Writing for boring clients

15 replies
I've been doing affiliate marketing for a while and had some good successes but it was always more of a hobby.

I was asked to join an SEO agency about a month ago and although I love writing for my own sites the most difficult adjustment I am finding is writing for a client who sells stuff that:

a) Has little or no online community
b) Dull products
c) Does not want you to update their web content without their approval
d) Does not engage socially and does not want to pay the agency to do it

This actually makes up a fair amount of the clients I'm now dealing with and so I'm having to find ways of shepherding customers through brand awareness via PPC,guest blogging, link building (competitor research etc).

What I'd really like to do is to be able to add fresh, engaging content regularly to my client sites and perhaps I will find a way in the coming months to do this but I am hoping to find out if there are other people on here who can offer me any advice on this? Are there any people on here in/have been in this same predicament?

Any thoughts or advice would be gratefully received.

Cheers

Graham
#boring #clients #writing
  • Profile picture of the author greatwriter
    Discipline is the key if you are a writer.
    I have found myself getting bored when working
    on one project over a long period of time. At the end
    of the day it is what the client wants and not what you want.
    You may try coming up with a plan to show them how your
    suggestions may help to improve their bottom-line and perhaps your
    client may be more open to trying out something new.
    Otherwise, just keep working on the content.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8622088].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by gmac222 View Post

    I've been doing affiliate marketing for a while and had some good successes but it was always more of a hobby.

    I was asked to join an SEO agency about a month ago and although I love writing for my own sites the most difficult adjustment I am finding is writing for a client who sells stuff that:

    a) Has little or no online community
    b) Dull products
    c) Does not want you to update their web content without their approval
    d) Does not engage socially and does not want to pay the agency to do it

    This actually makes up a fair amount of the clients I'm now dealing with and so I'm having to find ways of shepherding customers through brand awareness via PPC,guest blogging, link building (competitor research etc).

    What I'd really like to do is to be able to add fresh, engaging content regularly to my client sites and perhaps I will find a way in the coming months to do this but I am hoping to find out if there are other people on here who can offer me any advice on this? Are there any people on here in/have been in this same predicament?

    Any thoughts or advice would be gratefully received.

    Cheers

    Graham
    It's simple: when you work for someone else, you play by their rules.

    My suggestion: if you don't like what you're being asked to do, find other employment.

    Alex
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8622201].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    First of all...

    Don't write for people if their products and vision don't light a fire under your ass.

    There are plenty of people with high-quality solutions that need kick-ass writers to pimp it all out.

    Be selective... or you'll get burnt out faster than a stoner @ 4:21.

    Mark
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8622250].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      It's simple: when you work for someone else, you play by their rules.

      My suggestion: if you don't like what you're being asked to do, find other employment.

      Alex
      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      First of all...

      Don't write for people if their products and vision don't light a fire under your ass.

      There are plenty of people with high-quality solutions that need kick-ass writers to pimp it all out.

      Be selective... or you'll get burnt out faster than a stoner @ 4:21.

      Mark
      Well it's all summed up in these two posts.

      YOU are the contractor...YOU are in charge of the sale. YOU pick who you work for.

      If YOU picked to work with a dullard, and YOU didn't set the rules (ie. to work with me, you must be ready to do X and Y with social media), then you're stuck with them.

      To avoid this situation, qualify your prospects as Mark says.

      "I find the most spectacular results come when my clients are eager to get involved with their fans and customers through social media. If you're not ready to do that, then we're not a fit. Here's what's involved. ... Does this idea excite you?"

      Ask this kind of question and avoid a lot of headaches.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8626923].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jllagu01
    I have experienced a client with a really boxed vision about how their content marketing strategies as I have some great suggestions that I want to share to them to boost rankings. The problem is they don't really listen and just went ahead with their plans even when I knew it was doomed to fail. And it did fail. I secretly said to myself, "told you so..." But then I needed the job so I kept on working by their rules for a few months. When I found another client who is more open-minded and flexible, I signed his contract and left my previous client. I think it was the right decision for me.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8622281].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I have always spoken to clients if I have doubts or comments about any aspect of the work. Some times it has led to more work (such as proofreading/editing their website if it is full of errors and I tell them) and other times, they say thank you and we just keep doing what we were doing.

