Tuesday, August 4, 2009


  • Which one?

    It can be to both. It depends.

    Wonder how?

    Read on to get my take on this…

    I read several article on how to write great headlines. I felt there is no need to dwell on those aspects. Rather, I would restrict to my own experiences which sure will give just another perspective, on the much highlighted but little understood concept of headline writing.

    I think before we actually go in to the nitty gritty of headline writing, let’s first find out why all of us read. What is there for us to learn or how do we take interest in a particular thing to read. The answers to these questions may give us the depth to understand this concept.

    Why do WE READ?

    -We all read to gain some perspectives on some aspects - to learn, or find solutions to our problems. Or, for relaxation. But the internet is flooded with much literature on the same subject. If you look deep at it, it doesn’t have a PERSONAL TOUCH (majority of it). Don’t get me wrong many of them. But, personal anecdote or experience which gives us a glimpse of another angle or perspective is what we are all looking for. Isn’t it?

    I read an article on headlines how to write a better headline. I read many of them even if I had a reasonable experience writing one.
    I still want to glean a new perspective which will add to my arsenal of solutions and knowledge, and which comes to my aid while writing one.

    Personal tone in the headline with emotion – triggers our interest.

    How do WE LEARN?

    -We often learn through experience- sometimes through our’s, and other times through someone else’s. I need to know how others feel and how others faced a problem and overcame it.
    I want to see how others experience and write a better headline.

    The most important point is to cast my mind on the EXPERIENCE.

    How do our hearts react?

    -Our hearts are sensitive. Often we work by our hearts, and leave the mind to the backburner. Sometimes vice versa. At times, keep the mind alert (especially when we really struggle hard and there is emergency) and lull our heart to rest.

    But mostly we tend to listen to our hearts, and we decide on this. And so is reading.
    There is a sure way to a person’s heart is through emotions.

    After little thought about all these simple yet funny questions you can understand what determines our reading and our curiosity. Needless to say … what is IT that clicks in a headline. We work with our hearts primarily and we are here to unwrap the mysteries. Learning is nothing but unraveling the layers of assumptions and finally see the TRUTH.

    Then what should you do to be read, to make your headline shine in the dizzy noise?

    Tune it to the HEART
    So headlines should act as the emotion triggers. It’s by telling that HERE is another angle or WAYof how to handle a particular situation. For that to happen we need to show a glimpse of the emotion in the headline.

    My experiences writing a great headline:

    Here “my experiences” sound that here is a perspective.

    How do “I” overcome the headline writing drain?

    Here you’re trying to woo the heart of the reader to see what it is that really bailed him/her out.

    It “took me a simple trick” to crack the best of headline

    Headline writing isn’t a mystery anymore for me

    Here you can quote the famous headline of David Ogilvy "They laughed when I sat down at the piano"

    Tuning it to the heart means
    Show empathy
    When you say it’s tough to write a line. The reader feels that “here is someone
    who undergoes the same pain”, and also someone “who is experiencing the same
    feeling as me”.

    Show the pain
    The mental trauma of undergoing a pain is what makes us immediately to relate. If you say writing a headline or learning to train a dog to obey rules, or making a kid stick to a timetable routine… all these activities are so painful unless you know the trick to do them.

    I saw one great headline in Copyblogger saying…”The Most Horrible Blog Post ever”

    Show the jubilation
    The reader relates with your joy. The joy of overcoming something- the eureka feeling. Try to depict this emotion in the headline. The reader immediately likes to take it up and read.

    Tune it to the MIND
    Its two way process. Many times we get curious when we see there is simple and easy way. If it’s easy for us to learn or do the whole stuff, we tend to go for it. Isn’t it? If I say you can get rich in 10 days. The “10” days is a hook. Your mind gets stuck there. You wanted to see how and why.

    So also you can tune your headline to the mind with some ways where the solution you’re giving is easy. The solution we offer is way simple.

    Here are some examples we can quote:

    ‘3 simple techniques to overcome the headline writing agony’

    ‘You can do it in plain 3 simple techniques to crack the code’.

    ‘Take this route of hassle free 20 fold income gain in 4 weeks… or’

    Using some adjectives and some ad verbs too help the mind get hooked. Here it is how:

    Three easiest ways of getting the math correct

    How to become the most georgeous lady in shortest time?

    Readers vary; and so is your tone

    I for one am very sensitive and always look for emotion infused headlines. I always like to see how someone struggling hard to do something came out successful. I look in headlines this emotion of succeeding at something in spite of hardships, and also in my general reading, too.

    It means that you can write headlines or heartlines based on the tone of the topic or the demographics of your readers. Some write ups are straight without any dose of drama, and rattles off information. The whole article has lots of bullet points. For those articles which are with quick dosage of ready to consume information headlines (which are tuned to the mind) like…. how to… why ….where or denoting numericals – 1, 2, 3 tips to make it easy … kinda headlines.

    Start off with TOPIC as your headline tentatively

    Most of us look for a good headline and start off writing the article. But, I feel it’s always better to write a dummy headline first which says about the topic first, and start writing the article or post.

    As you’re writing the article your mind starts rolling in different directions thinking on the topic in unknown angles you never expected, and suddenly that thought can be the real pull of the article and that ONE THOUGHT will be your headline.

    If you infuse some emotion into it, it sure touches the chords of the readers. And that heartline starts tugging the heart strings and never let you pass it off.

    For example if you’re writing an article on leadership. You may be thinking of some headlines initially like these (since these are the kind of headlines which are mostly fed in to your subconscious mind….. A leader you always wanted to be
    Making of a leader

    The qualities of a great leader

    Here is a way to become a leader

    Does anyone of them touch the chords of the reader. The reader might think that here is another kind of an article which talks about the dos and don’ts of a leader.

    Live like a LEADER to make others leaders!

    How does this headline feel when you write a headline for leadership?

    This headline comes in the process of writing a write up, but not at the first instance. Often we like to write a headline and start off. Okay… have one at the first instance which shows your topic of discussion.

    This headline is one which hits

    Finally place yourself in the place of the reader

    Assume that it’s not written by you and you’re reading it for the first time. How do you like it? To get to know this, you place the write up and headline somewhere where you’ll find it or keep it open on the laptop and system like that, and read it as if you haven’t written it, or reading it for the first time.

