Adventures in Amazing Copywriting #5 – Top Copywriting Blogs

words-letters.gifLooking for inspiration?

Check out these fantastic blogs for tips and examples of how you can pump up your writing.

American Copywriter – My favorite section? Classics. See why doctors recommend Lysol as a douche to earn your husband’s love.

Copyblogger – an absolute must read for any blogger

Name Wire – the product naming blog

The Copywriting Maven – Roberta Rosenberg shares her expertise in direct response & SEO

On Copywriting – by Ryan Healy

Marcom Writer Blog – Dianna Huff specializes in B2B communications

Bad Language – Matthew Stibbe is on a “crusade against bullshit, jargon, waffle, cant, hype and meaninglessness.”

Copywriting.com – Practical tips & techniques to help you improve your writing

Adventures in Copywriting – Mike Sieber shares his adventures in the world of the written word.

Writing Thoughts – the thoughts and experiences of freelance writer

The Copywriter Underground – Tom Chandler goes “beyond the words”

Copywrite, Ink – Rich Becker shares his insights to the industry

Add them to your readers today – you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Toby Bloomberg’s Kick-Ass Keynote (as presented at the New Media Nouveaux Conference)

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Transparency, passion and lessons learned – all presented in a clear and entertaining fashion. How could you have a better keynote?

Toby Bloomberg is the author of the top-ranked blog Diva Marketing Blog (in the top 2,000 of Technorati), and is a self professed “Atlanta gal who is a Yankee from Boston.” She believes new media, “is a credible marketing strategy – even an industry. It can help you with branding, marketing research and public relations. But the most powerful part is building relationships with customers.” Diva Marketing Blog has literally changed her life.

It all began when she wanted a way to make marketing “not boring” so she began writing in a sassy and pithy style that maintained professional credibility while tossing in fun references to appletinis & pink boas.

To her surprise, days after launching the blog e-mails started coming in from people saying people liked what she had to say. Her website never got comments, but her blog did – this was the first sign that something was different. Weeks after launching the blog, search engines began indexing Diva Marketing Blog where it took seemingly months for Google to find her traditional website – obviously this “blog thing” was a powerful marketing tool.

Toby’s keynote was delightful because she expertly weaved in personal stories and shared her lessons learned. It was simply awe-inspiring to sit back and listen to her experience.

While I was furiously taking notes, typing as fast as my little fingers could, I was unable to capture all of the details of the stories, which are the real juice to her keynote. I was however, able to jot down a few of her lessons learned:

  • Social media can be used as a credible marketing strategy that supports branding, public relations, customer service, research and other marketing and business initiatives.
  • The heart of social media marketing, and the real power is in establishing relationships. Successful blogging does not occur in a vacuum.
  • If the passion about a topic doesn’t exist – the blog will die on the vine.
  • People interact with you. You can carry on a conversation on a blog and then take that conversation off-line if you want to pursue it further.
  • Search engines and blogs go together.
  • Check your blog stats. Create an ego search using key words that include: your blog title, your name, your company name. Consider adding competitors and industry trends.
  • Bloggers care. Bloggers are people.
  • With the ease of using blogs, podcasts, vlogs, you can’t contraol the message, but you can manage the conversation.
  • You can manage user generated media conversations by listening, participating, engaging and caring.
  • Social media is built on culture.
  • The voice of one turns into the voices of many and changes how a company conducts business.
  • Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to ensure your posts are accurate. Credibility builds trust, builds readership which can lead to relationships and community.
  • It wasn’t the voice of one blogger who influenced a major research company to change their business practices – it was the community.
  • Bloggers take blogger relations very seriously and believe they have a role to play in communication and information dissemination
  • Mainstream media is looking at blogs and they may just look at yours.
  • Blogging is not a silver bullet.
  • Social Media is not like any other marketing strategy
  • Do something great and you’ll be cheered.
  • The culture is very demanding. Break the trust by being disingenuous and you might harm you brand…and your reputations.
  • Social Media Mantra: transparency, authenticity, honesty and passion.
  • You have to put something of yourself in this game.
  • The rules are still being defined. No one has all the answers or all the questions.
  • There is no going back – social media is here to stay.

I can’t wait to see her live in action again soon!

How to Get Your Name in Print

market-square-in-alexandria.jpgEver wondered how people are chosen for feature articles in the newspaper? Here’s how it worked for me.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my “satellite office” at Market Square in Alexandria, VA. I go here on warm summer days because the granite benches surrounding the water fountain have power outlets right next to them. With my Sprint Broadband service and my power outlet, I have everything I need to work productively. And, might I add, the scenery calms me down and makes me appreciate my life as an entrepreneur.

During the lunch-hour, this place gets pretty packed, and strangers pass by, look at me and remark, “You look like you’re actually working – wow, I wish I had your job!” On this particular afternoon, a gentleman sat down on the bench next to me. He inquired as to the nature of my job and I replied that I was a “freelance writer and marketing consultant and I focused on Online writing like websites and blogs.”

Turns out this gentleman was a reporter with the Alexandria Times. We carried on for a bit with a conversation about the difference between “old media” and “new media”, I mentioned my involvement with the New Media Nouveaux Conference and we casually exchanged business cards.

Fast forward two weeks and I see in my inbox the following e-mail:

Hi Andrea, it was nice meeting you the other day. I want to write an article about you and blogging – what do you think? Let me know when is a good time to sit down and interview you – maybe at Starbucks or out on the market square like when we met the first time.”

So, if you want to get your name in print, be prepared to:

1. Do something different. Reporters need an angle – something actually worth reading about. If you’re doing the same-ol-thing as everyone else your chances for an interview are slim.

