I Tell Stories. Here’s Mine.
My first real job was covering sports for my hometown newspaper, the Brick Town News. Before I had a driver’s license, I had a press pass. I got into every event for free and wrote about everything from high school sports to the semi-pro hockey team that played at the local ice rink. Not a bad gig for a high school sophomore.
I went off to study communications and journalism at Bradley University, had an internship at a radio station, and got the radio bug. After graduating, I spent a few years as a radio DJ at the Jersey Shore where I grew up.
Money was terrible and the hours were worse, but I was getting paid to play music, talk between songs, and go out to live broadcasts. Pro beach volleyball tournaments, hosting a party for the series finale of Seinfeld, interviewing contestants in the “Wannabe a Spice Girl” contest at the MTV Beach House… good times indeed.
Then I had a chance to work behind the scenes writing and producing ads for broadcast radio stations and a national internet radio advertising network in New York. This was definitely my calling because it brought me back to my writing roots. I won a bunch of awards and my mom got a kick out of displaying the trophies, but I was more interested in delivering results for the client.
My radio clients kept asking me to do special projects on the side, so I launched my first copywriting website on St. Patrick’s Day of 2006. Then social media became a thing. Website content started focusing less on keyword stuffing for search and more on delivering a value to the user. Blogs evolved from online megaphones for anyone with a half-baked opinion to strategic marketing tools. In June of 2013, I was able to turn my side job into a full-time business.
So why is any of this relevant?
Journalism and radio made me a better content writer.
A good content writer is a good journalist first. I ask a lot of questions to learn about your business, goals, challenges, clients, and competition. There’s a lot of heavy lifting before the writing happens, but that’s the only way to develop a message that matters to your ideal client.
When I wrote radio commercials, I had anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds to connect with listeners. I had no choice but to be clear and concise. And because the scripts were being spoken, they had to sound natural and believable. I take the same approach to writing content. Clarity, simplicity, and authenticity above all else.
What started as a few side jobs is now my full-time business, which is something few writers can say. I’m based in New Jersey but have clients all over the country in every industry you can imagine. I really should get on Jeopardy someday with all the information I’ve absorbed. Of course, if I had my choice, I’d probably go back on the radio. Just for fun, not to pay the bills.
In the meantime, life is good. A beautiful wife who keeps me in line, two little girls who keep me on my toes, and a successful business. Not too shabby, as Adam Sandler once said.
So that’s my story. But I’d rather tell yours. Let’s talk.