Creative roadblock?
Try CopyBrawl or haiku
to stretch writer’s wings.

Do you have the time to listen to me rhyme? When Billie Joe gets stuck, he turns to haiku.

Do you have the time to listen to me rhyme? When Billie Joe gets stuck, he turns to haiku.

Creative copywriting is not my strongest asset. Want to spell out your value proposition in a brochure or datasheet? I’m your guy. Want to brainstorm headlines for a new ad campaign? Well, I’ll give it a shot.

Mind you, I’m not satisfied with this. I’ve worked as a sports reporter and as an in-house B2B copywriter for an IT company. Neither gig really challenged me to improve as a creative writer.

So, I take matters into my own hands. I’m a big believer in stretching my boundaries by forcing artificial constraints – either time or space – on my writing.

For example, in the inaugural CopyBrawl, copywriters sold their favorite grocery item in 100 characters or less. It was that simple. And we saw some great contributions, like:

The Sunday New York Times
Everything you need to know about the 21st century, via 15th century technology.

Read more copywriting from the CopyBrawl!

I also like to play around with haikus. You know, three-line poems with five-syllable lines sandwiched around a seven-syllable line. Why haikus? Because the syllable structure really forces you to pick just the right word. That and because a Shakespearean sonnet wouldn’t fit in a tweet.

A few weeks ago I bombarded my Twitter followers with concert-hypin’ Twaiku reviews of Green Day albums like these ditties:

Dookie (1994)
Teens’ feelings checklist: / Boredom? Check. Loneliness? Check. / 90s me nods yes!

Nimrod (1997)
Billie Joe grows old. / Anger. Resentment. Regret. / Aging for the lose.

Now it’s your turn! I do have the time to listen to your rhyme. Review your favorite album – Green Day or otherwise – in haiku form and post it in the comments below!

Content Management: To Post or Not to Post?

Dear Yorick, how doth your skull enhance our brand image?

Dear Yorick, how doth your skull enhance our brand image?

A bit of media exposure last week left my company’s marketing communications team to resolve a philosophical debate regarding content management.

To post or not to post?

The local metro here in Phoenix, Arizona, was working on a feature about Challenge ABC, for which my company offers Solution XYZ. We matched the reporter with a subject matter expect, and our company was featured in the final 63 words of the 958-word article. (Go team!)

The question then arose: Should we post the article as an additional resource on the webpage for Solution XYZ? The page already offers datasheets, case studies and an archived webinar, so finding enough content to post is not an issue.

I figure there are two ways a third-party article adds value to your website.

1. Audience Education

Will the audience better understand the challenge? In this case, probably not. Because it was written for a daily metro’s broad audience, the article was a tad general for our highly-informed B2B audience. A white paper or technical brief is a better candidate for the real estate.

2. Brand Enhancement

Will the audience have a more favorable impression of the company? Again, probably not. Our value proposition was properly represented and our executive’s sound bite added value to the article. But our place at the bottom of a 1,000-word article didn’t provide great brand exposure.

If the answer to either question was yes, we would have posted. Instead, we punted.

The article was a perfect catalyst for a post on the corporate blog and conversation on social networks. And from those social media forums we could drive to the Solution XYZ page. But we decided the article didn’t add value as a standalone link.

What’s Your Take? Would you have posted a link to the article? Is there a question we failed to ask ourselves? Let me know in the comments below!