Freelance Writer

REMUNERATIONContract agreement to be discussed
LOCATIONCape Town, Observatory
EDUCATION LEVEL: Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree
TYPE: Partner Freelance contract

JOB DESCRIPTION

Generation of intelligent, accurate and effective written content that delivers on Rothko and its clients’ requirements. Specifically: 600-word press releases, 900-word features/ op-eds/ profiles, and editing content.

MAIN OUTPUTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THIS POSITION:

Strategic Planning and SEO

  • Gain a solid understanding of the client’s industry, business and objectives
  • Contribute to developing content themes, key messages and angles for annual and campaign plans
  • Assist with researching and defining a set of keywords and content themes per brand, for search engine optimisation purposes
  • Proactively propose ad-hoc stories and angles that will result in additional content generation and revenue for Rothko
  • Keep abreast with industry trends and latest news

 

Quality Control

  • Ensure that the written content produced is of quality, aligned to the brief, and is relevant to the reader, the medium and publication(s)
  • Thoroughly proof read and edit written content to ensure that the spelling and grammar is correct, including names
  • Accountable for fact checking, including figures
  • Deliver on the pre-agreed content within the agreed timeframes

 

External Relationship Development and Management

  • Build and manage client and spokesperson relationships through all interactions
  • Attend client briefings and events and liaise with them as required
  • Set-up and attend interviews with spokespersons and manage the approval process
  • Effectively manage client expectations, revisions and the approval process

 

Internal Collaboration, Reporting and Billing

  • Liaise with the line-manager and content managers and PR team regarding brief clarity, implementation, quality control and approvals
  • Regular, clear verbal and written communication as required
  • Attending meetings as required
  • Adhere to established processes
  • Timeous reconciliation of agreed requirements and invoicing for completed work

Job Evaluation Criteria

Formal Education

  • Minimum relevant tertiary degree or higher-diploma qualification in Journalism, English, Marketing, PR or Communications

Experience

  • Minimum 5 years of experience of generating quality written content for a range of media channels and publications
  • Minimum 5 years of editing, proof reading and fact checking experience
  • Project management
  • Relationship development and management.
  • Must have experience writing on the following: Current Affairs, Energy, Environment, Education, Business and Finance

Knowledge

  • Strong knowledge of related industries such as Marketing, Communications, PR Advertising and Digital
  • Highly knowledgeable in Writing, Journalism and Media.
  • Knowledge of media in specific industries including Education; Health; NGOs; Financial; Environmental

Skills

  • Strong planning ability including multitasking and prioritisation
  • Strong organisational and administration skills
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • Work well in a team environment
  • Problem solving skills
  • Strong MS Office (Word; PowerPoint)
  • Ability to work with limited supervision i.e. self-managed

Attributes

  • Service oriented
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to take responsible initiative
  • Positive attitude with a willingness to learn
  • Approachable
  • Team player
  • Ability to take constructive criticism to develop

If you think you are the right person for this position, send your CV and Portfolio to natasha@rothko.co.za

Is Your Email Marketing Annoying Your Customers?

For all the benefits that email marketing can offer your brand such as low cost of use and an ever increasing reach to customers on mobile devices, there is one down side – it’s one of the quickest ways to annoy your customers if you don’t do it right!

Read more

Four practical content marketing tips that work

Content marketing works – period.

There are endless reasons why content marketing should be at the core of your marketing strategy and why it is essential to the success of your business. If properly executed, content marketing can position your organisation as credible, increase the visibility of your brand and educate your customers.

Read more

International members join our PR team

Rothko is saying bonjour, nǐ hǎo and howzit to new staff members that joined the PR team this month.

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Anne Coadou is a PR graduate from Paris and is with us for 5 months to gain some experience in not just the local market, but also this amazing city. She will be working closely with Jade on social media campaigns.

