May I be of professional service to you?

October 2nd, 2020

Greetings, friend! Like a proper hired gun should, from time to time I post here to tell people what I’m good at, what I can do for them, and what sorts of gigs I’m looking for. (Plus there’s a part at the end that tells you how you can help!)

What it boils down to:

  • I help companies—especially B2B tech companies—get better at content marketing so they can appeal to their customers more successfully.
  • I help authors and literary agents by outlining, ghostwriting, and editing book proposals and full manuscripts to make them great.
  • [BONUS NEW THING] I’m now getting back to journalism, especially focused on climate change, other environmental issues, and the way science is understood in society.

My Superpowers

After many years in business, I can tell you that I’m really, really good at two things:

  1. Learning a client’s offerings—even complex technical ones—and their customers’ needs quickly, then helping the client figure out the best ways to talk about how those offerings solve their customers’ business problems.
  2. Writing top-quality prose that conveys the material from #1 with zero jargon, and without sounding like either a marketing pitch or a technical manual.

Note how this applies to book projects as well: pick up the topic on the fly ==> understand the audience ==> help the author convey the right messages in their own voice to that audience.

More details on specific applications of  this follow . . .

Content Marketing

For several years now, I’ve earned most of my living as a content marketing consultant, primarily for B2B hardware and software companies. I consider myself a “full-stack” content marketer, meaning that I can help you with:

  • Content Strategy — Do you have your brand messaging worked out, but don’t know how it translates to your ongoing content needs? Are you having trouble getting all of your company materials (website, white papers, blog posts, video scripts, sales decks . . . ) to sing from the same hymnbook? Maybe you’re rebranding, or introducing a new product line, and you realize that it’s time to evaluate and refresh your content across the board? That’s where I come in.
  • Cornerstone Pieces — Maybe it’s your new corporate video that needs a better script. Maybe it’s an exemplar e-book. Maybe it’s a series of posts to set the tone for your blog. I’ve helped many clients clarify their approach to content by writing initial pieces that hit all the marks and serve as examples for what their own staff members can write going forward.
  • Ongoing Writing — And then sometimes clients just need high-quality articles, white papers, blog posts, and so on month after month. I’ve been writing and editing for publication for thirty years, and I’m always happy to help out with these nitty-gritty details.

I have no interest in running marketing campaigns, analytics, or SEO for anybody, much less in serving as a marketing director, but I enjoy helping devise, organize, and create the content that will serve all of those other functions. In my best client relationships, I’m able to act as an extended member of the marketing team and help clients punch above their weight without needing to bring on new permanent employees. (I don’t come cheap, but contracting for a slice of my time is still a lot less expensive than hiring a full-time employee, much less one with my background.)

Ghostwriting and Editing

In the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot more work on other people’s books. This includes:

  • Editing — I do developmental editing in both fiction and nonfiction, as well as copy editing across all genres.
  • Ghostwriting — I enjoy working with authors who have expertise and stories to share, but who need a pro writer to tune up their prose and help them get their voice onto the page.
  • Outlines & Proposals — One of the best ways to get started on nonfiction books, I find, is to do a limited engagement to nail down the outline or proposal. Happy to talk with authors or literary agents about what I can do for them in this vein.

And now . . . SCIENCE

While I continue to offer the services already listed, I’m enriching the mix for myself by digging deeper into scientific topics for a general audience.

 

Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash

This draws on my training as a journalist and researcher, and allows me to share some of my longstanding interests with a wider audience. Besides writing in the business world for the past twenty years, I’ve also written lots of features, profiles, columns, reviews, and other articles for publications covering a range of topics including books, authors, sports, lifestyle, and environmental issues.

As I look around at what’s happening in the world today, it’s clear to me that we need more science journalism that frames issues clearly, conveys the science behind them without ideological posturing, and explains what’s at stake for readers and the society as a whole.

That’s the area of my portfolio that I’m building out now. Particular topics of interest include:

  • Climate change — and how the changing climate is understood in our political landscape
  • Biodiversity — and how it is affected, for better and worse, by human intervention
  • Science education and literacy — and why we need so much more of it

I’m doing my own work to pitch articles in these veins, but of course would appreciate leads or introductions from friends to editors at relevant publications.

My Ideal Gigs

Given my omnivorous curiosity, my long experience bridging print journalism, academic research, business analysis, and marketing, and my fascination with storytelling, I’m game to consider just about any project in the categories above that piques my interest and pays at a premium rate.

My perfect corporate client would be a small B2B tech startup, or a small unit within a bigger tech company, that offers something genuinely innovative for solving customers’ problems. My clients often have marketing leadership and even content programs in place, but they know they need help unifying and clarifying their approach and then spreading that across various genres and media types to support their business goals. Given my range of experience, this often goes well beyond typical editorial work into, for instance, heavy revision of enterprise sales decks and scripting for webinars.

Ideally, I like to work with a handful of ongoing clients at a time, with room left over for pure journalistic work. I’ve operated under all kinds of arrangements—by the project, on retainer, and so on—and I’m happy to discuss what would work best for you. Sometimes, a quick, lower-commitment starter piece or a bit of consulting billed by the hour is just the thing for us to get to know each other and figure out how well we fit for bigger projects.

Need Something? Know of Anything Relevant?

“But, Tim,” I can hear you saying, “how can I help make gigs and paychecks rain down on you?”

Aren’t you nice? I’m so glad you asked!

First, please think about the work to be done in the coming months by you and any organizations you’re familiar with—certainly including your employer, but extending to professional associations, nonprofits, and so on. What are the projects on your horizon that would benefit from the work of a writer, editor, and marketer with my skillset?

Second, please take a minute right now to think of two—just two—people you know well who I don’t already know who might be in the market for what I offer in the coming months, and then introduce me to them. A three-line e-mail copying us both and pointing to this post could be just the thing.

Third, please feel free to reply privately with any other ideas you have about my work, how I can market myself 1-on-1, or even how I could refine or clarify what I’ve said in this post. (My e-mail address is there in the sidebar.)

And, truly, . . . THANK YOU. I really do get by with a little help from my friends.

[Originally published March 2017; revised and re-published October 2020.]

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