Frequently Answered Questions
When I do brand consulting, I ask clients to come up with 100 frequently asked questions about the company. It’s a great exercise because–free tip here–FAQs are actually a window into the soul of a company. Or craftsman, in this case. FAQs tell you how things work, how services are priced and presented, who the target market is. And, along the way, they also answer questions real customers might ask!
What kind of things do you write?
There are two ways to answer this: types of projects and subject matter. First, types. Since I started in advertising, I’ve been writing ads, brochures, newsletters, sales collateral and things like that for longer than anything else. Ad copy is an art form as different from blogs and white papers as poetry is different from short stories and novels. Part of that early work was in direct response marketing, and I’ve maintained that style of targeted copy through today. I am a certified email marketing consultant. Having worked as both a newspaper reporter and a staff public relations writer early in my career, I feel at home with press releases and media pitches, so I do a lot of that. Of course, I write blogs and content, and I also do video scripts. Part of the content work is white papers and case studies. I do long form ghost writing, such as biographies and fiction, as well.
As far as subject matter goes, I do a lot of work in B2C/B2B content, particularly in branding, product marketing, and digital marketing. I have a long history in marketing, education, sports (sports management, player development, coaching, lacrosse, cycling) and law enforcement (training, best practices).
Having worked in a number of client-side and agency-side roles, I have a broad base of experience in different industries, so it’s not impossible that I have expertise in an area that’s not specifically listed. So, ask.
Are you a one-man show or an agency?
As a writer, I am a one-man show. I am partner in a marketing and media firm, so if a project needs more resources or a different skillset–or bodies or hands—I can draw on my team. Nobody ghost rights for me, however. While I can do things like web design, social media management, and technical writing, I have people in-house that do it more efficiently, so I collaborate with them to make the best possible product.
How much do you charge?
That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Well, not million dollar in the literal sense. There are two ways I get paid. One, we can establish a weekly or monthly schedule in which I write content or ads on an hourly basis. Traditionally, this is called a retainer agreement. It’s about half of my typical workload.
The other way is on a per-project basis. I do not do content mill-style pay-by-the-word projects. Well, at least not in the $.02-$.05 range that you will see imills. You get what you pay for, and I don’t sell that. Let’s discuss the project and I can give you a quote.
What else do you do?
Depending on the day, I wear a bunch of different hats. More than anything else, I write. But I am also a marketing and branding consultant, and that takes several different forms. As a branding specialist, I work with companies to establish a new brand or rebrand an existing one, by developinmg positioning statements and create value propositions. I can help establish marketing programs, systems, and client-facing operations that support the brand mission. This is, at its core, content marketing. It’s all related.While I’m a strategist, I also have a creative focus. I’m a trained graphic designer, and do a fair amount of identity work and print design.
How did you become a writer?
It wasn’t my intention, really, but it sort of just happened that way. The plan was to be a famous painter, or possibly bike racer. Or discoverer of lost Inca cities. One of those, anyway. But, I studied writing for advertising and broadcast in college, which sort of steered me away from those other things and toward, not surprisingly, writing.
Somehow (I honestly don’t remember how) I became a stringer reporter for a newspaper in North Carolina, and also launched my first business—a writing and editing service geared toward graduate students completing masters theses and PhD dissertations. That was where I learned to become a lightning-fast expert in various, often highly specific fields. Like Mockingbird Calls in Reaction to Environmental Stimuli or The Evolution of Spanish Language in Literature or Pediatric Physical Therapy in Pediatric Spina Bifida Populations.
After that, I moved to New York where I worked as a freelance graphic designer and staff public relations writer, before moving to Florida to help launch Florida Gulf Coast Univerity as its first marketing director. Once again was a newspaper stringer and then a sports columnist, and kicked off a career as a copywriter and creative director in a marketing firm. I won lots of awards for copywriting, scripts, and advertisements. Personally, I don’t think awards mean all that much, but they look really cool on my wall.
