Profiles can be tricky. They must honor their subject, but often they must also justify their publication space and serve a key strategic marketing initiative: grow the business, endorse the business, cultivate the audience, etc. For nonprofits, higher ed, and corporations, I’ve written profiles that celebrate their subjects and motivate target audiences to act.

Profiles aren’t just about solid interview and research skills or about crafting pretty sentences. It’s about aligning audience and purpose to achieve a single lasting impression with strategic impact.

Sample #1

For public/community radio station, WERU-FM, Blue Hill ME:

img014From Africa to Scandinavia: A World of Good Music

Steve Bailey is a visionary, with strong opinions about the way things could be and how to bring them about. A graduate of WERU’s very first audio literacy class, he was on the air hosting Pressure Drop by August of 1988, three months after WERU began broadcasting. He has been dedicated to diverse and innovative programming ever since. “Like most people my age, 98% of my collection was by men and was a lot of obnoxious guitar cliches, but there’s a whole word of music out there, and I wanted to play something different.”

When Steve began hosting Pressure Drop, a reggae show, whose format name he inherited, there was little material in the station library. “You could grab all the reggae albums off the shelf with one hand.” Other programmers shared their material, and Steve incorporated African music into the show to round out the two hours each week. But the library wasn’t well stocked with African music either; so, Steve began a major campaign, calling and writing to embassies and consulates of African countries. At one point, he wrote to at least one state radio station in every country in Africa searching for material. Pressure Drop came to focus less on reggae and more on African music, and Steve changed the name to Iboga Beat and hosted the show until recently.

Somewhere along the way he began to “burn out on African music,” and started programming half an hour of Scandinavian music each week–Hjemmebrent. Hjemmebrent, now Nordic Beat, went to an hour-long format, and it is as the host of Nordic Beat that you’ll now found Steve each week. He wishes the show were two hours!

As with African music four years ago, Scandinavian music did not comprise a significant portion of the WERU music library; so Steve launched yet another music acquisition campaign, this time aimed at Northern Europe. “Writing to all of Scandinavia wasn’t so involved. There are fewer countries,” he grinned. Steve takes the exploration of a diverse spectrum of music seriously, and is even applying for a grant to do music research in Norway. “The world is full of good music. We [WERU] need to focus more on acquiring material, and it’s important to protect our library and make room for new acquisitions.”

Originally from Bar Harbor, Steve has had a fascination with radio “at least since I was ten.” He has built a variety of antennas and radios and has quite a collection of them. It was while living in Norway that he developed an interest in African music, and while doing an African music show at WERU, an interest in Scandinavian music. “When I was in Norway, I didn’t like a lot of Scandinavian music, but now I find much of it sublime.”

Steve’s initial interest as a WERU volunteer was in editing and field recording, but former program director, David J. Snyder, convinced him to program a music show despite his nervousness to do so. “At first, I would just say the legal ID, and then I was able to actually read the play lists. Without a visible audience, I could pretend it was just me and the mic. People were really supportive.”

WERU has be Steve’s first big volunteer commitment, and “volunteering has been a real education–learning to work with so many others. It’s amazing that this many people can work together. I find the arguments intriguing.” Steve’s greatest pleasure at WERU comes from “the license to basically do what you want to do–as long as you’re willing to do it.” The WERU community is fortunate that Steve Bailey has had both the vision and the willingness to do all that he’s done at the station over the past four years.

Sample #2

for the Stanford University Office of Development Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education Report of Annual Giving

Victor Lin, ’05

img015Guam native Victor Lin says Stanford feels like an overseas experience to him. “I’ve tried to get involved in everything! I joined the Taiwanese Cultural Society (TCS) my freshman year. My parents immigrated to Guam from Taiwan, and I wanted to find people who could relate to the same household experience I had. Events like the TCS-sponsored Night Market bring out the whole Asian community and anyone else who’s interested in celebration of the lunar new year. And I joined Stanford Taiko. I’d been a drummer for Chinese lion dancing back home, but seeing Stanford Taiko at freshman orientation was the first time I’d seen this relatively new art form of Japanese ensemble drumming. The performance was amazing–the audience loved it, and I wanted to be a part of it. I was also fortunate enough my first year to take a Freshman Seminar. Most of my family–except me!–have a good understanding of Japanese because my grandparents were in Taiwan during the Japanese WWII occupation; so I took Language and Gender in Japan.

As a member of different student groups, I write letters to Stanford Fund donors thanking them for their support. Something really extraordinary happened last year. One of the donors actually sent me a letter back! He went to school here in the 1930s and had to stop because of the war. He hasn’t been back to campus in years, so the thank you letters we write are his connection to Stanford. These experiences have made me realize the importance of The Stanford Fund and how it affects the Stanford Community.”

Be sure to check out the testimonialscase studiesclient list & and the other kinds of samples!

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