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Case Study: Clarifying Voice and Moving a Career to the Next Level, with Kelly DuMar

Kelly DumarKelly DuMar is a poet and playwright who runs her own professional practice helping writers discover their creativity and express their unique voice.

But Kelly was at a crossroads. Her voice had become hazy amidst 30 years of professional experience and accomplishments. As her practice grew, she saw the need for developing a brand identity that would seamlessly convey the many aspects of her creative life.

Likewise, her career felt stuck in the same gear. Kelly wanted to clarify her voice and move her work to the next level.

Kelly and I first met when I presented at an author conference she attended, and soon after, she took one of my courses — the “first formalization of our relationship,” as Kelly says. When the time came for Kelly to truly make big changes, we worked through several phases of one-on-one consulting.

Our Goals

The two goals for our work together were to:

  1. Create a single brand identity that would encompass the entire scope of Kelly’s creative work.
  2. Use this as the foundation to grow the audience and offerings for her practice.

Kelly wanted to be better known as a poet and establish new markets for her workshops.

As we began developing these “two sides of Kelly,” she saw the value in creating consistent messaging across all her interactions – a clear, consistent, cohesive message that would be relevant to Kelly’s own readers as well as fellow creatives she hope to coach and inspire. As Kelly put it:

“I was spinning my wheels in too many directions, I needed clarity.”

Our Work

We went through an audit process to identify Kelly’s previous credentials and offerings, as well as her goals. This is a process that goes to a lot of places past, present, and future, and it can leave someone feeling overwhelmed by ideas and possibilities.

Together, we hacked through it and began creating order from it. We put our brand work into practice by:

  • Updating Kelly’s website to reflect the new brand and messaging
  • Applying updated branding and messaging to Kelly’s social media channels, primarily Twitter and Facebook
  • Developing a communication strategy for Kelly to use in her online and offline channels
  • Creating an email newsletter and built her subscriber base
  • Created a downloadable guide that served as the first step for new people to begin to experience what Kelly had to offer

We then tackled the specifics around Kelly’s writing platform and building community for her workshops. This step became a turning point for Kelly.

“The process changed my whole approach to my creative life. I learned that even as a writer and creative facilitator, helping others is the way to create relationships — engagement is a two-way process. I realized it’s critical to understand what that means as a daily practice. How to really connect with others through helping THEM and seeing how what you do helps them. How to communicate what I do as something meaningful for people.”

To that end, I helped Kelly develop a format and tone for all of her messaging. Although Kelly is a gifted and experienced creative writer, she faced the challenge common to so many writers and creative professionals: how to craft a message that serves the purpose of keeping them connected to their audience. Kelly was able to overcome that challenge and continues to communicate with her audience through a regular newsletter, social media, and so much else. Kelly explains it this way:

“I finally got a handle on what it means to focus on who I am and what I do specifically instead of trying to promote myself as everything I am and have done.”

The Results

Kelly’s new professional identity now allows her to write and teach with a focus that’s in alignment with her purpose and values. And, as Kelly says:

“This has been an amazing leap of growth for me. I was spinning my wheels in too many directions, and Dan helped me commit and focus. I now communicate with more clarity that completely aligns to my identity. The work I’ve done with him laying the groundwork has been huge. Everything is going to the next level.”

Today, Kelly has an active social media identity, a regular newsletter, a growing mailing list, and increased visibility for, and income from, her workshops.

In our work together, I felt like a member of her team, in the trenches with her solving problems. She kindly described it this way:

“I really like Dan as a person. And I like his professionalism in the way that he approaches relationships. He’s very genuine; his feedback is on the mark in a non-judgmental way so your inclination is to be receptive. Because he practices in a very transparent way what he’s encouraging you to practice.”

<--- More information on working with Dan Blank.