Pitch your creative services. The cold call

The cold call. The freelancers last weapon. The key to initial success, in my experience. Don’t make it cold. Warm it up first.

So way back I designed a series websites for a wide-ranging base of clients that have no obvious correlation. A good few of these jobs came about with an informed cold call. Even the most basic of research warms it up (still surprising how rare this technique is) …simply, learn 2/3 core objectives that the site is trying to deliver or obtain. Real niche sectors help (less competition and more nitty-gritty under the bonnet). Once you’ve got this info you can make the call and actually discuss an aspect of the website that the ‘potential’ client can relate to. This is the refreshing alternative to simply telling them everything you can do. I’d bore myself. (note: this won’t be a long blog post).

Better still, and more fun. Target sectors that interest you. Hobbies, sport etc.

Lastly, look for typos.  I spotted a typo in a future clients brochure. I gave them a ring, I spoke to reception, who passed me to the Marketing Manager. We discussed the typo (with thanks), the conversation lead to lunch (what I did as a freelancer - gotta get this in!) and 4 months later a website and a new brochure. 

If work is slow, do some warm calls.


BrightonSEO April 2017

I’m faced with an all too common recognisable dilemma, that being, a write up on the latest BrightonSEO. This was my seventh visit. Previous blog incarnations have and still do, live in a mounting drafts pile. Simply put, there’s so much to discuss and collate that I never felt possible or qualified to comment. A recent request to share my day’s takeaways with a super swift deadline ensured that this long overdue commitment to a blog post actually happened.

My first BrightonSEO at the Brighton Centre.

Not a hardened veteran as such, nor a hardened SEO, but I did glance over towards the Dome and recall previous lightbulb moments that absolutely made me do my job differently and better. Dave Trott delivered a masterclass in lateral thinking, last year, as did Rory Sutherland just last week. Those are the moments that make BrightonSEO even more worthwhile.

The rise of structured data from Raj at Yext was a perhaps the most impressive opener I’ve seen. Highlighting just how fast the search landscape is moving and indeed just how the best in SEO/marketing/design can never stand still. (we’re all in this together). Children will drive this industry faster than we can imagine. I found myself exploring the concept of what happens when the traditional ‘website’ is a thing of the past.

Technical takeaways are always in great supply at BrightonSEO, Tom Bennet expertly unpicked Google Tag manager to show its analytical power. Answer box ranking techniques from Adrian Phipps kicked off a superb pm session which I’m sure had many scribbling/typing furiously and secretly hoping their own competition weren’t hearing. My own desire to blog more was encouraged by the prolific Sam Charles. Here’s to that!

Although impossible to attend every session, BrightonSEO is continually relevant and should certainly be in your training plan. If you don’t manage to scramble a free ticket, the prices are still well under budget. Roll on September.

We have no interesting content

..the all to common barrier to B2B content marketing. 

“Who would want to know that on social media?”
“Lots, I say, you’d be surprised”

I’ve worked across many B2B setups and still I weep at the budgets aligned for brochure production and advertising as digital waves from afar, looking hungry.

”..but we’ve always advertised there..!” aaaggh.

By far the most consistent blind spot on the horizon no matter what you make, manufacture, market or sell is the perception that very little, if any, content exists that is regularly newsworthy online.

Top level view. note: This is not rocket science.

If you have a 50 page printed brochure that has content on every page then you have potentially 30=40 bits of content for the pot. Fair assumption?

Perhaps very technical, very niche but you have things that can be explained and perhaps need explaining. Maybe you have a page on (pick a topic that was passed my way once) - screws, Wood screws to be precise. Yes i have worked on wood screws.

That solitary wood screw was a wood screw. Designed for wood. Not walls. “everyone knows that, i was told” - turns out, lots didn’t. 

Screws are not screws

You get where this is going? yes the intricacies of ‘what screw for what material’ were explored. This generated advice for split audiences. Consumers and trade needed a slightly different tone. How about a chart? Maybe a video? Lets pop a link direct to our product. Voila.

We have no interesting content.

As i heard once on stage at BrightonSEO (awesome, please do go.) .

“if everything is important, nothing is important”.

If you fail to isolate the detail and expertise that you really definitely have (yes, you do) then you’ll continually see digital as a hungry yet isolated neighbour that just gets in the way.

Seize upon your expertise. share online, gain links, get discussion and be remembered.


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