    If it interests in the first glance it works out. Otherwise, work on another headline with the twist in words and keeping the emotional trigger loaded.

    I believe every one of us is a reader, and I can very well understand how a headline can influence me. So are you. But, the trick is you won’t think from the readers point of view.

    Check out these links to great articles on how to write great headlines. Go ahead write beautiful headlines which make readers immediately open them up and read. Cheers!




Place your comments stating your experiences writing headlines... and thanks for visiting this blog!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

PROFILE – how to write one that interests the reader

I was asked to write a profile of a company of interior decoration and architecting by a consultant who handles many clients. I was so excited to write profiles. Precisely for the reason that it gives me an opportunity to learn about a person, an organization – its successes, its travails, its aha moments etc.

At the prospect of writing a profile of an architect I was much more curious to listen to those architects who can tell us many things about their design. How ideas come to them or how they handled a difficult client with a different taste and so on.

In general, all profile writing inspires me. In fact, writing an ad, ad campaign or anything about the company inspires me. For one simple reason: the product, the story behind it inspires us and an eclectic trough of ideas strike us to write or design about.

Thus let our mind go crazy with creativity!

But… to my utter shock and surprise my meeting with the architect went bland. The person doesn’t speak up. Howmuchever I tried to make him talk went in vain. But, he doesn’t seem to take whatever we say about him in the profile with our understanding of the company either.

Maybe, they have to understand what a profile is all about before actually going for one. It’s the responsibility of we copywriters and writers to put it succinctly what is going to come in this brief and yet gripping piece called PROFILE.

Just for understanding what goes into a profile and what should as a writer reflect through the piece of writing.

Profile is a Mini- Biography

Profile should be a sort of a mini-autobiography of the company. This small piece of information should throw light on how the company was started and who are the management and what is the premise of the company’s operations and its vision and mission etc.

It makes sense to infuse a bit of drama

Writing a conventional profile with a drab description has lasted its course. People will repel at such attempts. It goes down the drain with no appreciation.

Start it off with an interesting anecdote and build a story around it: how and when and where the company has started and by whom.

Give an inside story of it

There are several things to say about the formation of a company. First and foremost the idea of forming it: when actually it struck him or her to form the company; How each thing has fallen in place?

Talk about your employees and associates

How each employee was selected? How did the interview go? What made him to select him or her in the first place? Once one employer told me that he selected me over a 20 plus candidates! I was so flattered to be selected over 20 copywriters.

How you got your first client

It’s but interesting to know how got everything started off. You may feel it’s not anyone’s business to know how and when you got your first client. But it matters to know in order to appreciate your work.

What are your key strengths and why

The key strengths should be spelt out clearly in order to make sure to your existing clients to come back to you. Let them know that they work with a best team.

What are your plans for future and so on.

We appreciates someone who looks far ahead of the present. Even your clients look to avoid the pain of selecting each time a different partner or vendor to source services. They want you to be there fitter and intelligent.

Try being YOURSELF.

Don’t try to be someone else while writing the profile. There should be a plain speak and talking from your heart. This is to build the trust and to be genuine in the minds of the readers.

Kindly share your thoughts about how a Profile can be made interesting and what are your thoughts on that!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ride the crest of the writer’s learning curve!

The only things worth learning are

the things you learn after you know it all - Harry S. Truman

Learning has a unique quality: you wouldn’t learn anything until you – Do it. The catch is: DO IT AT A FEVERISH PACE (meaning… much, much more than what we do). It’s when you do for longer periods (long uninterrupted stretches) without giving much of a break, you’ll learn at a faster pace, as time is in great demand. If you want to get good at IT soon!

Engaging in a marathon driving frenzy can really help you to experience what driving is when you get on the highway. It teaches you how much speed required overtaking the vehicle going before you, and how much space required to safely cross the vehicle in front, and oncoming one. For this knowledge to be at your fingertips, howmuchever theory you know you won’t learn it really.

Undertake a writing marathon

The other day we went on a long drive to our native town, which is at a distance of 1000 kms. On the journey, I understood how to put the gears much more easily than I understood it during the times I drove it for shorter distances in the city (I’m a new driver and got my license recently and started driving my car!).

The whole experience gave me the much needed confidence that I can go on any long distance driving, which was lacking initially.

I made several mistakes and tried several times over how to change gears while overtaking. How and when you change a gear, how to speed up after overtaking…? This crucial knowledge doesn’t come so easy.

Encouraged with the new knowledge, I was thinking of how writing can also be improved with the same technique of going on a marathon writing-spree. Believe me it can real help us to master the art of writing to give us a deeper understanding.

It’s vital to end the drought of not-able-to-write with confidence: It is to engage yourself in writing-frenzy. Don’t bother what to write; write on anything and every thing you lay your hands on. Write on your new job, your love life, your new fatherhood, your hairdresser, your pet peeve. Mind you, never stop writing even for one day; I myself started writing every day seriously on whatever that comes to my mind (this post included!)!.

I’m not only suggesting you to write. I’m reminding myself to do that on a regular basis. I want to get to the far end of the learning curve, and make up the lost ground myself (all these years I struggled…Huh… sigh). But, for that to happen there isn’t any short cut, except start writing as if there is no tomorrow.

Learn, as you write on your Blog

It’s a big task to master the art of writing…huh. It took me some time to master it – putting words sensibly and creatively. Our thoughts most of the times are cluttered and foggy: How to give shape to them? Even after writing for ad agencies for over 10 yrs never made me a prolific writer.

But blogging, which is mostly writing your personal experiences - is a good platform to hone your writing skills. Ever since I started writing on my blog, I became a better writer, I believe, each day. I struggled initially and later picked up pace and started writing spontaneously from the time I got my blog designed by my friend for free – Bokjae of www.jungbokjae.com (he writes from his heart) and Vivienne ofhttp://www.versacreations.net/advertising/448/farmer-or-hunter-during-economic-winter/ (check out her blog for some good info). I may not be writing some ground breaking stuff, though; but it gives me enough practice to learn the art.

