Does this sound like you? You've been running your business for a while but it's no longer what you really want to do. There are bits of it you love and bits you'd like to drop. But you aren't sure how to make the switch. You'll need to come up with new packages, services, messages, copy and possibly even a new name, tagline and logo. You can't market the new things you want to offer because you have nothing to steer people to. It all seems too overwhelming so you don't do anything and stay stuck half-heartedly doing the thing you've always done while dabbling in the new bits.
I see this all the time. Clients who come to me in desperate need of clarity to help them make the shift. Sometimes it takes an outsider to validate the change and give them the confidence to take the leap.
I was recently contacted by Suné Markowitz-Shulman, a nutritionist who has spent years helping people lose weight. It's what she trained in but it is no longer her passion. Over the years of working with people trying to lose weight, she noticed that it wasn't what they were putting on their plate that was the problem, it was what was going on in their heads. She began to incorporate coaching but clients kept coming to her for a quick fix diet plan. She knew she wanted to change her offerings but she was stuck as to how to do that.
Should she change her business name? Should she target different people? Should she still offer the nutrition services? What should she offer? How could she make her business different? In fact, when she came to me, she said this:
"I have so much going on in my head that I may take up a lot of airtime explaining here. In short, I'm a nutritional therapist and have been in practice for over 10 years with various successes. I am looking to rebrand/revamp my career and message and do more coaching and although health and wellbeing has always what I've been doing, I'm a bit bored of the 'what is your diet like' question. Not sure if I should 'marry' all my skills or focus on the rebrand and what will that look or sounds like. As it looks like at the moment I need everything that you offer but would love to find out more and discuss what the best way forward is. I've had about 6 websites and have never been proud or happy about my offer and want to get it right without wanting to change everything every two years."
We decided that it was best for her to start with a Clarity session so we could get clear on what it was she wanted to offer. Suné had already completed my free Campfire Clarity Workbook so we used that as her starting point. Over two hours we chatted about what she was hoping to achieve. I then went away and condensed that into a summary document for her that included:
"Thank you SO much for this. The whole experience has been exactly what I needed. You are amazing at capturing my muddled thoughts. I am excited and inspired and reading it all over and over again!"
Next up, I got to work on her Copy & Canvas. We had a second short call to clarify a few things before I knuckled down to the process of transformation.
Here's what changed:
Business name: From Nutrition Redefined to Kitchen Table Coach (www.kitchentable.coach) - site not yet live
Tagline: A nutritionist for the mind
Her location: Suné works from home - out of the spare bedroom. But I suggested that she move her nutrition coaching into the kitchen. The idea was to create a feel of sitting at a kitchen table - the heart of any home and where nutrition really matters - with a friend who listens, encourages and educates.
Her opt in: We switched this to be a guide that helps people figure out what the real reason behind their weight problems are (and it's not what they eat)
Her packages: Suné had too many packages on offer, which became confusing. They also attracted the wrong kind of client - the type who wanted a quick diet fix. We changed this into a very simple process of:
Her ideal clients: Suné no longer wants to work with people who just want to know which foods to eat and in what quantities. She wants to work with people who want to address the real reasons behind why the eat what they do and how they can change their entire approach to food and thoughts about themselves.
Her message: We completely shifted the words on her site from being diet and nutrition focused to being about coaching, personal contentment and freedom from food.
Her logo, colour scheme, fonts and imagery: I mocked up a new modern logo for Suné, with suggested fonts and a choice of colour schemes. I asked her to send me a photograph of her kitchen and used the colours in that as the palette for her brand. I suggested the type of images she should have taken by a professional photographer. She will now get a designer to create a final logo version, get photography done and is building her new site.
Her future plans: We plotted out some ideas to expand both the number of one-on-one clients she will see, to holding group cooking demonstrations in her kitchen to writing a book. But these are all plotted out in a way that feel manageable and achievable rather than overwhelming.
This is what Suné had to say once she got the completed copy and canvas package:
"I was so excited to get your email on Friday and the excitement is lasting. You have totally captured my message and brand so beautifully and this is the one thing that has been holding me back for way too long. I am looking forward to building the website and getting out there promoting my new brand and concise message to the world. You have been so professional and speedy, which is also a great inspiration, but I can think of so many people who would benefit from your work. THANK YOU!"
Many nutritionists have before and after pictures of their clients - pre weight loss and after. Well here are some before and after pictures of the nutritionist! She's lost her old business and gained an entirely new one! (I should say that these images are suggestions only. The final product will come from a designer.) But now Suné has an in-depth brief she can take to a designer to ensure that her new business comes alive.
Could I help you do the same for your business? Get in touch.
I know it seems insane to be thinking about Christmas in June, but if you have a product that you think would make a great Christmas gift and want to get it into the press, you need to act fast (by 15 June for this opportunity).
I have teamed up with Kate Woodward - an expert in placing products in shopping and product news round up pages - to provide three businesses with the chance to get their products in front of key shopping editors for the winter and christmas period.
It is only available to three businesses - and I need all three spots to be taken to make it affordable to all. And I need all three spots taken by 15 June at the very latest.
So what is it?
YOUR CHANCE TO GET INTO CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDES AND SHOPPING PAGES OF NATIONAL MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS (POSSIBLY EVEN TV!)
