Category Archives: Uncategorized

Humor? It’s a Good Thing

Humor is so important in life. It helps us deal with difficult situations and makes good things even better. But I have to admit – as a copywriter, I don’t often use humor in my writing. Too many clients ask for formal language (such as don’t use “don’t” but use “do not”) or it’s assumed that a particular kind of language is preferred or more appropriate for the job.wilkinson_1.jpg.CROP.promovar-medium2

For a time, I wrote for a very formal client that is a leading provider of online testing, writing courses on various things like business writing and becoming a fitness trainer. When writing these courses, I would download iStock photos to use with the content. I often giggled at the ridiculousness of the photos – the serious glasses-clad secretary staring at a computer screen, or a group of business people standing around a boardroom table congratulating each other.

That’s why when I heard that faux iStock photos were being released to promote a new movie, I scoured the web until I found some of the photos. And I laughed. They were so spot on, so ridiculous in their adherence to the integrity of the usual iStock photo standard, I just had to laugh.

Now, this is not a ding at iStock. I’ve used the photo provider for years and those photos have helped to Business team enjoying victoryillustrate business materials, eBooks, white papers and more. But sometimes, just sometimes, those photos are silly in their staged qualities. And that’s why these photos tickled me so. It also made me curious to see “Unfinished Business”, though I fear the photos are the best thing about it.

Humor is a good thing.

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’50 Shades’ of Bestselling Mystery

I have a “50 Shades of Grey” guilty habit.

No, it’s not what you think.

I finally downloaded the book on my Kindle recently because I was tired of always being the only woman who hadn’t read the book. I had no interest in it and within a few months after its release, I began hearing that it was quite bad. But still, everyone I knew had read or was reading the book.

I found it harder and harder to engage in these discussions, but would only ask, “Is it really bad?”  Most told me no, and a few proclaimed it awesome, engaging and a book they couldn’t put down.

So I relented and paid the $10 to download it on my Kindle (and thank goodness for e-readers… I seriously doubt all of us would be reading this book if our only choice was to read it in paperback for all to see).

Within a few pages, I regretted my decision. It was so bad. So very bad. I still can’t believe how bad this book is. I forced myself to finish it and it was so very difficult. I literally did a fist pump when I finished it, so relieved was I to be done with it.

I immediately headed to Amazon to read some reviews. Surely I couldn’t be the only one? At Amazon, I found hundreds of negative reviews. Hundreds upon hundreds. And best of all? They are deliciously written. They are fluent, cohesive, witty and intelligent. Everything this book is not. Everything this book should be, given that it was published. Given that it’s a runaway bestseller. Is it too much to ask that the book be fluent, cohesive, witty or intelligent? Apparently so.

But the reviews are. They are funny, entertaining and express as much bewilderment at the success of this book as I also feel.

So lately, I have adopted a new habit: When I am digging through the Kindle store looking for new reads, I head to the “50 Shades of Grey” page and read the newest negative reviews. I giggle my way through these (increasingly numerous) reviews and remind myself that I have no need to keep reading the trilogy. I can’t imagine it gets any better.

Good Copywriting Feeds the Soul (no kidding!)

I love really good copywriting.

To me, it’s like the first day of spring after a cold, dark winter. You open the windows, breathe in the fresh air and hear the birds sing. It’s good for the spirit.

Really good copywriting does more than sell a product. It makes you stop and listen, think, admire. If it’s the right kind of copywriting, your spirit will soar.

It’s possible (if not likely) that I am more in tune to this than most people since writing is what I do for a living, but I think that the very best of the best copywriting can do this for just about anyone.

One of the most recent examples of superior copywriting that comes to mind is the Chrysler commercial that was first shown during the Super Bowl. You know the one – Eminem is the mystery person behind the wheel and the voiced words during the ad are paired with stark and gritty images of Detroit.

It might be that the sheer beauty of the writing is rooted right there in that pairing of words and visuals but not all copywriting would say what this ad says with as much grace, fluidity and beauty as this one does.

