Jody McDonald

Quill Studios

I'm a creative and precise communicator, with a talent for turning complex ideas into clear and compelling content for a variety of channels, but especially for websites.

I create thoughtful and engaging stories and web copy that conveys a deep understanding of the subject matter, my client's brand voice, and the audiences' needs.

I often write about the environment, science, technology and software, marketing, business management, digital disruption and the future of work.

Before going freelance about four years ago, my career included six years promoting sustainability projects to encourage farmers and the community to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and a year spent leading a complete rebrand and website overhaul for a national SaaS company in the talent management space.

As a freelancer I've worked with a variety of large and small businesses and non-profit organisations to improve the visibility and consistency of their online presence by:

  • Helping them plan and manage the process to build or refresh their website
  • Developing strategies and practical plans to guide ongoing content production
  • Writing engaging and relevant website copy and microcopy
  • Reviewing and rewriting existing website content to improve clarity and SEO
  • Ongoing website management (via various CMSs) and blogging services

I'm also often engaged to develop marketing plans, editorial calendars, articles and blogs, media releases, ebooks, internal guides, reports, speeches, business documents, company and executive profiles, EDM copy, social media content, e-newsletters and more.

I have more than 16 years' experience in marketing and communications roles where I've been responsible for providing high-level strategic advice on communications, brand management, media relations, digital marketing, social media, stakeholder engagement, and internal communications.

I love the variety of freelancing—it's both a chance to apply my skills and learn new things!

my core skills

Content strategy

Website project management

Copywriting

Ghost-blogging

Speechwriting

Q & A

Whats the best thing to happen to you in your career to date?

When I first transitioned to freelancing I was lucky to be referred by a connection for a large project to develop all of the content for a new website being launched by Allianz Worldwide Partners. It was a complex site, with a short turnaround time, disparate product lines and very little established brand messaging to work with. Developing the content also required input and approval by multiple internal stakeholders. It was daunting yet exciting. The end result was engaging copy delivered on time, and a happy client—but also, importantly, it confirmed my belief that my skills were transferrable to challenging freelance project work with tight deadlines.

What does a typical work week look like for you?:

A lot of writing, editing and proofreading. Also, brainstorming with clients over the phone or Skype to inform planning. I'm often on the interwebs to do research, update clients' websites, publish blogs, manage and schedule social media content, and produce e-newsletters or EDM campaigns.

Describe your working environment in a few sentences..

My home office includes a large bookcase and a view of Brisbane suburbia. The window is usually open so I can hear the sound of new apartments being built (including the distant strains of a tradie's radio), dogs barking and birds chirping in the late afternoon.

What sets you apart from other freelancers in your industry?

I'm an intelligent and flexible person with a broad skill set. I 'get' things quickly: whether it's understanding a client's industry, complicated subject matter, or the specific platforms and processes an organisation uses to manage their marketing and communications activity.

What are the tools of your trade?

My Mac and Dropbox are essentials. I'm very familiar with the Adobe Creative Cloud, which I use to edit images and create social media graphics. I'm experienced in using various CMS platforms, team collaboration tools, CRMs, social media scheduling tools, and email marketing platforms.

Do you collaborate with others? If yes, how does that works?

My partner is a web designer/developer so we often work together. But I've also worked with a number of other agencies, designers and developers in the past and I'm open to future collaborations.

Whats been the biggest freelancing lesson to date?

A big challenge to overcome in producing something meaningful is understanding why it's being produced at all—so if the brief isn't crystal clear, it always pays to ask questions. Questions can also help your client to clarify in their own mind why the work matters or how it contributes to business goals.

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