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EPISODE 57: Introducing Madeline

by Oct 26, 2021Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • Writing Career Path
  • Role at North Star
  • Advice for Fellow Writers
  • Current Watch List

Madeline Crone has known she wanted to be a writer since third grade gym class, when her classmate observed her rope climbing and remarked matter-of-factly, “I think she should stick to writing poems.” 

Well, we’re thrilled Madeline decided to take his advice to heart, because she has since authored an array of stories, essays, poems, parodies, and successful marketing content. North Star is her first professional writing gig {she joined the team in October 2020} but she’s had several unique opportunities along the way, including at a salon + spa and a music school.

She has built new writing skills, honed her style, and found her sweet spot at North Star—writing content for women entrepreneurs. “When I was initially trying to figure out a career path, I was interested in gender equality or women’s empowerment, but life had other plans. When I came to North Star, one of my first clients was in the reproductive and sexual health space. It was like everything I had wanted to write about just sort of fell into my lap.

A self-proclaimed {and proud!} Rebel voice, Madeline’s favorite client writing is for business coaches who create programs, offerings, and services designed to support fellow women entrepreneurs. In addition to client work, Madeline is one of two {you’ll meet Maggie soon!} Writer Mentors at North Star. She helps to nurture, train, and support our internal writing team, as well as our community in the Polaris Writers Lounge.

I never thought I’d want to do anything even close to sales, but I really, really enjoy writing convert copy, especially sales pitches. Writing content that persuades someone to take action is right up my alley.

Madeline has so much wisdom and insight to offer our team, our clients, and the writing community, but she also acknowledges no one has it all figured out! “Flexibility is awesome, but freelancing can also be a challenge. Be patient with yourself and give yourself some grace in the process of figuring out your ideal work life. It’s ok to say ‘no’ sometimes.” 

When she’s not writing, Madeline can be found reading scary Stephen King books, watching a period drama on Netflix {current obessesion: Call the Midwife}, yelling about feminist theory, or playing with her beloved dog, Pippa.

 

Homework: 

Follow us on Instagram and let us know what YOU’RE watching right now!

TRANSCRIPT

Jessi:
Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

Marie:
…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Jessi:
Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

Marie:
And if you choose to outsource that content you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.
Alright! Welcome to another episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. And I'm really excited today because I have a guest with me. It's Marie here, and I'm still excited to introduce you to Madeline Crone, who's one of our amazing writers on our team at North Star, and she's also one of our writer mentors. Thanks for being here, Madeline.

Madeline:
You are welcome. I'm super excited.

Marie:
Me too. And one of the reasons that we wanted to bring you on as a you're awesome, and everyone's gonna love you.

Madeline:
Aw thank you!

Marie:
And B, you're going to be hosting some episodes soon with Maggie, who we interviewed in the previous episode. So thanks for doing that. And I think our listeners are going to be excited to hear your perspective. So, remind me and then tell our listeners, how long have you been with North Star?

Madeline:
Yeah, so I was just thinking about this. It's going to be a year in October, so 2021. So depending on when this gets published, but so I started with North Star in October, 2020. So we're coming up on a year.

Marie:
Amazing. Well happy North Star-versary. Yeah. It's been amazing having you here. And I mean, I think one of the things that I really appreciate about you so much is just, you're very, very intuitive, very good listener. And you're like, your gut is like, right on. Like whenever you think like, Hmm. You know, like, should I do this or that, like, in terms of like, copy all the way to just like making decisions, I'm just like muck, it's got a, Madeline's got a good gut and you just really, like, you really have good instincts for, for writing, for working with clients, you know, for working with the team too. And so I think our listeners are gonna learn a lot of wisdom from you. So I want to know a little bit about your career. Like what, what has your job life been like Madeline and have you like here?

Madeline:
Well, it's a bit, a very wonky journey for sure. I've pretty much always known. I wanted to do writing in some capacity. One of my favorite like moments of this was when, which I believe I put in my cover letter originally was I was in third grade and I was in gym class and I was trying to climb the rope and was making a terrible fool of myself. Then this kid, this classmate of mine is watching me cause he's like next in line to climb the rope. And he just said like complete, it wasn't even in a mean spirited way. It was just completely matter of fact, he just goes, "I think she should stick to writing poems." I was like, yes, I agree with you, Riley. I too think I should stick to writing poems.

Marie:
Wow.

Madeline:
But again, it wasn't mean. And he was just like making an observation. I was like, yes, I would love to not be doing this right now. And be writing a poem instead.

Marie:
Playing to your strengths.

Madeline:
Exactly. Yes. So that was one of my, that was one of my career defining moments very early from a young age. I was like, I'm not suited to physical activity, but I can write good. So yeah.

