This blog is back on wordpress… for now.

Holy Goodness, have I been busy lately! What about you?

Chances are, you are one of two types of people:

1. You may be a loyal reader and subscriber, who’s been encouraging me to get back to posting new material.

To you, I say… thanks for the continued prod–I promise new blog-o-fill is coming soon. I was all Johnny-on-the-spot for a good while earlier this year, and then a couple freelance projects pretty much sucked up all my available time. Okay, I admit there was also some laziness on my part once I got busier.

A side note: for part of the year, I had moved this blog to a private domain, http://www.MyMarketingWriter.com where I kept things up for a while longer than the posts here will show. Recently, I ran into a problem with the hosting I had, and while I search for a new home and redesign that site, I decided to relocate to my good old WordPress roots rather than just shut down. Yes, the look is all “Free Theme” and rustic… we can focus on content, though, yes?

The upside of a blogging haitus: I’ve got a ton of thoughts and ideas to share. Hang tight… my frequency will be a bit below what I did this summer, but I aim to keep the content really well on point. That is, I write about my experiences in professional copywriting, so you can learn with me along the way.

2. You may be a random visitor who clicked a link in a search engine (that’s been dropping off), or in a WordPress list.

Please just know that I appreeciate your visit, however you came through the door. I guess my old posts don’t really excite the Googles of the web any more, but I hope you’ll find they still hold value for the right reader. Everything’s here, minus some late summer work I lost in a failed backup on the ex-host. Enjoy what you can, and watch for a steady stream of new copywriting-related searchable-iciousness too come.

There’s a third type: folks who really don’t care either way. I’m happy I’ve got you covered!

It feels good to be “back in the saddle.” Thanks for riding with me. Until we meet again,

Write what’s right.

Ken

Networking, part 2: Get your social on!

Great news: Today’s post is about having a good time.

Some day, I hope to have Writer Square as my own address...

Some day, I hope to have Writer Square as my own address...

Now, let me finish telling you about my big networking day last week…

First, I did some “power networking” with Denver Marketing Examiner, Cathy Harris. Both of us are investing time lately in doing some “platform networking.” You can learn about both of these high-potential forms of networking in part one.

After lunch with Cathy, I relaxed into a beautiful afternoon strolling downtown Denver. I share one of my favorite walks with scores of Denverites–the 16th Street Mall. As I sat in Writer Square, I sipped a smooth, strong coffee and did another key networking step:

Make detailed notes you can work from later.

Fresh from my long conversation with Cathy, I had quite a few new ideas rolling around. This two-part blog post, for instance, was already forming. There was also a second “power networking” hook-up brewing, and I had a list of questions I wanted to be sure to have with me for that.

When happy hour rolled in, I had walked my way back over to the Wynkoop Brewing Co. As a member of the Colorado AMA (American Marketing Association), I was invited to a social networking thing hosted by Denver Young Professionals. Mostly, this was just as advertised–a social event, designed to bring a lot of us common-ground marketing pros together.

More gold-medal beers than you can drink in one visit...

More gold-medal beers than you can drink in one visit...

I enjoyed the Wynkoop’s special “Silverback” brew (funds support for work to save mountain gorillas). Meanwhile, I met several folks who will likely turn into great colleague relationships over time. But here’s what I like best about social networking:

Bold, fresh ideas often spring effortlessly from social brainstorming with your peers.

No kidding, I overheard one conversation like this after another–and had a few myself: It starts with someone giving his “elevator speech.” Someone hearing his vision for the first time says, “That’s cool,” and relates it to something he’s working on. Next thing you know, a table full of people are excitedly making notes in their PDAs that could fuel real innovative ideas back in the office. So again, I enourage you to do some diligent note-taking. Relax, it won’t ruin the social vibe.

Freddy Rodriguez played Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" by request in set #2.

Freddy Rodriguez played Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" by request in set #2.

Across town, a great web-developer buddy of mine was doing his own social networking. We both took as happy serendipity that the halfway point between our meetings was a cool jazz joint called El Chapultepec. So for the final power networking shot of the day, we met there and brainstormed business ideas while we sat in on three hot sets from the traditional combo fronted by local saxophone master, Freddy Rodriguez.

