6 Inspiring Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Social Media Content

6 Inspiring Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Social Media Content

It’s not easy to come up with new content for social media posts. Simply said, it’s hard to know what to say. Social media marketing is (obviously) important as you work to promote the products and services you offer in your business. Social media channels have proven value in building awareness and trust for your brand. While it’s not easy, there is a simple hack to develop a solid posting strategy. By asking 6 questions before writing your social media content, you’ll always have a compelling message.

 

Developing a Strategy for Your Social Media Content

 

Nearly every business owner has been there, staring at her keyboard, wondering what in the world to post each day on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or other social media channels. Content ideas don’t often flow naturally. Having a predetermined strategy can be helpful, but let’s be honest. Developing an overarching strategy for your social media content can feel like a daunting task. It feels like all pressure of a single post on steroids. Suddenly you’re not thinking of one post to write, but a myriad of posts, and you find yourself wondering if it’s worth it. 

 

How much easier could it be to manage your social media accounts when you know exactly what to say?  When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, crafting the words is by far the hardest part of social media.  By asking yourself key questions before you begin, you can make the process much easier. When you consider the right questions, your content will practically write itself—and be more engaging and enjoyable for your audience. 

Writing Engaging Social Media Content

 

When you post on social media, no matter how professional you keep your posts, you’re putting a small piece of yourself out there. It’s easy to feel scrutinized each time you post. What will my friends think if I’m too business-oriented? What will my clients think if I get too personal?  It feels vulnerable to publish any type of content. That vulnerability adds to the enormous pressure that we already put on ourselves when deciding what to write. Writing content that engages your audience just shouldn’t be so hard. 

 

I get it.    

 

Our team has managed social media accounts for our clients for nearly 5 years and has established some best practices that draw followers into an interesting story.  

 

We understand that social media is a great platform to help customers know, like, and trust your brand. We also know that it’s a ton of work. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to waste the energy or the opportunity by putting out mediocre posts. 

 

Creating a Memorable Social Media Strategy

 

There is a simple way to make sure your message is interesting and memorable to your social media followers. By taking some extra time at the front-end of your planning, you’ll begin to reap great rewards with your social media activity. Imagine how it will feel when your followers begin to engage, or when they sign up for your freebie, or better yet—make a purchase. How would it boost your confidence to get DM’s that thank you for sharing your wisdom and making life better for those you reach? 

 

These are the types of results we see from social media channels week after week. And it all stems from 6 simple questions that we ask before drafting posts. The series of questions will help you draft a collection of posts and add to your overall social media content strategy. 

 

 Want to know those 6 questions? Here they are:

 

Question1:  What do I want my followers to remember? 

 

Social media content that rambles on without making a point will annoy and frustrate your target audience.  It shows them that you have nothing meaningful to say and that reading your posts is not worth their time. Instead, when you stick to a clear main point and give them something to remember, they’ll come back and engage with your posts time and again. 

 

Question 2: How can I help my followers overcome a problem?

 

By showing your followers that you understand the problem they face and that you have a plan to help them, you’ll develop loyalty and trust. Your posts will draw them into a story of their own success.  Consider your own expertise and what problem you can best help them solve. Then use your social media content to show them that you’re here to help. 

 

Question 3: How can I empathize with followers and share my credibility? 

 

In order to guide your followers to the transformation they desire, you’ll need to show them you care. Help them see that you understand what they’re going through and that you feel their pain. Consider sharing a short personal story that paints a picture of a similar problem you’ve overcome. Mention any certifications or experience that you have that relate to the assistance you share. This will convey your expertise and make you a credible source of help. 

 

 

Question 4: What is my plan to help them solve their problem?

 

People want to follow someone who has a plan. So, be sure to give them a 3-step plan for engaging with your brand. Now I realize there may be a lot of steps involved in your process, but summarizing them in three key steps will help your customers see how easy it is to do business with you. They’ll also begin to see their own success as just a few steps away. 

 

Step one can be your primary call to action, such as “Take my course.”  Step two can be the execution phase—something similar to “Apply what you learn.” Step three is the success phase, such as, “Fulfill your dreams as a writer.” 

 

Question 5: How will my customer’s life look better because of the solution I offer?

 

Here’s where you’ll really use your writing skills and show them what success will look like. If you’re helping them quit smoking, paint a picture of the money they’ll save, the weddings they’ll attend for the grandchildren, and the long life they’ll enjoy with their spouse. Don’t just tell them they’ll have success, help them envision exactly how it will look and feel.

 

Question 6:  What action do I want my customer to take next? 