2. Have a tight elevator pitch. Be prepared to explain exactly what you do, how it is different from everyone else, in bulleted benefits and in less than 15 seconds.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. You never know who you are going to meet. Networking is not reserved for places with nametags and an open bar.

4. Be yourself. Reporters (make that most people) can tell when you’re being authentic vs. when you’re being a flack. People like to work with people who are genuine.

5. Follow up immediately. If the media calls to ask you for an interview, drop everything you’re doing and reply right away. Otherwise, they will move on to somebody else.

Related Links:

Execupundit.com – Make it Pithy

Modern Magellans – Elevator Pitching

Scott Ginsberg – 10 Different approaches for your 10 second commercial

PR Squared – Pitching in Public

Toby Bloomberg – Relationships are the New Currency

Conversation Agent – Media as Connectors of Ideas and People

Wikis, RSS & Social Networking in Plain English

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Lee LeFever at Commoncraft has produced some excellent videos for those people who are new to this whole Web 2.0 thing (sorry, Geoff – I know I probably just killed a startup)

I’d highly recommend checking them out. They’re short, sweet, to the point and packed with useful information.

Social Networking in Plain English

Wikis in Plain English

RSS in Plain English

Make your hard work work hard for you.

Twenty years ago intellectual property was a different beast. Creators would put a big chain link fence around their work and say bluntly “back off!” to anyone who tried to spread their ideas.

Today, the landscape has changed. I remember sitting down with one of my clients to discuss her blogging strategy. I mentioned a quote I heard from I believe Seth Godin, but please correct me if I’m wrong – “Blogs are a way to create conversation, not control it.” With that in mind, the strategy becomes referencing other blogs, commenting often, linking strategically and sprinkling in your own opinion.  This new philosophy was one my client didn’t really get. She became concerned with bloggers stealing her ideas or being hunted down by the copyright police if she linked to another blog without their permission.

This is a fine line we walk. Andy Sernovitz posted some excellent insights into this topic.

“‘What if someone steals our stuff?’ is the wrong question. Ask ‘How can we get people to steal our stuff?’…When we advertise, we pay to spread our content. Don’t stop customers from doing it for free!” 

I have to say I agree with Andy. Make your ideas useful so your clients will spread the love. Of course as Andy points out, “Do insist that your content is properly credited, with a link to your site, but beyond that … encourage the sharing.”

As for blogging, it’s proper etiquette to link to the other blog when you are quoting (like I just did with Andy). You need not ask for permission ahead of time – that’s a part of the culture we’ve created. Linking helps them grow their blog. They will be glad you’re sharing their ideas with your readers. You would be hard pressed to find a blogger that says “No – I must protect my intellectual property. I don’t want your link.”

This proves I don’t have a Southern accent

The southern town I grew up in is so small we actually have a town song that we would get together and sing every year (you think I’m kidding?! – It starts off “Ashland, Ashland, center of the universe. Ashland, VA my hometown.” – you just can’t make that stuff up.)

Now that I live in the “big city” I’ve had to work hard to get rid of my accent. And as this quiz proves – I have! Granted I still throw in an occasional “ya’ll” and “sugar” just to throw people off.

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)Midland

(“Midland” is not necessarily the same thing as “Midwest”) The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it’s a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn’t mean you’re from the Midland.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

This got me thinking. When I read blogs, I assume everyone talks just like I do. I read in my own voice – but chances are there are some funky accents out there. What if all bloggers added a “welcome to my blog” podcast on their side bar (please don’t have it play every time I visit your blog – that’s just downright annoying). That way, I could play it and imagine your voice while I’m reading instead of my own.

The Blogger Writing Style Defined (Kind Of)

dragnet1.jpgOn my daily run between Market Square and Founder’s Park it hit me – the Writer’s Spectrum.

Writers dwell on a plane that lies somewhere between Dragnet’s “Just the facts, Ma’am.” and the insightful, introspective musings of the countless poets, novelists and philosophers we studied in high-school.

This all came about after a conversation with a friend of mine who is a screenwriter. As a copywriter, I am mesmerized at how someone can take a simple plot-line and blow it up with enough plot twists, character flaws, and details that it captures my attention for over two hours.

My job is the exact opposite. I take boundless amounts of information and form it into the most compact and concise sentences possible.

I even created a graph for you to explain my point (horray!):

writer-spectrum.jpg

Maybe you notice the fundamental problem with the spectrum. Bloggers are everywhere. With every other type of writer, our product is narrow and concrete. Copy is copy. A Speech is a speech. A book is a book.

But with blogs – they can be whatever the writer wants it to be. There are blogs that are to the point and dare I say damn near close to journalism. On the other hand, some blogs are nothing more than the dribbling swill of some schizophrenic college student trying to be “deep.”

In marketing terms, this means we bloggers have a pretty serious branding issue. Non-bloggers see us as simply egotistical writers who have nothing better to do than post a journal online (well, maybe they have a point).

I blog because I am a writer.

I blog because it is a way to grow my business and get new clients.

I blog because I feel I have something interesting to say (and since I have dedicated readers who tell me I’m interesting, that gives me motivation to keep posting).

I blog because I’m a dork and have nothing better to do with my time (semi-true. Dork, yes. But I could definitely find other things to do with my time – like sleep).

I blog because it gives me a sense of community. I’ve met some crazy, funny, wonderful, quality people because of this blog and I love it!

I blog because I hate watching my local news. It’s always “So-and-so shot so-and-so at the corner of so-and-so.” That can get depressing – so I get my news from blogs.

But these are just the reasons I blog. Every blogger has a different motive and since the product is so varied it’s difficult to define.

Maybe one day we’ll be able to accurately define where blogging is on the writer’s spectrum. But for now – we’ll just keep blogging and hope somebody someday can make sense of it all.