We all speak English. I just happen to do it for a living.

Analytics are Cruel

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, interactive marketing, online copywriting, portfolio | 1 Comment »

So I was talking to this agency for a copywriting gig and didn’t get it. No biggie — there’s always opportunities here and there. So the creative director wrote me back saying that there was some “good stuff” in my portfolio, but blah blah blah. Except the “blah blah blah” bit was basically that they were looking for more than just a headline writer. They wanted someone who thinks strategically about the business and across new platforms.

I thought to myself, “Odd. I must’ve really fucked up my portfolio if he didn’t pick that up. I mean, that’s a pretty accurate description of me.”

Analytics are cruel because Read the rest of this entry »

WebVisionary Awards, 2010

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: interactive marketing, online copywriting, portfolio, webvisionary awards | No Comments »

One of my favorite projects ever, and I spent maybe 2 hours on the whole thing.

Just click through and read. It pretty much explains itself.

Click to get krunk, meatsack!

Click to laugh. Well, first the image will get bigger, and then you'll read the copy. But then you'll laugh, I promise.

Webtrends: The Great Bike Fiasco of 2009 Research Report

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: editing, interactive marketing, management, online copywriting, portfolio, social media, webtrends | No Comments »

In a way, I started on this project before I even joined Webtrends, when I wrote a blog post titled: “Portland Bike and Marketing Freak Out.” It’s a good description of what happened when Webtrends bought an ad on the side of a TriMet train asking, “should cyclists pay a road tax?”  I stand by that analysis of the campaign today — a near miss. Read the rest of this entry »

Webtrends: A Facebook Contest for Nerds

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, facebook, interactive marketing, management, online copywriting, portfolio, social media, webtrends | No Comments »

Click to giganticize the Webtrends Great Data Giveaway screenshot

Early on at Webtrends, we decided to run a Facebook contest. That was pretty much the direction: let’s run a contest to see how it works.

So we wondered: what would make Webtrends’ faithful excited? And I came up with this idea of embracing the data nerd element. “Fly your nerd flag high” was an ad headline I remember.

Read the rest of this entry »

Making Webtrends Mobile Analytics Relevant

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: interactive marketing, online copywriting, portfolio, webtrends | No Comments »
"Compare Apples to Apples..."

Click to embiggen.

Webtrends is best known for their web analytics software. When they came out with an analytics offering for mobile apps and mobile sites, we wanted to inject some personality and life into the launch.

What I love most about this headline is that, in hindsight, it seems completely obvious. The software lets you compare the performance of all your apps — regardless of platform — in one place. It lets you compare mobile to web. It lets you see app usage and adoption, rather than just how many downloads. Read the rest of this entry »

Bernbach’s Law and Family Ties

Posted: November 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, editing, interactive marketing, management | No Comments »

Go read this first. Or just read my blockquote below:

At my company Fight, we call this “the 80% rule.” It goes like this:

When you convey a difficult concept, you’re better off being 80% right and simple, than 100% right and complex. Read the rest of this entry »

I Swore I Would Never Write about Mad Men.

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: interactive marketing, management, social media | No Comments »

It burns me to write this, but dammit, this Mad Men scene is such an epic argument about data vs. creativity. Data that looks backwards vs. ideas that lean forward. “You can’t tell how people are going to behave based on how they have behaved.”

As a marketer and a company, you sometimes have to decide that the data won’t guide you. Today, it’s both easier and harder to take a creative leap.

Testing an idea — creating an ad, buying some targeted placements, measuring the results — is relatively easy. It’s never been easier to produce amazing, compelling stories. It’s easy to test them in a controlled metro area.

However, when you make a really big creative leap, it IS harder than ever to keep them quiet. Especially if you’re a big brand. Social media, YouTube, email, whatever. We’re connected like never before. The new NIKE World Cup video got a few hundred thousand hits on YouTube before NIKE launched any other support for it. People found it and shared it.

One Person Will Write. Two People Will Stare at Each Other.

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: editing, interactive marketing, management | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

As I’ve been trying to ramp up the blog at Webtrends, one of the things I have to do is shoot out ideas to people and ask them to write something. Often, there’s more than one person who could write it. Or I want to do a Q&A with multiple experts.

Groups Suck
What I’ve found is that sending one email and cc’ing multiple people routinely fails at generating anything. They all stare at each other and assume someone else who is less busy than them will take care of it. And after all, it’s just the blog. It’s not like the earth will stop turning if we don’t post something.
Read the rest of this entry »

Tips for Writing Interviews

Posted: June 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: copywriting tips, editing, interactive marketing, management | No Comments »

When interviewing people, I think young writers can get a little carried away with the Rolling Stone-ness of it all. They want to describe their subjects’ looks and the way they treat the waitress and the African art on the wall. And maybe that’s important. Maybe there’s enough space to fit all of that in. Maybe the person is famous enough to warrant it. But usually not.

This is the real world where you’re interviewing CEOs of small businesses. And the reader typically needs to get something out of it — if you’re not thinking ahead about why the reader would bit.ly your link and send it along, you’re dooming yourself to obscurity.
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Email Marketing in 1,500 Words or Less

Posted: October 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: email marketing, interactive marketing, management | 1 Comment »

I have a friend applying for a project management job with a local company that focuses on email marketing. She’s an excellent project manager, but doesn’t have much experience with email marketing. I don’t have anything else going on, so I wrote up a primer to get her through the interview.

GmailI can’t say it’s the best organized writing in the world, but perhaps handy if you’re trying to quickly understand email marketing.

How Marketers Measure Success in Email

  1. Numbers of emails successfully sent: Sometimes you get bounces, spams, or bad emails. It’s good to track those numbers and clean the list occasionally.
  2. Open rate: Total emails sent out / Emails opened = open rate percentage. The biggest three contributors to whether people open an email are:
    1. Do I know who sent this to me? The name and email address in the from: field.
    2. Is the subject line interesting to me? Words like “Free” usually end up in spam, but knowing that it’s the user’s birthday or that their anniversary is coming up can generate interest. The more relevant personal information you can add in the subject line (in a way that’s not creepy), the higher your open rate.
    3. Is this a good time to talk to me about this? Emails about insurance sent at 5 pm on a Friday? Not going to get opened. Emails about “three fashion tips you already have in your closet” at 4 pm on a Friday might get opened for the “going out” crowd.
  3. Click-through rate: Total emails sent / # of clicks in all emails. Typically, just like a web page, the biggest visual will get the most clicks. And the stuff at the top of the page will get the most clicks. Know what your client really wants from their email campaign, and put it up there.
  4. Spams and Unsubscribes: A certain number of people will categorize your email as spam and a certain number will unsubscribe. Marking an email as spam is easier than unsubscribing, and many people use it. It kinda sucks, but you’ll get a few. Unsubscribe is fine, because you can  at least offer them incentives for staying in the course of unsubscribing, like a free flashlight or something. Or you can ask why they’re leaving: “Hey wow, bummer. Did we not send you interesting content? Maybe you could choose from one of these three things to help us do better next time.” At least you get a very short exit interview.

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