I write compelling content for technology businesses to engage potential customers, users, the media and technical teams.
In simple terms, I bridge the needs of language communication with those of understanding technology at an intimate level.
I’ve achieved gold standard results with mailshots, email campaigns, landing pages and presentations. I’ve been at the top as a CTO and innovator as well as a product manager. There’s a good chance that I can speak your language and with a few hints, that of your audience.
The Golden Gate Bridge joins two worlds, one is technical and frantic, the other natural and calm.
There are two distinct areas my writing helps with:
1. Existing messaging and replacement, review, improvement
I can apply experience and heuristic methods or go all the way with analysis and design of new tests to fill knowledge gaps depending on how you see your requirement. Different styles of document require different approaches, below are some examples.
Help and support documentation.
The relationships you build with your customers whether a low-cost SaaS provider or a high-end specialist, will be heavily influenced by the relationships with those who go in to implement the system and later, but with longevity, by the content provided to help those users get their work done with minimum effort and to support help centre staff where appropriate.
My job is to make sure that the support content lives up to the sales literature and that users quickly become confident and happy using the product or service.
Websites and public-facing tools
For public facing tools and websites, the enemy is time and attention. We have a fraction of a second to engage or lose a pair of eyes be that in a search result or the start of a document. Given the systems, it is always advisable to test as every document and audience combination has its own unique dynamic, but everything has to be prioritised. I’ve even recommended different versions of the message for different segments when it was sufficiently important.
It’s my aim when writing for your sales focused pages to ensure that we not only get engagement, but aim to engage the right ones by knowing who they are and what they care about, then speaking their language. The more past communications and if possible analysis that you can produce, the better we can understand your audience and the better result we can get. We can also set up engagement.
Busy API partner documentation
When you sell your API, you are not just selling a service, but a major part of the potential success or failure of your new clients will depend on their ability to use your API and to maintain their code. Some of the laziest and least intelligible help files in the world accompany the largest and most important APIs in 2023, this is an opportunity for those who are serious and thinking for the long term.
There’s a reason why the help content is so poor and that is the enormous challenge even for a top software engineer who speaks the language of the developers in Philippines, Romania, India, Israel, Pakistan or wherever to get a grasp of what it takes to write and test a function that will be be sufficiently robust for the marketplace and then communicate this to the user in a different timezone. Constant change “ Move fast and break things” is of course another challenge. At least in this case, you’ll have an experienced API engineer with a determination to learn first and write afterwards.
Internal and project, or partnership related documentation
I have vast experience in this area and I can say without doubt that there are two errors repeated over and over with such documentation:
In the Public sector, documents are created for the inevitable enquiry, or turf war that will happen later and do little to help or often have a negative effect upon the work they are intended to deal with. This despite the volume being huge and the effort very substantial. That’s the nature of the work and it is beyond my scope to attempt explanation here. I have a track record of success in this arena all the same.
In the Private sector, even in large mature organisations, they are produced as an afterthought with insufficient effort to make them the central point of reference and hence rendering them largely useless. That’s especially unfortunate with programmes and projects that represent large investment and involve broad teams including partners.
The choice is yours, but I always urge the appropriate levels of communication and one to one feedback sessions before important documents are released. By the same token, I can take your word for it and produce readable documentation that says what needs to be said.
Documents for business planning are closely related in many characteristics to the project style documentation mentioned above, but they cover things like Business Plan, Marketing plan, MRD, PRD and simple workshop driven documents like SWOT, PEST, Business or Product strategy etc.
Based on the right input information from people and ideally research where new ground is to be broken, they can be invaluable if regularly reviewed and made a central point of reference.
I can follow your instructions to either take a brief and write up the documents or consult with an agreed group singly or in a workshop, write up the document, get feedback and submit a final draft. Its down to you ultimately. There are case studies available.
2. Launches, or overhauls of messaging
These can be for a business or a single product and often signify a key time when the messaging needs to be planned and coordinated so that your customers receive a consistent and valuable set of messages about your business, what you do and how you do it etc. If you don’t have this in place and see the value in doing it, we can work with you to produce it or bring it up to date.
Some call it a Key Message Copy Platform, it provides a backbone for your marketing messaging by deciding in advance about how you want to be interpreted down to words and phrases you will frequently include so that all your messaging is not only beneficial, but consistent. Consistency outweighs message quality many times over and hence the importance of using such an approach, especially if you use various people and maybe freelancers to write copy for you.
To develop this kind of framework requires a number of key elements that, if not in existence, need to be developed.
i. Target Market description and insights. An MRD might serve the purpose depending how it’s written. The goal is to really understand market dynamics and where you are going.
ii. Product positioning statements relating to already identified target audience segments and ideally personas.
