Toot toot! Today I’m blowing my own trumpet and writing about some lovely things that have been said about me. It’s always hard in this business to pitch yourself to people who don’t know your work. You can direct them to websites and social media accounts, but personal testimonials and quotes, I hope, do the job even better and serve the greater purpose of inflating my ego to unmanageable levels. Yay!
Sometimes you get some great feedback because a project has come to an end.
"We would like to thank you for your hard work and creative flair with the blog writing and social media."
Sometimes it comes out of the blue when you’re being recommended for a piece of work.
"Jenni Collins is a social media expert, an excellent writer, (and) an amazing designer."
Sometimes it is the result of a great partnership over several years.
"Jenni is reliable, dependable and passionate. I know our business is in safe hands when she works on a project for us. Her creative flair and honesty is something that stands her apart from other marketeers I have worked with."
And sometimes it comes from a mutual love of cake.
"Jenni is a marketing guru and if clients want to keep her happy they must provide cake."
Wherever it comes from, I always feel very honoured that people have recognised me with words on paper (ok, screen). There are very few (and no current) clients that I have worked with that I haven’t liked and respected, so a mutual love-in is always, always appreciated.
Image credit: Padurariu Alexandru
A chat with a fellow freelancer today ran into a couple familiar subjects for people who work on their own. As well as rates, networking opportunities and getting business, we also talked about how hard it is to get feedback.
Sometimes clients do get back to you with some great feedback (more of that in a later blog), but more often than not your marketing material, especially copywriting and social media work, is pinged off in an email never to be referred to again. In a way, as long as your invoice is paid and you keep writing for them, it’s fine. That should be all the feedback you need.
But I do like a pat on the head and a biscuit at times, and it is great to have some sort of response from your clients.
We talked about this problem of feedback briefly (I met up with the lovely Rachel of CopyThat), and I was glad that this is a problem that could be shared. All you want to do is create a great piece of work for your clients, and although you may be happy with it, how do you know if it is completely fulfilling their aims and getting results?
It’s a tricky notion to balance. You can’t delve too deep into their results, unless they ask you to, and you may not be present when clients make their decisions on topics, marketing plans and further strategies. However to do the best job you need to be party to your client’s aims and as marketing should be part of every strand of the business (the first thing you learn at marketing school) having that constant interaction makes everything you do work better and harder.
I am lucky to have many clients who do provide feedback when I work with them. Even a discussion on things you could change, or a structural rearrange, proves that you are working together for the benefit of the business. And of course, repeat business is the best feedback you should really ask for!
Not really. Or I really hope not as I am not a young person anymore. Well, I am if I hang out with older people so I’ll be chilling in residential homes and at the bingo from now on.
Social Media is a fast moving old thing. Most things are fast moving now, but digital marketing moves quickest of all the quick things.
Platforms evolve, algorithms change, opinions are many and confusing. Before you start asking yourself whether you should be on Snapchat or if your website needs a redesign, get back to basics and find out what’s working.
If your Twitter account isn’t getting the responses it used to; is it because less people are using Twitter or is it because your content has gone a bit stale? This is where monitoring the performance of your posts can really help you. If you can the content, format, time, etc, and it still isn’t working, your potential customers may have gone elsewhere or the format changes are working against you.
Facebook is notorious for changing the way people view their feeds in order to convince businesses to advertise with them. Instagram, too, keeps threatening to change its feed from chronological order to one that is more popularity based, meaning a lot of problems for businesses that love to use that medium. They could end up with posts that are rarely seen.
There are also the many rumours about Twitter, changing the 140 characters format (ie the whole point of the thing) to allow more space for people to express themselves. They’ve also added a new moments concept that I actually love, as a quick recap of what people have been talking about throughout the day without having to whizz through your feed. And it is a fact that most people have so many accounts to follow now it’s hard to get exposure on Twitter without reposting a lot throughout the day. So the moments (or also the ‘while you were away’) feature is very handy. For users. You’d be hard pressed to get your own business message on there without a major story.
