Greetings from Asia, where an expert American writer, editor, and marketing consultant is ready to help you hit communication targets with your direct response mail, email, online, or other writing needs.
My day job since 1995 has been teaching and testing with Korean, American, and British universities in Seoul. On the side, I’ve been writing and editing for marketers, translators, and major international companies who are not just dreaming, but actually are taking over. I am a first-rate content/direct response copy writer specializing in online/email copy, and an outstanding copy editor.
What I can offer you as a writer is reality. I inject a hard-won, intense reality into all my writing gigs. We’re talking about the kind of stuff that reaches out with both hands and grabs free-market, high-spending, libertarian readers by the jugular, forcing them to pay attention.
And it compels them to act.
That’s what you need, right?
Action … readers putting money on the table for your services.
My most important (and enjoyable) role is being husband and father in an amazing Korean-American family. A former airplane mechanic, bartender, and journalist, I moved from Michigan to Asia in 1995 and have been teaching English writing at one of Korea’s top universities to Asians who dream of taking over the world.
The Bahk-Halberg family in Seoul
I’ve seen and done stuff that younger writers could never even imagine – lived through international financial meltdowns that most Americans don’t even know existed. (Remember the Asian economic crisis of 1997-98 — what Koreans still call “the IMF”?)
Trust me, watching your salary drop from close to six figures to less than $20,000 dollars as exchange rates plunge like a roller coaster made it pretty hard to pay bills in the USA.
But most of my friends and neighbors in Seoul had bigger problems – like keeping a roof over their heads and getting enough to eat.
I’ve been there. I’ve seen people go through economic desperation. I’ve been close to it myself.
So when I write, when I research, when I connect with readers… I’m real. It’s riveting. It’s persuasive. And it’s profitable for my clients.
Nowadays, the average reader is more informed, more distrusting, more numb than ever before because of the internet, social media, and those idiot politicians.
Plus, readers are scared stiff because of what they can see happening around them. The longest bull market in history, held up by major nations propping up currencies for power and political gains — it can’t last forever, right?
If you want a writer who can grab readers’ attention with persuasive reality – an American observer with rare insights from an international perspective, then read on.
But If you’re happy training up yet another young writer who’s barely seen past his college dorm or the inside of some internet order writing program and is making it up as they go, then I’m not your man.
Speaking of college, I learned something at the University of Michigan about writing, and teaching.
In grad school, I took a course in magazine writing from a Manhattan-based writer for Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and other high quality glossy mags. Though this woman was truly gifted as a wordsmith with an oversized ego to match, her classroom style left a lot to be desired. I won’t mention her name — ever — if I can help it.
Early on in the course, everyone did a few beginning writing assignments: film reviews, editorials, and the like. I did okay along with the rest of my classmates, nothing spectacular.
However, over Thanksgiving break I camped out in the computer lab and wrote two pieces that went above and beyond even our expert instructor’s high standards. The first was an in-depth profile of a campus preacher who harangued students about sex, drugs, rock and roll and other college pastimes; the other, a piece on an African-American fraternity that was doing lots of good things, the polar opposite of Animal House. Both were publishable and then some.
I knew I’d aced that class.
Imagine my surprise when I received my grade report after Christmas and saw a big fat D.
Not cool. Definitely not the A or the A+ that I knew I had earned.
I called her Manhattan apartment that Sunday night, grade printout quaking in my hand as I spoke. “How could you give me a D?” I asked. “You and I both know I turned in great articles!”
“It was too good,” she said, a sneer in her voice. “I don’t believe you wrote those pieces. I probably should have failed you for plagiarism.”
This … woman … without any evidence decided I couldn’t have written the articles because she, in her all-knowing wisdom, didn’t show me how to do it step-by-step. She hadn’t showed me how, so she had decided I couldn’t have written them on my own.
“I wrote those papers,” I said through clenched teeth as I slammed down the phone ….
How would you feel?
You — or your readers — probably know what it’s like to have the wind knocked out of you by a punch in the gut you didn’t deserve. Through no fault of my own, I was stunned and confused, just like almost everyone today dealing with financial chaos, Covid lockdowns, and political turmoil.
It’s hard to do anything when you are up against the major players. And if you do luck out, the big boys are right there ready to grind you into the dirt for not doing things their way. And maybe some bureaucrat will turn things against you in a heartbeat. It can seem like there’s nowhere to turn, which is where you – and I – can help.
Long before I even had an idea about about going to university, I was a “high spirited” high school student and got expelled in May of my senior year. I took a couple night school classes for my diploma and signed up with my local U.S. Coast Guard recruiter. After a few years as a search and rescue aircrewman/jet engine mechanic, I got my honorable discharge and worked a few manual labor jobs before getting back into school. Once in college, I went all the way, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
You see, I’d discovered from experience the truth behind a saying I’ve heard quoted by legendary saleswriter Matt Furey: “The pen is lighter than the shovel.”
That pen came in handy for taking notes since I started out in journalism after graduation, working for several newspapers on my northern Michigan home turf for nearly a decade before I was offered a teaching spot at a great university in Korea.
And while I enjoyed covering business news, and truly love working with motivated Korean students, I’ve also done a lot of work with my pen here in Korea – writing and editing copy for dozens of organizations: Hyundai Motor Co., GM Korea, and Kumho Tire, to name just a few. This copy has consistently performed above industry standards and brought in millions of dollars for my clients.
