Friday, July 22, 2011

Going Beyond the Call

A rule of thumb is that talent should be seen and not heard. We’re usually hired to read whatever copy we’re given, whether we think it’s good or not, and usually don’t voice our opinions. That’s because many clients have worked long and hard to come up with the exact verbiage and because most talent probably don’t have extensive advertising or corporate writing/editing experience.

Sometimes keeping quiet is easier to do than others. I’ve bitten my tongue a couple of times. Occasionally I come across copy that is convoluted, confusing, poorly written or rife with enough errors I can’t in good conscience record it. As gently as possible, I’ll tell the client that while of course I will record as written, here’s a suggestion about how I’d change this paragraph.

I can’t think of a situation when such clients haven’t agreed, and then hired me to edit, and/or rewrite or write their scripts. At times I just make the writing a little easier to understand and/or snazzier. But there are times when I also need to do research to verify content and, to create a new term of art, de-engineerize copy. Now I’m helping a client write a multi-hundred PowerPoint slide e-learning course full of technical jargon and equipment models.

Why aren’t scripts 100% ready to record? My theories include:

-too many chefs in some corporate kitchens…perhaps a lot of hands adding content contributions to the pot so it doesn't blend well.

-work overload and time crunches. Some chefs have too many dishes to prepare at once. Or maybe a sous chef didn’t thoroughly complete his/her portion of the recipe.

The point of the story: in today’s marketplace, offering a variety of skill sets can make Gainfully Unemployed freelancers more marketable and enable us to a) do more for our clients so they view us as resources and b) grow our businesses.

In addition to your primary service, what experience do you have that can benefit your clients? How do you make them aware of additional offerings?

Show them how you can go above and beyond the call.

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