See for yourself:

 

Dollar Articles? Here’s What you Get

I get a lot of heat from other writers for using bidding sites, but I find a good deal of work at the bidding sites.  I don’t believe, as some writers do, that bidding for work somehow degrades what I do. I see it as just another means to an end.

Many writers believe that there’s no point in bidding on projects when non-native English speakers can offer articles for $1 each. Often buyers say outright that they will pay no more than $1 or $2 for an article. It can seem like an American writer is wasting his or her time at these sites.

But I view it a bit differently. Since I often find decent paying jobs at bidding sites, I find it’s worth the effort for me. The buyers who are interested in paying $1 an article will get articles worth $1. I don’t believe that I’m competing against these sellers who offer super cheap work. Buyers who are interested in those writers aren’t interested in me; the opposite is true as well.

This means that I can find humor in some of the postings from these non-native English speakers. Here’s one particularly enjoyable bid I saw recently:

“Hellow,

First let me tell about meself. I am not a native English speaker! I dont want to be a lier or cheater so I disclosed it to you at our first conversation.

But I want to work with you because I belive I can write some excellent quality articles as well i am concerned on SEO and keyword placement.

I hope my writing quality will impress you. I expect, you will select me as your winner if my sample article match with your requirement. Otherwise i will not be unhappy!”

Gosh, Word is not happy with me right now! Here’s another favorite:

“Hello sir. WE are a working comany and have long experience of aricle writing and project developemnt. we are amny persone in the company who have work individualy now we r working as a whole. we assure you that you will not have a work quality anywhere else. Kindly provide this work to us Thanking You.”

I’m not sure how American writers believe they are competing against people with these kinds of writing (and English) skills. If buyers on these sites believe they will get copy that’s at all readable when they hire someone with these skills, then they will get what they paid for. And that, in case we aren’t paying attention, is copy that is not at all readable.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to hire a good American writer. It does cost more, however. It’s actually my hope that buyers will begin to see that paying a bit more will bring them more visitors, more sales of their products, and more success, ultimately. One can hope anyhow.

Don’t Roll the Dice on Good Copy

I was thinking about good copy the other day as I drove into Las Vegas. I know that’s not what people are normally thinking about as they head into Sin City, but I’d been carsick on the way in and my mind wandered to odd things.

Anyhow, I was taken with how well written most of the ad copy is in Las Vegas. With short words and even shorter sentences, the writers craft compelling and enticing copy that’s designed to piqué your interest. And it usually succeeds.

I was there on business, though, or rather family business. My daughter was in a cheerleading finals competition and we spent much of our time at the convention center cheering on the various cheerleading squads.

It was here I noted that not all copy is good copy. The handwritten menu board at the convention center spelled ‘bagels’ wrong, and some of the graphics on the overhead video screen had misspelled words, incorrect punctuation usage, and improper word usage.

But the thing that struck me the most was the wording on the T-shirt I bought for my daughter. It simply says “U.S. Finals” on the front and on the back it says “The Final Destination”.

It’s so vitally important that our writing is not only smooth and cogent, but that it also says what it needs to say. Good writing, especially writing that is designed to sell something, advertise something, or highlight something, should be clear, concise, to the point, and unwavering in its message. Sure, “The Final Destination” is concise, but what is it about? What does it tell us?

It tells me that sometimes the need for a writer isn’t obvious, but it’s there. Underneath the layers of poor writing, bad word usage and questionable spelling, what’s missing from so much copy these days is a good writer.

What should the T shirt have said? How about “U.S. Finals” on the front and “Las Vegas … Where Cheerleading Takes its Final Stand” on the back? Or “Bring it on! Cheerleading Finals 2010.”

Small things make a difference.

MojoCopy: Where Good Writing Gets its Groove on

That’s what MojoCopy is all about — bringing the groove back to writing.

I’m passionate about what I do because many people are writing their websites and business documents these days and doing a poor job of it. Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure you are fantastic at what you do, but if you’re not a writer well versed in how to write business documents, how to write for the web and how to make your copy sing, you need to hire one.

Hire me.

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