writing for other people
I'm in a new town since I last wrote. Rural Atlanta, if there is such a thing -- the far-flung fringe of the city, with an artsy, Stars Hollow feel.
Well, that's what it's like to us outsiders. The ones who see what it's becoming, rather than lived through what it was. Civil rights were hard won here, many still unsure of the victory. So we newbies step carefully and are allowed in graciously, though how far, we may not truly know.
Work has been unceasing, in a good way. Not the relentless unceasing of burnout, but a steady stream of doable jobs. They've mostly involved some kind of marketing, which is where I get to use my book knowledge of translation. Marketing is basically translation -- taking someone's corporate idea of their brand and making it speak the language of their audience. I'm no expert, but I do enjoy the process, which for me starts like this:
Stop. Put everything aside and climb into the world where your client lives. No agenda.
Look. See what images and symbols are important to them. Color. Style. Tone.
Listen. How do they talk about themselves? Their competition? Who do they think they are?
Then you try to do the same for their audience, though in reverse:
Listen. What are they already saying about your client? Who do they say the client is?
Look. In what context do people talk about the business or service? Is it on Best Of lists? Or complaint sites?
Stop. Take all of that in. See if the two connect anywhere. Is there a point of contact that might serve as a starting point for communication?
It's fascinating. And fun when you get it right. Yet there's something about marketing that's also like limbo. Suspended between these worlds (and with multiple clients, multiple worlds), there's little space for your own thoughts. Like living out of a suitcase, mentally.
So I'd like to settle down a bit. Unpack my brain. Maybe have some friends over to talk awhile. Here, of course. Besides interviews, I have some ideas for regular features. But let me not get ahead of myself. It's the weekend and I'd like to sit on the porch swing and just be wordless for awhile.
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