[toggle title=”Really? An FAQ page?”]
Yes! Really! An FAQ page! (See how much better it sounds when you put some enthusiasm into it?)
Click any of the questions below to see the answers. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please shoot it over to me via my Contact page, & I’ll get an answer back to you just as soon as I can.
[toggle title=”So, you used to be a teacher?”]
That is correct! For most of the 1990s, I was a high school English teacher. After about 10 years in the classroom, I knew that teaching wasn’t something I wanted to do for the next 20-plus years — but I’m infinitely grateful for having had the experience, and in my more hopeful moments I like to think that I might have done some good.
I learned a lot during my time in the education profession, and I’ve worked to incorporate those lessons into my current business. For example, teaching taught me the importance of knowing my audience, and crafting a message designed to meet that specific audience’s wants, needs, and expectations. I also learned to embrace the benefits of working in a collaborative environment, including how to incorporate constructive criticism (and occasionally not-so-constructive criticism – did I mention that I spent some time teaching sophomores?) to ensure the best possible outcome.
At its heart, teaching is about telling stories, making connections, and letting people know that you care. That’s what I tried to do during my time at the front of the classroom, and it’s what I’ve continued to focus on in the years since.
[toggle title=”And then you worked for the government?”]
I did! And believe me, I never got tired of telling people “Hello. I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” (Side note: I’m easily amused.)
From 2001 to 2007, I was a member of the Public Affairs team at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, which provided base operation services for seven U.S. military installations in southern Germany. I started out as assistant editor for the base newspaper, eventually moved up to editor, then became command information chief (which meant I oversaw the paper, our website, and a television channel that provided important announcements and updates to service members and civilians who lived on our installations.)
For a time I also served as interim public affairs officer, a role that involved dealing with both U.S. and German media, as well as meeting all other public relations needs of the post commander.
As was also the case when I was a teacher, I found that success in military public affairs was, at its essence, a matter of telling good stories, making meaningful connections, and demonstrating to people that you had their best interests at heart.
[toggle title=”After all that, you ended up in marketing?”]
Again, another spot-on observation! Yes, in 2008 I joined the Internet Marketing team for Aspen Education Group. That job eventually morphed into a position on the Marketing Team of CRC Health Group (CRC owned Aspen, and was in the process of consolidating certain departments when I was hired).
As content manager for the CRC Marketing Team, my duties and responsibilities involved nearly all aspects of content marketing, including creating original content for company and program websites; developing & executing email marketing campaigns; writing scripts for video productions; blogging; curating content for newsletters; writing & formatting e-books; and writing & editing handbooks, brochures, and other forms of print collateral.
My time at CRC drove home the necessity and power of (say it with me, now!) telling engaging stories, making meaningful connections, and showing people that we had their best interests at heart. It also allowed my to meet these general objectives via multiple outlets that yielded significant data on what was and was not resonating among our target audiences. As someone who has spent most of my professional life in the pursuit of effective communication, the ability to identify, access, and interpret actionable data has exponentially improved my ability to understand my audience and craft messages that will connect with them.
[toggle title=”You sound fascinating, Hugh! How, oh how, can I possibly learn more about you?”]
Well garsh, now you’re going to make me blush. But since you asked …
And, seriously, thanks so much for the kind words in the question 🙂