• Fun
  • Engage!

    My daughter had her first tennis practice of the season yesterday and the coach asked each girl to pick a word to use to help them focus whenever they feel tired or like giving up.

    She chose the word “engage” from Star Trek.

    “Engage” is what the captain says when he or she wants the ship to move forward.

    Below is a clip of Captain Picard saying “engage!”

    I see they included some other words in this clip. I noticed how these words are so applicable to everyday copywriting situations and I like how pithy they are:

    “Let’s see what’s out there.”

    “I’ve lost contact.”

    “Make it so.”

    “Red alert!”


    “I don’t want to talk about it.”

    “Get it done.”


    I think it’s a great idea to have a word like that so I’ve swiped “engage.” I think I’ll start swiping all the above phrases too. ­čÖé

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  • Email Copywriting
  • 3 marketing lessons from Emma Peel

    It’s about time Emma Peel from the Avengers makes an appearance on this blog. Sheesh, what took me so long?

    If you have the misfortune of being unfamiliar with Emma Peel and John Steed, the spy duo from the 1960s TV show The Avengers, then take a quick look at the one minute intro to the show:

    She shoots a cork off a champagne bottle. How cool is that?

    Emma Peel was as comfortable at a fancy dinner party as she was fighting villains with her signature Kung Fu moves.

    She was calm, never lost her cool, and was never, ever desperate, even when she was in hopeless situations. This is unlike many marketers who prefer to be like the constantly desperate Ralph Wolf.

    At the beginning of each Avengers episode, John Steed would let Emma know she was needed for an assignment and would do this in very creative ways. Here’s a video montage of some of these scenes (and check out the yellow ankle boots at the 5:15 mark):

    Steed’s message was always the same…”Mrs. Peel, we’re needed.” Yet he delivered this message in such creative ways that Emma always smiled and probably felt appreciated too.

    Your message is essentially always the same too…”Buy my stuff!” But are you being as creative as Steed in how you deliver that message? Do your customers smile and enjoy the message even though they know there will be a pitch?

    Finally, Emma Peel knew her services were needed, which is one reason why she wasn’t desperate.

    So there you go. Three marketing lessons from Emma Peel: Don’t be desperate. Make sure you or your product are needed. Be creative in delivering your “buy my stuff” message.

  • Fun
  • Fun Friday: Apple should use this as a commercial

    A 99-year-old gets her first computer – an iPad.

    She’s an avid reader and has glaucoma so this enables her to read again. She also writes poems.

    Notice how she’s all business and not flustered when sitting down with the computer for the first time as her daughters stand around in the background. I love how she asks “Where’s the comma?” at the 1:10 mark:

  • Fun
  • Why you should procrastinate

    Your next product idea (or even a new career) might come out of it:

    This quote comes from Jessica Hische, who is a young designer well known for her hand lettering.

    As she explains in this short video, she noticed she would work on graphic design while procrastinating from doing art, so she ended up becoming a designer instead of a painter or sculptor.

    And she ended up including hand lettering as one of her specialties because she found herself doing hand lettering while procrastinating from a graphic design project.

    If you take a look at her work you’ll see that procrastination paid off for her.

    So instead of beating yourself up for being unproductive while you procrastinate, pay attention to it instead. Maybe you’ll get inspiration.

  • Email Marketing
  • Fun Friday: On baseball flips and marketing

    Check out this video of a baseball playing doing a flip over a catcher to avoid getting tagged:

    Of course after watching this I wasn’t content… I wanted to know the player’s story.

    Does he have a gymnastics background? Did he hurt himself? What was going through his mind before deciding to do the flip? Where did he grow up?

    He’s an ordinary player who plays for a team with a losing record, yet he managed to do something extraordinary. This play happened two days ago and the video has more than a million views already.

    The marketing (and life) lesson here is pretty obvious. If it seems for all the world like you’re going to get called out, there’s probably a way you can flip over the catcher too, so to speak.

    And when you do, be ready with your story. Nothing makes people want to hear your story more than when you do something remarkable.

    If you want more details about this baseball player’s story, click here.

  • Fun
  • Fun Friday: On “Garfield Minus Garfield” and Copywriting

    I discovered the Garfield Minus Garfield blog last week and I’m glad I did.

    The artist removes Garfield from existing Garfield strips “in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle.”

    Here are some examples:

    Please check out the site. There’s also a book of these strips too. Garfield creator Jim Davis endorses it.

    It’s fun to take this Garfield Minus Garfield concept and apply it to copywriting.

    Imagine a typical internet marketing sales page and remove the “cash sucking machine” phrases. What would be left?

    Remove the yellow highlighter marks. What would be left?

    Remove all the speed bumps (screenshots of bank account deposits, testimonials, unnecessary graphics). What would be left?

    Anyway, have a great weekend. I hope yours is more thrilling than Jon Arbuckle’s in the above strip.

  • Fun
  • Fun Friday: An ode to The Oatmeal

    I don’t know about you, but around here it’s been a tiring week.

    So I was happy to discover The Oatmeal blog a week ago because it gave me many much needed laughs this week. I even laughed until I get tears into my eyes a couple of times.

    My three favorite comics on this blog are:

    10 Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone

    How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell

    10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

    I think any freelancer will relate to the design post, even if you aren’t a designer.

    The Oatmeal blog is less than a year old yet it has an Alexa ranking of 3000 or so already.

    Which proves that people love it if you can make them laugh.

    The posts on my blog that get retweeted the most are my Fun Friday posts. There’s a lesson there. Have some fun already. We don’t need constant how-to content.

    Anyway, enjoy The Oatmeal (be sure to check out some of the other comics while you’re there) and have a great weekend.