 

Never forget to call your followers to action. What next step do you want them to take to engage with you? Do you want them to comment on your post? Ask them to do so inside your social media content. Should they visit your website? Invite them to follow the link you provide or see the link in your profile. If you want them to sign up for your course or download your freebie, give them instructions and help them along. When you clearly call your customers to action, you’re demonstrating that you are confident in the help you provide. 

 

Asking 6 inspiring questions before you compose your social media content will help ensure that your followers will engage and deepen the trust they have for your brand. You’ll give them many reasons to keep reading your posts and to see you as a source of help. 

 

I invite you to download the printable worksheet that you can use repeatedly as you plan out our social media content. The worksheet provides room to write out your answers to these 6 helpful questions then use your answers as a tool to organize your content strategy. 

 

Download the free worksheet here.

 

By asking 6 questions before writing your social media content, you’ll always have a compelling message that you can also use for blog posts and other content marketing. Your followers will remember your posts and continue to think about them even after they’ve logged off.  Remember to download your checklist here

 

You can do this!

 

Instead of wondering what to say in each post on different social media platforms, take some time to consider the expertise and wisdom you have to share with your followers. There’s no one on earth who can help them in your unique way. So walk through these 6 simple questions and enrich your content so that it becomes more exciting and memorable. Invite your customers into a story of their own journey to success and they’ll follow wherever you lead.

 

 

 

How to Write an About Page That’s Guaranteed to Engage Your Audience

How to Write an About Page That’s Guaranteed to Engage Your Audience

It’s a question I hear often. As I introduce brands to the idea of bringing the power of story into their professional marketing strategy, it often brings a moment of confusion. Small business owners who want to transition their message from self-focused to customer-centric often ask, “How do I write an about page that engages my audience?” 

 

There’s some tension and even a bit of mystery around the idea of focusing on your customer while writing copy about your company. So it’s a fair question. 

 

The powerful truth is—writing content that focuses on your customer, will increase conversions and result in higher sales. Your about us page is no exception. 

 

 

As You Write an About Page, Show The Problem You Solve

 

A visitor comes to your business website for help with a problem, hoping your product or service can help them win the day. When you make your brand the hero of the story in your business messaging, you are inadvertently driving them away. But when you can write copy that shows visitors how your products can transform their lives, they will pay attention. Over time, they will become loyal, raving fans of your professional brand.

 

Imagine what would happen if you began to write your message to show customers you care about them and their success? How would a visitor react if they realized that you wanted to help them become the hero of their own story? When you make all of your business messaging about your customer—including your about us page—you’ve made huge progress in an effective marketing strategy.  

 

Shouldn’t Our Company Page Focus on Us?

 

Believe it or not, the about us page of your business website should not be entirely about your professional brand. Instead, it’s an opportunity to strengthen your writing show how your company will serve as a helpful guide. Your about page can convey your ability—and your passion—to help a client find the success of their dreams. An effective marketing strategy for your business should include writing content as an engaging story that conveys your empathy and credibility. It will show the confidence you have in your products and services. Remember, insecure people talk about themselves; confident people focus on others. And it shows. 

 

Obviously, the about us page is the perfect place to tell your story, how you’ve walked in the shoes of your client, and how you overcame adversity to achieve success. Tell the concise story that equips you to help them find success of their own. By conveying your empathy and authority, you’ll help a new client trust you as a helpful guide.

 

Why Play the Guide When You Write an About Page?

Every customer wants to be the hero in their own story. But in every good story, the hero needs support from a helper in order to succeed. They need a guide to give encouragement, critical tools, and wisdom so they can win the day. Marty McFly needed Doc. Simba needed Rafiki. Even Iron Man needed Pepper Potts. 

 

In the movies, we rarely get to see the back story of the guide. For example, we know very little about Yoda, the guide Luke Skywalker relies upon to become a Jedi Warrior. In The Hunger Games, Haymitch guides Katness to success in the arena, yet we don’t learn his backstory until the second movie. Even then, we discover very little about him. 

 

As you guide your customers to success, use your about page as an opportunity to give a few highlights of your backstory. As your story unfolds, it should emphasize how you are best equipped to help your customer, and it should always remain client-focused. If you position yourself as a hero, your customers will lose interest. But when you show them how heroic they can become themselves, they will actively engage with your brand.

 

Tell Your Story—Not Your History—on Your Web Page

 

Believe me, I understand the tension. As a Story Brand Certified Guide, I work with clients every day who want to tell too much of their history on their about page or even worse on their home page. The truth is they’re proud of the history of their company—as they should be. The story of a brand’s history—how much work their grandfather did to start the company or how two best friends took a risk right out of college—puts a brand into the role of hero.  

