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The new Snappy Sentences: From words to strategy

I received my domain registration renewal notice for Snappy Sentences the other day. And for the first time in seven years, I didn’t immediately pay it. I hesitated. I wasn’t sure.

You see, Snappy Sentences has evolved.

When I first registered the business name in August 2007, I was in the midst of that awful ‘transition’ phase of becoming a freelance copywriter. It’s a well-worn path where you still work for an employer (in this case the Queensland Government) while frantically building up a client base so you can take the leap to independence—essentially working two jobs.  My regular ‘job’ was as an IT project manager and I was itching to get back to my roots of being a writer. I wanted to be producing words rather than status reports.

In 2010 I resigned from the government and switched all my efforts and energy to Snappy Sentences. And I was very fortunate. Some heavy networking, a great group of clients and a touch of being in the right place at the right time meant I soon had a fabulous niche carved out for web copywriting in Brisbane.

This worked for a long time.

Eventually it dawned on me that some of the things I *loved* doing in my old employee life I wasn’t in the position to do with my copywriting clients. Sure, some projects included a bit of tone of voice or style guide work, but the real nuts and bolts geeky content activities were missing. In my old roles I was always the content person who could easily work with the real techy people, bridging the gap between business and technical requirements. I wasn’t afraid of discussions around content management systems, tagging and governance—the things that most people run screaming away from.

Then in 2011 I went to my first Confab and realised that I wasn’t really a copywriter, I was a content strategist. That was my ‘aha!’ moment.

Since then I have shifted the ratio of copywriting projects vs. content strategy projects from 80/20 to 10/90. I still provide copywriting services, but it’s not my focus anymore.

Instead I help with complex online and offline content problems. This includes defining content goals, aligning messaging across channels, developing content types and taxonomies, creating governance models, and working through challenges with stakeholders.

It’s hard work, but I love it.

The one thing I have been slack about is letting people know that I’ve changed the focus of my business. I still receive a lot of copywriting enquiries through this site and I hate having to turn away most of them because I’m busy with large content strategy projects. So I am making a few changes here and there to be clearer about what I do. I’ve decided to keep the Snappy Sentences name for the time being. It would be sad to see it go, even if it doesn’t really describe what I do.

Need a content strategist?

If you have a copywriting project, please still get in touch. If I can’t help you I have a trusty list of others I can refer you to.

But, if you are about to kick start a big content project and need a content strategist, send me an email. I’d love to talk about the geeky (and no-so-geeky) content stuff.

Content strategy for small business: A podcast with the Australian Businesswoman’s Network

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Cat Matson and Suzi Dafnis for a podcast in the ABN’s series on Social Media for Small Business. The topic was content strategy and small business – how you can take control of your content and some tips on what to focus on first.

I really enjoyed the discussion (although it’s always strange to hear how your own voice sounds when it’s recorded!), and was really happy that content strategy was included in the series.

Listen to the podcast here: The Power of a Strong Web Content Strategy.