Meeting Melissa De Klerk: Owner + Creative Director of Fox & Owl Media
I’m Melissa. Media student to almost-dropout to graduate to post-graduate to one year of contract work to intern to advertising agency to entrepreneur.
That’s the abridged history. Blogging Challenge Day 1 – nailed it. Thanks for coming, okay bye.
Anybody who knows me well, knows that I can talk for hours, and write lengthy pieces.
I love writing. My student career involved writing many
tedious stimulating university assignments. To escape from the academic writing, I started a blog on Google’s platform, Blogger. This was 2009 – I am automatically forgiven. I enjoyed blogging and kept my Blogger account active for 6 years. However, I had always kept my writing to myself and rarely shared it. I thus amassed a considerable amount of writing that doesn’t carry my name nor can it be connected to me online – only Google will have that power.
After university, I wrote mainly for work and usually for someone else’s use. But since starting this business, I’m getting into a regular blogging habit. When writing for yourself or for a business’ blog, it’s sometimes a challenge to generate ideas for blog topics.
The idea of following someone else’s prompts for writing has appealed to me for a while. I have never joined a challenge or seriously followed prompts because of a lack of confidence in my writing ability and a lack of time. The lack of confidence is seriously inexcusable as my writing has been published in newspapers for various campaigns over the last few years. The lack of time is an easy way of saying “an inability to commit to putting time aside to develop and fine-tune my writing style and voice”. Also, I don’t like rules or keeping within parameters set by others – i.e., I tend to go off the brief with my own ideas. (For some forms of writing, this is acceptable and even encouraged. For most of my work, however, writing is to be kept within the guidelines.)
The Journey to Fox & Owl
After completing a BA Hons in Media Studies, I worked at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School for a year on a contract. Then I completed a short-term stint at Ironman South Africa, then another short internship at a digital agency, and finally landed a permanent position at a traditional advertising agency. Permanent is subjective, as I was retrenched 8 months later, on the Monday after my wedding.
We still went on honeymoon because I really needed a break, and, seriously, who cancels their honeymoon?! We had an amazing time and I’m so glad we went away. While sipping wine and enjoying the view of the Franschhoek valley one sunny afternoon, my husband suggested I work for myself. We began to plan, discuss and strategise and when we returned home, work began on what is now Fox & Owl Media.
Here’s what Fox & Owl Media does: design, build and maintain websites, develop brands through a fabulous social media presence, and write content for online media (websites, social media, blogs, and newsletters, for example). This is the highly summarised version of what we do.
I also spend time working on my own social media presence, as I cannot sell that service to people if I don’t actively create social media content for my own business. One of the better ways to create content for social media is to write blog posts for your website, share the links on social media and use it to drive traffic to the website.
So despite having a mountain of other work to do, I’m taking part in this blogging challenge. I’m not doing it for the hope of a boost in website traffic or likes on my Facebook page, but for the opportunity to write creatively.
I never imagined I’d be taking part in a blogging challenge and I approach this tentatively as I always take rather a long time to write anything that fits my exacting standards. Currently, I don’t have the luxury of languishing over each sentence as I have other deadlines that need to be met.
But, as with everything I do, I aim to write these posts with great care and a large spoonful of the magical ingredient that helps my business run smoothly: a sense of humour. My advice to myself over the next week: Write as well as you can and then let the work go.
This series of blog posts is my participation in Sam Posselt’s 7 Day Blogging Challenge. Her website can be found here.
I’m two days behind on this one as I hadn’t received the email with the prompt and instructions. A kind member of the tribe sent them to me and I began working late last night on my blog post for Day 1, on what was meant to be Day 2. I have finished the post and it is Day 3. I’m now very far behind, and this is getting off to an absolutely cracking start. Let’s just be upfront with each other: I’m not a fan of daily deadlines.
Day 1 – 1 November 2016: Today’s prompt instructs participants to write a post that explores who you are and what you do.
Great, an exercise in vanity – my favourite. I own a business, but I don’t love self-promotion – not the best trait for an entrepreneur.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.