Marie:
Love it. I love that story.

Madeline:
And you know, then I think it was the next year in fourth grade that I learned about persuasive writing for the first time. And I was trying, I wrote a persuasive letter to my mom trying to get her to let me have a cat, even though she was definitely allergic, which ironically I have since developed the cat allergy, which is very sad.

Marie:
That's tragic.

Madeline:
Yeah. And you know, that has made it, that, that was when I kind of figured out that persuasive writing was something that I really enjoy and something that I'm good at, which I think has helped me here at North Star, but getting ahead of myself. I majored in psychology in college. It was like kind of an accident, not like that I regretted, it was just sort of like I took a winding path and then one day I woke up and I was a psychology major.

Marie:
As one does.

Madeline:
Yeah, exactly. But you know, again, that I think also has kind of helped me out with getting into like marketing and kind of getting into clients' heads and also grounding myself in the marketing process. So that's good. North Star was my first like quote unquote official writing job. Before I was at North Star, well, first I worked for three years at a salon, which had nothing to do with anything.

Marie:
You say that, but like there are translatable skills everywhere.

Madeline:
No, it was actually like, it's funny because a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a client and I actually got to, because she was saying like, oh, I want my program to like, be like a spa. And I was like, I worked at a spa for three years, like, you know?

Marie:
Yeah, yeah.

Madeline:
But anyways, so after that I worked as an office manager at a music school for two years. And that was when I kind of got to start writing for a job weirdly enough. It wasn't my main duty there. But my boss came to me and was like, Hey, you know, we have a blog on our website cause he's like really obsessed with like SEO and everything. And he said, you know, I'm paying this outside person to write blogs for us and they're pretty terrible. Like, could you edit them? And I was like, I mean, yeah, but I can also just write these, like I like doing this. So, you know, I kind of had the opportunity to start writing blogs and then he taught me like the basics of SEO because I hadn't realized like, oh, there are like certain words and phrases that are really important to make sure come up in this blog post a lot. Even if it might sound a little clunky from like just a pure writing perspective. Like it's really important to have those specific phrases in there. And I was like, oh, okay. That's like, that's fascinating. And that makes a lot of sense. So then, you know, I figured out that I really liked doing that kind of thing. And so I was like, okay, well, there are jobs where I can just do like this kind of thing full time. And I can actually make money off of writing, which is not something that I ever expected. Um, so yeah, no, I found North Star and here we are.

Marie:
Well, and I'll say it to you because I've read blog posts that you've written that integrate as keywords. That you're actually like a master at not making it sound clunky. Like you definitely figure it out because that is so challenging sometimes.

Madeline:
It is. It really is.

Marie:
So nice to just like, be like, yes, this does sound like a human being wrote it. And also it's going to, you know, help with what we found organically.

Madeline:
Yeah, it's fun. It's fun. It's like a fun puzzle or something.

Marie:
And another thing that I think is interesting about your professional history, like, I don't know, actually, I don't know what you were doing at this one, but I feel like that's a place where like one's own brand voice is kind of like on like being figured out there. Right. Like you're trying to figure out how do I want to look, you know, like how you appear says things about like how you, you know, like who you are and like how you want to present yourself. And also it's place of like pampering, but it's also a place of vulnerability and that's like a huge part of the brand voice process. So I don't know. I think there's a lot of translatable skills from...

Madeline:
Yeah! No, definitely. And so I was a receptionist there, um, big, um, salon and spa, so it did work on both sides.

Marie:
Gotcha.

Madeline:
And yeah, it was actually with this client who, you know, we talked, she talked about wanting her experience to be like a spa. She was having trouble coming up with a name for the like basic level of her program, basically, because, you know, you don't want to just say like basic level, like that's boring or whatever. So I was like, trying to think, I was like, okay, well, so when I worked at the spa, you know, the kind of basic level of a facial or whatever, a massage was a signature, like they called it a signature facial. And like, that was kind of the starting point. And then if you like added on something else, then it was like the ultimate facial or something. And so she was like, signature. I love that. So like we ended up being able to use that. I mean, I definitely learned certain skills there and I, you know, one of the great thing about that work environment was that it was almost all women, which, and I also went to a women's college and, you know, North Star is largely women. And that's just something that is really cool getting to work in like a mostly women's space. That's something that I've been very grateful for.

Marie:
Yeah. You know, it's interesting. We don't, we don't like seek out necessarily a women team members or women clients. And actually we have a much more diverse clientele than we have team actually in terms of, you know, their gender. But, it's interesting. Like, so Jessi comes from a background in education where, you know, it skews, very heavily women. I come right back up, I come from a background in nonprofits, specifically in grant writing and like fundraising, which also skews really heavily towards women. Nonprofit leadership tends to skew male, but that's another, you know, it's fine.