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Amber Tianqi Zhang hails from China and is currently on a 2 month exchange trip from California, where she has been studying for the past 2 years. She joins Niemah in the PR department and helps with compiling media lists and making sure our clients’ press releases are picked up in the media.

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Tarryn Arnold is a local addition who joined Niemah’s team as Media Liaison Account Executive. Her history as Media Scanner at Newsclip will come in handy as she analyses media monitoring reports for our clients.

 

Rothko is excited to welcome these members who will surely add some variety and fresh ideas.

5 Myths about Content Marketing

Everyone is talking about content marketing these days. It’s a bit like when social media first hit the scene, everyone thought it was the answer; the holy grail of marketing. But the truth is a bit more complex than that. Yes content marketing has many benefits, but there is also quite a lot of mis-information about what content marketing actually is, and why it works. We at Rothko would like to put some of these issues to rest by dispelling five of our favourite content marketing myths.

1: Content marketing is just a Facebook page?

No, this is a common misconception. Content marketing encompasses a wide range of channels from traditional social media, blogs, strategically placed content on 3rd party websites, PR and marketing collateral. Facebook is only one channel used in content marketing, the same as a flyer is only one channel used to advertise.

2: Anyone can do it, even me

Yes, technically you can do it, much like anyone could be a race car driver, but the question needs to be asked, do you want to win a go-cart race or Formula 1?

Content marketing takes a team of expert specialists in multiple disciplines to develop a strategy, develop content that is effective and to distribute content strategically. The skills needed include:

  • Strategists
  • PR specialists
  • Writers and copywriters
  • Designers
  • Website developers

Can you afford the time to do all of the above and do you have the skills to perform these roles well?

3: Content marketing is just ‘soft’ marketing and doesn’t generate sales

Wrong. Statistics from leading marketing organisations prove that content marketing generates more sales leads and has a better ROI than traditional advertising.

• The average website conversion for companies with planned content marketing is more than twice that of other companies (Kapost)
• Content marketing can shorten the sales cycle by up to 30% (marketingsherpa)
• Using content marketing tactics can save the average cost per lead by up to 13% (Hubspot)

4: Create content and they will come

Wrong again. Content marketing is about more than just creating content and pasting it into a blog post. Content needs to be cleverly written, designed and then strategically distributed so the right people see the content at the right time.

Content marketers constantly ask themselves questions like:

  • Am I using copy terms people are actually looking for online e.g. cold vs sniffles?
  • Does the PR article appeal to both the media and the target audience?
  • What is the optimal time to send this email so people read it?
  • How can I tailor this tweet so it is retweeted?
  • What is the key benefit for the target audience reading this article?
  • Is the call to action strong enough to get people to actually take action?

The reason why we ask ourselves these questions is because we are not just concerned with creating content, we are concerned with making sure the content is seen and acted upon to achieve marketing objectives.

5: The more content the better

This may have been true five years ago with regard to SEO – but not anymore. These days Google judges content based upon quality and not quantity.

Google ranks original content much higher than rehashed content that someone else wrote. Originality is key to getting any SEO value out of the content created. Google now pays more attention to user intent rather than solely if the searcher has the right keywords in their search. This means the quality and depth of your content needs to be very high, rather than the just a high volume of content.

Beyond SEO, the volume of content will also not make a difference in your marketing efforts, unless the content actually provides value to consumers and value isn’t determined by volume, it’s determined by quality.

The truth is, while content marketing offers an exciting new range of marketing options, the fundamentals of good marketing remain the same. Good content marketing begins with a good strategic approach, knowing your brand, knowing your target audience and creating something unique, relevant and valuable, that connects your band to its target audience. If the fundamentals are not in place, spewing content out is not going to deliver any magical success to your business.

 

Content marketing and educational institutions

South African universities must place content marketing at the centre of their brand strategies in order to attract and retain top student and academic talent.

Universities are increasingly experiencing strain from issues outside of their control: the ‘fees must fall movement’; a lack of professional black academics in leading universities; and rising internal costs – all giving educational institutions a headache both in terms of their brand image and their balance sheet.

