He writes this week: “In June, summer returns very quickly. The June green of nature strikes everything. “In July and August the days are getting shorter again. After midsummer, my mother-in-law always said in a sad voice “We are going back to winter”. We then tried to mount her with the comment “Enjoy”. We have been doing this for fourteen long days with light from three o’clock at night to eleven o’clock in the evening and a temperature above twenty degrees. Delicious.
What does this have to do with our profession? Nothing or maybe everything. As a content marketer, you are constantly looking for stories to entertain or entice your customers. The freelancers among us in turn try to encourage their clients to put them to work. You are in a flexible shell, so you depend on your clients who work for their clients. You are not asked anything, while you are overflowing with ideas. You depend on the ingenuity, the persuasiveness of your client. You are a pain if they are asleep or think “we can probably do that ourselves”. Away job.
Self-employed people are the gold in the content marketing sector, they provide the quality that is necessary for the effectiveness of the work. I do not mean to say, of course, that there is insufficient expertise within the agencies. On the contrary, you hire the craftsmen who master the refined work to the tips of their fingers. Per day or per job. Be it storytellers or designers. They are too expensive to have on your payroll. And besides, the top performers cannot be pushed into the tight straitjacket of a company. They know their value, which they show time and time again by delivering top quality. Often at any price. They are the stars in our profession. Who often make fantastic stories for daily and weekly newspapers and love to be able to walk a side path every now and then. What do you mean commercial journalism? Journalism has many sides. That was the case thirty years ago, and it still is.
It is actually just like in the contracting world: the good masons are independent, just like plumbers, electricians and plasterers. They are hired per job. You put that in your schedule in week x. They are usually not cheap, but you are assured of quality.
Teun van de Keuken speaks in his column last Monday about the “flexible skin” as one of the dirtiest concepts in business. Because in his opinion that flexible shell contains the employees that you can easily get rid of. However, that does not apply to the content marketing sector. On the contrary. A good agency has a large flexible shell that includes many colleagues who are happy to make their time available for delivering a good story or beautifully designed platform or page as long as print remains. They want nothing more than to settle in your flexible shell, because they have the freedom to work for more agencies, broadcasting agents, weekly or monthly magazines, but also occasionally turn the button to collect new energy, or to deposit on a ‘wonderful’ research project, or a commissioned book.
Van de Keuken speaks about “the contingent of hard-working freelancers that you can dump in the event of a setback.” During the crisis of the past months, there are undoubtedly agencies that have barely touched their flexible shell. Wise or not, time will tell. But it is risky, because the quality of the profession comes from that flexible shell. Customers will notice that and then it may be too late. Respect for the flexible skin is vital. Because this is not about flex workers who are victims of tight times, but professionals who maintain the quality of the sector. And that is more important than ever this time.