Athena Raypold Communications specializes in business communications and academic editing from brand messaging to website copy, video scripts to blogs, editing dissertations to online courses, and thought leadership articles to marketing materials.
“Determine who you are and what your brand is, and what you're not. The rest of it is just a lot of noise.” – Geoffrey Zakarian
Good branding isn’t just about winning customers or clients, it’s about how you run your business. Branding colours every aspect of your business from attracting and engaging employees to building and communicating your reputation. In fact, branding builds customer loyalty, establishes you as an industry leader, and impacts your business planning and marketing strategies. Branding guides your communications, targeting them, and making them more effective; it doesn’t end with a logo, a website, and a business card. The process begins with a comprehensive branding interview and a simple branding exercise. From there, I structure the mission statement, vision, core values, company profile, approach, and overall messaging.
“The secret of a high-ranking website is not its colours but its content.” – Amit Kalantri
The Internet isn’t a business directory, it’s the new marketplace. Your website is your business’ identity, it’s where you communicate your credibility and build your brand. But for many businesses, writing a website in-house is an uphill battle (you’re too busy doing the actual work). My solution is to record conversations. Most people love talking about their business, and through those discussions, I create custom content with almost no effort on your part. The process begins with a comprehensive interview. From there, I can determine your brand, voice, intent, and messaging to develop a website outline and write your copy.
“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” - Doug Kessler
When your business isn’t in communications, creating a content strategy and developing the content in-house can feel like performing a transplant when you’re not a surgeon or designing a building when you’re not an architect - it’s not just daunting, it’s downright terrifying. But you know your audience best. You know what you do, why you do it, how you do it. You’re the expert. All you need is someone to tell your story, someone who can take all your thoughts, all the things you can say but struggle to write, and transform them into engaging, distinctive, valuable content.
Beginning with a discussion about your audience (potential clients and customers), your expertise, and your offerings, I create a targeted content strategy that solves your audience’s problems and places you as an expert. After the strategy is finalized, I research and pitch topics that serve your audience; because it’s crucial that the content you share is on par with the quality of services or products you provide. You’re not mediocre, so your content shouldn’t be either.
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” — Woody Guthrie
Marketing is a crucial component of every business whether you’re a consultant, a contractor, or a chef. From brochures to corporate profiles, marketing projects are often back-burnered to focus on proposals or or other pursuits. Similar to creating and editing website content, marketing copy is written after a thorough discussion and analysis of brand and goals. Depending on the material, I can create content from an existing cache of materials or I can research and create custom content, all while maintaining brand messaging.
"To write is human, to edit is divine." – Stephen King
Whatever business you’re in, if you’re producing written materials, you need a good editor. And in marketing, old content can become new with substantive editing and reworking. Where most copy editors focus on grammar and mechanics to improve readability, I provide substantive editing. Rather than just editing your words, I focus on the content as well, sometimes researching to rework weak areas, re-framing sentences for clarity, adding depth and value that fleshes out your work, all with the reader in mind. I also provide valuable feedback on structure, flow, and support to help you improve your work for distribution, presentation, or publication.
WEBSITE AND MARKETING AUDITS
“Before you can truly understand your customers, you have to understand yourself.” – Joe Pulizzi
Sometimes, businesses put the cart before the horse: they’ve got a website but they haven’t done any branding. Whether a start-up or an established company, you’re often busy working in the business, building a clientele and reputation, adding value through your products and services, so you put together a basic website, set it and forget it. But as your business grows and evolves, your website no longer reflects what you do or your brand. Without a defined brand and goals, your website and marketing materials may not reflect who your business is today, which means it may be ineffective. In today’s market, your communications - website, brochures, social media, blogging - must do the heavy lifting of differentiating you from competitors. To gain a good understanding of how your communications are working (or not working), a website and marketing audit gives you the necessary insight to revamp your business identity and put it to work.
“Although a great proposal by itself seldom wins a deal, a bad proposal can definitely lose one.” – Tom Sant
Requests for Proposals are, by nature, complex beasts that involve not just writing and editing, but also coordination and analysis. I review RFP documents and provide an outline of required content, delegate work, then review and edit each section to ensure it meets (or exceeds) those requirements. Often proposal work also requires page design and layout. Proposals tend to be completed in short turnarounds and require a concerted, collaborative effort.