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 Help Children Create Brilliant Stories

I’m feeling the Christmas spirit already – I’m busy planning a Christmas creative writing workshop for children. It’ll be my first in-person workshop in two years, so I’m very excited. I’m hoping the children will have tonnes of fun – I know I will.

But behind every fun activity is a real storytelling skill, which the children will learn without knowing it. They’ll create naughty elves, travel to faraway lands and discover who stole Rudolph’s red nose. Along the way, they’ll learn how to create characters, build real worlds and structure their stories. On top of that, they’ll learn valuable language skills.

Character Sketch

First of all, the children will create a naughty elf. This elf may or may not be the creature who stole Rudolph’s nose. They’ll create a character sketch of this elf, a profile of a character that helps you get to know them. Based on a picture I give them and some headings, they’ll come up with a name for their elf, an age, some biographical details – and a special power that the elf can put to good use. Knowing details like this about a character makes them real.

World-Building

We’ll then move on to a storytelling ingredient that children really love – setting. Your setting is the world your story happens in, and children get a great kick out of creating worlds. They’ll draw a map of their world, with mountains, rivers, valleys, streets and towns. And they’ll give their land a name. I sense this land will have a strong Christmas theme.

This pic shows a Christmas village full of red houses that have stripy cone-shaped roofs like circus tents. There’s snow on the ground but the sky is clear.

If you live near Tramore in Co. Waterford and you have a budding writer in your house aged 7-10, you’ll find out more about my workshop here.Creating Exciting Plots

We all love Rudolph’s red nose, but imagine if that nose was stolen. Who would do such a wicked thing? The children at the workshop will solve the mystery, and the Five Ws plot to help them structure their ideas. They’ll figure out who stole the red nose, when it was taken, where it was hidden – and above all, why it was stolen.

Other Fun Wordy Activities

Between story activities, we’ll have other word fun, to help the children enhance their language and writing skills. They’ll come up with words for my Christmas hat, play guessing games and create a disgusting Christmas dinner. It’ll be a packed two hours!

If you’d like your kids to join in the fun, or you want to find out about my workshops in general – I promise my workshops for adults are just as much fun – contact me 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 To Deliver One-To-One Writing Workshops For Children

Recently, I’ve been surprised to find myself delivering one-to-one creative writing workshops for children. I wouldn’t have thought of offering these workshops to parents, as a one-to-one session can be quite intense, and children thrive on being able to bounce ideas off each other and have fun with their friends.

What Happens in These Writing Workshops

But I was approached by a few parents after some online writing workshops I gave this year. Their children had greatly enjoyed my workshops and didn’t want to wait until my next session of writing workshops. It started during Ireland’s long lockdown at the start of 2021, with a young boy who was writing his own book.

In August and September, I worked with a lively brother and sister duo on a story about an alien crashlanding into their house. At the moment, I’m working with two cousins on a story about a family who must rescue a treasure from a faraway land. All of these children are aged twelve and under, and it’s amazing to witness their imagination, their spirit and the progress they’ve made.

How These Writing Workshops Work

Delivering one-to-one workshops gives me the opportunity to tailor the workshops to the children’s interests, and to write stories that truly express who they are. As the two girls I’m working with are related, I thought a story about family would resonate with them, and that has turned out to be the case. There’s a strong sense of family connection in the pieces they’re writing.

If children have already begun working on projects of their own, a one-to-one workshop gives them the space to develop that project further, to learn skills that will help them bring their projects over the finishing line. For example, I showed the young boy who was writing a book how to expand his scenes, structure his story and write convincing dialogue.

You can find out more about my writing workshops for children and adults by clicking on the Solutions for Writers page on my website.

Usually, children just need a couple of one-to-one workshops to help them complete a story or develop one they’re already working on. Because they’re not having to share my time with a bunch of others, they progress much faster. While hour-long sessions work for some children, I would recommend sessions lasting 30-45 minutes, to keep up momentum and hold their attention.

Atmosphere of Writing Workshops

The atmosphere in a one-to-one workshop is a little more serious. I’ll happily admit that when I have a group of children, I join in the fun and banter. But children who go for a one-to-one workshop are more serious about their writing, so I take them seriously. I talk to them in a more grown-up way. There are still plenty of laughs, but I treat them as writers, because that is what they are.

This picture shows a little girl with blonde curly hair, wearing a blue blouse. She has a white notebook in front of her face and she’s writing in it with fierce concentration.

One-to-one workshops are a great option for children who are serious about writing. The livewires can let off steam and they create a comfortable environment for quieter children to speak, knowing they don’t have to compete with a noisy crowd. If you have a child who likes writing but isn’t into group activities, or who is working on their own book, one-to-one writing workshops could be a perfect fit.

If you’d like to find out more about my one to one writing workshops, give me a call or a WhatsApp on 0876959799.

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.

Fifteen Words That Tell Your Business Story

It’s not what you say but the way that you say it, that’s what gets results. Or at least, it’s not just what you say; it’s the words you use to say it. In this blog, I’ve been concentrating on the content of your business story, but the words you choose to tell that story are just as important. Because they’re the words that people will associate with your brand.

When I’m delivering content training, I’ve discovered that people aren’t just interested in telling their story. They want to find out how to pick the right words to describe their business, as well as how to tell their story. So, this week, I’ve decided to share my thoughts about how to choose words that will resonate with your customers.


This is a word cloud, with brightly coloured words on a yellow background. The words are scattered throughout the picture to form patterns. They include words like: coffee, aroma, home, value and estate agent.  

