Top 10 Posts of 2018

This year, I decided to put more energy into my blog to keep my writing skills sharp, but to also further explore topics I’m interested in, especially copywriting, quilting/sewing, and gardening. I deleted a bunch of posts that no longer felt “right” and started writing regularly on those particular topics. Because of this, let’s take a look at what YOU have been reading here this year!

Here are the top ten posts for 2018! (At least, as of this writing. Who knows? The last 2 weeks of the year might hold some surprises!)

1. The J. Peterman Catalog Makes Me Cringe

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The J. Peterman Company early spring 2017 catalog.

I haven’t picked up a J. Peterman catalog since I read and wrote about this one. In copywriting, I feel like there’s tension between writing to the market as it is and writing as to how you think it should be. An example: yes, most women in a target market may say all the time that they want to be thin. But, you believe women should love and appreciate their bodies no matter what they look like. How do you write about a dress: promise that it’ll make a woman look slim and slender or explain how the dress will make them look and feel great with a universally flattering silhouette? See the difference? It’s tricky.

 

2. Catalogs Doing It Right

This 7-year-old post highlights some catalogs that put the spotlight on their “real life” models. It’s a good way to help the customer stop thinking, “I wish I was her,” and start thinking “I’m just like her!”

 

3. Copywriting Tip: Educate the Reader

My copywriting tips were a new feature in 2018 and I’m glad that a few have landed in the top ten list. Educating the reader is always a good thing. It’s inclusive (as opposed to excluding those who don’t understand a technical term), but also positions the brand as expert.

 

4. T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: March Ohio Star

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March’s Ohio Star quilt block represents spring in Southwestern Ohio.

My Ohio Star quilt was a year-long project in 2018. I put a lot of love into not only sewing 12 unique Ohio Star quilt blocks, but writing the story behind each one. I’m happy that this project hit the top ten.

 

5. The 2017 IKEA Catalog

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2017 IKEA catalog

This post is more about the plants featured in the catalog than the copy. Because of the popularity of this post, I was going to write about the 2018 IKEA catalog, but you know what? While I pored over it and tabbed some pages, I found I just didn’t have much to say about it at all. One of my new goals with this blog is to not write just to write, it needs to have some substance. So, I chose to pass on writing about the 2018 catalog. Maybe next year I’ll be inspired!

 

6. Cat Litter Pineapples

I can only imagine that this post is popular because I struck SEO gold. The post is more about spotting a piece of pineapple décor in a cat litter print ad than anything else. I’m sure people are looking for something else when they click on this. I googled “cat litter pineapple” and some really cool pineapple-shaped cat bed/houses pop up. Maybe that’s what they’re searching for.

 

7. Duluth Trading Catalog: A Caricature of the Midwesterner

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Duluth Trading catalog

I just wrote this post and it’s been a long time coming. I’ve loved the Duluth Trading catalog for some time and I was finally able to put into words why it intrigues me so. Also, those “real life” models pop up in their catalogs, too!

 

8. Sans Models

This is another oldie, but not necessarily a “goodie.” I don’t know why I didn’t delete it when I cleaned up my blog. I also don’t know why it’s so popular. Haha!

 

9. Copywriting Tip: Tell Me About Yourself

Another writing tip and one that is so important. Tell your customers about yourself! If you’re a one-person business that wants to take on big accounts, I explain how to get around sounding “too small.”

 

10. Copywriting Tip: Turn an Idiom Upside Down

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Funny and playful with a value message.

Of course, a post where I praise Victoria’s Secret for using “get your panties in a bunch” is going to sneak into the top ten! Give this one a read and see if you can use an idiom to your advantage in your marketing copy.

 

That’s it, folks! Thank you for reading! Writing is fun, but it’s even more fun with YOU, readers! I won’t be writing here for the rest of the year while I look forward to 2019 and start working on new posts.

Cheers!

-Theresa

Announcing My Baby Naming Guide

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I wrote a baby naming guide! I titled it, “Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby: Demystifying the Naming Process and Honoring Your Heart.” I started out my copywriting career doing a bit of professional naming—creating monikers for brands, companies, products, technologies, etc.. I loved it. When I had my own kids, and had to name them, I realized that the professional naming process could be bent to help expecting parents.

I’ll be the first one to say it, parents don’t need my guide to name their baby. It’s not like there is a nameless baby problem. But, what my guide does is expose the process. Once parents are aware of that process, the discussions around names and the final decision can be made with a bit more ease and confidence.

The guide is not a huge list of names. It does 3 things: It lays out the groundwork you need to do in order to figure out what kind of name you want. Then, it goes on to describe those different types of names. Finally, there is a list of different evaluations you can do as you sift through your list of name ideas.

Friends, this is a passion project. I love baby names! So, I paired my copywriting experience with my intuition as a mom and wife and wrote the guide. I’ve made it available through Amazon’s Kindle program, because I want to share it with the whole world! Head on over to get your own e-copy of “Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby: Demystifying the Naming Process and Honoring Your Heart.”

