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 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 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.

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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Your Why: The Cornerstone of Your Content

In my last blog post, I showed you how to create a character sketch for your customers to help you understand them better. better. This week, I’ll show you how to create a character sketch for yourself so you can understand yourself better, what inspires you in your business. For this character sketch, you’ll ask yourself four questions. We’ll deal with the who, what and how questions in the next blog post, but we’ll start with why.

This is a picture of the cover of the book Start With Why. The words Start With Why are written in bright red uppercase letters on a white background. Copyright, Simon Sinek

This is a picture of the cover of Start With Why, a well known business book that inspires you to find your motivation.

Start With Why is actually the name of a well-known business book by Simon Sinek, who argues that knowing why you’re in business is the foundation for your success. It’s the spark of inspiration that gets you up in the morning and keeps you going on grey days when nothing is happening. It’s your purpose. It’s what gives you meaning in your life. It’s the reason you’re doing all this hard work in the first place.

Resonating With Customers

There are two powerful aspects to your why that will resonate with your customers – the good you do for the world and the good you do for yourself. It’s true that we set up in business to make money, but truly successful businesses do good for the world. It doesn’t have to be world peace. You can make people’s lives better in all kinds of small but valuable ways.

This week, I heard a presentation from a solicitor. The role of a solicitor is seen as a traditional one, one that follows well established practices. And most solicitors will offer similar services. But this solicitor electrified the group – because of her why. Maria O’Donovan is a family law solicitor who puts empathy for her clients at the heart of her practise.

Maria’s mission is to lighten the emotional burden that clients feel when they’re in difficult family situations, so that they’re ready for the legal battles that lie ahead. That’s a powerful why. She even keeps a list of counsellors at hand that she can refer her clients to if they need it, which shows that she’s breaking the mould.

If you want to create a compelling why statement yourself, you can sign up to my content training course.

What Motivates You

It may seem a little selfish to talk about the good you’re doing for yourself, but your customers will be interested in the human being behind your products. You can share the passion that led you to set up your business or your interest in coming up with innovative solutions to people. Maria O’Donovan chose to specialise in family law because personal experiences in her own life gave her a unique understanding of what her clients faced. That will resonate with people who need to find solutions to complex family issues. They’ll identify with her and trust that she can help them through their difficulties.

So, what do you do with this why when you’ve identified it? You turn it into a mission statement for your business. In that mission statement, you set out the goals you want to achieve for your customers and the values that you want to live by. The values are the things that give your life meaning and purpose. When your mission comes from your heart, it will truly resonate with customers and they’ll be drawn not just to your brand, but to the person behind the brand.

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Pandemic Prose: Heroes

In this week’s piece of pandemic prose, I turn my attention to the healthcare workers. We quite rightly call them heroes for their tireless work on the frontlines during those first frightening weeks of the pandemic – and the work they continue to do. But I do wonder how helpful that label was for them. By calling them heroes, have we inadvertently blocked them from being able to express their feelings?

Healthcare workers tend to be selfless, uncomplaining types, and I can’t presume to know whether they found the term ‘hero’ a burden. But I do feel it’s important to give them the space to be human as well as heroic, to drop anchor a little. This week’s piece explores that idea.

If you’re a healthcare worker, or you know someone who is, I hope this video will bring you comfort. Have a look at it here.

Pandemic Prose: The Figures

In this week’s YouTube video, I trace the rise and fall and rise of the COVID-19 figures since lockdown began, and explore the impact on me and on other people. I also share the reason why naught is a figure I long to see.

I’d be delighted if you’d take a couple of minutes to sample the video.