Rebecca Joyner The story of this business is one with winding, divergent subplots -- but with a unifying theme. I started my career as a journalist, writing feature stories for a daily newspaper. Later, I worked in non-profit marketing and high-tech public relations before spending seven years teaching high school English and college-level composition. Since 2008, I've been writing and editing for companies in software-as-a-service (SaaS), financial services, cleantech, alternative healthcare, parenting and other markets. All of this experience hangs together because of one core professional belief: words matter. You might not have the staff or the time to craft quality content yourself. Why not outsource it?
I can help you with short or long-term projects involving copy editing, newsletter development, blog calendars and posts, website wording, customer case studies, ghostwritten articles and more.
I’ll work to understand your goals, messaging and expectations from the start so that when the work is done — completely and on time — you’re more than satisfied with the results.
What you can expect // I collaborate with clients to identify their needs and their audiences, then craft work that reflects the values of old-fashioned storytelling and the tactics of modern search engine optimization (SEO). My work has appeared under client bylines in a wide range of print and online publications including Mashable, Businessweek (Today's Tip section), MarketingProfs, Computerworld, eCommerce Times, Business Insider and Green Technology, as well as on more than a dozen corporate blogs and numerous respected parenting sites. (More samples coming to this space soon.)
Tech release (page 1)
Tech release (page 2)
Newsletter (page 1)
Newsletter (page 2)
Press release (page 1)
Press release (page 2)
Press release (page 3)
Client testimonial (Metis Communications)
“Anyone who partners with Rebecca will get a business partner for life because they will never want to stop working with her. Why? Because she’s a fast learner, doesn’t waste your time and understands the end user most of all. She isn’t afraid to whip your words into shape to make sure your most important audience – your reader – hears you. Rebecca creates content that compels readers to action and she doesn’t rely on buzzwords or marketing speak to get the job done.” — Cathy Caldeira, co-founder and partner, Metis Communications
Case study example
Case study example
Parenting blog series
About this Blog // Blogging has been good to me (and it can be good for any small business). I started blogging at Country-Fried Mama in 2009, where I remembered how much I love telling a good story. Since then, I've seen the benefits blogging presents to the organizations with which I've worked: increased website traffic, market authority, valuable leads. This blog is about business communications, content creation and whatever else catches my attention.
Thanks to the most important invention of our day (the DVR), I don’t watch a lot of ads on TV anymore. Neither do most people, it seems. But the other night I found myself watching TV in real time (gasp!), and I caught this commercial:
The ad is for Mirrasou wine, but the narrator never tells viewers to buy any. She doesn’t tell viewers that Mirrasou wine tastes better or costs less than competitive wines. She doesn’t urge viewers to buy it because it’s made with California grapes or because it comes from a family-run winery. This ad hardly seems to be about Mirrasou wine at all.
Instead, it’s about me, the viewer, who might be interested in a little bit of advice on how to host a super fun wine party. Mirrasou used its ad buy to offer its expertise as a lifestyle mentor. Because the winery sought to teach rather than to sell, I thought about its message for much longer than I would have considered a buy-this-because-it’s-awesome pitch. It’s smart, and it’s a great example of how brands can move closer to customers through content-focused marketing.
I love a good story, which is why the stack of books on my nightstand is usually dominated by fiction. But when my aunt recommended the decidedly non-fiction “Winning the Story Wars: Why those who tell – and live – the best stories will rule the future,” I picked it up. The title reflects my own views about what successful marketing looks like, and the details in Jonah Sachs’ book kept me reading (and underlining and highlighting and taking notes).
Sachs’ company is behind viral video campaigns like “The Meatrix,” which promotes local and sustainable food production, and “The Story of Stuff,” which tells the tale of production and consumption. Sachs says that when brands invite customers to become characters or heroes in a plot or conflict, they are better able to “become vehicles for explanation, meaning, and story.” And that, he argues, is when organizations can compel their audiences to action – whether that action is taking a stand on a social issue or choosing to buy a specific laptop computer.
There is plenty of interesting stuff here about how to reshape your organization into a mentor for your customer-hero. Sachs refers back to our history as oral storytellers, as consumers of myth, and talks about how to identify your business with an archetype like the rebel (think Harley-Davidson), the muse (think Etsy) or the magician (think Pixar) to better shape your story around a familiar ideal. More valuable is the continual emphasis on focusing the narrative on your prospects. “What audiences really want is to see their own reality and values reflected in a message,” writes Sachs.
For those of you who love a good story but prefer the visual version, check out this video. It’s an entertaining overview of the book’s premise.
I was putting breakfast on the table, checking email on my smartphone and listening to NPR this morning when a story came on about how media – social and traditional – is reshaping the way we process information. Apparently, we’re not so skilled these days at focusing on one thing without interruption.
Jessica Helfand, author of “Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture,” explained that the students in her classes at Yale are so devoted to multitasking via mobile devices that she fears they skim everything and assimilate less than they should. She calls it the “short attention span theater,” and said it points to a “culture of narrative deprivation.”
Helfand focuses on using visual elements to reach members of this culture, but marketers must also be concerned with the words they use to reach prospects who have grown accustomed to skimming more than reading. For those of us writing blogs, newsletters, articles, website copy, and other collateral to support marketing and sales efforts, there are a number of things we can do to reach people who may be engaged in other pursuits as they scan our words.
1. Keep it short. No, doubt, you love what you do, and you could talk about it all day. Unfortunately, a skimmer doesn’t have time for that. Edit ruthlessly, or find someone to do it for you.
2. Give readers multiple entry points. Skimmers aren’t start-at-the-beginning-and-keep-going-to-the-end kind of folks. Give targets a few different ways to consume your piece. Add a picture and a caption. Use short, interesting subheads. Break copy out into sidebars. Blow up an important quote or statement to stand out from the rest of the piece.
3. Use bold face type and bulleted lists. A list can be a gift to a skimmer, who might struggle to digest a long narrative on his iPhone while he walks to work, but who can easily read a list and determine whether it’s compelling enough for him to answer a call to action or share it with friends via social media.
4. Keep your copy useful, funny, controversial, or all three. Your marketing copy is competing with video, TV, mobile apps, social media, and more. Plain vanilla writing won’t grab anyone’s attention in this environment. Make sure whatever you’re putting out there serves a purpose for the reader – educate, entertain and engage.