Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freelancing makes me grumpy...

I am a few weeks into a freelancing project writing advertorials. This is when I start to feel all snarky inside about advertising and the writing that feeds it. So I have created a list of sorts, to temper my evil feelings surrounding the project. The you that I use in my list is a general you, definitely not aimed at the bright and brilliant few that frequent my blog. 

Suggestions from a freelancing grunt:

1. If you write 3,000 words for me to squeeze into a 250 word maximum word count article -don't get angry and mean when I edit it. If you really need a novel to describe your business, pay for a larger space.

2. No matter what your ad rep tells you, she is NOT the one who is writing your article or building your ad. Do not write cute, sick or perverted little notes to her in the margin of your copy. These notes will be seen by others, remembered, and made fun of for years to come.

3. No one actually cares about all the organizations, churches, group of fellows, secret societies and specialized groups that you belong to. Don't feel entitled to break the word count to include all your clubs. If you are that well known and involved in society - people know you. They see you at these functions. You don't need to tell them you are there.

4. The redundancy applies to awards too. Big awards sure, mention them. But every stupid little blue ribbon ever bestowed upon you will not make people want to frequent your business.

5. Don't break word count by listing all the charity work you do. Giving five dollar gift certificates to a hundred different causes will not win you a ticket to heaven, nor will it get you customers if you brag about it. Charities tend to give ad space in return for donations, which means you've already been compensated for your generosity. Don't milk it. If you are genuinely driven to help a cause, then use some of your personal ad space to educate the public about said cause. Don't just say how much time and money you gave to it.

6. If you are a marketing consultant (different creature from the ad rep in #1, and in my opinion a type of pimp - the moneysucking middle man) then stick to what you know. Which tends to be making phone calls and strange demands. However, those strange demands should not include advice to copywriters and graphic artists who have actual training in the writing and design that goes into ad building. Okay, this is just through my personal small town experience here. I am sure there is a useful place in the business world for marketing consultants. Just not the ones who take time out of their day to give me headache.

7. In a continuation of #6. If you don't know the proper punctuation that is used in paid media, then don't insist on breaking those guidelines. It is fine to use "quotations" to express yourself in a Dr. Evil sort of way on message boards or blogs, or if you are feeling all e.e. cummings and need to get your mad poet on. However, this is not done in an article unless it is a title or someone is actually saying something. As in - "This marketing consultant is such a complete moron," said Candy. "She completely uses quotations incorrectly and is forcing me to do the same thing, and it is driving me to drink beverages best saved for more fun things, like dental surgery." Oops, run on sentence. Oh well, it is blog - see I can be free like that in the "correct context".

8. Finally - on the flipside of the word count killers. Don't just write "we care", expect me to fill in the rest of the 248 words about your business and then get angry with what I come up with. There are a whole slew of ways an article based on pest control can go. If you have a strong vision about that particular direction then please share it in the beginning stages of our relationship.

Whew! If you made it through all that, then welcome to the darker side of me. I feel much better now thank you. Oh, and if you are wondering how in the world can this chick get paid to write stuff when her blog is so full of amazingly horrid grammer mutilations and cliche writing... I sometimes wonder the same thing too. :)


Maria said...

Oh dear. Perhaps I DON'T want to freelance. I thought I did..I think it was number seven that had me incontinent, truly. That was funny.Hope you don't resort to "evil foods" (I blog therefore I use quotes) in order to get thru this trying time....

Mommylion said...

"What? Me? Evil foods? " said Candy as she reached for another piece of pizza.

Please don't let my self indulgent rant chase you away from freelancing. It is a fun way to get money. Some of my issues probably stem from the fact that I have done this particular project for over four years. So I have seen some of these issues over and over and over and over.... Pizza, anyone?

If I had a little more variety some of this stuff would just roll off my back. Besides, I always get a little insane in the final week. Deadlines can be evil and bring out the ugly.