About Pam Neely
I am a content creation powerhouse – part writer, part marketer with 22 years’ experience in digital marketing and 17 years’ experience as a freelance writer.
The highlights of my career include:
- Publishing more than a million words online in the last decade on sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur.
- Earning Copyblogger Master Content Marketer Certification.
- Earning a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University.
- Winning many awards, including a New York Press Award for a feature article and an international Hermes Award for one of my blog posts.
- Managing $2 million per year in PPC ad budgets – $13,000 in ad spend per day.
- Doing SEO since 1997, including getting a site ranked in first position for the term “how to draw.”
- Doing an A/B split test on a landing page that saved a client $900,000 in annual ad spend.
- Starting several successful online businesses and selling two.
- Being a fierce advocate for a living wage for all freelancers, especially freelance content writers.
- Creating several internationally distributed online courses and presenting many online webinars.
What that means for you
If you are a business who needs content, it means you’ll be working with someone who has deep knowledge of multiple content formats and expert-level understanding of content marketing – specifically content promotion, which is one of my favorite things.
I understand “the business of content,” including how to both monetize and promote content, but also how to develop it from the ground up so it attracts and engages the specific audience you want to reach, then moves them through the buyer’s journey. I believe we all need better, more strategic content, not just more content.
If you are a freelance content writer, it means I can teach you how to create world-class content and find the sort of clients who don’t blink at paying $500+ per blog post or $2,000 for an ebook.
It means I can show you how to build a super-efficient platform so you can present yourself to Content Marketing Managers and other people who hire writers in a way that gets you hired on the spot, and gets you recurring work. So you’ll save hundreds of hours a year not having to look for clients or having to deal with people who don’t value your work.
I can also show you how to offer add-on services that will make you so valuable to your clients that you can demonstrate an ROI (return on investment) of 200-500% for every piece you write for them.
If you’re ready for it, I can also show you how to uplevel from “just a freelancer” into a full-scale subject expert, so you can pivot into writing books, creating courses, consulting, or into becoming your own agency.
Long read: My evolution as a marketer, author, and freelance content writer.
Want the play-by-play of how I have developed my skills over the years? This is it. Skip it if it’s TLDR.
My business experience started in the catalog world. My first ecommerce website, ACommonReader.com, was described by The Internet Cool Guide as “a jewel” way back in 1998. Only Amazon.com was as highly rated among online booksellers at that time.
I helped grow the online store to 22% of sales in 2 years through search engine optimization, email marketing and A/B testing.
I interned full-time at the ad agency Grey Direct while I was taking classes for my Master’s Degree at New York University. I simultaneously launched my first ecommerce business, The Original Christmas Gift.
Next I took a job as a copywriter and project manager at a small New York ad agency where I managed email marketing and direct mail campaigns.
Then I moved West, and worked with dozens of small businesses and internet retailers.
Now I specialize in long-form blog posts and other marketing content for companies who want to reach small business audiences.
To see work samples, check out my portfolio.
To read about my greatest hits, view my case studies.
About Pam Neely – the long version
I was born in Germany. My father was stationed there during his career in the Air Force.
I came to the United States when I was five. I got off the plane from Germany waving a little American flag, asking everyone “Is this America? Are we in America now?”
The customs agent cried.
My family then moved from Nebraska to Massachusetts, Massachusetts to New Hampshire. After six years in New Hampshire, I moved to New York, then to Connecticut, then to New York City.
I now live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I’ve been for eleven years.
Sometimes I stammer when people ask me where I’m from.
Science and Language
Early test scores revealed I had a stronger aptitude for math and science than English, but I’ve always been fascinated by language. I read the dictionary for hours when I was twelve.
I savored words. This helped me publish 21 poems in small literary magazines across the country by the time I was 17.
As I progressed through school, I chose language over science. I moved into publishing. My success with poems morphed into a journalism streak.
I was the Editor of the student newspaper of Manhattanville College when it won second place in Columbia Journalism’s National Competition for College Newspapers. I won a New York Press Award for a feature article published in The Peekskill Herald while I was a student at Sarah Lawrence.