My writing ability is strengthened by in-depth knowledge of people and sales skills. I’ve worked with customers from all over the U.S. and Canada, Europe, as well as in Asia. A professional communicator and professor teaching and testing language and writing for several universities –- British, Korean, and American –- I work with customers from all over the world.
I especially enjoy working with financial and investment advisors, information marketers, and publishers working from a free market/laissez-faire background. That almost goes without saying, since it’s hard to imagine succeeding in the finance or investing arena without a thorough grounding in the economics of freedom.
A few blocks away from my home on the northeast side of Seoul, I recall watching men fishing on the banks of the Jungnang Stream on my daily walk across the bridge some years back. Many of these fishermen wore ties and carried briefcases.
These were “salarymen” who’d been laid off by their collapsing companies when Korea’s economy imploded. Too dejected and humiliated to admit they no longer had jobs, they scraped by on savings until everything was gone except hope. They did everything they could to keep up appearances until the very end, dreaming that everything would be okay.
But it wasn’t…
Just like in 1929 when Wall Street crashed., financial devastation – and suicides – were run-of-the-mill.
And today, as I watch, listen, and read from the most wired country on the planet, what I am seeing in the good old US of A again looks perilously close to chaos.
Sure, on paper, the economy still looks like everything is sweetness and light …
But with the struggle and strife going on under the surface – Washington insanity, Antifa, a new “woke” mob shouting down free expression while screaming the ideology of “free stuff” on a daily basis – does anyone really believe what appears like good times now can last?
Almost daily, conflicts and crises upset the national apple cart. With threats, trade wars and conflicts in Asia, Europe, South America — everywhere –, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be more entertainment – perhaps a horror movie – in the months or weeks ahead.
Here’s some ideas about a few of the things I can do for you when we sit down and put our heads together face-to-face in person, by video, or over the phone:
“WHAT KINDS OF ASSIGNMENTS DO YOU HANDLE?”
From long copy for direct marketers online and offline to landing pages, squeeze pages, e-mail, magalogs, DM packages, and white papers, I cover the full spectrum. I also provide copywriting for wide range of marketing communications including ads, feature articles, slide presentations, telemarketing scripts, press releases, newsletters, speeches, web pages, and Internet direct response content.
My clients say my specialty is an ability to write clear, straightforward, persuasive copy about a wide range of products and services, from precise to the highly technical.
I’m able to quickly grasp complex marketing problems and deal with businesses from all over the map, both in their specialized area and geographically. Clients appreciate the fact that I can sit down with executives, government officials, CEOs, salespeople, engineering experts, stock analysts, and development directors, ask intelligent questions, and hit the ground running fast to write high quality copy.
I can’t predict how many responses my landing page, e-mail, or sales letter will pull for you. But I can–and do– guarantee your satisfaction with every word you receive from me.
“DO YOU HAVE A DIRECT RESPONSE, PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COPYWRITING BACKGROUND?”
Along with my formal writing education and years of experience as a journalist and teacher, I am a graduate of the American Writers and Artist Institute’s direct response course and a member of the AWAI Circle of Success (AWAI is the industry leader in copywriter training).
In the past several years I have written for some of Korea (and Asia’s) largest companies and organizations, including Hyundai, Kumho Tire, the Korea National Tourism Organization, the President of the Republic of Korea, the Mayor of Seoul, and many others. (see client list for more detail)
Most important to you, I’m a direct-response copy specialist. Writing online and direct response copy isn’t something I do to pass the time between TV commercials … it’s my bread and butter. So, I put all my skill, passion, and experience into every assignment I write.
“DO YOU OFFER CONSULTING SERVICES?”
Along with writing copy, I create online and offline marketing and fundraising campaigns that generate maximum response. My clients are pleased and happy to get targeted advice that works regardless of the type of monthly retainer agreement.
… Back to my grad school experience and getting a D from that … woman … because my writing was too good –
After I hung up in shock I thought about my dilemma: It’s possible to use evidence of similar wording to prove someone copied a piece of writing, but how does one prove that they actually wrote what they turned in?
I’ve thought about that … woman … many times since when dealing with students I suspected of plagiarism. Usually there is some clear-cut evidence and talking to the student always brings the best solution. But if we couldn’t resolve it, I would never fail someone based on a hunch. It just wouldn’t be right.
It’s funny when I look back on it today – she gave me a D because my writing was too good.
So I took a deep breath, calmed myself and just figured out the best way to solve the problem. The simple solution was to talk to my academic advisor, friend, and writing coach, who simply asked me one question:
“Did you write those articles, Jonny?”
“Of course I did, Don.”
The dean was informed, my grade was changed to a B (not the A+ I deserved, but I wasn’t complaining), and Ms. Wonder Teacher – that woman – was never invited to be a visiting professor again.
“May you live in interesting times,” is an old Chinese blessing, or maybe a curse.
Either way, it’s a pretty good prediction of what’s to come. Few could disagree that we are now going through some of the most “interesting” times in living memory, whatever they think of those interesting times in terms of positive or negative results.
If you can use a little help pointing readers in the right direction to cope with interesting times, I’m right here offering a hand. Take a minute now to fill out my simple three-question survey to find out if we’re a fit for each other.
If so, I’ll be glad to give you a free 45-minute glimpse at marketing perspectives from an experienced international observer of the financial world for decades. I know we can come up with at least 3 or 4 fresh new ideas and a crystal-clear road map to increase your profits and accelerate your business growth.
If you want me to help you put that plan into action – Great!
If not, no problem. Keep the info with my compliments and feel free to let me know when I can help you down the road.
Make this your best year ever! Call or fill out my contact form right now.