Your Product Isn’t Good Enough…

You’re missing two things: Authenticity and Vulnerability.

Sales are steady, not rising – maybe even dipping a bit. The slick new data sheets? The ones with the cost/benefit analysis clearly outlined? They’re barely getting attention.

Your data sheets are packed to the brim with the cold, hard facts designed to sway the logical mind into making this investment.

FACTS + PRODUCT SPECS = DULL

 

Yes, you have loyal customers who believe in you; so why aren’t they sharing your social media updates, and giving endorsements.

What’s keeping your posts from going viral?

DATA

 

You’re so focused on data that you have given your customers nothing …

Nothing to consider; nothing to motivate them to action.

You have failed to stimulate their mind.  

What you really need is a good story; one that sparks enthusiasm.

Whether you know it or not yet, storytelling is the heart of your business;

Stories harvest your past, authenticate your present and sustain your future.

Yet, too many businesses think that saying something about their business is storytelling; but it isn’t.

 

What’s Missing?

Authenticity + Vulnerability.

Do you solve problems for your customers? Show me. Show me how you’ve done it in the past, and how you’re going to do it for me. Show me the kind of relief I can find from you that I can’t get anywhere else.

Whether you know it or not yet, storytelling is the heart of your business; stories harvest your past, authenticate your present and sustain your future.

Your case histories are a snapshot of your greatest work, encapsulated into an art form that delights, while transforming prospects into buyers.

For more than 20 years, I have been developing strategic brand content for clients such as Gatorade, Kelloggs, AEP, GE, AAA, Sterling Commerce and GenCorp. My work has resulted in appearances in print and digital publications, including Information Week, Inc., Apartment Therapy, National Public Accountant, Discovering Ohio, Babble and Columbus Monthly and numerous online blogs.

(See my customer testimonials here.)

By demystifying product specs and unraveling technical jargon, I write stories that help prospects understand the true value of products and services.

 

 With specific training in journalism, I have extensive contacts with editorial teams at business publications; I know what editors  are looking for when building stories, and that extra insight gives me an edge over your competitors. I’m able to provide the essential components that other content specialists overlook. In addition to working with industry analysts to schedule media tours for clients, many of my clients have been featured in the following publications:

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Here are the specifics about some of the exciting projects I have been a part of:

Strategic Writing Projects/SEO

The Stefanie Spielman Center/James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

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Stef’s Celebrate Life Tailgate raises thousands of dollars each year to donate to the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center for equipment. The challenge was to find a way to sustain the tailgate’s momentum throughout the year, while extending awareness of the tailgate beyond Upper Arlington. Susan began by building content around the tailgate’s key milestones that occur throughout the year, focusing on key areas: event plans, updates from Drs. Farrar and White about the research and patient benefits of the equipment, and news about donations.

To execute the plan, Susan oversaw a website re-design that included a versatile blogging platform. Each story begins with a blog post that serves as a social media anchor to launch Mail Chimp newsletters, Facebook and Twitter updates. The first year the plan was implemented, the tailgate saw an increase of 25%.

 

GenCorp

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GenCorp: Building on the success they had already achieved in satisfying customers in the demanding, competitive auto industry, GenCorp created a series of customer success stories, using them as the platform to build their marketing literature, including trade show literature, brochures, newsletters and media tour discussion points.

 

AEP

 

 

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AEP: Turn “frustration” into opportunities for customer enlightenment. For example, AEP is currently transforming the way we consume an invisible vital commodity, into one we purchase proactively, through smart phone apps and “smart” appliances. To transform the customer from passive to proactive consumers, AEP asked for help in placing blog posts to educate consumers, linking to AEP explanatory videos, where readers learn how to change the paradigm and lower their energy costs.

 

Coca-Cola/America Is Your Park Campaign

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The America Is Your Park campaign is a pathway for Coca- Cola to engage individuals in collaborative efforts to bring needed funds to America’s national parks. Since the campaign began in 2010, Coca-Cola has donated more than $1 million in recreation grants to provide needed repairs, new equipment and infrastructure to our park system. Coca-Cola worked with Susan and bloggers to select a favorite park in Ohio. Coca-Cola supplied the “party.” The blog invited readers to create their own party at the park, by registering at Coke.com/Parks and linking their foursquare and MapMyFitness accounts. People logged daily fitness activities, attended field day events, and went outdoors to visit their local parks. Social media accounts logged more than 72,000 hours of activity and more than 1.4 million votes, and over $100,000 in grants for park upgrades.