It may well be time to invest money in advertising, or at least getting some fresh new content (talk to your employees for a nice new input) and please please monitor your activity to see what is working and what isn’t.
I’ve always been a feminist. Obviously. I like voting and earning my own money and running my own business and having the opportunity to do whatever I want to do. It’s very clear to me now that I’ll never be an astronaut or headline Glastonbury, but the option is the thing.
I just took the whole feminist thing as a given until I had Hector. All of a sudden, when you want to raise this little precious screaming thing as best you can, in the right way, the world is a scarier place. There’s just so much hate and fear, uncertainty and loss, and you simultaneously want to protect your tiny person from the horrible world and also enable them to create their place in it. They should be whoever they want to be.
So, when you start reading articles about the gender pay gap or the effects of sexting and porn on young people it increases your fear and frustration with the our culture. You might not think that I’d get that upset. After all, Hector is a boy and will grow up with all the privileges that go with it. But the patriarchy affects him too. What if he’s told he runs like a girl? That he can’t like Frozen or a princess dress? That he shouldn’t cry or express his feelings? Suicide rates for young men are high because this reason, as men struggle to seek help and support. There is an emphasis on men to be the strong ones, to bear the burden ‘for the women’. Gender still affects our decisions and how we are perceived in the world.
I don’t want Hector to dismiss a whole section of toys because they are in the pink section. As the campaign Let Toys be Toys promotes, the use of ‘real life’ or creative toys helps children understand caring for people or doing jobs around the home. Shouldn’t all men be able to cook now? To create a truly equal world, where women can go for the careers they want and make the best of their lives, responsibilities should be shared. Men can be capable of looking after their children and providing the emotional support that entails.
I know I’m not a shining example of this. I still struggle, using the wrong language or buying ‘girly’ toys for birthday parties. Being a woman affects how I feel in big meetings, my confidence, my reliance on a pretty dress to get me through those situations (I may dedicate another blog to all those times I have ridiculously over-dressed for meetings), and my inability to fully recognise the benefits I bring to businesses.
There’s a long way to go, for me, my son and the world. But I read a lot. I share articles and stories that affect me, I am a member of both the Fawcett Society and the Women’s Equality Party. I will talk about how I feel about feminism to any one that wants to ask me and if they think that we’re all equal now they are in for a lengthy discussion. I can wear my Feminist necklace with pride and deal with the bemused expressions. Just about.
As for Hector, he’s still very much a boy. It’s all Lego and Star Wars and superheroes for now. However much fake food I threw in front of him in his toddler years he was never one for playing house. Even now he only wants to cook with me because I let him hold a knife and chop things like a ninja. However, he is so overflowing with love for the world (he literally told this week, walking home from school “I love everyone in the whole world Mummy!”), and I think if you can keep that sort of feeling about you can cope with just about anything.
I was talking to someone the other day about the different kind of marketing services I offer. As well as what could be seen a products (actual jobs like managing social media, writing blogs, redesigning a website, designing a leaflet, proof reading etc etc), I also do some consulting on more of what was described as marketing therapy.
It’s a really good idea – small businesses know they need to do for their marketing, might come up with some plans, get the ball rolling… and then get really busy with something else and it all goes flat. When you have a regular marketing meeting with your friendly marketing consultant (that would be me), it encourages you to get those jobs done and to report back on what’s been achieved.
It’s also a time to get some common sense style feedback. Whether it’s working out if an advert is the right thing to do, if your messages are on track, whether that white paper is a good idea… we can assess these together with a marketing perspective and come to a conclusion.
This works really well when paired with a marketing strategy. When I write marketing strategies, I go through the following steps:
So, if you think your business could benefit from some marketing therapy, take a look at my testimonials, clients and services, and contact me today for a chat.
Freelance Marketing Consultant, especially that Social Media stuff.