Seriously, if you even like jazz a little bit, you should drop in on the “Pec soon. The music is live and smoking good every night, but my preferred evenings to grab a booth (get there early for that, I warn ya) are Wednesday and Thursday, when Freddy and his guys are there from 9pm-1am. Be sure to ask for your favorite jazz classics–Freddy knows ’em all.

When your networking is social, go ahead and relax… let the real value of each new connection reveal itself naturally. And be prepared to do the work, later, that can lead to a big payoff. But meanwhile–

Bottom line: let networking be fun.

Now, I’ve got to go fire up the grill for a gorgeous rack of ribs! Until next time…

Write what’s Right,

Ken

P.S. Happy Memorial Day! I dedicate this post to my father, Lt. Col. George Edward (USAF, ret.) and my Civil War veteran great grandfather, Sergeant George H. (Company C, 11th Regiment, Michigan Vol. Infantry, dec.). I’m honored to know you served. Proud to be your son.

Networking, part 1: Two methods that work

 

   


How many ways can you attract new customers?

 

 

 

How many ways can you attract new customers to your business?

 

 

 

“Your business will always thrive while you produce your two most essential products:
Happy customers and
NEW customers.”

 

I will talk frequently about happy customers, but today is about your new customer. Today is about one creative, energizing way you can bring high-value prospects into your broader scope of marketing funnels–and then, ultimately, into your carefully profitable fold of relational clients or lifelong customers.

Today is about networking.

On Wednesday, I drove into Denver for a solid day packed with networking focus…

Early that morning, I dropped Allegra (my car, a spiffy black 2007 Volkswagen Jetta) at the dealer to fix the A/C. Turns out the whole darn system had failed and they swapped it for new. Meanwhile, they put me in a loaner and got me moving. All in all, the folks at McDonald Volkswagen treated me–as they do every time I’m in for routine service–like the business gold I virtually am. That makes me a very Happy Customer.

Pardon the shameless plug. Back on topic:

 

Ken and Cathy both recommend the Cuban Sandwich!

Ken and Cathy both recommend the Cuban Sandwich at Buenos Aires Pizzeria!

I made it downtown for my networking “power lunch.” My favorite kind of networking, I call it Power Networking: get uninterrupted time with one contact. In this case, I got over an hour of solid face-to-face with Cathy Harris, Business Development Consultant for Allegra Print & Imaging in Wheat Ridge.

Cathy was out hand-delivering materials to a client (who ought to be a Happy Customer), and we grabbed a table at Buenos Aires Pizzeria on 22nd Street. Shameless plug number two: this place is great, if the Cuban sandwich we both tried–and loved–was any clue. Trust me, I know that sandwich.

The time flew. We were swapping marketing stories and ideas non-stop when we both had to leave. It was several blocks back to our cars, so I got a chance to quiz her about her “side gig,” blogging (about our favorite topic) as the Denver Marketing Examiner

CathyHarris-KG

“I actually got this opportunity as a referral from a networking contact!” she said. “Honestly, the effort to keep up is a challenge, but it’s pay-per-click so I manage to pocket a little money. Overall, being an Examiner helps me introduce the Denver business community to some great local entrepreneurs I’ve met–and champion all the marketing ideas I believe in. Plus, let’s face it, this blog is a nice extra to showcase in my portfolio!”

 

I’d call that another great example of networking. Call it Platform Networking: publicly share your expertise on a certain topic, to an audience who can use your help. Those who only need the pointers you freely give are fully equipped, while others who need your paid services are drawn to the expert image you present.

I did one last piece of networking, as Cathy unlocked her car. I’d just had a nice, new business card printed (just before we met, Cathy… sorry) and I gave her a handful. She’s already offered to give me a shameless plug here and there, to her print business contacts and to her Examiner readers. Seemed like perfect timing, since Cathy has  just posted a new Denver Marketing Examiner article on the power of business cards.

As I write this post, by the way, I’ve just received a very nice follow-up mail piece! Cathy sent me a gorgeous thank-you card (a product of Allegra Print & Imaging, and featuring her own photography), plus a fresh handful of business cards. Now that, people, is a cool take-away point:

Follow-up contact multiplies the total impact of any networking moment.

Cathy, you continue to rock.