Pelotonia

 

Pelotonia's blog is updated all year long with a continuous flow of rider profiles, and donation updates. In the summer, as riders need an extra push of motivation to compel them to join the ride, Susan was asked to select one story that would entice the attention of the local media. The result was an inspiring story about Alex Pratt, who overcame his fear of riding after a life-altering crash. The article appeared in Columbus Monthly.

 

Pelotonia’s blog is updated all year long with a continuous flow of rider profiles, and donation updates. In the summer, as riders need an extra push of motivation to compel them to join the ride, Susan was asked to select one story that would entice the attention of the local media. The result was an inspiring story about Alex Pratt, who overcame his fear of riding after a life-altering crash. The article appeared in Columbus Monthly.

 

GE

 

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This wasn’t a story about convincing consumers to pay more for energy efficient lightbulbs: This was about changing mindsets, and showing consumers that the choices they make today affect the world for our future children.

The Academy of  Medicine of Cincinnati

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Since 1857, TheAcademy of Medicine of Cincinnati has been the only professional advocacy group for physicians working in Hamilton County. Increasingly, their member physicians were turning to their smart phones, downloading apps to manage patient care. With no mobile-or social media platform in place, the Academy wanted to serve their members on their phones. Susan helped to create a mobile voice for the Academy. First, surveys were conducted to determine where members spent their time online, where they were currently getting news and updates, and what information they wanted to share, and with whom.

The key findings revealed that physicians were more interested in using social media as a way to interact with other physicians on peer-related reviews, research findings, health care reform and legislative issues. This allowed the Academy to build a peer-generated social media platform with key content that focused on physician member needs, positioning the Academy as a partner in supporting its members with the key information they needed to ultimately care for their patients. patient care, the Academy of Medicine stepped up to create a social media network to keep physicians informed of breaking health care reform updates, legislative issues and as a way to link physicians with other physicians and the community. Surveys were conducted to determine where members spend their time online, where they are currently getting news and updates, and how information is shared between doctors.

Neoprobe

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Neoprobe is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of precision diagnostics and radiopharmaceutical agents. Neoprobe is actively involved in clinical trials for the RIGScanTM CR – to help identify the sites and pathways of undetected disease.  The challenge was to manage the flow of information regarding clinical trials, complying with government mandates, keeping stockholders, analysts and doctors informed about the latest results and innovations of the company. With no formal media relations strategy in place, the challenge was to institute scheduled updates that revolved around the company’s news and developments, keeping news about the clinical trials in the forefront. A crisis communication plan was implemented, along with media training to prepare executives for less favorable results in the clinical trials. This communication strategy allowed Neoprobe to focus its news on its growth and shareholder return by focusing on the company’s commitment to bringing to market novel radiopharmaceutical agents and advancing the Company’s pipeline through  acquisitions, global partnering and commercialization efforts.

Degree

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The more you move, the more it works. This was the science behind the Degree™ Motion Sense Technology release. Degree approached Susan to help create a campaign to educate women about the protection of their products, inspiring women to do more physical activity, and to create an online community where they could share their adventures. The Do:More challenge is about passion, dedication and defying the odds. By using regional blogs to promote a “move challenge,” readers learned how to log their “miles” into the Do:More Facebook page, to earn points for discounts on Degree products. Within two months, the zero likes on the Do:More Facebook page jumped to 900,000. In addition, the stories appear on the Degree blog, under the banner, “Meet the people who didn’t let anything hold them back,” with stories about the first time parachuting, mountain climbing or skiing. Long established as the celebrity antiperspirant company, this social media campaign effectively positioned the company as the everyday woman’s company that inspires women to do more.

 

Sales Cycle Content

Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce had just introduced Gentran electronic data interchange software, entering a space already filled with leading EDI software vendors including SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft. Sterling Commerce needed credibility a path to reveal their successes to industry analysts. Plumbline1 created and managed a national media relations strategy and media tour to introduce Gentran to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, Forrester, EMA, and trade writers at Red HerringInformation Week. 

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Brand Storytelling Presenter for Sundown Rundown.

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Content Marketing Blogger for Innovate New Albany.

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Ghost Blogger for LP/Capital Issue.

 

 

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Words of Praise:

 

osu2Susan, I’m pretty sure that we owe you and the SCLT team all of the thanks! The substantial content you create for us and the and ongoing support from SCLT benefit our organization both in terms of the culture/warmth/support that fills our halls and offices and in the significant operational benefits your contributions bring to the Center each year.

