- The Rewards of Making Positive Choices
- How to Write Articles, Reports, and Books Quickly
- How to Write Articles That Will Persuade, Influence & Motivate Prospects to Take Immediate Action
- Essentials For Success
- The Power of Laughter in Business
- Anatomy of a Wrinkle
Ruth Kay Petersen is a former banker and understands the business environment.
Ruth shares with her audiences the importance of meeting human needs in business.
“Treat everyone as if they have a broken heart” is one the many messages she includes in her popular customer service program,
Beyond the Second Mile – Winning and Keeping Customers.
She also helps people smooth out the wrinkles of life in her fun and inspiring, Anatomy of a Wrinkle.
Her articles on How to Stay Motivated in a Changing World and How to Add Laughter to Your Sales Success have appeared in national and international publications.
Ruth Kay received the Services’ Champion Award for her World Class Customer Service Training at the United States Air Force Academy.
She also received a special award of recognition for her outstanding presentation, How to Super Charge Your Teams, for the soldiers at the BOSS Seminar at Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, South Korea.
Her clients include Mercedes-Benz, McDonald’s, Raytheon, St. Catherine Hospital, International Association of CEO’s, Orange County Fire Authority, California Fire Chiefs Association, Clemson University, Memphis City Schools, United States Air Force Academy, National Parks and Recreation Association, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, California Federal Bank plus many more.
When you need to take time out of a busy schedule to write an article for a trade publication, you’ll want to take a straight-line approach to getting your message out.
Ruth Kay Petersen in the process of writing an article for a magazine called Step Into Success.
Ruth Kay had lots of existing material to work from—her promotional brochure, two issues of her newsletter, several articles, and her booklet
First, she had to decide which existing elements of her materials “fit” the needs of this magazine, its readers, and the editor’s current requirements.
Because it was the first time she worked with this publication, she dealt with several unknowns.
Researching the editor’s expectations for this article, specifically the time line, number of words, and delivery method (fax, e-mail, disk, etc.).
Defined the five steps of the straight-line plan and worked through the first four before she wrote a single word. They are:
1. Target audience
Describing the Target Audience
These questions provided a starting point in the writing process:
Who reads the targeted publication?
What are the demographics and psychographics of its readers?
What do they hope to gain by reading the publication?
Learning that the majority of Step Into Success readers are women in direct sales who have a wide variety of experience, often coaching others in their organization.
This publication provides inspiration and fresh ideas to help them stay motivated in their sales jobs.
Fine-tuning the Takeaway Message
Ruth Kay’s wealth of material to one concept:
How to add lighthearted fun to a sales person’s day.
She wanted to make sure the article’s message aligned with the principles she delivers from the platform.
Her intent? To match her experience with the needs of the targeted readers.
This question kept her 1: on a straight-line path toward setting the right message for the article: What do we want the audience to think, do, or remember as a result of reading this piece?
Ruth Kay wanted the readers—both aspiring and experienced sales people—to see the value of using laughter in their everyday interactions.
She wrote her article to provide 10 outrageously fun ways to
“Add Laughter to Your Sales Success” (also the title).
As a result of reading the article, sales people would step up the “enjoyment” aspects of their jobs and reap rewards for doing so.
Determining the Theme
Working with a theme encourages writers to play with our fabulously rich language and give an article more personality. Be aware that the theme is the imaginative pathway leading to an article’s message, but not the message itself.
The message has the power; the theme adds color and clarity.
Ruth Kay settled on “laughter is powerful” as a theme. In both her writing and speaking, she is a master of outrageous hyperbole, achieved by telling embarrassing stories and turning them into kernels of wisdom.
That part of her personality needed to show up creatively and clearly in the article.
Setting the Tone
Once we clarified the message and theme, we paid attention to the tone and style of articles currently being published in Step Into Success.
Before she worked on the first draft, she asked these questions:
Do articles use first, second, or third person (I, you, or he/she)?
Do paragraphs tend to be long or short?
Is bullet form used, or longer prose?
Does the publication include the author’s credentials and contact information?
If so, follow the same style of use.
Do the articles commonly feature subheads, graphs, charts, sidebars?
If so, use a similar format.
Carefully study articles already published, then echo their style elements to achieve the tone that works for the specific target audience.
Testing Your Intent
Before sending her masterpiece to the editor, Ruth Kay gave her article to some sales people who face the challenge of staying inspired.
In addition to getting their general reaction, she asked them to pick out the elements we had built into the article.
Could they easily answer these questions from just a quick read?
Who is the target audience?
What is the key message?
What is the theme?
Do the style and tone “fit” the magazine?
Responses provided the answers we were seeking, plus a bonus.
They laughed out loud at the humorous scenarios and imaginative ideas.
Clearly this straight-line approach had brought us directly to Ruth Kay’s desired destination.
Books by Ruth Kay Petersen