Donna Andersen, content and copywriter

Donna Andersen brings storytelling to your content development

How do I do it? I put my journalism background to work. My copywriting is based on thorough research, clearly stated benefits, specific description and colorful anecdotes. Content writing for the web additionally demands clear structure, succinct word selection and attention to Google’s requirements.

Content is effective only if it’s read. What do people like to read? Compelling stories.

Every person, product and service has a story. When your content includes storytelling, you hold the reader’s interest, make your message understandable and define your brand.

For example, for years I wrote a monthly employee newsletter for a casino company. Most casino customers lose money — that’s just the nature of the enterprise. So the company’s objective was to offer a winning experience, even as customers lost their bets. Great service by employees was key to that experience.

Month after month, I wrote newsletter stories that reinforced the company’s vision and service goals, mixed in with articles about company news and employee benefits. Over time, all employees knew what the company wanted to accomplish and understood their roles in achieving it. The casino conducted customer satisfaction surveys and found that overall, customers were “very satisfied.”

Donna Andersen on the copywriting process

When I begin your content development or copywriting assignment, my first step is thorough research. I interview you and so that I understand your objectives and challenges. I review all the information that you supply about your product, services or situation. If necessary, I conduct independent research. You can expect me to ask a lot of questions.

Next, I organize the information so that I can clearly communicate your message. For me, this is part formal structure, part intuitive art. I identify features and benefits, outline the important points of each, and then determine how to present your content so that it moves smoothly from Point A to Point B, all the way to Point Z.

Finally, in copywriting I pay careful attention to craft and detail. Sentences are clear and concise. I use specific descriptions and colorful anecdotes to illustrate and amplify features and benefits. And I make sure the tone of the message matches the image you want to present.

In the end, you have a great story — understandable, interesting and motivating.

Donna Andersen on content development for websites and blogs

Capturing a reader’s interest is especially difficult on a website or blog. First, articles need to be structured so that readers can find you — that means employing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. In the past, you could fill your content with keywords, but now, search engines hate keyword stuffing — as do human readers. I strike a balance between using keywords and keyword phrases, and making the message readable (as I have done on this page).

Adding to the challenge of online content development, you have only a few seconds to capture a reader’s attention, and abandoning your content is always just a click away.  That’s why I focus on keeping the article or blog post compelling.

I also have years of experience managing WordPress websites, so I know the capabilities of the platform.

Donna Andersen on E-learning content development

Instruction has moved to the Internet, and I have many years of experience in developing content for web-based training. Again, I use journalistic and storytelling techniques.

Working with you and your subject matter experts, I identify the key learning points. Then I develop a progression for the instruction, starting with the basic concepts and layering on increasingly detailed or advanced information, until all of the necessary material is covered.

Your learners may be obligated to go through your training, but are they paying attention? Again, the key to keeping learners engaged is to tell a compelling story, write clearly, and include examples that learners can relate to. And, if it’s possible with your delivery method, I make the program interactive. What’s the easiest way to do that? Ask questions that the learner needs to answer.

Donna Andersen on technology-made-easy

If you offer an IT product or service, you probably characterize it as a “solution.” To determine if your solution will work for them, your customers need to be able to understand it. Organizing and presenting technical information in a way that readers can follow and understand is one of my strongest skills.

When technical concepts need to be conveyed, I consider the communication from the point of view of the audience. What needs to be understood first in order for the concepts to make sense? What comes next? And what is after that?

I believe there is no excuse for jargon-filled, unintelligible content. Even when the topic is complex, I always find a way to make the information read smoothly.

Donna Andersen on healthcare communication

Whether you are writing for researchers, healthcare professionals or patients, the objective is the same: Communicate clearly. Yes, the material is complex. Yes, you may need to include more background information. Yes, references need to be cited. Still, I have found that there is always a way to make the message readable and understandable.

How do I do it? By employing two strategies.

First, I consider the perspective of the reader. Subject matter experts typically know so much about their specialty or research that they lose sight of what the audience doesn’t know — especially when the target audience is lay people. To solve the problem, I weave basic background information into the writing, without watering down the main message.

Secondly, the secret of readability is in how the material is organized, especially with scientific information. And as I said above, organizing information is what I do best.

Donna Andersen on long-form content development

Brochures, white papers, manuscripts, case studies — I have a particular talent for converting extensive, detailed information from a “data dump” into a compelling narrative. I use exactly the same copywriting process of research, organization and craft — the document is simply longer.

Whether you need to reach a business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) audiences, you are still communicating with readers who can get confused or bored. I make sure that doesn’t happen.

Donna Andersen on journalism, ghostwriting and press releases

Journalism is my first love, so I continue to pitch stories to publications and news websites.

If you have an opportunity to be published, but are unsure of your ability to write a polished article, I can ghostwrite it for you. The key to doing this successfully is to capture your language. So I interview you, listen to how you make your points, and in the copywriting, use your own words as much as possible. The final content reflects the way you communicate.

When I write press releases, my goal is to create a document that reads like a news story so that a media outlet can simply publish it. On many occasions, they’ve done just that.

Donna Andersen copywriting for consumers

The prime directive for addressing consumers is WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me?” I identify the benefits of your product or service, then come up with a creative strategy that grabs your prospective customer’s attention and tells them what they want to know.

You’re probably reaching out to your audience via multiple channels — websites, blogs, advertising, brochures, direct mail, email and social media. I understand the technical requirements of all these environments, and craft messages that work wherever they will be placed.

Donna Andersen on speeches and presentation

The standard advice presentations is, “tell them what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell them what you’ve said.” The approach works, but implementing it is not always as easy as it sounds. Whether you’ll be giving a speech or a PowerPoint presentation, you need to identify your key messages and deliver them in a way that keeps your audience engaged.

Start with something that your audience identifies with or relates to. From there, guide them, step by step, to the conclusion that you want them to reach. I help you to tell your story in a way that convinces your audience to accept your point of view, and motivates them to act.

Contact Donna Andersen to discuss your project.