Way, way back in the last millennium, professional writers would possess specialized types of books that helped them write. Of course in those days, “books” were thick objects made of wood products that did not need power or an operating system to function.
For example, at my first job out of college, my boss gave me a dictionary so that I could look up words and ensure that I was spelling them correctly. Over the years I have also owned thesauruses, general style guides, and more specific guides for proposal writing.
These books still exist today, although they may be in electronic form. But this information may also be available in other forms, where you don’t have to obtain an entire book to answer a single question.
For example, take questions about spelling. I am composing this paragraph in the WordPress iOS mobile app, and if I type a word that appears to be misspelled, I will receive a suggestion of the proper spelling. I don’t need to open up Merriam-Webster for anything!
Synonyms are also easier to discover. If I’m in Microsoft Word, I can just select the word and see a list of synonyms. Alternatively, I can just ask my smart speaker to fetch me a lot of synonyms.
And there are other one-off questions. I recently shared an example of a source that answered a specific question that I had. I wanted to pose the classic identity question “who he says he is” but wanted to use the singular they to do so.
These are just a few examples. Many of the writing questions that required a book to answer in the last millennium are just a few keystrokes or voice commands away.
So you can get free answers to all of your writing questions in seconds!
Well, not really free.
If you look at the Word Hippo example above, four words appear at the very top that have nothing to do with “large amount.”
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My 1980s Merriam-Webster dictionary didn’t have advertisements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s standard office hours are now from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon Pacific time on Saturdays. I have discontinued Monday-Friday weekday office hours. I am available by appointment outside of my office hours (please confirm first).
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.
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…
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.
Behind the scenes, I have been spending the past month examining the services Bredemarket offers, and how my service offerings can best meet my goals for 2022 (including the super-secret goal that I am not publishing). As a result of this examination, I plan to make several changes to Bredemarket’s service offerings, one of which I am announcing today.
Effective immediately, Bredemarket is no longer offering editing services.
Some of you will recall that my “What I Do” page originally listed five writing service offerings:
At the same time that Bredemarket helps other firms to market themselves, Bredemarket has to market ITSELF, including social media marketing. And for the past year I’ve subscribed to the following formula:
Use LinkedIn for professional marketing to biometric/identity and technology clients.
Use Twitter as a supplement to this.
Use Facebook as a supplement to this, and also use Facebook as Bredemarket’s sole foray into “general business” marketing.
It sounded like a good formula at the time…but now I’m questioning the assumptions behind it. And I’m hoping that I can prove one of my assumptions wrong.
My initial assumptions about marketing to local businesses
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.
So this was an opportune time for me to encounter Jay Clouse’s September 2021 New Client Challenge. (It’s similar to a challenge Clouse ran in August 2020. Repurposing is good.) Clouse’s first question to all participants asked which market we would be targeting, and in my case the local small business market seemed an obvious choice.
And this dialogue played in my mind…
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.
Questioning my assumptions
Then I realized that I was wrong, for two reasons.
First, there are LinkedIn groups that concentrate on my local area, just as there are LinkedIn groups that concentrate on biometrics. I had already quit a number of the dormant Inland Empire LinkedIn groups, but I was still a member of two such groups and could (tastefully) market there.
If LinkedIn doesn’t provide an opportunity for me to do something, why don’t I tailor my use of LinkedIn and provide myself the opportunity?
Specifically, some of you may recall that I only have two LinkedIn showcase pages, but I have three Facebook groups.
“Bredemarket Identity Firm Services” is present on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
“Bredemarket Technology Firm Services” is present on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
“Bredemarket General Business Services” is only present on Facebook.
I explained the rationale for the lack of a third LinkedIn showcase page in a nice neat summary:
Using myself as an example, I have segmented my customers into markets: the identity (biometrics / secure documents) specific market (my primary market), the general technology market, and the general business market. I don’t even target the general business market on LinkedIn (I do on Facebook), but I’ve created showcase pages for the other two.
If you consider that “local business services” is a subset of “general business services,” some of you can see where this is going.
But it took a while for the thought to pound its way into my brain:
Why DON’T you target the (local) general business market on LinkedIn?
I could just create a new showcase page, a process that would only take a few minutes. I wouldn’t even have to create any new artwork, since I could simply repurpose the Facebook general business artwork and use it for a LinkedIn local business showcase page. (Repurposing is good.)
I’m going to an in-person event next week. For my younger readers (i.e. those who developed awareness after 2019), an “in-person event” is something where you are actually in the same room as the people that you are meeting, rather than looking at them in boxes on your computer screen
After registering for the event, I realized that I had never printed business cards for Bredemarket. So I designed one on Canva and ordered it that same day, August 9.
