This may not come as news to you, but for some reason, it did to me. Apparently, everyone and I mean everyone, is a marketer.
How did I come to this startling conclusion?
I recently decided to dive headfirst into the world of freelance remote marketing work. As a professional with nearly twenty years of experience, it seemed a prime time for me to develop a few online profiles through various freelance marketing websites. My husband and I are making a major move West this summer and remote work seemed (and seems) the best and most lucrative option for this life shift. The prospect of remote work, doing what I love and do well left me gleeful.
Unknowingly, and with all the excitement of a small child, I googled my way into freelancer oblivion and discovered a plethora of sites that are willing to have a person set up a free profile. Sites such as Freelancer.com, Upwork.com, and Fiverr.com were the initial ones that wooed me with the possibilities of making a decent steady wage as a professional, lifelong marketer.
I pushed through the litany of steps of profile set-up, the photo uploads, the project experience, the link “here” and link “there”, the “what you offer” jargon, the verification steps, and the basic “everything under the sun” requirements. I found that each site has just enough variance that you can’t (or shouldn’t) blindly copy/paste from one site to the other.
After an enormous amount of time and effort, I completed the profiles, completed the steps, and checked off my verifications. Out of curiosity, I then hopped on the view that allows you to see other freelancers and their going rates and offerings.
And here is where my inner five-year-old pitched a crying fit, fists pounding the figurative ground and feet kicking. Hundreds upon hundreds upon HUNDREDS of people offering to “write marketing blogs” for $5 or “create a social media strategy for $25” and “connect people to influencers” (i.e. themselves) for $100. Wait. WHAT? WHAT!?
If I had a gasket, it would have blown. I could not comprehend what I was reading. I pushed on and continued to scroll.
As expected, those profiles were mixed with ones that seemed similar in profile to my own, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the view must be like from the other side of the table? If I was a business owner that needed digital marketing or content creation support, how would I arrive at a decision? Would I be motivated by the lowest common denominator (cost) or would I dive deeper (experience)? How would I know which way to go?
My brain was spinning.
I then decided to take a peek at the project offerings, and again I was sideswiped by what I saw. It was a similar sight to the freelancer profiles. A range of prices, requests and some completely outlandish things that I wouldn’t deem marketing support (“I need someone to share my youtube video link on their Twitter account, must have over 10k followers. Will pay you $10”. That would be a NO).
It was at this point I wondered if I’d been living under a rock. A rock that kept me insulated from a delusional marketing explosion where anyone believes they can sell anything for any amount of money in any way possible. And if that was the case, I wanted to go back under the rock. But the genie was already out of the bottle (or out from under the rock I guess?)
So where did this leave me? Aside from sobbing over my laptop. It left me understanding my place in the industry and re-affirming what I believe as a marketer and content writer with nearly twenty years of experience.
I believe in foundational, intuitive marketing. I believe in telling the story of a business, and weaving it through the voice of its brand. I believe in being selective of the avenues used for marketing a business’s services. Everything must flow, fit and rock the vibe of that company or service. A vibe that is rooted in the spirit of its owner(s) or founder(s). Marketing should feel organic, authentic and real. And it should be professionally executed.
All the world may be a marketer, but that doesn’t mean they are marketing correctly or authentically or professionally.
As for me, I’ll keep my profiles active, and even beef them up a bit to promote my beliefs and experience. But in the end, I need to reach the people that feel what I feel. Marketing is about making an impact, touching people and feeling fulfilled.
Writing a blog post for $5 is not something that makes an impact. It may buy you a quick cup of coffee, but those words won’t resonate much with anyone. Quality can’t be compromised and neither can my commitment to doing the work I love.