Blah, Blah, Blog!

For a modern lesson on a classic fundamental, let’s take it back to elementary school for the 5 W’s (and 1 H) for a moment shall we?  Who, What, Where, When, Why & How…although not in that particular order.
WHO…you of course!  Don’t think blogging is for you or beneficial to your company?  Read on my friend…
WHAT’s the point of business blogging?  To communicate clearly to a wide variety of readers (either from your business sector or to one who is interested in acquiring your company’s expertise) and reach them on a virtual yet tangible level that says  wanna do lunch…via Skype?

HOW can a blog work for your company?  Let me pass on what I’ve come to understand. Basically, if you are a small to medium-sized company, more than likely you have a limited advertising/marketing budget if any.  This may in turn affect your ability to rub elbows with your industry-related business colleagues and the frequency of networking opportunities.  But guess what? If you have a semi-talented employee who can write pretty well or hire a content writer like myself (hint, hint-plug, plug) you can be well on your way to leveraging social media to your advantage and profit margin.
WHY and the WHAT points are somewhat synonymous. You (or your superiors) want to have a corporate blog which elevates you/your company to a WORLDWIDE PRESENCE.  This taps you into the local and global business market by creating dialogue via your company website to an UNLIMITED number of people for almost FREE.  Need I say more?  Ok but just because I can hear the anticipation…
WHERE is Waldo, Jane, Bob or whatever your name is?  Where do you pow-wow and have your swank & usually expensive lunch meeting to seal your deals?  Your couch if you’re lucky!  In 2012, most freelance and small business owners work from home or out of a local Starbucks.  You can save time and money with this fantastic networking tool by using a little of Father Time and a smidge of talent to take your business to the next level and into an unlimited marketplace.  No expense account required.
WHEN you choose to use social media to your advantage, you win-plain & simple.  Oh and today is a great day to start.

Still saying blah, blah, blah?????

Write It Like You Live It!

A content writer or business blogger (whether plume or keyboard, or in my case, both) takes on the identity of his/her subject as though they are vicariously living as the CEO or decision maker for that business entity.  It is in this forum where jack of all trades requires that you master, at least on some level, all & not none.  A good content writer or blogger assumes the identity of employee/employer and advocate for that business.

Taking on a client who is part of an industry in which you’ve never been employed can seem overwhelming or to some impossible.  Do you take that client on and fluff your credentials as though you have had a million clients in that same industry…a been there done that so of course you should hire me attitude?  Or do you let them know how darn good you are at research and how becoming a student rather than a “know it all” behooves them and your craft?  Because any good content writer will tell you it’s about RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH …and yet more RESEARCH.  That includes your company client, their area of expertise, their competition and what’s not being said/done/reflected in their own and competitors marketing identity.   You have to write it like you live it, in it…their world, their conference rooms and marketing strategy meetings.

Recently I took on a client in a very interesting and technical industry.  And I certainly can admit some hesitation and anxiety prior to the pitch.  It was seemingly too technical for a person who spent a good deal of my career in a very white collar legal environment.  But I soon realized that this is what it’s all about.  What content writers do-we morph.  And through many hours of research and allowing my brain to think outside its confines and experience, I soon became intrigued and began to write in such a manner that impressed me (really it did) and my client.  This is what allows you to write from a position of “seeming” expertise and authority rather than obvious novice.

So stay encouraged my fellow content writers and bloggers- embrace what you don’t know, learn what you need to and then write like you live it.

When Designing Can Bite You In The Ass

Office PictureRemember when you first started out as a designer? That overly ambitious feeling to get any kind of work no matter what you’d be getting paid. Sure we all remember those days. Even if they were a few months ago for some. What quickly follows after your first few projects is the feeling of “wow I did all that, for all that time, and only charged what?” Or better yet, finding out what a friend or same level competitor is charging for the same kind of work you’re doing. Yea that doesn’t feel good at all. That’s the bite or kick in the ass we’re talking about here.

There’s really no such thing as taking one for the team when you’re an established designer. By now you’ve learned to accept or reject projects based on requirements, budget and your availability schedule. Though, for some reason these types of projects still come across our desks and even seem appealing due to our own temporary financial situation. Let me show you some points on what to look out for:

Budget: This one is first because you should be able to tell right from the initial consultation (free of not), whether the potential client will appreciate the amount of work you’re about to put in. We all know great designers and developers put in way more hours than they charge.

Timeframe: My “spidey” sense goes wild when someone tells me they need a full website done yesterday. The reverse of that situation is accepting a job when your schedule is already booked to the rim. Be cautious of your time. There is a healthy balance to adhere to and that’s to make sure you stay inspired and energized to continue to produce great work.

Accepting Jobs Outside of Your Scope of Work: This is a big one for me. I’m always concerned with landing a job that looks better to the eyes on my wallet than the better judgement of my mind. Taking on a client or project that you’re unable to comprehend on completing either on your own or with your support team is never a good thing. Not that you’ll be incapable of producing the job but the time that may be spent on learning or coming up to speed on platforms you’re not familiar with will drag you down.

Miscommunication: This could be a huge volcano just waiting to erupt. This happens all to often when a contract line item isn’t realized, a mockup version is confused in email transmissions, or timelines are misunderstood. All of these and more usually start off as small instances. Left unresolved or uncorrected and they’ll become that huge problem that drains all of your time, attention, and emotion from all of your firms business.

Ever been bit in the ass by something you overlooked? Share with us in the comments below.