    If you want clientele, you have to play by their rules but there's no harm in providing honest feedback as well. Remember, they may not have the time or the skills you have and so may appreciate that you cared enough to offer additional feedback that was unexpected. It's their choice what they do with it.
    Signature

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Visit my site for more info

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8622912].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Graham,

      It's peculiar to me that you never say whether or not the client's subject matter interests you. If it does, then you should be able to find a way to enjoy writing for this client. If not, then you should probably pass on it.

      Marcia Yudkin
      Signature
      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8623048].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Adams
    As a professional copywriter, it's your job to educate your clients on what they need. If they choose not to follow your advice, then they can't be unhappy when they don't get the results they want.
    Signature

    Would you like to learn how I make $2000/month from a super easy listbuilding system?

    Click here to get my listbuilding report for FREE!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8623797].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author David Maschke
    The great advertiser, David Ogilvy, the hero to Halbert, Bencivenga, and Drayton Bird, put it this way...

    "There are no dull products, only dull writers."

    He also explained how he dealt with his clients...

    "Are you sure you want to do that? Research has show that if you..."
    Signature

    I

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8624708].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author gmac222
    Thanks guys, some good opinions. I think not everybody has taken into consideration that I am working for an agency and not for myself. They already have clients and I can't turn them down. All work was previously outsourced as this is a boutique style agency that got hit by Hummingbird due to crappy back links and general bad SEO practices.

    I'm not completely despondent about the situation, I've been thinking about it over the weekend and I think I can find some good angles to write about and I'm putting together my own strategies. I've devised a questionnaire template regarding the clients business, their customers and their goals so this should give me more to go on. I think I'll stand firm with the boss and client and tell them if they want results they have to do it my way.

    I have a quick question and hope people don't mind me asking in here rather than starting a new thread but how many of you guys work for yourself / work for an agency etc?

    I appreciate your replies, thanks a lot.
    Signature
    Liverpool based SEO provider since 2010
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8626661].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
      Originally Posted by gmac222 View Post

      . I think I'll stand firm with the boss and client and tell them if they want results they have to do it my way.
      .
      And how did that work out for you??
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8637297].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I work for myself and have only private clients. I know that some of my clients have clients and they act as an agent but that is not my concern.
    I only do work I can handle. I am always honest with my clients at all times.
    Signature

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Visit my site for more info

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8626675].message }}
  • Since you work for an agency, you won't be able to decide who you work with (Although you can influence that over time with wins and experience.)

    For now, you must get off the mindset that the products are dull, and focus on what they can do for the customer.

    What are the benefits and how can you best communicate them? You are on the right track with questionnaire, which as you know will help you determine the benefits and the "big idea" you are looking for.

    Look at how this copywriter took a dull, technical product and made it compelling:
    http://thecopybot.com/2013/02/dull-p...-irresistible/

    One thing you'll see in that link is a concept you can use called "raising the stakes." This is a classic storytelling technique used in almost every movie. See if you can raise the stakes for your product. Take risks and be bold.
    Signature
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8627270].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kash21
    Try an experiment with new word and styles if you can. That way you're always improving.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8648433].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Brandon McGuffin
    I wanted to read this thread for one simple reason...to see what other people are going through with less than electric clients. I to have dealt with doing work that has not been on the top of my priority list. I do know that an, "I don't care," attitude is the completely wrong way of going about doing work. Getting frustrated doesn't help either because frustration leads to a hard heart, hard hearts lead to a, "just get it done," attitude, and that produces very poor work.

    Ogilvy has a point about writers. Sometime all creativity needs is a spark. In a less than electric environment or with a less than electric client, sparks might be hard to find. All that means is that you as a creative professional need to work harder, dig deeper, and get creative about finding your creativity.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8649935].message }}

Trending Topics