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Why your story is your strength

Charlotte Squire’s favourite place to walk her dog in Golden Bay is the Rāmeka Valley. She loves it so much she’s setting her historic novel there.

The daughter of a beekeeper who found his first swarm in Bainham, near the Heaphy Track, Charlotte is a writer who works remotely from Tākaka as a marketing and communications specialist.

“I’m a storyteller at heart,” she says, “and I use stories to help companies grow.”

For Charlotte, one positive outcome of Covid was the normalisation of working from home, online.

“I wrote for media and businesses all over the world, from home, for decades, before those lockdown years. And then suddenly we all had to do it. By then I’d grown used to building relationships online and on the phone … and working in my pyjamas!”

The mother of two boys, she made the decision to write before she started a family. “I wanted to be around to raise them, and more importantly from their perspective, feed them.”

While she works alone, her “velcro dog” Thomas the “vizlador” (a mix of Hungarian vizla and labrador) is her constant companion.

“Anyone who knows vizlas knows they’re a curious mix of uber needy and athletic. I can’t leave the room without him padding faithfully behind me!”

Charlotte helps businesses develop marketing and communication strategies.

“I create and roll out campaigns to help businesses build relationships with their communities and grow in whatever direction they want to.

“I use heaps of different channels including social media, newsletters, google meets and good old fashioned phone calls to communicate and share stories that attract more business.”

She loves identifying the unique personality of each business and bringing them to the forefront.

“People want to do business with people. I love celebrating authenticity and the little things that make each company different, it makes my work fun and interesting and helps companies stand out.”

She says a good marketing campaign requires pre-planning, clarity and commitment.

“And your story can be the special ingredient that makes it successful.”

Speaking of stories, over the last five years she also started writing memoir and family histories for clients.

“It was a natural progression for me to move from journalism to writing people’s stories.”

After helping dozens of people write their histories, last year Charlotte packaged all her knowledge into her online course ‘Write Your Memoir.’

“I built a road map to guide people through the entire process of writing their memoir, life story or family history.”

Charlotte often gives free workshops at libraries on the subject.

“You should hear the amazing stories that come out of the woodwork. It’s very easy to look at an elderly person and see someone from a different generation to ours, who we perhaps can’t relate to, but the lives many of them have lived are fascinating and well worth recording. Also, their stories are our history and the older you get the more that matters.”

When she’s not at home, Charlotte’s often at band practice, in Onekaka, with her band The Forge, who play 70s and 80s songs, plus original music.

“The Forge are an entertaining group of talented Golden Bay musicians who came together during lockdown. We’re currently adjusting to playing actual gigs again! We’re a little bit dazed when we play music and actual people cheer.”

She’s a lead singer and a songwriter, who also performs solo.

“I’m slowly developing a solo show right now and one of these days I’ll stun my friends and finally perform it.”

Getting back to the Rāmeka Valley, Charlotte says the history there is “palpable.”

“100 years ago it was the main way people accessed Golden Bay, up over the hill, through the forest. It would have been treacherous in some places.”

The Rāmeka Creek and landscape thread through her second novel, with some of the story happening in the 1880s.

“I only have time to write once a month at Writers Group. Give me 10 more years and I’ll finish it!”

Stories matter, and Charlotte would like to work with local businesses to share theirs.

“I’m interested in helping a handful of local businesses who would like support from a friendly, local wordsmith.”

As well as creating strategies, plans, reviews, content and coaching teams about marketing and communication, Charlotte can also help with: writing, design, crowdfunding, presenting and media.

“If your business is going strong, ready to step up to the next level, and in need of some marketing support, but you don’t want to employ someone for a full time marketing and communications role, reach out to me for a chat.”

If she doesn’t immediately reply she’ll either be off daydreaming in a Rāmeka forest or practising an 80s anthem with her band!

You can find out more about Charlotte’s business communications support here:

You can read about her online course Write Your Memoir here:

Click here to find out more…

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