What’s your process for creating a content strategy?

My preferred method is to travel to your location at my expense so I can sit in with your sales and customer service teams for awhile. This is also an optimal time to take some photos and shoot some (basic) video. If I’m not the one who is going to be creating your content then it’s also a chance for me to sit down with your stakeholders so we can get everyone on board.

If I can’t do that, I might ask to arrange some conference calls, or ask you to gather some data for me.

From there, I proceed with a content audit before moving on to creating an in-depth content strategy document that will guide you every step of the way. I also provide ongoing support throughout the year so we can make sure your content is working for you and course-correct as necessary.

What’s your process for your content creation services?

You either tell me you want to implement the strategy I’ve just made for you, or you give me your project parameters. I’ll let you know if it’s something I can handle. I’ll also provide you with a cost estimate and turnaround time. Longer, larger projects I might milestone out (i.e. first draft by the first, second draft by the 30th).

In many cases, if at all possible, I’ll want to talk to you or your SMEs to gather most of the material for your content. I’m great at Google-fu, but I will never be you. “You” is where all the uniqueness comes from.

Finally, I will provide you with your content in an appropriate digital format when it is complete. If you spot problems, let me know. I offer two revisions per piece at no additional charge.

Can you provide me with a writing sample?

Certainly. Tell me what kind of sample you need and I’ll be happy to send it your way.

How much do you charge?

Every single project is different. Once we’ve had our initial phone consultation I’ll create a customized proposal that will include a full cost break-down. There won’t be any surprises: I stick to my estimates once I give them.

Do you use contracts?

Yes, in that I outline what I will do and what I expect to be paid for doing it. I also outline when I will do it and when I expect to be paid.

No, in that I do not lock you into a certain service period. If you’re not happy with my work then you’re free to move on. Hopefully you won’t have to. Most of my clients have been with me for years. I hope to develop the same kind of relationship with you.

do recommend committing to any new content marketing initiative for at least a year. Paying for 4 articles and then declaring the whole thing a waste of time is a waste of your money. Content marketing is a long game strategy. If you don’t give it time, patience, persistence and consistency, it will not work for you. This is only a recommendation.

Do you provide graphics?

I’m happy to snap some photos, add your photographs to content, and/or use stock photos. I am even okay with putting titles onto stock photos.

I can’t draw, paint, Photoshop or manipulate visuals to save my life though, and you don’t want me to. I’m colorblind and I’m told all my pictures hang crooked. I am apparently crooked-blind too, because I don’t know what they’re talking about.

Do you provide SEO services?

Yes, and then again, no.

You will receive SEO benefits by working with me. I know and use best practices to make your content into anything Google would care to show to its users. I use keyword research to figure out what customers want and what they are thinking about. I’m aware of keywords enough that they make it into my writing.

I am not an “SEO pro” in the classic sense of the word. I have no idea how to set up a 301 redirect or how to fix crawl errors. I can’t fix your site if it’s slow. I’ll help you earn links, but I don’t “link build.” I don’t provide reports on your rankings or links or any of that. I do look at what your content is doing. I look at whether your traffic is rising, what pages are bringing in the money, whether you’re getting leads and making sales. I do strive to write the best content I can possibly create.

I work with numerous SEO professionals who are far more adept at the more technical, analytical parts of the discipline, and I’m happy to refer you to some of them if either you or I think you might need their help.

Do you provide web design services? Can you fix issues with my site?

You are looking at the sum total of my web design skills as we speak. You probably want someone with a lot more expertise. I’ll be happy to give you a referral.

Are there any clients you won’t work with?

Yes. I won’t work with you if:

  1. If you are a highly technical company whose SMEs won’t work with me. There is no way to turn myself into an expert on, say, your awesome manufacturing equipment by digging through Google. It just can’t happen. We’ll have to work closely together if I’m going to create anything worthwhile. We’ll have to jump on some calls.
  2. I’ll create your content if you won’t let me do the initial research into your customer base, but I won’t do your content strategy without that step. Even if someone else created your strategy I prefer to do that initial research. It just makes the content 100% better.
  3. I will only do your social media if I am convinced you’re going to remain engaged with your own social sites. I can’t be you on social. I can’t talk or listen for you. I can create and push out content. I can tag people who might be interested in seeing it so your content gets more traction. I cannot answer comments on your behalf, or respond to your messages.
  4. I do not work with bigots of any kind. I will not create hate speech. I will not write racist, sexist, or anti-LGBTQ propaganda. I do have a moral objection to some industries. I also have moral objections to some companies. If it seems like you are actively engaged in making the world a crappier place, I will not work with you. I prefer to work with people who are actively making the world a better place, or who at least aren’t doing anything active to make it any worse.

I have only turned down about 1% of the people who come my way for any of those reasons.

Wait, wait. Are you Raney or Carmen? And who the heck is The Deadline Dervish?

My full, legal name is Carmen Rane Hudson, and you’ll still find some of my work under that name.

I have always hated my first name for a variety of reasons I won’t get into here. In 2019 I began going by the name Raney C. Hudson instead. Some of my friends began using this nickname version of my middle name and I realized I loved it. It felt like “me.” So I ran with it.

For a long time my business was also known as “The Deadline Dervish.” I chose the name because I used to be very fast and I used to specialize in rush jobs. I don’t any more because I’m older now, slower, and a lot more interested in quality over speed. I also didn’t realize the word “dervish” has religious significance for a whole group of people. I honestly thought the word meant “fast.” Nor did I realize that not everyone had not heard the word before. About 10% of people I’ve encountered understood what I was going for. My email address and my base domain name still reflect it because it’s a pain to change the one and I have no idea how to change the other. The whole thing was an excellent lesson in doing a whole lot of research before doing any branding!  Also a lesson in reaching for Webster’s Dictionary before trying to get clever.

I continue to write fiction under the name C.R. Hudson. Some of my self-published book covers have the full name on them. Later manuscripts and screenplays use C.R. Hudson because sadly we still live in a world where a name that makes you look like a dude gets you taken a lot more seriously, and I finally caved in to that fact of life.

What else should I know about you?

I might be a little awkward over the phone or in person. I have ASD. I grew up in the era where only those who were assigned male at birth were diagnosed with autism. I had to train myself to “social” at all. It was like trying to teach myself Chinese. I’ve learned enough to get by. It takes a lot of concentration, and I still make mistakes. I can still be a little “off.” If I come across as slightly nervous, it’s only because I am. In the same way you might be slightly nervous if you were an English-as-first-language speaker auditioning for a play written in the aforementioned Chinese.

I think with my fingers and written communication is my thing. I struggle to small talk and schmooze. The good news is I tend to be pretty honest and straightforward. I may come across a little more abrupt than I mean to sometimes, but I’m also a straight shooter. Thus me telling you all of this when conventional wisdom says I should hide it at all costs and do my best to blend!