I am a marketing and communications strategist with experience delivering impressive results at Fortune 100 and top-10 PR agency settings, including Kraft Foods and Edelman Worldwide.
I work with B2B and professional service business owners to create powerful content that tells a story, resonates with readers, and motivates action among their most important audiences.
An exceptional listener, communicator, and writer, one of my top skills is the ability to clearly define and effectively communicate a client's vision and objectives. This allows me to create a solution tailored to their needs.
Clients turn to me when seeking expert guidance, whether they're facing an acute crisis and need to create and implement an effective response strategy quickly and efficiently, or to build a long-term strategy to market their products or services. My professional skills include writing a broad range of materials including key messages, crisis and issues communications, expert articles, website content, and social media content.
My strategic communications services include:
★ Content Writing for Print & Digital
★ Marketing Messaging Ideation & Creation
★ Crisis Communications Plans & Management
★ Public Relations - Product launches, news
★ Media Training & Key Message Development
★ Video Script Writing
Passionate about telling stories that move people to action, I frequently speak on communications topics and serve as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Chicago, teaching a variety of courses, including Public Relations Writing, Principles of Public Relations, Business & Professional Speaking, Ethics & Communication and Principles of Advertising.
I work with a wide range of clients, with a focus on professional services firms (accounting, banking, consulting, financial services, legal, medical), as well as technology and consumer product companies.
You can see my portfolio of work at http://alyssaburnscommunications.com/portfolio/
Areas of Expertise
- Professional Services
🔸 "Alyssa provided guidance in all aspects of transforming my website to a welcoming, informative online “hub” for my business as a Clinical Psychologist. She meticulously edited and revised content and articles that I wrote for the site and other publications. Alyssa helped me promote my business far beyond the website. She gave helpful feedback for how to present myself publicly in large and small venues, and prepared me for video presentations. Along with immense professional talent, Alyssa is warm and engaging person to work with, a true collaborator who brings out the best in her clientele. I highly recommend her!" - Caroline S., Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Caroline Steelberg, Psy.D.
🔸 "Let me use this word to describe Alyssa: indispensable! Alyssa flawlessly rewrote our firm’s website content: bios, industry copy, and effectively conveyed our firm’s culture. We would still be stuck in limbo if she didn’t significantly contribute to our progress. Alyssa’s communications expertise continuously adds value to our firm." - Sue W., Executive Vice President/COO at LevitZacks, Certified Public Accountants
🔸 "Alyssa is a communications powerhouse and exceptional leader. I’ve personally experienced her gifts as both a peer and a client, and I know firsthand that expertise, empowerment, and dedication are words that define Alyssa’s leadership style in all of her professional and mentoring relationships. She is a talented connector with a distinct ability to forge relationships from the C-suite to the college students she teaches. Once under Alyssa's wing, you have someone who is a constant champion and consistently goes above and beyond with support." -Kate S., KSS Coaching
🔸 "Alyssa knows her stuff. I've had the pleasure of working with her on several comprehensive website writing projects for CPA firms as well as a blog series for the technology practice of a top national CPA firm. It's impressive the breadth of topics Alyssa can effectively write about and her ability to change style as needed based on the client. Her turnaround time is also fantastic. I fully recommend Alyssa for your next writing project!." -Art Kuesel, President, Kuesel Consulting
It seems like every day there’s a new article in the news about The Great Resignation. The hottest trend in 2021 and early 2022 seems to be quitting your job and it’s taking the world by storm. It’s also referred to as The Turnover Tsunami, a term used...
4 Tips to Transform the Turnover Tsunami
It seems like every day there’s a new article in the news about The Great Resignation. The hottest trend in 2021 and early 2022 seems to be quitting your job and it’s taking the world by storm. It’s also referred to as The Turnover Tsunami, a term used in an April 2021 Forbes article penned by Kara Dennison.
From the rise in remote work to a sudden spike in resignations and job changes, the job market looks very different than it did two years ago before the pandemic. This shift in labor dynamics is about more than just workers seeing a few more dollars in their paychecks. Workers are fundamentally changing their expectations of their employers.
In recent polls, 41% of workers are considering quitting their current jobs (Microsoft Work Trend Index – March 2021), and 48% of workers are actively looking for a new job (Gallup – July 2021).
After speaking with Gayle Norton, VP of Talent Solutions at CMP, she said she’s never seen anything like this in her 16 years in the business. Gayle says:
● Workers are stressed out
Workers are close to their breaking point after more than a year of heightened stress, long hours, heavier workloads, and little to no time off. Paid time off and flexible schedules were the top priority for workers experiencing or threatened by burnout, but only 39% say their companies encouraged time off, according to Aflac’s 2021-2022 WorkForces Report.
● The workplace is transforming
Fifty-eight percent of workers say they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely, either full time or hybrid, in their current position (HR Executive, June 2021). About a third of industries are embracing remote work beyond the pandemic. Enthusiasm for remote work is popping up in jobs that were hardly, if ever, remote before the pandemic, including transportation and logistics, law, and finance, with 40% or more of workers in each sector saying that full-time remote work is a possibility for their company.
