The Importance of Investment
This morning I got mad.
I got really mad – and I’m still very angry. In fact, between every other sentence I’m up on my feet, pacing my office and swinging my arms.
Every time I sit down at my computer and see That Screen, I get angry all over again.
I’m not even angry on my own behalf. I’ll get over being offended and annoyed. I’m even starting to expect it.
I’m angry for my client.
Oops. I should say prospective client. Well, nearly prospective client. There’s very little chance I’d touch that one with a ten-foot pole – ever again.
You see, this prospective client has no sense of value.
- They don’t value me or my professional services (obviously)
- Worse, they don’t value themselves or their budding potential
I see this all the time when I’m looking at companies and websites that I would like to work for.
Their website/blog/social media channels are all full of passion and value. They have a real heart to help people with their goods, services, or information.
They’re getting out there, they are available, and they are really trying. And yet they keep running into one problem.
…It’s all falling flat.
No matter what they do or how they try to market themselves and their business, it seems to inspire insipid responses – or at least, not quite the level of engagement and passion they were hoping for.
Now, at this point I should really start selling you.
This is the perfect opportunity to tell you that I’m a professional writer. That I know what I’m doing when it comes to engaging online marketing – that I have a good understanding of where these companies are going wrong – and that I can keep you from making those same lethal mistakes.
It would even all be true.
But I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m going to break a professional rule and offer a big chunk of value before I even lay out a hook.
I’m going to go ahead and tell you where these once-upon-a-time prospective clients made their mistake.
They Don’t Understand Online Value!
I’m dead serious, by the way. That simple concept is where most in-house company marketers make their deadliest mistake.
Their long road down is paved with the simplest missed concepts:
- They Underestimate Their Content Value
- They Undervalue Much-Needed Services
- They Minimize Great Opportunity
- They Insult the Professionals Who Can Best Help Them Succeed
You get the point. They are shooting too low; much, much too low.
Worse, they expect everyone else to have the same low goals, ambitions, and understandings.
Underestimating Value is Where Flatness Comes From
This where mass-market content mills thrive. Freelancers who have had little-to-no formal training as either copywriters or marketers are willing to work for very little, and turn out a great deal of content in short periods.
However, it is simply not possible to provide high-quality content if you don’t know what, exactly, constitutes low-quality.
Not to mention that, when companies pressure freelance writers’ to produce huge amounts of copy every week, no one has the time or energy to care about the quality of their finished products.
All of which is perfectly fine if these marketers want to stay absolutely average.
At least they understand that websites need content, and they need a lot of it. Maybe they even understand that they need quality content, they are just not willing to pay for it.
How much are they cheating themselves out of, though…?
2. Making the Problem Worse by Undervaluing Core Services
At some point most of these companies will realize that something is missing from their plan.
They might even start reaching out to trained copywriters. They’ll get into more channels, open up new avenues, and try for better and better content.
The click-bait rates might improve, but I’ll bet you not by much. And the overall value of the site?
Still flat as the Texas panhandle.
Basically they need the services that have been custom-built-and-developed by several generations of professional copywriters.
They need direct-response designed web pages, marketing campaigns, newsletters, blogs, letters…you name it. Companies need an edge – and they need to know where their customers are, so they can then reach them there.
Yet, time after time, company after company, I see promising start-ups (and even established companies) undervaluing these very core services.
3. Making the Least out of Great Opportunity
Why can’t trained copywriters help any of these super-annoying clients get ahead?
Because a basic lack of understanding is not going to just go away.
If they start out offering peanuts to the general mass of freelance writers, designers, and marketers out there – it’s a pretty good sign that they don’t understand their value. So when they start reaching out to a slightly better grade of freelancer, they still don’t get it.
Nothing’s stopping them from grabbing at every chance to make the most out of little pay. And these companies actually seem to believe that freelancers should be grateful for it.
What should be stopping them from engaging in this collective insanity is simple reality.
Professionals are rarer than they look, and they will, eventually, find a happier home. They don’t have to, and they won’t, put up with shabby treatment for very long. And their clients, instead of getting a lot of value and growing their business, are left in the exact same rut while the writer goes on to greener – smarter – pastures.
4. Insulting Their Best Chance at Success
Now we come back to That Screen.
Back to the insult that set the wheels rolling this morning. What, exactly, did I see that made me so mad?
I was checking my job boards, and I saw a listing for a job that sounded interesting. Decent work inside my niche from a different sort of company with worthy-sounding goals.
