Because being real is something you can’t fake.

We live in a world saturated in advertising, sales emails, and strangers telling us to “click here buy now.” But in this digital wasteland of empty promises and snake oil hustlers lay your golden opportunity.

The way we see it, there are plenty of people in the marketplace who ignore “fast food” messages of cheap, easy, and convenient. They want truth. They want real. They want results. And they buy what they want, no matter the price. So how do you talk to them so  they become clients for life? And how do you change the conversation so you connect with them… right from the start?

That’s what we help you do around here. Nail your message. Spark a real conversation that’s so awesome, they can’t look away. Be someone who’s “disarmingly genuine” in your writing, talks, and videos.  Brand yourself so that you appeal to high-end clients.  Get your projects done — and out into the world — so you make money. With a style, voice, and point of view that’s all your own. (So it shimmers naturally, without you having to gussy it up with magic, manipulative, mind-controlling power words).

Welcome to the neighborhood. We’re glad to join your team of advisers, creatives, and colleagues getting you where you want to go.

Keep up the good work,

Stella

 

Are you sending your newsletter into a black hole?

When you are starting your newsletter and blog habit, it can feel like you are playing Marco Polo by yourself.

When you are starting your newsletter and blog habit, it can feel like you are playing Marco Polo by yourself.

When you are starting your newsletter and blog habit, it can feel like you are playing Marco Polo by yourself.

Marco!

Marco!

Marco!

I was at the hot springs with a group of business owners this past weekend, soaking our bodies after a two and a half day Writing Intensive in Bozeman, Montana.

There was a family – couple adults, 6 or 7 kids – having an epic game of Marco Polo in the pool.

Earlier in the week, one of the women at the workshop mentioned that writing a blog and sending a newsletter is like “playing Marco Polo … Read the rest >

Posted in business, marketing

Most marketing is written by people faking their emotions.

I’m not a big Star Trek fan, but remember Spock?

(I keep writing Dr. Spock, only to realize that’s someone else).

Spock was the Vulcan who didn’t really have feelings.

In fact, he didn’t really get them.

You know who else doesn’t have feelings?

Robots.

You know who else doesn’t have feelings?

Most of the promo emails written by other people in my inbox right now.

They say things like:
“I’m thrilled to announce…”
“I’m excited to share…”
“It breaks my heart.”
“I get so angry when I see this.”

Thrilled. Excited. Heart-breaking. Angry.

Actually, this is not a bad … Read the rest >

Posted in brand + message

Stop writing fast food copy – here’s step one

Farmer's markets are gourmet. Your business' marketing should be, too.

Farmer's markets are gourmet. Your business' marketing should be, too.

Farmer’s markets are gourmet. Your business’ marketing should be, too.

Truth time, people.

In my work showing business owners how to get their writing done faster, bolder, and more profitably, I teach two key distinctions:

1) There’s a difference between gourmet clients and fast food clients.
2) Most copywriting and marketing experts teach you how to write fast food copy.

Let’s break this down.

First off, let’s talk about fast food clients and gourmet clients.

Fast food clients are penny pinchers. It’s not about value for them; they shop on price (they buy what’s cheapest). They want a bargain basement … Read the rest >

Posted in brand + message, business, copywriting, how to sell, marketing

Case Study: The Wrong Use of a Sales Page

Is your sales page not working?

Is your sales page not working?

Is your sales page not working?

I was working with one of my private writing clients yesterday, who runs a consulting and training business in Europe to help people build successful careers in luxury yachting.

She’s got so many great ideas, but that’s also the trouble.

She’s got about a dozen ways for people to buy from her.

And she’s working on adding even more value, offering more flexibility and choice.

On the surface, this seems like a good thing, but it’s not.

Because a confused mind says no.

I see this all the time on people’s websites – and … Read the rest >

Posted in business, Case Studies, how to sell

Is Your Lifestyle Business the Next Big Thing?

