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Posts Tagged ‘web design’

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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You may not have heard of this little mom 'n' pop operation

As a companion piece to our last entry, here is a website I wrote* for Johnston Brothers Custom Imprinted Gun Cloths and Bags, a South Carolina maker of… wait, I knew it a minute ago!

This was a writing gig that was probably more fun than it should have been. First of all, it was 4 hours start to finish – including the client interview – and I received payment in under a week. What’s not to love?

Secondly, I love the client’s entrepreneurial spirit. I am always in awe of that kind of carve-a-niche energy some clients have – because I sometimes (ahem!) find it lacking in myself!  Here is a guy who saw that 90% of the little gun shops in the US do little to no advertising or marketing. They basically count on the fact that they are the only shop in the neighborhood.  So this client makes gun cloths, which every serious shooter must have and use, and personalizes them with the name of the shop and contact info.  That’s about all I can reveal, but the benefits should be obvious.

Anyway, you hear a lot of doom and gloom about small businesses. In order to survive, small business has to get creative. This is exactly the kind of quick, inexpensive yet good-looking website that can do the trick. It’s exciting for me to be involved in this kind of solution. Take that, commies!

*hat-tip to Charleston SC designer Studio 7 Design, and programmer Metatation. Thanks for the gig, fellers!

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ImageMatrix Halloween Party, City View Tavern, Cincinnati 1989

For those of you who aren’t Cincinnati Krauts, that means “Beer please!” As I was going to press last time (or whatever) I learned that the long-gestating Kroger Supermarkets beer web page I had written had gone live.

This one was fun. Working with a Cincinnati web marketing firm that I can’t name, I had to dig in to all kinds of beer ephemera to write web copy about beer trivia, food pairings, beer history in America and so on.

As I said previously, I have done a bunch of beer writing for Anheuser Busch, Miller Coors and Kroger – mostly for video. And of course, being some internal merchandising or training video, I almost never get to see the final product. So it’s really fun to see it all come to life. Especially the timeline of Beer in America. So check it out!

And now, I leave you with the words of Norm from Cheers: “Women! Can’t live with ’em, pass me the beer nuts!”

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And if YOU can’t live without compelling copy for web, print, social media or video, Please contact LivelyExchange (at) gmail.com!

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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!

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

Please contact LivelyExchange (at) gmail.com!

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A video production friend of mine (and frequent partner in Las Vegas shenanigans) made the mistake of asking “What are you working on now?” I answered, and thought I would share with you, my Legion of Fan:

  • Consumer electronics website, point-of-sale, brochures and trade show materials,
  • Real estate website,
  • Social media for a consumer testing firm,
  • Legal Services website,
  • Liquor and spirits press release and article,
  • Mental health practitioner website,
  • Residential and commercial HVAC website,
  • Social media for a home security firm,
  • Producing a video for a certain giant healthcare firm, and a
  • Financial planning website

…all at different stages of development, of course.

I then asked him, “What are YOU working on?” His reply? Editing “Party Sluts Invade Lake Havasu!!” Which is infinitely cooler than all my stuff combined and multiplied by Pi!

So, how’s YOUR two-thousand-eleventy so far?

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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A while back during one of my carpet-bombing cold call email blasts, I got this reply: “Thanks for contacting me Michael. I like your experience and your samples – so much so that I am going to overlook the typo in the opening paragraph of your cover letter.”

Now, this guy had me dead to rights. I had made the type of error I always do – something along the lines of “I’m responding to YOU ad for a copywriter.” A missed keystroke, nothing more. A dumb mistake but, really, what douche makes such a point of calling it out? Well, apparently, THIS douche, because I never heard from him again.

So, fast-forward to today. At a meeting with a potential (and totally non-douchey) client  he remarks: “I’m glad I was able to reach you through (a mutual acquaintance.) Did you know that there is no simple, clear way to reach you on your blog? No biggie, just something to think about.”

And he was right. First of all, thanks for the CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. But DAG, how can I have been at this blogging thing for 2.5 years without a contact page? The problem is, you only get so many navigation tabs on WordPress (with my specific template.) So I went through all my pages and inserted “Please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com.”

Appropriate? Tacky? Who knows? All I have to say is “Please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!”

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Re-using old Baby New Years: Part of the "new austerity"

January 2011: New Year, new resolution to blog more consistently, blah blah bling bling blah.

Anyway, so far so good in the new all-freelance era of Freelance Copywriter Charleston SC (see what I did there?) The Philips stuff is less prominent but more satisfying, pound for pound, so there’s that.  The healthcare client is undergoing some personnel changes, but I am confident it will find its equilibrium.  My Charlotte web marketing client is hitting the ground running in 20-oh-11, and apparently they aren’t sick of me yet.  I’m doing a couple of web and print projects for a giant Midwestern grocery chain.  A law firm in Columbia SC needs some web copy. A Charleston realtor needs some blogging, a mental health professional needs web content, and so on. My biggest new project has been cooking along for about 4 months now – social media coordination for a marketing website. Nice steady tentpole gig, Praise Be, though the workload and the success of it is a primary reason for my lack of personal blogging lately. What, you mean I have to log out of THEIR WordPress site and log back in to MINE? That reeks of EFFORT!

So, that’s the update. I actually have several ideas for blog posts upcoming, so consider yourself warned! Talk soon!

Please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com

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