Engineer Support for Content and Communication Rockstars

People who love what they do make all the difference. Regardless of the industry, when people care deeply about what they’re making and who they’re helping, it shows.

The Fearey Group is a strategic communications firm here in Seattle that’s been open – wait for it – since 1981. Their focus is public relations and public affairs in Seattle but they’re more than just a good tagline. Fearey, led by Aaron Blank since 2012, is an integral part of Seattle in a way that makes you feel part of something special when you work with them.

They also have a fantastic view …

We started working together in 2013, consulting on a technology-focused projects. We started talking about a rebuild of their main website then because, well, it was Flash and time for a refresh.

I worked with long-time collaborator Theresa Stone at Monster Design to create a truly functional content platform that worked for them. A communications company needs to communicate so we concentrated on a few key channels:

  • Highlighting their services – Expertise – and the industries they have experience in – Practices – using SEO-tuned landing pages
  • Highlighting their work using strong visuals on case study pages
  • Organizing their posts and announcements in customizable channels under the blog

What made this project challenging was the sheer volume of communication that goes on at The Fearey Group. They help huge names like Virginia Mason, Johnson & Johnson, and Dominos take on huge, multimedia messaging projects. They’re all over the city organizing events, talking to people, and making things happen. How do you organize that all in a way that’s useful and tells their story as well as they tell others?

The key was simplification and the outcome was great.

Through many, many information architecture sessions, we pared down, collected, shuffled, grouped, and honed their communication channels down to the most important ones. Then we wrapped that schema in a user interface that made it easy for communicators – rather than technologists – to get their message out quickly.

The site build turned out very well and is driving a big increase in leads from the site. We’re still making changes, improving flow, and simplifying but that’s not the only thing I do with The Fearey Group.

A huge part of communication, strategic and otherwise, is online. The communication industry as a whole has had to learn and change to stay relevant. Fearey has been around for decades but they have stayed nimble in their industry by getting really good at social media, online publishing, and general web literacy.

Part of that online component is, of course, technical. I’ve been happy to team up with Fearey on a number of non-Fearey projects to provide that component:

  • A technical voice for stakeholder meetings. Whether it’s an overhaul of both communication methods and channels for a trusted local hospital or a look forward for a major mortgage company, Fearey needs to look competent on all levels. I often join them at planning meetings to address technical feasibility, scope, and UI/UX concerns.
  • Site review and analysis for SEO, CRO, and performance. A potential lead for Fearey could come to them directly for strategic communication work but it could also grow out of a communication platform overhaul. I help them generate, compile, and present analyses for both new and potential clients looking at how well their site performs and how it could do better.
  • Crazy idea validation, estimation, and acceleration. The Fearey Group, and Aaron in particular, is never satisfied with the status quo. Whether it’s a new or better way to serve their clients, generate business, or just shake things up, the gears are always turning. I help the team determine size, opportunity, and potential experience.

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