 

It’s not that the sentimental story should never be told, but it is best reserved for informal conversations that come much later in the customer journey. As you work to attract new customers to your business, playing the guide of the story you tell will help potential customers start to know, like, and trust you. They will listen and engage with your brand and buy your products when they know that you genuinely care about their success.  

 

Purchase your copy here!

 

A 3-Step Template to Writing A Compelling About Page and Examples

 

There is a simple, formulaic way to write your about page in a way that stays customer-centric. The words you choose will send a clear message to your customer about your experience and understanding of the problem that they face. Use the following prompts as a template to write your company’s about us page:

 

1.) Start With The Problem Your Target Customer Faces 

 

As with all messaging, readers are drawn in when you start with a problem as you write. In movies, there really is no story until a problem surfaces. A movie or a television show about an easy life with no conflict is not interesting. When writing copy for web pages, starting with a problem that our customers can identify with will quickly capture their attention.   

 

When you start to write your about page, immediately address the problem that your target customer faces. Explain that you understand what they’re going through, what it is they want, the obstacles that are in their way, and how you can help them work toward success.

 

2.) Write to Show You Understand How They Feel 

 

The next part of the marketing template for an about us page is to show empathy. Many brands are becoming more vocal about helping customers solve a problem. But you can take the marketing strategy even deeper and help your company message stand out in a noisy marketplace. That’s what an interesting story will do.

 

How? By identifying with how your target customer feels if they face the problem. When you identify with their pain points, show you know their internal struggle, and have experienced the emotions of encountering this problem, the doors to trust will open.  A customer inwardly says, “She really knows what I’m going through, and I trust her to help me out.”

 

3.) Write Your Story (Not Your Business History) and Why You’re So Passionate About Helping

 

Once You have shown potential customers that you know what they’re facing and how they feel, and even that you know what injustices they’re battling, that is the time to begin to share an overview of your story. Keep it concise—write in a way that is as easy to read and scannable as possible. Paint the picture of your personal experiences that brought you to this point. Explain why you are so driven to help others. Then detail how your work with other customers has delivered success and transformation.

 

To give you some examples of compelling about us pages, I’ll share my own and a couple of others I love:

 

www.cathymcintosh.com/about

www.willardlandscaping.com/about

https://cornishmarketing.co.uk/about-us/

 

Why You Should Write an Update for the About Your Company Page

 

Most businesses focus their energy and attention on the website’s home page and sales pages. However, the about us page is generally the second most visited page on your website. People do want to know about the company they’re doing business with, and you can score a home run when you write your about us message carefully. 

 

So take the time to write an update to your about page. Even if you only write small changes and start making your about us page more customer than company-focused, you can see results. Imagine hearing potential customers say, “I feel like you really get me” or “I knew right away that you could help me with my problem.”  It makes all the effort worth it when you earn the trust needed to move your target customers to action and guide them into the transformation they seek. 

 

Remember, the message on your website will help your customers keep your brand top of mind. Your website copy is a great place to focus on your customer and demonstrate how much you care. When you craft a strong message for your brand and invite your customers into a story about their own success, it will increase your website engagement and result in higher sales. It’s a simple (but not always easy) thing that goes a very long way.

 

Share Your Progress!

As you start to write and update your about us page I would love to see your finished work! Please share it with me in the comments or through email

 

Rather than positioning yourself as a hero and telling your history on your about us page, use this valuable real estate on your website to show your customers that you care and are well equipped to help them overcome a problem they face. Paint the picture of their transformation and help them see how good their life can be when they follow the plan you provide.

 

It’s not your history your customers want to hear it’s your story. And they will engage with you more quickly when you show them you’re on their side and have a plan to help. Give them a reason to trust you with their business. All of this can be done as you write the copy for you about us page. 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Key Aspects of an Engaging Elevator Pitch for Your Small Business

3 Key Aspects of an Engaging Elevator Pitch for Your Small Business

Nearly every small business owner understands the importance of having a good elevator pitch—a prepared introduction to your products or services that you can recite in 30 seconds or less (the time it takes to ride from floor to floor in an elevator). It’s a phenomenal tool for networking and has many other benefits as well. The problem is, it’s hard to pare down what we think is important when we’re passionate about our business. I’ve often been asked, “how do you write a killer elevator pitch?” 

Think of delivering your pitch this way:  It’s a short learning exercise that will encourage someone to remember what you do and how you can help them (or someone they know). By including 3 key aspects in your 30-second elevator pitch, you can stir others to become excited to engage with your business. Here’s how:

A Simple Way to Pitch Your Brand

I’m always surprised to see the number of business owners and ministry leaders who are uncomfortable sharing what they do. They don’t want to feel pushy or sales-y. When they envision telling someone about their products or services, they imagine themselves as a used car salesman in a bright yellow suit. It’s no wonder they choose to keep silent. 

