Two companies that can provide friction ridge/face marketing and writing services, now that Bredemarket won’t

I recently announced a change in business scope for my DBA Bredemarket. Specifically, Bredemarket will no longer accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using (a) friction ridges (including fingerprints and palm prints) and/or (b) faces.

This impacts some companies that previously did business with me, and can potentially impact other companies that want to do business with me. If you are one of these companies, I am no longer available.

Fingerprint evidence
From https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.500-290e3.pdf (a/k/a “leisure reading for biometric system professionals”).

Since Bredemarket will no longer help you with your friction ridge/face marketing and writing needs, who will? Who has the expertise to help you? I have two suggestions.

Tandem Technical Writing

Do you need someon who is not only an excellent communicator, but also knows the ins and outs of AFIS and ABIS systems? Turn to Tandem Technical Writing LLC.

I first met Laurel Jew back in 1995 when I started consulting with, and then working for, Printrak. In fact, I joined Printrak when Laurel went on maternity leave. (I was one of two people who joined Printrak at that time. As I’ve previously noted, Laurel needed two people to replace her.)

Laurel worked for Printrak and its predecessor De La Rue Printrak for several years in its proposals organization.

Today, her biometric and communication experience is available to you. Tandem Technical Writing provides its clients with “15 years of proposal writing and biometrics technology background with high win %.”

Why does this matter to you? Because Laurel not only understands your biometric business, but also understands how to communicate to your biometric clients. Not many people can do both, so Laurel is a rarity in this industry.

The Tandem Technical Writing website is here.

To schedule a consultation, click here.

Applied Forensic Services

Perhaps your needs are more technical. Maybe you need someone who is a certified forensics professional, and who has also implemented many biometric systems. If that is your need, then you will want to consider Applied Forensic Services LLC.

I met Mike French in 2009 when Safran acquired Motorola’s biometric business and merged it into its U.S. subsidiary Sagem Morpho, creating MorphoTrak (“Morpho” + “Printrak”). I worked with him at MorphoTrak and IDEMIA until 2020.

Unlike me, Mike is a true forensic professional. (See his LinkedIn profile.) Back in 1994, when I was still learning to spell AFIS, Mike joined the latent print unit at the King County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office, where he spent over a decade before joining Sagem Morpho. He is an IAI-certified Latent Print Examiner, an IEEE-certified Biometric Professional, and an active participant in IAI and other forensic activities. I’ve previously referenced his advice on why agencies should conduct their own AFIS benchmarks.

Why does this matter to you? Because Mike’s consultancy, Applied Forensic Services, can provide expert advice on biometric procurements and implementation, ensuring that you get the biometric system that addresses your needs.

Applied Forensic Services offers the following consulting services:

The Applied Forensic Services website is here.

To schedule a consultation, click here.

Yes, there are others

There are other companies that can help you with friction ridge and face marketing, writing, and consultation services.

I specifically mention these two because I have worked with their principals both as an employee during my Printrak-to-IDEMIA years, and as a sole proprietor during my Bredemarket years. Laurel and Mike are both knowledgeable, dedicated, and can add value to your firm or agency.

And, unlike some experienced friction ridge and face experts, Laurel and Mike are still working and have not retired. (“Where have you gone, Peter Higgins…”)

Bredemarket announcement: change in business scope

Effective immediately:

  1. Bredemarket does not accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using (a) friction ridges (including fingerprints and palm prints) and/or (b) faces.
  2. Bredemarket does not accept client work for solutions that identify individuals using secure documents, such as driver’s licenses or passports. 

Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services: Iterating LinkedIn/Facebook Page/Group Names

Author’s Note: this is one of two seemingly unrelated Bredemarket blog posts that form a cohesive whole. Actually PART of a cohesive whole.

Introduction

It would be nice if my initial plans for my consultancy Bredemarket were perfect and addressed my consulting needs for years to come. But my plans are NOT perfect, in part because I can’t anticipate what will happen in the future.

And so I iterate. Which is why I’m renaming the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group and the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page.