Madeline:
We can all have opinions, but you know.

Marie:
You know, and, and also that doesn't mean anything negative about any particular leader. It's just interesting that that's the trend, but it's, yeah. Like it is important to us that we have a work environment where, yeah, women feel like they're welcome and invited and set up to hopefully succeed. But it's, yeah, it's, it's been really fun actually to be able to build a team of people who are just like so awesome. Y'all are amazing.

Madeline:
Yeah. I freaking love the team. Like it's one of the best parts about working here.

Marie:
Yeah, no, I'm grateful. I think a lot of, hopefully a lot of people are, it's been great to have that. And, it's interesting too, because a number of our clients also will comment on that. But, yeah. So I'm just curious, I guess, speaking of client work then, are there any like specific types of projects or types of writing that you like really find yourself loving so that when people hear from you when you're hosting with Maggie and they kind of know like sort of your areas of expertise or your favorite?

Madeline:
Yeah. So it's interesting because kind of like, not intentionally, I've sort of like, I feel like I've fallen into this niche of working with clients who do like business coaching for other women entrepreneurs. Which is really cool. I actually really, really like it. I have a lot of, you know, I have several clients who, you know, they are women entrepreneurs and they're selling, you know, programs or services that help other women entrepreneurs. And you know, I've kind of like, I dunno, I really like hit the sweet spot there. Not really like, you know, I, and it's just aligns with a lot of my interests, I guess. That's, you know, that's cool.
A lot of them are like these rebel voices, which I absolutely love, I think, you know, if I still haven't actually taken a quiz, but I'm already, if I did, I would get a rebel. Like I'm, I'm pretty sure I suspect kind of just what I gravitate towards. So, you know, that's really, really fun. As far as like the, you know, the two mentors and distinguishing between us, I'm the, you know, it overlaps a little bit, but my, you know, area of expertise I guess, is the convert copy rather than Maggie's like more of the nurture expert I'm more of the convert expert. And that has been something that has been so surprising about working with North Star is that, like, I never thought that I would want like anything even kind of close to do with sales. Like, you know, not really my thing, but like I actually really, really enjoy writing convert copy, especially sales pages. I've found that I really enjoy it. It's really fun. And I'm good at it, which is-

Marie:
Yeah you are.

Madeline:
Ah thank you! Again, like going back to that, like persuasive writing or whatever. You know, and like, I still don't want to be in like an official sales position because like talking to people about sales is like terrifying to me. But like if it's, you know, writing content that persuades them to take an action, that's like right up my alley. So that's, that's been something that's been really, really cool is kind of figuring out that like, oh, okay, this is a thing that I am very good at. And that, you know, it's just become like my area of expertise here and that's really cool.

Marie:
That is really cool. Well, and part of that, cause I discovered that too, that like in the right circumstances, sales and sales adjacent things don't have to be scary. And it's usually when I can like play on my strengths. Right. Like writing, but B, I believe in the business that is selling, right. Like it's hard to like sell yourself sometimes. But, or certainly hard to sell, you know, something that you don't believe in. But when you're talking about like, you know, these women like business coaches who are supporting other women entrepreneurs, I mean, that's like a deeply feminist thing, right. To be like, you can do this, you can succeed there. Like there are things that hold you back and we're going to like bust out as many barriers as we can because like women deserve these opportunities just as much as anyone.
And so it's really exciting, I think, to like write on behalf of these women who are like catalysts for other women and like we all kind of rise together, you know?
I mean, I think this is true for a lot of our clients. We've worked with a lot of amazing men too, who are doing wonderful work out there. I honestly would be shocked if we, if like, not every single person we work with is a feminist, but like-

Madeline:
Yeah, definitely.

Marie:
But yeah, I mean, you were just kind of talking about like you like those clients and then you liked these types of projects. It seems like there's kind of like, I dunno, something like all working well together there.

Madeline:
It is really cool because, you know, for, you know, back in college, you know, when thinking about what I wanted to do and everything, and, you know, I was like, I want to do something with women's empowerment or like gender equality or blah, blah, blah, like something like that. And then I kinda got away from that and had kind of just been like, okay, well, you know, whatever, it's not going to happen.

Marie:
Real life slapping you in the face.

