We copywriters are often miracle workers.
I’ve written for cars I never drove, audio systems I never heard, beverages I never drank and even places I’ve never been to. I suppose it’s the same for pretty much every copywriter out there.
The days of getting up close and personal with the product are truly gone.
I remember when I started out as a novice – which was far too long ago if you’re wondering – that clients actually sent their products to the office so we may check, test, use or just fiddle around with them.
Services are a bit tricky. It would be impractical to get into a huge debt just because you need to write for a new mortgage plan. But clients still took the effort to send over market insights, strategic reviews, target market analysis, competitive analysis and the works.
These days however, our work really does require us to create something out of nothing, especially in the last decade. Google has become the primary source of information on virtually any product or service. ‘Just Google it’ is a phrase that now replaces ‘do you have enough information?’.
While I often admire a client’s confidence in our resourcefulness, how are we as marketing writers to develop a unique tone-of-voice based on materials sourced from Google? Indeed, Google is a great resource, but it is a vastly generic resource. And when the work delivered is not insightful or outstanding enough, the finger-pointing begins.
But there have been bright sparks. As a freelancer, I’ve met clients whom are genuinely focused on creating communications that are compelling, insightful and truly unique.
Well how are they different you ask? Here you go…
Their brand is their lifeblood, they live and breathe it. They are intrinsically wired to the growth and development of their brand. They care enough to provide relevant, insightful material along with reasonable lead time to exhaust all possibilities.
They are Transparent
Every aspect of their business open to scrutiny. They give copywriters no-holds-barred access to the inner workings of their organisation, creating the possibility of uncovering unique business traits that can result in the much coveted ‘aha’ moment.
They know the ins and outs of their business, and willing to work to translate that knowledge into a solid brief. You won’t hear the words Catchy, Punch or Juicy from these guys. They know what they want as much as knowing what they don’t want.
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!
This was the year that I took the biggest risk of my entire life – quitting my job. And dare I say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made?
The answer to that question a little bit later.
In the past 6 months, I’ve gone from determined to take on the world to the depths of self doubt. Becoming a self-employed copywriter after 13 years in the rat race was awesomely liberating yet most unsettling.
If just one year ago, someone told me I will go the final half of 2011 without a monthly paycheck, I’d probably ask him to go easy on the bubbly.
But it’s strange how the dots connect. How lady luck finally gives you a peek. How you’re inspired to do the unthinkable. How you realise all the things you missed in life. How you can actually enjoy a Monday morning. And how fast you forget about that monthly paycheck.
Yes, I am aware that it’s only been 6 short months. But I have to admit that it has not been bad. In fact, the world has been kind to me. Kinda eerie if you think about it actually.
So I think a huge thank you is in order. To my clients, colleagues, friends, family and readers of my ramblings – thank you for making my 2011 an eventful and unforgettable year.
I’ll leave you guys with this year’s Google Zeitgeist’s Year-in-Review video:
Oh yes, the answer to the question. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. Just know this, in case the world does come to an end in 2012, I’ll go with no regrets.
Happy New Year guys… cheers!