Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Owe You An Apology.

Life is getting ahead of me again.

I realize I've let my posting slide, which often signals the death knell for blogs. Rest assured I have no intention of stopping my activities here, although they've thinned out lately. And with good reason.

Since September, I've been pretty much booked solid in terms of writing projects. I've landed one very prolific new regular and seen no slacking off with my old regulars; most of my month is dedicated to keeping them happy. And then there are the new projects: one very large new one spanning multiple months, and a few shorter challenges to keep me on my toes. My writing business is taking off, and I haven't quite gotten into a groove yet that allows comfortable time for blogging. But I will.

If it was just the writing, that would be manageable. But I've seen some major changes in my personal life as well. I'm currently plotting a major move, and just ended a nine-year relationship. Big upheaval.

Regular posting will start again here, but I'm not completely sure when. Hopefully it will this week. That's what I said last week.

In the meantime, if you're interested in guest posting, please get in touch--this will help me fill the gaps. You'll get links within the post and I'll make sure my blogroll also links to your blog, if it doesn't already.

Thanks--and hopefully I'll be back on a regular schedule next week at the latest, after I've moved into my new place.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

When the Client is Tone-Deaf

I recently had a client who ran a luxury linens company. Her product evoked luxuriousness, indulgence, and expense. Her target audience had more than enough extra income to spare. She needed a new website--and she loved the writing I did for a previous client. She wanted exactly the same thing on her site. The problem? That previous client was a rock band photographer. His writing was edgy and cool and pushed the envelope. Her business was totally different in nature and appealed to a totally different audience.

I wrote up something I felt was in keeping with her audience and product. She wrote back saying it wasn't edgy enough. Okay, but that's totally the wrong tone for the audience. What do you do in this situation? I'm a bit torn. I want the client to be happy. I want the project finished on time without endless revisions chasing an edgy tone that just doesn't match the subject matter. But I also want it to be appropriate.

So what do you do when the client is tone deaf? My first option is to rewrite everything (and it's a large project) with a crazy edginess that's totally inappropriate to the audience, but that makes her happy. Option two is to explain why I feel that's not a great idea (and that's presumably why she hired me, right? For my marketing expertise? Or maybe it was just for my ability to write edgy funny copy?) I'm hoping there's an option three, a middle ground where I can add a touch of edge here and there while keeping the tone consistent with the product and audience. But I'm not sure if there is a middle ground for this one.

Have you ever come across a situation like this before? What would you do?

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Look Back, a Look Ahead

Last year, I posted my business goals for 2008. Yep, there they are, in all their glory. I had great intentions--I even broke everything down into small, manageable goals. And then life intervened. I really don't like it when that happens.

Here's a look back at what I didn't accomplish--and what I did instead.

Moving to Wordpress.The most important goal from last year was moving this blog off Blogger. As you can see, I'm still on Blogger. And it's not for lack of trying--I tried with Wordpress. I really did. And what I learned was that I am not a designer. Really. I have no eye for these things. And if I want to look professional, I should find people whose strengths lie where mine lack, and pay them. That's what professionals do. I"m going to have to make this a priority in 09.

Streamlining my marketing. Still hasn't happened. I did market more last year, but aggressive marketing still isn't how I get most of my business. I believe, however, that I can get higher paying gigs by actively marketing myself to higher paying clients--rather than just waiting to see what comes along. Lots of work does just come along--enough to do fine without marketing at all--but I need to start taking charge of my career. So I'm keeping this resolution.

Finishing my article marketing. This one I actually did accomplish. Last year my business was still coming largely from Elance; this year none of it was. Many of my new clients this year found me through online searches--my ranking was boosted a lot by this campaign--and from reading (and liking) those articles. A few people contacted me in person to ask if they could use my article marketing pieces in print newsletters, which I allowed--the start of several professional relationships that led to lucrative gigs. Article marketing works.

Passive income streams. It takes a lot of time, and I was focused on other things this year. THis is definitely an ultimate goal of mine, but maybe I'm not ready yet--I'll haul this one out again in a few years once I have these other goals taken care of.

This year, I'm not going to announce any specific resolutions other than growing my business and doing the best I can for my clients. Here's wishing everyone a happy new year full of prosperity.