The bottom line…?
$35USD for around 225-word articles. Are they kidding me?!?
These types of companies are, sadly, as common as trees in the forest. In fact, it can sometimes be hard to find clients who actually do value themselves.
Note my distinction. Value themselves, not me.
- No client is going to value me because I’m good at what I do.
- No client is going to hire me because I match their requirements exactly – because let’s face it, no one is ever going to be 100% custom-made for a job.
- No client is ever going to give me long-term contracts and ongoing projects because I’ve done good work for them.
That kind of thing is all just icing on the cake. It’s what marketers call a USP – or a unique selling proposition.
Don’t get me wrong, those things that I listed; excellence at work, experience in the field, and positive shared backgrounds; are all very nice. If I were selling a product instead of a service I would call these things features.
And nobody buys a feature. They buy a benefit.
Companies, marketing managers, and professionals will hire me to represent their business in a fast-paced digital market because they value what they do.
They already know that they’re worth the investment. And maybe they know statistics and numbers and how I can help them.
Maybe they’ll look at my (awesome) portfolio and resume sheet and realize that I really am good at what I do, that I do have experience, and that for a fair price they can have a chance to build a positive working relationship with a top-notch pro. But what they’ll buy from me is an increase to their value.
Why Even Bother?
So why do I even bother going after clients? As a professional I get insulted more often than I get a valuable potential client. And if I’m being honest, I get rejected more often than not by companies that DO value themselves.
So why bother educating clients, learning new skills, and reaching out to new potential?
Because I value myself.
Just like my gold-level dream clients, I value myself. I value my business, my services, and my potential to make their world a much better place.
Every day it’s worth getting out of bed several hours before the sun and working until my eyes sting to get that perfect phrase. And it’s because I value myself, and therefore I value my potential clients.
This is another perfect opportunity to sell myself, by the way. It’s a great opportunity to open up this article and show you what I do, how I do it, and why I’m the best at it.
If I were trying to get your business today, I would be eagerly opening up my business’s core message and explaining the value of benefits and all that.
But this isn’t a marketing article.
This is an article from one pro to another – explaining a frustration from a new perspective. I don’t want to sell you today.
I don’t even want your business today.
I just want to share something with you.
I want to tell you that you – YOU – are really, really valuable.
I want to let you know that you are special, unique, and passionate. You have a business, local, national, or international, and you have potential. And I want you to understand how valuable you are.
The next time you type up a job listing for a copywriter, or a marketer, or even a designer, I want you to remember how valuable and unique you are.
No one can do what you can do…no one can say what you have to say…no one is offering just exactly what you are offering with your exact amount of passion. And your potential freelancer is the same.
They are unique, skilled, and valuable. And they want to help you increase your value. Together you have got a rare and golden ticket.
Remember, if you don’t value yourself, you can’t value your freelancer. If you’re not valuing a professional, you are – in essence – insulting them. And if you insult them, they won’t like, respect, or value you.
Your copy, content, and entire presence is going to remain as flat as the Texas panhandle, and no one will be able to help you.
The Importance of Investment – Reiterated
I started this article out complaining about my life. About how angry and insulted I was. And I guess in a way I’m still pretty steamed. But as I have written out all my thoughts I’ve come to realize something.
You’re worth it.
My clients, past, present, and potential – are worth it. You are worth the investment of my time, energy, and even frustration.
That’s my investment.
- I don’t spend thousands of dollars on marketing experts – I am one
- I don’t work with a stable of writers – I am one
- I don’t vet professionals and agonize over whether I’ve chosen the right one – I am the right one
- I don’t do what you do – because I have what you need
My investment in you is worth it – because I value myself, and I value you.
Your investment is in dollars, in trying different writers and marketers, and in vetting professionals. And that is totally worth it.
- The money is worth it.
- The time is worth it.
- The energy is worth it.
Even the occasional heartache is worth it.
You are a great company – big or small. You’re valuable, and the importance of your investment is in making yourself even greater.
I may or may not be worth your investment – that’s up to you. But you are worth your investment.
I’m not going to ask you for your business – because you know whether or not you need mine. I’m not going to try to sell you today (but that won’t stop me from trying to sell you tomorrow.)
I would, however, like to hear about YOUR value. I’ve shared some of mine…and I’d be just delighted if you would drop me a comment, or contact me, to share some of yours.