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Tag Archives: copywriting

How not to localize direct mail

Your personalization vendor has a great idea: add variable fields to localize direct mail by mentioning the reader’s geographical location. This is especially effective if you’re a national brand and you want to connect with prospects on a grassroots level. Hence this month’s example from the Salvation Army: The biggest problem with this effort is […]

Copywriters, the end is near

I was paying my quarterly visit to a client when the online marketing manager mentioned he needed quite a few SEO articles written. I asked if I could help. No need, he said, I’ll just order them on TextBroker for ten cents a word and run them through copycheck to be sure they weren’t plagiarized. […]

Then and now: Planned Giving with the Salvation Army

25 years ago I wrote a planned giving direct mail program for the Salvation Army. I recently received the current rendition of the same ask, and it was fascinating to see what has changed and what hasn’t. I’ve reproduced the letters from the two packages, which contain the key message, and you can read them […]

Why copywriting is like fixing a hole in the wall

I live in a 135-year-old house with lath and plaster walls. I have two teenage boys. Thus, I have a lot of opportunity to patch holes in those walls. Recently I’ve gotten a lot better than this, and it occurred to me there are lessons that apply to copywriting or any repetitive artisanal task. Originally […]

Salvation Army shows the perils of localized donor mail

I gave a fair-sized gift to my local Salvation Army this past holiday season, and was happy to do so. (I wanted a particularly enthusiastic bell ringer to get credit, so I found out his name, wrote it on the check, and dropped it off at the local center.) Inevitably, this has spawned a series […]

Who else wants to see their FICO score? (and other mailbox mysteries)

This credit card promo from Chase caused me to fire up the mailbox monitor. The premise is that you get a free monthly FICO report with the Chase Slate card. My household has been carpet bombed with these packages recently, both my wife and I receiving multiple mailings sometimes on the same day. There are […]

The creative parable of the 100 light bulbs

A creative director recently shared with me the parable of the 100th light bulb. It goes like this: When you turn on the first light bulb in a dark room, the effect is transformative. Where before there was only darkness, now there is light. But by the time you switch on the 100th light bulb, […]

Dealing with writer’s block

Early in my freelance copywriting career, I suffered three serious episodes of writer’s block. I no longer have any memory of the assignments or why I was stuck, but I have an intense physical recollection of each attack. At the time I was living in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, just below the […]

Brands get their (big) game face on for Super Bowl FSIs

The big day for football fans has come and gone. Of course, I’m referring to the Sunday before the Super Bowl when the newspapers are full of FSIs touting snacks of all varieties (except healthy) as super savory, fan favorites or a tasting touchdown without ever using the actual name of the event which requires […]

Persado is not going to put copywriters out of business. (Whew.)

A recent article on artificial intelligence in the Wall Street Journal had me trembling with fear. It described a technology called Persado which writes emails and landing pages for multivariate testing, stating each component of the message in an infinite number of ways which can be mixed-and-matched through AI to surface the result that gets […]

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