And, when I want a certain word for a certain expression of my thoughts, then I know, how difficult it is to write with befitting words. That makes my mind sharper and quicker to pick beautiful expressions as I read.

And later, when I’m reading, I’ll find that word which I had been looking sitting pretty in an expression.

Mind those wise quotes, as you read and write

I wonder how some people quote beautiful quotations at the exact context (I like quotes in Writer Dad). These quotations are tricky things. If you want to quote a quotation you wouldn’t find them.

I envisioned a plan whenever I find a quotation I would write it down in a book I kept next to me.

But I feel, the ideal way is to cut and paste in a separate file. Whenever you want to quote you may use them easily. You’ll find no. of quotations skillfully quoted in many posts. It’s prudent to write them down, or cut and paste them in a file.

I observed another thing, as I’m spending more time reading these days on blogs, I do write down some of the quotes (some quotes are very rare). They became very familiar to me and almost imprinted in my (poor) memory, and I can quote them with relative ease. I also like to keep them at my laptop for some days and by heart them, and can write some posts on those thoughts.

Write a book or a memoir of you

I’m seriously thinking of writing a novel or a book on my favourite idea or topic (currently writing a small booklet about my brother). That really helps us keep moving at a faster pace. If you’re a newbie, don’t fret. Even then, you can venture writing one. After all, the writing may not be of a matured tone but still if you do it with your true understanding without faking your voice, it would still be very interesting to read. No doubts on that.

So, go ahead and commit yourself to write some book or novel which sure gives you a great playground to practice your writing skills, and which will surely help you to get round to the end of the learning curve. Fast! Of course, there is no end to learning, but finding you the much needed confidence and proven credentials for you to reach the other end of the learning curve.

I know each one of us have different experiences of learning in writing, It's so much useful for us if you share your experiences. Pls. add them here!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How to unshackle your writing muse?

How to unshackle your writing muse?

I felt very strange today. I struggled to write, and everything I write seems meaningless, when I view them through other’s prism. Suddenly…I felt, am I talking sense, does it appeal to the reader or not…kind of doubts haunting me. I felt lost… and was seething in frustration.

Where did the confidence go and, where is my most trusted voice? How do I become so vulnerable now than ever?

I guess these doubts sure hover in the minds of every newbie blogger, like me. I just want to share my thoughts here.

Write for yourself

Writing for ourselves makes us clearer in our thoughts than writing for an audience, especially in blogging. When you write for others, and when it won’t attract any readers, it would make us sulk about our talent. You’ll imagine the audience critiquing every word you write, and you’ll end up rewriting the stuff over and over and, at last it ends in the trash bin. I understood a fact: Just write as if none is there to read except you.

I think this is what all the famous authors like Zen Habits, Men with Pens or the recent hot Collective Ink are all doing. They are so comfortable in their skin and write so beautiful posts that are close to their hearts; without giving too much of a thought to the world outside. I think that’s the secret of their confident, uncensored and yet very endearing voice.

Lesson learnt: Write from your gut. Write something that pricks you, frustrate, depress, excites and affects you. It sure has a way to other’s hearts. No matter it is on topic or off it.

Write thinking as if none dealt it before

Yeah, the thought that there are thousands of blogs and thousands of posts each day, which could’ve dealt and churned the same topic earlier and many, many times over, choke you. This thought really makes you nervous and frustrated. It makes you stifle your idea - And makes you think that you can’t say anything different… and better be quiet.

I believe each of our journeys is different from one another. And naturally, our experiences too. Writing springs out from your experiences; if it should be natural and gripping we shouldn’t overly restrain the natural flow of it, with the thought of the elusive audience. So I feel with each of our sharing, we can learn and benefit. So go ahead pound your keyboard hard, without giving a hoot of how many times the topic has been discussed, or what it’s all about.

Lesson learnt: say it with no malice to anyone. Say it your way and it’ll sure add another shade to the spectrum of life.

It shouldn’t matter if you’re read or not.

How does it for that matter? If it’s you, your life and, your writing?  It needn’t be authenticated or appreciated by anyone. It should adhere to a certain moral code which should be accepted by your conscience, though. As long as that fits into your conscience’ frame you’re on your own.

Ever since I started blogging, one thought bugged me like a mosquito (I hate them a lot). Will I be read? Will I be accepted? If we seek to be accepted that’ll elude you and me. The life we are leading is for us and we lead according to our terms and conditions. And why should my writing should be anything different from it? I have no qualms if I’m accepted or not.. No amount of criticism or acidic critique should curtail me or you for that matter, as we are living our life in our unique ways and writing the same way, too.

Stop comparing with others

You’ve just started off writing in your blog. It’s quite natural that you don’t find any reader, and there is no hope finding hordes of them, either. It’s a fact that every big or not so big blogs attract hordes of readers, while yours haven’t’ seen any in the recent times. It’s natural you think like me… that your voice is not so unique, your content lacks the punch or bite.

It’s not that way anymore. It’s just that you’ve started late and your wealth of technological knw-how may be inadequate and lack the wherewithal of marketing your blog. And maybe… your content lacks the killer punch like the pros… that shouldn’t deter you to write as you’re learning on the job. Your writing needn’t be compared to someone else who has been in the blogging arena for quite a while…some years.

It shouldn’t matter, hence, if you’ve visits or not. It’s you and your writing on a daily basis. If someone shows up thank the reader for the visit, and move on.

It’s you and, YOU alone

Writing is a different ball game unlike other activities. Everyone can’t become so good in it overnight. At least this is my experience. You’re cruel to yourself if you compare it with others. Many young writers fall in this trap. Let’s be honest and kind to ourselves. Don’t take yourself too serious.

Writing comes from one’s experiences and it flows through the ebbs of life. Life is determined by the conditions and circumstances we are placed in. Hence our lives are different from each other. So do our writing.

Our knowledge or understanding may be inadequate to look at life in a matured way. Fine, that shouldn’t make us small. Everyone has a right to an opinion and everyone has a reason to it.

So take out the fear of the audience and the fear of failure, and go ahead and write your story of life. Sure it would be a learning experience for someone, if you do it from your heart.

