked about the three-act structure, the classic plot structure of beginning, middle and end: First, you set the scene, then you get to the heart of the action and finally you reveal the solution.

In the case of your customers, you would first lay out the problems and then talk about the actions you took to solve it. Finally, you reveal the solution you arrived at, and what outcome you achieved for your customers, both practical and emotional.

Third Storytelling Technique: The Senses and Language

The third storytelling technique centres more on the words you use when you’re telling the story. It’s called Language and The Senses, and it helps you to describe your services more vividly. You draw on all of your senses to create memorable product descriptions. You can have fun writing product descriptions comparing your product to a food, a song or a smell, and this helps customers to feel as if they’re holding your product in their hands.

Language is also important in setting the tone for your content; in other words, what kind of atmosphere do you want to create. I talked about how to choose words to describe your business and your customers, to create either a chatty, friendly tone, or a more professional, polished tone. I also showed them how to avoid the pitfalls of corporate, clichéd language.

Finally, I gave a quick plug for my content training course, and if you want to find out more about how you can learn to tell your own brilliant business story, drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie for more info.

How to Create Engaging Content For Your Website Homepage

Once upon a time, website homepages were pages you didn’t pay attention to. There’d be a few words of welcome on them and you’d bypass them as you chased down the information you were looking for. But now website homepages are all-singing, all-dancing affairs, designed to draw you in and keep you browsing.

Website homepages are now designed for scrolling, as more and more people browse using phones and tablets. Instead of just one block of text in the centre of the page, homepages now have several short snippets that give people information about the different parts of your website.

This pic shows the homepage of my own website, beautifully designed by Digi Nomad. You can see a typewriter at the top, and then some text. This is my welcome message, with the call to action underneath.  

That’s a lot of white space to play with, and you may be wondering how to fill it. The most important thing to remember is that even though the layout of your website homepage has changed, the purpose of it hasn’t. With your homepage you’re encouraging people to find out more about your business and to stay on your website.

Here are some ideas for types of content you can create that will help fill that white space and keep your visitors browsing.

Welcome Message

Your welcome message is still really important. It’s your first chance to introduce yourself to your website visitors and to tell them what you’re about. In your welcome message, hit them with your core message right away. Tell them what you do and what you hope to achieve for your customers. This shows potential customers what you’re about, and if that resonates with them, they’ll want to read more.

About Us

In this section, your goal is to bring people to your About Us page. You can do this by giving us a snippet of text from that page: your mission statement or your why, the reason you started the business in the first place. This will draw people in, and they’ll hit the Read More button to go to the About page and find out more about you. You can also tell people what information they’ll find on the page, so they’ll know what to expect.

Have a look at my Solutions for Entrepreneurs page to find out about my content training course, which will show you how to write your own web content.

Products and Services

This part of your homepage is the shop window for your products services, giving people the chance to choose the one we need. Give people a rundown of the types of products and services you offer and who’s likely to benefit from them. Some web designers create little boxes for each service, where you can include snippets of introductory text that will invite people to browse further.

Why Us

This can be a web page in its own right, but rather than create an extra page, you can add a section to your homepage telling people what helps you stand out from the crowd. Tell them how you go the extra mile with great customer service and how you offer them value for money.

Adding a Why Us is useful if your business is similar to many other businesses in your field. You can show people that the way you deliver your service is different – and better – than your competitors.

Calls to Action

For every section of your homepage, give people a clear call to action. Your web designer will ensure your contact details are displayed prominently, but you still need to make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you.

In each section, lay out what you would like people to do next. Do you want them to visit another page on your website? Do you want them to call you? Or do you want them to sign up to your newsletter? Try out different calls to action and see how they work.

I’d be delighted to show you how to write inviting content for your homepage. Here’s my call to action. Drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie for more info.

How To Choose the Right Words For Your Business

I love delivering content training sessions because I get to talk about words. And I had great fun at a content training session last week, talking about one of my favourite things – how to choose the right words to describe what you’re doing. In last week’s blog post, I talked about setting a tone for your business with your language. This week, I practised what I preached with a pair of researchers who wanted to describe their project in user-friendly language.

The type of content training they wanted was quite different from the norm. Most people want to know what to say: these people wanted to know how to say it. So, the session focused on editing skills and on how to choose the right words. I began with a presentation where I talked about how to edit your text to fit your requirements.

