Should writing slow down when the economy does?

To some extent, if the economy slows, so does every aspect of it. So freelance writers shouldn’t be surprised that it gets harder to find work.

That being said, even if the economy were to genuinely recede, businesses and non-profits would still need written communication. I was reminded of this fact recently while at the website of the financial guru Dave Ramsey. He had this to say about radio, which I think applies to all sorts of freelance writing as well.

The recent RAB convention in Atlanta had some great answers. Selling Radio in a Challenging Economy, a seminar presented by Mike Mahone and Dave Casper, suggests thinking LONG TERM (Now there’s an idea!). In the last century, advertisers who held out and even bumped up their advertising budgets ended up “on top” during and after an economic crisis. Although money might get tight and the country as a whole might seem worried, people aren’t going to stop buying. The advertisers that stay focused and continue to brand themselves can expect huge results.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Back in the 1930s, Kellogg maintained its advertising during the Great Depression while Post did not. As a result, Kellogg gained domination of the dry cereal market and held onto that domination for half a century. (Casper, 32)
  • Heavier advertising was also credited for the improved performance of Revlon and Philip Morris during the recessionary years of 1974-75, while sales of Avon Products and Hershey Foods slumped after advertising cuts. (32)
  • During the 1975 recession, Chevrolet increased their advertising while Ford cut theirs by 14%. In the end, Chevy’s market share rose by 2%, and five years later, Ford had not regained its share points. (33)

Obviously, cutting advertising budgets during a recession or economic slump can have major, long-term, negative results. We tell our listeners all the time that choosing the easiest way out is rarely the answer when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place. You have to work hard and look at things with a long-term perspective in mind. And that’s exactly what your advertisers need to do starting today. The minute you bail, you start losing brand recognition in the marketplace.

For the full Selling Radio in a Challenging Economy PowerPoint presentation from the RAB conference, go to This information is fantastic and will revolutionize the way you view advertising and the economy. The RAB is an excellent resource for your staff and has a wealth of tools to begin implementing today.

Not only does this point obviously apply to writing and those in a position to make decisions about writing, it also applies to freelance writers themselves. No doubt there are plenty of people who made a living by writing during past hard times, and that will be true in this bump in the economy.

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