This post becomes more interesting with your experiences. Feel free to write if felt anytime like that - that you don't have anything to say worthwhile-- and how you managed it!




Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Go Crazy …. It helps you LEARN and WIN

His Kannada examination is just the next day. This boy of 9yrs doesn’t really seem to understand the flak he gets from his teacher; nor our sad plight standing in front of the teacher as if we’d done something unpardonable. He is miserable in the language. He has been studying the language which is not his mother tongue for the past 4 yrs, though. And his mother makes him learn or by heart just before the exam.

The value of time is best understood or felt on the day before the Kannada exam for us and for the little boy too. Time ticks and he still is in the first chapter mugging up the answers. A silent prayer goes out off my heart to the Almighty to save us this time and bail out this poor and innocent boy. 

Luckily for the boy and for us, the Almighty does show mercy and get him through, and save us too each time. We sighed …with a big relief. Thanks to his mother for the unfathomable energy to drive him up the wall and make him cram the insurmountable amount of stuff in the subject in the shortest timeframe.

This boy should be taught the language in the vacation, we decided. We instructed him to read a lesson before breakfast, thinking this would make his little brain to remember fast. I carefully observed that this boy reads the one stipulated lesson and leaves the book and switches on the TV. (Our efforts finding a suitable teacher to teach him were in vain)

Almost 20 days have passed, and each day while he starts to read, this boy, stutters and mutters like he has been doing past so many years. What could be the reason?

I couldn’t fathom what went wrong. I’m equally crippled with the language. My wife is the only one who can barely read if not can understand every meaning.

An idea struck me, when he announced he finished his daily ritual of reading the one lesson: Hang in there, my son! Don’t just read it; Just go crazy about it.

Develop a Passion 

Our passions are shown in our daily activities. If you want to be a writer inevitably you’ll be found reading a lot of either news paper, or magazines or books. Your best friend comes and sits in front of you and patiently been waiting for you to finish your reading sojourn; but you never seem to know that a human figure sits in front, or even stepped in to your place (that’s how I used to read anything written in English).

This is your passion. You can rest assure yourself that this is your calling. If reading is your passion and inevitably you would write. Those thoughts and the corresponding phrases are recorded in your subconscious permanently. Once you trigger them they start belting out in full force, which you’ll be amazed at.

Go Overdrive 

It is just not enough if we do little by little in learning anything. Especially, writing. Writing takes a long process to get a grip on. It needs to be a rigorous exercise. You need to write on anything immediately. If you’re reading, you should read the best article several times and many times over. Even writing anything should be done with craze. Nothing should satisfy you. You need to see and write different drafts. Initially if you’re called to write you wouldn’t be surprised you’d get the best copy at the first instance or somewhere in the middle after number of drafts. 

My writing too hadn’t improved till that time I went on a feverish pace reading, and devouring everything at my sight. Ever since, I’m introduced to the internet it was an addiction of sort for me. Today, I’ve the confidence that I can write easily. 

Fatigue? Never! 

The more you read, the more you’re interested. The more you learn, the more you’re fired. The lesser you understand, the bigger will be your efforts (‘cause you’re crazy about it). Boredom, fatigue never touches you. Have you observed how a small toddler pursues a balloon? He moves farther as the balloon is pushed by his feet and he’ll never be tired of holding it.

Even a child too never gets tired of his playing or of his/her drawing. He pursues it with so much patience. “It’s simply craziness”, you end up telling to yourself about the child. 

Relent Not 

I told my son, don’t relent. Never stop with one lesson. Take it to two and three and four till you’re exhausted. Remind yourself the rewards you get, or the accolades you receive from your teacher and to yourself (you start liking yourself and you start believing in yourself). You feel proud of your achievement. You’ll be the role model to the world. 

I tell him look at me how I slog and read on the net. I sit hours together reading, reading and reading blogs. And I tell him that  I quit my job; knowing fully well that I’m technically-challenged (he helps me sometimes technically) and would like to strive to make big and, be a reputed writer who has a body of work to show to posterity. That’s to him – my son, and the world.

He knows my frustrations and my fights over the phone and often to myself. And still looks at me and say … “you’ll be a great copywriter one day as you’re crazy”. And I tell him “you’ll be a winner all the way as you’re crazy”. 

Monday, April 6, 2009


There was a deep silence after the client finished his speech explaining about his company and about their expertise. He was bombard with some questions that reminded me for a moment, if he was here as a criminal to be mercilessly pounded with irresponsible and often needless questions about his company and about its marketing and branding. I was reminded of an interrogation of an offender by the police personnel.

What happened afterwards, when the agency’s turn to give its presentation, was even more tormenting to the poor criminal (the marketing manager). It was as if he was being punished for having come there alone. He had to listen to the hush hush ramblings in his ear by a senior manager in the agency sitting next to him; while the rest of us are yawning and some are talking to the others in the regal seminar hall, while the person was trying to figure out what he was being told in his ears.

Probably, he would be thinking how fast this ordeal will be over, and how fast he can be relieved of listening to the earful of ramblings of the agency head, while the others in the room are having a gala time. You got the picture?

As this hard-to-witness-show was happening, I was lost in many thoughts: How would the client would feel now? In what light the agency was being portrayed in the eyes of the client?

Can you make any guess on - what would be going on in his mind?

What would you do If you’re in the clients’ position; and what would be your reaction?

Or if you’re in the agency what would you do, and how would you handle the situation?

I felt it was a very good opportunity that was missed by the agency to impress the client. And more so, it was a very good opportunity to encourage and exhort the people present – the visiualizers, art directors, the client servicing folks and everyone present in the conference hall.

The agency head would’ve taken the charge of anchoring the show with a generous dose of humor and witty comments (making it informal and lively), which is very important. He would do a world of good if he/she stands up and addresses the entire gathering including the client. The agency head would’ve thought that since the client was the only stranger there, he would better sit next to him and explain him about the agency by showing some creative kit.

But, my question is what’s wrong if the agency head stands up and speaks to the client about the company’s credentials, vision, and mission so proudly to all, including his colleagues. It’s nothing wrong if he/she reiterates the companies’ vision, mission and philosophy once again to all.

