I was writing up the copy for my website (yes, James, I really was) and wrote up a quick list of the services that I provide. These, in case you feel like hiring me this morning, include writing marketing, promotional, and informational copy, editing, rewriting, and a little special something I like to call marketing strategy lite, which is a bonus. Basically, if you’re about to do something really dumb with your marketing, I will tell you. It’s common courtesy. I wouldn’t let you walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper dangling from your fly either. I’m just awesome that way. Which got me to thinking about extras.
Why I Should Never Ask Other People’s Opinion.
I ran the copy by a few people, and every one of them wanted me to add in a service or two that I’d done for them above and beyond the copywriter’s call. Transcription. SEO. Public relations. And I have done all of these things from time to time for certain clients, because I like my clients, and I’m willing to dabble in just about anything if a) they’ll pay me for it and b) I feel I can get some reasonable results out of my attempt.
I won’t be advertising those services on my site, though, because I know what happens next.
They’re going to multiply. Not like bunny rabbits, oh no. Like amoeba. Like big globby all-encompassing goo that sucks up my time and my life and eventually the entire world, because as we all know, every apocalypse begins with me in some way, shape or form.
Begin with a fairly basic service. Copywriting. Excellent. Then people want to know if I do certain kinds of copywriting (yes, I do, and no, I don’t know what you need yet, but if it involves the written word, I will write it). THEN they want to know if I do things that are RELATED to copywriting (yes, I do, because I like my clients and I will generally try to make them happy). And THEN they want to know if I will do things that are related to THINGS that are related to copy, and it is here that I put my foot down. Firmly. Upon a large beetle.
Math is the Language of the Devil.
I am not certain who told my clients about this snowballing effect, but they all seem to believe heartily in its existence. A copywriter who can weave SEO keywords into her copy can surely also figure out what those SEO words should be. This is true, but only to a certain extent. Good SEO analysis involves more than a Wordtracker subscription, and I know it. I know it involves knowing about whatever algorithm Google is using this week and which keywords people are spending money on and analyzing the value of incorporating other keywords that aren’t worth as much into your copy, and I will tell you right now that THE SECOND SOMETHING STARTS TO BE MATH, I HEREBY RESIGN. I do my taxes under duress. I dislike counting my change jar. I cannot, and you do not want me to, analyze an algorithm to determine optimal keywords.
But if you will tell me which ones some savvy math guy has figured out are the best for you, I will craft copy around them all the live-long day. Singing merrily and flinging pennies about.
Awesomeness Has Reasonable Limits
Do not pretend you can do things that you simply cannot do. When a client insists that they’d really like me to come up with the SEO keywords, I will, but it will be with the fair warning that I am using common sense, not math, to arrive at my conclusions. Most of my clients are just fine with that, but I will never claim to be an SEO expert, and I will never claim to offer the service, any more than I will claim to be a professional sword swallower. Would I try to swallow a sword for a reasonable fee? Sure, why not. Just so’s no one expects it not to end in tears.
I know that we all get ashamed of admitting when we don’t know how to do something. A client asked me the other day if I did graphic design as well, and even though I am not personally to be trusted with art supplies in any form, including a piece of chalk and a sidewalk, I felt a little sad to say no. I cannot explain this. I think it has to do with the hero complex. If a client wanted to know if I practiced law as well as wrote copy, I would probably also feel a little ashamed, even though he has no reason to assume that I do either of those things. Writers are not designers. You can tell, because they’re spelled differently. Sometimes people are BOTH, and those people are very cool people, but the one does not automatically imply the other.
Some professions do this, and I think they’re screwing it up for the rest of us. Actors and waiters come to mind.
You can bend over backwards a little bit for your customers. Like a good morning stretch, the kind that cracks your back with that perfect little pop. But only Cirque de Soleil performers can bend all the way back and touch their foreheads to the backs of their knees, because guess what?
That’s THEIR job description.
Subscribe. I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t.