Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Direct To-the-Point Writing

Don’t spend 140 characters teasing a subject on Twitter and then 140 paragraphs before you get to the point when the viewer clicks your link.

I’ve been seeing a lot of links to bloated writing lately. Stop!

Don’t tell jokes, anecdotes, unrelated opinions, etc. before getting to the point. Keep it short and direct to the subject or you’ll loose your viewer.

Make your point first, then you can expand on the subject with the other stuff.

Enough said.

Filed under: Blogging, Brand Journalism, Content Development, Micro Blog (Twitter), Writing, , , , ,

How do you find and hire a professional writer?

More and more “writers” are appearing in the market.  They blog, write email, use Twitter, and are rabid Facebook users.  There is no shortage of channels for them to express themselves.  Are these the people you should hire?

According to Technorati, currently there are 133 million blogs indexed since 2002. An average 900 thousand posts on blogs happen every 24 hours. As printed newspapers get skinnier or disappear, more web channels are opening up from publishers, businesses, organizations, and others.

More than 72% of bloggers are classified as hobbyists, meaning that they report no income related to blogging.  Some actually write pretty well.  Of course they get to choose the topic.

But writing well doesn’t mean they can write to achieve a goal about your subject. You  have a stake in your topic, are risking your investment, or will spend your time and budget on this project.

If you are going to pay someone to write, I’m assuming you don’t just want them to express themselves.  You want something out of the deal.

Your goal may be to inform, persuade, enhance your image, increase the value of your brand, sell a product or service, drive traffic to your site or event, increase leads, expand your email or mailing list…. or much more.

If you were going to hire someone to run a company, you would want someone with a track record of success.  If you were going to hire someone to coach a team, you would want to know their win/loss record.  If you were going to employ a person to engineer a new product, certainly you would require someone with the right education and experience, and the actual physical item they made, so you can see and touch how well they did.

Hiring a writer is no different.

The bigger the track record of measured success, the better writer they may be for you.

The better the client list they have served, chances are they will be able to hit the mark – at least their brand name clients think so.

And if their portfolio (samples of their work) demonstrates a fit with the goals you have for the project you want to hire them for, chances are they are the best writer for you.

Sounds simple right?  Unfortunately, the mix of art and goals makes it more complicated.

First, before you look for a professional writer, you should have clear goals and scope of work.  It would also be helpful to know your budget for the project.  Then start the search.

As an advertising & PR agency hiring manager, former managing editor, and video producer, I’ve reviewed thousands of portfolios and hired hundreds of writers and other “creatives.”  if their portfolio has major clients and/or reputable national publishers or broadcasters, they get more than a double-take.

Goals are more important than art.  Almost anyone can write a great email to home, but very few can write to meet the clearly stated and measurable goals.

Professional writers are great communicators.  They have learned and practiced the steps to nail down the scope of a project up front, research the topic, write using the style necessary for the goal, and lead you though the review process.

Very experienced pros can help you publish, distribute, and measure your results.  Leaders in the field can put a team of creatives together and provide a turnkey service.  I have over 1,400 contacts in my cellphone for just this reason.

If a candidate’s portfolio shows great prose but their work hasn’t had to achieve measurable results, maybe they should be an essayist or write novels; but, not work for you.  Your goals are more important than their art.

Some great professionals in an organization I belong to, the American Medical Writers Association,  brought up a discussion recently about “Content Mills.”  These companies are signing people up to write for a few bucks an hour. I wish I had the time to do the research and write an article about them.  Ads from content mills are dominating Career Builder and other job sites now – right there with the jobs for selling AVON.

If you search for professional writers or freelance writers on the web you will run smack into many of these content mills on the first page.

From a quick Google search, the news is that the mills are making big bucks running a virtual sweat shop.  Anyone that can type fast can work for them.

These typists are known for a lot of plagiarism and fast “rewrites” of legitimate work they find on the web. If someone brings a content mill generated portfolio to me, I wouldn’t bother to look.

If a “writer” hasn’t been paid real money to do work, pass.  They aren’t a pro and your goals will get lost in the process.

