The SEO Diet

Posted on November 3rd, 2015

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I’m an Atlanta copywriter, freelance Atlanta-based copywriter, travel copywriter, advertising copywriter, Atlanta-area content writer and web copywriter. I’m a copywriter’s copywriter writing digital copy for a post that exists to be scanned, not necessarily read. I’m on an SEO diet; a strict word diet like Weight Watchers that substitutes mandated keywords and phrases for the more fattening prose of normal English. I post to a blog no one will read. My wife dances like no one is watching. I write like no one is reading. This is the urgency of SEO. Write, post, distribute, disseminate, try to think of something useful to say. Useful content. Organic SEO. Is that better than SEO with pesticides?

This article is going straight to an article submission site designed to boost page rank by providing a backlink to my URL, freelanceadcopy.com. The SEO diet tells me what to do and not do and keeps me constantly updated and off balance. Wait, it’s no longer just about the keywords! Now it’s more important where I place the keywords. Get one in the title tag. Get one in the headline. Get an SEO toolbar. Analyze the strength of what you write from an SEO perspective. Please God, what the hell are long-tail keywords and are they commonly found in my part of Atlanta, north of I-285? Maybe I don’t have to worry about them. I can pay a kid in Bulgaria five bucks and he’ll manually submit articles with my url and appropriate keywords to 50 sites, giving me the critical backlinks that Google monitors to assess my popularity. Paying him to do that is like going in for gastric bypass surgery because you’re tired of the SEO diet and want some quick, permanent, radical results. You’re sick of obsessing about your page rank, to the point you might actually listen to one of those robocalls promising page one on Google. I get more calls from SEO scavengers than I do from friends and loved ones.

Before I added new content, freelanceadcopy.com was just a portfolio site. No one knew it was there. I was lost, but now I’m found! Thank you, Lord! Hallelujah! From page 10 to page 2 for “Atlanta freelance copywriter.” I believe in this diet, I do! I’ll give a televised testimonial, but wait, wait, wait..what the…? What if someone leaves out the word “freelance” and just searches for an “Atlanta copywriter?” Holy crap!!! What just happened? Now I’m on page 14! Who in the history of web searches ever went to page 14? I might as well be an Atlanta copywriter in Siberia! An Atlanta-based copywriter in the Galopagos Islands. An Atlanta web copywriter in Northern Newfoundland! This is why the SEO diet is so confounding. You succeed a little; you shed some of your online invisibility only to realize you’ve won a minor battle in a long war for recognition that you’re ill equipped to wage on all fronts. Because all you are is a one-man Atlanta freelance copywriter, just an Atlanta-area copywriter, a simple Atlanta content writer, a copywriter in Atlanta on a crazy diet that demands way too much of your time, sanity and resources.

 

Mitchell Erick is an Atlanta freelance copywriter and Creative Director. He has worked at ad agencies in New York and Honolulu and for The Walt Disney Company. He provides marketing and copywriting services, and has a pretty good handle on SEO. At least he did yesterday. Visit www.freelanceadcopy.com or call 407-694-5210.

 

 


A Copywriter’s Guide To Being A Great Client

Posted on October 14th, 2015

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My former client: Al Rodrigues of Honolulu, HI

 

I’ve been a copywriter in New York, Honolulu, Orlando and Atlanta. And just like my copywriting experience, the clients I’ve worked with have been all over the map. Not just geographically, but in their levels of marketing sophistication and in their abilities to manage projects and work with the creative team.

A lot has been written about how to be a successful copywriter. Not much has been written on how to be a successful client who works with copywriters.

Let me tell you about my favorite client of all time. Al Rodrigues was in charge of marketing for Hawaiian Tel back in the eighties. I was a senior copywriter in Honolulu at the time working at the agency handling the Hawaiian Tel business. This was a period of major upheaval in telecommunications with rapid deregulation transforming the industry. Because of this, there was a steady demand for print, radio and TV spots targeting residents, business customers and opinion leaders throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Al was a fantastic client because he wanted fantastic work. He wanted the best out of the copywriters and art directors working on his account and he knew how to get it. Al made sure we were immersed in his business. He made sure we toured company facilities and spoke to key people in the field. He provided concise, well-thought out briefs for every assignment. He knew what the main message was for every assignment and he supplied the critical key copy points to support the main message. He worked daily with the account execs assigned to his account but seemed to really come alive during presentations from the creative team.