How ever it is achieved, this gives the vital understanding of who will value and purchase your product and why they will choose yours instead of a that of a competitor. This knowledge makes it much easier to create winning marketing and sales propositions. It also maintains the all-important consistency. A key strategy at this point is to do the research up front in a way you are confident with and making only minor changes in flight when supported by strong evidence. Trying to react to each mailshot or exhibition by suddenly changing your approach will spell disaster.
iii. Finding a writing voice as a company is also important. People pick things up from the tone of a communication and often it is misleading. If you are a world leader, you may want to sound like one, but not in an arrogant way. Whatever the persona that your brand is seeking to maintain, this should be consistent in your marketing communications.
iv. Product description, value proposition, USP and Elevator pitches are all vital and although overlapped in places, it is important that any description is very accurate for legal reasons as well as marketing and that the value proposition is clear and well communicated.
v. Evidence that you rely upon for your communications is the final, but not least important piece of the jigsaw. Like the citations you might use in an academic paper, these papers, studies, statistics and other forms of evidence need to be the sort that people will accept as evidence but not necessarily rigorous academic work in most cases and they need to be sufficient that writers won’t at the last minute, search the internet for evidence that might later after publishing prove embarrassing or even costly. It’s wise to enforce the use of only evidence from this repository, but each will apply common sense to suit their own situation. It’s also wise to have a review process for approving new pieces of evidence to be added here.
Once these five building blocks are in place or revised in whatever form they actually take, then the next step is to create high quality samples or templates for the core communications tools you will be using such as; blogs, adverts, informal adverts, articles, papers, sales literature, eBooks, sales training material for representatives and so-forth.
To help writers and maintain consistency, it’s considered wise to have in place templates for things such as: Unique selling proposition (USP), product description, how it works, why it does a/b/c, value propositions for various segments, Value for the user (emotion) statements, things like peace of mind, etc. Anything involving facts and figures, tables, graphs etc are best to be produced once, reviewed carefully and kept as a template.
Two or three tone and voice samples are also very helpful when hiring outside writers or onboarding new people.
If you need help at any level with the above, I am happy to assist at an appropriate level. A plan of what to create and when is the first step and once completed makes it less stressful for others to contribute to. Often it requires little more than selecting existing documents agreeing which ones to work from and formalising that a little.
Once the basics are in place and revised, overhauling the messaging is less scary a proposition than it seemed. We can then begin with a prioritised plan and start delivering the new versions and ideally put some testing in place to help us fine tune key documents like landing pages, sales letters, mailshots etc.
I will help you start from the right place for your current situation, prioritise, deliver and ideally test high performance documentation to support your business plans. I will follow your advice to optimise the effort and timeframes and deliver what you want at the end of the review procedure. You are in the driving seat, but I can offer input where you feel it is of value.
How I approach a typical engagement?
I won’t arrive with a package deal, but rather adapt to your expressed needs as far as reasonable. I’ll offer advice, but mostly listen. The only barrier to getting exactly what you want from me would be if I knew it was unlikely to succeed for whatever reason.
Once I have enough information to be able to honestly produce high quality written work for you, I’ll agree a deadline plus any extra deliverables from myself or other suppliers such as images, video, translation etc and I’ll get on with it. Ill also adapt your favoured styles and tone of voice.
We will also agree a process of review and a path to satisfaction and my intention is always to make this flexible, but naturally, everyone has a right that their time is respected within reason.
You have an opportunity on receipt of the first draft to ask for changes, or even to simply discuss alternative ways to say something you are not entirely happy about. Bear in mind always that there’s more than one way to say many things and you are not contradicting or offending the writer when you suggest a different approach. Also you should feel happy that ultimately it is your voice being portrayed to the world and you are entitled to be very fussy and indeed, you are also likely to have a deeper insight into the customers than any writer can have over a short time-frame other than via good research, something I always recommend.
In simple terms, everything is negotiable within reason
It is up to you to agree a review process that will fit your favoured way of working, though sometimes it may result in a slight fee increase if it adds to the workload significantly. There is a balance that suits every project.
How to engage with me
It all begins with hello, please just put a name and contact number or email address into one of the forms on this site, and I will reply with an email confirmation and an invitation to arrange the most convenient way to start a conversation.
I don’t have a formal sales function nor a formal sales process, you will get to speak to myself, or initially maybe my daughter who plays a substantial role these days.
Feel free to speak to me in principle about something, don’t feel you need a huge project before I will take interest and don’t be put off by the huge clients like BBC etc.
To receive a call or whatever you prefer, submit this short form:
It’s short to save you time, obviously the email is necessary and a name is useful when calling someone.