I waited for tangible collateral
Canva filled the order and turned it over to a delivery service on August 10. I won’t name the delivery service, but it does business with the federal government and has an express business in addition to its ground business.
And the delivery service provides some good tracking of all the packages that it handles. I’d simply reproduce the tracking entries, but the most recent stops are first, which doesn’t lend itself to storytelling. So I’ll just reproduce selected stops on the way.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Left FedEx origin facility
Shipment exceptionBarcode label unreadable and replaced
Arrived at FedEx location
Shipment information sent to FedEx
That’s actually pretty nice, I thought at the time. The order was fulfilled within a few hundred miles of Bredemarket’s world headquarters in Ontario, California, and would certainly arrive in time for my in-person meeting.
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Arrived at FedEx location
Very nice. Bloomington is within 20 miles of Ontario, so obviously I should expect my business cards to be delivered by the end of the week.
Friday, August 13, 2021
Departed FedEx location
Um, wait a minute. (Only now did I realize that this transit happened on Friday the 13th. Figures.)
I won’t reproduce the next few entries, but suffice it to say that as of 3:12 pm Central Time on Saturday, August 14, the package arrived at a location in Fort Worth, Texas.
By Tuesday, August 17, my package was still in Texas, and obviously wasn’t going to make it in time for my Wednesday night meeting. As I noted in the fourth post in the series, however, I had a workaround.
So that’s what I handed out on Wednesday, August 18. (Well, the first person only took a picture of the handout rather than taking the handout himself, because he prefers intangible things.)
At one point my expected delivery date was Thursday, August 19. That date came and went without business cards, but at least I got a podcast episode out of it.
Late that night, with my package still in Texas and no updated arrival date, I contacted Canva (even though it wasn’t Canva’s fault) because there wasn’t an efficient way to contact the delivery service. At the time I wondered if the package were truly lost and if I’d need Canva to replace it. I received an email from Canva that pretty much said to wait and see what happened.
Our records show that your print order…is currently in transit to your shipping address….
For a more detailed information about the delivery status, we highly suggest reaching out to the carrier since the order was already dispatched.
However, at the same time that I was filing things with Canva, I was also tweeting about it. And for those who don’t realize this, the social media people for many companies are proactive and really want to help.
Here to sort this out for you, John! Could you DM us your ticket ID (JTP-###…)? We’ll take a look! ^cv
The tweet actually contradicted the email (which said to contact the delivery service). But by the time Canva tweeted the request for my ticket ID, the delivery service had updated my status.
(And yes, I was checking Twitter before 5:00 am. Normally I don’t, but by this time I was really getting bugged about my wandering business cards.)
Later that day, my package finally left its Texas location. I had a momentary fear when it departed…a fear that people who live in Ontario, California will easily understand. Was my package headed back toward Ontario, California…or on its way to Ontario, Canada?
Thankfully, my package was in Deming, New Mexico on Friday evening, so at least it was headed in the right direction.
By Saturday, August 21, the package was back in Bloomington, California. But where would it go next?
Oh, and to top things off, in the middle of this I received a phishing attempt at one of my non-Bredemarket email addresses. Obviously this had nothing to do with my REAL shipment, but I still found it pretty funny.
Back to the question of where my package would go when it left Bloomington. Did my package have a lover in Deming, New Mexico that it wanted to visit for a third time?
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Delivery exceptionFuture delivery requested
At local FedEx facility
Departed FedEx location
Chino is even closer to Ontario than Bloomington. This was a positive move.
Let me explain the “future delivery requested” part. I was promised at one point that the package would be delivered on Sunday, August 22. Unfortunately, my business address (a UPS Store, competitor to the delivery service) is closed on Sunday.
Apparently the delivery service realized this too late, and told me that the package would be delivered Tuesday.
Then I was told that the package would be delivered Monday.
Monday, August 23, 2021
DeliveredSignature on file
On FedEx vehicle for delivery
At local FedEx facility
I drove to my business address and proceeded with the unboxing.
So that’s done. And since I’ve never really used business cards all that frequently, this order should last me a while.
So I just wrote a post that contained general tips for freelancers. But before launching into the meat of the post, I said the following:
I almost considered putting the Bredemarket Premium tag on this and making you pay to read it, but I’m not THAT much of a freelancing expert. (Yet.)
After I completed that post and shared it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, I returned to my Bredemarket Premium idea. While my tips in the other post can help general freelancers, there are some things that I can share that are specific to BIOMETRIC freelancers.
So, here goes.
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