Letter from London: the freelance voice

The freelance voice

Dear marketing and advertising agencies,

I didn’t really want my first post to The Marketing Society to be about this. In fact I had lots of ideas, inspiring thoughts and wise anecdotes to tell (promise).

But something happened recently and it’s not the first time, so I need to vent my frustration. Let me explain...

I am a creative writer working in advertising and have been freelancing for the last 3 years now.

As a freelancer I am always passionate about working for great brands and doing my best on every job. But I’m starting to get fed up of not being credited or actually more to the point, notified, if the work I create for you and your brands goes live.

After speaking to my fellow freelancers I realised I am not alone in this frustration. Now please don’t get me wrong, when I saw my work on TV I was very happy, I love seeing my ideas out in the world. I excitedly emailed the company asking whether the rest of the campaign my art director and I created would be produced and guess what? No. Reply.

What does the agency owe you? They don’t have to tell you’ I hear you mutter whilst reading.

Well, my answer would be this: The marketing and advertising landscape is changing. The change I’m particularly referring to is that today advertising agencies and businesses are relying more and more on freelance talent. In fact it is now estimated that freelancers make up 40% of the design and media workforce. And, with many agencies taking on one-off projects it works out in everyone’s favour to have a fluid workforce. This booming freelance economy allows you to easily scale your company up and down without perm staff commitments and costs. I see this boom in every agency I go into.

But if half your workforce is, or soon will be, perma-lance staff you need to treat them with the business etiquette they deserve.  By this I mean paid on time, given a cancellation notice and mostly, the point I’m referring to today, if the project they worked hard on goes live, please just let them know.

Yes I know it’s a two way street, and yes, we freelancers have our part to play in maintaining business etiquette too. But as a ‘creative’ my portfolio is my currency - literally. I need great work to get great jobs; it’s just how it is. Just as you need proof of great work and results to keep attracting clients and keep your existing ones happy too.

So the message is simple: If my great work keeps your great clients happy and earns you some great money – just shoot me an email. That’s all it takes.  

You never know when you’ll need a freelancer to tackle a similar brief again.

Yours sincerely,

The freelancer

Casey is a freelance writer in advertising,  SheSays president and general doer. @caseyjbird

Image: David Somers | www.picfair.com