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Fortune 500 list in Arkansas

Posted on August 14th, 2017

I’ve been monitoring the Fortune 500 closely over the past 10 years, and I’ve noticed things move and shift around a lot. We reside here in Little Rock, Ark. home to a handful of large-cap companies all within the Fortune 500. It has been very interesting to see their progress, especially over the last five years. Some have made extraordinary strides, while others have actually receded, i.e., lost rankings in the Fortune 500 – and all for very good reason. Here’s why:

Bank of Ozarks (retail/commercial banking)

2012 spot: not ranked

2017 spot: 69

Talk about risk and reward. The CEO, Mr. George Gleason, had an interesting idea several years ago: to offer construction loans to real estate developers in and around the New York City area. So, he opened a few branches in midtown Manhattan, which is ground central for banking and finance in the U.S., and started offering loans for way less than competitors. NYC developers must’ve thought: “Looks like a Walmart-esque discounter. Sign me up!” And whoa nelly! In seven years, the company has exploded, more than tripling its holdings from $4 billion in assets to a staggering $19 billion. Not necessarily innovative, but a prime example of a strategic gamble that has paid off. Handsomely.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (shipping/trucking)

2012 spot: 521

2017 spot: 407

Change: 28% ↑

This commercial trucking and shipping company owes most of its success to the JBI segment of it’s business, which focuses mainly on intermodal shipping. An intermodal allows you to lift mobile containers off trains via shipping crane and place them on the backs of truck trailers for ground delivery. The Lowell-Ark. based company has been around since the early 1960s and acquired its intermodal capabilities in the late 1980s. However, the company conserves a lot of transportation costs by using its newer intermodal shipping containers, which can travel aboard rail, truck or ship. This company really is one to watch!

Dillard’s, Inc (department store)

2012 spot: 383

2017 spot: 417

Change: -8% ↓

If you live in the South and southwest, this is the place to shop if you prefer high-end apparel and accessories. Just so you know, Fortune 500 companies are based on earnings, and Dillard’s really hasn’t moved the needle in about five years. There’s a problem: that paradigm shifter known as Amazon.com has changed the retail game for all players. Everyone is trying to adopt Amazon’s strategy now, including Walmart. Everyone. We’ll see what happens. Dillard’s does a fine job keeping their older customers happy. But to survive in the market, they’ll need to attract  younger customers. And quick!

Windstream Holdings, Inc. (telecommunications)

2012 spot: 544

2017 spot: 485

Change: 12% ↑

Telecom is the place to be if you enjoy wild market swings, either way up or way down. Sometimes, both. After a sputter-y start offering new product services years ago, the company shifted into offering fixed wireless data plans, which helped matters some, according to reports from the Motley Fool. Windstream finally bought networking rival Earthlink in November 2016 for $1.1 billion, which has increased the company’s cash flow considerably.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (meat packaging/distribution)

2012 spot: 96

2017 spot: 82

Change: 17% ↑

If you don’t know the company, you’ve most certainly heard of the products: Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, Hillshire Farms sausage links, Sara Lee cakes and pies and Ball Park hot dogs, just to name a few. Yum! The Springdale-Ark. based company has been around 70-plus years with a sought-after track record of quality products and a robust supply chain. The $8 billion acquisition of Hillshire Farms in 2014 continues to pay off, making Tyson Foods well positioned for growth, according to analysts. Just recently, the company improved its earnings by decreasing inventory. Lower feed costs have also contributed to increased profits.

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A real quick word on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper

Posted on May 26th, 2017

If you’re a fan of rock-and-roll history, today is a noteworthy day. It’s the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album that many music critics still regard as the greatest rock album ever made.

The year 1967 was a big year for rock and roll in general. The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their “Are You Experienced?” album, Jefferson Airplane released “Surrealistic Pillow;” Pink Floyd, “Pipers at the Gates of Dawn”; The Velvet Underground, their eponymous debut; the list goes on. But Sgt. Pepper was farthest ahead of them all, a groundbreaking musical achievement both technically and artistically, it even caused Beach Boy songwriter Brian Wilson to have a nervous breakdown while listening to it in his car. He had one of those, “How am I going to top this?” kind of moments.

