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Cat & Bee

Content Marketing Copywriters
January 16, 2013
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[VIDEO] Science Of Persuasion

Every copywriter needs to be aware of this. And every client needs to make sure their copywriter is.

It can work wonders for writing copy.

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January 04, 2013
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Nectar Of The Gods

(article on home brewing written for a lifestyle magazine)

Want to see the look on your friends faces when you tell them the exotic-tasting lager you’ve just handed them came from a shed in your backyard? After dispelling the disbelief, you'd better get used to being asked how to recreate that unique taste rivalling sophisticated international flavours!

Many Australian cult-status ‘boutique’ beer labels started out in backyard or ‘micro’ breweries. Home brewing beer is a great way to experiment with different styles - from beers that are smooth and easy to drink to full-bodied beers packed with flavour and textures. Try your skills making low alcohol beers, full strength beers, dark beers and pale beers.

You’ll find DIY beer kits and equipment online, but if you want a formal introduction to micro-brewing there are commercial grade microbreweries around that allow you to be involved in the process and walk away with your own concoction at the end of the day.

Beer is made from a variation of four main ingredients: malt, yeast, hops and water. Many new brewers choose to ‘extract’ brew before moving up to ‘all grain’ brewing. Extract brewing involves the use of concentrated malt extract, letting the brewer skip the ‘mashing’ process and move straight to the boiling and fermentation steps. This takes much less time and equipment than all-grain brewing and, while it doesn’t allow you to exercise as much control over ingredients and process variations, you can still make high quality beer.

Home brewers will tell you there’s something incredibly rewarding about the creative process of beer-making. Beer has over one thousand flavour profiles, introducing imaginative home brewers to a world of possibilities.

Home-brewing eliminates the need for chemicals and preservatives, allowing you a crisper, cleaner flavour profile - and for a fraction of the price of commercial labels. It’s also not as time consuming as you’d think.

In contrast to filtered and pasteurised commercial beers, home brewed beer contains yeast with a high amount of Vitamin B which is thought to reduce the effects of a hangover considerably (look, home-brewing lets you play the ‘beer is good for you’ card!).

When it comes to home brewing, you needn’t stop at beer. There are home kits for ciders and even spirits.

Don’t forget that, while it’s okay to give it away to your friends, you can’t sell your specialty liquor without a license!

-Cat

January 04, 2013
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Some Social Marketing Resources From 2012

Whether you're an online copywriter, social media manager, or a web professional - this is a neat little bunch of resources worth a look at.

If you find any of them super interesting or simply-can't-do-without, you can always buy the full books.

Happy reading!!

December 04, 2012
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A Quick Update From Bee

<span lang="EN-US" style="font-family: Arial;">Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30577165@N07/3904639103/

</span>I've started reading again.

I know that sounds strange. Because as a writer, I should be reading all the time, right?

Well, yes, I should be. But as a mother (who also works full-time), reading is a luxury – not a given. And before I get attacked by any mothers reading this post, let me just say that I salute those of you who can manage to do this – and more – plus find time to sleep.

Not me. I have found it extremely difficult to work full-time, spend plenty of time with my baby, do the housework, get enough sleep to be able to function, and fit in reading.

Reading was the thing I had to sacrifice.

And now I finally have a little bit of time to devote to it again.

So you’d think that I’d head straight for the Jodi Piccoult books. Those beautiful things beckoning from the bookshelves.

Unfortunately, no. Those babies will have to wait. The pintsized bit of extra time I’ve got is consumed reading copywriting books.

What a freakin’ nerd.

I know. But I can’t help it. I’ve stumbled across this amazing wealth of knowledge about conversions that has absolutely gobbled me up.

The days of ad agency copywriting are far behind me. Because direct response and conversions copywriting is the best thing since sliced bread.

I’m not even kidding.

Kick-ass web copywriting is the future of the internet. You can totally tweet that.

Anyway, all that to say this: I’ve got a bushel-load of stuff to share with you guys. Some incredible, insanely awesome, if-done-well money making stuff about copy.

<span lang="EN-US" style="font-family: Arial;">I just have to do a little more reading first.

– Bee
</span>

November 20, 2012
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[Infographic] What Works for Social Sharing: B2B vs. B2C

Yeah, sure, this is about social sharing. But it totally applies to you, writer, because you're most likely the one who will be writing the content that's going to be shared.

So you really should be across this.


<img data-cke-saved-src="//cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/e7c690e8-6ff9-102a-ac6d-e4aebca50425/f7601b3d-1990-48be-89f3-161c02ee5d53/Image/633ec91b7dd9c5ed92e4ff83782d8144/b2b_vs_b2c_infographic_hq_mod7_w640.png" src="//cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/e7c690e8-6ff9-102a-ac6d-e4aebca50425/f7601b3d-1990-48be-89f3-161c02ee5d53/Image/633ec91b7dd9c5ed92e4ff83782d8144/b2b_vs_b2c_infographic_hq_mod7_w640.png" alt="What Works for Social Sharing - Infographic" title="What Works for Social Sharing - Infographic" width="620 height="4656"/>



Compendium - The Content Marketing Platform

November 03, 2012
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1 (Most Important) Trait Of A Great Copywriter

Your personality.

