The Mel Blanc of Copywriting

I suppose you are curious about that title, especially if you are a Looney Tunes fan. I’ll get to that in one minute and 37 seconds. (Yes I timed how long it takes to read from this point until that point. I’m weird that way.)

I write about my clients’ stories every day and realized I should pause and talk about my own story, as a way to give you a reason why you should give this blog even the merest edge of attention.

I have been a short copy specialist ever since I learned to write. When my mom would go off to her part time job as a nurse I would sit at her desk and write her short notes about our dog’s misbehavior, the foods I carefully avoided eating during dinner, and other such enthralling details.

During my teens I wrote lots and lots and LOTS of poetry. I also read Erma Bombeck’s humor columns and books and dreamed of becoming a syndicated humor columnist someday (Erma Bombeck was a famous syndicated columnist from the late 1960s until her death in the late 1990s). I think I wore out the library’s copy of a cassette tape of a Writer’s Digest interview in which she discussed in great detail how she wrote her 450 word columns three times per week. (Is it a coincidence that much of my email copy ends up being 450 words? Hmmmm.)

I went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and majored in English. Being a short copy specialist it was always hard for me to write my papers the prescribed length for I always made my point quickly. During this time I also wrote movie reviews for the Badger Herald, a campus newspaper. It was during an independent study course with the late Prof. Alexander Chambers that I really learned to cut my chops as a writer. He assigned a paper each week and didn’t care how long or short it was (yay!) but would dramatically mark up each paper in red ink before my eyes during each session (ouch!). Then, at the final session, he dramatically refused to remove the red pen from his drawer, fully confident that it would be unnecessary. That was the highlight of my college career.

After college graduation I did indeed start writing humor columns in local weekly newspapers in Massachusetts and Wisconsin. I did this for about 15 years, for very little pay, but it helped to perfect my short copy skills.

I was an online bookseller for three of those years, selling used books on eBay and Amazon. I wrote literally thousands of product descriptions for the books I sold and learned the internet ropes as well as blogging.

Then in 2005 I discovered that freelance copywriting existed as a career. And that it had the potential to pay well and give me the opportunity to work from home for clients all over the world. Huzzah! I set about to learn the craft from a variety of sources, books and coaches, including AWAI, Michel Fortin, Jay White and many copywriting colleagues on Michel Fortin’s Copywriters Board.

Since the fall of 2007 I have been an email copy specialist, which means I discover and write the stories of my clients and their products.

One way of describing it is to say that I’m the Mel Blanc of copywriting. On any given day I’m writing emails for a variety of clients, and they all have very different voices.

(By the way, Mel Blanc did most of the voices for the Looney Tunes characters and was known as the “man of 1000 voices”).

My clients’ voices are as distinct from each other as, say, Sam Sheepdog’s, Pepe Le Pew’s, Tweety Bird’s, Bugs Bunny’s, Mr. Spacely’s and Speedy Gonzalez’s are from each other.

Because email is a personal medium, even in a business, it’s important for me to capture my clients’ voices in my copywriting, in addition to using the proper techniques to tell their story and increase response and click thru rates. Many of my clients retain my services month after month so I’m always thinking of how to weave the things I read and experience into my copy and in the appropriate voice.

Few copywriters specialize in email copy, preferring long copy sales pages. Fine by me. More fun for me that way.

If you’d like me to write email copy in your voice, and obsess over creating stories for you, just hit the contact button over in the right sidebar. I’m pretty busy but I might have room for your project.

Anyway, as Mel used to say, “That’s all folks.”

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  • Ryan Healy

    Anita – I’ve always been better at writing short copy. I still remember one teacher who responded to an essay I wrote: “Well, it’s succinct!”

    It took me a while to learn how to write longer copy. And now it seems I never run out of things to say. 🙂


  • Mark McClure

    Hey Anita,
    The one and only (and much missed) Mel Blanc..
    We occasionally watch a Bugs Bunny Roadshow VHS tape that was bought years ago, supposedly for my daughter’s amusement, by yours truly… 🙂

    There’s a great toon on that set with “Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half century” (!!) trying to plot a course to Planet “X” – source of the shaving cream atom, which the earth is running out of 🙂

    Duck gets his knickers in a twist trying to work out the best mathematical path to planet X – only to be interrupted by his laughing pig assistant who reminds him to just follow planet A, B, C… etc

    Which they proceed to do… and arrive on ‘X’ (it’s even shaped that way lol!)

    Kinda like email copy in a way 🙂

  • David M

    Sounds like you were born to be a copywriter Anita. The best way to get good at something is to do it…a lot. I've also found Twitter to be useful as I need to get my message across in only 140 characters. Quite a challenge at first!