But I’m not really here to talk about Sgt. Pepper’s artistic or musical achievements or the reaction to it. Enough has been written about all that already.  I’m more interested in what the album represented to the Fab Four themselves who, really at that point, were sick to death of touring and performing. And there’s very important reason why.

To understand Sgt. Pepper, you have to go back one year to their final concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, 1966. You have to see the black-and-white film of the event. The fans were going berserk in their seats. It was absolute pandemonium. It wasn’t too unlike it was onstage. John and George are hammering on the piano keys, laughing and grinning like they’re going nuts, while Paul does pirouettes with his bass strapped to him. They’d figured something out about the whole thing: the fans weren’t there to hear great music; they just wanted to see the Beatles, the brand.

See, there’s this thing that marketers and advertisers rush to when they see or hear of a winner: merchandising. Is it a hit? Stick a label on it. Ergo the following: posters, lunchboxes, trading cards, board games, movies, bumper stickers, you name it. All of it backed by the illusion they create: four guys who walk into your house, play instruments and entertain you. That’s what the fans had come to see. And the real Beatles – the actual guys behind the microphones – were absolutely sick of it. I mean we’re talking about four blokes from a largely blue-collar fishing/shipping town on the shores of northeastern England. What did they know about fame or success?

So that was it: no more touring, no more TV appearances, no more movies, no more shows.

Marketers and talent agents thought they were crazy at the time. Career suicide, they said. To which the band members replied: “We don’t care. It’s time to make music our own way.” So they teamed up with their producer George Martin and spent several months in the studio and this is the album they came up with. No concert schedules, no marketing blitz, no hype. Just the album itself. That’s it.

And it changed rock and roll. All over again.

In the business of copywriting, I think it’s important to explain to the client how vitally important it is to tell the truth about his or her product or service. That’s really what sells. How well you can convey the truth and how it will help the customer. Anyone can put a Beatles label on a lunchbox. But only a wise and skillful content creator will explain why a lunchbox is better than a paper or plastic bag.

 

 

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5 tips to boost traffic to your law firm’s web site

Posted on September 12th, 2016

Legal clients have always been my favorite to work with in the area of professional services. The reason is simple: that usually know what they want. Also, most of them are capable writers, so they’re fairly quick about getting back to you about omissions, additions and other changes (when needed).

Most of their questions tend to be the same: My firm is offering a new service, and I want everyone to know about it. How do I get on page 1 Google?

Ten years ago, there was a two-word answer: SEO copywriting.

Now, effective SEO encompasses just about everything you can think of. Video, social media, article writing, blogging — anything that can be labeled or tagged with effective keywords. So, if you specialize in criminal, probate, family, divorce, estate planning, whatever, here’s some good advice that may increase your web site rank.

  1. Create short videos: Not talking about kitschy little home movies here, so don’t roll your eyes just yet. Check this out: If I were going to hire an attorney, it would help to know what they’re like in person. Just a few short HD videos. Nothing longer than 2 minutes of you explaining something really well: clear, lucid, compelling. Perhaps a legal concept that’s difficult to understand, but you know a simple way to explain it. Doesn’t have to be fancy or sound rehearsed. Just you being you. Off-the-cuff, in-the-moment type stuff. Yeah?
  2. Facebook: You may have tried this and then dumped it. Thought it was a waste of time. You might try it again. It’s still the dominant social media platform of the modern age. And here’s the other thing: you don’t have to post everyday. Maybe once a month or quarter. Something short and sweet: Talk about new government legislation that might change the legal landscape in some way; or maybe a really interesting legal case you just finished; or a really ornery client you had but you were able to appease them in a polite and professional way.
  3. News releases: If you have a case that’s been filed in the city or county clerk’s office that’s a matter of public record, and if your client is okay with it, generate a press release for the local newspaper(s). Send it to the city or regional editor. That way, you can get several thousands of people reading and interested in the case without much work. If it’s interesting enough, the story may be picked up by broadcast news/TV, which is even better.
  4. PPC through AdWords: If you have a landing page to promote a new service you just started offering (like estate planning, will preparation, etc), it’s a good idea to generate some quick looks by setting up an Adwords account. Those are those paid ads you see when you do web searches. They can drive a lot of business for you if they’re written well. It also help your web site’s page rank if the ad receives enough clicks.
  5. Blog: That’s right. I had to say it, didn’t I. Nothing will ever do you better than the written word. Blogging not only adds to your credibility, you might end up blogging about the exact subject a searcher out there is looking for. So, don’t pan it. Try it. Again.