Educational institutions in 2016 and beyond are going to have to be more innovative with how they operate. One area where they can be innovative is by adopting a content marketing strategy. They are ideally placed to get the maximum reward that content marketing offers in the form of three key benefits:

1) Brand awareness

Universities can generate huge brand awareness with content marketing. Why? Simply put, universities are full of subject experts doing interesting things and possess a wealth of knowledge that can captivate the public’s imagination. But how can universities package that knowledge into captivating content that increases brand awareness?

That’s where content marketing comes in. Content marketing experts know how to convert and distribute the wealth of expertise and knowledge that universities possess into powerful, captivating and easy to access content.

Content marketing directly increases brand awareness of educational institutions by:
• Attracting people with a real interest in the educational brand and their work.
• Generating content that provides SEO (search engine optimization) value to digital platforms.
• Building brand authority by positioning staff as experts in their field.
• Providing marketing fuel across all existing marketing channels in the form of re-packaged content.

An example of a university that uses content marketing effectively to generate brand awareness is the University of Connecticut’s UConnToday. Their website is structured like a traditional news website and is a great thought leadership and brand positioning tool for the university.

2) Brand engagement

Educational brands have multiple points of interaction. Think of the websites, brochures, online systems, emails, social media etc. that educational institutes possess. Generally these are straightforward sources of information, but what if they could be used to entice brand interaction and build an emotional connection with consumers?

Well that’s what content marketing does. It takes information and builds compelling content that provides a benefit to the consumer and increases brand engagement. Consumers get access to information that is beneficial and entertaining, while educational brands get access to leads. This means both parties win by interacting with each other and building a relationship.

So how does content marketing build educational brand engagement?
• When educational brands provide beneficial content, they build lasting relationships with their audience. People begin to see educational brands as an asset, not a financial burden.
• Well-designed videos, infographics and written content entice interaction with the band. After all, who wants to interact with a dull website?
• Ensuring an educational brand’s content is worth sharing online.
• Ensuring a brand’s website content is top quality. Sixty percent of consumers seek brands after reading content about them (Demand Metric).
• Providing brand engagement at every touch point.

A leading educational brand that is using content marketing combined with the functionality of mobile technology is MIT’s free mobile app. It features a real-time shuttle tracker, a searchable campus map and provides useful current university content. This is valuable and relevant to students, helping them associate the brand as helpful and one that has their best interests at heart.

3) ROI and leads

Educational brands need marketing that is not only effective, but cost effective. Content marketing is ideal for this as the very purpose of content marketing is to build and distribute content that people are already looking for. This means no eyeballs are wasted and the marketing budget gets a better ROI.

Content marketing also generates more and better leads as they are openly given. Traditional advertising, by contrast, interrupts consumers during their day. Leads generated by content marketing are also much easier to convert into sales as consumers are already looking for information about the products produced by the educational brand.

The direct content marketing benefit to lead generation and ROI are:
• Content marketing tactics save an average of 62% less than traditional marketing. (Demand Metric)
• Consumers aren’t deterred with a hard sell before they are ready to make a purchase.
• Content marketing creates great website content. Seventy percent of people use website content before they make a purchase. (Cisco)
• Consumers are informed and can move through the purchasing decision quicker, rather than having to do more of their own research.

A prime example of an educational brand using content marketing to build brand engagement is the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. According to a case study by streamingmedia.com, the university released a series of specifically targeted YouTube videos for majors like psychology and computer engineering, which in turn increased enrollment past their goals by 30%.

In conclusion, universities are an abundant source of potentially great content. What is needed is a content marketing strategy that can turn that potential for content into actual collateral and make sure that it is seen by the right people at the right time. Rothko has had years of experience working with educational institutions and can provide expert advice about how to successfully implement content marketing.