How to Edit Your Writing

The main thing to remember when you’re editing is to figure out what central point you want to make with your content. Once you know that, you can decide what to leave in and what to take out. A lot of people feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they feel they have to put in, so deciding on a central point gives them clarity.

After you’ve decided what point you want to make, your next task is to trim down your sentences. Reading your text out loud weeds out a lot of errors, like overlong sentences, clunky phrasing and typos that spellcheck doesn’t pick up. I encouraged the two researchers to read their text out loud for clarity.


In this pic, you see a red pen hovering over a page with words on it, and there are corrections made in red pen on the margins.

I then showed the participants how to refine their text even more by weeding out words that weaken their language. This includes repeated words, crutch words we rely on too much and passive voice, saying that a project was run by Derbhile rather than the more proactive choice of saying ‘Derbhile ran the project.’

Fleshing Out Your Writing

Many people when they’re editing need to cut down their text. These two researchers had the opposite challenge. They’re naturally concise writers and they needed to bulk up. This can be more of a challenge because you have to add fresh text to what you’ve already written. I suggested they add muscle rather than fat. In other words, they would bulk out each paragraph with information they might have been holding back for fear their text would be too long. I advised against creating new paragraphs, as they would only be adding text for the sake of it.

The participants put their editing skills to the test by writing a description of their project in 250 words. I told them just to write the description first and only count the words after they stopped. I then suggested ways of bulking up their content to bring it up to 250 words. You can do this exercise in reverse as well. First write a description of your business in 250 words, then cut to 100 words and then cut again to 50. You’ll be left with the most important info, expressed in clear language.

Choosing the Right Words

The second half of the session was devoted to helping the participants use language that would set the right tone for their project. First they needed to come up with pronouns to describe themselves and their end users. Would they choose the friendly-sounding ‘we’ and ‘you pronouns?

Or would they create a professional distance by choosing ‘the project’ and ‘the users.’ Whichever they choose, I recommended that they make sure not to over-rely on these pronouns, as it can be easy to over-use them without realising it.

Finally, I asked them to come up with fifteen words to describe their project. If you remember last week’s blog post, I talked about the values words, the doing words and the senses words. They came up with a list and I encouraged them to refine it further, and not to be afraid to add playful words, ones that created a sense of excitement.

We closed off the session by editing a piece of content they had already created. Their content was good quality, which creates its own challenge, but I was able to spot repeated words, and words that were a bit vague. Above all, I encouraged them to remember that most people engaging with their project would know absolutely nothing about the subject matter. Simple, clear language wins every time.

If you’d like to learn how to add sparkle to your own words, I’d be delighted to work with you. you can email me on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie.

How To Tell An Exciting Quest Story About Your Business

These days, it’s common for business owners to talk about how they’re on a journey. For me, journeys are the trips you take in a car or on a train. When entrepreneurs talk about their journey, I reckon what they’re really talking about is a quest.

A quest may involve a journey, but it’s really an adventure with a goal in mind. In stories, a quest involves a hero searching for treasure. Along the way, they discover the value within themselves. Authors writing stories about quests call these stories ‘quest narratives.’

Developing Your Quest Story

You can tell a quest story about your business, where you describe how you set out on the great adventure of starting your own business and the value that you discovered along the way, from the business and inside yourself.

You’d be exploring the reasons why you set up your business, how you set your business up and what happened to you along the way. A few blogs ago, we talked about creating a character sketch for yourself, and if you’ve done one of these, you can draw on it for inspiration to tell your story.

Cream-coloured Scrabble bricks on a white background spell out the word quest. On the top row, the word quest is spelt normally, but on the bottom row it is spelt backwards.  

You can also learn how to tell your quest narrative story on my Bestselling Content Creation Skills for Business course – click here to find out more it.

Starting Your Quest Story

The best stories are simple; they have a beginning, middle and end. You begin writing your quest story by talking about where you were in your life when you decided to start your business.

Were you married or single? Were you finding your job boring and flat? Was the juggle between work and children driving you mad? This will give context for why you started your business, and readers will relate to the situations you found yourself in.

Then talk about the trigger moment or event that led to you starting your business. This could be a lightbulb moment, an idea that came as a flash of inspiration. But maybe there wasn’t a specific moment. Maybe there was a series of small moments, or a slow realisation crept up on you that your life couldn’t stay the way it was, and you decided to take the plunge.

