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Posts Tagged ‘health care communications’

Out of a sense of adventure…and economic necessity…you never say no to a copywriting project. This can lead you off in some interesting new directions. And you never know when a weird little one-off project will come back to be the basis of “my deep understanding of the industrial powder-coating process” on some future bid.

First Time for Everything

For every subject matter a copywriter approaches, there’s a first gig, first assignment, first Google search for every topic. I’ve said it repeatedly; it’s one of my favorite parts of the business. Convincing the client you can actually do the work is another story.

Copywriting with Curb Appeal

As they say, in real estate you’re not selling bricks and lumber…you’re selling the dream. Others would say that pumping all the romance (along with the notion that credit is a God-given right) helped bring us to the mess we are in today.  At any rate, as the stakes get ever higher, the need for effective copywriting in the real estate world increases.

Copywriting for Graphic Arts

If you’re trying to sell substrates, labeling, packaging, ink, splicing or million dollar industrial printing presses (and who isn’t these days?) then listen up. If you want your product to burst with value, and be something more than a boring commodity…get some copywriting help!

Health Care Communications

Healthcare is my bread and butter. It is also my plate, my knife and my laminate countertop.  For a time it was also my toaster, but we’re in a recession, you know? It’s an industry filled with cutthroat competition, regulations and lawsuits out the butt (I know, cut the legal-ese!)  Anyway, it’s not for everybody but, if you had to pick a copywriting specialty that will be around until the last Boomer has dropped dead, this is the one!

Copywriting for the Religious Client

It can be really intimidating to walk into a creative meeting and feel the passion and commitment of the religious client. Let’s face it, nobody ever laid down their life for the next generation of absorbent paper towels. So you have to calm down and see that, like any other “business,” there’s a message, a medium, a market and an audience. Just make sure you don’t “kill” your competition, or steal from him or covet his wife. They have rules about that.

Guns & Ammo

Speaking of Second Amendment rights they will have to pry from your cold, dead fingers…suppose you’re a snot-nosed college puke who grew up in the city and never held a gun in your life. Suddenly you get the opportunity to write a series of brochures, editorials, press releases, print ads, catalogs, web sites and trade show materials…are you ready to pull the trigger?

A Mile Wide, An Inch Deep

And that is what it boils down to. If you want to work, if you want to add value, you have to posess a diverse knowledge base. And, for the most part, wider is better than deeper. If you disagree…start your own blog!

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Heads up, word-jockeys…it’s the weekly wrap!

For too many websites, their design is stunning. Their programming is seamless. And the writing…is an afterthought. If anyone has put any effort into the copy, it is in the area of Optimization. But shouldn’t the copy speak to the members of the audience who aren’t search engines? Read the familiar writer’s lament, Copywriting for the Web.

Niche Week concluded with a look at one of my odder concentrations…the world of printing and packaging known as Graphic Arts. It’s a good example of maturing in the writing game…the ability to motivate yourself to do quality work on a topic that doesn’t particularly rock your world.  Breathe deep the inky smell of Copywriting for Graphic Arts… but don’t smudge it!

Speaking of copywriting niches, here’s the one I don’t joke about…health care. This is how my bread gets buttered. It’s light, creamy, and full of GOOD cholesterol. Pass me the jelly, and check out HealthCare Communications.

I’ve said it before: copywriting is a business where the only thanks you can expect is to be paid…and you have to wait six weeks for that. Once in a while, however, a client will surprise you. And, it figures, he used to be a copywriter! So, check out this bit of self-indulgent self-indulgence, Unexpected Praise.

Clients, when you telephone your copywriter at 10am, you should know he is still in his pajamas. If that makes you think less of him, then forget that I said that. Consider the modern convenience of the long-distance professional relationship in Writers Without Borders.

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eat the mic. eat it!

Getting good copy often means getting a good interview, which takes a bit of skill. I became a pretty decent interviewer out of necessity. In the olden times, we jetted about the country doing product testimonial videos in hospitals far and wide. We corporate video dudes would tend to our 300lbs of gear, and leave the interviewing duties to the marketing managers.  Thinking it was one more headache we didn’t need, we got three other headaches instead.

First of all, I think marketers can be too close to their products. By the time we reach testimonial video stage, this new device is all that the marketer has lived and breathed for two or three years.  Their perspective is skewed, and it affects the types of questions they ask. For example, I’m sure it was a high-five moment when the design team picked the capacitor that made the bed motor 1% more efficient, but don’t expect the lady from Housekeeping to give a damn about it.

This brings up one of the basic rules I have learned: ask people what they know and/or care about. Don’t ask the VP of Finance how easy it is to clean under the mattress, and don’t ask the $8-an-hour medical assistant about macro trends in the health care industry. No, I’m not making up these examples.

And how about a little interviewing skill, folks? An Ivy-league MBA  does not guarantee interviewing ability. From what I have seen, it’s pretty much the opposite.  Example:

VP of Nursing: “Here at Sisters of Mercy, there are three critical elements to our patient safety initiative.”

Interviewer: “Super. Next question…”

Me (whispering): “Uhh, dude, don’t you want to know what the elements are?”

Interviewer: “Oh great, now I’ve lost my place!”

Another mistake is heading out on the road without a clear idea of the story you are trying to tell. By the time it magically crystallizes in your head, you’re on your fifth city. You realize that each of your 40-minute interviews could have been about 20 minutes if you had properly focused. You also realize that you could have made those 1:30 flights, instead of the 5:15’s.  The 1:30 flight, by the way, is the Gold Standard of interviewing success!

Anyway, after about a dozen or so of these adventures, we finally kicked the marketing manager to the curb (or ditched him at baggage claim, I don’t recall.)  Logistically, things got easier almost immediately.  Eventually, the interviews got better as well. Today, I can honestly say that I am a darn good interviewer, either for video, web or print. I’ve even been known to ask a follow-up question or two!

 

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