1. Describe your work with PlusROI
I usually say “I’m a copywriter” as a form of shorthand to describe what I do. I write blog posts, landing pages, social media copy, product descriptions, and basically anything and everything short of novels or fan-fiction for clients.
However, what I do is about more than just cranking out words on a page. I use my knowledge of SEO, developed over the past ten years, essentially from the beginnings of the discipline of search engine optimization, to make sure webpages and so on will actually show up in search results. I also spend a lot of time thinking about what a customer actually cares about, so I can write copy that’s relevant, and that also “converts”, leading eventually to a sale or other desired action. I also think about how what I do is integrated into the entire “stack” of marketing disciplines, from PPC advertising to email newsletters, that the team at PlusROI executes to ensure our clients achieve success.
2. What’s the best part of your work?
The best part of working at PlusROI is being able to collaborate with friends who share my values, who are friendly and fun to work with, and who all care about making a difference to our clients. After that, the opportunity to learn and master a variety of marketing disciplines while working with PlusROI over the past decade has opened many doors for me. I do work outside of PlusROI and I’ve been recruited for journalism projects, for example, because of my understanding of how “online distribution” works. I now actually work on international projects often in collaboration with the major tech platforms, and it’s all because of the knowledge I learned while working with PlusROI.
I can also work from anywhere in the world (at least when there’s no COVID-19). For example, my family spends part of the year in rural Japan, where we have a house, and working with PlusROI makes this possible.
3. What’s your favourite type of project to work on?
I enjoy marketing B2B technology products and solutions. Learning about bleeding-edge technologies is really fun, and I also quite like interviewing subject-matter experts such as engineers in order to help understand what problem they are solving, and then articulate that for potential customers.
I can then take the lessons I’ve learned about understanding and focusing on the customer to help clients succeed in other industries, such as tourism, which PlusROI specializes in, retail, law and other areas.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned through working in the tech industry?
While technical knowledge is important, the ability to get things done efficiently, creatively and on time is also highly valued. As well, personal relationships and trust also matter. There are a lot of soft skills that are typically more important than technical knowledge when working in the tech industry.
5. I hear journalism has played a big role in your career, can you tell me more about that?
In the early 1990s I attended the Creative Writing program at the University of Victoria, where I learned the basics of the trade of journalism. I did some freelance magazine writing after that, learned Japanese, translated television content for the American market and then did some business reporting. I eventually ended up in government in economic development, but was downsized during the last recession, in 2009. Luckily I met Rob, who needed a writer, and I started work with PlusROI. A few years later, based on the skills I picked up with Rob and Rian, I was recruited by an online news site I used to write for to lead their social media team.
6. You’ve had the chance to travel, can you tell me a bit about some of your favourite destinations or travel stories?
I’ve lived in rural Japan off-and-on since I graduated from UVic in 1994. I’ve traveled all over the country, often to out-of-the-way places that serve good booze and fresh fish. For a while Masae (my wife) and I operated a tourism-planning business, where we helped foreign travellers to Japan discover nice places to stay that, due to linguistic barriers, would be “hidden” from non-Japanese speakers. For example, we helped a couple plan the ultimate honeymoon to Japan, finding secluded, upscale hot spring resorts in the Japanese countryside with private baths and gourmet food.
I suppose my favourite place is the Avanti Book Center on the south side of Kyoto Station. It’s not the biggest book store, but it’s easy to get to and is a relaxing way to pass a Sunday afternoon.
My most recent “favourite place” would have to be Taipei. The locals are very chill, the city is easy to navigate, and the food is incredible. Whenever the travel bans are lifted, we’re doing a family vacation to Taiwan next.
7. Any fun facts or hobbies?
I am ordained as a deacon and used to be a wedding officiant. I have married something like 900 people.