Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Matt Rouge writing update for November 10, 2009

August-October 2009 has been one of the busiest periods in my entire career. I’m grateful to have such great clients when the world economy is not doing so well!

Here is what I’ve been up to…

For my major Japanese automaker client, I…

  • Wrote and edited content for two major reports
  • Edited the company’s internal newsletter (I do this every month)
  • Wrote 89 individual articles for a new section of the company’s website

These projects involved translation to a degree. I also did several projects for this client that were pure Japanese-to-English translation.

For ghost blogging client No. 1, I…

  • Updated the blog
  • Edited a press release
  • Named the company’s major new product
  • Helped write a new brochure on the new product

For ghost blogging client No. 2, I…

  • Updated the blog
  • Provided a gratis consultation on the client’s current marketing mix (as a marketing MBA, this is something I do to help my clients out!)

For ghost blogging client No. 3 (new since August), I…

  • Completely revised the client’s website both to create a better site and help the blog be maximally effective
  • Updated the blog

I love this new client! They are the best at what they do in Indianapolis, and I’m proud to be their blogger. In line with my “Japanese training,” I have been visiting the client’s gemba: I’ve been going to every one of their stores, meeting their associates, and deepening my understanding of their business.

Sports fiction

I wrote seven new short stories for a major publisher, and I’ll be writing two other stories by the end of the year. Five of the stories dealt with football, and two dealt with basketball (the remaining two will also deal with basketball).

Another new client

Through a referral I developed another new client that is like a YouTube for positive, family-friendly infomercials.  I wrote two short video scripts about an agricultural product for their client. These scripts received very good reviews, so I hope to do more work for this company in the near future.

Yet another new client

This is a medical device company doing some very exciting things. I have helped them write two press releases, which seem to have gone over quite well.

Biz lit book

My coauthor and I have made major progress on the book, and we plan to have a pretty clean draft complete by Thanksgiving.

What I’d like to help you with

Since this is the first time I’ve had any breathing room since April or so, it’s a good time to talk about new projects! I am interested in taking on new ghost blogging and newsletter clients. Now would also be a good time to talk about revising your website copy–why not make your site new and fresh in the new year? I also tell people I am looking for “fun projects.” I have my regular work each month, and it’s nice to have variety.

Please feel free to call or email me about your projects–I can help!

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Matt Rouge writing update for July 22, 2009

Like June, July has been flat-out. Here is what’s new:

Website copywriting
I am rewriting and adding to the website copy of the best dry cleaning business in the city. The hope is also that they will become a ghost blogging client. Great people.

Ghost blogging
Right now, I have two happy clients, and the ghost blogging is producing results for both.

Major Japanese automaker newsletter
July has been the best month yet. I look forward to getting my new story assignments every month.

Biz-lit book
My writing partner and I are getting significant interest on the book. Editing proceeds apace.

I will be in Japan for a month and New York for two weeks starting July 29. I will not be able to take on new jobs (except for two new ghost blogging clients if they come on board) until mid to late September. I’d like to express my thanks to my local clients who have made summer 2009 very busy and enjoyable thus far!

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Matt Rouge writing update for June 11, 2009

June has been a massively busy month thus far. I have three main projects to talk about:

New ghost blogging client
Great new client! Truly fun to write for. Taking on only a few more clients will put me in the state known as “maxed out.”

Major Japanese automaker newsletter
This gig is going very well. Also quite fun.

Biz lit book enters editing stage
I am done taking dictation from my coauthor, and now it’s up to me to put it together.

I am more or less booked for the summer, but I am interesting in taking on steady work such as regular script writing, newsletter writing, and ghost blogging.

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Matt Rouge writing update for May 12, 2009

The past month has been busy, and more and more work keeps coming in!

I received some good news this past week: Hits are up for my ghost blogging client’s blog and ecommerce site. We are having a meeting this Friday to refine strategy further. It also seems I soon may have another ghost blogging client. On ghost blogging, I am working with Rhoda Israelov of Say It For You, a truly wonderful writer and blogger. You can catch her blog here. Ghost blogging is very enjoyable work and helps me achieve balance in my workload, as I am able to work ahead on posts when other work is light.

Other work, however, has not been light. I am very happy to have been selected as the editor of the global newsletter of a major Japanese automaker. Although I do Japanese-to-English translation as well, this job involves very little translation. I receive stories from around the world and edit them to make them fit the newsletter format.

I also continue to make progress on the “mystery business lit book” with my coauthor. We’ve both been so busy, though, that it’s increasingly hard to find time. I suppose that’s a good problem to have.

Many thanks to my clients who have been entrusting me with numerous jobs this year!

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Matt Rouge writing update for March 30, 2009

I hope you enjoyed the recent post explaining new goings-on at Marrubium. I have remained in a flat-out state for all of March with various writing projects. I am thankful to be doing well in this economic climate and give heartfelt thanks to my clients.