"When I grow up, I want to take my laptop to the beach"

"When I grow up, I want to take my laptop to the beach"

“When I grow up, I want to take my laptop to the beach”

There’s a great article by Leigh Buchanan in the May issue of Inc. magazine, detailing the shrinking number of startups in the U.S.

Here’s what caught my eye:

The data from traditional measurers of such things, like the Kauffman Foundation and Brookings Institute, tell a story of declining entrepreneurship in the U.S. According to Census Bureau data reported by both organizations, the number of new companies as a share of all U.S. businesses has dropped 44 percent since 1978.

Want to know who’s not included in that … Read the rest >

Posted in business

I hate the word authentic.

In marketing and branding, distinguishing yourself in the marketplace is the name of the game.

But with so many people calling themselves “authentic,” the meaning has gotten watered down.

I suspect the original intent may have been to distinguish oneself from the rest of us money-grubbing hard hearts, but these days, authentic is not much of a distinction.

(What if we all agreed that not tricking or lying to people is just good business — period?)

And . . . also?

I can’t stand the word.

I feel a bit weird confessing this.

I know it’s a buzzword of sorts.… Read the rest >

Posted in brand + message, content, copywriting, how to write, Word Police

Some thoughts on marketing for people who are “woo” AND grounded

Is your "woo" language repelling the grounded clients you want to attract into your business?

Is your "woo" language repelling the grounded clients you want to attract into your business?

Dear person who is a friend of the woo AND grounded,

We’ve got a discussion going in my house.

I’ll say this: I meditate. I ask for guidance from my 86-year-old-self, and talk to trees and animals and my spirit guides. I trust my vibes. I believe in the unseen. And I don’t think that it all shakes down in science.

And I live with a professional Philosopher (yes, that is still a thing) who sees things differently. He’s currently teaching two formal logic classes and really likes busting out the term “double-blind peer reviewed study.”

To which I reply, … Read the rest >

Posted in brand + message, copywriting, how to be, how to write

The Word Police Just Pulled Over the Word “Cleanse”

Using the word "cleanse" in your marketing? You've been pulled over.

Using the word "cleanse" in your marketing? You've been pulled over.

Get ready for the fuzz.

We’re starting a new column here at Stella Orange, dedicated to the fact that, as the Philosopher routinely likes to remind us, “words mean things.”

To that, we add: “words mean different things to different people.”

With that, welcome to Word Police. Where we’ll explore the different words being used in the marketplace that really should be pulled over, ticketed, and brought to justice.

Like “empowerment.”

“Women in transition.”

And today’s word, “cleanse.”

Specifically, I’m talking to the health and wellness coaches among us, among whose offerings are often this 10-day to 3-week experience.… Read the rest >

Posted in brand + message, copywriting, how to write, websites, Word Police

We’re Hiring a Client Concierge Who Wants To Help Good People Positively Impact Tens of Thousands of Families, Neighborhoods and Communities

Are you already pinching yourself? Pinch on. It’s true. We’re hiring a Client Concierge.

Who You Are
You are a hardworking, attention-detailed customer service pro who delights in treating strangers like friends and solving problems like a ninja. You may be tired of stuffy jobs that aren’t much fun. You are ready to work for a business that makes a difference and cares about people.

You could be an admin type or executive assistant who loves looking after people and organizing projects and tasks. You are an organizing, nurturing force of nature, without being obsessive about it. You’re ready to … Read the rest >

Posted in business

Your Writing Is Not the Problem – Here’s What Is

“Stella, my writing isn’t working.”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a business owner say this.

But here’s the good news – you don’t need to be a “writer” to build your fan base and win clients online.

You don’t need to memorize a bunch of “rules” about copywriting and persuasion.

And you certainly don’t need to trick people or manipulate them with Magical Power Words.

When I work with business owners on the results they get from their writing, the first thing we do is talk about what I call the “Triangle of Love.”

The … Read the rest >

Posted in business, copywriting, how to sell, marketing online, websites