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Posts Tagged ‘freelance writing’

Just like a pink satin bow on a Hefty bag, it’s your Weekly Wrap!

Monday: The week began with a client questionnaire I produced to help speed along an initial website meeting. Every client’s busy, but this one has been so busy that it took two months to schedule this meeting. So I ginned up these questions as a way to optimize everyone’s time and add value, which is kind of my thing. Emailed them off a day in an advance. Of course, the first words out of his mouth at the meeting were, “Got your questions. Didn’t get a chance to look them over.” So check out Monday’s tale of attempted value-added awesomeness, Web Content from the Ground Up.

Tuesday: You look at the potential projects on your whiteboard. There’s a bunch of them…they’re meaty as hell …and they’re entirely fictional until they happen. I wish I had some sage advice about “the 5 signs that this gig is for real,” but I don’t. The lesson here…one that I never tire of learning, it seems…is to not get my hopes up. Because misery loves company, you should check out Managing Expectations.

Wednesday: The real world of increased workload and shifting deadlines had the nerve to intrude on my little blogging fantasy, so no real post that day. However, I did swipe a nifty hourglass to illustrate the situation. So there.

Thursday: A look in the mirror as we discussed some expert “do’s and do not do’s” of blogging, AKA Best Practices. All the standard advice applies, including keeping it relevant, packing your content to the rim with keywords, and telling interminably long stories about “the guy at that place with the thing.” Seriously, there’s some good advice here. Please to enjoy Blogging Best Practices: A Self-check.

That’s the wrap. If you, like me, are concerned that Dark Knight has only pulled down $200 million domestic so far, then you know what to do this weekend!

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Blogmeister Rich Brooks, of Flyte New Media, has a top-nine list of best practices designed to make your blog a more effective business tool. This prompted me to do a little self-check to see where I stand.  Here are a few of the more relevant tips and tricks, and how I think we rate here at LivelyExchange.

Blog for your audience. That is, write about what your audience cares about.

Of course, this assumes you have an audience. Writing timely, relevant posts about copywriting…hell, about anything…is hard to do on a daily basis. At best, I’d say LivelyExchange is about half and half, relevance vs. war stories.

Make your blog search engine friendlier. Cramming your posts and titles with keywords and whatnot.

I could do better here. My posts are actually in good shape. Too often, though, I use clever (!) punny post titles that you don’t comprehend until you’re halfway through the post. Apparently this is bad!

Engage your most active commenters. If someone comments, RSVP dang it!

Done and done. Whenever anybody comments, I respond ASAP. My commenters have been duly impressed…all six of them!

Comment on influential blogs in your niche.

Now this one’s hard. First of all, this takes TIME, man! Second, it always sounds so fake. Like those spam posts that say, “Excellent point! I agree! BTW, have you tried hotwealthysingles.com?”

Leverage your blog traffic into real business. Remember why you’re doing this…to get name recognition, hits and leads!

Ideas include writing posts that always conclude with a relevant, business-generating action step. Such as: “To learn more about how we destroyed the Crown Room at the Denver Airport, and how this somehow relates to your business communication needs, contact Mike at mlively2002(at)yahoo(dot)com!” …See what I mean? It’s tough!

Anyway, if you’re interested, you can find the rest of Rich Brooks’ tips here.

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Dateline: A Dark Place. As freelancers, we know this fact: if all the jobs we had penciled in over the years had actually come to fruition, we’d be fabulously wealthy. Right now I’d be using my fortune to fight crime and/or subsidize the torture of all who had ever wronged me. At the very least, I’d be paying someone to write this blog and you’d probably be paying someone to read it for you.

I’m not talking about clients I’ve pursued but did not win. I’m not talking about hunches or guesses based on past experience. I’m talking about:

  • The client who says, “How’s your April looking? I’ve got something huge for you!” Then you finally hear from them in June that the whole project was scrapped.
  • The massive, 30-page website that becomes six pages.
  • The sales meeting that will consist of three video scripts, a welcome brochure and four speeches…that ends up being one video script and one speech.
  • Or, my most recent and most painful example, a $7500 brochure job that turned into a cloud of disappointment.

You think I would learn not to count my chickens before they hatch. But it’s the same every year. I look out over the rumored and promised projects ahead and say, “Dang. If these 7 things happen, it’s going to be a good year!” Then, invariably, four of the seven just disappear.

The thing is, there’s really nothing to be done about it. Nothing except learning to manage my expectations better. After all, it’s something we do on every project, with every client: under-promise and over-deliver.  So, here’s my advice to myself: plan to survive on a diet of Kost-Kutter brand cat food. Then, if you somehow manage to afford Fancy Feast, you’ll feel like a million bucks!

Just don’t eat it from a crystal bowl like on the commercial …nobody likes a showoff.

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