I had a series of excellent internships and jobs through college. I worked at the publishing house GP Putnam with the editor of Kurt Vonnegut and Amy Tan, at a trade magazine for the floor covering industry, and for a regional arts and lifestyle magazine.
But I really found home the day I walked into the offices of A Common Reader, a small book catalog out of Pleasantville, New York.
Small Company, Big Opportunity
The small, dynamic nature of A Common Reader allowed me to take charge of projects from the beginning. Two years later, with the words “information superhighway” on everyone’s lips, the owner of the company asked me to build a website.
A couple of months later, the 700-page website was taking orders (thanks to my coding work and the programming support of our company sys admin). After the first round of development was done, I tried my hand at search engine optimization. I got the site ranked so well it came up first when someone typed “send email”.
The website’s sales grew from zero to over 22% of the catalog’s sales within two years. Email newsletters were gaining popularity, so I was tasked with writing and sending a weekly email newsletter to try to boost sales further.
The email newsletter did well, but not well enough. So I studied up on email marketing best practices and worked with the company’s IT department to segment the list according to customer’s past purchases. Overnight, the click-through and open rate tripled.
Around this time, the manager of the warehouse pulled me aside and showed me the company’s inactive inventory – the books that did not sell well enough to earn space in the printed catalog. He wanted to know if I could sell those books through the emails. So I added sale items to the weekly email newsletters.
This increased sales again – and gave subscribers a new reason to open the emails. It also freed up precious, expensive space in the warehouse. Everybody won.
With the internet buzz at full volume, I knew what I wanted to do when I “grew up”: internet marketing. Despite being sorely tempted to get a general MBA, I opted to go to New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. There I got a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing.
For the next two years I learned to calculate Lifetime Value and to bootstrap data to predict customer buying patterns. I learned about marketing strategy, and how to craft content that kept to that strategy. I learned how to buy media intelligently, how to use statistics and how to calculate when a company might break even.
While in graduate school I secured a full-time, paid internship at Grey Direct’s e-marketing division. I worked directly, often as a supervisor, on campaigns like Chase’s Home Equity products and Ford Motor Company’s credit card promotions.
Copywriter and Project Manager
My next stop was Insight Out of Chaos, a small ad agency specializing in customer loyalty programs. They hired me first as a freelance copywriter and then brought me on full-time as a copywriter and project manager.
I wrote dozens of pieces for True Value Hardware, including a Christmas poem and promotional piece that went out to over 50,000 True Value Members. I also managed the email newsletter for Balducci’s, a high-end grocery store chain, and created email marketing programs for several True Value stores.
Pay Per Click Manager
Despite all the excellent things I had learned in New York City, I craved change. After some research, I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I launched City Different Marketing.
I worked with over a dozen small businesses both in Santa Fe and across the country before I came across a large background check service that needed to overhaul its pay per click program. I managed their $2 million annual ad spend until mid-2009.
By then my own websites were doing well enough to support me full-time. So I shifted gears and began building a series of websites centered around launching different kinds of small businesses. This worked well until the Google Panda and Penguin updates, which cost me more than a third of my income.
I am now adamant about doing quality SEO, and doing it for business models that work. I’m also keenly aware that business conditions can change in an instant. Owners need to be prepared.
Copywriter and Email Marketing Strategist
After my collection of websites was no longer producing the money they had been, I decided to return to copywriting and email marketing, mostly by helping medium-sized retailers with content marketing and building their email lists.
While content marketing is great, email is still the killer app. But you need a list to make it work. So I decided to round up every possible way to build an email list, then make it into a Kindle book.
The book did well. Really well. It landed me a major contract with a globally-recognized email marketing company. For nearly a year I poured myself into creating a massive list-building program for them. By the time it was done, I had a handful of companies clamoring for me to write for them. So I did.
Blogger and content marketer
That was more than 15 years ago. Now I write all the time, full-time, sometimes more than 10,000 words a week. I write mostly long-form blog posts, usually about content marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing or social media.