You know, that thing that makes you you.

That one thing that’s next to impossible to change, because it’s almost innate. Sort of like it’s buried somewhere in your DNA.

Well that thing contains a whole bunch of characteristics which determine another bunch of things about you.

Like who you’re likely to date. Or what kind of friends you’re likely to have. Or how likely you are to become a great copywriter.

You see, being an awesome copywriter has very little to do with knowing how to write.

Ok, so not very little – you’d hope a great copywriter would be able to string a sentence together – but it’s not the most important determinant in how supersonic you’ll be in your copywriting career.

Believe it or not, there are various parts of your personality that play a huge role in whether you have what it takes.

Consulting my good friend Google, I managed to dig up a relatively large list of traits people seem to think are crucial to being a copywriter. In short, here’s what I found (and how many times each was mentioned):

  • Creativity (x4)
  • Intelligence (x3)
  • Good communication (x3)
  • Empathy (x5)
  • Discipline (x3)
  • Curiosity (x3)
  • Perceptiveness (x2)
  • Good reading skills (x2)
</p>

Sure, there were some other important things that were mentioned.

Like intuition.

An AppleCopywriting post, about the personality traits of a copywriter, mentions research by some scientific types from the University of Ohio. Apparently they found that good copywriters “have the ability to understand the feelings of those around them without having to speak to them directly”…

…they also found that most writers are messy introverts.

Another interesting post by Big Grey Horse Media, on 5 traits of a good copywriter, focuses more on the salesy side of a copywriter’s qualities. Like knowing the difference between benefits and features. And writing compelling copy that makes customers take action. Also, knowing how to deliver a USP (unique selling proposition – that thing that makes your product/business so much better than the competition).

The dudes at IMGrind.com went so far as to count 22 characteristics of a great copywriter. Wow! What a nice little catalyst for a copywriter’s ego.

But here’s the thing: in all my research, I barely found mention of the one trait that I think is the most important for a copywriter.

Experience.

And I’m not talking I’ve-worked-at-Ogilvy-for-10-years-so-I’m-a-kick-ass-copywriter experience. I’m talking about the only kind of experience that truly matters.

Life experience.

I can hear your eyes rolling over in their sockets. “Life experience isn’t part of your personality!” you’re thinking. Oh but, my dear Watson, it very much is.

Life experience, it can be said, is what helps shape our personality. Of course there are things that you’re born with, and then there’s the attributes you acquire through your life experience.

And let me tell you why this life experience is so imperative in your copywriting career.

First of all empathy and compassion are one thing – walking in someone else’s shoes is a whole new ball game.

Real life example? Here's one...

I used to write copy for a real estate company. I’d drive around to houses and speak to the people selling them. They would tell me about all the great features their house has (walking distance to schools, polished floor boards, ducted heating, etc.). Then they’d tell me what they love most about their house (the shady backyard, the solar heated pool, the great little café down the road that makes those custard thingies…).

Once I got back to the office, the agent would tell me what the buyers were looking for (a family home, close proximity to shopping centres, an upstairs master bedroom, etc.). And then I would sit down and write the copy.

Don’t get me wrong. My copy was good. In fact, it was damn good. Cat and I (working together) lifted the standard of Melbourne's Eastern suburbs real estate copywriting.

But (yes here comes the “but”)…

Only once I’d actually experienced the home selling (and buying) experience, did my skill for real estate copywriting come into its own. Before, I could imagine – and sympathise with – the people who were selling and the people who were buying. I wrote copy that catered to both equally, because you have to please the vendors, but you have to sell to the buyers.

Now, I know exactly how much of each perspective needs to go in to create the perfect blend. My real estate copywriting is better than it’s ever been and it’s all thanks to life experience.

(And before you ask, yes, I still write real estate copy on a freelance basis.)

I believe that all the traits mentioned in this post, to some extent, depend on life experience.

Even intuition. The more you’ve been through, the more you know. And feel. And the better you are at injecting that into your writing.

This post by Dan Watson, Kiwi copywriter and illustrator on the side, sort of covers what I’ve been talking about.

I say ‘sort of’, because he talks about watching television and stand up comedians in order to gain perceptions. While I totally agree that this is also important, it still doesn’t give you the felt-it-on-my-own-skin experience.

Dan does say this, however: “The best advertising messages stem from life insights. Aspects of daily living that transcend language, age, and gender boundaries. And the best way to come up with these life insights is to experience life.”

Yes!! That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!!

Life experience + a whole bunch of other personality characteristics (subject to change from person to person) = one whiz-bang copywriter.