In this post I examine why I created Facebook groups and showcase pages in the first place, why I originally named the Facebook group “Bredemarket General Business Services,” why I subsequently named the LinkedIn showcase page “Bredemarket Local Firm Services,” and why I’m changing things.

Why create Facebook groups and LinkedIn showcase pages?

When I established Bredemarket in 2020, I knew that I wanted to target multiple customers. This sentence on the Bredemarket home page has remained unchanged since 2020:

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits.

From https://bredemarket.com/

These four customer groups have some different needs. A nonprofit’s concerns differ from those of a fingerprint identification software vendor. Because of this, I wanted to find a way to talk directly to these customers.

Back in November 2020, I started by creating a LinkedIn showcase page entitled Bredemarket Identity Firm Services. I started with this one because I had a need to communicate with just my identity customers. As of April 21, 2022, 186 people are following this showcase page to receive identity-only content.

Why I created the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group

I didn’t stop with that one LinkedIn showcase page. By July 2021, I had created a second LinkedIn showcase page devoted to technology, but was also creating Facebook groups.

So Bredemarket…has Facebook groups that are somewhat similar to the Bredemarket LinkedIn showcase pages. One difference is that I have three groups on Facebook. In addition to the identity and technology groups, I also have a general business group. At this point it didn’t make sense to create a LinkedIn showcase page for general business, but it did make sense for Bredemarket to have such a group on Facebook.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/07/16/how-and-why-a-company-should-use-linkedin-showcase-pages/

You can see how these Facebook groups (and LinkedIn showcase pages) are derived from my original 2020 statement of Bredemarket’s target markets. To a point; as I noted, I didn’t create a general business showcase page on LinkedIn, and even today I don’t have a nonprofit LinkedIn showcase page or a nonprofit Facebook group.

But I would begin to pivot Bredemarket’s business that summer.

Why I created the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page

By September 2021, I was questioning my market segmentation.

As I write this, Bredemarket has no clients in my hometown of Ontario, California, or in any of the nearby cities. In fact, my closest clients are located in Orange County, where I worked for 25 years.

It’s no secret that I’ve been working to rectify that gap and drum up more local business.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/09/03/shattering-my-assumptions-by-using-linkedin-for-local-marketing/

After attending Jay Clouse’s September 2021 New Client Challenge, I determined to pursue this local market more aggressively and determined how I was NOT going to pursue Inland Empire West customers.

So when I market to local businesses, I’ll want to do that via relevant Facebook Groups. Obviously I won’t market the local services via LinkedIn or Twitter, because those services are not tailored to local service marketing.

From https://bredemarket.com/2021/09/03/shattering-my-assumptions-by-using-linkedin-for-local-marketing/

Let me draw out the implied assumption in that statement above, that even the Facebook marketing would be via groups created by other people. It wasn’t like I was going to create my OWN local Facebook group or anything like that. I was going to post in the Facebook groups created by others.

Anyway, proving that my initial plans are NOT perfect, I fairly quickly changed my mind regarding LinkedIn, deciding to create a LinkedIn showcase page devoted to local services, even though I didn’t have (or need) a parallel Facebook group.

And in fact I’d cheat by adapting the artwork for the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group and repurpose it for use in the Bredemarket Local Business Services LinkedIn showcase page.

This appeared to be a brilliant idea, and the new local LinkedIn showcase page was successful. Not as successful as the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services LinkedIn page, but it certainly provided me with an avenue to speak just to the local community.

Aren’t I brilliant?

Why I’m changing the names of the Facebook group and LinkedIn showcase page

Well, maybe not so brilliant.

Time went on, and I would share identity stuff to the “Identity Firm Services” showcase page and group, and I would share technology stuff to the “Technology Firm Services” showcase page and group. When I wanted to share local stuff, I’d obviously share it on the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page, and sometimes I’d also share it on the Bredemarket General Business services Facebook group.

But this raised two questions.

What is the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group?

