I work with words and tell stories that engage people. I believe that content is intended to connect people with useful advice and entertainment. Having fun and taking risks is highly-recommended, as is being yourself. I believe that all marketing content should be H2H: one human talking with another.
I’ve been a journalist for the last twenty years, and have used my reporting, researching, and writing skills on behalf of my writing clients. I've also been a teacher and a practicing lawyer, among other things. I want to briefly explain my unique value proposition (UVP), one that I believe helps me add value for my client base. Here are 5 keys to my UVP:
1. Versatility. I’ve always had the ability and desire to do and learn different things, no matter what I do. I actually enjoy adapting my skills and experiences to new situations and new ideas. I tend to be curious, a cross-disciplinary sharer, and a popularizer in my writing. The ability to learn quickly, adapt and make connections (of ideas and people across disciplines and geography) has always been key to the value I deliver. I take ideas and experiences from my work as a lawyer, a communications trainer, a reporter/journalist, a banker, and more, and blend them all together into something unique. I feel comfortable writing with authority about a multiplicity of topics, including psychology, leadership, motivation, innovation, new regulations/legal issues, economics, social media, management, finance, business relationships, trends in technology, and much more. When I don't know something, I ask someone or start researching and learning.
2. Highly Collaborative. I’ve worked well with others. I’ve shared my insights with editors, clients, and sources -- and have been the beneficiary of their sharing insights with me. I never connect my ego much with the content I develop. I’ve always viewed content development as a collaborative process where any/all suggestions that enhance readability are highly welcomed. For this reason, I've built strong, highly-creative, and very positive working relationships wherever I've gone. I ask for help; I help when others ask. I appreciate others.
3. Practical and Insightful. I’m practical because I’ve had a long career working in different professions, from legal to media to education to finance. I understand at a deep level that professionals often don’t have enough time to absorb all the theories and academic abstractions. What they want, and will share, is practical, actionable advice that can help them work better and be better. I always keep this foremost in mind when developing any content, especially for business audiences. Keep it brief, make it useful, offer practical advice.
As a business communication trainer for a decade, I worked every single day with talented Fortune 500 CEOs, CFOs, Directors, and international consultants. Yes, I trained them to present ideas, negotiate, hold meetings, and generally communicate better, but teaching is an interaction, not just a one-way street. I learned from them about the everyday challenges of running a global business. Does this global business perspective influence how and what I write? Yes, every single word and every single day. Having worked so long with business leaders, I understand their needs.
4. Amplification/Influence. I’ve developed a strong social media platform through which I've amplified and distributed my content for Harvard, MIT, The Boston Globe, and all my B2B clients. Moreover, I’ve requested, and had, other social media influencers share my content, from leading academics like Teresa Amabile and Francesco Gina of Harvard Business School to innovation guru Bob Sutton of Stanford and thought-leader Adam Grant of U. Penn’s Wharton School of Business. Content isn't king, but content plus connection is king. Having these influencers share my content not only amplifies it but bolsters its reputation and relevance.
5. Committed. I want to work for people who share my values. I believe in creating and sharing -- it’s in my blood. I like people who are collaborative, work across boundaries, show appreciation, and who value creativity.
Okay, so that's my first draft of my value proposition. We are all different and bring our differences to the table when we work to create value. Knowing who you are and how you like to work is the first step in understanding your value proposition. I hope you'll sit down, reflect a bit, and write your own . . . .it's a worthwhile exercise.