You may ask me: How does it matter, except the client every one else was from the agency and how should it make a difference…..etc, etc? I say each meeting is a chance to renew our vows:

  • Reiterating your vision, dreams and philosophy of the company from a podium shows that you’re a real professional and go-getter who has the drive to live your dreams.
  • This brave gesture of speaking with conviction, assures the client (the person with us) that we are really serious and makes him or her moved at our passion and the deep commitment.
  • The folks in the organization too get really jolted at the powerfully-crafted vision and mission and the philosophy being once again heard at a poignant occasion like this.  Shattering any doubts with the agency’s prowess to chart its dreams. And it would give them an occasion to look inside -what is their true contribution in attaining the dreams.
  • Every speech if done properly would certainly move the people. People are more emotionally driven. Words with conviction move them and melt them. The luncheon/dinner is forgotten by the end of the day, but the words ring in their ears very long.
  • Even the client is also a human being, besides being a hard core businessman, will sure leave the place a lot more determined to excel in his career (that’s a huge benefit which prompts him or her to remember us for long). He/she too will feel that his/her time spent there is worthwhile and rightly rewarded.

 The Lesson to learn is: Never shy away to speak to people what your vision, mission, and dreams are. There are different words (we’re blessed with) to interpret life and business’ goals and dreams in many different ways. By saying them once again we are growing inwardly and we’re inadvertently gaining some extra gumption and power to make a difference in our lives. And in others. 

 What are your experiences, can you share them? Do you believe that you’ve something to speak to the world when the opportunity arises? Or, you shy away from it?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How do our mindsets play a role in writing killer copy?

 If you ask me what makes me feel if a brand is good or bad. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that it’s their ultra sensitivity. Isn’t it? How about you? It’s the concern for the consumer that separates one successful brand from a not-so-successful one- from a successful blog to an okay- kind-of one. Here the denominator is their unstinted concern.

If they can represent and reflect my inner most feelings and sensibilities, I would vote for them. Even our relationships and society feel sophisticated and civilized with this sensitivity.

But. How many of us have time to really go into the nitty grityy each time we embark upon one – writing assignment like an ad or a brochure. Its bit difficult to fake your concern and it’ll always be a half-hearted attempt. It always fall a wee behind the expectations. May miss the right opportunity.  Unless you’re blessed with this sensible mindset, I feel, it’s quite difficult to look at others’ concerns.  The consumers’ life and priorities don’t really sink into to your collective conscience. Hence, you can’t reflect the same in your copy. Your copy lies insipid.

If you think / want your customer to benefit from a very good car/residential site/ fridge/ TV/ career course which is low priced and can easily fit in to their budget, tell him, that this product genuinely benefits them. Or if required nudge, and cajole him/her to take a decision with a voice that they feel is their own (a familiar and friendly tone). Compare and contrast his/her reason with yours and finally let him/her consider with their discretion.

Does this offer benefit him in the end? Does he/she feel happy about the decision? Won’t he/she become your loyal friend and customer all through life? Soon, they will, for sure.  

Even the customer doesn’t take a decision; he or she respects and considers you as a friend, though. As someone who trusts you, no matter what.

If you treat him/her a friend, you’d certainly hog the extra mile to win his/her heart through gentle speech that is directed to benefit him; not to trick him or her.

"Forget words like 'hard sell' and 'soft sell.' That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you're saying it like it's never been said before."  -William Bernbach

 A caring attitude helps to fathom the inner soul

                                                  (customer’s, that is) 

Brands and consumers relationship is akin to any relationship in our life. Reason why David Ogilvy said: “the consumer is none but your wife”. If we need to understand a person’s outburst or anger we need to know, what the reason is. If we care for a person we will know what are his likes and dislikes. We need to make attempts to understand these concerns (we call it research or experience). Then, and only then, the tone and voice of your copy will certainly gets attuned to entertain and educate the reader.

No effort spared to make him/her smile

Our choice of a headline, or body copy – the lead, will be made interesting, if you really like the person to whom you target the copy. If you care for him or her, you would write a couple of headlines more and see which one can potentially interest the reader. The lead – the introductory paragraph and the entire copy in the ad is made so interesting that you want your best buddy isn’t bored. You make it spicy and hilarious and yet at times poignant to elicit a kaleidoscope of emotions in your friend – reader, the target audience.

Some beautiful posts on the blogs of some famous writers mirror their efforts. Their genuine concern for the reader, who trudges to their sites for information and solace, is shown in their posts. Some sites are God-sent blessings to me as I can’t imagine a day without reading them.

 Your love has no boundaries

You make a conscious effort not to hurt him or her by misguiding them or by being rude or being brash. There is one hoarding which screams: ACT LIKE A MONKEY. Hmm.. what do you call it if not downright disregard for your customer. This hoarding and several other substandard ads I came across, prompted me to write this post.

If you know you hurt him or her inadvertently, you don’t waste time to say sorry and apologize. At last you find new and novel ways to tell stories to your reader to make them happy and give bits of information about something which is quite useful to make their lives easier and effortless.

Like… I want my friend to tell me if there is a good book on copywriting with a new perspective; a sale which is very good for purchasing a good pair of jeans, a good set of dining table etc. I appreciate that effort and want to reciprocate the same to him or her.

Your copy represents a sense of long-lasting relationship through the emotions you show towards your customer. For which, I believe, besides your wherewithal and know-how on copywriting and greater language mastery, it’s your caring mindset that makes you a good copywriter as someone who can write – killer copy that tugs the heart strings of your reader.

I read one post in a blog of a reputed freelance copywriter in America who shares similar sentiments: www.marte-cliff.com/wordpress

Does this concern help us to go the extra-mile, or can we write an emotional and touching copy even without actually feeling for the one whom it is addressed? Pls. feel free to comment and share your views.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Every BRAND knows who copywriter is

It has been my experience with clients and several independent consultants who are thinking that writing copy is near to nothing. They think that it is just a page full of words which are typed with relative ease, and it amounts to no effort on that part of the writer and does need no special skill or knowledge to do that. Especially so - if the writer doesn’t make a big deal about it – deliberately telling them it took some sleepless nights, and if s/he is unfortunately little down to earth and hungry for some good work(like me)..

