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Entries Tagged as 'Copywriting'

I confess — I don’t write these posts on my own

May 27th, 2014 · Copywriting

Circled spelling mistakes in grade school paperI have a confession to make. I don’t write my blog posts on my own. I’m just not a good enough writer. And I’m even worse at proofreading.

That’s why I use Grammarly’s proofreading software because, with my luck, public would become pubic without its keen eye keeping me on the G-rated side of the tracks.

When I started in the business, every time we drafted anything, it immediately went to the proofers. Over the course of an ad’s creation or a brochure’s multiple drafts — the proofer was there at every turn, making sure we writers didn’t embarrass ourselves or our clients.

Think of Grammerly as a much less intrusive, less time-intensive insurance policy for today’s much faster paced world.

So much of the content we create is either live — tweets, Facebook updates, etc. or done on the fly like blog posts that we’d better have a back up plan. All you have to do is drag and drop your copy into the Grammerly editing window and voila — it catches all of your mistakes and even suggests alternatives.

Here are some of my other “try not to embarrass yourself Drew” writing/editing proofreading tips:

I read my posts out loud.  Some people suggest reading your content backwards, but I want to hear how it sounds so I know how the readers hear it in their head.

When possible, let it sit overnight. I’m always astonished and disappointed at all the errors I find when I go back the following day to something I’ve written.

Know your own bad habits. My brain moves faster than my fingers so many of my errors are just sloppy typing.  Maybe you struggle with then/than or to/too/two.  Whatever it is…watch for the repeat offenders.

Never forget to spellcheck. It’s fast and free. But don’t count on it to catch everything.

We create content to demonstrate our expertise and to encourage people to trust that we’re capable and qualified. Don’t let silly mistakes or sloppy writing undo your efforts.

Note:  The folks at Grammerly gave me a trial subscription to their software and asked me to test it out.  They invited me to write a blog post in exchange for a gift card.  I want you to know — I now choose to pay for a subscription because the tool is valuable and I wouldn’t be writing about it if that weren’t the case.

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4 tips for writing a strong case study

September 20th, 2013 · Copywriting, Customers/Clients, Marketing, Strategy

Story Everyone loves a good story.  And there’s a reason why Aesop and others opted to teach their life lessons through stories that have been told and re-told for many years.

Case Studies are the marketing version of Aesop’s Fables. Stories told to make a point or teach a lesson that demonstrates the value of your product or service.  So how do create a good case study?

CS Tip #1:  Structure it like a story. Make sure there’s a logical flow.  Explain the problem (identify the villain).  Introduce your company/product (bring in the hero). Describe how the challenge was overcome (tell of the battle). Sum it up (give it a happy ending).

CS Tip #2: Include lots of details. Don’t just say, “We were losing customers.” Give specifics.  Our sales were down over 42%.  Be sure to give details in describing both the problem and the solution. If your client isn’t willing to let you use their company’s name and information, choose a different example. This isn’t the place to be generic or vague. Your credibility goes hand in hand with the level of disclosure.

CS Tip #3: Use quotes to give your case study its authenticity. Be careful not to dumb them down so they sound generic.

CS Tip #4: Make sure everyone signs off on it before it goes public.  The power of a case study is that it reveals an actual problem and its solution. Some businesses may be reticent to air their dirty laundry. Before you pitch your case study to a reporter or post it on your website, get everyone’s blessing.

Case studies are incredibly compelling when done right.  If you’re lucky, you’ll tell a story that people will tell over and over.

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Write so they will hear you

October 30th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting, Customers/Clients, Voice · 6 Comments

Most people, when faced with the blank screen on their computer and a deadline for a new marketing piece looming, get a little uptight. It’s intimidating to capture everything you want a prospect to know and share it in a compelling way. Your product or service is superb and you have so much to say [Read more...]

Content that your audience loves

September 8th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting · 5 Comments

I saw this on Scott Monty’s Facebook status…and loved it.  I couldn’t track down the creator but if I do, I’ll update the post. Just wanted to give you something to chew on over the weekend. McLellan Marketing Group is an advertising | marketing agency based in Des Moines, IA, and serving clients all over [Read more...]

Start with Why

July 27th, 2012 · Copywriting, Storytelling, Strategy · 3 Comments

One of the 20 most watched TED talks of 2010 was given by Simon Sinek and speaks directly to anyone who is trying to market or sell something. Sinek’s premise is simple. Always start with why. Sinek began his adult life as a student of anthropology. His fascination with people led him to a career [Read more...]

Find newsletter content in a flash

June 8th, 2012 · Copywriting, Marketing, Media, Web/Tech · 3 Comments

Drew’s note:  Here’s a guest post by Patrick Carver on a relevant topic — how do you create and sustain the creation of an enewsletter. Don’t you just hate writing newsletters?  We all know the feeling. It’s Saturday afternoon and you realize the company newsletter is due to go out on Monday.  You can feel [Read more...]

How to keep writing when the well is dry

May 31st, 2012 · Copywriting, Growing & Learning, Web/Tech · 8 Comments

From my mailbox: I read your emails and your piece in the Business Record. I think a gal here at my company might have heard you speak at the NAWBO Conference last year (does this sound right?) Anyway… she said one of the things she took away was that you made a comment of how [Read more...]

Build your key message hierarchy

April 9th, 2012 · Copywriting, Strategy · 19 Comments

When you get a chance to talk to a prospect — you want to make sure you talk to them about what matters.  And if you’re not well prepared…that usually doesn’t happen. Think back to when you were a teenager (or a pre-teen if you developed early) and were figuring out how to talk to [Read more...]

Brilliant writing is timeless

September 7th, 2011 · Copywriting · 5 Comments

Two months into launching my blog in 2006, I stumbled upon this example of copywriting brilliance and shared it with my readers.  Back then, my readers consisted of my parents and about 2 other kind souls who took pity on the newbie blogger. I was going through some old posts for a project I’m working [Read more...]

Taglines that stick

May 5th, 2011 · Branding, Copywriting, Passion · 3 Comments

  I think most taglines used by businesses today are a cop out.  They feel good but promise nothing. A reader wrote and asked if I’d talk about the other side of the coin – what makes a tagline great? Creating and using a strong tagline takes real courage.  A tagline that will last for [Read more...]