Madeline:
And then, you know, it just kind of fell into my lap here, which was really cool. Like one of the, my earliest projects at North Star, which, you know, didn't end up staying on with us as a long-term client. But when we worked with Pandia, that was really cool because I had really wanted to work with like reproductive and sexual health for awhile. So I was like, oh my gosh, this is so cool. Like, I get a chance to work with something like that. So, but, you know, then I also get the chance to work with so many other clients. So I think, you know, that's one of the coolest parts about North Star for me is that I get to, you know, do so many different things. I meet so many different people who are doing all kinds of cool things. But you know, it's also like the clients that North Star as a business chooses, I know, you know, I feel very confident they're going to be people who are like aligned with my interests and I'm not just going to be writing stuff that like, you know, I don't believe in.

Marie:
Yeah.

Madeline:
I interviewed with, like multilevel marketing company before I got here. And I was like, I feel like I would hate this. Like I would last like a month and I'll be like now-

Marie:
Yeah. When things are out of alignment, it's, it's hard to like bring yourself to it, you know? And in fact, we were just talking, we just, before we recorded those, basically we have like a team meeting where we were talking about like, you know, what are some guidelines for like, whether a client is a good fit for us or not. And, like, we really like take y'all's feedback seriously in that process because sometimes like, I may only be interacting with somebody in like the sales process, but you all are interacting with the client much more closely. And so like, there may be things that come up that we're like, oh, that's, that's a boundary that's being crossed. Or, you know, that's something that like, maybe we should have a conversation with them about, but I guess hear this, any like writer, especially who's listening to this, like you can say no to things. And it opens the door, whether it's like, you know, the potential MLM or like, you're just looking at like a job, right. Or if it's like a client that you don't feel like you have alignment with, like, you can say no to things. And all it does is, I mean, it's scary, right? Because you're like, well, I want that money, but it actually opens the door to things that sometimes might be a better fit.

Madeline:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Marie:
Yeah. Words of the wise. So that's my little piece of advice to a listener. Is there any, are there any, like lessons learned from your, just all your experience with, you know, clients and writing and all of that, or any like pieces of advice that you would just leave our listeners with?

Madeline:
Yeah. Well, I mean the, you know, setting the boundary thing is huge. I mean, things like that may, I mean, that's like one of the most important things that has been with my journey with North Star, just it's like setting boundaries with clients, but mostly setting boundaries with myself has been the hardest part. And I think that's something a lot of writers struggle with, especially, you know, the freelancers and we're not even freelancers people who work for a company like North Star where, you know, we don't have like exactly set hours or whatever, because it's, you know, work from home for a lot of people on the team. This is not their only job. And that flexibility is awesome. Like that is something that is such a great advantage of working here. But for me, it has also been a challenge because I'm a person who like, I need some kind of structure, but I also need flexibility. And like, I also tend to procrastinate on things, due to like crippling perfectionism, and then it's just like a disaster.

Marie:
Relatable.

Madeline:
Right? So I've, I've come a long, long way with it. But, um, I guess just my big piece of advice would just be, you know, be patient with yourself and give yourself some grace in the process of figuring out what you were like ideal work life looks like. And, you know, just because you were a freelance writer or somebody who doesn't have like a nine to five job, like that doesn't mean you have to be working all the time when we're at like Beck and call of your clients or whatever. It's okay to say, no, I guess that's what you just said is your big takeaway. But I think that's also my big takeaway.

Marie:
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think you're coming at it from another angle. That's like, I just want to put like neon lights on this, like, look, this is important. Listen to that.

Madeline:
Yeah.

Marie:
And I think it's hard too, when like, if you're working on an hourly basis, especially it's like any hour you're not working, it's easy to start thinking of that as like money loss.

Madeline:
Yeah. From being lazy and blah, blah, blah. In fact, you're not right.

Marie:
And like also where does it end? Right? Like, are you going to like work in your sleep? Are you going to work while you're like, think like all the time forever? I mean, I definitely have worked while eating dinner. I probably have also worked while sleeping cause I like will dream about my clients.

Madeline:
Oh my Gosh me too. Yeah.

Marie:
So, you know, maybe I'm not like the pinnacle of health here.

Madeline:
It's an ongoing journey. And I think it's important to talk about that. And you know, even if you know, you as a writer, look at us and think like, oh, you know, they have it all figured out. That was not, not the case, but we're trying.

Marie:br> We're trying, we're trying really hard. Okay. So let's wrap, let's wrap up with something fun. So in all that free time that you have, when you're not dreaming about client work, What are you, what are you currently watching these days?

Madeline:
Yeah, so, you know, it's interesting because I'm always like watching, like at least three different shows.

Marie:
Also relatable.

Madeline:
I mean, right now, I mean, the Bachelorette is on and I'm a shameless consumer of bachelor nation content and yep. I'm on that train.

Marie:
Awesome.