It shouldn’t be so hard to muster the courage to share what you do. And with the right elevator pitch, it doesn’t have to be. 

Consider a conversation with a person who shows a need for something you offer. Suddenly you see how you can actually help them. Your demeanor changes. You straighten your shoulders, speak with more clarity, and portray a level of confidence you didn’t know you had. Suddenly, you’re talking about your company with authority and purpose. You feel the assurance of your giftedness and it shows. 

When you include the right aspects into your pitch (also called a one-liner), you can walk into any conversation with that level of certainty. 

What Do You Say in an Elevator Pitch?

When someone asks you what you do—even if it’s one of those passing questions and you suspect they’re simply making conversation—it can be easy to draw them into a meaningful conversation.

Remember that you’ve worked hard to develop your craft and make a career out of your passion to benefit others. You have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others—to help them overcome a problem or challenge. That leads us to step one of in this face-to-face way of promoting your company:

1) Identify the problem that your customers face.

Let’s face it. Most people feel a need to talk about the problems they encounter. They want to know that someone else understands what they’re going through. Most want to know they’re not alone and they search for any help available. 

So, when you share the problem that your potential customer faces, you’ve started a strong pitch for your company. You’ve given yourself a comfortable way to connect with and grow your audience.   

The second step of the plan is equally simple:

2) Share your solution you offer.

Whether you’re in ministry or business, selling products or services, or offering support through a non-profit, you’re offering a solution that your customers need. The next phase of your sales statement is to demonstrate how you can help. You’ve shown them that you understand the problem they face, now convey a short, simple statement about how you can help. 

Since your aim is to recite your pitch in under 30-seconds, you don’t have a lot of time to get into nitty-gritty details. Give them a birds eye view of the solution you deliver—just enough to create some curiosity and make them want to know more. Share how you can help in a clear and compelling way. 

Then you can move on to the final step of the plan:

3) Show them the benefit of doing business with your company.

By showing empathy for their struggle and demonstrating your carefully planned solution,  you’re ready to hit the ball out of the park. It’s time to share the benefits they’ll enjoy when they engage with your brand. Paint a picture of how much better their life can be when they’re free of the problem they’re facing.

Use visual words and paint a clear picture of success. They won’t reach the same conclusions on their own, so invest all the time you need as you create this portion of your pitch. Describe how much better their situation will look, feel, sound, and even smell (if that’s appropriate) by engaging with your company, brand, or organization. 

Using Your Pitch Beyond the Elevator

Not only is a clear, compelling elevator pitch a helpful tool in networking situations, it can shine in other parts of your promotional collateral as well. You can use your “one-liner” (which refers to the single statement, not necessarily a single sentence) to showcase what you do. . .

  • On the homepage of your company website
  • In your “about us” section 
  • In your bio
  • As an opening or closing remark in a promotional video
  • On your sales page
  • And many other places as well

In reality, an elevator pitch is rarely used in an elevator, so bust it out and use it whenever possible to show empathy for your potential customers, showcase your ability to help, and paint a picture of success for those you serve. It’s a small but mighty tool for your company. It does more than help your audience engage, it can generate new leads, website visits, and even sales!

For more examples of engaging elevator pitches and ways to use them beyond the elevator, I invite you to check out The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers.  

Is an Elevator Pitch Really This Simple?

I’m one of those shy, introverted, business-minded professionals who used to struggle to share what I do. Truth be told, making conversation with strangers is not a strong point and I’d much rather stare at my smartphone in an elevator than tell someone about my business or my career. 

When I developed my one-liner, however, things changed. Not in an elevator per se, but in a variety of networking settings. When I attend events with my husband or meet new people at a dinner party, it’s inevitable that someone will ask, “What do you do?” Now I have a prepared answer to provide. It only takes a few seconds to say, it feels comfortable, and I’m often amazed at the conversation that follows. 

An Example of an Elevator Pitch

When asked what I do, I can say, “I’m a business growth coach,” which is slightly descriptive. Or I can say “Writers and ministry professionals often struggle to apply strong business principles. I offer coaching through proven methods and frameworks to help them reach a wider audience and grow their brand.” 

Even if the person I’m talking to isn’t a writer or a ministry professional, they likely know someone who encounters the problem I’ve described. If they personally don’t need my help, I can see their mind filling with names and faces of others who might. Then, when I paint the picture of success, it opens new doors. Suddenly it becomes easy for them to ask for my website or schedule a consultation. 

