The Page a Day Writers Group

How to Write Business Profiles that Sing

Posted on: July 20, 2010

I’m in the final throes of another wonderful assignment for Boutique Hotel Magazines– business profiles for 15 companies in Solana Beach and La Jolla. I enjoy the heck out of these assignments because

1. I’ll be honest: it feels great to be paid well for my writing.

2. I love exploring these shops; they’re the kind of places I would not normally frequent, but they are a luxurious treat for the senses. I meander through and soak in the atmosphere. I’m a bloodhound- I sniff and paw at things, and then raise my head to look around and listen. If I’m lucky enough to profile a restaurant, then, yup- I taste everything I can.

3. Most business owners are passionate about what they do, and I enjoy collaborating with passionate folks- and helping them spread the word.

4. I love the challenge of capturing the essence of a business to the owner’s satisfaction, and within my allotted word count.

My ultimate goal is to infuse the profile with a blend of practical details and poetic phrasing. I want your heart to sing, “Yes! Let’s go there now!” when you read it. It’s fun stuff.

Here are my tips for writing business profiles that sing:

1. Find out from the business owner what’s most important to communicate to the public. Basic, but essential.

2. Visit. Sleuth out as many sensory details as possible. Free-associate while you’re in the store- and write it all down then and there. A page of messy scrawlings, for example, “patina, unexpected, aphrodisiac, twirling, serenade, playful, incandescent, rich with story, dress up, quench, earthy, gossamer, canvas, linen, Talavera pottery, French beehive, papier mache inkwell inlaid with mother of pearl…” But way more than that. Think of it as a details binge. You don’t just browse- you study and peer at things, almost too long to be normal. Toss self-consciousness to your friend Fido and let him rip it to bits. You’re looking for colors, shapes, moods, and what other people are admiring, too. You’re pen doesn’t stop as you walk through: people might look askance at you and you just hope you’re not foaming at the mouth but even if you are, your pen doesn’t stop.

3. Ideally, you pop around the corner afterwards and sit with a good cup of coffee and read your list. While you read, the amazing thing is, the profile starts to write itself in your mind. You fill in a few rough phrases and start the rough draft work for a few minutes before moving on to your next business.

At the end of the day, my mind is so filled with details from visits, I find it helps my sanity to do the polishing on a non-visiting day. It gives my brain a chance to mellow out a bit and comb through the unruly impressions. So, I finish the writing after my visits are complete and then send them off to the business owners for review. Yes, it’s advertorial, but it also pays a few bills. In this economy, I enjoy helping individual business owners effectively send their messages to the public. A few more business owners learn that it pays to hire a freelance writer, and another writer reconfirms that- Glory Days!- her skills have monetary value.

Write on,

Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


4 Responses to "How to Write Business Profiles that Sing"

What an encouraging post filled with useful tips. Thanks for offering proof that the well-written word is still valued.

Thank you, Claire. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned from you. You marvelous first editor, you.

What a wonderful peek into your process — from experience I know your writing skills not only have monetary value but the unique ability to transport the reader into the aisle of one of those boutique shops.

Miss working with you!

Lisa, you are so sweet. Your comment means a lot to me! I miss working with you, too.

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!


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