Cape Town photography fundamentals

Cape Town Photography Fundamentals | Francois Swanepoel

These days, with our smartphones and photo editing apps, we all live under the illusion that we are ‘photographers’. After my interview with talented Cape Town photographer, Francois Swanepoel, it is clear that without proper training you cannot truly call yourself a photographer.

After taking a sharp turn with his career in his 20’s, going from a paper pushing office job to a position that requires a lot more creative thinking, Francois took on the odd photography project to make ends meet. Since then he has managed to build a significant list of clients and has done some interesting work, the latest of which includes a shoot at Philippi Village.

I met up with Francois at Cocoa Cha Chi in Observatory, whose new menu he shot a while back, for an interview.

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Francois Swanepoel

What inspired you to become a photographer? How did you start?

I started very late actually, because I started out working in transport, which is so uncreative. It was just after school, I fell into it. A two month gig turned into six years. Then the branch closed down and I was retrenched and without work. In that time, I asked myself what I really want to do and, for extra money on the side, I started taking photos of my friends and weddings.

The more I shot, the more I realised I actually need some academic training behind it. So many people say that you don’t need to study for photography, that you will learn as you shoot, but after studying at a formal institution you can easily see the difference between someone who has been training themselves and someone with academic training behind them. You learn about art, the greats in history, conceptualisation, rather than just making a girl look pretty. That’s basically why I started studying, which I did for two years at Vega (2013 to 2014), which I really enjoyed. What’s cool about Vega is the fact that, from day one, they tell you that your career doesn’t start when you leave, it starts today! You should already be thinking of building that portfolio and shooting for clients. By the end of my course I already looked like I’d been shooting professionally for two years.

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Editorial shoot for Sarah Crombie Designs | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

90% of the projects I did was fashion at the time, and I only had like ten friends and you need a portfolio of like a hundred. So, I needed to find people to shoot. I contacted the fashion design schools, like FEDISA and the Cape Town College of Fashion Design, as they are constantly designing clothes and then they need to shoot it for their portfolios, to build up relationships with them and soon was shooting for them frequently. I also contacted a model agency, which I did the same thing for; every time they signed new models I did a studio and location shoot for them. In a short amount of time, I got masses of experience in the fashion genre. By the end of studying, I was so over it, and as a creative you need to be doing more than one genre at the same time.

I started out thinking that I just want to do fashion (photography), but the cool thing about studying is that you are put into situations where, for an assignment, you’ll have to do food (photography) all of a sudden. And I love it now, food is one of my focusses now. Architecture I do when I’m travelling, but never for clients. I’ve chosen to specialise in corporate clients, like restaurants. The thing that I love about corporate clients is that the work is recurring, not like weddings which you shoot once and then hope to be lucky enough to shoot the couple’s baby photos, etc. I like to build a relationship and keep it, rather than start a new relationship every time with new, short-term, clients. You also get to see your work, like when you go to a restaurant and see your photos in the new menu, or you read about clients in magazines and see the photos that you shot, another cool thing about corporate clients.

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Dive in – Vintage toning used to enphasise the era of the architecture | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

How did it feel when you landed your first professional job?

So pressured. I couldn’t sleep the night before. It was a men’s swimwear shoot which I had to do at the Crystal Towers hotel in this penthouse suite – beautiful place. I was scared to death, because when you are paid there is an expectation, and I was just doubting myself so much. Halfway through, I was like, “What were you scared about? This is easy.” It came out so well, it was liberating to see that I can actually do this.

What has been your biggest career struggle?

Funds. Photography is freakin’ expensive. Apart from the studies, which took me a while to pay back, I now need to save up for more equipment so my company can grow even more…which is why I got the 9 to 5 job.

