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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Lively Copywriter’

Yeah, well, now you know how I feel!

Yeah, well, now you know how I feel!

A while back I mentioned the therapeutic little ritual I perform every so often. I sit and list everything that’s going on at The Exchange, either to assure myself that things aren’t as quiet as they seem or (in the current instance) to try to get a handle on the swirl of projects at their various stages of completion. Right now I am in Swirl mode. So, come. Circle the bowl with me!

Community College web copy. I am rewriting an online course catalog. It’s a modest start, but one that promises to explode later. A nice project because, other than some brochure work for a vocational/college prep high school in Dayton, education is not a niche I have spent much time in. I like it because it speaks of opportunity, hope, growth and other aspirational wonderfulness.

Various web copy, article writing and blog projects for area realtors. Sort of the opposite of opportunity, hope and growth. It’s a nice challenge working in a “down” business. But it can be emotionally draining working with folks who are in various stages of panic about their futures (hey, I should point them to the Community College!) Also tough because they all feel the need to step up their marketing, which is good, but they don’t have any money. I want to be part of the solution, but….

Various websites for clients in:

  • Insurance/benefits/investments,
  • Custom home plans-for-purchase,
  • Home HVAC,
  • Commercial construction,
  • Forensic psychiatry,
  • Commercial cleaning, and
  • Commercial in-building wireless signal enhancement and bridging (which is a thing now, apparently.)

Like I said, a swirl. Next time, we’ll do a “Where Are They Now?” of old projects. Try not to let the anticipation ruin your Labor Day weekend…because that’s Jerry Lewis’ job!*

* Oh, snap!


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Yesterday was the longest week of my life.  This was the day I spent trying to rehabilitate my laptop. As I reported previously, all of my USB devices suddenly stopped reporting for duty. Mouse, keyboard, scanner, printer, flash drives…all suddenly AWOL. Also, my touchpad was acting goofy. I could move the cursor, but I couldn’t double-touch; I had to left-click to select instead.  Now, for a copywriter this isn’t exactly the end of the world, but it’s a drag. Sort of like a carpenter with a broken hammer: the steel part at the top is missing, but I can still pound nails with the wooden handle.

So, the garage-and-attic safari began as I tried to locate all of my software (I move a lot!) I backed up important files to CD, which thankfully still worked. I wrote down as many user names and passwords as I could remember. And then I launched a recovery session.

Now, it’s time to rebuild. And whoops, my MS Office 2003 disc doesn’t work! I suddenly remember it didn’t work last time I recovered, either. So, it’s back to the garage, or attic, or wherever I found the software. After all, why would I bring the whole stack when I could just bring the one I thought I needed? Finally, I find my Office 2000 discs in a sleeve marked “I think this is the right one.” And, thankfully, it was the right one.

Final report: I got back full use of the touch pad. The USB ports STILL don’t work!  To quote Shakespeare: “Crappe!”

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There’s an economic school of thought that says in “times like these” freelancers, contract workers, consultants, call them what you will, should be doing OK. Suppose your company has a need for some service. When times are good, your company might go ahead and put someone on staff to take care of that need. Your company then assumes the financial expense of training that person, providing benefits, buying them a computer, printing their stupid little business cards, and so on.

When times aren’t so good, it’s a different story. Assume the need is still there. In a downturn, your company is more likely to contract someone to fill that need. No benefits, no computer, no stupid little business cards, etc.

Also, what if the provider isn’t doing such a great job? In the full-time staff example, the company feels much more pressure to “make good” on their investment in staff. They have to weigh the cost of retention vs. starting the whole process over again. With a contractor, they can just pull the plug.

So that’s the basic economics, all things being equal. But are things ever equal? Things like IT consulting, call center operations, cable installation…these things are specialized skills. Correction…these are specialized skills and people recognize them as such. Copywriting? Not so much.

When times are bad, people mistakenly cut back on promotion and marketing, precisely when they should be marketing and advertising more than ever. At these times, it’s hard to convince them that:

  • They should be communicating value to their prospective clients, through direct mail, revamping their website, blogging, etc., and
  • They need a professional copywriter to do that. Someone who can help find their value and state it in ways that entice the buying public and search engines alike.

I’d like to hear some ideas on convincing potential clients of the importance of A, B or both! Help a brother out…I’ve got some marketing to do!

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Sorry, gang. I was all set to regale you with the story of running and gunning across Europe producing corporate video. But something’s up with the PC. Suddenly my laptop doesn’t recognize my USB devices. Printer, scanner, remote keyboard, wireless mouse, the flash drive where my file is trapped…nothing. Device Manager says the drivers are fine, that it’s the devices that are bad. But all of them, suddenly? Anyway, I’m stumped. What do you think? Rebooting hasn’t helped. Time for a system recovery?

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Can you (and by you I mean me) find writing jobs in the want ads? If you don’t live in New York, Chicago, or anywhere there are more people than livestock, I’m not so sure. Every town is different, of course, and there are different kinds of writing.

Take Charleston, for example. Type “writer” into the search box. Immediately scratch off the five “Service Writer” jobs at the local auto dealers. And you are left with about 20 legitimate writer ads a day. Sounds great for a town the size of Charleston (the #80 metro area.) However, I guarantee you 19 of those 20 ads will be for a Technical Writer.

Let me pause and say that there are jobs I can do and like doing. There are jobs I can do but don’t like doing. And there are jobs I can’t do well, and don’t care to improve because I don’t like doing them. Technical writing is the latter.

And technical writing is where it’s at in Charleston, particularly in government contracting.  It’s strictly “tab A into slot B equals cruise missile.” I have done a fair amount of government/military stuff, but it has been on the marketing end, for instance: “Somewhere in a far-off, dusty land the Liberty Gun stands a lonely vigil, tirelessly defending the freedoms we hold dear.” Hey, I just made that up…wanna buy it?

When you do find a marketing/advertising writer job, they tend to boil down to the following: “Looking for 23-year-old kid seeking first big break to serve as our entire communications department. Must be proficient in every software program created in the past 20 years. Strict adherence to AP style! Must love long hours, intense pressure and low pay.”

So, I tend to read the ads not to find jobs, but companies. A company searching for a webmaster, public relations director or publications manager obviously needs writing services. Do they need them enough to hire your freelancin’ ass? Well, that’s what you have to find out.

I try my best to associate a name with the company, which isn’t easy sometimes. First of all, half the ads are from recruiters (Hulk angry! Hulk SMASH!) However, if you are searching locally, there are times you can piece together enough clues to make a guess. They make a certain thing? They’re located in a particular suburb? Then it’s probably XYZ Corp.

Then I head to their website, if they have one. Their About page might have officer bios, maybe even with email links. Or, their News page might have press releases, at the bottom of which you may find “For further info contact Joe Blow, Corporate Communications Director.”

There you have it, my fellow ink-stained wretches. Use your innate creativity to turn your miserable job search into an exciting detective novel…and make looking for work up to five percent less humiliating!

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