Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

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

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

social-marketing-certificate

Social Marketing Certified (and factory sealed!)

I have an ongoing social media gig, blogging and doing daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. We use the Hootsuite platform to centralize the daily scheduling and posting. It’s a nice way to get several weeks worth of posting done in a day, and it gives you a helpful aerial view of your content. Meaning, you post on several different types of topics in your subject area, and it’s good to spread them out evenly.

Anyway, there’s much more to Hootsuite that I have never explored. It’s that curiosity that led me to discover and pursue Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification. Basically, it’s a lot of theory and best practices on social media marketing and advertising, and a lot of the technical aspects of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and so on. What works, what doesn’t, which platform will work best for YOU, constructing ad campaigns, measuring the outcomes, and on and on. Interesting stuff.

It took a lot of the summer and fall to complete the coursework. Then, as I was completing it, business picked up and I couldn’t find the time to cram for the final exam. Finally, I cleared some time and made it happen. And, voila! Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification! Springboard to meteoric success! Hey it could happen.

 

Read Full Post »

Yes, but it's a MOIST heat.

Like some fast, furious flying thing, summer is flying by fast and furious. Here’s how I have spent my copywriting summer so far, in feels-like-110-degrees Charleston SC :

  • I wrote a website for a Speaker’s/Talent agency. The client knows Joel McHale! Jealous.
  • Meta tagging a home improvement website. Sounds tedious – and it was – but six solid billable hours. No complaints!
  • Writing a print brochure for an animal hospital. Aww, puppies!
  • The previously-mentioned gun ad and gun cloth website (see below)
  • Maybe producing a demo reel for a standup comic. The show is in 10 days, and I haven’t heard a thing. Hilarious!
  • Moderating a closed group on Facebook regarding the Casual Dining industry
  • Working on a different, super-secret blog/Twitter/Facebook project
  • Working on a THIRD social media program for a floral-industry giant
  • Writing a new headphone website for Philips
  • Writing Philips sell sheets for a new line of Kindle cases
  • Editing a sales presentation for a financial advisory firm
  • Finishing a Real Estate website refresh
  • Getting ready to start another Real Estate website
  • Completing my Kroger alcohol trilogy: Beer, wine and, now, Liquor!

I guess the big story is how the social media thing is growing. I am reading everything I can on how to do it well. And you know how I hate to read the manual! Anyway, that’s the spillage. How’s YOUR summer?

Read Full Post »

Downtown Charleston Homes: Lots of Charm for LOADS of Cheddar!

And now a few thoughts on Real Estate writing – Charleston’s third most popular professional writing topic (behind Old World Charm and Missile Guidance Systems!)
Writing for Real Estate is tricky, especially in a town the size of Charleston SC. Whenever a realtor comes to me, he or she needs writeups on the usual things like Home, About, Services, etc. So far so good. 

But then they want me to write charming descriptions of the part of Charleston SC where they specialize. And, in a town this size, “everywhere” is our specialty!

When I first got to town I had no clue about West Ashley or Mt. Pleasant or Park West…or anywhere. So it was research, research, research. I believe the pieces I wrote were fine, especially considering my lack of knowledge of the area. They did the trick and got the Google hits. I don’t believe, however, that the reader would get the sense that the author had “lived it.”

Time took care of that. Now, all these years later, I know the Charleston SC area pretty darn well. The stuff I write about Isle of Palms or South Windermere actually DO sound like they were written by a local.

home sale

Cozy and charming. And in Downtown Charleston, it’s only $575,000!

The final piece of the puzzle was Historic Downtown Charleston. That’s how you’re supposed to say it. Downtown had always been a once-every-few-weeks occurrence for me. Usually a Saturday, and usually to chill on a lawn chair at the Battery or something.

My 8-month stint at Philips changed that. I only worked a 20-hour week, but I was there every day. Working in Ansonborough, lunching on East Bay, vendor meetings in the French Quarter, happy hour on Upper King, and so on. The feel of Downtown started slowly seeping in.

So, when a realtor asked me to write a big SEO-drenched essay on Historic Downtown Charleston, I was ready. Now, I can say “Ansonborough is a charming neighborhood of Charleston Singles and Doubles, refurbished row houses and even modern condos with harbor views” with confidence! I LIVED it, by gar!

Anyway, check out my Historic Downtown Charleston SC Homes article! And a special shout out to Realtor extraordinaire Heather Lord!

*    *    *    *

If YOU need compelling copy  – real estate or otherwise – that feels like it’s been lived in, please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail (dot) com!

Read Full Post »

An awards logo that's bold, proactive and in your face!

Welcome to Lively Exchange, where our shakes are thick and creamy and our horns are self-tooting!

*    *    *    *

Usually, it’s the first thing you learn about me after my name, as in “Michael Lively, comma, award-winning copywriter…”

Why? Because, as a potential client said to me today, “this is a business of perceptions.” I agree, and one perception is that if you don’t have a bunch of awards up on your wall for your copywriting or web design or video production, you are something less than truly successful. I think that’s BS. On the other hand, I have my share of awards.

Which is the long, tortured way of saying that a piece I wrote copy for just got a Bronze Addy from The Charleston SC Advertising Federation. You’ve seen me mention it a couple of times: The Dead Battery Anxiety website for Philips. The wacky videos were recognized in the “Internet Commercials” category. So, kudos to Philips Art Director Kit Hughes, the gang of creative creatives at Slant Media… and me!

*    *    *    *

If YOU would like to see what the award-winnin’ is all about, contact LivelyExchange (at) gmail.com!

Read Full Post »

The photographer was sober. They tilted the camera for effect!

I guess it is part of the copywriter’s creed (mine anyway) of Never Saying No. Ever write for beer before? Wine? Spirits? No, but there’s always a first time for everything  (another one of my highly original maxims.)

I have done several campaign rollout video scripts for Anheuser Busch, Miller Coors and Kroger Supermarkets, as well as some web work and in-store promotional stuff for the Kroger wine and beer departments. Even so, I hadn’t considered them part of a specialty or trend – they were just some interesting individual gigs.

Then the geniuses at look-listen creative hired me to do a big splashy press release for a new kind of rum. It begins thusly…

Every armchair entrepreneur dreams of taking the thing he loves and turning it into a successful business. For Todd and Zach Kane, that dream is becoming reality. The father and son team are the founders and inventors (as well as consumers) of Cayrum, a new brand of premium liquor. Cayrum, a cleverly unique blend of dark Dominican rum, fresh ginger root and natural honey is now available in the US.

It was a fun process, working with the agency, getting to know the client duo, crushing their life stories into 1000 words, and seeing the result splashed ALL OVER the web, thanks to PRWeb.  Now that it’s done, I guess I can say I have a sub-sub specialty in beer, wine and spirits writing – for web, video, in store and public relations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am suddenly very thirsty!

*    *    *    *

Thirsty for compelling copy for web, print, social media or video?

Please contact LivelyExchange (at) gmail.com!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »