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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Lively’

Somehow, I have managed to maintain a mix of copywriting clients of various sizes and workloads. There’s an ebb and flow; one client’s writing needs are down, while another’s are up. And over the years, I have managed to pay the bills. Not exactly rolling naked in obscene piles of money…just paying the bills. The other half of the equation is learning to not have bills! I also have several other useful tips like:

  • Marrying money
  • Being touched by an angel, and
  • Hiding jobs in a hollow tree until winter

Anyway, recently that thing happened that happens from time to time: more clients’ writing needs were down than up, and it was time to start beating the bushes even more than usual. So I started perusing these listing sites.

“Designers! Copywriters! Programmers! List your services here! Let the client come to you!!”

There are a bunch of these sites, and they each work a little differently: from a straight, yellow-pages type of listing, to a sort of RFP-type setup where you submit bids. And here is where it gets depressing. First of all, a typical client listing: “Need 100,000 words of SEO copy, budget $200.”  Right away you think, “Dream on, pal.” But, sure enough, not only are there 5 writers willing to do it for $200, there are 5 more with names you can’t even pronounce, from places like Bangalore, India who are willing to do it for $75!

So that was the beginning and end of my bid-site experience. Anybody else had any better luck?

PS…It’s Friday, and the fact that there’s no more Battlestar Galactica until frakkin’ 2009 is killing me!

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I’m late to the party, admittedly. But I just spent 5 weeks in blogger purgatory and, damn it, that experience had to have been for a reason!  I’m referring to spending hours each day writing blog posts or comments, as well as “informative” articles about topics related to a client’s product.

The point is to write fresh, SEO-rich content on the client’s subject matter. Finding a fresh topic requires a bit of research skill I liken to being able to “see the Matrix.” You race thru article portal sites staring at the screen, watching the glowing green characters cascade in front of you. Somehow, you see the nut of the story and tease it out.

Now, here’s where you separate the writers from the hacks (as that cranky bastard The Copywriter would say.)  Some pro bloggers simply lift the copy from someone else’s article. Others lift and then reword just enough to avoid plagiarism. Me, I lift the topic and then try my best to recall a personal experience, or a friend or relative’s personal experience, or something I saw on TV, and make something fresh out of it.

As I have tried to tell the aforementioned cranky bastard, the amount of “lift” vs. “fresh” can sometimes depend on your workload.  I was expected to churn out 15 200-word posts in two hours, followed by 15 to 20 comments in another two hours. I still managed to do much more “fresh” than “lifted,” but it was tough.

Anyway, having been through this experience, I am going to try to make something out of it. So, I am going to make another page of the site dedicated to blogging, commenting and article writing, and we’ll see what happens.  Fun and profits…I’m SURE of it!!

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I hope all those ITVA/MCAI’ers who I roused yesterday came back for another visit today. I have been meaning to do this for a while.

It was about six months ago that GG told me that Gerry Hagner had passed away from Hodgkin’s disease. Gerry was a video entrepreneur, a philanthropist and, judging by his YEARS of involvement in ITVA/MCAI, something of a masochist as well. He served in every board position at least once and opened his home numerous times for board meetings, chapter meetings and summer socials. Long after the Civil War I mentioned yesterday, when the rest of us had moved on, when the Cincinnati chapter had dissolved and melded into the Dayton chapter, Gerry continued to serve.

Gerry was a lovable nerd with a level head, the superego to our raging ids (and yes, I am referring to all those battles over serving beer at our socials!) He was always the one taking care of the details while the rest of us chilled.  He was so behind the scenes that I am not surprised to find that the only photo I have is from his monthly column in the newsletter. Gerry was never one to leap in front of the camera with a lampshade on his head. He left that to ALL THE REST OF US.

If you have a nice Gerry anecdote to share, spill it here.  Here’s mine: When I quit my cushy but stifling corporate gig and went freelance, times were tough.  It was post-9/11, the economy was crap, and the awesome gigs I was promised if I went freelance did not materialize.  Gerry knew about my situation and gave me a “gig.”  A nothing little writing assignment, helping him put together a promo piece for his business. It was unspoken, but entirely obvious, that he wasn’t going to use this script. I think I invoiced $100 for it, maybe $125. It meant almost nothing to my checkbook, but it was totally a morale-booster.

By the way, Gerry’s wife is selling all of his gear. Some of it is strictly museum pieces, but much of it is modern stuff at good prices.

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Typical ITVA Conference Badge

There once was a communication trade group called ITVA. Long ago, that stood for Industrial TV Association, and then International TV Association, I think. I’m not sure because the name was never really that important. (Are you sensing a branding nightmare? Yeah, we’ll get to that.) It was a trade group for people like me (at the time) who worked in corporate communication departments making training videos and never seeing the sun except in exterior shots. The ITVA did all the trade-groupy things like monthly meetings, electing boards, and having annual blowout drunk-fests in far-off cities. It was a cool hang and, as long as your company was paying the $450 annual membership, everything was groovy.

But things changed, as they always do. I know I aged 10 years in the time I was active, and so did everybody else. Things like vitality and new blood became less important. And our chapter evolved from a networking group of young people trying to make connections into a social club more concerned about the refreshments being served. As the average age continued to skew older, the national office lurched into “action.” In a delicate situation that required lots of tact, they displayed precisely none, and civil war broke out. They said (quite rightly) that to remain vital, we can’t be the “video dude” club anymore. And many people found themselves on the Status Quo side, largely in response to the ham-fisted actions of the national office. We said, if the Teamsters can have a horse and a wagon-wheel as their logo, then we can be the ITVA!

Anyway, it became a race between re-branding and irrelevance that, somehow, achieved both. The ITVA became the MCA-I, the Media Communications Association International. It wisely attempted to incorporate all the elements of communication that weren’t video, like print, web and multimedia, but had no idea (as of 2002, anyway) how to do it.

It’s been years since I attended a meeting, even longer since I was on the local board. So I have to ask…do organizations like this even have a place anymore? Or do forums and chatrooms fulfill the same purpose? What do you think?

Update: Old Cincinnati hands were aghast that the Flying Pig was not on the name badge. So, take your pigs and stick them!

mmm...pork!

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