I no longer step away after meeting someone agonizing over a missed opportunity. I feel confident that I’ve presented myself in a professional, helpful manner. Even more impressive are the new contacts I’ve made, some of which have resulted in website visits, product purchases, and coaching agreements. 

How to Writer a One-Liner and Get the Job Done

Because your one-liner (aka elevator speech) is such a foundational component of promoting your brand, I’ve included step-by-step instructions in one of my most popular products: The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers. It breaks down each piece of your pitch into surprisingly simple steps that help you create, analyze, and fully develop your one-liner. The guide also provides several practical examples of elevator pitches that our team has created for businesses. Reviewing realistic examples will help you say “I can do this!” and confidently move through the process. 

I understand that most people don’t start a business or ministry because they can’t wait to market it. They love helping people, not promoting what they do. Most of the time it feels awkward to “self-promote” but it doesn’t have to. With the right tools, you can promote your brand by using proven methods and frameworks taken in bite-sized chunks. You can feel comfortable and at ease while sharing what you do and the Ultimate Marketing Guide will show you how. I invite you to purchase your copy today. It’s a low-cost but highly impactful resource that you can use for each product, service, or aspect of your business or ministry. 

Feeling Confident in Your Pitch

When you include the right aspects into your pitch (also called a one-liner), you can walk into any conversation with confidence and certainty. Incorporating the three vital aspects of identifying the problem, sharing your solutions, and showing the benefits of what you offer can be a game-changer for your organization.

Stop losing contact and sales because you don’t know what to say. By writing a pitch and practicing to memorize it, you’ll free yourself of the paralysis that strikes when you meet someone new. An engaging elevator pitch will make sure you’re always prepared to show the effective job you deliver for your customers.  

Polishing Your Elevator Speech

After you’ve worked to write a good elevator pitch, I’m happy to provide you with feedback. It’s incredibly beneficial to gain insight from someone who isn’t familiar with your company and can strengthen your communication to an outsider. Simply schedule a free appointment and I’ll help you put an extra layer of polish on your pitch. 

And if you just need a little extra encouragement to get the job done right, don’t forget to grab your copy of The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers. It provides all you need to walk through every stage of the process so that you feel confident when you say your pitch and make potential customers excited to engage with your brand. 

Creating your elevator pitch is something you may have put off doing. But I encourage you to generate yours as soon as possible.  When you practice saying it until it feels comfortable to deliver, you’re sure to be amazed at the way it will help you generate new leads, website visits, and even sales!

3 Fail-Proof Steps to Clarify Your Message and Grow Your Brand

3 Fail-Proof Steps to Clarify Your Message and Grow Your Brand

Have you created something wonderful? Maybe it’s a ministry that serves people or a book with an inspirational message. Perhaps you’ve created a business that helps people overcome a common struggle. You believe in it. You’ve invested money and shared it all over social media. But it still feels like no one knows about it—and that’s frustrating. I invite you to discover how to clarify your message to help your ministry, book, or business stand out in a noisy online environment.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our affiliate disclosure.

 

How to Reach a Wider Audience for Your Ministry, Book, or Business

 

The sad truth is, even though your product or service may be exactly what people need, they won’t engage with your brand unless your message is easy to understand.

 

“People do not buy the best products and services, they buy the products and services that are communicated the clearest.”  Donald Miller, Bestselling Author of Building a StoryBrand and Marketing Made Simple

 

Since people buy-in to the easiest rather than the best, what would happen if you developed a clear message for your product or service? What if you became the easiest brand in your field to do business with?

 

The average consumer sees over five thousand marketing images each day. The online world is more than noisy, sometimes it feels like pure chaos. With so much stimulation, it’s nearly impossible to capture anyone’s attention, even when you have something they need. Instead of trying to figure out an unclear message, they tune it out.

 

That’s a problem for someone trying to share details about a ministry with the potential to change the world or a business with a revolutionary solution. It feels disheartening. It shouldn’t be so hard to get your product or service into the hands of those who need it.

 

What you need to cut through all the noise is clarity.

 

What a Confusing Message is Costing You

 

You worked hard to develop and launch your service. Now, instead of serving customers and watching the resulting glow from the help you provide, you spend countless hours trying to advertise. Marketing feels like an experiment that never works, yet without it, you fear you’ll become just another failed statistic. You’ve poured way too much of yourself into your brand to have that happen.

 

But there is a better way! When you clarify your message and present it with consistency, your customers will understand. They’ll begin to see you as an expert, but more importantly as a guide who can lead them to the solutions their hearts crave. Soon you’ll see that they will engage with your brand, make purchases, and share what you offer with friends.

