Special sections create highly-coveted opportunities for advertisers. They pull together helpful information for a niche audience alongside business listings and advertisements. Most magazines run a few of these each year. Some have a special section on a different topic in every issue. Whenever I accept an assignment to write a business profile for a special section, I challenge myself to mix punchy copy with powerful quotes.

Blend Business Profiles into Shareable Articles

Often, the interviewees for special sections are a mix of required business profiles and “writer’s choice.” I find myself talking to marketing directors, CEOS, or Public Relations coordinators as I try to get quotes to include in the piece. To keep it interesting for the reader, I ask for examples and stories.

Ask for A Story

Instead of asking my subjects to answer a lot of questions, I set them up to tell me a story. Some of my favorite questions start with, “Take me back to a time when…” or “Tell me about a situation where…”

This encourages the subject to break away from boilerplate text (which I already have) and breathe a little life into the company’s image.

In the case of my article “Break Out of the Boardroom,” I asked each of the subjects to tell me about a conference or meeting that stood out to them. They all worked at venues that wanted to raise awareness for their conference and meeting facilities.

This gave me a chance to flip the perspective from the venue to the consumer.

Talk about Misconceptions

Whenever I want to warm up an interview, I ask about misconceptions. Every person in every industry has at least one thing they feel people get wrong about what they do.

I asked each of the subjects for my “Break Out of the Boardroom” article to tell me some myths and misconceptions about their venue. These created some of the most entertaining quotes in the article.

If you find yourself covering a familiar topic, these two tactics will help you find a fresh way to blend business profiles into a shareable, special section article.

Break Out of the Boardroom: 5 Types of Meetings that work Best Offsite

Originally published in Lynchburg Business Magazine

Imagine sending out a business meeting invitation where people not only accept quickly but also are excited to add it to their calendars. Get a better response from your employees by breaking out of the boardroom with these five meeting suggestions.

High Energy Brainstorming Session

According to a 2014 Stanford study, walking improves creative thinking. In fact, any type of body movement stimulates the brain more than sitting. That is why top executives, such Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, are often seen taking meetings on the go.

To plan a brainstorming session around movement, look for a venue with nearby attractions. For example, Farmville is home to some popular outdoor opportunities including High Bridge Trail and the Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat, featuring a ropes course. You can work with the nearby Hotel Weyanoke for your indoor meeting needs and incorporate some high energy outdoor activities into the schedule.

As General Manager John Shideler explains, “With a small meeting venue like ours, we have several gathering spaces that allow folks to relax, dine together, or take in a morning sunrise on the rooftop. Guests can venture out to local businesses for team building activities such as zipline adventures, kayaking or pottery making.”

To make this type of meeting work for your group, explain your goals to your venue’s coordinator. That way, the front desk can better assist attendees. “It is really important to ensure our hotel team has an itinerary of every aspect of the event on and off property,” Shideler says.

Continue Reading at Lynchburg Business Magazine.