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Posts Tagged ‘marketing communications’

Frank DeFord definitely has nothing to worry about from me. Still, I had a crapload of fun summarizing my first  Charleston RiverDogs experience for PremiereCharleston.com.

As Tom Hanks once declared, there is no crying in baseball. In Charleston, however, there is sweating. There’s a lot of sweating, and not just in the cheap seats. Even non-VIPs like me who somehow scored a spot in the air-conditioned luxury box were gripped by the Sweaty Fist of Oppression™.

Please take a look at my latest blog post, Panting Like a RiverDog. Until next time, this is the old left-hander, rounding third and heading for home!

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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The Charleston portal site I write for assigned the task of describing Charleston’s Coastal Beauty and Diversity entitled, appropriately enough, “Charleston’s Coastal Beauty and Diversity.”  Inspired by the BP oil spill in the Gulf, obviously.  Too late to include in the article, I just saw a TV commercial for “Northwest Florida: NOT an Oil-Stained Wasteland Yet.” So, you know, pack up the kids and head for Marco Island…quickly! Here’s an excerpt…

Dateline: Kiawah Beach, SC. Moms and dads sizzle in the sun. Diaper-butted babies splash in tidal pools. 10-year-old boys wipe out spectacularly on boogie boards. People of all shapes and sizes bob in the waves. Farther out, the occasional dolphin fin breaches the surface, and pelicans do that insane kamikaze dive of theirs. Out on the misty horizon, a half-dozen shrimp boats ply their trade, harassed by squadrons of gulls.

It’s weird to imagine the possibility of this all simply going away.

Read the rest of  Charleston’s Coastal Beauty and Diversity  HERE.

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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Well, the dumb-guy’s perspective on e-commerce draws to a close this week.  Four parts, five weeks and 4300 words later, we come to the stirring conclusion: e-commerce is good…so, like, do it!

So, just for the sake of completeness, here is the entire four-part series in its entire entirety. Enjoy, e-geeks!

Part One: History and Growth of E-commerce

Part Two: Niche Marketing and E-commerce

Part Three: Tools of E-commerce

Part Four: Potential Benefits of E-commerce

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Oh my. White papers. In my day-to-day blogging life, I get a lot of mileage out of humor, sarcasm, cluelessness, and being a dope in general. But a white paper is the one instance where you simply can’t joke around. You are expected to make a point, to explain, to elucidate, to persuade, to basically NOT be a dork. In other words, my safety net is gone.

For those who care to be illuminated on the topic, what are the necessary components of a white paper? Well, I pulled this from somewhere, and I can’t recall where. My regular readers know that I am always diligent about citing my sources. This time, I just can’t remember where I got this.

Anyway, a good white paper should do the following:

  • Begin with a well developed overview/executive summary/abstract: Attention grabbing, one-paragraph summary of problem, solution and hint of results.
  • State the Problem: Two-to-three paragraphs demonstrating your knowledge of your clients’ challenges and industry trends.  Identify the main objectives of the paper.
  • Describe your product: Incorporate design decisions; industry standards, testing and reliability; best practices and ease of use.
  • Address how your product resolves the problem; tie the two together
    Demonstrate with evidence. Illustrate with case studies and expert testimonials.  Entice with: benefits and returns on investment (ROI) , future applications, developments, and timelines.
  • Conclude:  with confidence and credibility
    Refer to the abstract and summarize your main advantages

So, that’s the setup. The topic at hand is E-commerce, and why a small business owner should take the plunge into online retail. It’s a four part thing that included several interviews, tons of research and a bunch of anxiety about whether I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.  I suppose I will let you be the judge. Of the four parts, the first two are online. Enjoy! Or, rather, endure!

E-commerce White Paper, el Parte Uno

E-commerce White Paper, el Parte Dos

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Instead of writing about writing, I thought I would write about what I am writing. You’re welcome.  Manning the cultural desk (I love saying that) of PremiereCharleston.com, it’s not always easy to come up with topics to write about. And some weeks, Monday blog deadline day seems to roll around very quickly.