The third market category that I created in 2020 isn’t making sense in 2022. If you go to the Bredemarket General Business Services Facebook group today, it’s kind of vague. In fact, you could say it’s, um, general.

If you scroll through the group posts, you’ll see a lot of posts from me that have to do with businesses in California’s Inland Empire.

Because I do not moderate the posts in the group, other people like to post, and their posts can be, um, general. For example, there is one person who occasionally posts things like this.

Now I have no reason to reject the post, because the poster isn’t violating any group rule. However, this person could use the services of a marketing and writing professional. The company is doing SOME things right. such as advertising the services provided, including illustrative pictures, and incorporating a call to action. The call to action, of course, is to call…

…061 531 5144?

For those who aren’t familliar with geography, Kempton Park is outside of Pretoria, in South Africa. Which means that if I had wanted the company to provide a quote when my own roof was damaged by winds, I would have to call the country code 27 first, THEN call the local area code 61 and the local number 531 5144.

Somehow I doubt that Ontario, California is in this company’s service area.

Now I could have posted a comment along the lines of “You idiot! Do you really think that people in this group are going to contract with a roofer on another continent?” But I didn’t do that. Instead, I simply commented with this question:

Where is the service located?

From https://www.facebook.com/groups/bredemarketbusiness/posts/1034813817123791/

Over a week later, the original poster hasn’t responded to my question. I guess the poster is too busy writing “Thought the group would like this” posts on every “general business service” Facebook group. (Terrible waste of the poster’s time, when you think about it.)

And that’s what can happen when you create a group for “general business services.” It’s too general.

What is the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page?

Thankfully I avoided this same problem when I created the Bredemarket Local Firm Services LinkedIn showcase page.

Or did I?

If you don’t know me or my background and encounter a showcase page devoted to “local firm services,” what are you going to think?

That’s right. The page name doesn’t mention the locality that is the focus of the page.

Next thing I know, my roofing friend is going to discover my Linkedin showcase page and start posting weekly, with an equal lack of success.

How do I make these better?

So it’s obvious that both the LinkedIn showcase page and Facebook group would benefit from a refocus and a rename.

But what name?

If you had asked me this question in September 2021, I would have chosen the name “Bredemarket Inland Empire West Firm Services.” My local marketing target at that point was businesses in Ontario, California and the surrounding cities. “Inland Empire” was too broad a term for those cities, but “Inland Empire West” is a real estate term that fits nicely in my target market area.

This also tied in with a marketing promotion that I was running at the time, in which I would offer a discount for customers in this immediate area. However, I recently rescinded that promotion (as part of the numerous changes I’m currently making to Bredemarket’s business). Since I wasn’t making money (from an opportunity cost perspective) with my regular package pricing, I certainly wouldn’t make money with DISCOUNTED package pricing.

At the same time, I was getting less strict about keeping my target within the Inland Empire West, and was therefore open to extending throughout the Inland Empire. Although most of my online collateral is currently targeted to the Inland Empire West, I won’t turn down business from Moreno Valley or Redlands.

So perhaps I could use the name “Bredemarket Inland Empire Firm Services,” without the “West.”

But I didn’t like that either.

While “Firm” implies that I work with businesses and not individuals (I don’t write resumes), I figured it would be clearer if I used “B2B” instead of firm. “Business-to-Business” would be better, but that would make the page/group title awfully long. Of course some people don’t know what “B2B” means, but that could be an effective filter; if you don’t know what “B2B” means, you’re not going to use Bredemarket’s services anyway.

Having settled on the title “Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services,” it was now a matter of making the title change. (Without changing the legacy URLs and potentially breaking existing links.)

So now I can formally re-announce…

…the Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services LinkedIn showcase page.

And…

…the Bredemarket Inland Empire B2B Services Facebook group.

Bredmarket Inland Empire B2B Services Facebook group
From https://www.facebook.com/groups/bredemarketbusiness

Again, the URLs don’t match the page/group titles because of legacy issues, but I think it’s better than what was before. And hopefully this will focus the content and make it more relevant.