I had two more networking opportunities in Denver that day. The story on those–that’s for part 2, coming on Monday.

Have a great Memorial day weekend! I’m off to Estes Park, then back here to…

Write what’s Right,

Ken

P.S. Handy Networking Tip: Save your receipts! Your business should categorize this spending into its marketing and advertising budget, or (if you are a job seeker or freelancer like me) you should be prepared to claim whatever you can in tax deductions in the following year. Can you say free cocktails?!

Today’s post on networking is brought to you by:

Denver Marketing Examiner

Denver Marketing Examiner

 

 

 

 

Buenos Aires Pizzeria

Buenos Aires Pizzeria

 

And also by:

Mention this blog, see if they give you (or me) any free stuff.

Mention this blog, just to get their attention!

Is this seed, soil… or water?

 

Cezanne's "Couple In a Garden"

Cezanne's "Couple In a Garden"

 

 

 

Is this seed, soil or
Water? Oh, small garden of
Conversation… grow!
–Ken Grindall, April 16 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The modular "Flat-Share" Fridge!

The modular "Flat-Share" Fridge! That's cool.

 

 

Haiku are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense:
Refrigerator!

–Anonymous

seen on a T-shirt!

 

 

 

Visit my Haiku Archives

Unlock the million-dollar headline in your brain!

Original title: Can you write a better headline than me?

I shouldn't have told him I was doing this...

I shouldn't have told him I was doing this challenge...


Challenge Winner: David “Doc” Polczynski

Dave just took down his long-standing website, or I’d link you to him. He’s slammed busy right now with copy work anyway, so if you reached him–you’d only get to chat him up for the fun of it… and I can tell you, it’s fun.

For the record, no one used the topic of the post to unravel the secret to the challenge, and so (I’m about to sound smug) no one actually beat my original.

Not even close. Though I did get some “pleasant surprise” entries.

I’m busy for a few days writing a white paper on “mobile app development platforms” for a very cool Denver web lab, so you’ll have to be patient, but I promise… by week’s end, I will post a follow-up. I plan to share in detail what makes for the perfect headline/title for this post. I’ve had a long list of alternates myself, used in various places on the web–I will review those, plus all the challenge entries, and play coach as best I can. If you entered a headline, you will get an email alert (manually, I still don’t do lists).

Thanks to all who visited, especially you folks who played the game. Congrats again to Dave! You can link directly to the original challenge post here. Please note…

This challenge is expired.

Is the classic direct mail sales letter dead?

Do classic direct mail sales letters still work? Yes, and no.

DMLetter-Example

 

That is, when sales letters are not strategically targeted and scientifically crafted, they can easily fizzle on takeoff–and waste your marketing budget. Mail 50,000 useless letters, and you’ll trash that budget’s value quick. But…

When you do it right, you can watch a simple 2-page letter, like the one below–lifted from my portfolio–light a fire in your prospect, and actually get them excited to experience your product for themselves.

I wote this one (the copy below, I mean; the image here on the left is just a nice visual anchor) for an educational software company. Based on those 822 words, drafted in less than two hours. the company offered me a full-time copy job. At the time, however, I worked for a great company in a much milder climate than the north central U.S.

Everyone enjoyed the project, though. Here’s that letter:

 

 


 

 

 

Dear Teacher,

 

You want to teach your students to love to read, don’t you?

My name is Alice Star. I am a nationally recognized Reading Specialist. Tens of thousands of teachers have already turned their students into enthusiastic readers with my expert help. Now I want to come work for you for a month… for FREE.

 

I can help you get back to your focus—doing what you love.

Let me tackle the work of testing your students, while you teach. I can instantly adapt to each child’s level and, in 10 minutes or less, give them a score that correlates with all the popular standardized tests. If you want me to periodically test them again, I will—as often as you like—and no, you won’t pay extra for that.

Think of it: You won’t have to wait months to get test results. Immediately after each test, I can create detailed reports with data you can really use. My feedback will save you countless hours and let you give every student exactly the help they need.

I don’t take vacations. I never get sick. And I let you take all the credit. Best of all, I don’t even need a salary. My passion and expertise are priceless, but normally cost only pennies per student per day. And to show you what I can do, I will work for absolutely nothing:

 

Hire a “pro” Reading Specialist for 30 days, absolutely FREE.