● The struggle is real
Recruiting and hiring top the list of challenges, as attracting top talent is difficult. Many employers expect to increase their workforces and are in the process of rebuilding talent pipelines. Some are expanding into new markets or are in heavy growth mode. Often recruiting departments are under-resourced and don’t have the bandwidth needed to keep up with the demand for talent. These are just some of the reasons companies seek outside recruiting support.
● What can be done
Here are four tips to beat the odds:
1. Have a Strategic Talent Acquisition Plan: Does your talent strategy align with your business strategy? Do you have the right recruiting infrastructure? Do you have the internal bandwidth to keep up with recruiting or do you need to outsource? What’s your employee value proposition? What is your onboarding plan?
2. Be Targeted in Your Approach: Determine how you want to go about finding the people you need. What is your sourcing strategy? Have you looked at your internal talent? What is your messaging to candidates? How are you going to attract them? What are you looking for specifically? (skills/aptitude/diversity)
3. Think About Candidates Differently: You need to treat candidates the way they want to be treated. What is the candidate’s experience with your company? What are they looking for? Are you responding to them in a timely manner?
4. Be Open and Flexible: Look at your workforce and your candidates. Are you insistent on having workers in the office five days a week? Or will you offer a hybrid approach? You will have difficulty finding the people you need if you’re inflexible.
The world has changed drastically in the past few years, forcing all of us to try to adjust. While this is disconcerting and we cannot control the situation, what we can control is our response to it. Good business leaders know surviving a crisis depends...
Expecting the Unexpected: What We Can Learn from a Crisis
The world has changed drastically in the past few years, forcing all of us to try to adjust. While this is disconcerting and we cannot control the situation, what we can control is our response to it.
Good business leaders know surviving a crisis depends on having an emergency plan in place, as any disruption of daily activities can have a major impact. A Crisis Communications Plan can include scenarios on what to do if there’s a major fire at the facility, an accident that injures employees or others, a long-term internet disruption, a rogue employee, or an advanced cyber-attack, among other possible scenarios. A company’s immediate goal is to get operations back to some semblance of normalcy as quickly as the circumstances allow.
An organization’s Crisis Communication Plan needs to go beyond what is happening today, this week, or this month. The ripple effect from a crisis can impact a company for a year or even longer. The situation of the pandemic is serious, but we also need to be thinking about how we can apply what we’ve learned to the next crisis.
We have to consider anything that could happen, no matter how unlikely. The firms that succeed will be the ones that learn to adapt.
For that reason alone, a Crisis Communications Plan/disaster preparedness plan should never be considered a “one and done” task. Businesses must constantly change and adapt to new conditions. The economic landscape is also fluid, so it’s important that a company’s Crisis Communications Plan be constantly evolving as well.
The best time to do it is now, not when you’re in the middle of a crisis. You don’t want to be “changing the batteries on a smoke detector while your house is on fire.” Be prepared. Expect the unexpected. If you’d like to learn more about creating a Crisis Communications Plan for your business, please contact me.
If you are a small business owner, take a moment to think about how you get most of your clients. Think back to your recent business successes, large or small. Chances are they were initiated or abetted by people who recently passed the “acquaintance”...
The Power of Referrals and How They Can Help Your Business
If you are a small business owner, take a moment to think about how you get most of your clients.
Think back to your recent business successes, large or small. Chances are they were initiated or abetted by people who recently passed the “acquaintance” level and became trusted colleagues. Business is all about adding value – and building your network is the best way to add value for your clients and other partners.
I strongly believe a process that remains a key part to any business’s success is the power of referrals. Positive word-of-mouth can speak volumes about the quality of a person’s work. A trusted referral can make a significant impact on the growth of a business, where traditional marketing might fall short. Referrals can offer the most effective marketing return on investment, and arguably carry the most weight to a potential client.
According to an article in Entrepreneur.com, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/302229, the majority of small business owners rely on word-of-mouth referrals. I informally surveyed several small business owners in my network and heard the following responses:
“I’m 100% referrals. I get almost no organic traction and rarely go after RFPs.”
“Referrals are the predominant source of my work.”
“I would say between 50 and 90% of my business comes from referrals. People find out about me through friends, family, other clients and networking.”
The inspiration behind this blog is a trusted referral source for my business, Art Kuesel. Art is owner and president of Kuesel Consulting. His business helps accounting and professional services firms grow through more effective sales and marketing, lateral talent and mergers.
I met Art through a referral several years ago. When we met for coffee, we immediately connected over our passion for cooking as well as travel. Art’s clients are often looking for a writer to create compelling content, and when he had a need for a technology writer, he gave me an opportunity for a project. Art continually refers me to his clients for ghostwriting thought leadership, website writing and news releases. Art trusts I’ll be the best writer for his clients, and since I met him, he has been a steady source of solid referrals. I am extremely grateful that Art is in my circle.
Every small business owner can benefit from having a trusted referral partner. Think about someone you’ve done excellent work for who could be that referral source for you. Your work will make them look good, since they were the one who referred you to their client in the first place. Who has been a strong referral source for your business?