Unless you’re a Pretoria homeowner with a leaky roof.

Why I Raised Bredemarket’s Consulting Package Prices

Author’s Note: this is one of two seemingly unrelated Bredemarket blog posts that form a cohesive whole. Actually PART of a cohesive whole.

Introduction

I’m making a lot of changes at Bredemarket right now, but I haven’t announced all of them.

For example, when I discontinued two of my editing packages (see my previous post “Bredemarket announcement: discontinuation of editing offerings”), I simultaneously raised the prices of two of my writing packages. I didn’t make a formal announcement at the time, for the obvious reason that potential clients usually don’t respond positively to a price increase.

But as I thought about it some more, I realized that there are benefits to explaining why I raised my prices, both from a “macro” perspective and from a “micro” perspective. (Yes, my BA is in Economics.)

Once I explained my rationale in raising consulting package prices, I knew that some potential clients would NOT want to do business with Bredemarket, but that other potential clients definitely WOULD use Bredemarket’s services. And I want to work with the latter group, because they pay better.

Service pricing from the macro perspective

Simplistically, there are two price tiers for people like me who offer writing services. I won’t characterize them with positive or negative adjectives, but those two tiers can be decribed as follows.

One pricing tier for writing services

One of the pricing tiers is definitely lower than the other tier, and these writing services can be provided by anybody, in any location, for a low price.

Selected Fiverr prices for case study writers, starting at $5.
From https://www.fiverr.com/search/gigs?query=writing%20case%20study. And yes, one of these profiles mentions “HAVARD” (sic).

In fact, price is the main driver for clients who pursue writers in this tier. This Reddit comment illustrates how conversations between contractors and clients proceed in this lower pricing tier.

I had this exchange last week:

Guy: What is your rate for 1000 words?

Me: $50

Guy: That is so expensive! My other writers do that for $10-15.

Me: Then why don’t you get them to do it?

He was not very impressed with my tone. I burned that bridge, I guess. Damn shame.

From https://www.reddit.com/r/freelanceWriters/comments/8e24y1/gee_1_cent_per_word_you_are_a_generous_one_idiots/dxsn8fb/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

Ironically, as another commenter pointed out, this contractor’s pricing isn’t all that high either. Let’s do the math:

  • $10 for 1,000 words works out to $0.01 (one cent) per word.
  • $50 for 1,000 words works out to $0.05 (five cents) per word.

In order to make a decent living at these rates, you have to write quickly.

Living wages protest in New York City.
By The All-Nite Images from NY, NY, USA – Fight for $15 on 4/15, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44970534

And now you know why so many pennies per word writers live in the Third World. They can afford to live on these rates.

And why the “guy” quoted in the Reddit comment above didn’t immediately go to his $10 writers. I guess his $10 writers weren’t turning out quality writing at those rates.

The other pricing tier for writing services

Some writers choose not to compete on price, instead competing on expertise and level of service, and/or by targeting a particular clientele. Morning Brew cites a Business Insider behind-the-paywall post about one high-end offering.

Some ghostwriters on LinkedIn are making $500–$700 an hour writing posts for high-powered execs and LinkedInfluencers, according to Insider. 

From https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/linkedin-ghostwriters-hourly-rates
A very expensive watch.
By Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1958013

First, look at the market these ghostwriters target: executives and influencers. While the term “LinkedInfluencers” has extremely negative connotations, there are people on LinkedIn who write posts to achieve very specific (and measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, or SMART) goals, such as talent attraction, lead generation, or revenue realization.

To help their clients reach these SMART goals, the ghostwriters need to provide a superior level of service. The ghostwriters must understand the clients’ goals for the project and work closely with the client to ensure the final written text addresses those goals.

Finally, the ghostwriters need to have one or more types of expertise.