So, imagine my delight when an outdoor symphony concert was scheduled close to home on a Saturday night!   Then, imagine my disappointment when it was postponed due to rain! What is a writer to do? Well, if you’re me, you write an entire blog about what a drag it is when the thing you were going to write about gets cancelled. Trust me, it is as exciting as it sounds! Don’t believe me? Then experience the smooth tobacco satisfaction for yourself!  Um, HERE.

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Hey gang.  Been doing it to it, and neglecting the blogging. Try not to faint!

So what’s new? Article Writing is where it’s at currently. For some clients, I seem to be doing more internal, opinion-leader marketing articles.  Mostly it’s stuff I know little about. It is, however, a useful an exercise in research and sounding like I know what I am talking about. YOU be the judge, Judgy McJudgington!  Check out:

In other areas of the article biz, it’s the Charleston Local Flavor website I work for. Here, there are two exercises: I must write entertaining, informative articles while tempering my natural sarcasm, and also find things interesting enough to blog about – while playing up the sarcasm! AND, I must find enough Charleston happs to tweet about 5 times a week.  It can be a chore, but it is currently the thing I am enjoying most.  Check out:

The PremiereCharleston.com Blog (from 10/01/09 to the present)

Articles:

So, that’s the happs, groovy people. If you need an article written, give yo boy a holla!

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There are at least 10 new web samples on the (wait for it…) Web Samples page. Can you pick the new ones out of the 30-or-so on the page? Would it kill you to try?  Web Writing Examples.

Also, I added a link on the Video Writing Samples page to the Veterans Administration Tribute Videos I produced. Go there! Aloha.

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Ah, the things a Charleston copywriter does these days to keep the checks coming!

This tale is about “these times” and the strength of professional relationships. First, these times. What can we say? By every objective economic measure, these times suck. It is all around us – people out of work, underworked or underpaid. And yet, as I said a while back, I keep chugging along. Not setting the world on fire by any means, but staying busy – and staying Thankful.

Then, a regular client comes to me with a proposition. A relative of his is a Realtor here in Charleston. He is representing a seller with about 500 acres of land in Manning SC. This is a large hunting property with many improvements where you can annihilate deer, doves, ducks and turkeys by day, while enjoying the amenities of a handsome new 4-bed, 2-bath cabin by night. If you know anything about hunting properties (and I do not,) you know that this is a rarity.

Of course, times being what they are, the sellers can’t sell as quickly as they would like. They want to sell, the Realtor wants his commission, so what do they do? Well, the Realtor turns to his cousin/uncle/whatever who runs a website development firm here in Charleston. This property needs a well-designed, well-written and well- optimized website – better designed, written and optimized than is currently affordable. The proposal is as follows: if we sell, I will pay you double. If we do not, it’s free.

The web dude agrees, but only if he can get his trusted designer – and his trusted writer (me) – to go along with it. So, I have a choice. It’s not like I need any more practice writing Real Estate. Since I moved to Charleston, I have done plenty. And, will this property ultimately sell? Who knows?

For me, it all turned on the professional relationship with the web dude. I asked myself, what would make me comfortable with the possibility of not being paid for my work? And the beginning, middle and end of the story is that I trust the guy. Of all my clients, I have precisely two that I would trust with this sort of arrangement.

I guess the point is that, despite the economic conditions, you ALWAYS have a choice who you work with. And it isn’t always about money. I have clients I have known for 20 years who take their sweet-ass time paying me, and I have clients I have known for about a minute who are my fastest pays.

I don’t want this to seem like a tortured decision process that took days…I trusted the guy, and I agreed. And I agreed to do my best work, fully aware that I may not get paid.

So I invite you to check out the site, and judge for yourself. Does this look like a guy doing a favor for his nephew, and dragging his begrudging web buddies along for the ride? Deep Creek Land for Sale.

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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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