It takes huge effort (years) to learn any craft…so is copywriting

They often tend to think that the words are just randomly thrown in to make sentences, and have no special purpose to them. And hence, they’re reluctant to pay and least they refuse to accept that the writer has done some substantial work to write the copy. It takes herculean efforts to painstakingly give the whole communication a voice and a personality by strategically aligning the words – into thoughts.

I have great respect for those who really are keen to see and understand how hard the job is. Yes, there are clients and people who appreciate good work and really pay handsomely to the writer besides pouring copious appreciation and accolades. Kudos to them! But majority, I don’t know why are plain indifferent to them; and let alone pay them reasonably, do not seem to acknowledge the importance of it.

I presume it’s all that they never gave a thought to the copywriter’s plight; or they were never apprised of what it is by anyone. Otherwise, they too will respect the good work and pay handsomely, I believe!

The reason why, this ranting!

Freelance copywriting needs a new lease, here

Freelance Copywriting elsewhere in the west is well appreciated and the business too is lot more organized and no assignment is taken without any agreement and everything is professionally run. Hence it’s easy for the copywriters to do their job peacefully and not to worry about the payment hassles.

But down here, if you ask a client to commit to certain conditions and seek a written agreement they take it as indifference and lack of trust; not knowing that the written agreement makes both the parties to concentrate on the work they do and have a peace of mind without other negative doubts hampering their work. And it’s a great boon for the client too, as he is assured of timely delivery. (Here again, it doesn’t apply to those who go by the rule and stick to them)

I just want to see where and how a copywriter’s job gets a beating in comparison to other professions and why. It’s just a way to show that the copywriter works really hard and goes through the grind and, s/he too aspires to be paid what is due and, if not respected for what s/he does, at least not looked down upon.
Here is a peep into the kind of work copywriter does vis a vis to any other work that is done:
Words from mind & heart, not from dictionary
The tools of a copywriter – the laptop, PC, dictionary, some books on copywriting, and other books do not make the writer, or do not make them appear physically run down unless they make a show of it; albeit mentally they are drained thoroughly, though.
Life Experience –the bank of knowledge
Writer’s biggest bank of knowledge is their experiences in life; their efforts to know the world with uncanny ability and candor. They draw from these vast reserves of knowledge of life they lived and observed from close angles – that obviously can’t be seen unless you are keen to know it.
It’s physical as well as mental
Even the write up or copy too appear some normal words on a screen or a page which do not seem to have come with some physical labour; obviously no writer likes to show them how many times s/he has drafted, redrafted it; how many hours did he spend thinking about it. It’s a mental and physical labour, though
Fruit of stinging labour, though
The reason that since the write up or copy (poor thing) appears lame sans the design as a brochure, website content, flyer, mailer etc shouldn’t be implied as worthless; often some clients feel it’s just black words on white paper and nothing else (alas!).

It’s time each copywriter gets his or her due recognition in the advertising scheme of things. Especially in this part of the world the freelance copywriters are taken for granted and end up doing drudgery.
Do you think copywriting needs any special skills …can you share your thoughts with us?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How copy can sound confident, effusive and flamboyant?

It might cost us our job, if we’re unlucky to have a hotheaded boss, and if we’re to ask for some time to write the copy (I lost one job recently…seriously!). You’re certainly at a disadvantageous position if you say you need time to do a good job, especially with some clients who want everything in a jiffy. On the top of it, the sniggers of your own colleagues - our boisterous art director friends who look to annoy the copywriters for their intellectual airs (very few come into this category, it depends on your luck factor).

And above and all, your reputation that’s tagged along with that job pulls you back cracking the copy.

It’s often debilitating to write copy that is really compelling. Perhaps the reason why copywriters – the established and renowned are respected so much; and are celebrities, in their own right! However, these techniques helped me get the flair and confidence to the fore each time I go through the process.

Know the target group

Knowing your target group is the first step to style the tone of copy. Each group has different mindsets: Students and young adults believe in fairy fantasy; Young professionals want a bit of hype and exaggeration; and mid and higher-level pros would need bare and crude information but nothing else, with some gyan thrown if possible.

Work up a tempo

We need to research on the competitors’ product and their features and the feedback of the product by the customers. At last, the final straw would be the first hand experience of the product and its specialty through some interviews. It differs from the young girls who go by their peer endorsements than their individual opinions to the older women who bank on facts and testimonials from the ones they believe and bond with.

Conviction speaks louder

Finally my conviction of the product benefits vis a vis the competition and my knowledge about the entire niche of the product category makes me more confident to talk about it without any fear and/or hesitation. The above said observations and the wide research we do on the particular target group and on the product in the internet (through research) make you imitate their tone with confidence.

The unflappable spirit

The way to the heart to any customer is through untamed spirit: straight uninhibited talk. There is absolutely no one who isn’t besotted by the infectious energy of the tone. Having the confidence that the product is way ahead of its competition (has some inherent benefits in one angle) and also with the familiarity of the person (TG) we can go ahead crafting the copy with so much nonchalance. That’s what fetches the readers’ attention. And care should be taken not to over do it, though.

We may face a stiff resistance from clients to force us to do a quick job. But that’ll be a great emotional and physical drain to do the job. Of late, I resist such temptations and stand my ground.

What are your experiences writing copy and facing some flak from the uninitiated clients and folks? I’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Which one has a priority – the design or copy?

Do you give copy a go-by when compared to a design?
It struck me hard when I saw a brochure for a premier educational group which has reprinted its brochure for the new academic year. The design is new, but the copy alas…is an old one. When I asked the art director he said “the client’s pushing me as he fell short of the deadline. And I too didn’t find time to get a new copy done”.

I literally felt so bad for the client who printed the brochure which would’ve cost him quite a sum. It was a huge opportunity for him/her to talk about its new vision, new dreams, and the new developments to its readers.

Many clients think it’s a waste of time and money to pay a copywriter for new copy and even the consultants too lend a deaf ear to writing a new one. I feel it’s because they do not want to part the extras money with or plain lack of knowledge what copy does for them.

How important is copy for all the communications: brochure, website, leaflet, direct mailer etc? Let’s take a look at it and find out the real purpose of it.