 

After reading the StoryBrand book (Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller) I knew immediately—this was the solution I’d searched for. I took all I learned a step further and pursued training to become a StoryBrand Certified Guide. While in training, my cohorts and I were tasked with writing a clear message for a product. I selected a prayer devotional for marriage that I’d written about 2 years prior. This was one of the best products I’d ever created, yet sales were disappointing.

 

To complete my assignment, I wrote a new message that focused on clarity. Then I shared it on social media over a break in our training. Without even creating a sales funnel, I simply used the StoryBrand framework to share a clear message. By the end of training that very day, I had email notifications for two new book sales. Within hours, my clear message was already bringing results.

 

To reach a wider audience for your ministry, book, or business, you must clarify your message. I’ve seen it work for many clients and for my own products and services too.

 

3 Fail-Proof Steps to Clarify Your Message

 

So how do you clarify your message? While the StoryBrand framework is a bit more involved, I’ll break it down into a simple, three-step roadmap.

 

Begin with the problem

 

By talking about the problems your potential customers encounter, they’ll become more interested in your message. Suddenly, they’ll see themselves in a story. They can envision using your product or service because you’ve proven that you understand what they’re facing.

 

As you reflect on the problem that you solve for your audience, consider what roadblocks to success that they see every day, the way those roadblocks make them feel, and how they might believe the world “should” be. These are known as external, internal, and philosophical problems. When you convey that you understand what they face, you’ve helped them understand how you can help.

 

Share the plan

 

This is the part where you make it easy for them. Break the process of engaging with your brand into three simple steps. Let me share a few examples:

 

If you’re running a ministry for the homeless your three steps might be:  view our online list of needs, drop off supplies at our central location, feel the satisfaction of helping families in your community.

 

If you’ve written a book, three simple steps may be: read my book, follow the 5-part blueprint, enjoy newfound confidence.

 

Don’t overcomplicate the process. Our minds easily function with sets of three so keeping your plan to 3-steps is best. Make the journey easy for your potential customers so they know what to expect and can envision themselves taking the next step.

 

Invite the action

 

Too many leaders fail to ask for the sale. The third no-fail step to clarifying your message is to call your audience to action. Tell them what you want them to do. Your call to action doesn’t need to be lengthy or over-involved. Words like “buy now” “schedule an appointment” or “give online today” are clear, easy to execute, and create engagement. Weaker calls to action like “learn more,” “start now,” or “click here” are vague, muddled, and confusing. Invite them to take a very specific next step.

 

How Clarifying Your Message Can Grow Your Brand

 

Most businesses and ministries are multi-faceted. Books cover multiple topics. As you work to clarify your message, focus on one aspect at a time. How do you want to be known? When your customers think of you, what do you want to come to their minds every single time?

 

By clarifying your message, you begin to establish yourself (or your brand, or your team) as a go-to expert. You stimulate curiosity about what you offer and begin to build a trust relationship with potential customers. When they’re ready to engage, they’ll think of you first and connect without hesitation. Your reach will expand, and your brand will grow.

 

Staying consistent with your clear message, repeating it often, and helping your audience envision a connection with you will give you a competitive advantage. You’ll help your customers understand the benefits of working with you. A clear message will forever change the way your customers think about you and the value you bring to their lives.

 

 

Help to Clarify Your Message

 

If you have mind-blowing ideas but struggle to execute strong messaging principles, I can help. I lead ministries, small businesses, and solo-preneurs through repeatable frameworks so they can grow their brand while prioritizing what matters most. As we work together, I’ll help you adopt effective business-building strategies and expand your reach. My superpower is leading others to success. I can’t wait to come alongside you on your journey.

 

Schedule a consultation today at www.cathymcintosh.com/growyourbrand.  I aim to be the best investment you make in your business or ministry. Let’s meet for a virtual coffee and discover if we’re a good match.

 

 

 

 

 

Should Christians Pursue Planning and Goal Setting?

Should Christians Pursue Planning and Goal Setting?

As Christians, should we pursue planning and goal setting?

 

Surprisingly, in some circles of faith I have been discouraged from doing so—to relax as I see God planning my life and directing each moment. I was led to verses such as:

 

Matthew 6:34 (ESV) “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

 

James 4:13, 14 (ESV) Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.”

 

planning and goal setting

 

Through these passages, it was reasoned that there was no point in creating a meaningful life plan or SMART goals. But there’s far more to consider.

 

God has a Plan

 

Interpreting certain Scriptures to mean “don’t plan for tomorrow” contradicts the nature of God and the words of Jesus. Through the full context of the Bible, we see that the entire journey of following Jesus and finding His success involves long-term planning.

