Create your oneliner

Sell yourself in three easy steps

WTF is it and why do you need it? It sounds a bit like marketing bs jargon. Actually, once you have it, you cannot do without it. So it’s worth giving it some thought and discover if it works for you. Or not.

It is one line that explains what you do. Easy to understand and to remember in Sesamestreet language. Nothing more, nothing less. It actually exists in three parts and can be more than one sentence. 


Why you need it

Explaining what you do, is pretty difficult. Doing it in such a way that makes your audience curious and them wanting to know more… is even harder. Yet, I know a trick and it works like magic. Credits where credits due, stolen with pride from Donald Miller in storybrand.com.


Where you use it

Everywhere. From telling a new friend what you do, to use it in your bio on social, to the header on your website. As for everything goes, adjust the words where needed. Optimize for the channel. My oneliner in my LinkedIn bio is slightly different than on my resume or in the header of thinklikeapublisher.com.


My oneliner

'Most companies struggle to get content and social in place: how to tell your brand story, connect to your audiences and make it accountable. I have a roadmap to get and execute your bespoke content and social strategy, silo, and channel-agnostic. So you have an overview and you can measure the impact of content and social on your business objectives.' 


How to create your oneliner

First, you need to have your brand storyline. Follow the seven steps from the (1) hero, not you, to their (2) problem, with you as (3) guide, who gives them a (4) plan and (5) calls them to action to create (6) success and avoid (7) failure.

This defines your identity, what you do and why you matter. In a nutshell why your audience should buy your product or service — reasoned from their perspective, not yours.

Watch the video for a 20mins deep dive by Donald Miller. Or read below for the shameless copy-paste-edited transcript.



Get started

To get started, you grab a piece of paper and divide it into three columns: problem, plan, happy ending.

  • Start writing in bullet points the struggles your target audience faces, what you do to help them and what they get. By writing in bullet points, you are bound to keep it short and simple.
  • Find the common elements in each column.
  • Just write those down in an 'ugly first draft' sentence per column. And polish.
  • Thread all three columns together.
  • Read it out loud. Polish again.
  • Now you have a solid concept to test with strangers for further fine-tuning.


The problem

The first part of the oneliner is the problem your audience/character/customer faces. You have to identify your customers' problem. And you to open your oneliner with their problem, not with yourself as a guide with a solution.

Your audience is triggered by content that is about them and that adds value to them. They are not triggered by content that is about you and you trying to sell them something. Remember, we all hate ads.


A few tips

  • Start your sentence with ‘most business struggle with... ''you know a lot of people ….’.
  • Be very specific. Do not be vague. Avoid using jargon. And do keep it very simple and to the point. As if you explain it to a 5yr old kid.
  • Make sure it is a pain point that is recognized by your audience with a 'Ah! That's me, I have that’.
  • Create it like a soundbite: make it short and snappy.


Some examples

  • StoryBrand: Most businesses struggle to talk about what they offer.
  • Pet food supplier: Pet owners are concerned about what their pets are really eating.
  • Financial planning: Most people can't get their heads around their future.
  • Used car dealership: Nobody likes to haggle with a car salesman.


Your solution

In the second part of the oneliner, you explain your plan to help them fix their problem. Like a ‘here is what we do that solves your problem'.

More tips

  • Start with 'we have the product' or ‘we + verb’..
  • If you are stuck for words, start your solution with ‘so…’ or ‘that’s why…’.
  • Make it feel like a new idea, do not use the usual expressions or wordings.
  • Make it understandable. Use simple actionable words. And again, avoid the jargon.
  • Make it brief. No blah blah, no buzz. Stick to the core.


  • StoryBrand: We have a process that helps them clarify their message.
  • Pet food supplier: We source our pet food from trusted, local vendors.
  • Financial planning: We created a financial map that puts all your info on a weekly dashboard.
  • Used car dealership: We removed the salesman entirely. You can choose and test drive a car hassle-free.


Happy ending

The last part of your oneliner is the happy and successful ending to the short story.

Some more tips

  • Make it the 'controlling idea' of your business. The motivator of the company, your why. This is also your ‘license to operate', the reason for your existence within 5 or 10 years.
  • If you are stuck for words, start your happy ending with ‘so…’
  • Make it about the benefit. And make it tangible.
  • Make it something they want.
  • Again, make it brief.


  • StoryBrand: So their companies start growing again.
  • Pet food supplier: This ensures your pet stays happy and healthy.
  • Financial planning: Giving your peace of mind about your finances.
  • Used car dealership: So you have a peaceful experience getting the car you want.


Thread it together

Next is to thread all three together. Polish your sentences and fix the rhythm. A simple sanity check is to read it out loud. If it's easy to pronounce: stick with it. If it's difficult and do you stumble upon your own words, rework it.

Practice it with strangers. Tell them your oneliner and ask them if they understand what you do. There is no better way to get unsalted feedback.


Add a CTA

Where applicable, you can add a second part to your oneliner. Add a call to action or offer some more explanation.


My oneliner on LinkedIn with a CTA

'Do you also struggle to get content and social in place: how to tell your brand story, connect to your audiences and make it accountable? I have a roadmap to get and execute your bespoke content and social strategy, silo- and channel-agnostic. So you have an overview and you can measure the impact of content and social on your business objectives.

Let's be honest, content and social ain't no rocket science. Fix the basics with the strategy, team, tools, and processes, and excel along the way. Start with the fundamentals, be distinctive and create an impact for your audiences and for your brand.

  • 📝 read all my secrets on www.thinklikeapublisher.com
  • ☎️ or send me a message to schedule a free 30 min video call for a bespoke deep-dive into your content struggles' 


My header for thinklikeapublisher.com

'Get grip on your content and social, and let them contribute to your business objectives.'


Next steps

Memorize it. Practice it a bit more. And do not forget to have fun with it. Passion and happiness in your profession and what you do is irresistible.   

Credits where credits due: 'Building a Story Brand' by Donald Miller.


Fleur Willemijn van Beinum
It takes some soul-searching work and brutal honesty with yourself. Especially in cutting the bs and jargon. Describing what you do in the Sesamestreet language is difficult. Yet... invest the time and embrace plus memorize your oneliner. I promise you, it is worth the effort. I just landed my next assignment using my oneliner in the video call.
Fleur Willemijn van Beinum