Why I Quit Twitter

I’ve always believed in the conscious consumption and usage of social media, instead of joining just for the sake of it. Within the last month, it became apparent to me that I needed to quit Twitter. Let me be real, the platform has never been my thing. The last time I posted a tweet was December 4, 2015. Yup, over a year ago.

Let’s take a look at how I’ve used Twitter and why I’ve deactivated my account.

 

Attempts at Using Twitter

As a copywriter who tries to stay up-to-date and savvy, I tried really hard to use Twitter. Here are the different ways I tried to use it:

  1. As a customer service tool. I’d tweet issues to companies. I thought this would make them more responsive since my issue was public. Let’s face it, if a company has great customer service, it doesn’t matter how you contact them. If they have bad customer service, it doesn’t matter if your issue is made public.
  2. I shared my personal story to potentially meet those who had similar experiences. Namely, I wrote a couple posts about having a premature baby. (Okay, blame hormones.) This didn’t work, because who has time to be on Twitter of all things when they have a newborn, and a premature one at that? I learned this quickly.
  3. I tweeted about little happenings in my day-to-day. I even posted a picture or two of things I ate. I never found my groove and Facebook and Instagram are way more gratifying for sharing these types of details since commenting is easier.
  4. Tweeting live wasn’t my thing, either. I did this once at a Miami University hockey game against my alma mater, the UAF Nanooks. It’s thrilling to be thousands of miles from home and seeing other Nanook fans! Alas, watching the game and not typing on my phone was more fun.
  5. I followed current events via hashtags. Most memorable was Hurricane Sandy. It captured my attention because I had family affected. But, there are other ways to stay up to date. (By the way, isn’t it quaint that a storm potentially inhibited voters and was something to be concerned about?)
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Hashtag Sandy. Hashtag Fair Elections.

6. In an effort to use the platform as a tool, I tweeted notes from The Responsible Company as I was reading it. I figured I could look back and read my notes one day. Ends up, the best way I take notes is in a notebook.

 

Embarrassing Twitter Story

At one of my jobs, there was this guy I worked with maybe only a handful of times. I didn’t really know him, but he once sent my manager kudos for a speech I wrote for his client. And, I once visited his office and noticed he kept a 12-pack of Diet Coke under his desk, which made me wonder if he liked to drink it at room temperature or if he would seek out a cup and ice each time the craving hit.

Anyway, he had created a list on Twitter of co-workers’ accounts. I saw that he had added me, because you can see that kind of thing. But then I was laid off, about 4 months after I had started tweeting. In the first few weeks of unemployment, when I made it my job to find a job, I was checking Twitter (because I was trying) and noticed that he had removed me from his list of co-workers. It had taken him a week or two or three to either realize I had been let go or to update his Twitter collection.

I cried. It was so stupid–both that he was keeping this list and updating it like a mean girl, but also that I felt so hurt by something so dumb, dumb, dumb.

 

Twitter Now

It’s been over a year that I’ve “engaged” via Twitter. But, Twitter has developed a gravitas that is completely and utterly undeserved for a platform that hangs its hat on 140 characters and spaces. Instead of just removing the app from my phone (which I did quickly once I realized I had forgotten my password), I have deactivated my account.

Twitter can no longer count me as a participant–at any level of engagement.

Here’s the thing with social media: it all hinges on the participants. Does a Twitter user with no followers make a noise? Does really smart content with no readers have influence? Does really dumb content with a bazillion readers have influence? Because of this, I am opting out. In short, because I find the authority tweets and the platform have been given appalling, I’m “just not looking.” I hope you’ll join me if you feel the same way.

 

The Future

Part of the reason why I tried so hard to make Twitter work for me was because as a copywriter, I’ve always seen “social media strategist” as a cousin. I’ve come across plenty of job listings requesting social media skills. I understand Twitter and what it can be used for and that’s exactly why for me (and for my personal “brand”), I’m saying “no thanks.” And, never say never. I believe in the evolution of character. I may return if the culture around this platform changes. But in the meantime, if I get passed up for a gig because of my conscious consumption, I’ll live with it.

 

By the Numbers

First Tweet: April 9, 2011

Tweets: 375

Following: 125

Followers: 52

Last Tweet: December 4, 2015

Account Deactivated: January 19, 2017 (Supposedly my tweets may still be viewed via searches until the 30-day grace period is over.)

Buh-bye, Twitter!

 

Open for Business

This week, I announced that I am freelance writing. This is after 8 years of writing for both an agency and corporation. I love writing. And, I love copywriting for a living. After receiving the news this past spring that the website I was working for was being shut down, I took a couple of months to tidy up my portfolio and resume as well as reach out to people in the industry who could provide advice and perspective. I called this “cocooning.”

Freelancing seemed like the best and natural step to take. I’ve always wanted to try it, but the opportunity to make the leap never presented itself, until now. I’m most excited about being able to use the full range of my skills (and maybe developing a few others). Not to mention, I want to build a client list that spans the nation.

My “About” page is updated to include my philosophy on copywriting. Check it out.

If you’re interested in taking a look at my portfolio and resume, by all means send me an email at tbudco(at)gmail(dot)com. Or, find me on LinkedIn.

Here’s to new beginnings and fun adventures!