- Bee

November 03, 2012
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Homeland Review

 

“Q&A”: It's a home run...

Last week Homeland left us hanging, wondering if the suspense had already been stretched to full capacity. We feared a let down. With Brody exposed, where was left for it to go? We needn’t have worried. 

Everything the show has been leading up to culminated in ‘Q&A’ in a perfectly executed exhibition that, true to form, managed to keep us hooked and wanting more.

The interrogation scenes between Damian Lewis’s Brody and Claire Danes’s Carrie play out flawlessly. Highly revealing, almost intrusive, camera close-ups capture every emotion-charged expression. 

Doing away with the bravado and showing him her own vulnerability, Carrie breaks Brody down, peeling him back methodically using the disconcerting truth. “Aren’t you sick of all the lies?” she appeals to him. We watch as Brody begins to unravel and make some key admissions. When all is said and done, he curls up on the interrogation room floor just as he did way back in Season One when under Nazir’s captivity. 

As Brody lies curled on the cold concrete, Carrie rattles off his options; public humiliation and a prison sentence or impunity under the proviso he works for the CIA as a double agent. 

A man repeatedly torn and broken, Brody’s is on a terse emotional tether. He wears the hat of newly appointed congressman, loving father and instrument for his former captor. It’s difficult to know where Brody’s loyalty lies; does he even know? And that’s where Homeland blurs the line between black and white, bad and good. In a political thriller that challenges stereotypes and confronts our greatest fears, it’s strange to find we empathise with and even like Brody, this would-be terrorist. 

It’s testament to an engaging plot, exemplary dialogue and well-rounded characters. 

This episode also showcases the side-story of Brody’s daughter Dana and her new boyfriend Finn, the son of the Vice President (yep, the guy Brody holds responsible for the death of his beloved Issa). We’re not sure yet where this one’s headed but it’s sure to be a bumpy ride (pun intended!). 

As Homeland steers in another direction, the highly-relevant-to-today content and heart-pounding drama continue to keep us on the edge of our couches. 

It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Carrie and Brody plays out. 

Is it too early to say‘Q&A’ is up there among the best thing you’ll see on television this year? We don’t think so.

- Cat

November 03, 2012
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Shades of Gray

In a society that dictates an unrealistic perception of how we should look fashion designer Emilie Gray is rewriting the rules. Having overcome anorexia, Emilie believes clothing should reflect a person's individuality instead of conforming to the current look. 

Taught to sew by her mother at the age of ten, Emilie went on to study fashion after high school. Upon recovery of her eating disorder, she realised she could utilise her skill to make clothes to fit her body andpersonality, as well as that of others. 

Emilie draws inspiration from films such as Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Chocolat, and you could be forgiven for thinking she is a character stepped out from one of them. Today it's hard to picture the gaunt, withdrawn girl she was a few years ago. 

Emilie’s appearance is somewhat of a dichotomy, just like her designs. Large blue kohl rimmed eyes - a la Sophia Loren - contrast with dark, neatly dreaded tresses. Her style has been described as feminine with a dark edge, and it's no coincidence that is how she describes her designs. 

Emilie’s pieces complement the natural female form, and often fuse together contradictory elements. ‘I love paradoxes, mixing ‘innocent’ with a slightly darker twist, such as a 50’s style silhouette with the accentuated waist combined with gothic fabric and black lace, or else a gothic style in a really bright fabric’. she said. 

Emilie is aware that, given her battle with an eating disorder, her chosen profession may raise some eyebrows. She reflected, ‘Sometimes I think it’s ironic I spend my time delving into a world so focused on what people look like, but I try to infuse my designs with character. Whether a person is quirky, witty or a chatterbox, who they are is what I want the garment to express’. As such, most of Emilie's pieces are one offs. 

Emilie describes anorexia as a sly, persistent destroyer happy to work away at the sufferer until believed. She said, ' My illness really sabotaged my character, causing me to be antisocial, anxious and self-absorbed in an obsessive manner.’ This was mirrored in her clothing choices. ‘[When I was sick] I would wear really bland clothes which is not me at all and never has been. I didn’t want to be noticed’. 

The pivotal turning point towards Emilie’s recovery came on her eighteenth birthday when she made the decision to get better rather than be admitted to hospital. Changes didn’t start to happen for a few months. Emilie said, 'First I had to want to get better, but once I decided to, channeling my energy into a creative force rather than a destructive one was the most active key to recovery'.

- Cat

October 18, 2012
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Infographic: Step by Step 13 Points SEO Copywriting Guide

October 12, 2012
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Everything Is A Remix

Have you been freaking out lately that you have to be inventing things from scratch?

Well stress no more. In fact, put your feet up for a bit. Relax. Take a breather.

Then, when you're ready, have a look at this video and dive back into your creativity knowing that it's totally ok to reuse old things to make new ones.

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Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

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