The language you choose to describe your business and to tell your business story has a subtle but powerful effect. It sets the tone for your content and creates a particular mood: one of calm professionalism or one of fun and laughter, depending on what effect you want to create. Like the colours of a logo, the words you choose tell people how you see your business brand, and they will pick up on that and absorb the message you’re trying to convey.

We’re now going to talk about how to choose words to tell your business story and about what effect those words will have on your customers.

Words That Describe Your Business And Customers

It may seem obvious, but you first need to decide how you will refer to your business and to your customers when you’re writing your content. Some people like to use ‘we’ and ‘our’ to talk about the services they deliver, and they refer to their customers as ‘you’ or ‘our customers.’. This sets a friendly tone and gives customers the sense that you’re talking to them one to one.

Other businesses prefer to be more formal. They talk about ‘the business’ or ‘the company’ and ‘its customers.’ This is a good approach for businesses that want to present themselves in a professional way, so they can be seen as authorities in their fields. There’s also the decision about whether to refer to people who buy from you as ‘customers’ or ‘clients.’ The word ‘customers’ tends to be associated more with retail and product-based businesses, while clients tend to be seen as people who use a service.

The Fifteen Words

Marketing gurus recommend that you come up with a list of fifteen words that describe your business, and I do this exercise with people on my content training course. These fifteen words then become people’s go-to words when they’re describing their business. They’ll draw on these words when they’re writing their content, and these will then become the words their customers think of when they think of that business.

Here’s a flavour of the types of words you can include on your list of fifteen words:

Doing words: These are practical words that describe what your business does. Say you’re an estate agent. You’d use the words ‘estate agent,’ ‘valuer,’ ‘seller,’ and ‘auctioneer’ to describe what you do. You may think it’s obvious what you do but it won’t always be obvious to your customers, so don’t overlook these words.

Value words: These words describe your business values, the principles that drive your business and that shape the service you offer customers. Weaving words like integrity, customer care, creativity or time into your content tells customers what values are important to you as a business. If they share those values, they’ll see you as a business they can trust.

Senses Words: With these words, you’re stimulating people’s senses. You describe what your products or services look, smell, taste, sound and feel like, so people feel almost as if they’re holding your products or are there at your place of business. You can use these words even if you don’t sell a product, by choosing a symbol that describes your services and using words that link with the symbol.

When you’ve drawn up your list of fifteen words, you sprinkle them through your content. These words convey the message and mission of your business and show customers what your business can do for them. Customers will associate these words with your business, and if you use words they like, it’ll influence their decision to buy. 

If you’d like some help finding your best words, I’ll be happy to chat to you. You can drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie or call/message me on 0876959799.

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 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.

How To Create Content That Grips Your Customers

Have you ever stayed up all night to finish a book you couldn’t put down, to find out how a film ended, or to binge watch a Netflix series right to the end? Imagine if you could create content that had that effect on customers. The good news is, it is possible to create content that rivets your customers. You can be inspired by the storytelling techniques that help bestselling authors create their gripping plots.

There is a plot structure that has been around since the beginning of time. It’s called the Three-Act Structure and it’s quite simple – it has a beginning, middle and end. It’s been used to great effect by the likes of JK Rowling, Stephen King, and the creators of all the fairytales you read as a child. And you can adapt it for your business.

Stories That Solve Problems

As a business owner, you can use a particular version of the Three-Act Structure called the Problem-Solving Plot. It’s based on the idea that all stories involve a problem, a tension or a challenge that needs to be resolved. The character, in this case your customer, is presented with a dilemma or a difficulty. As the story unfolds, the character tries to solve the dilemma and meets challenges along the way. In the end, they resolve the dilemma, for better or worse.

We explore the problem-solving plot and other bestselling storytelling techniques in the WriteWords content creation course. Here’s the link to the course if you’d like to find out more about it.




 This is a graph with a purple line in the shape of a triangle that points to a sharp peak. On the left, there’s the word ‘beginning,’ to show the start of a story. Above the peak of the triangle you see the word ‘middle,’ and then on the right hand side, you see the word ‘resolution.’

In your version of the Problem-Solving Plot, you’ll first lay out the problem or challenge your customer might face. You can do it by asking a question, as I did at the start of this post. If you ask the right question, you’ll be showing your customer that you understand what their problem is, and they’ll read on to find out how you can solve that problem. You can also set the scene with a little case study, describing a common problem that a typical customer of yours might face.

Building Up the Story

The middle of the story is mostly taken up with how you solve the problem. In a film or book, this is the point where the tension would be at its height, and you’re dying to know what happens next. But for your business story, you don’t want too much tension. You want to associate your business with an easing of tension, with answers to problems.

So, what you do is take people step by step through the process of how to solve the problem, reassuring people that if they follow these steps, their issue will be resolved. You may mention some challenges you face, and share how you overcome those challenges, to demonstrate your skill.

Finally, you tell your readers how the story ended. And for your business, that’ll be a happy ending. You show them what action you take to solve this problem, what ingredient helped you arrive at the solution you find. And you share the benefits for the customer of the solution you found. This would mean the practical benefits and the way you make people feel. In my case, the practical benefit is the great content people can now create as a result of doing my content creation course, and the satisfaction and enjoyment they feel when they tell their own story.

Alternative Three-Act Plots

If your products are created purely to delight people, such as people who create jewellery, food or works of art, you can use the three-act structure to tell the story of how you create that  gorgeous product: where the ideas come from, what method you use to create the product and how you achieve the final result. You can also make your story about you: what inspired you to start your business, the steps you took to achieve your dream, the challenges you overcame, and where you are now – a successful entrepreneur.

If you’d like to learn how to tell riveting stories about your products, give me a call on 087 6959799 or email derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie.

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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