  • General expertise in writing. Can the ghostwriter effectively communicate the client’s message, incorporating a focus on the client’s customers and an explanation of the benefits the client’s customers can realize by following the client’s advice?
  • Expertise in the client’s industry. Can the ghostwriter communicate the client’s message in a way that is convincing to the client’s customers, and in a way that establishes the client’s expertise?
  • Expertise in LinkedIn. Can the ghostwriter produce something that readers on LinkedIn will find? I hesitate to use the word “viral” because of its negative connotations, but if a client wants a LinkedIn article to be read by potential purchasers of electric cars, then the article has to be written in such a way that it will appear on the LinkedIn feeds of potential electric car purchasers.

Guess what? You’re not going to get someone to write that for $10.

Service pricing from the micro perspective

Now let’s look at (some) specifics of my own business, and how my initial pricing affected my business. I’m going to concentrate on two of my service packages: my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service and my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

When I initially started Bredemarket and created these (and other) service packages, I already envisioned that these offering would include production of one (or more) drafts with review by the client, and submission of the final copy.

A short four-bullet description of the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.
September 2020 description of the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

And then I started offering both packages to clients, with rates that fell between the $0.01 per word category and the $700 per hour category. Over the next 16 months, I worked on client projects based upon these packages and prices, using Toggl Track to keep track of the time I actually spent on each project.

At the same time I iteratively expanded my process for completing these packages, adding more value to my offering by beefing up the beginning stages of the project (most recently by incorporating new kickoff questions based on Simon Sinke’s Golden Circle) and adding additional services through the course of the project.

At the beginning of 2022, I audited these hours to see the time that I spent on each package project. Then I asked myself: if I had charged my hourly rate instead of the package rate, would I have made more money with the hourly rate, or more money with the package rate? I figured that if I would make more money by charging an hourly rate, then I was losing money with my then-current package rates.

Guess what? I was losing money (from an opportunity cost perspective) because I had underestimated the hours that I would spend on these package projects. In some cases I would have made twice as much at my hourly rate than I did at the package rate.

To address this opportunity cost revenue gap, I had two choices:

  • Work faster by doing less. (“Who cares about benefits? Who cares about your goals? I’ll just put some words together and we’ll be finished. No, this doesn’t include HAVARD citations.”)
  • Charge more by raising my consulting package pricing.

Rather than reducing the level of service I provided to clients, I chose to raise my consulting package pricing.

But should I tell anyone that I raised my consulting package prices?

If you look at the September 2020 description of my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service above, you’ll see that I didn’t provide my package pricing. I just said “$Quote.” I figured that I would only share this pricing with potential clients who were well into the sales funnel.

This is not uncommon for service providers or product providers. How many times have you gone to a company website to find the price of something and encountered the words “contact us for pricing” or something similar?

In essence, the company will have a salesperson contact you, explain the benefits of the solution in question, and THEN quote the price after you are awed and dazzled by the solution’s benefits.

But there are other views on the matter of exposing vs. not exposing pricing, and there people who state the benefits of providing transparent pricing for services. You can find many sources for the “show pricing” argument, but I like the way that Pia Silva stated the “show priing” case in this Forbes article. Here are two of Silva’s benefits for this approach:

Pricing transparency immediately weeds out bargain shoppers, which are people I’m not interested in working with. If you want a healthy, profitable service business, you must have a decent margin on your work, and that will never be in line with a customer whose only concern is the price point (which is a short-sighted way to make business decisions)….

I believe the best way communicate [values]…is by doing something very transparent that demonstrates integrity, i.e. being upfront about our pricing and not changing it based on what we think the client can afford.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/piasilva/2018/09/26/should-i-put-my-prices-on-my-website/?sh=43c2aed314f5

So my pricing for the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service and the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service is now public. But there’s a catch.

I’m not posting the pricing in this blog post. (What if I decide to raise the prices in May 2022?)

I raise my prices often…

Pia Silva, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/piasilva/2018/09/26/should-i-put-my-prices-on-my-website/?sh=43c2aed314f5

I’m not even posting the pricing on the two web pages in question.

Instead, you have to go to the web page(s) in question (Bredemarket 400, Bredemarket 2800) and download the appropriate service brochure.

What happens when you read one of the two brochures?

