Author: Debbie Williams

As co-founder of SPROUT Content, Debbie Williams is passionate about developing strategic, creative content that eloquently captures the spirit and emotion of brands through words. After more than 10 years of copywriting and creative marketing experience for global beauty brands and consumer goods companies, she now knows that content marketing is what she’s been doing all along. Follow her on Twitter @sproutcontent.

By debbie-williams published September 8, 2013

How Branded Content Can Make An Emotional Connection

dechay wattsThis post was co-authored by Dechay Watts, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of Sprout Content. Follow her on Twitter @Dechay.


CoverThe emotion that a brand evokes in someone — or more importantly, in a specific group of people — has a big impact on a company’s success or failure. Emotions play a huge role in how consumers act and react. Emotions drive decisions, prompt actions, and change mind-sets, leading to strong loyalty and a deep personal connection with a given brand that can extend beyond its rational attributes.

These emotional connections are more psychological than logical, and are usually subconscious feelings. Brands that develop distinct personas in people’s minds project an image that people want to buy into. Someone may buy a product because it makes them feel smart, affluent, or sophisticated (e.g., “I’m really stylish and have good taste because I wear these shoes.“) Generally, people buy products that are consistent with their positive, or aspirational, image of themselves. Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published June 19, 2013

Find the Heart of Your Brand Storytelling with These 6 Questions

What’s the first thing you do when meeting someone new? You ask them questions to unveil their story: Where are you from? What kind of work do you do? Do you have children? Do you come here often? Questioning a stranger is more than a polite way to pass time — it’s the core of trying to connect.

Stories make life interesting and give people a way to connect. People crave them, which creates a big opportunity for brand storytelling.Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published November 1, 2012

Brand Storytelling: Why Words Matter as Much as Design

brand storytelling, tree illustrationAs important as a captivating design is to your content marketing, stories (and the words that tell them) are what make people decide if they like you, if you understand their needs, and if they want to do business with you. Brand storytelling can’t be done with visuals alone.

While great design might lure someone in, it’s not enough to sustain a real relationship. People communicate through conversation, and the words are essential to that dialogue.

Imagine if you were planning a wine tasting trip in Napa and you found beautiful pictures of vineyards but no descriptions of the types of wines they offer, or the notes or history of the grapes? What if you were searching for a new camera and just found visuals of cameras, with no information on features, and no product reviews? Words matter, and brands that tell their stories — not just show them — win.Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published September 5, 2012

How to Reboot Your Content in a Mobile World

Mitch Joel gave a very enlightening and inspiring presentation at Content Marketing World this morning, highlighting his “WTF” — “What the Five-ish:” The five “massive movements” that have fundamentally changed business forever.  Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published March 14, 2012

How to Tell Your Brand Story through the New Facebook Timeline

The new Facebook Timeline format will officially be applied to all business pages as of March 30, 2012, but some businesses are already experimenting with the feature. Reactions are mixed, but as content marketers, we are thrilled.

We think the timeline format offers a great opportunity for brands and companies to tell their story in a more authentic, visually compelling, and streamlined way. The new format offers businesses a bigger canvas on which to paint a picture — and lots of great new storytelling features.

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By debbie-williams published June 1, 2011

Not Sure What to Feature on Your Home Page? 4 Ideas to Get You Focused

Your website content is your personal greeting to potential or existing customers. Think of it as your front desk, your introduction and an opportunity to connect with someone you haven’t even met. When your company offers a variety of products and services, it can be a challenge to get just the right message across on your home page. A focused message not only explains what you can do for people, but grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more.

Here are a few important ways to streamline your message and create welcoming home page content to get customers through the front door (virtual and actual).Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published May 2, 2011

The Content Questionnaire: How to Uncover Key Details for More Effective Content

Digging in to reveal the vital nuggets of information that tell a brand or company’s story is an essential first step in the content development process. At SPROUT Content, one of the first things we send to clients is our content questionnaire. This simple yet informative Q&A doc is tailored for each client to help us get to know them better. The goal is to bring out the most important information about their history, goals, offerings and industry. It’s like an online dating profile for businesses.

The questionnaire


Regardless of if you are working with a client or managing your projects in-house, it’s a good idea to use a tool like the content questionnaire because it sets the foundation for the editorial content strategy, key messages, voice and positioning.  It also reveals where more agreement is needed.

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By debbie-williams published February 10, 2011

B2B Content Marketing Study Reveals Differences in Large and Small Companies

The groundbreaking Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research from Junta42 and Marketing Profs showed the differences in content marketing tactics used across industries and by companies of all sizes. It was revealed that when it comes to content marketing, large companies (more than 1,000 employees) and small companies (10-99 employees) use content marketing in very different ways.Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published January 25, 2011

How a 50-Year-Old Consumer Brand Engages Their Audience on Facebook

I recently wrote a blog about creating a social media conversation calendar and was excited to learn how many people took action after reading it. As a follow-up to the blog, I wanted to share an example of client who is successfully using a conversation calendar to engage with and grow their fans on Facebook.Continue Reading

By debbie-williams published January 21, 2011

The WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY and HOW of Editorial Content Strategy

If you were an architect building a house, wouldn’t you pin down a few concrete details before laying the foundation? Establishing the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed, knowing who will live in the house, and choosing the best location for the home would be no-brainers.  The same process is true for creating content.Continue Reading