Just know that whatever you go with, the object here is to get people clicking on your site. More clicks increase your site’s relevance, and the more relevant you seem, the higher your page rank. For instance, when I typed in “Famous American pop singers” last year, that singer Meghan Trainor popped up, either close to or at the very top of the search return page. About a fourth of all planet earth is all about that bass, just like she is. And with 2 billion-plus youtube clicks, it’s no wonder why.

So anyway, if you agree with anything I’ve said but don’t have time to do it yourself, contact Copystratic. We can help. No treble!

 

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Star Wars: 5 Ingredients for A New Hope

Posted on May 4th, 2014

A long time ago, in a movie theater far, far removed by now … this movie leaped into the minds of just about everyone who saw it. There isn’t a whole lot that can be said that hasn’t already been said or written about Star Wars. It changed movies; it changed the way we think about movies. It changed everything … really.

Here on the Copystratic blog, we mainly talk about innovations in written communication and how those innovations have shaped or affected business. So what does Star Wars have to do with any of that?

I don’t really know. It’s just fun to geek out on nerdy stuff every once in awhile.

What really gets me about this Star Wars thing is that for the longest time I’ve always heard the same two-word reason why the movie and it’s string of sequels were so successful: George Lucas. George Lucas. George Lucas. And that’s fine. No problem. The story, the themes and iconic characters: everything belongs to him.

However, I’m not here to talk about that guy, but rather, the elite team of craftsmen and artists he hired to bring his vision to life. In my opinion, the original movie and all of its installments wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without 5 essential ingredients.

They include:

Ralph McQuarrie (conceptual artist/illustrator). The entire movie has a particular look, which is part fantasy, part auto-body garage, part 16th-century Japanese samurai, as denoted by Darth Vader’s iconic helmet. This guy came up with the look for everything: the robots, the bizarre-looking alien creatures, the space ships, the futuristic art-deco environments, even the light sabers (photo left). Just about everything you see visually came from this guy’s ink pen. McQuarrie was among the first people Lucas consulted with while he was in the early stages of pre-production. Essentially, Lucas dreamt it, but McQuarrie drew it.

Ben Burtt (sound designer). I don’t know much about this guy. I just remember seeing some random, quirky documentary on PBS with this choir-faced looking guy with headphones and a small microphone knocking on a telephone pole cable with a hammer and then a wrench. Burtt was generating the sounds effects for blasters and other Star Wars weapons. He also developed the creature squawks, robot beeps and the cavernous roar of spacecraft. At the time, most sci-fi movies tended to use electronic sounds in attempt to sound futuristic. Burtt instead went for more natural, ambient sounds: the sound a door made after being destroyed by blaster fire, or the steady hum of a light saber. Also, sounds effects design and editing was a foreign concept before Burtt’s work on this movie. Now, there are elite schools and conservatories devoted to furthering achievements for which he laid the groundwork.

John Dykstra (visual effects). This is where modern special effects started. Before then, if you wanted to create a special effects shot of a space ship hurtling through space, it either involved a static image of a spacecraft with a starry background scrawling behind it, which was boring-looking. Or worse, a spaceship attached to a piece of fishing line, which you pushed toward the camera, which looked silly and amateurish. Dykstra came up with a different idea: what if you moved the camera instead of the spacecraft model? If a crane-mounted camera were computer-automated, you could replicate the same movement over and over again, which is essential in the optical process. Not only that, but in moving the camera toward or away from the object, you could manipulate the shutter speed, blurring the image to make a 15-oz. model spaceship take on about 15 tons of extra weight. Dykstra’s ideas were revolutionary, but it cost him. When Lucas wrapped from principal photography and returned home to discover that Dykstra was still getting parts for his camera system, Lucas was beside himself with frustrated rage. The two parted amicably after effect photography was completed, and both maintained a healthy respect for the other. But it was always at a distance.

