Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Marketing yourself? Get ink and get out.

get ink get outSerious about landing writing opportunities and freelance gigs? Looking to make your emails more eye-catching? Memorize the following mantra: Get ink and get out!

Why? Let me explain.

I spend much of my full-time job writing, editing, and analyzing marketing emails. Often these emails are crafted for Fortune 500 companies, spreading awareness about their tech products (you might even be reading these very words on one.) After getting up-close-and-personal with hundreds of these emails covering countless topics and audiences, I’ve noticed a crucial commonality that always makes them better: cutting to the chase.

With so much yadda yadda yadda filling up our inboxes, it’s crucial to narrow messaging to key points that stand out. There’s enough bland content in the world. When you really need to capture attention, it’s often best to get ink, and get out of there.

I use this philosophy when pitching ideas to editors or applying for freelance opportunities. This very week I reached out to a respected national brand calling for humorous women-friendly content. Although I don’t recommend such a playful approach every time, I showed I knew their audience. I sent the following email:

Greetings,

My name is Crystalee Beck and I’m responding to your call for freelance writers.

If I could, I’d put on a party dress, bring the kazoos and balloons to your office, all while holding my handmade sign: PICK ME, PICK ME!

Then again, I guess that’s what cover letters and resumes are for. (See attached.)

Let’s party, yeah?

I’ll bring the confetti,


Crystalee Beck
Freelance Writer & Managing Editor
delightedtowrite.com

And guess what? Apparently they like kazoos too. Although they had hundreds of interested candidates, their reply appeared in my inbox two days later, with a contract for me to sign.

Your turn: How do you make your message stand out in the inbox?

 

6 must-know writing tips for entrepreneurs

6 must-know writing tips for entrepreneurs

 

Shout out to small business owners and writers – this one’s for you.

In an ultra-competitive landscape, freelance writers must think of themselves as a small business. Even if you’re not a writer, if you own a small business, wrangling the right words helps your business to stand out. I wrote the following list of tips for Alex Lawrence’s StartUp Flavor blog – check out his site for clever startup ideas.

6 tips to make your business writing worthy of eyeball time:

1. Know your audience. Marketing homework complete, you’re keenly aware of your target market. Think from their perspective. What is relevant and meaningful to them? Personalize your message to meet their innate business needs and goals, and articulate in a way that will be both relevant and valuable for them.

2. Resolve a tone. What tone or voice should you use? Your writing voice can range from formal and technical to witty and playful. Do you use “we” and “you” or keep things third person? Each piece (website, ads, email marketing, etc.) resonates differently, depending on the chosen voice. Your credibility rides on your ability to keep voice and tone consistent.

3. Understand messaging. Long before sending ads to print or buying AdRoll space online, spend thoughtful time with messaging. Dive into key takeaways and clearly define them. Make sure your overarching communication plan offers valuable information for prospective customers, and not merely sales jargon. Always remember to keep the “so what?” factor top of mind.

4. Write tight. Skip the fluff. Every word counts, so weigh the importance of each phrase. This doesn’t mean sacrificing eye-catching words, which paint a picture or slam-dunk an idea. Effectively communicate with a dose of creativity, but realize audiences prefer bite-sized, palatable sections to verbose ramblings. As a rule, vary sentences both in terms of length and word choice.

5. Incite action. Purposeful marketing writing provides readers with a recognizable call to action. Often the success of your writing is measured by click-through rates or sales stats. When you’re looking for quantified results, you must persuade readers and invite them to act. This could be as simple as, “Call now for a free trial” or “Sign up for our next webinar by clicking here.”

6. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Dodge this one, and you’ll regret it. A large mall recently sent me (and countless others) an email advertising an event. I might have opened it, had it not born a grammar-offending subject line: “Your Invited.” Really? With a quick edit, the correct “You’re” could have saved their invite from my trash box. As a rule of thumb, if you’re planning to share with potential customers, get a trusted colleague/friend to give your words a second look before you press send or approve the printing press.

 

Anything else I missed that’s been helpful for your small business? Feel free to chime in with a comment.

 

Is happiness for sale?

Is happiness for sale?

 

We’re surrounded in words: food packaging, billboard ads, tweets, newspaper articles, targeted Facebook ads, and text messages. Ads target us with increasingly sophisticated technologies. Admittedly, I contribute to the phonetic flurry of marketing messages, while doing my best to create relevant content that’s worthy of eyeball time. In observing and critiquing other marketing material, I notice patterns of catch phrases, like:

Happiness

Advertisers seem to lure consumers on an Easter-egg-like treasure hunt for happiness, persuasive pathos at its best. After all, is there anything we want more than to be happy? While a brilliant marketing tactic, I’ve spent considerable time thinking about whether I agree with deploying such a power-packed word in the name of sales.

Above you see a sign from a local women’s gym. Every time I pass by, my eyes shoot straight to that top phrase: “Happiness is a gorgeous figure.” Really? Is that all it boils down to?

We’ve all seen Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” tagline, which has been selling sugar water since 2009. On Coke’s  happiness site, they declare: “The quest for true happiness is not really a quest at all, but a decision and a choice. So don’t wait another moment. Open an ice cold Coca-Cola and choose happiness!” Interesting.

I’m quite a Disney fan, and I’m sure you’re aware they’ve declared their land “The Happiest Place on Earth.While it’s a joy for my family, I know others who do all in their power to avoid it.

The most far-fetched happiness ad I saw on my way to work. It’s from CLEAR, and apparently they’ve solved the happiness equation too: “Happiness can be found with a mobile internet provider.” 

And let’s not forget Happy Meals, which can change a child’s life for $2.99. At least they’ll be cheery while chomping those chicken nuggets and playing with the soon-to-be-broken toy, right? Just wait until the next day, when they throw a fit for more “happiness.”

Does happiness really boil down to the Mad Men advertisers’ definition on this Youtube clip: “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

Advertisers know the “pursuit of happiness” is near and dear to Americans, branded into the U.S. Declaration of Independence as one of the “inalienable rights” with which all human beings are endowed by their Creator.  But do they really expect us to believe happiness is found in a gorgeous figure or downing a bottle of Coke? (And don’t those two contradict?!) Do you agree?

While I don’t have all the answers to the marketing mix, I don’t believe true, enduring happiness can be bought.  Nor does it have a price tag. True happiness, for me, is found in meaningful, loving relationships. It’s a product of being true to myself and my values. It’s found in enjoying nature, progressing and learning, and engaging the creative process.

I’d love your thoughts on the topic: Can happiness really be found in a Coke, as the ad says? What’s your philosophy on happiness in our world of consumerism? Do you have other examples of “happiness placement” in ads? Let’s hear it.