How long have you been a writer
My first writing involved crayons in what I like to think of as performance art. It was on the paneled living room wall, behind the couch. I disclaimed that work, attributing it to my sister. My mom caught me off guard by asking why my sister, nine years older than me and in high school, would write “RICHARD” with the D backwards. “I hired her as a ghostwriter. I had no idea she is dyslexic.”
Always thinking on my feet. I was precocious for a 5 year-old.
Okay, the real answer is since age 19. I graduated from crayons by then and had a typewriter. I replaced it with a Commodore 64 computer, with which I actually paid for college.
Do people really ask these questions frequently?
Not really. FAQs are a content marketing trick. It’s an easy way to put important content in your website. I’ve had clients tell me that they don’t actually get many questions from B2B or B2C customers. Of course they don’t! Here’s why:
Most consumers visit a website to find out about a company or product. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they don’t typically take time to ask questions. Why would they? There is probably another site with the same or similar products or services, so why not go there? It’s a lot easier for visitors to read than finding the contact page, filling out and submitting a clunky form, then waiting for a response. It’s a lot easier for visitors to read than finding the contact page, filling out and submitting a clunky form, then waiting for a response.
Those other sites? Those are your competitors.
You are better off putting the info you want people to see in your FAQ and several other places on your site and plan your copywriting around a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. That way, people will come to the site, be delighted with the content they find there, and sing up to your email list, thereby becoming part of your marketing funnel.
Note that this little section includes these keywords: content marketing, marketing funnel, B2B, B2C, consumer, client, copywriting, search engine optimization, SEO, strategy. Google finds those, you search for those, you find me! Pretty cool, huh?
Can you come work in my office?
I can but I probably won’t! I really like my office. It’s large and airy and light. I can bring my dog. Or two of my dogs. I have a photo studio attached, a voiceover video studio, and a big conference area. It’s fabulous. Also, writers are notoriously reclusive and have weird habits. Better to let them stay where we are happy.
That said, I am available for short-term on-site work, meetings, or consulting sessions. I just won’t work there indefinitely!
Did you go to school for writing:?
I did! At my first college, I majored in advertising writing and graphic design. I later double majored in fine art and English with a focus on creative writing. Over the years, I’ve taught copywriting and design. Full circle.
Why are some fees hourly and some per project?
Some projects are really discreetly packaged, like an ad. Add copy is fairly straightforward in structure and simple to look at from a building standpoint. While ads require consummate wordcraft, they don’t usually require a lot of research. Emails and press releases are the same. I can give you a flat rate for those pretty easily.
Blogs and web content usually and white papers and case studies always require research and/or data compilation or analysis. That’s an hourly issue. I’m fast and efficient, so you get your money’s worth, but there is no shortcut for research. Sometimes projects require more research than others. Some blogs require that I find graphics for photos to go with the words. That just adds time. As with any project, it can be viewed from a number of different standpoints and I’m willing to discuss those with you in our initial consultation.
Can you copy other writers' work?
No, and you shouldn’t ask anyone to copy anyone’s work. Originality is best for you and your project and for me as a creator.
What if I don't see a particular topic area on your website?
Ask me about specific types of work. I guarantee you I’ve done most everything in the writing field, I just don’t necessarily promote certain aspects of my portfolio. That doesn’t mean I don’t or won’t do them…but it might…so ask!
Do you write about politics?
I don’t write about politics, religion, or whether your clothes make you look fat. I will say that I don’t write supporting a political view that I don’t believe in simply because I am 100% certain that I couldn’t do the subject justice. There are others out there who can, I am certain.
Do you ghost write?
Yes! I do content, blogging, speeches, infomercial, blogging, advertorial and editorial work for clients. For longer form pieces, I edit for authors writing books, I also write from scratch for clients with a great story but who aren’t writers themselves. I have package pricing for some long-form pieces but also work on an hourly rate, depending on the project.
Do you do seminars, webinars, or workshops?
I’ve been a teacher in classrooms and online for years. I can do specialized training for individuals or for groups. If you have a specific need, let’s talk about it!