Al’s enthusiasm for great work was infectious. His office was a headquarters for good vibes, high fives, smiles, laughter and smart, strategic thinking. Presenting to him was joyful work because you knew you were in for a wonderful reaction if you nailed the assignment.

As copywriters and art directors, marketers and programmers, we are all brand champions. We are the unsung heroes of capitalism putting brands out there with their best face forward. That’s the macro view. The micro view is the day-to-day work with our clients; the personal interactions, the gathering of input, the brainstorming of ideas, the development of concepts, first drafts and finished work.

The best clients make the daily grind rewarding. They know what they want to say and leave it to the creative team to say it. They make sure we have the input and the insights we need to deliver strategically sound, compelling work. And when they see work that is smart, fresh and on message, they respond with positive feedback that drives the team forward. Feedback is critical to copywriters and the entire creative team. If we’re off base, tell us why. If we’ve nailed it, let us know. Don’t leave us in limbo, unsure of how you feel. Like little kids, we need to be told what we did wrong, and shown a measure of appreciation for what we do right.

Al was a master at all of this, combining a strategic mind, with a winning, vocal personality and a heartfelt desire to communicate properly to his ad agency and to the people of Hawaii. As a copywriter, I did some of the best work of my career in those early days in Hawaii. For Hawaiian Tel, I generated great work, in large part, because I had such a great client.

Mitchell Erick is an Atlanta freelance copywriter and Creative Director. He has worked at ad agencies in New York and Honolulu and for The Walt Disney Company. For marketing and copywriting services, visit www.freelanceadcopy.com or call 407-694-5210.


Winning When the Competition Is Cutthroat

Posted on August 21st, 2015

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Pretty much everything I need to know about people I learn on the racquetball court. Want to see how well the candidate you’re thinking of hiring is going to perform before you hire him? Want to see if someone really is a team player? Or how he’ll behave in a chaotic environment? Put him on a racquetball court with two other players and watch them play “Cutthroat.”

A GAME OF ROTATING ALLIANCES

Cutthroat is what it’s called when three players play racquetball together. The server plays against the other two guys.  Player A against B & C. When A loses the point,  he rotates to the back of the court and now player B serves against A & C. And then, after B loses the point, he rotates to the back and C serves. Now, it’s player C against A & B. And it keeps rotating like this until one player scores 15 points. A close game of Cutthroat can last 20 or 30 minutes. Cutthroat is a fast-paced dance of individual and team performance. Serve, and you’re on your own, trying to score and win against the other two guys. Lose the point and suddenly you’re part of a team, joining forces and trying to keep the new server from scoring.

YOU HATE THOSE GUYS!

Mentally, it feels something like this. You serve, and those two guys behind you are the enemy. They’re an axis of evil united against you; determined to keep you from scoring. You know they have the advantage. You hate those guys! Sons of bitches, ganging up against you! You’ve got to bring it! You’ve got to excel as an INDIVIDUAL player. You score some points, inevitably lose your serve and now, in an instant, you’re no longer on your own.

WAIT! NOW YOU LOVE THOSE GUYS!

Now, you’re on the same team as a guy who a second ago was a villainous enemy devoted to your demise. Suddenly, it’s all about how you perform as a TEAM player. Now it’s you and your partner teaming up against the other guy. You like the way it feels. You like this guy you hated just two seconds ago! You take the right side and he covers the left. Maybe you’ll cover the front and he’ll cover the back and you’ll play united, at least for a few minutes, against the other guy who, before you served, was on your team against the other guy! Cutthroat is a game of shifting alliances where no one’s your pal for long and the competition is truly cutthroat. Everyone’s out for themselves, but you’ve got to simultaneously defeat people and play well with them during the same game.

CHARACTER TRAITS REVEALED!

Character traits you’d want to know about in potential employees, friends and partners, traits that may be safely hidden in real life, come right to the surface in a game of Cutthroat. What do you make of the teammate who hesitates to take the shot every time the ball comes close to his partner, stopping, as if out of politeness, to let his teammate take the shot, with the inevitable result that neither of them ends up swinging? Why does he hesitate? Otherwise, he’s a great player, but why does he stop functioning in a tight situation at a critical point in a fast moving game where his teammate is counting on him to perform?

What do you make of the guy who excels at individual scoring but can’t adjust to being on a team? He serves brilliantly, holds center court, makes smart shots, stacks up points against his opponents but can’t find his rhythm when it’s time to partner up. Instead, he brings the same aggressive style of play that worked before into a team situation where outright aggressiveness needs to be harnessed and coordinated.