This surge in the supply of writers isn’t surprising.  I saw this type of growth in the 1980’s when desktop publishing erupted.  Buy a computer – open an ad agency.  Early this decade, when video became affordable with digital cameras and post production on the desktop – buy some software and become a director and producer.  Now with the web and “cheap publishing channels,” more people are opening up a writing shop.

However, the marketplace has a way of lifting the talented to the top.

Great talent has the genes (and I’m not talking about Levis) in addition to the education and experience.  Professional writers either have it or they don’t.  You have to think about hiring a writer just like you would think about hiring an accountant, an engineer, or any other professional.

Do you want your accounting to run you aground?  Do you want your product, that an engineer makes, not work.  I’m sure you don’t want your communication to fail either.  Don’t try to find a writer on the cheap.  Chances are you will regret it.

The best source to find writers is to ask people you know that have a well-written website, collateral material, news stories, white papers, blogs, newsletters, etc.  Ask who wrote the copy.  Relationships and referrals are the best way to find reliable talent.

One of the top places to look for experienced professional writers is on LinkedIn.  I’ve had a lot of positive results hiring writers, illustrators, graphic designers, web designers and developers on this business site. You can also check in with reputable professional associations like:

• American Advertising Federation
• American Medical Writers Association
• American Society of Journalists and Authors
• International Association of Business Communicators
• National Association of Science Writers
• Public Relations Society of America
• Society of Technical Communication

Or you can contact me.  If I can’t help you, I have a list of top writers and will be glad to connect you.

In all cases make sure you check their portfolio, references, and ask how they, or their client, measured the results vs. the goal of what they wrote.

Professional writers usually have a portfolio online.  Mine is www.RMichaelBrown.wordpress.com

Good luck in your search and remember, hire a pro!

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Traffic, Writing, , , , ,

Brown Ltd. Launches New Freelance Writing & Producing Portfolio Site

R. Michael Brown, an internationally published writer, producer, speaker, and digital marketing and PR consultant at Brown Ltd. has launched a new freelance writing portfolio website. 

www.RMichaelBrown.wordpress.com

Mike has worked on projects for many industries but his primary focus is on health care, technology, science, non-profits, real estate, and public policy.   The site shows examples of his work in all media (web, email, print, radio, and video) and has downloadable pdf files and jpeg images of his work.

Brown Ltd. is a West Palm Beach, Florida writing, producing, and digital marketing, advertising, and public relations firm.  To contact Mike for a project, call today at 561-756-1674 or MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

Use Interesting Places, People, and Situations to Attract Attention to a Product or Service

One of my specialties is writing and producing feature stories for the web, print, and TV that show a product or service in a unique place or situation, or used by a unique person or organization. The uniqueness attracts attention and the payoff is showing how the product or brand would work in almost every place or situation. 

Uniqueness also helps with pitching the story to the media and makes them more likely to pick it up or run with it.

Here’s a sample about Amangiri:
https://brownltd.wordpress.com/writing-samples/

Here’s a video sample about Motorola and World Wildlife Fund in the Galapagos.  This ran in English and Spanish on Discovery Channel over a dozen times:

Filed under: Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Public & Media Relations, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 Secrets of Web Lead Generation that Converts to Sales

Social Networking is the latest craze; and, with other relevant websites and qualified email addresses, you can get leads and convert them into a sale.

However, belonging to social networks because you know that you need to be on them for business isn’t enough to get results. You have to do more. Here’s how:

LinkedIn is a Must Have for Social Networking. Most of my biggest deals and all of the empolyees I've hired lately have come from LinkedIn relationships.

1. Join (at least) these general Social Networking sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

2. Join all the specific professional groups and CUSTOMER groups that are your business targets on Social Network sites and other content relevant websites. Keyword searches will help you find them.

3. Join Press Release sites, content relevant Forums, and search Google and Yahoo Directories for topic relevant sites that allow you to add content.

