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Archive for March, 2010

Research was BRUTAL on this gig!

And now, number 600 in the copywriting master series, “Topics I Never Considered Until I was being Paid to.”

Do you know the difference between in-shore, near-shore and offshore fishing? A bay, cove or sound? A boat and a skiff? Yeah, me neither…until now.  I was never much of a fisherman, I must admit. In fact, one of my earliest memories was at a fishing lake. I might have been three. I remember drawing the rod back and making a mighty cast. Instantly I felt a yank on the line and heard a scream. I had hooked my mother by the earlobe!

Anyway, the topic is fishing charters, and they are BIG business in Charleston SC.  The tourism base here is strong already and, when you combine that with abundant fishing opportunities, you have a lot of competition in the angling trade.

The challenge, as usual, is differentiation. In my research I learned that absolutely every one of these fishing boat captains has:

  • Spent his whole life on the water;
  • Knows every secret fishing hole, channel and reef in the Charleston area; and is
  • Fully licensed, bonded and insured.

Fortunately, I worked with a web design dude who had a little more on the ball in terms of the subject matter. He also had loads of ideas in terms of structure, with SEO in mind. This included a glossary of fishing terms, a detailed equipment list, exhaustive descriptions of the territory covered, and so on. Also, though our client runs a strictly in-shore charter, we included descriptions of all the other types of charters you might experience in Charleston, just to get those stray Google hits.

Anyway, take a look.  Did I capture the fishing mojo?  By Gar, I hooked it by its lip and hauled it up out of the vast sea of my own fishing ignorance. Then I gutted and filleted it right on the dock!

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"You knew we were taking ID pictures today, right?"

My TV prof from long ago, John Higgins, has posted a bunch of student videos on YouTube, including several from the Lively era of the mid-80’s.  Wright State Cablevision 4a* was an underfunded, under-appreciated, ill-equipped pretend TV station in Fairborn OH with no viewers and few rules. It was also the most fun I ever had in my video career. I milked that experience for every bit of work/study grant availability, until they dragged me out kicking and screaming.

So, here are 5 videos from John’s site. I produced all of them except the last one – which I think is my favorite. I had nothing to so with that one, but I am in a lot of the clips. A perfect time capsule of those days.

*As I recall, the super-advanced, Soviet-manufactured Fairborn cable TV box had 26 channels – 13 each on two bands (A and B,) with a ridiculous toggle switch to change bands. Hence “Cable 4A.”

ALSO: Check out Prof. John Higgins’ Site… http://www.mediaprof.org/

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ARCANE: known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric…

Copywriting for business inherently includes a certain amount of arcana. But perhaps no topic is more arcane than cardboard tubes. Believe it or not, cardboard tubes have hundreds of uses beyond moaning into them, “Luuuke… I am your Faaaather!”  You will find a cardboard tube at the core of your toilet paper, as well as your thousand-pound roll of printer’s stock. And I recently received a poster of Zac Effron in a cardboard tube from Tiger Beat. By mistake, of course.

So, how do you glamorize a product that is basically a commodity? It’s not easy, but it helps to have a client who freely admits that it’s a commodity. This gentleman stated right up front that his product was hardly different from his competitor’s. So I dug a little, and fashioned a story about consultative selling, wide selection and quick delivery.

Anyway, this masterful masterpiece of mastery just went live, and I invite you to give it a cursory glance. Oh and, honey! Could you toss me a roll of toilet paper? Here be the link: http://papertubesnow.com/

(BTW, I originally thought to title this blog – not just this post, but the entire blog –  “Master of the Arcane,” a title I thought incredibly apt. Stupid, yes, but apt.)

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