Steven A Kalister, MHA, MBA
Administrator
Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center

plumbline1portfolio004Susan is an amazing writer and communicator. She creates engaging content that I have referenced and used numerous times myself, in addition to the programs she’s worked on for me. She definitely understands the balance working with clients/brands and is skilled at blending her voice with their needs. She is one of the most professional online content creators I’ve worked with and I can say nothing but good things about her and her work.

Shannon Chastaine,  Content Creator/Online Marketing Manager

 

testimonals3We are faced with the challenge of reporting clinical trial results to our shareholders. Sometimes this is good news for our investors, and sometimes this is not. Susan keeps our specific needs in sight at all times and has helped us strategize to create a communication program that builds on our successes. Her ability to get quick results, I believe, lies in her ability to stay highly focused, while paying close attention to detail. Also, Susan is a delight to work with. Her qualities of integrity, loyalty, quickness of mind and her ability to work well with staff on all levels are evident very quickly. She has become an important part of our company “family.”
Judy Barnes
Corporate Communications
Neoprobe

 

testimonals4ESusan, thank you for organizing the communications efforts for all of our plants, nationwide, a task that seemed too formidable for us. More importantly, you helped us preserve the integrity of our organization through our communications efforts. Your role in teaching us how to identify our most “marketable” strengths and to showcase these in all of our marketing efforts, is making a dramatic impact in our processes and the way we are communicating our story.
Susan Pardoe-Russ
Vice President
Communications
GenCorp Automotive

 

testimonals4DSometimes it is difficult to find a client willing to be vulnerable enough to let us write a case history. Susan makes our customers look like the hero every single time. Our case histories are the biggest leverage tools we have. Susan takes the time to really understand our customer’s pain, and develop a universal message that our prospects relate to. Her knowledge of our products allows her to show how Gentran helped our customers do what they do best, even better.
Shelly Boggs
GENTRAN
Sterling Commerce

 

downloadstefSusan is a content marketing and social media expert who increased our ticket sales, while inspiring and educating our readers. She added tremendous value in creating and building the social media program for Stef’s Celebrate Life Tailgate. She helped us through a website re-design, and introduced us to many best practices, tools and tactics. She is hardworking, creative, efficient and is a delight to work with. I have no doubt that you would be extremely pleased to have her be a part of your team.

Sue Fitz, Stef’s Celebrate Life  Tailgate,  Board President

 

 

plumbline1portfolio003Susan was great at presenting during our April, 2015 Lunch & Lunch workshop at Innovate New Albany. The framework she shared with the attendees helped them construct a great story to integrate into their company and into selling their product and their brand.

Paul Proffitt/Sundown Rundown/Startup Fund Manager and Entrepreneur Advocate.
testimonals2Susan was an instructor for Portfolio Creative’s Illumination Bureau and did an amazing job. She taught our attendees how to bring their brand to life with a story. Additionally, she emphasized the importance of the ‘hero’s journey’ and shared compelling examples. Susan is a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend her!
Jennifer Brown
Marketing Manager
Portfolio Creative

 

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Susan is talented. She uncovers all the details, hidden or not, to create a compelling story. Susan quickly adapts technical information into pragmatic articles. Specifically, she interviewed our staff and clients and wrote an in-depth article that highlighted a new product we created. Then, she placed the article, verbatim, in National Public Accountant, a key resource to help us build credibility, just on the cusp of tax season. Susan has a solid understanding of our business, our client’s business and the editor’s needs, and is able to provide counsel in tailoring our message in a way that made the trade publication receptive to our story. In the specialized field of tax preparation software, we found that Susan has a broad range of media relations experience and persistence that was effective in establishing our presence in the trade media.
John Graves
President & CEO
CPAid


ohio dominicanSusan, we feel certain that the media coverage you generated was an important factor in stimulating the level of giving we received in our latest appeal brochure. The brochures you helped to produce, with Kelly Allan, have had a tremendous positive response. We fell certain that the appeal brochures contributed much to the above average level of giving. We wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your part in making our appeal a success. Working with you has been such a pleasure. You have a gracious way of making things happen in an unhurried fashion while still maintaining deadlines – a fete not easily accomplished.
Rita M. Busch, OP
Director of Development
Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs

 

plumblinesamples6001Susan, the article you wrote for us is amazing! This, combined with the marketing book you created for us, is making a positive difference on our bottom line. We already have new clients. Thank you so very much.
Betty Nally
Marketing Manager
NaCom

 

 

plumbline1.001She’s patient with us! She listened to our history, our needs and where we want to go, and using her own knowledge, was able to build a business plan for us that we are more than happy with.

Carlo Fortunato & Rodney Harrison