My writing partner (who has also become one of my best friends over the nearly three years we have known each other) and I are making significant progress on our book. In fact, we have gotten most of it written at this point and have sent the table of contents and three sample chapters to some influential people (my coauthor is a very experienced HR and general business guru who has built a wealth of connections over the years). Thus far, the reaction has been highly positive, and we are both quite hopeful. Full steam ahead on this project! (By the way, once we get a book deal, I will lift the veil of secrecy about this project and reveal all!)

It’s about time that I honor another very good friend, mentor, and writing partner: Rhoda Israelov, of Say It For You. Rhoda has been writing for 30 years and has been featured extensively in the Indianapolis Business Journal and other prestigious local and regional publications. She is a certified financial planner (CFP) and thus also has extensive experience in writing about financial matters. Say It For You offers ghost blogging: that is, she will write your blog for you, and you can say it is by you, “From the Team of,” by Rhoda herself, or whatever works for your particular situation. Her blogging style is simply amazing! Check out her blog to see why I think so.

I am honored to report that Rhoda has seen fit to reward my meager talents by taking me under her wing and providing me with clients.

Recently, Rhoda and I created original website content for a local Indianapolis pharmaceutical firm (no, not Eli Lilly, but a pretty exciting company nonetheless). The content consisted of new landing pages describing how the product can help alleviate the symptoms of a variety of conditions that the company had not previously promoted. The president of the company is quite pleased with our work.

Rhoda has also obtained for me my first ghost blogging client, about which I am really excited: this too is a local Indianapolis company, a manufacturer of products for the home. About this client I must say no more, as I will be ghost blogging for them, after all.

In addition to my writing work, in March I did quite a bit of Japanese to English translation, which you can read about in my latest post on Marrubium Translation.

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Global Marrubium update for March 12, 2009

Spring is around the corner, and soon the horehound will be in bloom! In this post I’d like to update you on everything that’s been going on at Marrubium and with the Web presences I’ve been creating for it. I now have four blogs:
My personal blog. Full of wit and wisdom. Enjoy at your leisure.
This site. The one you know and love. I apologize to those to whom I’ve given my card, which says this site has an explanation of the panels you see in the header. It will soon! I will be adding new pages about my philosophy of writing and good things like that.
My new site, herewith explained:

I am fluent in Japanese and can and do claim, credibly, to be one of the top Japanese-to-English advertising and PR translators in the world. But. When I go out and network, my goal is not to be tagged as “that guy who knows Japanese.” Owing to human psychology, this is a difficult endeavor, since people naturally remember the most unusual or interesting thing about a person. Since I am dull in most other ways, people recall my Japanese ability.

Back in 2000, when I had completed my Purdue MBA, I faced the same dilemma: promote my Japanese ability, which made me stand out from the crowd yet got me pigeonholed me as “that guy who knows Japanese whom perhaps we can use in Japan.” Or not. I wanted to be known as “the marketing expert” and find a job in Indianapolis, my hometown, but, again inevitably, I found myself returning to Japan.

Fate has worked in my favor, however. Back in Yamato, I worked in the drug industry and the semiconductor industry, further augmented my Japanese technical vocabulary, and, most importantly, translated/wrote advertising and PR materials for my final employer. I was then “discovered” by an ad agency that does a lot of work for several Japanese automakers and other major companies, and I have now been working with them for five years. Being a translator for multibillion dollar (or, rather, several hundred billion yen) companies has allowed me to prove myself as a writer for such companies, and now I am truly living my dream.

Contrary to what I have found to be a typical presupposition, about 75% of the work I do for Japanese companies is translation-based, and 25% is direct-to-English. I have also encountered a tendency for people to think that translation-based writing is “just translation.” It’s an understandable thought: people think of dry technical manuals or instruction sheets in which the style of the prose is unimportant. Or treated as unimportant. When I translate advertising and PR materials, however, I must create a translation that satisfies the client as to literalness or accuracy while at the same time creating copy that sounds natural and appealing to a worldwide audience. This task, to say the least, is difficult.

In response, therefore, to the responses my marketing messages have thus far received, I have divided said message in twain: Marrubium Writing will deal with writing, whereas Marrubium Translation will deal with translation. I have created new business cards that list my title as “Writer,” which I am using at my networking events. So far, so good. I am also expecting some SEO benefits from this change.
Previously, I had this site on redirect to Marrubium Writing. Henceforth, I will be using it as a metablog for all of my endeavors. It will contain both my writing and translating marketing messages, and I hope that it will provide an SEO boost as well.

Current situation and goals for 2009
I have been fortunate. Although the auto industry is doing poorly around the world, the companies for which I work still need writing and translation. Lots of it, apparently, so I have been busy.

I welcome advertising and PR translation work, but, in reality I get so much of that right now that I am not actively seeking it. Instead, I am seeking the following:

  1. One-off advertising and PR projects: print ads, website content, press releases, video scripts. I am up for anything and everything for which I feel a resonance.
  2. Ghost blogging.
  3. Newsletters and other periodic pieces.

If you are an ad agency or Web developer, I will be your staunch ally. I am creative, careful, and timely. If you are a company looking for a one-time marketing boost, I am an MBA who will visit you, listen to understand your situation, and create some stellar materials for you. All at a price that you can afford.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you!

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