Every brochure, website etc – a mouthpiece, a piece of history

Brochure will always have a charm. The sensuous design on the cover really attracts every reader. Usually the ones which cross the line (away from the ordinary and expected) and showcase a theme with a good picture and the matching shade of colours takes our attention. Inside too, the seeming flow of the theme on to the corresponding pages and the final back cover which signs off, all make a good, arresting brochure which steals our interest and certainly deserve a second look.

It’s the cover headline that’s the hook.
Inside copy is the soul

“The headline is the 'ticket on the meat.' Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising”. David Ogilvy

The visual appeal sure attracts us, but what strikes the heart first is the cover headline. Which instantly lifts our spirits to know what these people are all about. This headline changes the plane of thought of the reader from whatever state of mind he/she is in.

The cover headline should intrigue and pique the interest of the reader; if not, the conceptual visual should do the job. And certainly once the inside copy is being read it should talk to him as if we’re talking to a close friend. Pouring our heart out to let the world know what we truly believe in and what the company stands for without mincing words.

Behind the cosmetic appeal, what’s the person is all about

Several individual design-shops who work for clients and who seemingly doesn’t know the importance of copy should understand it’s a precious opportunity that’s being wasted: to talk to and let the readers know the organization as a true person. It’s their professional duty to suggest the client (who’re innocent and sometimes indifferent to any suggestions), and drive home the point. Even to the point of ruffling few feathers - the importance of copy and its phenomenal role in touching the chords of readers and bring oodles of appreciation and cheers for their brand. After all, we, advertising professionals, go a length to make the organization stand in a good light (brand equity), and with it ours too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why not give a serious thought to create an ad-campaign during this season …?

Calvin Warr who is a marketing pro in Singapore wrote a good article in his blog on how to tackle the economic downslide and how clients can use this time to strategize and develop their advertising campaigns: Facing the Economic Recession by Calvin Warr

I felt like just mulling over what these ad-campaigns are all about superficially and, want to share few thoughts and experiences of mine over making of it, and how clients generally feel about it. What are the pet peeves of copywriters and art directors too?

Ad campaign –is like introducing oneself to the readers

An advertising campaign will have a series of ads which talk about the various facets of the product or the service. If the ad-campaign is about a launch of a new product, it is preceded by a couple of teaser ads which drum up some curiosity about the product and the launch. Or, if it were to be a mere promotional campaign it builds up on the response and success of the product, which once again reinforces about the benefits of the product or the service. Often these ad campaigns are akin to formal introductions to other prominent people or guests - we do introduce with great panache without hurrying up and annoying our esteemed audience. In this case to a stark stranger (very prominent) who looks way too preoccupied with his own life.
A series of ads released will catch the attention and live in the minds of the readers along with some promotional activities.

“If you ever have the good fortune to create a great advertising campaign, you will soon see another agency steal it. This is irritating, but don't let it worry you; nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else's advertising”. David Ogilvy

One at a time

The main campaign if it were a new product and being introduced will talk about the biggest benefits (the USP) of the product. In Logan (an automobile sedan) ad-campaign the car has the widest body –the space in the car is quite huge and can give you maximum luggage space too. Hence that is the biggest benefit: the wide body. This benefit was explained in different ways with combinations of different other benefits. Each ad should mainly highlight about one benefit in the headline. That makes the reader to identify the benefit and the product easily. (After all, the readers will never have so much time to read the body copy of your ads to know what it is all about!)

Cut the clutter

Some clients want everything at one go. If they are releasing a recruitment ad or any product/ service ad, they are in a big confusion. Should they say everything about the company or the product (most of the time the client has so much to say and don’t know which is first and how!) in each ad in one go; or not. The clients out of so much confusion, anxiety, and utter lack of knowledge about the whole thing (customers’ mindsets) make the marketer and the creative team –especially the copywriter- exasperated and leave them in a chaos. The result: the ad appears like a crammed mess.

Allow the copywriter to do the best job (‘cause, he is preoccupied with how to catch the attention, as its his cuppa). Cross check it if the ad is in sync with the strategy or not. In 99 out of 100 cases the copywriter if he is worth the years of expertise would match up to the strategy and wow every one. If not, hit on further brainstorming session with a renewed angle till fresh brief is prepared to work on.

Ferment it

For wine to get the requisite and the desired taste and flavour, it needs to be stored in a place for quite sometime; similarly the copy and the creative too needs to be kept aside for a period of time to see if they really resonate with the strategy or not. Usually for that to happen it takes minimum of a week’s time; if kept for longer time there maybe better results too.

But reputed ad- pros can churn awarding winning copy at a shortest time possible. But they too swear by the minimum requisite time to see if their rush of adrenaline which spilled onto their copy and ideas does make any sense at the end of the day. For sure, our mind reacts –especially a copywriter/ art director’s after a modicum of understanding of the product or the service of the company - but in most cases that may not be adequate. And we’ll be left lamenting that something better could’ve been done given some little time to breathe. Hence ample time, energy and preparation is needed to come out with a good advertising campaign

It’s like how we introduce ourselves to a guest with a dash of reverence and genuine love towards the other person. You won’t over do it and maintain the status quo with the reader, and yet tell him what you’re all about without mincing words (with few rehearsals!).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Take it out of the inner recesses of your mind – the idea, that is

This post is an extension of the thought initiated by Vivienne Queck of http://www.versacreations.com/ in the post – Farmer and hunter during economic winter

Past many months, if there is one word that is over used, printed or discussed: it is recession. A cousin of mine who is in software industry brings home many stories of his colleagues who lost their jobs due to downsizing and adds that some of them got recently married not expecting this impeding danger. I’m also severely underpaid by clients who get work done giving the same excuses. I too get many rejections when I quote a reasonable price; and I believe every other professional too faces a similar situation.

Though we can’t change the situation that is prevailing, I believe, we can change the way we think. I feel it’s a chance for all of us to learn many lessons: First, the need to save for the unforeseen; second, to get used to the lean phase and become strong mentally, and use this opportunity to see what other things we are good at. J

Mellow down the pleasure seeker

In times of prosperity and flowing wealth it’s natural to lose sight of the future and its sudden surprises. We overlook and indulge in many unnecessary expenditures – would have purchased a bigger car, instead of smaller one; could’ve joined in our children in a high-end schools rather than settling for a realistic one; must have taken way too many vocations and long ones; let our impulse run riot while shopping… than our mind.