  • You read a high-level description of the service.
  • You see a cutesy picture of a town crier or library, as appropriate.
Town crier.
The “town crier” image that I use with the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service. By Unknown author – postcard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7691878
  • You read about the Bredemarket content creation process. While there are slight differences between the Bredemarket 400 and Bredemarket 2800 content creation processes, each process is extensive, with nine steps. I’m not in the business of “you ask me to write something, and I’ll complete it 27 minutes later.”
  • Only AFTER you have read about the service and the content creation process do I provide my pricing. It’s kind of like a traditional sales pitch, but in written form.
A vegetable salesman in a Third World country.
Would you buy a writing service from this man? By Rrinsindika – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18357924

So if you’re in the market for writing services, go to either of these two pages and download the brochure at the top of the page.

For written content between 400 and 600 words, go to the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service page.

For written content between 2800 and 3200 words, go to the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service page.

Once you download the appropriate brochure(s), you’ll have one of three reactions:

  • “I can get writers to do that for $10-15!” (I burned the bridge with you, I guess. Damn shame.)
  • Sorry, but you sound amateur. I need a real expert. I’ll find someone who charges ten times that amount and get excellent service.
  • Hmm, that sounds about right. When can we talk further?

Well, if you’re in the third group and want to talk further…

Fontana, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Fontana, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented almost 14,000 firms, over $1 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $2 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Fontana, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Two TERRIBLE ways to promote your business

Both small and large businesses need to attract customers to their companies, their products, and their services. Once potential customers are aware of the company’s business, then they can consider the benefits of the company’s offerings and (hopefully) decide to purchase the company’s products and services.

But what if you don’t want people to buy your company’s products and services?

When you DON’T want to promote your business

With little effort—REALLY little effort—your business could look like this! By Joadl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4993153

For example, what if you business is simply a money laundering front, for which making sales would actually be a detriment? Take this example from the Department of Justice:

Edgar Porras, 49, of Moreno Valley, was charged in a criminal information filed today with one count of bid rigging. In a plea agreement also filed today, Porras agreed to plead guilty to the offense.

During the scheme that ran from 2013 through August 2018, Porras conspired “to suppress and restrain competition by rigging bids to obtain selected food contracts offered by the BOP,” according to court documents. To further the scheme, Porras, who was a contractor to a food company identified as “Company A,” agreed with co-conspirators not to compete to obtain the BOP contracts, and collectively they decided which conspirator would submit the lowest – and presumably winning – bid for a contract.

From https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/inland-empire-man-agrees-plead-guilty-bid-rigging-scheme-obtain-contracts-provide-food

By spending his time on rigging bids, the guilty party made sure that he couldn’t actually spend valuable time improving prison food. And we certainly don’t want that.

If you want to ensure that your business doesn’t make money, then I have two helpful tips for you.

Two TERRIBLE tips for business promotion

Tip 1: It’s all about you

When potential customers research businesses, they are usually looking for a company that can solve their problems. In other words, customers want a business that speaks to the customer’s needs.

However, we all know that the customer is always wrong, and that customers don’t realize what is important to YOU, the business owner. (What is wrong with these customers?)

Therefore, it’s important that your marketing materials talk about YOUR concerns, rather than the concerns of the customer. This will impress the customer, who will obviously realize that their concerns are unimportant compared to YOURS.

Here are three examples of things to include in your marketing materials:

  • Spend a lot of time talking about when the company was founded, the number of patents and awards held by the company founder, some early stories that you find funny (why isn’t the Bill Gates arrest story on the front page of Microsoft’s website?), and how the company has changed since its earliest days.
  • If your company is a startup that just received Series C funding, spend a lot of time talking about the funding and the dollar amount. Customers will be impressed at the monetary value. And if not, they should be.
  • When talking about your company’s products and services, be sure to concentrate on the features that impress your employees. Don’t try to apply these products to actual customer needs; customers should be able to figure this out themselves. Or just take the word of your engineers that the product is great.

