White space: The digital Holy Grail

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing.

For me, the proper use of white space in media is like a carb in Sandton: so incredibly rare that when you do encounter it, your mouth drops open in shock.

This is because many clients (and sometimes their creatives) see white space as wasted space. A mis-use of valuable real estate. An opportunity to pack the gaps with as much messaging as can be roughly shoehorned into those gaping inches.

And so, against the backdrop of that noisy milieu, white space really stands out.

Take a look at these unusual and beautiful sites: http://robertbruce.com/random/, http://hundred10.com, http://www.rekn.it http://weareanonymous.fr, and...

The Numbers of Freelancing

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing.

Quick. Without thinking about it too much, what sort of person do you think is statistically most likely to make it as a small business owner or freelancer?

  • Male or female?
  • Under 30 or over 30?
  • White? Black? Asian? Indian? Coloured?
  • Those with loads of start-up cash?

It’s possible some of your preconceived notions are off-base. (Mine were.)

What the stats say

The Kauffman Foundation’s 2013 Firm Survey is one of the longest and largest studies ever of privately owned start-ups, examining the effect of things like age, gender, and amount of start-up capital on company outcomes after five years.

Guess what? Its...

Why you need rock-solid copy more than paid search

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing, Language.

A couple of years ago, I wrote crap.

Truth. My professional life was largely dominated by creating web copy that I really, really disliked, but that got the job done really, really well. It was peppered with synonyms, keywords, and cautious-but-very-deliberate repetition.

It wasn’t link-bait, but it wasn’t beautiful.

If I’m honest, the crap copy was fun to create, because I was writing puzzles – using my right brain to generate original content that relied on my left brain to be strategic enough to rank highly. But I was aware that, in the grand scheme, it sucked.

Then Google...

How to get the most out of your freelance copywriter or editor

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing.

I generated some buzz on Twitter a while back with my ‘Hi Tiffany’ series of tweets. Largely tongue-in-cheek, they dealt with bizarre client requests, strange foibles and inexplicable confusions (and before you ask, they were based on my dealings with only 5% of my client base; the other 95% is usually absolutely fantastic to work with).

  • ‘Hi Tiffany. I don’t know what I want. Can you just, I don’t know, make something up?’
  • ‘Hi Tiffany. It’ll take you five hours to write our brochure copy? But we could do it ourselves in less than that.’
  • ‘Hi Tiffany. Even though...

Why copywriting is like reality TV

Published on by in Blog, Freelancing.

I say ‘reality TV’.

You think of several good-looking people eating earthworms for money, a family of motorbike manufacturers fighting with each other, a chubby guy baking multi-storey cakes, or a nice family with several adopted kids getting a beautiful new house.

Whatever your impression of reality television – and whether you like it or hate it – have you ever considered how much like copywriting it is? No? Well, I have.

And here’s why…

1. Structure is really important

There’s a lovely family with five kids. Two are adopted. Mom’s a neighbourhood saint. Dad’s a firefighter. And their two-bedroomed...