• Business Marketing Writer &
    Brand Workshop Leader

    Dan O'Brien

  • Why hire me?

    I simplify things.

    Too often, sophisticated, big-ticket products and services get tangled in a flurry of technical details—and end up sounding like everyone else. The prospect’s decision-making team can’t discover your distinctive value proposition. I hate jargon and will clearly articulate your business case in the form of stories.

    I tell brand stories.

    Every brand needs a compelling, overarching storyline grounded in prospects' concerns and ambitions. In these stories, the customer is always the hero—not the company, who instead is the experienced guide offering a believable path to success. I've taken many companies through a daylong workshop that clarifies the problems and differentiators on which the story turns.

    I can tackle almost any topic.

    You name it, I’ve probably written about it. I’ve handled assignments about enterprise software, healthcare innovation, educational technology, truck fleet operations, predictive analytics, restaurant management, genetic engineering, cloud computing, public policy, and more. Deliverables have included web content, white papers, executive summaries, bylined articles, landing pages, case studies, presentations, video scripts, survey research and analysis, and email campaigns.

    I have the background.

    With a Dartmouth BA in English and a Harvard MBA, I blend a feel for story-telling with an understanding of how businesses succeed. These streams came together when I spent three years as a Forrester Research Senior Analyst authoring syndicated reports on media and marketing technology.

  • Samples

    Here are links to some representative client assignments.

    Website copy for Amplifi, a digital consultancy in Dallas, TX

     

    Amplifi wanted fresh copy that differentiated the firm from the upstream design-only agencies and the downstream "code shops."

     

    Website copy for this technology reseller, Alpharetta GA

     

     

    After leading a day-long messaging workshop to distill Edge's most effective stories, I created matching content for the redesigned site.

     

     

    Case study for outsourced talent provider Unosquare, Guadalajara and Belfast

     

     

    The story of how Harvard Business Review Publishing found the talent it required.

     

     

    Website on broadcast/satellite monitoring technology, Roswell GA

     

    I facilitated a day-long branding and messaging workshop to uncover this vendor’s key differentiators, then developed content for each identified product and industry solution.

     

     

    Ghostwritten CEO article:
    Stratix Corp., Norcross GA

     

    For this vendor of managed mobility services, I drafted a well-received trade journal article.

    White paper on best practices for tech company analyst relations:
    “The Analyst Conversation”

     

    Drawing on my own analyst background, I wrote this paper for Media Frenzy Global, Alpharetta GA, as a lead-generating download.

     

    Corporate Investor Day report:
    ANSYS, Canonsburg, PA

     

    This client conducts an annual Investor Day on Wall Street; this is a summary of key takeaways delivered several days later.

    Online webinar summary:
    Penton Publishing and Ryder Leasing, New York, NY

     

    Business advertisers use this sort of executive summary for post-webinar outreach and evergreen website content.

     

    Website for retail technology vendor:
    LNL Systems, Inc., Natick MA

     

    I created the Flor naming umbrella to better brand and structure the client’s product lines, then wrote the site content.

    Executive summary of management techniques: Harvard Business Review, Cambridge MA

     

    The journal provides these “key takeaways” for subscribers.

    Article in a national magazine:
    BtoB, The Magazine for Marketing Strategists, Chicago IL

     

     

    After a series of projects for corporate clients, I authored this piece on “White Papers that Work.”

     

     

  • Complexity, meet clarity

    ( 512) 605-7532

    dan1obrien

  • What can I write for you?

  • Research comes first

    I ask questions.

    • What scares buyers about the product category, and what reassures them?
       

    • What’s unique about your offering, and why? What alternatives did you consider, then reject?
       

    • Does your company mission express itself in the product? In what way?
       

    • Do you have testimonials that could become case studies?
       

    • Is there an opportunity to take a thought-leadership position in the industry?
       

    • If you had to explain your offering on the back of a napkin, what would you draw?

    And solicit input.

    • How do sales reps describe competitors? How are they handling objections?
       

    • What’s the developer hearing from existing customers?
       

    • What did the product manager hear at the last trade show?
       

    • How does customer support feel about the product?

  • Once these questions have answers, the actual content-creation generally comes together quickly, and clients are often surprised that an “outsider” is able to explain their value proposition so cogently and vividly.

     

    Where it makes sense, I add charts about competitive features, relative performance, and whatever else supports the storyline. (Some readers will scan the captions before looking at anything else!) If you have an in-house design team, I can submit files, but I can also lay out pages that adhere to corporate design guidelines.

     

    Finally, to maximize the value, I look at other opportunities to re-purpose this new content: A video script? A sales presentation? An article bylined by your CEO?

  • No matter how nuanced your analysis, you have a gift at being able to express it in clear, understandable prose.

     

     

     

    Stephen Zrike, Forrester Research

    You have a unique ability to envision and articulate a new way of presenting a concept, idea, or product. But the really unique aspect of your presentation is the enthusiasm and excitement that you communicate with the presentation. That's the spark that is uniquely yours. You can convince people that they should "try it" — and take the chance. You do that better than anyone I have ever met.

    Ronald Sanfield, DMR, Comm. of MA

     

    You can take large amounts of complex information, boil it down, and make it easy for others to understand. You also have high levels of intellectual curiosity combined with a confidence and a willingness to take on projects in a wide variety of areas with a general belief of “I can figure that out.”

    Mark Krasnow, President, BullsEye Resources

    Dan is a gifted synthesizer of disparate points of view. A keen listener, he brings unity through his ability to capture the essence of a problem and then presents it in a compelling manner. His writing is crisp, imaginative and on target.

    Paul Linet, Care4 LLC

    You do an exceptional job of seeing interconnectedness across different areas, at both a strategic and tactical level, which allows you to explain materials exceedingly well to others.

    Rick Rattray, President, Essential Learning