Throughout the Bible, God reveals Himself as a planner. He is a God of order, One who prepares and plans for what’s coming next. We are wise to do likewise, so planning and goal setting are key.

 

As we follow Jesus, our aim is to become increasingly like Him. We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). God has a plan for us; we should have plans for ourselves as well. Our plans are best when aligned with His. Then they can most effectively help us accomplish His divine purpose for our lives.

 

The Bible is alive and active, able to breathe life into our weary bones and align our hearts and minds to God’s will—all by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only by seeking and relying on the Holy Spirit can we begin to grasp all that God’s Word reveals to us. It takes a lifetime of study and meditation.

 

That’s why we must always remain mindful of the context of His Word and its overarching revelation of Who God is.

 

What Does God Say About Success?

 

By scouring the Bible to discover God’s heart about planning, success, and even health and wealth, we find wisdom and encouragement that is often overlooked.

 

The Power to Gain Wealth

 

Deuteronomy 8:18 conveys that God gives us the power to gain wealth. It does not say God gives us wealth, rather He provides all we need to attain it. Looking deeper, the original Hebrew term for wealth implies far more than monetary gain. It encompasses valor, strength, virtue and might—all of which are worthy of an effective life plan.

 

The Path to Prosperity

 

Joshua 1:8 teaches that when we follow God’s ways, we will make our way prosperous. Again, God is not promising prosperity but providing all we need to make our own way prosperous. He gives us the means, but the doing is up to us. We can become prosperous in our relationships, finances, generosity, wellness, and so much more.

 

We have a responsibility to obey God’s ways and do as He calls us to do. Rather than sitting idly by and waiting for Him to move on our behalf, He tasks us with moving to action and helping others in His name. Planning and goal setting are monumental first steps in following Him.

 

Create a meaningful life plan and develop a daily routine to make it happen.

 

 

What Does the Bible Say About Planning for the Future?

 

Throughout the Word of God, we see His encouragement to plan for the future and not be caught unawares.

 

Proverbs 14:15-16 (NASB) “The naïve believes everything, But the sensible person considers his steps. A wise person is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless.”

 

Matthew 10:16  (CSB) “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.”

 

Luke 14:28 (CSB) “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”

 

1 Corinthians 14:40 (ESV) But all things should be done decently and in order.”

The Proverbs 31 woman is a careful planner, thinking ahead and considering potential consequences and her family’s well-being before acting.

 

Ultimately, as God is planning our life we should be making plans to do as He leads.

 

 

How to incorporate Faith into Daily Planning and Goal Setting

 

When planning, it’s wise to aim for more than financial prosperity and business success. We can also plan for Kingdom living here on earth, for strong, healthy relationships and for peace and joy. By keeping God’s ways in the forefront of the planning process, Christians can more effectively serve as His ambassadors and maintain an eternal focus—even while working toward earthly success.

 

There’s a bit to reconcile as we balance surrender to Him while embracing our own responsibility. To effectively plan with this balance in mind, we can follow these simple steps:

 

Get Quiet Before God Before Planning and Goal Setting

Psalm 46:10 (ESV) says “Be still and know that I am God.” When we sit at His feet, God calms our fears and aligns our heart with His own. Every good, God-honoring plan should begin with prayer and time in His presence.

 

Seek God’s Will

Actively seeking God’s will ensures our plans don’t stem from a place of fear, anxiety or worry. We’re to rest in His provision and seek His ways above our own. Matthew 6:33 (CSB) declares, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you”.

 

Follow God-Given Dreams

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4 (CSB) which says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Many believe the verse implies God will give us everything we desire. Instead, it reveals that He plants desires in the hearts of His followers. Our hopes and dreams are inspired—and ordained—by the loving God of the universe. We can confidently write these dreams in concrete. They are a gift from God that we are to nourish, protect, and pursue.

 

Get to Work With Your Plans and Goals

As you step into service toward God’s will, first plan with care then put that plan in motion. By following His ways, we will see His unquestionable partnership in the work we do in His name. The psalmist cries out in Psalm 90:17 (ESV), “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

 

Respond to God’s Lead

It’s said that as we write our dreams in concrete, we’re to write our plans in the sand. In other words, we’re not to become slaves to our plans but to leave room for God to move and direct or path. God has a plan. Knowing He’s always at work helps us (as Matthew 7:7-8 teach us) to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking to continuously seek His direction and lead.

 

Remember to Plan Rest

Every plan must include time to rest, refuel, and rejuvenate. We’re to practice self-care as we serve the Lord with diligence. Mark 6:31 shares Jesus’ specific encouragement to His disciples to find rest. We must be filled with Christ to pour out to others in His name. Just like meaningful work, intentional rest requires careful preparation and planning.