Before you shout “Yes!” let me make a no-way-you-can-lose offer: Call me toll-free at 1-800-656-6740 and bring me into your classroom for a month. Put me to the test, at no charge. In just 30 days, I can help you:

>> Spend less time testing and grading… and more time teaching,

>> Give students better guidance for maximum growth, and

>> Dramatically increase students’ skilland desireto read.

 

At the end of 30 days, if you don’t see results, I will leave quietly. And you won’t owe me a penny. Now that’s a great deal, don’t you agree? Well, keep reading, because I have a confession to make. 

You see, Alice Star isn’t a real person. I made up the name. Of course, you may have already guessed this as you wondered, “How could all of this possibly be true?” But ask yourself another question: if there were such as incredible teacher’s aid, and the promises were real, would you at least call to find out more? Let me tell you a true story…

 

Guide your students to higher reading levels in 10 minutes or less!

Yes, I did fabricate Alice, the fictional pro Reading Specialist. But the name Star is very real. STAR Reading is a robust, easy-to-use computer program that helps you motivate, monitor, and guide your students in critical reading practice. Now you can accurately assess any child’s reading growth in 10 minutes or less. Every student can achieve his or her maximum potential!

And yes, all of the promises I’ve made are true—including the FREE in-class trial for a full 30 days. Simply call toll-free or return the enclosed postage-paid card right away to receive your FREE CD-ROM demo of STAR Reading. What will you experience when you try this free demo?

 

Powerful information you need, at your fingertips instantly…

Suddenly it’s easy to place new students, match children with reading that will challenge (not frustrate) them, and identify those who need help. At the touch of a key, sixteen different reports—individual student diagnostics, end-of-term progress charts, “snapshots” of each test session, and more—help you easily map out customized success plans for each one of your students!

Teachers in over 45,000 schools are already using this software to get better results in less time! STAR Reading also helps to improve school-to-home communications, and validates your own professional assessments as a classroom reading teacher:

 

“Previously, it was a subjective judgment, determining a child’s reading level. Now, for many of our teachers, STAR confirms what they thought—and they are happy with that level of professionalism.”
—Fayette Clark, Instructional Technology Coordinator

 

Call now for your FREE CD-ROM demo:

Yes, you can bring an expert reading specialist into your classroom—absolutely FREE. Return the enclosed postage-paid card, and I will send you a demo version of STAR Reading on CD-ROM, your choice of Windows or Mac. For faster service (I will ship your demo disk today), call toll-free 1-800-338-4204 and request kit #L0529.

Renew your joy of teaching, and open new worlds to your students at the same time. Introduce your classroom to STAR Reading!

Have a great school day. Sincerely,

 

Judith Paul, Chairperson
Advantage Learning Systems, Inc.

 

P.S. Reading is not just one of the great joys of life. I believe it is the most important skill your students learn. Don’t miss this opportunity to have more time doing the teaching you love. Call toll-free 1-800-656-6740 and request CD-ROM kit #L0529 for your FREE demo of STAR Reading today—and turn your students into avid readers!

 

 


 

 

You can see more samples from my copy portfolio (even some fun bits that aren’t copy at all). Here on this blog, you can select “Content Portfolio” fromthe category listing in the sidebar on thr right. Or you can visit my professional network profile on BrightFuse Talent Community. Your choice…

If you ever have questions about a piece, want to talk copywriting “shop,” or you think I can help you with a project you need done–please get in touch. You’ll find my contact info on the “you’ve got questions” tab in the nav bar at the top of this page.  Until then, I’m trying to–

Write what’s Right.

Ken

The loneliest sound in the universe…

 

I once had a pet black-tail, named Charlotte... true story.

I once had a pet black-tail, named Charlotte... true story.

 

 

 

Newborn prairie dogs
Don’t cross road for my fresh lawn…
They just romp in sun.
–Ken Grindall, April 15 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart Nebula, near Cassiopeia

The Heart Nebula, near Cassiopeia

 

 

The loneliest sound
In the universe is that
Of the last heartbeat.

–Brenda Lee Eccles

Posted on SciFaiku.com

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