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chas no 1

Watch your step for giant Palmetto bugs and random typewriters

Today we learned that Travel + Leisure magazine has once again named Charleston SC the America’s No. 1 city, and No. 2 in the world. “Readers were asked to rate cities they had visited on sights/landmarks, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people/friendliness, shopping and value.”

Of course, that’s a survey of people who are just passing through. What’s it like for those who live here and try to make a living in the copywriting trade? I am referring specifically to ME.

Humble Copywriting Origins

I hit town in 2006, knowing precisely nobody. I fanned out in every direction, burning up my 28K dialup internet (!) carpet-bombing every web design, marketing, advertising and video production agency from here to hell-and-gone. (Hell-and-gone includes Asheville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, and Augusta. Mostly due to “good timing” I got a few bites, a few initial gigs, and things slowly (SLOWLY) took root.

Mixed success, as you can imagine. I can say that the agency relationships I have made here in Charleston, including great names such as Colophon New Media and Metatation have endured.

Charleston Copywriting Must-haves

I have done my share of writing for two big Charleston staples, real estate and travel & tourism. Both have been very good to me. Check out my thoughts on local Real Estate writing here. And some fun travel and tourism stuff here. (Scroll down to Charleston Travel/Tourism Blog)

Now, there’s also Technical Writing.  The type of writing where (in Charleston anyway)  “tab A into slot B equals cruise missile.”  I can do it, I even completed some tech writing coursework at Trident Tech, but I guess I have never pursued it aggressively enough.

I ended up doing quite a bit of technical writing at Philips, though. That wasn’t the plan; it just turned out that way. Ah, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, the one that quite literally got away. (They closed the office and it got away!) But before it did, one of my pieces for them won a Bronze Addy award, so there’s that.

Ten years later, how’s it going? Well, it’s definitely going. Social is bigger than ever, and a big part of my mix. I went and earned a Social Marketing Certification from Hootsuite. This has been pretty helpful in framing the conversation when discussing a client’s digital marketing options.

Charleston Copywriting Outlook: 2017

Meanwhile, businesses are shaking off the cobwebs, and celebrating the new economic optimism that seems to be going around. Meaning, lots of web refreshes going on, from a six-page interior designer website, to a 30-page dentist’s site to a FIFTY page digital marketing agency website! (2017: the year the cobbler’s kids get shoes!!) Now, 2017 is setting no records, but it sure beats the windswept desert that was 2016!!

So that’s the copywriting life in America’s Number One city. As the Bedouins say, the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. If you’d like to be part of this rich copywriting pageant, contact me at  LivelyExchange (at) gmail (dot) com!

Photo: Charleston Post and Courier

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chix5

My tagline took Honorable Mention

Well, I am taking a break from the hubbub and revelry of National Fried Chicken Day (look it up) to report on the copywriting comings and goings here at LivelyExchange.

Here in Charleston SC, springtime’s occasional 90-degree days are just a memory, and summer’s endless 95-degree days are the norm. Makes you want to stay inside and do some copywriting! So, check out my latest projects:

  • Writing a website for an interior designer in Columbia SC
  • Writing and optimizing a website for a Charleston SC dental practice
  • Writing a website for a Columbia SC law firm
  • Video shoot pre-production for a productivity consultant
  • Quoting a social media program for a Charleston SEO consultant
  • Finished a website for a CPR training provider in Charleston SC, and now starting their Social Media program.

And some old perennials; some that won’t end, others that won’t start!

  • Press Releases, blogging and social media management for a global leader in floral chemicals
  • Writing a website for a CNC machine shop client in South Carolina
  • Writing a website for a dry cleaner in South Carolina
  • Writing a website for a pressure washing service in South Carolina

The Reds Report

Meanwhile, back home in Cincinnati, the Told-You-So Express grinds to a halt. My beloved Reds, who sat high atop the NL Central in my last report, are now lower than a Pete Rose belly slide. At this point, only San Francisco and Philadelphia are in worse shape in the entire National League! So, hey, Reds fans: how about a rousing cheer of “There’s someone worse than us! There’s someone worse than us! There’s…”

No? Okay then. Enjoy your fried chicken, and I’ll see you next time!

photo:  freedigitalphotos.net/vectorolie

label2

When writing press releases, the stakes are never exactly Life or Death, but there are times when getting it right is more important than others. These are also the times when the clock is ticking and nobody is available to help out.

This was the classic “by end of day” crisis involving some social media brush fire that needed extinguishing. Ill-informed freakouts concerns, apples-to-cucumbers comparisons, the usual. Fortunately I saw it coming. I predicted they would need…something written, so I had begun jotting down ideas the day before. Research research, write write write aaaand SEND!

Silence. Then, 24 hours later, this arrives via MailChimp. No notes, no second draft required. Somehow, this press release made it through committee on two sides of the Atlantic with a couple of minor word changes (and picking up only one typo in the process. THERE’S your miracle!)

At the end of a just-OK week, this was a nice conclusion. I have been the unofficial Fifth Beatle in this company’s marketing department for about five years now, managing their social media and blogging, occasional press releases, occasional web work. In this case, there was a convergence of trust, necessity and timing in something of a crisis atmosphere, and I delivered. Felt good. Anyway, check it out on my Press Releases page!

So, anybody need a press release? Holla! livelyexchange (at) gmail (dot) com!

handmaid

Original 80s cover art, for the purists!

Allow me, Dystopian Literature Fan Number One, to be officially the last person on the web to discuss The Handmaid’s Tale.

First of all, I’m happy to see that 7 episodes in, people have finally stopped screaming how TIMELY it is. Written in the mid-80s, it was a response to the way Reagan installed a right-wing Christian dictatorship, took away women’s rights and shipped black people off to camps. If you don’t remember that happening then, that’s because it didn’t. But, TIMELY!!!

