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Archive for October 21st, 2008

I wouldn’t say that I am always looking for ways to improve my email marketing efforts, but I’m usually open to a good suggestion (or ten.) So thanks to Honolulu Sue, Lively Exchange Pacific correspondent, I took a look at an old feature from Entrepreneur.com called The 10 Commandments of Great Copywriting.  I’m only going to hit the ones that inspire me, so we won’t be here all morning, you big baby!

Know Your Audience: I don’t think it’s always necessary to dig into demographics, the generational cohorts, and other minutiae. I think the level of necessary detail will vary with the application. When I am cold-calling the creative director of a MarComm, Ad or Design firm, all I really need to know about him or her is that he’s busy! The best way I can “reach” him is to not waste his time.

Determine Your Value Proposition: What are my Key Differentiators? Why should this person hire me, as opposed to the other 10 writers that will pester him today? This is a hard one. I’m a quick study…I’ve won a few awards…I have experience in a WIDE range of subject matter…but so have a lot of people. I suppose if I didn’t have awards, experience and skills, then I would stand out in an altogether different way.  Recently I began to list those various areas of experience. Somewhere amidst Advertising,Manufacturing, Healthcare, Automotive, Retail, Insurance, Sporting Goods, Home Improvement, Real Estate, Government and Non-profit…something will hopefully catch the eye.

Use a Compelling Subject Line: Oh yeah. This one’s a big rut for me. For the longest time, mine was simply “Freelance Writer Seeks Opportunities.” Then I got all fancy with “Freelance COPYwriter Seeks Opportunities.” I figured it got straight to the point for today’s busy executive (know your audience!) But when I realized I would be hitting the same people every three months or so, I thought I should vary it a little.  Lately, it’s been “Experienced, Award-winning Freelance Writer.” It crams a bunch of information into a short space. I’m going to assume by this point they realize that I am seeking opportunities, as opposed to “just saying Hey.”

Avoid Weasel Words: May, might, could, strive…why do we use this wimpy language?  Well, when I was new at writing, these were safe words. I would have never felt comfortable telling a prospective client “I will write compelling, targeted copy that sets you apart from your competition.” However, somewhere between insecurity and actual confidence, there is the point when you realize you have to at least APPEAR confident. So, save yourself some time and go directly there!

Include a Customer Quote: You know, I never thought of this. And I have plenty of them. “Try Lively Exchange for compelling copy, quick turnaround and thick, creamy shakes!” This may be the official “Thing I Learned Today.” Thanks, Honolulu Sue!

For further insightful insights, check out the rest of The 10 Commandments of Great Copywriting.

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Six Degrees Update: This just occurred to me…that bit about me and Ray Charles means that, well, I once met Ray Charles. Ray was in the Blues Brothers with John Belushi… who was in Animal House with Kevin Bacon. Dag! Three degrees! I’m like a Kevin Bacon JEDI or something!

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