 

 

Should Christians pursue planning and goal setting? The Scriptures and the heart of God are clear. Yes, we’re to make careful plans and diligently work toward God-inspired outcomes. By all means—plan, prepare, set SMART goals. Follow a proven process to help you create a meaningful life plan and adopt a daily routine to make it happen. Then enjoy the manifold blessings that God pours into your life.

 

As followers of Christ, it’s our aim to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when we enter Heaven. To live a life worthy of His acclaim doesn’t come by aimlessly drifting. It requires intentionality and execution of a meaningful plan.

 

I invite you to discover how to create a meaningful life plan in my half-day workshop called Hero on a Mission. I’ll walk you through three important steps and provide the tools and resources you need. Come select a date that works on your calendar and let’s get started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Tips to Become a Better Storyteller (and why you should)

5 Simple Tips to Become a Better Storyteller (and why you should)

“Well? What happened?”

 

I’d just returned from the doctor’s office and my husband wanted to hear the story. As I sorted out the complicated details inside my mind, I found myself wondering how I could become a better storyteller in the next fifteen seconds.

 

Story is a powerful, sense-making tool that often lends better understanding. While the news I had to share wasn’t bad, it was a bit convoluted and I didn’t want to give him a long-winded answer. I knew by staying simple and focused, I could best ease his concerns.

 

 

The importance of storytelling

 

Anyone can be a storyteller, in fact, most of us already are. We use story as a tool in daily communication, parenting, business, ministry, writing, and even marketing. Even Jesus taught with parables (stories) to help listeners make sense of complex matters. Stories not only entertain; they engage us emotionally and help us remember details that might otherwise be forgotten.

 

These are ample reasons to become a better storyteller.

 

What are the techniques of storytelling?

 

It’s not difficult to learn the art of storytelling, but like any other talent, it takes a bit of practice. Remember that to become better at something, you must keep trying. So, start where you are and keep working to get better.  There are a few techniques that are helpful.

  • Keep your story as clear and concise as possible
  • Make your main character likable
  • Make your villain (either a person or a circumstance) easy to dislike
  • Don’t always rely on the first ideas that come to mind. Let your story unfold inside your mind and look for deeper meaning.

 

5 simple tips to become a better storyteller:

 

Great stories have a controlling idea.

Those that ramble are hard to follow, so when telling a strong story you’ll want to stick with the point you’re trying to make. Toy Story focused on Sheriff Woody’s fear of rejection. Finding Nemo took us on Marlin’s journey of letting go. Avoid digressing and adding too many diversions or subplots.

Great stories convey emotion.

They tug on our hearts. When sharing a story, draw on your own emotional experiences and help the listener (or reader) feel them too. Think beyond what your character sees and reach into what she feels. How do those feelings cause her to react or withdraw?

Great stories share conflict.

A movie with no conflict is not interesting. As soon as conflict resolves, the movie is over. A fight doesn’t have to be between people but can also be an internal struggle or an external obstacle that the hero must overcome. The conflict is one of the most important aspects of your story so emphasize it well.

Great stories deliver the unexpected.

A story that’s too predictable (or shared too often) doesn’t capture attention. Mix it up and deliver a twist your reader didn’t see coming. You don’t have to be overly imaginative, just consider that in life things rarely go exactly as we expected. Use real-life examples to reveal a surprise.

Great stories finish strong.

Have a strong conclusion—one that resolves the conflict of the character and convincingly portrays the emotion of success or failure. A powerful conclusion will also defend the idea of your story or convey a moral. Tie a nice bow around your story before you call it finished.

 

The storytelling examples around us

 

As you work to become a better storyteller, go back and re-read your favorite novel or watch one of your favorite movies. Look at it with new eyes, examining it to learn its storytelling techniques. Consider things like:

  • What made you like the hero of the story
  • Identify the obvious and subtle obstacles the hero faces
  • How does the hero feel? Did you feel that emotion too?
  • What is the main point of the story? Now look a bit deeper and see if you can find an even deeper theme.
  • Which parts of the story surprised you the first time you read it?
  • How does the conclusion resolve the conflict and show victory or defeat?

 

Every one of us has a storyteller inside and good storytelling is a powerful and effective means of communication. To discover the art of storytelling, simply look at the stories unfolding around you every day. Pay attention to the things that hold your attention and then use those techniques in your own storytelling.

 

Before long, you’ll see your writing (even your non-fiction writing) improve. Your communication skills will become stronger, and you’ll begin to feel more confident in the thoughts and ideas you share with others. Above all, remember to enjoy the journey.

 

 

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