Lately, there’s been precious little writing going on here – an odd reality given that you’ll find the word “writer” in this blog’s title.

It’s not sloth.

It’s a slew of new Web projects. A little teaching. A rare fly fishing vacation/road trip. And the happy byproduct of taking my own advice (I know, it amuses me too).

That advice?

The Value-Added Copywriter, Meet the Online Marketing Map

Becoming an indispensable resource for your clients – the “value-added copywriter” concept I’ve plugged ad nauseum on the Underground – is a concept becoming more relevant to marketers, not less.

It’s where you apply knowledge and experience to your client’s problems, thereby transcending simple “word jockey” status.

My reality? Clients are happily paying me to craft their online presence instead of simply writing their copy.

In a purely economic sense, that’s a good thing.

The copywriting industry is not the rose garden it used to be – especially at the middle and low end – and after you’ve done something for a while (hint to social media gurus – a “while” is longer than two months), you might as well get paid for what you’ve learned along the way.

Tapping into a couple decades of marketing experience is how my recent teaching gig – which I expected to be a temporary, short-lived thing – became an ongoing concern. In fact, I just signed to do what amounts to a monthlong, fulltime classroom stint later this year.

I still write – and I’m not here to mourn the passing of my copywriting career. It’s alive and kicking. But it’s changing.

Have you overhauled your online marketing presence lately?

Is my online marketing presence changing along with it?

And more importantly to my gentle readers, is yours changing as your business does?

Now, The Inevitable Online Overhaul

I tell my online marketing students the basics of marketing remain in place, but that all the details are subject to change by the end of our class session.

They laugh, but only because they recognize the grain of truth buried there.

I’m simply recognizing the dynamic nature of our online world, and I mean it when I say marketing has changed more in the last ten years than in the prior 100.

Those that sit still too long risk becoming embarrassing dinosaurs.

That’s not to say you must embrace every new social media fad. Or abandon your current online presence after five minute’s thought. And in fact, if your current system involves sales letters and phone calls – and it’s working – then keep it.

Success trumps faddishness every time.

For example, this Copywriter Underground blog was first launched as an experiment; I didn’t feel right advising clients about blogs without really knowing how they worked.

The response was gratifying, and I quickly ended up on Google’s first page for “Copywriter” – a move which saved me a big chunk of change in Google ad fees.

Still, after 24 months, I realized the leads generated weren’t all that relevant to my changing business. So the Underground simply became a writer’s platform.

Regular readers will know I stopped relying on random leads, and began courting the clients I wanted to work for – often using personalized methods like my lumpy mailer.

The results haven’t been swift, but they have been gratifying.

Is this whole post a long-winded gloat? No (though yes, I’m perfectly capable of gloating).

How long has it been since you sat down and evaluated your online marketing presence? How long has it been since you’ve taken stock of your own marketing – and the media channels you’re using?

Are you working for the clients you want? Are you doing the kind of work you want do do?

The Online Marketing Map

When my small business students emerge from my Online Marketing Boot Camp, they do so with an online marketing map – a guide which directs their online marketing efforts.

It’s both aspirational and realistic; it’s used to define what marketing the business wants to happen (and how, and when), but also provides the kind of reality check needed in an era where already-stretched small business owner is told they need to foolishly commit to five blog posts a week.

Marketing is driven by business goals (not the latest technology), and yet an increasing number of small businesses are letting technology drive their marketing decisions, not their brains.

When the technology tail starts wagging the dog, trouble often follows.

In this case, my own online marketing map has fallen on hard times.

My bare-bones copywriting site hasn’t changed significantly for years. And it doesn’t reflect my new reality.

Time to follow my own advice. Time to craft a new Online Marketing Map.

What time is it for you?