Kate and I go way back (she was a freelancer for me in my previous PR business). She has spent years focusing specifically on getting products placed in magazines. You know the pages I mean – What’s hot, Top Five lists, Shopping, Product news…. well she has all of the editors of those pages on speed dial. Her contacts span a range of national and weekly magazines and newspapers plus contacts at This Morning and Lorraine. We're talking everything from women's weeklies to luxury titles.
During the last week of June, she will head to London to have meetings with these contacts. Why the last week of June? Because all of the Christmas preview events happen in July and this is the best chance of getting in before they're deluged. Why only three clients? Because any more than that and it becomes overwhelming for the press. Any less than that, it becomes less affordable per client as the costs of her time can't be shared three ways.
Who is this suitable for?
Who is it not suitable for?
What's the benefit of doing this?
What do you get?
£1,300 per client if all three spots are taken.
How does it work?
To make this cost effective we ideally need three clients to join in. Any more and we over face the press. Any less, and the costs go up. So if you want one of the three spots, please email me ASAP
I will take a brief from you to determine your ideal publications and to check that you are right for this.
I will craft a one-page backgrounder document on your products. This isn’t a press release. It’s a product overview with key information. Once approved by you, I will send this to Kate.
You will send your images via dropbox or WeTransfer to Kate, who will select them based on suitability and what she knows the press will like.
Kate will secure a series of face to face meetings with the editors of magazines in London, to take place during the last week of June. Timing is critical. Miss this slot, and you miss the Christmas gift guides.
Kate will take your product, backgrounder and images along to the meetings. She will show your product to the editors, explaining the different features they can be used in (it won’t just be Christmas focused – it could cover winter warmers or top five new products etc)
Expect up to 9 face to face meetings with key editors. She will then send out your product information to a further 10 relevant publications, depending on the number of relevant magazines. She will call them up to secure interest.
Kate will repeat this process again in September to hit the newspapers and weekly magazines, that have shorter deadlines than the monthly magazines.
If she sees any relevant reactive opportunities in the build up to Christmas, she’ll respond to those on your behalf too. She’ll also send out your info to a further 10 titles.
A summary report of the publications that have been targeted with expected or actual coverage received.
Do you guarantee press coverage?
No – because no-one can guarantee press coverage without paying for the space. That’s why people pay (a lot per magazine) to advertise. PR is seen as more credible because your products or company are selected on their merit. So we can’t guarantee coverage but we will do our utmost to get you included. Kate typically gets a third conversion of the number of titles she reaches out to.
How many press do you reach out to?
There will be approximately 9 face to face meetings in June, and roughly the same again in Sept. In addition, the product info will be sent out and followed up with approximately 20 other publications. So approximately 40 targeted titles.
Do I get a list of press contacts?
You will be send a summary of the publications that your product went to e.g. Shopping Editor at Good Housekeeping but you won’t receive their contact details as those are Kate’s hard-earned contacts.
What is the timing of it all?
So do you want one of the spots?
Email me ASAP to get one. First come, first served. Final decision date about whether we have three spots and therefore can do this at this price is 15 June.
This could be your chance to rapidly ramp up your visibility and boost your credibility and make those all important Christmas sales. No more playing small!
If you want to learn how to do your own PR for service-based businesses, check out my Publicity for Solopreneurs course.
Is there anything lovelier than a hand written note? Whether it's a love letter or a note of friendship or even a personal journal, there is something utterly beguiling about the written word. Even more so when that note is secreted away, waiting to be found.
Which is exactly what you get with a brand new product called My Billet Doux. Literally translated as 'sweet note', My Billet Doux is a beautiful handmade silk cushion that has a discreet pocket on the back for a hidden notebook and pen. The cushions are decorated with a vintage ribbon, each with a story of its own and some dating back to the 1800s.
Natalia Willmott, the creator of the cushions, asked for my help in crafting the words for her new website. She explains: 'I needed help getting word clarity for my website and to explain a new concept. My product is unique but can be difficult to describe. I wanted to really capture the romance and history behind the idea.'
As a Publicity for Solopreneurs student, I already knew Natalia but this is a brand new business venture for her and she wanted to nail the words to explain the concept. I spent a bit of time with her, looking at the cushions, and seeing the details and finishing touches that make the products so unique. I learnt about her back story and her motivation behind the cushion idea. Then I set to work.
It was a lovely, but tough, challenge. It's a tricky concept to explain and as the cushions can be used for so many reasons - from romantic wedding gifts, a gift between friends, or a keepsake item to be handed down - it took a careful use of words to get the tone just right. There were also many elements that needed explaining, like the concept of love letters, the quality of the silk cushions, the vintage stories of the ribbons and the ways in which the cushions could be used. Not forgetting that we needed the words to be SEO friendly and had to sound beautiful too!
The scope of the copywriting work included her about page - including the idea behind the products and her back story - and product category descriptions. But I also helped Natalia flesh out some new ways the cushions could be used to broaden their appeal even further and I came up with ideas on how to turn her blog into a series of love letters.
This is what Natalia had to say: 'Melissa got the message I wanted to convey and tone of the website spot on. She has the ability to 'tidy' your words and sentences into proper language that is clear and engaging. She works really well under time pressure and delivers everything (and more) she offers. Thanks for helping me out!'
You're welcome Natalia - it was a fabulous project to work on. And best of luck with your new venture.
If you know anyone who would love a gorgeous gift like this, please do check out her website (and while you're there, read the copy!)
If you would like help with your website copy, take a look at my Copy packages and then get in touch.