Looking for Gold

Looking for gold.

Whether I am writing a long or a short piece, I always go in search of the one, key idea that sums up everything I want to say. This may seem kind of obvious but when you find that brilliant thought, that piece of magic that brings everything together, that is when you know you have done your job. It is only then that you can down tools and sit back and be satisfied. It really is like finding a gold nugget.

Thinking? Agonising is more accurate.

I would like to claim that what I come up with is all my own work and all my own thinking but whenever I find those nuggets of gold I can’t help but think that those key ideas come from somewhere outside of me. Call it inspiration, or dumb luck, whatever is your preference but they are like a gift; a reward for my effort. My part in making those creative ideas come about is the hard work I do researching my topic and taking time to think about everything to do with the topic and the audience. Thinking is the important bit. But, “thinking” is too moderate a term; it would be more accurate to describe it as “agonising”. Thankfully, the results are usually worth experiencing a little mental anguish.  

Too Busy?

“I’m too busy to think about that stuff,” I hear you say.

The busy-ness of life in the 21st century has left us with even less time to do that important thinking. And, with the increasing demand for businesses and agencies to have an accurate and engaging online presence, it is even more vital that more time and effort is allocated to strategic marketing.

This can seem like more of a distraction when your core business needs your undivided attention.

When a business owner or manager employs a copywriter, they are not just getting words on a page, they can and should expect to get a thoughtful consideration of their business and their products.

This is where I can help.

Contact me about your marketing needs and let me do some of the thinking that you struggle to find time for. Let me help you in your search for those gold nuggets

TL;DR is Taking Over

TL;DR, or tldr for short, has not just entered my world, its threatening to take over! It has only been in the last few months that I have become familiar with this acronym which stands for “too long; didn’t read", but how darn useful is it?

Looked at my email list this morning, and it was just so long that I tldr-d it. Previously I would have had to deal with those pesky emails and put some of the yucky ones, the ones that I would have to actually think about, into the “too hard” basket. But that has always been a problem area because it was like admitting defeat and I was taking the blame for the failed communication. Also, I just knew that it was only a matter of time before I had to deal with each one of those dreaded emails.

Applying TLDR gets you off the hook.

If I can put tldr next to something, I am putting the blame where I think it belongs. It implies that it’s somebody else’s fault that you didn’t read what they sent you. The author of those emails are the rotten sods who thought that I wanted to read all that guff. If they can’t get to the point quickly, then I reserve the right to place their rubbish communication effort where it belongs, in the trash. Don’t complain to me if I didn’t respond to your long-winded email, it’s your own fault.

Read on. Don’t you dare tldr me!

Our lives have become too busy. The acceleration of the information age that we live in means that we are forced to tldr more and more. Newspapers have responded to the evolving reading habits of a generation that gets weary after one or two sentences; simple ones at that. Nobody, it seems, has the stamina for complex sentences anymore. News has become more like entertainment. Newspaper articles are sensationalised in an effort to sell papers. Anyone’s dirty laundry can be aired if it is deemed to be “in the public interest”. Is the public really that interested in the tawdry affairs of politicians?

So, what is the point?

The point is, get to the blooming point! Say what is needed in as few words as possible because we have to face the fact that the bombardment of communications we face in the information age means that we have less time to spend reading. Our computers and our NBN are so much faster but our brains still work at much the same pace.

So, please choose your wordsmith wisely.

Your copywriter needs to have an excellent understanding of tldr because either consciously or unconsciously we are all tldr-ing.

Thank you so much for staying to the end. I hope you have found this enlightening and that you can feel justified in tldr-ing every boring thing that comes your way.



To DIY or not to DIY? Let me answer that question.

Experts are so expensive! Are they really worth it?

My wife and I have just finished repainting the inside of our home. Yep, we did it all ourselves. In the beginning we thought we would get a quote from a pro house painter but we were shocked when the price came back at $12,000! I mean really, how hard can it be? All you need to do is splash a little colour around and it would probably only take a few weeks.

How hard can it be?

Well dammit, we thought, let’s not be so lazy and just do it ourselves. I’m not much of a handyman but I reckoned I could paint my house without too much stress. I was WRONG!

My wife and I have pretty demanding jobs, so, we were restricted to painting on our holidays and on some weekends. Still, it has taken no less than three years to get this job done. In that time, Dave, who paints houses for a living, moved in across the road. We get on pretty well, and he being very neighbourly even offered to give me a hand. But I wouldn’t get a mate to do his normal work on the weekends for nothing. I am also a little stubborn at times as well, so I stuck with my original decision to DIY.

It’s ok but don’t look too closely.

Well, the end product looks ok but I know that Dave could have done a better job. Whenever he comes over I worry that he will see all of the rough edges and other imperfections I have created. And, please don’t look at the carpet. Even though the carpet is 20 years old and has worn really well, the liberal splashes of paint make replacement our next big purchase.

What do these experts know that I don’t?

I bought one of those paint rollers that they advertise on telly that you just fill up with paint and it’s so effective that you can “paint a room in 20 minutes”. Dave laughed at me when I told him. I thought, “I’ll show him, I’ll have this done in a few hours”. It started off ok, but we found out that as time went on (10 minutes or so) that the blasted thing had paint dripping out everywhere. You get the room painted so quickly because you are trying to minimise the dripping of the paint onto the floor and through the cracks in between the drop sheets!

Well, we gave up on that roller and went back to Bunnings to get the more traditional rollers and trays. I didn’t tell Dave this for obvious reasons.

Bunnings loves me.

If a store can love a person, this must be true because I have spent so much time and money there. Paint is so darned expensive, and then there is the cost of brushes, turps, masking tape, rollers and trays, undercoat, gap filler, drop sheets and on and on and on. I would hate to add up the cost of all of that because it would be thousands and I know that I would be shocked at the number.

Savings, what savings?

So, all of this leads me to ask myself just how much I saved by doing it myself? The cost of materials was some thousands. The cost of my labour, my wife’s labour and the lost opportunity to go on holidays and away for weekends is incalculable.

Get the pros to do it.

So, back to my original question; to DIY or not to DIY? The answer is now obvious to me – never DIY – get the pros to do it. They actually like what they do and they generally do it well. Choose your tradie wisely and you will get a much better outcome. Your house will look better and you will have much more free time.

The same applies with copywriting. Most of us have a passable ability to put two words together but when it comes to conveying important ideas about your business, get the people who have the skills to do it effectively and who actually like doing it. 

We should all work to our strengths.

I really hope that if Dave, my neighbour, ever needs copywriting done for his painting business, that he comes to me or someone like me. We all should work to our strengths and beware the temptation to DIY.