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MeetJohn Cole

(aka CopyEngineer)

Content Marketing Solutionist

Yeah, that’s me in the button-down collar. No jacket. No necktie. Practical for the home office.

Wasn’t always that way. The first twenty years of my career—when I was an avionic systems engineer—it was tie and jacket every day. Save Casual Fridays, of course. Even wore suspenders when they were in vogue. No pocket protector for me. No way.

Not your typical engineer

I wasn’t just a pretty face, though… not that I was ever accused of being such.

I designed system operation and specified functional requirements for the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Built qualification plans and defined test requirements for the Eurofighter Typhoon. I managed complex design and integration projects on two continents. Plus, I trained dozens of young engineers in systems and requirements engineering best practices.

My coffee mug from my systems engineering days
I even led the team that accomplished the first launch of a high-off-boresight air-to-air missile targeted with a head-mounted sight. Got a big write-up in Aviation Week magazine. My employer rewarded me with a bonus and a commemorative coffee mug. I probably spent the bonus on dress shirts and neckties; didn’t last long. Still got the coffee mug, though.

By now—even if you overlooked my last subhead—you’ve probably gathered I’m not your typical engineer. Sartorial preferences aside, what’s most unusual about me is probably this: I love writing, and I’m good at it—highly uncommon traits amongst engineers. If you’ve read many engineering reports or had engineers involved in content development, you know what I’m talking about.

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Why I call myself a Content Marketing Solutionist

That’s what I do today. I write.

Actually, I do more than just write. I help high-tech companies plan and implement content strategies that grow their audiences. I translate complex technologies into business benefits that are meaningful decision makers. And I develop detailed technical content that’s useful to engineers, lifting that burden from my clients and their SMEs.

I’ve worked with big names like Eaton, Lockheed Martin and LogMeIn. I’ve partnered with scores of smaller firms in a variety of tech sectors, including software, electronics, semiconductors, aerospace, defense, big data, cybersecurity, information technology, and engineering consulting.

I’ve helped clients develop a wide range of content—everything from blog posts and articles to video scripts and e-books—and I’ve helped them promote that content through press releases, web advertising, social media, and email campaigns. Pieces I’ve written for clients have appeared in Tech Briefs, Aerospace Testing International, COTS Journal, Machine Learning, Military Embedded Systems, and other trade publications.

My specialty is successfully developing complex content projects like white papers and case studies. One white paper I wrote generated over 3,000 leads for my client in just its first year.

Need something right away?

Contact me today to discuss your project and get a prompt, no-obligation quote.

How I got from Systems Engineer to Content Marketing

Ah, yes… the elephant in the room.

How did an avionic systems engineer end up a content strategist and creator?

New clients ask me that all the time. Believe me, if I’d known the aerospace sector was going to shrink the way it did in the 1980s and ‘90s, I’d have plotted my different career path differently.

The ‘90s were the proverbial “interesting times” for the defense business. I managed to survive a few corporate “right-sizings” precipitated by the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then, after wage and promotion freezes stalled my career in the U.S., I landed on my feet in Italy with a high-paying consulting job. But in the end, aerospace spat me out as it had so many others.

I was forced to reinvent myself.

I’d seen the scribbling on the wall. I’d been looking around. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon an opportunity to retrain as a marketing copywriter. I’d always enjoyed writing. I’d been praised for the clarity of my reports and specifications. Seemed like a good fit. Plus, as a freelancer, I could skip the daily commute, work from wherever, and I wouldn’t need a security clearance!

Got my start in consumer direct response. Then, seeing the opportunity to leverage my engineering skills, I shifted to B2B and writing for the tech sector. Before long, I began to specialize.

An expert in developing white papers and case studies

Many of my clients need white papers and case studies but have trouble finding writers who can handle those complex projects. By studying the work of experts like Gordon Graham, Casey Hibbard, Steve Slaunwhite and Michael Stelzner, I’ve mastered both forms and have written dozens of each.

White papers and case studies both require a solid process, so my project management skills and experience come in handy. For example, while some 79% of marketing professionals surveyed say they’ve been involved in a white paper project that failed, I have an unblemished record delivering white papers that meet their objectives.

Did I mention I crafted a white paper that generated over 3,000 leads in just one year?

An expert in marketing to engineers

Since I’m an engineer myself, clients frequently hire me to write to technical audiences. After all, engineers are key influencers in many B2B technology purchasing decisions. Plus, we’re a tough sell. We tend to distrust information that doesn’t come from our peers, and we’re quick to dismiss anything that sounds like marketing.

That led me to an intense study of content marketing… once content marketing became a thing. It was obvious to me that the best way to influence engineers is through useful, technical content. Recent studies on marketing to engineers have shown the same.

Evolving into a content marketing solutionist has, in a way, closed the circle for me as a copywriter. Content must be promoted if it’s going to reach your target audience. Today, the direct response techniques I learned early on help me create more effective emails, PPC ads, landing pages, and social media posts to publicize my clients’ content. Thus, I provide a near-turnkey solution to your content strategy, planning, and development needs.

Learn More

To learn more about what it’s like to work with CopyEngineer, visit my process page.