Paul Hirsch/Richard Chew/Marcia Lucas (editing). If George Lucas delivered the movie’s plot, this editing team delivered its pace. Fast pace. REALLY fast, in some instances. It always brings to mind the movie’s beginning where stormtroopers bust into the rebel cruiser that’s been captured by the Imperial star destroyer. You might recall this opening scene: rebel fighters positioned near the port door with weapons drawn and aimed; suddenly, the port door explodes followed by incoming fire; a rebel fighter returns fire and takes out a stormtrooper; rebel fighters en mass try to hold off them off; then, more stormtroopers spill out of the port door, dozens of them; rebels, outmatched and outgunned, drop like flies. Cut here. Cut there. Cut back. Cut sideways. And that’s not all: what about the Tie fighter attack on the Millennium Falcon after Han Solo and the group escape the Death Star, or the climactic battle sequence in the Death Star trench? So much going on! No wonder it took three editors to stitch it all together. Decades later, the world is still trying to catch its breath.

John Williams (composer). Of all the five, this one is probably my favorite. One blogger put it best: through listening to Williams’ musical scores, the listener was exposed to noteworthy composers of the late-19th and early 20th century: Richard Wagner, Gustav Holst, Igor Stravinsky and even a bit of Sergei Prokofiev. He’s all of them in one. Film historians later classified Star Wars a “space opera,” through Williams major contribution through the use of Wagnerian leitmotifs. Each character has a theme that you hear whenever they’re on screen: Dark Vadar’s sinister Imperial march, Luke’s plodding melody of yearning, the sweet air of Princess Leia, C-3P0 and R2D2s bumbling but cutesy trills and accents. And above all, the glorious Star Wars overture with all its soaring, majestic fanfare introducing us to the amazing visuals we’re about to see. This is embarrassing, but I have to say this: I can remember being 5 years old in 1980 and blasting the soundtrack on one of those 8-track players and pretending like I was conducting the orchestra. Not really conducting, more like waving my arms around like a crazy little monkey. That’s what it did to me. Even then.

Not surprisingly, every one of these 5 ingredients (all except McQuarrie) won Academy Awards for their work on the movie, which has etched an indelible mark on the history of cinema. Once again, in my opinion, if as many as two or more of the above ingredients had not been present, Star Wars regrettably would have attained a status no higher than a fondly-admired cult movie.

If you disagree with any of these ingredients or feel I’ve left someone out, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks.

May the Fourth be with you!

 

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The Comedy of the Beatles

Posted on February 9th, 2014

Comedy writing is an artform best left to the professionals. Just about every guy I know who thinks he can write has tried it — sometimes with favorable, albeit short lived, results. Making people laugh isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of practice even for the experts.

And yet, comedy is definitely something to study in the pursuit of writing. Famed pastor Andy Stanley said he likes to watch comedians perform because it gives him new ways to engage his audience and keep his material fresh.

Right now, you may be thinking the above photo is pretty darn silly. And it is, to be honest. But I want you to take a careful look at what’s going on here. To me, the highlight of the photo is over on the far right. I think each one of these guys has a fair sense of comic understanding. But John Lennon really takes the cake.

When I first saw this photo, I thought: “Ha ha. Okay. Whatever. It’s a staged shot with everyone acting silly. And John acting like a random crazy person just in a different vein.”

It’s not so at all. He’s doing something that I didn’t quite understand until much later. Here it is: in the shot, there is a clear sense of a catastrophe about to happen. Everyone is yelling: “No! Stop! Don’t do it!” to the barber guy. Amid the discordant cacophony that’s erupting, John uses the din to harmonize like someone would in a barber shop quartet.

