Copywriters: Trying dressing up a presentation. Show a client how visual words can be done.
I have a new venue for sending bids: Powerpoint. The inspiration came from the client, a social event and web development company whose owner has twenty years in print production and design. I had finished the main points of my proposal, when the thought occurred to me that just text in an email wasn’t going to cut it. With virtually no experience in Powerpoint (aside from an afternoon of noodling and some simple editing of a presentation) I opened the software, picked a template, and watched the copy scatter rather nicely into five “slides,” including a title page and summary with an enticing closer.
Knowing my client, who’s more of a generalist and not one to review anything with a magnifying glass, I spent time on the slide titles which were, effectively, the main actions. On the bid slide I inserted a text box – again, easy as pie – which was an effective notification that the client was getting a special rate for this two-page white paper.
So it went a little something like this:
Slide 1: Cover Page
Slide 2: Project summary, the Challenge, what needs doing. For this project, I called it “The Travels of Company X,” since I was proposing a company profile
Slide 3: The Breakdown, or costs involved (text box here)
Slide 4: The Game Plan, including payment arrangements, allowable edits and other conditions of service
Slide 5: Summary
I got the job, by the way, and was hired shortly thereafter to develop copy my client’s RFP presentation. We worked in Power Point. Coincidence? Perhaps. Fun? Indeed.
Writers are often seen as introverted and lacking a visual eye. Now, that just might be true – you can discuss on some LinkedIn thread, if you’d really like to depress yourself – but with just a touch of flash here and there, I could prove my respect for content placement and design.
My advice? Start with a simple template and the ‘ole cut and paste. Changing the backdrop might just inspire your words and make connections you didn’t know were there.
I am so unlike Slam, the title character of a play I’m writing and blogging about this month, June. Here’s proof: a piece describing how I do battle in order to bring in copywriting work. It was posted in an online copywriting magazine not too long ago.
Title? LOVE THE DREAD
Being a career-changer and relatively new to freelance writing, one of my first lessons was to love the dread. Writing work is getting regular, but it doesn’t appear by itself, so along with network breakfasts and emails, I’ve got to get visible over the phone. That means every morning I face my personal psychobabble in the form of an immense stone wall, covered with slimy moss, with no hand- or footholds. It veritably looms at me, laughing, (laughing?) threatening to morph, any second, into a prehistoric monster. Call a prospect? Approach the wall? I may be swallowed whole! Worse, far worse: I could be laughed at. Or get slimed. As we say in Acronym nowadays: OMG.
So what’s the trick to pole vaulting said dread? Quantitative action and a partner to share it with. In these days of unlimited text messages and friends who freelance or work from home, I’m equipped to approach the wall, turn my back to all distractions and punch a text declaring twenty calls by 10am. The wall seems to shudder, but no matter; I’m locked in. And what do you know? Looking down, I see I’m wearing crampons, protective gloves, and a stunning fur jacket, with a list of prospective web designers waiting for my call! Connect with ‘droid, square off, leg up, GO.
The dread wave recedes with every call. My muscles build, I develop my footwork. I can laugh at the ooze and smell. The trick? Being able to OMG to a pal, but also meet my quota. And if you’re wearing crampons and furs, it’s hard to take yourself seriously. Let them laugh! I’m dressed for it!
And victory, too: after roughly 200 “cold” calls, I landed a $1,500 web copywriting gig. This cub scout is thrilled and laying the ground for her next merit badge.
My wonderful colleague Laurece West just coached me on a new web site. All her points were valid and inspirational. And I’m always happy to work for you, my wonderful clients. I love to watch the site build out and get more approachable and helpful and exciting with each post.
Right now I’m in my tangled knitting stage. All the yarn is tangled and requires patient unraveling. However, I’ve got the pattern and the color and the final object is in sight.
It is the strangest experience to write copy for my own web site.
Whenever I approach the work, I get a wrench in my gut and a feeling of horror, and spiders appear in the periphery…
Music: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, 1979; Brian Eno & David Byrne. Good background beat experiment. To great success. But music isn’t the subject here.
I’ve been writing for other sites for a while now and the SKang system, what I do for customer content, doesn’t involve arachnid craziness. After all, there’s a web designer, the clients, the client’s customers, and a desire to serve. SO, lots of meetings, multiple attachments, many nifty pencils, and several uploads later, we have product. Finis. Quite satisfying, really.
But I put a hold on my own business.
Which is classic cart before the horse.
Because, friends I need a site.
Boy howdy, do I ever.
(You’d think I was back in 1994. When the first site rolled…)
I need to be accessible to businesses on the hunt for an outside eye.
I need links to my writing.
I need passive selling, which is what web sites so very well do.
SO I can happily report that I started today, swear to honest I did.
I did the best possible thing: identified pages and then pulled out (gasp, horrors!) static, yellow, lined paper. Let the scribbles begin!
See picture. Kind of like what this here entry is.
Lesson for the day: I didn’t apply any of my methods for other clients on my site. Hmmm… that’s another blog entry. Stay tuned!