Heart Of the Quest

Now we come to the middle of the quest. This is the heart of the action, when all the drama happens, with all the conflict and tension that keeps us guessing what happens next. As an entrepreneur, you’ll want to be associated with the happy ending rather than the conflict.

So, when you reach the middle of the story, you could take people through the steps you took to make your business happen. It is a good idea though to mention any challenges you face, so you can tell people how you overcome them, and they’ll admire you for your resilience.

A Happy Ending

You’re in business now, so we know your quest had a successful outcome. But you can share what you did to bring you to that happy ending. What ingredient made all the difference to your business success? What improvements did you bring to your life on a practical level, and into the lives of your customers? And above all, how did starting a business benefit you as a person? How did it improve the quality of your and how did it change your view of yourself?

Sharing these kinds of insights can feel a little uncomfortable, so only share what feels right for you. But customers love to feel they’re getting to know the person behind the business, so if you give them a glimpse of who you are and how you arrived at this point in your business quest, they’ll relate to you. They’ll also admire you, and rightly so, because you’re the hero of your own story.

If you’d like to find out more about how to create your own business quest story, you can get in touch on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie

How My Content Creation Course Works

In all my blogs, I’ve been talking about how to use storytelling techniques to create brilliant content. But I thought I’d take a break from that this week and take stock of how my content creation course has evolved since the start of the year. I’ve been having a lovely time delivering my course, which is called Bestselling Content Creation, to committed, dynamic entrepreneurs, and I wanted to share that. But I also wanted to give you an idea of how the course works, so you can decide if it would be useful to you in the future.

Content Creation Modules

There are six modules available on the course: storytelling, web content, blog posts, social media posts, video scripts and traditional marketing content. All the participants have done the storytelling module because this is the foundation for all the modules on the course. After that, people pick the modules that are relevant to them.

Photo Description: The words ‘Bestselling Content Creation for Business – Storytelling’ are printed in blue capital letters on a white background, with a blue border.

Web content has been the most popular one, but there’s also been an interest in video scripts and press releases, which would come under traditional marketing content. Most people have chosen two modules, a couple have chosen three, and one person chose to combine two modules to make one. There’s a bundled rate available for taking all six modules, so I hope I’ll soon be able to rise to the challenge of delivering all six modules.

The people who’ve taken up the course are mostly solo entrepreneurs, though in one case I’ve delivered it to two people. So far, the course has been a bit more popular with people who offer services, possibly because service businesses don’t have the luxury of pictures to do some of their selling for them. But there has been interest from businesses selling consumer products as well.

Hands-On Approach to Content Writing

I take a hands-on approach to delivering the course because I believe people learn best by doing. Also, entrepreneurs are pretty time poor, so I help them make the most of their time by getting them to actually write their content. After a PowerPoint Presentation, the participants do writing activities. They then do more writing after the session finishes to put their business story together and I give them feedback to help them bring their story forward.

A lesson I quickly learned is that many people already have content written, so they’ve already begun writing their story. My job as a tutor/facilitator is to help them build on that story. By giving them a chance to work on the content they’ve already created in the session, they can see that the skills I’m showing them are relevant and can be directly applied to their business.

People will have time and space to work on their content in the session, which saves them having to find that space later. And they’ll come away having developed their content further, which is a good result.

People say they’re satisfied with the course modules they’ve done, which I’m pleased about. Long-term, I’m hoping people will find it a lot easier and less time consuming to produce content, and I’m hoping to see beautiful blog posts and snappy social media posts from my clients popping up on my feeds in the near future.

I hope I’ve made you curious about Bestselling Content for Business. If you are and you’d like to get in touch, you’ll find all my details on my nifty digital business card, email, phone, website etc. Click on the link to view my card.

How to Create Memorable Product Descriptions In Your Content

In the glory days before the pandemic, people could walk into your shop or restaurant and sample your goods. They could pick them up, smell them, taste them. If you have a service, people were able to meet you at networking events and go to your presentations. Now we have to do it all online, and that’s why it’s more important than ever to describe your products in a way that speaks to your customers. That’s how you create memorable content.

What you want to do is create a sort of 3D effect with the words you use. You describe your products in a way that makes customers feel almost as if they were picking them up, smelling and tasting them. And you describe your products as if you were sitting across the table from your customers, having a good chat over a cup of coffee.