While everyone is yelling “No!”, he’s found peace through a sonorous, tuneful expression of “no-ooh…” Hence the calm eyes and expression. He was the best, most creative lyricist of them all by far, and a master of visual comedy.

This photo makes me smile and feel happy every time I see it, thanks to John’s sublime irony. To everyone else, the scene is coming apart. To John, its come together.

Right now.

Over him.

Don’t like it? Then just “shoot me.”

Peace.

Later.

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Small Business Needs Facebook

Posted on May 15th, 2010

So long as smart-phones remain all the rage, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) will need social media marketing. Consider this scenario: It’s morning. I’m at work. I’m thinking pizza for lunch. Then my phone starts buzzing. ABC sandwich shop (fictional) down the street, with whom I’m Facebook friends, just posted something about “Better-in-Two’s” lunch special – if I bring a friend, we both eat for half-price.

Of course, I’m won over by the promotion, if nothing else than for the exclusivity: it’s only for FB “friends,” no one else. Well, don’t I feel special. I also admire the shop owner, who’s shown him or herself to be creative, generous and considerate, i.e., since the post arrived at 10 a.m., I still have a few hours to make a date or rearrange my lunch plans. Folks, there’s no other media on the planet that can do this. TV and radio spots are too hit-or-miss, brochures are too disposable, direct mailers are so very yesterday’s new. Plus, print and broadcast ads cost mucho dinero to produce and distribute. But with social media, the promotion goes right to my pocket. And it costs the owner nothing more than the time to think, write and post.

One real-world example I like is a small sandwich chain in Dallas called Breadwinners. I like how devoted they are to ‘wich foodies. Articles, promotions, pictures, Twitter updates, acknowledgments.  They also link with yelp.com, which boosts their site traffic even more. The Breadwinner fan page even has these cool little customer experience write-ups. This past week it was “Cushy for your Tushy,” explaining in a few short graphs why chair padding is better than no-padding. It’s an endearing touch. Very nice. The Breadwinners page is very popular with more than 1,000 friends. That means more than 1,000 people receiving new updates and offerings via cell phone. Are you hearing me, small business owner?

Here are some other strategies that seem to be working for these small businesses, each of which have figured out creative ways to keep their audience engaged.

Obscure Observances. You know the token calendar days. But what about Geek Pride Day, Bloomsday, or even International No-Diet Day? (See the full list). Plano-based spa boutique Spa Habitat offers a “Happy Earth Day!” promotion, $49 massages and facials on select days, in connection with Earth Month every April. Celebrate earth, indeed, with some rejuvenating mud caked around your face and cucumbers for your tired eyes. Who could resist?

Make It Fun. The fashionistas over at Michelle Patrick Salons in Dallas certainly get snaps for originality and energy. Their fan page includes crazy photos, style sightings, calls for new talent, and some pretty risque yet playful discussion topics. Made you blush. Hey, it’s all in good fun.

Go Local. If you’ve ever told a comic book fan to “get a life,” then you haven’t seen Lone Star Comics’ fan page. This Dallas-Fort Worth book and games store is the city’s oldest and operates seven local stores, each with their own fan page. And each page is a friggin PARTY: Tournaments, costume events, pizza parties, launch parties, game night, game day, warehouse sales, stuff for kids, stuff for adults. Lone Star’s owners post often, almost daily – cool trivia, fun quotes, recent news. Excellent job. Or should I say…Excelsior!

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Beware of Intuit’s Website Builder

Posted on April 17th, 2010

So, why is this guy smiling, exactly? Because Intuit’s Website Builder is “so easy, helpful and only costs $4.99 a month.” Not so fast. Website Builder has become one of those polarizing love-it or hate-it-type things. Customer complaints read like a bad hotel review: “Worse experience I’ve ever had. Don’t go there.” Customer praise reads like a syrupy love note: “Intuit, you’re my BFF!!”

Clearly, the only way to know is to try it out – which we did, thanks to Intuit’s 30-day free trial. One thing is certain: this little piece of software has become an great anathema to graphic artists and web designers. But, I’m here to say they can rest easy. Website Builder poses as much threat as a stuffed teddy bear. Here’s a Review of Intuit’s Website Builder.