What do we make of the player who’s charming and socially engaged off the court, but in a game of Cutthroat becomes so intense that he’ll smash his racquet into the wall out of deep frustration, demolishing it in a childish tantrum while his two opponents can only stare in amazement? Wow! That was a surprise!

Or the guy who, win or lose, never takes a second at the end of the game to shake hands with or fist bump his opponents. All business, no time for pleasantries. Or the guy who keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. Or the guy who can talk trash, but pouts when he loses, devoid of a sense of humor.

WINNING WHEN THE COMPETITION IS CUTTHROAT

You meet all kinds in Cutthroat and they couldn’t hide their innate human characteristics if they tried. But how do winners perform in this environment? How do winners react in a head-spinning environment where balls are careening off the walls at lightning speeds, where players move quickly into and out of position, where teammates come and go and controlled chaos prevails? How do winners perform in a crazy game requiring both individual and team-playing skills?

Assuming ball playing skills are pretty much equal, the winners in Cutthroat share valuable traits that help them win on and off the court. Winners are balanced players who enjoy individual achievement as well as the satisfaction that comes from being on a team.  They know the importance of excelling at all times. When they serve, they have to score. When they team up, they have to keep the other guy from scoring. In either case, if they let up, they lose.

Winners in Cutthroat have great situational awareness. They know where their partner is and where their opponent is at all times. They act fast. They know where the ball will be before it gets there and they move smartly into position. They play with confidence, chasing down balls they can hit and never giving up. They give their partners, whoever they are at the moment, the room they need to do their job, to make their shots and to excel, and they back them up quickly, ready to help if they’re out of position and can’t take the shot.

Winners do all this almost without thinking. They confidently move from individual to team play, maintaining the same focus and intensity, but knowing they need to behave somewhat differently when they have a teammate. The best winners are the guys who compete hard, but maintain a friendly demeanor throughout the game. The best winners have fun, crack jokes and typically call themselves out for their dumb mistakes and not anyone else’s. The best, even if they lose, are winners when they show respect and sportsmanship with a friendly fist bump with the winner at the end of each game.

WHEN OPPONENTS ARE ALSO TEAMMATES

Individual winners, if they take the time to think about it, also know that every teammate they had in the game helped them win, even though those teammates were at other times, opponents. Every teammate did their best to keep the other guy from scoring, so that when the winner served he was that much closer to winning. Even though his individual efforts won the day, he wouldn’t have won if not for those times when his opponents became his teammates and they joined forces to defeat a common enemy.

In Cutthroat, winners move effortlessly around the court, making and breaking alliances in pursuit of victory and never, under any circumstances, taking their eyes off the ball.

 

Mitchell Erick is an Atlanta freelance copywriter and Creative Director. He has worked at ad agencies in New York and Honolulu and for The Walt Disney Company. For marketing and copywriting services, visit www.freelanceadcopy.com or call 407-694-5210.


Atlanta Freelance Copywriter: Moving Forward

Posted on August 14th, 2015



 

CASE STUDY

Recently, I wrapped up a project for a consulting firm in Atlanta. They needed a freelance copywriter to help them with a website they had in production for over a year.

 

PROBLEM

Everything was at a standstill. They were stuck in neutral, unable to figure out how to handle copy and how to work with a design firm they were already committed to. Neutral is the worst gear for creative project development. It means nothing is moving forward.

 

SOLUTION

Attended initial input and client discovery session in Atlanta. Asked questions, listened and learned their business, as well as their pain points. Suggested I be hired not just to provide freelance copywriting services, but to provide overall creative direction and lead the project to completion. Met with the design team, chose a new direction for the website, started generating copy and within three months helped to launch an all-new website, followed by a direct mail campaign building on copy developed for the website.

 

TAKEAWAY

When looking for a freelance copywriter, look for someone who can:

  • Learn your business inside and out
  • Turn your project around quickly and decisively
  • Work well with internal team members and outside vendors
  • Provide overall creative direction
  • Help to build your brand with consistent messaging in all media

 

Mitchell Erick is an Atlanta freelance copywriter and Creative Director. He has worked at ad agencies in New York and Honolulu and for The Walt Disney Company. For marketing and copywriting services, visit www.freelanceadcopy.com or call 407-694-5210.


freelance copywriter atlanta
Mitchell Erick
Atlanta Freelance Copywriter