When authors are describing things, they use vivid language that draws on all of the senses, e not just sight. They use language to describe the worlds they create, so you can lose yourself in it as a reader and feel as if you were in that world yourself. When I deliver my content creation course, I share a technique I call Setting and the Senses, which aims to help people improve their descriptive skills.

Setting and The Senses

The setting in a book is the world where a story happens. For your business, it’s your place of business. Some people are lucky enough to have businesses that are set in beautiful locations. You can certainly put up lovely images of your restaurant, hotel or tourist attraction, but vividly descriptive words will enhance those images and help people feel they’re taking a tour of your world.

This is a forest carpeted with grass, and sun shines through the tall trees. If this is your place of business, you can describe it vividly using all five of your senses. Photo Credit: Anna Healy.

You can describe what people will see when they come to your place of business, but also share the sounds they will hear, the tastes and smell they will experience. With your descriptions, you can help people feel as if they were actually in the forest where you offer forest bathing, or eating a meal in your scenic sea-view restaurant.

Sensual Product Descriptions

If you sell beautiful products like jewellery or food, you can have fun describing these products using all five of your senses. You can describe what your product looks and feels like, but also the sounds, smells and tastes people might associate with your products. For example, your financial products might give people the same feeling of warmth and security they get when they sit by the fire on a winter evening, feeling the heat, smelling the wood and watching the flames leap.

You might say, ‘But I’m producing jewellery. How could I compare it to a food?’ You may not be able to make a direct comparison, but you could write about food your jewellery might make people think of, or imagine what sort of meal people might be eating while they wear your jewellery.

You can also take this approach with a service business that doesn’t have a tangible product. You can create a symbol for your business, an image that customers can see in your mind when they think of your business. When you’re writing your content,

You can then use words that tie in with that reinforcing the image in your customer’s mind. For a coach, that symbol might be a candle, its light guiding people through the darkness of confusion, towards clarity of thought and a life filled with light. And you might use phrases like ‘seeing clearly’ ‘guiding light’ and ‘beating the darkness.’

Describing your products in this playful way can be a lot of fun, and it will bring your products to life for your customers. If you’d like to learn how to tell riveting stories about your products, please get in touch. You’ll find all my details on my nifty digital business card, email, phone, website etc. Click on the link to view  my card.

Three Questions That Lead to Brilliant Content

I think we’re all agreed that why is the most important question you can ask yourself as an entrepreneur. It’s the question that inspires you as a business, and as I explained in my last blog post, it’s the cornerstone of brilliant marketing content. But there are three other important questions to ask yourself that will help you understand yourself and to create content that speaks to your customers. These questions are what, who and how.

What do you offer?

It’s important to be able to tell people what you do. We get asked that question a lot, even in social settings. But it’s not just about what you do in general, but what you do for customers. Identify the goal you want to achieve for customers and tell people what that goal is. Don’t just assume they’ll know. For example, you could say you’re an accountant. But wouldn’t it be a lot more interesting if you tell people, ‘I can solve your money problems,’ or ‘I can make numbers work for you.’ When you’re creating content, use your what to show people what you can do to make their lives better.





This is an animated infographic with the words What and When printed on it in 3D capital letters. To the left, there’s a question mark, and to the right, there’s a drawing of a man with a  speech bubble coming out of his mouth, but no words on it. On the far right is a signpost pointing in two directions.. Image credit: Finola Howard.

The What question can also cover what you value. In your content, you can talk about the values that are important to you in running your business and how these translate into great service for your customers. Write a list of the values that most matter to you and brainstorm about how you bring those values into your business. For example, creativity is important to me, so in my content, I tell people how I bring out their own hidden creativity through my training. Through your content, you can demonstrate to people that you run your business according to clear principles and that you know what you’re about. And people will be impressed by this.

We explore these what, how and who questions in my content training course for business – take a look.

Next Question: Who

Who will benefit most from what you offer? Of course you’re going to say everybody, but there’s usually one group of people who’ll benefit more than others. Or there may be different groups of people who will benefit from different products that you offer. So, it can be helpful to have a broad brush-stroke idea of who they are. You can keep those people in mind when you’re writing your content, and you can write content that shows them you understand them and can help them.