Extremely limiting: First off, there’s no true Mac version. SiteBuilder Lite (which works with Mac) only allows you to modify pictures and text. To get the full effect, you must download the software to your PC desktop and build pages offline. You can access and change the META tags and titles, but there’s no direct access to CSS style sheets. And once you decide to quit the service, Intuit owns the rights to your site. Yikes.

Inflexible: Intuit is selling people on flexibility. But wait: If you opt for the professional edition, you get locked in with this beast called “Storefront Administrator” for people who want an e-commerce storefront. Your online storefront becomes your homepage site with templates that look like they were designed during the Soviet era, and your pretty little web site gets shoved into a sub-domain folder. Once you’ve selected this route, it’s impossible to switch back without contacting the customer support.

Too many fees: Want prettier graphics? Want a nicer template? Want customers to actually find you on the web? Intuit can help…for an added fee. Like a lot of things you step into – a new car or a cruise vacation –  the $4.99 is merely admission inside so Intuit can sell more services. For $1,500-plus, they can design something uber-professional looking. That’s $1,000 for a custom build and another $500-plus and $149/mo. for the full SEO package with tracking/analytics capabilites. Several business owners who paid the up-charge for Intuit’s help got a pretty snazzy-looking web site. But, at $1,600-plus, you might as well pay an independent designer.

WYSI-WHA?? The Storefront Administrator is actually a hard-nosed CMS that assembles pages using header, footer, content, and sidebar php files (just like in WordPress). The user must customize each page by attaching pictures and links to the :ss fields. So, around 15 little links per page x’s the 100 pages Intuit supplies. At 30 minutes per page and no breaks, that would take 50 hours to build. But Joe Shopkeeper doesn’t have five hours to spare,  let alone 50. Plus, those annoying little :ss text icons aren’t so user-friendly and forced us to the source code editor to start hard-coding links manually. “Building you’re own website has never been so easy,” Intuit says. Really? What’s so easy about hard-coding html/ javascript?

Just to be fair, Website Builder does function okay, and could work for mom-and-pops, America’s heartland-types who have the extra time and want a website but are leery of getting charged out-the-whazzoo. It’s true: Unless you know EXACTLY what you want, there’s no telling what you’ll end up getting. Yes, Website Builder does make publishing a web site a bit easier, but learning how to make your web site successful can be difficult and very time-consuming. HTML, php, javascript and other coding languages notwithstanding, knowledge of paid vs. organic search, page layout, link building are vast in scope, complex in nature, and absolutely essential to a web site’s success. But who has time to learn all that stuff?

Some of Intuit’s discussion board chatter decries WordPress and Blogger for being “too complicated and time consuming.” No kidding. One Oklahoma rancher claims to have spent six (6) hours (not including time on the phone with tech support) designing a very basic site using Web Builder. Not to sound too critical, but he could’ve achieved the same look on a self-hosted WordPress account for less time and less money.

The point is that Intuit charges big money for the same stuff available for FREE on Blogger or WordPress. And the time you spend outfitting and learning Website Builder, WordPress or Blogger is really about the same.  But folks who like the TurboTax format might feel right at home with Website Builder. Intuit’s version is just one of several dozen DIY web site builders out there. Our recommendation is to research the heck out of them all, and go with what works best for you.

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CopyStratic’s New Look

Posted on April 2nd, 2010

Yes, we’re finally live with CopyStratic 2.0. It’s taken several months getting just-the-right design and creating just-the-write content. But before we get too carried away, there are some people who need thanking.