Madeline:
Yep. Hated Greg from the beginning. Just got to say that. But yeah, I have opinions. I also just finished watching the Crown, which I'm a little late to the party on that one, but it was so good. I always have to, like, I'm super into like period pieces and my fiance is not, so that's what I always watch when like he's doing something else. Yeah. I just watched the first episode of call the midwife because I'd seen a couple episodes here and there and then I saw the whole thing was on Netflix and I was like, I need to like build the period piece shaped hole in my heart that the crown left behind.

Marie:
The Crown, and Downton Abbey and all the things are gone.

Madeline:
Oh, Downton Abbey! I need to get on that one.

Marie:
Oh, oh Madeline.

Madeline:
Uh, I watched like the first season, like forever ago and then I just never got around to the rest of it. So I did try Bridgerton and I couldn't get into it. Honestly.

Marie:
I feel that's kind of less of a period piece and more of like a-

Madeline:
I know, I think I was being a little snobby about it or something.

Marie:
Yeah. It's for fun one. You got to check out.

Madeline:
Oh, and then the other one is Brooklyn Nine-nine is my favorite show ever. And the last season is starting I think this week.

Marie:
That's exciting. Very cool. So on my end, I mean, in addition to, look I'm a white girl, so I watch a lot of true crime.

Madeline:
It's good!

Marie:
I'm just going to own that stereotype. But other than that, I actually am also late to this party, but I'm finally getting caught up on Love, Death and Robots.

Madeline:
What is that?

Marie: It is on Netflix. And it's a series of short animated pieces on or adjacent to the topics of love and or death and or robots. I would not say it's like happy watching.

Madeline:
Let's say I'm not totally sold, but sounds a little too Black Mirror for my tastes.

Marie:
Yah ok, if you like Black Mirror it's not quite that level.

Madeline:
I'm very anti-black mirror.

Marie:
I love like, you know, it takes all kinds. The other thing I'm working or working through, working on re watching I'm working, I'm watching it does not take work. What was the other thing now? I like, now that I like can't talk, I can't think of what I was going to tell you. Oh, no, it doesn't matter. Oh, I finally watched Bo Burnham's Inside have you seen it?

Madeline:
Oh my God. Yeah. Dude, that's a trip.

Marie:
It's confronting.

Madeline:
It was an experience. I feel like it should come with a trigger warning, like the size of Montana,

Marie:
Correct? Correct. So good.

Madeline:
And the songs will be stuck in your head for the rest of your life.

Marie:
No, I'm like, I feel like I need to watch it again because I watched it once and I was just like slack jawed the whole time. And now I'm like, okay, now I need to like, watch it to actually enjoy it. Cause I was just like, what is happening?

Madeline:
I make so many references to all this. The one, cause my fiance's name is Jeff. And so the one song about Jeffrey Bezos has become like his little like motivational theme. Music's like I'll just hear him, like with his open his computer for the day, it'll be like, come on Jeffrey. You can do it.

Marie:
Adorable. And I would rather think positive thoughts. And kind of just like pretend that song was not written for Jeffrey Bezos.

Madeline:
Yep. And then the white woman's Instagram was definitely, I felt called out personally as well as it was calling out some of my clients.

Marie:
Yes, yes. I feel I'm like way too awkward and nerdy for that to be exactly the flavor of my Instagram. But yeah, definitely some of our clients who are like much more like put together-

Madeline:
Yes, it is not a bad thing. It's just, uh, you know, it's very much felt like, you know, I'm not exactly sure how he got that across, but I very much felt like it was a laughing with us rather than laughing at us.

Marie:
Think so. So I hope so.

Madeline:
Hope so, if not, screw you Bo Burnham.

Marie:
Right.

Madeline:
I like my tiny pumpkins.

Marie:
Yes. I know it's almost time.

Madeline:
Let women enjoy things.

Marie:
All of our sparkles and streamers and whatever. Cool. Well, dear listener, let us know what you are watching right now. And also what you think about Madeline's feedback. And, what's sort of looking for, I guess, advice and reminder around boundaries and boundaries with yourself. And self-compassion because I think for me, I needed to hear that today.
So you can let us know, go find us on Instagram @northmessaging. That would be a great place for you to just chime in with your comments. You can, even if you're listening to this pretty shortly after it was released, you can even go find the picture that's for this episode and respond in a comment there, but you can also always reach on our RDMS. We're always around. So we'll thank you Madeline for being here and I'm really looking forward to your, and Maggie's takeover of the podcast coming up.

Madeline:
Thank you!

Marie:
All right. Thanks.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Make sure to visit our website, northstarmessaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more.

Jessi:
If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you, and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 


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