Final Question: How

We all want to be different, and your how will help you show your customers what makes you different. The how question centres on how you deliver your service. How do you go the extra mile to deliver brilliant products to your customers? How do you personalise your customer service with little extra touches? It’s a great question to consider if you’re in a very crowded business field, like coaching, or you have to follow a set process to deliver your service, like a solicitor or accountant. You can create content that tells people about the free consultation sessions you offer to help them make up their minds, or the ebooks you offer when people sign up to your service.

Your how also centres on how people will feel after they’ve used your service. You may have heard the saying, that we don’t always remember what people do or what they say, but we’ll always remember how they made us feel. Some businesses tap into feelings more than others – people who produce crafts or beautiful food will fill their audiences with delight. But a finance broker can offer people relief and peace of mind knowing that the future is secure for themselves and for their families. Appealing to these feelings we all have is another important way to differentiate ourselves from the others in our market.

What questions do you ask yourself about your business? Send me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie and we can explore them together.

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How Storytelling Can Help You Understand Your Customers

How well do you know your customers? You may have some idea – you know the demographic you’re looking to reach or where they life. But do you really know them on an intimate? In this week’s blog, I’m going to show you how authors develop their characters, and how you can be inspired by their techniques to create content that really speaks to those customers.

Authors know everything about their characters. They don’t include all those details in their stories, but they know about every aspects of their characters’ lives. That’s what helps them create a character that’s realistic and believable as a human being. They create a character sketch of their characters. It’s like a profile, a life story of a character created using various headings.

For you as a business owner, a character sketch is a great way to get to know your customers. You’d create a character sketch based on a particular customer who represents your target market. They could be a real person or someone you’d make up. The idea is that you can visualise this customer every time you write content and you can write your content for them. This allows you to create content with a friendly, intimate tone, helping your customers to feel like you’re a wise friend who understands your problems and can help them improve their lives.

So, how do you create a character sketch?

Basic Character Details

Let’s start with the basics. Give them a name and age. You can just choose a random name, but giving your customer a name makes it easier for you to imagine them as a person. Knowing their age is very useful. It helps you imagine them as a person. You can call them by that name when you’re writing your content and that’ll help you imagine you’re addressing what you say to them.

Here’s Maurice Murgatroyd, the star of my content creation course. I ask participants to practise their character creation skills on him. The results are interesting.




This is a charcoal type sketch of an old, grumpy looking mad with a pointy beard and a long face. He’s bald with spots on his head.

Another good way of visualising your customer is to find a profile picture of a person that represents your customer. You can download a stock picture from the internet and stick that photo up on a wall so you can see the customer in your mind when you’re writing your content. Or you can add a picture to the written details on your customer profile.

Life Details

This section of the character sketch is about a customer’s life circumstances. These are the circumstances that help shape their purchasing behaviour. Knowing their educational background and job will give you an idea of the income they have available to spend. Their family circumstances will determine what products and services they’ll buy. People with children will want to buy family-friendly products, while single people may want to buy high-end products to treat themselves with. Even a customer’s hobbies will shape their buying habits, as they’ll need to buy products that help them take part in their hobby.

Buying Habits

There are a few ingredients that will differentiate your character sketch from an author’s one. Where authors will identify their character’s secret power, or secret from their past, you’re identifying their purchasing power, or the ways they decide to purchase. One of the ways that people decide on their purchases is through the media. Increasingly, this means social media. If you know what media your target audience consumes, you can follow them onto those media platforms and communicate with them there. If you know where they shop, you know what types of shops they favour and what they buy when they’re in those shops. You can then appeal to customers whose consumer habits match the types of offerings you have.

Solving Their Problems

Your customers are coming to you because they have a problem they hope you can solve. This needn’t be a big problem. It could just be something they’re missing, a need that isn’t being met. The most important part of your character sketch is the section about the problem your customer would like solved. If you know what that problem is, you can create content that shows them how you solve that problem. They’ll then trust you to solve that problem, and they’ll buy from you.

How Character Sketches Help You Reach Your Customers

So, what’s the benefit of doing this character sketch? The isn’t a tangible result as such, but there is a result just the same. The character sketch helps you keep focused on your customers’ needs when you’re creating your content. When customers are reading your content, you want them to feel that they’re sitting across the table, having a coffee with you, and you understand where they’re coming from. And with that content, you can show them that they can trust you to help them improve their lives.

If you like the idea of character-driven content and you’d like me to help you create some, please give me (Derbhile) a call on 0876959799.

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