We’re well into the New Year. And everywhere I turn, the air of uncertainty smacks me in the face. I’m pretty used to uncertainties; freelance copywriting is full of unknowns, surprises and WTF-moments.
These days, the uncertainties are external. The impending GST, falling Ringgit and steadily ascending inflation have concocted an aura of economic doom and gloom here in Malaysia.
The signs ignored, voices hushed and belts further tightened.
The situation seems out of our control, with our captain-less ship at the mercy of global economic winds and undercurrents of mismanagement. We need to fend for ourselves; work harder, spend less and save more. Yes, I’m venting a little here.
But they say necessity is the mother of invention. In marketing communications, a flourishing economy and big budgets does not automatically translate to great work.
I know, because I’ve worked on campaigns for big brands with big budgets; only to see the work often become needlessly complex and hopelessly off the mark. And when budgets are cut, it is used to rationalise ineffectiveness and less-than-desired results.
These days however, I work mostly for start-ups, entrepreneurial businesses and SMEs. They usually don’t have a marketing budget or even a marketing department. But what they do have is the willingness to try new things, allow creative incubation and exhaust all strategic avenues.
The money is then spent to expound and execute a good idea, and not to bombard the media with a scratched-up campaign hoping for a miracle.
Perhaps the economic doom and gloom presents an opportunity to revamp our preconceptions of marketing. In today’s marketing there are no set formulas, cure-alls or guaranteed results, brands need to spark conversations, have a social persona and navigate the wilderness of technology.
Budgets may be trimmed, but we’ve got to roll with the punches.
Less is more, more or less, yes?
Two years ago, with no serious planning whatsoever, I decided to become a full-time freelance copywriter.
24 months, that’s a pretty long time to go without a pay cheque. And the fact that I’m still standing is a miracle of sorts… almost too good to be true.
But it was not like I didn’t have to work my butt off to get to this stage. Obviously finding clients was among my major headaches when I started. Eventually, this blog (yes, this very sorry excuse for a blog) became my number one lead generator, and still is.
Now, all my clients I work with and the projects I handle are the direct result from the enquiries I get from this website. Of course, I still had to convince these leads to become clients, which wasn’t easy nor was it always successful.
Sometimes, I get a barrage of enquiries within a space of a week, which is great. The downside to this is that I can’t work on turning all these leads into clients, without creating a backlog. And recently, I had to let go many opportunities that came my way.
This is something I hate to do. It feels like I’ve let myself down.
Being a self-employed copywriter, I tend to wear multiple hats. Often the writing itself is only a small portion of my daily routine because there are meetings to attend, clients to lunch with, brainstorming sessions to go to, materials to pick up and quotes/invoices to send.
There is only so much I can handle without compromising my quality of my copy, which is often how I’m judged on.
It’s a case of keeping existing clients happy vs. bringing in new business. I suppose I’m a loyalist rather than a capitalist.
Anyway, I would like to thank all my clients and readers for making the past year a great one. I’ve learned so much over the year that no book, classroom or even job can ever teach.
Finally, for those of you who enquired about my services, and in turn received a very polite message saying that I was very busy, please accept my sincere apologies. I truly hope our paths will cross again.
A lot of things have been said – by many people – about Search Engine Optimization or SEO for blogs. Now is my turn, and here they are:
- Content is really king, especially if it is shareable content. Also, please stick to your context or keywords and never ramble.
- Never, ever employ black or grey-hat techniques. Goggle is extremely smart these days, you’ll regret it.
- Be persistent… keep those blog posts coming. If you write insightful, relevant and shareable content, your ranking will rise.
- Have patience. It takes time to get onto the first page… usually years. And years more to have Top Half presence.
- Believe in yourself. A lot of people will laugh at your efforts, sometimes to the point of ridicule. Give them the finger!
Now, I am not an SEO expert. But I have been running a blog close to 3 years. And truth be told this blog has generated more leads that anything else for my copywriting business.
Although I’m not the type to trumpet myself, check these out:
And that’s my 2 cents about SEO. Cheers to micro businesses!