If you write company-centric rather than customer-centric materials, then you are guaranteed to have customers ignore you, or even better avoid you.

Tip 2: Never update your content

Set it and forget it. It’s an easy way to maintain online content.

Granted, when you first create a website, a blog, or a social media account, creation of initial content is unavoidable. Now it’s quite possible that you can delay the appearance of that content by not posting anything until the content is perfect, but at some point the content is going to have to go live.

But once that unavoidable posting is complete, then your job is done. If you keep the same static content on there, you’ll maintain consistency. To maintain that consistency, be sure to avoid the following three things:

  • Avoid posting any new content. Once you post new content, then the search engines will flag and highlight the new content. And you don’t want the new content to appear more important than the old content, do you?
  • Avoid updating old information on your website or social media content. Outdated content such as 2015 copyright dates and references to Windows NT support are powerful messages that accentuate the long time that your company has been in business, without cluttering it up by mentioning anything modern. If your company was established in the 1990s, then animated GIFs and automated MIDI players convey an essential lack of innovation. For example, see http://www.netanimations.net/ (and yes, that’s http, not https).
  • Avoid updating outdated links. If you have a Twitter account that links to your website, and you fail to pay your web hosting bill, be sure that the Twitter account continues to link to the dead website. When the potential customer encounters the dead website, this will pique the customer’s curiosity and the customer will search for your new website, if any.
This screenshot was originally posted in “Three ways to prove to your customers that your firm is an ongoing, viable concern.” And no, I didn’t identify the business in question. Are you motivated to find it?

Professional salespeople often talk about pre-qualifying leads. If you follow the three steps above, then you will automatically pre-qualify your leads, since any customer who takes the time to find your current information is obviously motivated.

If you want to ignore my advice

Because I am always right, you will obviously follow my advice to alienate potential customers. If you instead choose to attract customers, then you’ll ignore my advice and do the exact opposite of what I say.

But what’s the fun in customer-centric, current content?

When you’re interested in everything, you’re interested in nothing

Some people know what they will do, and what they will not do.

Other people say they will do anything.

Don’t trust the second group of people.

Checking all the boxes in a Bredemarket contact submission form

As you may know, Bredemarket has an online contact page that allows people to request information from me. The form on this page includes several checkboxes (recently edited) that allow the submitter to specify if they are interested in one of Bredemarket’s standard packages.

Occasionally I’ll get a submission from someone who checked ALL of the check boxes. In 100% of those cases, it turns out that the person is NOT interested in ANY of Bredemarket’s standard packages, but in something else. (In the most recent example, someone wanted to write a guest post on the Bredemarket blog that had NOTHING to do with marketing or writing services. No thanks.)

Checking all the boxes in a proposal

It reminds me about the time, many years ago, when I wrote an RFP. This was years before I actually began responding to RFPs, by the way. The consultant that our company brought in suggested that we create a Request for Proposal for a particular service that our company wanted. The main part of the created RFP was a check list to see if the respondent provided a particular feature that we wanted. The responses that we received fell into two categories:

  • Some respondents checked every check box with no further comment. We concluded that they hadn’t actually read the RFP, so we ignored these proposals.
  • Other respondents checked most of the check boxes, but provided text for certain responses explaining that they had a different approach. Since these people read the RFP, we paid more attention to those responses.

Now I’ll grant that this filtering method doesn’t work for all proposals. Some RFPs truly demand mandatory compliance with every requirement. But in those cases, the RFPs usually require to say how they will perform each requirement. A simple “we do it” response is not sufficient.

Checking all the boxes in a business offering

The “check everything” rule also applies in one other instance: company offerings.

When a company states the products and services it will offer, the statement usually sets a boundary between what the company will do and what the company will not do.

Usually.

For example, this post from Reddit’s HireaWriter gives a clear picture of the writer’s strengths:

…I have a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting (writing for film, TV and radio), and I’m currently studying English Literature to further my skills. I’m about to be on summer holidays for a few months and I’m looking to collaborate on some writing projects.