Anyway, the first 5 eps, I was riveted, watching the book come to life after reading it maybe 10 times. (Let us not speak of the 1990 theatrical release – as much as I love the late Natasha Richardson!)

handmaid 2

“So…see you at the Ceremony later?”

The last couple of eps, which have veered almost completely from the novel, I fear I am losing my buzz a bit – even though it is very well done. And I wonder, is this what it is like for those unhappy Game of Thrones book nerds?

I give them credit for trying to expand the story, even if the results are mixed. Seeing the breakdown and overthrow of the US? Excellent. RiotGrrl Ofglen as a symbol of resistance? Very good. The revelation about Offred’s husband? Maybe. Sympathizing with Serena Joy about how the revolution disappointed her? No. And the entire Mexican Ambassador thing? No me gusta!

I see that next week will bring to life just about the last remaining set piece of the novel, other than the ending. And now word comes that the series has been renewed for a second season. For the life of me, I can’t imagine what an episode 19 or 20 will look like. Despite all of this, it’s still appointment TV, and I am enjoying the ride for now. As for Big Splashy Hulu Adaptations, it’s much better than 11/22/63 was.  What do YOU think?

take my card2As a Freelance Copywriter Charleston SC, packing SEO keywords into sentences like this one, I have developed a bit of a bunker mentality. I work out of the spare bedroom in stately Lively Manor, and don’t get much face to face human interaction. You’d think I would be all over a networking opportunity, but…

What I don’t know about networking could fill a book – a book about networking very poorly. Sure, it would have a clever title like “Network Outage,” but it would go downhill pretty quickly from there.

So my buddy Nicolo, who is actually NOT named after a 16th century Italian philosopher, dragged me to a networking event in downtown Charleston. (Be sure to check “dragged here” on the survey form.)

How’d it go? Well, it went, and not badly. I guess maybe I have actually learned a thing or two about networking in my decade-long rise to somewhere in the middle of the Charleston copywriter pack. So, here we go.

  • For me, a big hurdle is forcing myself to interact. So I have a rule: if we make eye contact, I have to stop and chat.
  • Next, get the business card swap out of the way ASAP. You never know when you or the other guy are going to get interrupted or swept away.
  • Then, just get down to it! Make your elevator pitch, listen to his, ask a few questions, and follow the conversation in whatever PRODUCTIVE direction it leads.
  • Which means also recognizing when the conversation is going nowhere, and moving on as soon and as politely as possible. Some people will simply not further your quest (though, I admit, you can never really know for sure).
  • Finally, SOMEBODY has to end the conversation. It might as well be you, and the other guy will actually appreciate you taking the bullet.

And that, sports fans, is Smooth Jimmy Apollo’s Lock of the Week!TM

lock

“That’s a really big lock!”

So go forth and network, young Padawan, as painful as it may be. At least in Charleston, you’ll get some awesome hors d’oeurves!

Note: if you have gleaned that networking is not my favorite thing, please contact me at LivelyExchange (at) gmail (dot) com. We’ll meet in a bar, along with a few dozen strangers, and discuss it!

pipeline pic

Remember kids: crack is wack, so keep those shirt tails tucked in while crouching under the sink!

Spring is here! Back home in Cincinnati, they are waiting for the wheels to come off of the Reds’ promising first-place start (it’s coming, friends. It always does.)

Meanwhile in Charleston it’s heating up, both in terms of 90-degree temperatures and the gigs flowing through the ol’ copywriting pipeline.   So, grab your hip waders – I’m goin’ in!

  • Blogging for a Tax Attorney in Columbia SC
  • Writing a website for a CPR training provider in Charleston SC
  • Writing a website for a CNC machine shop client in South Carolina
  • Writing a press release for an industrial client in Europe
  • Quoting a blogging and social media program for a fiberglass manufacturer in the Midwest

And some old perennials; some that won’t end, others that won’t start!

  • Writing brochures and trifolds for a consumer electronics firm in Upstate New York
  • Blogging and social media management for a global leader in floral chemicals
  • Blogging for an Extended Stay motel chain in the Southeast
  • Writing a website for a dry cleaner in South Carolina
  • Writing a website for a real estate attorney in South Carolina
  • Writing a website for a pressure washing service in South Carolina

Hope your spring is off to a great start, just like my Redlegs, and it stays that way, unlike my Redlegs!

Have you done your NCAA brackets yet? I did – I wrote Cincinnati Reds in all the slots just to mess with the poor dude in the office pool. So far, I’ve lost $260! Aside from that, what’s on the content and copywriting menu these days? Let’s take a look at what is flowing at various stages of the ol’ pipeline…

Fancy Pig says: Somehow, it doesn’t seem like March in South Carolina!

  • Writing a direct mail piece for landscaping supplier in South Carolina
  • Writing long form brochures and trifolds for a consumer electronics firm in Upstate New York
  • Blogging and social media management for a global leader in floral chemicals
  • Blogging for an Extended Stay motel chain in the Southeast
  • Writing a series of print ads for a gun manufacturer
  • Writing a website for a digital marketing agency in the Midwest
  • Writing a website for a dry cleaner in South Carolina
  • Writing a website for a real estate attorney in South Carolina
  • Writing a website for a pressure washing service in South Carolina

And the really important stuff:

  • Trying to decide if I am going to see Reverend Horton Heat on 3/25
  • and Freaking out that there’s only 4 weeks until Better Call Saul returns!

Do any of these sound like the type of thing you’re looking for? Print writing, web writing, video scripts or social media content? Spoiler talk for Better Call Saul? Anything is possible, so give me a holler at LivelyExchange (at) Gmail (dot) com!

frost

Beater Batmobile says: I am confused, as well!