4. Make sure you complete your profile on all sites if they offer it, including your picture. If a big ol’ ugly guy like me does it, you should too. Visitors don’t like dealing with a logo or some goofy art. Use your picture!

5. Write content that is helpful to the group. Be specific about tips and tricks. Think: What is the best thing I can tell this group TODAY.

6. Write once, publish many. Write complete content so it can be used in many places, including press release sites. Copy the portion that is relevant to each group, forum, or site and publish.

7. Include your contact info, website, and/ or blog on every post. You would be amazed how many people forget to do this.

8. Follow up on every comment to your post… at least a thank you but hopefully more to keep the conversation and idea generation going! Over 10 comments gets double the readership. If you find that a significant influencer is commenting on your post, find out their snail-mail address and SEND A HAND-WRITTEN THANK-YOU CARD IN THE REGULAR MAIL! That’s a touch most don’t think of.

9. Make friend requests with people that make comments that have good input and add value. Send a private email to them thanking them for their comment(s). 80% will connect with you. Now you’re building a QUALIFIED LIST. Only accept friend requests that are qualified.

10. Make comments on other group member’s topics. Add value, good ideas, and compliment / thank the discussion starter. Don’t try to sell anything. Only put your name, website, and/or blog.

11. Ask interesting and thought provoking questions for posts. Shake them up! Be a thought leader! Moderate the discussion.

12. If the site has the capability to do surveys, build an interesting survey. Then publish the results in the group AND outside on relevant websites and via email to contacts that would be interested.

13. You MUST answer comments FAST. If you have a qualified lead on the web, you have to answer them immediately! Not 24 hours. Not Monday. Now! For real estate sales webleads, I gave the sales staff 15 minutes! Customers that come from web leads expect instant response. Let it go for hours and they have moved on. Get a smart phone so you can stay connected…. whatever you have to do to capture, be helpful, and convert that lead FAST.

14. This is a three-step process. First you add value. Then you soft-sell your business and gather qualified leads. Finally, you convert leads that make requests.

Remember, not everyone will “buy” but many will and almost all will appreciate the value you add and how fast you do it. They will provide referrals.

Stay tuned for the next article on Secrets of Web Ad Generation that Converts to Sales. I’ll explain what kinds of web ads work and why.

Filed under: Lead Generation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing that Works for You

Writing to market your products, services, and relationships is not as easy as you would think.  To be successful, you must answer, by quantitative measurement, these questions honestly:

Is anyone listening?  Are they acting on your words?  Do you get more qualified leads, traffic, sales, or relationships that matter?

I’ve always written to engage people as simply and personally as possible with the idea that a personal, helpful approach leads to a relationship.

Add Value
The point is to add value to someone else. Adding value in relationships leads to two-way influence. A sale can come from that relationship – or not. You might get something better… world changing advice, a great friend, a business partner, or more.

Clean, helpful, and layerd copy with images is best.

What do you Sound Like?
Many in marketing and the Social Media world write like they speak or sound like they do at work.

As William Zinsser says in his classic book On Writing Well, “Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon.” I would add acronyms to that list.
 
An Example: Speeches for Executives
When I was writing speeches for IBM and Motorola executives, I would ask to interview the speaker at their home. Most thought it strange but went along with it. The reason was to find out what they sound like when they are a real person. Not their work voice – their personal voice. A spouse or kids won’t put up with corporate-speak. Those tech and “leadership” words make executives all sound the same at work and bore an audience.

Social Media has become a vortex of content.
Don’t sound like everyone else. Sound genuine.

Big or “cool” words make you sound the same as everyone else on social networks.  Be yourself but practice the craft. The art of writing is re-writing.

Hire a Pro
If you aren’t getting more leads and meaningful business relationships with your website, blog, marketing material, or on social networks, consider hiring a professional writer. Professional writers help your content break through the clutter. They know, and have practiced, how to reach your audience, where to reach them, and start relationships.  Hire a writer today. I can introduce you to some.

Or to learn more about my freelance writing and editing services, click here:
Get Words That Work For You!

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Filed under: Writing, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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