Interview with Bernadette Geyer
Geyer Editorial Services
works with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and creatives who want to reach English-speaking markets. Additionally, Bernadette provides translation services to German clients who wish to communicate with an English-speaking audience.
Her mission is to help you make sure you’re understood by the people you’re trying to reach.
With more than 20 years of marketing and editorial experience, creating print and electronic publications, managing websites, blogging, editing books, and developing outreach strategies, Bernadette has spent her entire professional life helping entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits get their message out into the world.
Hi Bernadette! Could you please introduce your work with Geyer Editorial Services and tell us a bit more about what led to your founding the company back in 2006?
When I decided that I wanted to go off and be a freelancer - and start my own freelancing business - back in 2005, it was because I had been working in marketing for about ten, fifteen years and realized that the part of marketing that I liked most was the writing, the editing and the promotion the behind-the-scenes aspects of promotion. So I realized that when I had a child, that I did not want to stay in a 9 to 5 office situation. So I built up my skills, so that I could go freelance once I had my daughter. And, of course, I gave birth in December 2015, and founded Geyer Editorial Services in January of 2016, and I've been doing that since then. My family moved to Germany in 2013, and at that point I added translation services into the mix as well. Because there are many apps out there that also do copy editing or translation, I actually like to say, "No app can replace me." Because what I bring is attention to voice, attention to brand language, I pay a lot of attention to consistency - to make sure that you are repeating your key phrases, your keywords, your key terms, and spelling your company name the same way every time.
What are some of the main ways the editorial industry has changed since Geyer Editorial Services was first founded?
So since I founded my business in 2006 - that was right at the cusp of the beginning of social media, I mean, Facebook had only been around for less than a year and really, what I had to get used to was the various ways of promoting my own business. So that aspect - the promotional aspect of doing my own marketing - that has changed dramatically since I founded my business. But also for my clients - I translate websites, copy edit websites, translate blog posts and copy-edit them - and so the variety of projects that I work on has also changed dramatically since 2006. As for other aspects, there are many apps and websites that do what I do - so copy-editing and translation - so I'm, in a way, competing against those. But I also have had to find ways to differentiate myself, and I mentioned in a previous question that my tagline is 'no app can replace me'. And I did come up with that tagline specifically as a reaction against all the people who think they can just run their text through online translators and there you go - put it online. You can't do that. And I've run into some embarrassments for other companies who have tried to go that route, and found out the hard way why it doesn't work.
What are some of your biggest clients? How do you conduct client outreach for your own services?
So some of the biggest clients that I work for are entrepreneurs, who have put together their own businesses as professional speakers - so I've been translating books for these professional speakers. But, outside of that, I also have been working for a specific translation agency and recently translated their website. I do a lot of work for their clients, and I also work for a quasi-German government agency that produce a lot of white papers on political and economic issues. So I copy-edit their English versions of those documents. Mostly I prefer to work with smaller businesses, because as a freelancer, I understand that many businesses don't have a need for someone full-time to do what I do. So, usually, I'm working with a smaller business that doesn't need someone to copy-edit or translate 40 hours a week. And really, I'm not sure of a lot of places that do need someone at that capacity, and those would be really big Fortune 500 companies. I've worked part-time in companies like that, but I do prefer to help out businesses where I can have the most impact and help them grow. And then they grow to a point where they don't need me anymore because they hire staff, and that's the natural order of things. And that's how I help them - as I help them not need me anymore.
How has your clientele changed with the rise of the international start-up ecosystem in Germany?
When I first moved to Berlin I imagined that I would be doing a lot more copy-editing for startups and app developers. However, I noticed after a while, that I tended to find more success when I pursued clients who were maybe individual solo-preneurs, or business coaches, life coaches and professional speakers. And, therefore, my clientele changed, in that I began to focus on a much smaller business model as my ultimate target client.
What's next for your work with Geyer Editorial Services? What are the main projects, partnerships and services you'll be focusing on throughout the next year?
So, my next big move with Geyer Editorial is to write another business book. I, last year, published my first business book, which is called Branding for Beginners, and it's focused on my experiences as a copy-editor and how I have helped businesses stay on brand as I copy-edited their texts. But I would like to write another business book based on my experience helping clients create good content, so that is in the works for this coming year, as well as my goal of being on five podcasts. But in the client realm, I aim to translate two more books - I've already completed two books this year in translation, and I'd like to do two more. And then, really to focus on developing my long-term relationships with my existing clients -I have a lot of great people that I work with and really, I prefer to work with people on a long-term basis rather than trying to find a lot of individual, one-time projects. So really cultivating my client base, and really developing those relationships, is my biggest goal for the coming year.