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My first law of marketing for freelancers and consultants

Over the years I’ve seen much advice recommending marketing activities that are labor intensive and sometimes exceptionally tedious as well.

I never followed through on these suggestions, in part because I couldn’t tolerate the boredom nor could I afford to pay virtual assistants or even the lowest-priced help on freelance job boards to do it for me.

But in addition, I decided that my “brand,” such as it is, is excellence and that such diversions are un-excellent. In other words, they’re wrong for me.

My first law of marketing is that I don’t do anything I don’t want to do simply because others say I should.

In this article I will describe two such activities that I rejected and why I am now glad I did.

The first idea, widely recommended a few years ago, was to write one article and then rewrite the same thing perhaps 100 times (called spinning) and submit it to various article banks so that Google could not tell that I was resubmitting the same idea repeatedly and would give me “points” for being so prolific a writer on varied (but related) keywords.

Looked to me like the recommended procedure was to pay for a service that would register me with all these article banks and then provide automated assistance in spinning. While I never explored the particulars enough to proceed, it appeared that they either entailed lots of work on my part (such as coming up with alternate phrases for much of my copy) or a substantial fee.

Furthermore, if it was still too much work, the solution was to hire others—preferably low-paid people—to generate the initial articles. After all, our time is so valuable that we can’t afford to waste it mowing the lawn, doing housework, sending out our own invoices or preparing our own newsletters, say the experts. So why not hire someone to write the articles?

But lately these article banks have been falling apart due to demerits applied by Google’s revised algorithms and I feel vindicated. I am so glad I did not waste time or money on an activity that I equated with the gift wrapping of garbage.

Now for the second example. A few years ago I contracted with a rather well-known publicity guru for advice on how to build my reputation. She was negative on all the ideas I favored and firmly put her foot down: I was to answer lots and lots of questions posted to LinkedIn’s Q and As. I did a handful but was not motivated to continue.

Most of the posted questions seemed contrived and not of genuine interest, such as “What do you see as the single most important trend in our industry?” or “What is the most important personality characteristic that has contributed to your career?”

Recently LinkedIn dismantled this feature with only brief advanced notice. If you acted fast, you could save all the copy you had posted and repurpose it. You snooze, you lose it all.

For instance, someone suggested that you pull together all your own Qs and As into an ebook and sell it on Kindle. Sounds like a terrifically fascinating read, doesn’t it? Wait right here while I get out my credit card.

So glad I did not take my expert seriously and exert lots of effort on her advice.

Originally posted 2-18-13

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