I have freelance experience, writing YouTube scripts and some podcast work, I’m very capable of both fiction and non- fiction…

From https://www.reddit.com/r/HireaWriter/comments/u2ydhh/writer_looking_for_new_projects/

So if I need a YouTube script, I’ll consider this person. If I need an article for Foreign Affairs, maybe not.

But other company offerings are…less focused. You’ve probably seen the posts (I won’t link to them) from people who say that they write. When you ask what they write, they say that they write anything.

Now I guess that theoretically, I can write anything. (Heck, I wrote the Eastport Enquirer, which you can probably guess wasn’t high-minded business prose.) But I’m not going to make a living by writing 19th century fiction or French political positions. I’ll stick closer to content marketing and proposals if you don’t mind.

Oh, and I don’t offer editing packages any more.

When I will style myself John E. Bredehoft, HubSpot Academy Content Marketing Certified…and when I won’t

TL;DR: Today I received HubSpot Academy certification in Content Marketing.

This post explains why it feels familiar to a previous post of mine, what this certification is, and when I will (and will not) use my shiny new HubSpot Academy certification. It also includes a different call to action than the one I usually use.

Deja vu all over again: remember my CF APMP certification?

While certification in and of itself does not necessarily indicate operating confidence, it provides some level of assurance that the certified person knows what he or she is talking about.

Which is why I pursued and achieved APMP Foundation certification (CF APMP) in September 2021.

For those who don’t know, the Association of Proposal Management Professionals provides many benefits, including improved service to Bredemarket clients because of my access to the APMP Body of Knowledge.

It also provides a mechanism for proposal professionals to certify their mastery of the proposal field.

Which is great, if you’re a proposal professional.

But I also do other stuff.

What does it mean to be “Content Marketing Certified”?

My Bredemarket consultancy can be sliced and diced in several ways, one of which is to look at the proposals side of my business and the content marketing side of the business. The latter concentrates on generating content that attracts customers to a company’s offering, leading to revenue. At Bredemarket, I practice content marketing on two levels:

  • I create content for Bredemarket that attracts customers to use my services.
  • I create content for my customers that attracts THEIR customers to use THEIR services.

In a sense, Bredemarket itself acts as a laboratory in which I can try out ideas that I can subsequently implement with my customers, ranging from creating a targeted LinkedIn showcase page for one customer segment (local customers) to creating initial versions of “pillar pages” that I can continue to iterate and flesh out with additional content.

As you can see from the text of the certificate above, content marketing encompasses numerous subtasks:

  • Long-term content planning. Haphazard creation of content is not as beneficial as creation of content to achieve a particular goal.
  • Content creation. An important part of the process, but ONLY a part.
  • Content promotion. If you build it, they may not come. They have to know about it first.
  • Content analysis. Analyzing pertinent factors about the performance of the content.
  • Increasing results. Does the content increase revenue?

What about the shiny new designation that comes with the shiny new badge?

Unlike other certifications such as an academic degree, PMP certification, or my APMP Foundation certification, there is not a suffix that I can add to my name to tout my credentials. So I can’t call myself “John E. Bredehoft, HSA CMC” or something like that. (You should only use acronyms sparingly anyway.)

But I can certainly refer to my certification in certain circumstances.

Here’s a quic: which of these would be appropriate?

If you answer the correct question in this quiz…YOU GET NOTHING.

A different call to action

If you read the Bredemarket blog on a regular basis, you’ve probably seen my usual three-bullet call to action ad nauseum.

So this time I’m going to use a different one.

If you will benefit from achieving a HubSpot Academy certification in content marketing, follow the link below.

You don’t need to be a paid user of HubSpot, or even a free user of HubSpot, to get this certification (although you will need a HubSpot account).

And the certification is not constrained to use of the HubSpot application; other tools are prominently mentioned in the course.

Timewise, I spent several hours a day over several days taking the course, including the time that I spent applying some of the suggestions.

To access the HubSpot Academy course in content marketing, go to

https://academy.hubspot.com/courses/content-marketing

Happy learning.