  • Node Thirty Three. Love the design. So easy to customize. WP plugins work seamlessly. Can’t say thank you enough.
  • Stu Nichols. The CSS-only menu madman. Totally awesome menu drop downs, fly-outs, horizontal, vertical, basic or complex. You want it, he’s got it. Check him out.
  • Copyblogger. Never knew how to blog before reading Brian Clark’s sensational site. Very inspiring, educational and interesting. This guy is the source.
  • Jennifer Mattern. Best advice on freelance copywriting ever. Helpful, useful, practical. Thank you, Jenn!
  • Janice Leavins (our team). With a sharp eye for layout and content, her overview and eagle-eye proofreading skills stop my goofs and type-o’s in their tracks. All Hail, the Copy Chief!
  • WordPress. O mighty CMS. You know why everyone likes you, don’t you? Well, we Love you…

Writer’s Embrace the NUDE Model

Posted on February 21st, 2010

Yup, you heard correctly. NUDE. More specifically: N.U.D.E, which stands for Novelty (N), Utility (U), Dependability (D), and Economy (E). This model rates audience perception of something and gauges whether that something is exciting enough to create “word-of-mouth” referral.

The model uses a scale of 1 to 100 to measure perceived strength in each area. The maximum score is 400, which by marketing standards is the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest without bottled oxygen. More realistically, a score of “315” supplies the momentum you need to affect a “tipping point” (with nods to Malcolm Gladwell) and make something go viral.

Here are some quick examples that score high in each N.U.D.E category:

  • Novelty (N): The Segway
  • Utility (U): Comet Cleaners
  • Dependability (D): Peanut Gallery
  • Economy (E): Factory 2-U Clothing Stores

Products and/or companies that score high on the N.U.D.E model:

  • Apple’s iPad
  • eBay
  • Honda Accord
  • Target Stores
  • Starbucks Coffee

You get the idea. One of NUDE’s biggest cheerleaders (and it’s alleged creator) is marketing guru, Scott Degraffenreid, a DeSoto resident, who’s written books on the subject. He started in forensic accounting, but according to his web site, became more interested in customer retention, when he found it was the cause of greater damage to a company than all its internal losses combined.

Courtesy: Scott Degraffenreid, necessarymeasures.com

So where do we come in? Get ready for some “NUDE” copywriting. Let’s start with something everyone needs: food. A generic deli sounds prosaic enough. Here’s the scenario: Otto’s Deli is loosing customers to Panera Bakery down the street, which just introduced their new Proscuitto & Smoked Gouda Panini sandwich.

Otto’s has got the “U.D.E.” part down, but is in need of an “N.”

The deli owner phones a marketing friend, who has an interesting tip: a local seafood distributor has received more chilean sea bass than steakhouses are wanting, driving down the price. The deli owner approaches the distributor and offers to sign a short-term contract at the reduced rate. The distributor balks at first, but soon obliges. Now the deli owner has 30 pounds of fresh product that no other sandwich shop has even attempted. The 20 x 10-foot outside banner that reads, “Chilean Sea Bass Sandwich, $5.99 Meal Deal” is enough to cause quite a stir the next day. But the marketing friend wants more. He hires a content provider to create some buzz for Otto’s new Facebook fan page. The writer, familiar with N.U.D.E, delivers the following:

Novelty: “Chilean sea bass never looked so delicious as it does on Otto Deli’s signature sourdough bread roll. Talk about fresh, the sea bass is flown in daily.”

Utility: “This gourmet sandwich makes a terrific lunch or dinner. Try it with your favorite blush or white wine.”

Dependability: “Through its 30-year history, Otto’s Deli only offers the finest, all-natural ingredients for sandwiches made fresh daily.

Economy: “Try the $5.99 Chilean Sea Bass Sandwich Meal Deal, including chips and a 16 oz. drink. Available only for a limited time. HURRY, while supplies last.”

And there you have it, Otto’s Deli rescued through the power of the N.U.D.E. Apply Mr. Degraffenreid’s model to your products and services, and see where you might make some changes to increase “word-of-mouth” potential. Apologies to all who thought this blog post included racy pictures (not really).

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SEO Copywriting for SMB

Posted on January 27th, 2010

One of the most immediate ways SMB owners can take harness the web is by optimizing the content on their home page and main landing pages. Right now, we’re finishing up work on a comprehensive white paper that shows some easy and practical ways to do this and takes less than 1 hour. Please subscribe to our blog and be the first to receive our white paper when it’s complete. Thanks for visiting CopyStratic.

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