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Fashion shoot inspired by the work of Helmut Newton | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

What 3 characteristics, in your opinion, make for a good photographer?
  1. Conceptualization. When you look at something you need to be able to not just see what you see, but see what could be. You’re not just taking a picture of a cup, but having a concept behind it. For example: as soon as you tell people that you’re a photographer, they go, ‘I also take photos, here look at this picture of a flower’. While it may be a picture of pretty flower, it’s not a pretty picture of a flower.
  1. Listen, especially if you’re doing commercial work, because a client has an expectation. You can’t come with your creative ideas and think it’s going to fly. You need to listen to your client.
    It’s still hard for me sometimes to not get carried away too far and reign yourself back in.
  1. Having someone to bounce ideas off of. When I was working at home, my work was stagnating, but as soon as I started interacting with other creatives it suddenly boomed. It’s part of the reason why I go to galleries so much.

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Ifutha – Using light as a paintbrush to add colour to the image to become part of the narrative | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

If you could travel back in time, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Get into photography sooner. Just go for it. Don’t worry about things that sort themselves out.

The reason I initially didn’t go into photography was because I was worried about paying my bills, but it was never as big a problem as I thought it would be. However, I needed to first work in an office and get a chance to really grow up and get corporate exposure, because now I know how corporates think.

Are you animal lover, if yes, which is your favourite and why?

Not at all. They don’t do what you tell them to…
Which is probably why I work with models.

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Conviction | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

What are your top 3 favourite spots in Cape Town?
  1. Schoon de Companje, which is a bakery and restaurant. What I love about them is that you can sit in the bakery and watch them make the bread while having your breakfast, and I am an avid foodie. The emergence of a loaf is a visual stimulation, and the décor is all eclectic with wooden furniture, it is so inspiring to be there – visually. It gives me so many ideas for food photography.
  1. The Momo and Youngblood Galleries. The great thing about Momo is that they print photos in massive forms, like two metre big prints, and they mix the photography with installation art to tell the same story. I love that connection between two forms of art merging. The Youngblood is a three-level building where new artists are coming to the forefront. Usually they have a different artist per level, so it’s a place where you can get different types of art and different stories in one space. I never just look at photography, I look at all types of art to inspire my photography.
  1. Wine farms, my favourite being Mulderbosch. The great thing about wine farms is that you go out there – it’s quiet, you get fresh air – and just clear your head. If you’re away from all the distractions, you are most creative, because you’re free to think. It’s difficult to switch off, even at home, you need to just break away sometimes.

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Padstal – Part of an ongoing typology | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

David Karnezos, he actually studied with me, but he is just one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He inspires me. He is one of those people that will just pack up and go. He went to Thailand and worked there for a few years, travelling and shooting. His style of photography involves going into the rural areas with real people, telling real stories. Sometimes you just need to not be worried about whether people are going to accept this kind of photography, or if it’s going to sell. I love the way his photos would rather tell real stories.

Any need-to-know career moves for the near future?
  • My blog has evolved, now I’m doing more travel photography.
  • My photography itself has also evolved, going into much more minimalist and softer pastel tones, moving away from those bright, contrasted, overloaded HDR looks.
  • I’m also learning French now, so that when I travel through Europe I can go off the beaten path and to the small villages and countryside. After French, I want to learn Spanish. I want to learn all the major languages in the world, so when I’m travelling I can actually speak with the people and hear their stories.
Your vote: beer or wine?

Wine, totally, definitely! I go wine tasting monthly, I’m addicted to the wine industry.

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Family Portrait | by Francois Swanepoel Photography

As Francois explains, without proper training it is impossible to call oneself a real photographer – not a professional one at any rate. Besides from knowing the intricate technical side that comes from working a camera, being able to conceptualise is very important. A skill that not everyone possesses, despite their naiveté.

If you’re in Cape Town and have a brand or startup in need of visual exposure or a new product range to show off to the world, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Francois to discuss a potential shoot.

Contact Details

Be sure to visit Francois Swanepoel’s website, where you can also get in touch with him, and don’t forget to follow him on Facebook and Instagram to ogle at his latest work.

Text: Andy Moller
Answers: Francois Swanepoel
Photographs: Francois Swanepoel Photography