This wisdom would never strike us if this lean phase hadn’t occurred and we would be for ever dreaming that every thing is hunky dory for ever and ever. Nothing is permanent; neither this menacing recession. Economy, like life, I believe, goes in perfect circles. It has to come back to normalcy; so is our insanity, for sure.

The farmer becomes a grocer, part- time trader …

The farmer will learn lessons of frugal and intelligent living; and see this opportunity to go for hunting, or go rear some cattle/goats to feed him with some milk/meat and sell to others (other business opportunities). Even most of the people who lost their jobs need to see what to take up otherwise: doing some odd jobs which are their hobbies – it is not so easy, though; but worth trying –who knows they may find lot of fulfillment in those professions and make a great career in that.

Recently, I saw in CNN, an advertising agency CEO becoming a steward in a restaurant and he said that the job of cleaning the place tidy gives him a lot of satisfaction than sitting in a cozy office; he said he wouldn’t leave this job even if he becomes a CEO again. Frankly I wanted to try one like him in my free time to work in another field…may be a steward… to get some insights and some extra bucksJ.

Finally, every difficult situation comes for our good. We know that nothing lasts for ever; what lasts is the experience to explore more on things which were otherwise thought impossible; and strengthens us as great warriors of life. Time to stand up and kick start anew!? Check out the post with other interesting posts on the same topic!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I could see a potential opportunity with each encounter of a situation

Last two days I was working with an NGO which is doing phenomenal work for poor children, orphans and destitute children. They have AIDS rehabilitation and many other self-help activities in the rural areas with social workers. The organization is a famous one by name CCCYC.

Do you know how I got to know them, you’ll wonder if I tell you how. Six months ago, in one casual conversation with a friend I was remembered of one of our juniors who was with us in the hostel. Later, he left for another course in agricultural studies. But every one knew him because he was pretty handsome and a good cricket player and so…so…soft-spoken. His cat eyes made him very special in the hostel.

I immediately called him to know what he is and how he is doing. This is after 15 long years from the college days. We spoke to each other for a long while. After which there was no talk we got busy and forgot about each other.

Suddenly in the month of Jan he gave me a call in the night saying he is now well-placed in an MNC and has been promoted as a manager. He asked me to meet his good uncle in Bangalore who is heading a NGO and he might be of some help finding some work and get some good clients too.

Meeting a man of dynamism and compassion – Arun Kumar Bunyan, Director, CCYC

At last after dodging for a while I went to meet my friend’s uncle. It was as usual a long drive to his office and I was damn tired. When I saw him he said he would find some people who can help me to work with. Then I asked him if he had some work at the moment which I can do for him, for I was free that day with no work. And I came trudging all the way and didn’t want to go doing nothing.

He’s lost in a deep thought… (Must be thinking what this advertising guy can do for him)
He later said that he’s disappointed with several copywriters who promised him that they would work but couldn’t avail their services as they demanded quite a sum. And he said that the organization is celebrating its 50th year golden jubilee celebration and wants to felicitate all ex-foster children who studied in their orphanage homes and later settled in life.

He had about 50 odd people’s reports that came in from different parts of India, who wrote to him their experiences and wants me to write some punch lines and edit them, as he is too busy overseeing the formalities of the celebration.
‘But the time is very short because there are hardly three days left for us to travel to another place where the celebrations would kick start’, he said. He himself is a great speaker and orator and I was bit nervous to start off.

As I started reading each case study, I realized how important the homes were for the orphans and how they’ve been instrumental in transforming each life. As they narrate their experiences and reminisce their moments with great love and emotion… I just couldn’t stop thinking of them and deeply moved.

I could finish about 25 of them giving a punch lines and summarise the story into a small paragraph, the first day. I never did such sort of a rush job. I finished at least 35 case studies in the span of one and half day and felt a sort of relieved and also very exhausted.

All of them are children of lepers, children who lost their mom and dad as they were toddlers, children of poor widows, children abandoned in bus station and railway stations etc. The writing assignment came to me at a situation when I’m writing reviews of the book “Secret Door to Success”. And it gave me a feeling how lucky I’m, though, my parents were with me for a long time. They died very recently and their memories are so fresh in my memory. You can check out their website and do some help if you want to …http://www.cccyc.org/partners.asp

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Strong will & relentless struggle…melts even GOD

We can’t measure the power of our will which has roots in our belief of God. Call him a superpower, or someone who rewards our sincere karma (work), if you please. Often help comes at the least expected time: towards the most exhaustive moment of a situation of our life. It’s really, really tough to believe that help comes at all. But it will; if we believe sooner or later.

I was disillusioned with my earlier job and quit it with the hope that I would make it big in big private schools in the cities. But to my utter surprise I was slowly but steadily drawn into writing through various events that were a kind of surprise to me even today. Here is how…

After groping for a while, I remembered what the university reader I met on the train suggested. I tried to get into Medical Transcription unsuccessfully; but somehow luckily got into a publication. I met a copywriter who had an NGO (Aids rehabilitation) whom I was interviewing in the magazine, he told me to try out in advertising. I sincerely tried without any mentor in my entire career. Thus my dream of becoming a copywriter is at last fulfilled.

In the Secret Door to success there is a quote from Exodus 5:18 in the second chapter:
"There shall no straw be given you, yet ye shall make bricks without straw."
The people of Israel were under great oppression under the cruel taskmaster, ruler of Egypt. When Moses and Aaron requested pharaoh to release the children of God, he even made their life much harsher by asking them to make bricks without providing them straw.

Under those trying circumstances the people were horrified with this new rule and prayed to God, and God the father assured them that they make bricks even without the supply of straw (HE will wait and watch if they face the situation and work hard, and he would sure supply the straw) and they would survive the hardship.

How is it possible? For God everything is possible. The author puts it that it is actually our thoughts that make them. The fear, doubt, the self criticism of our own and others make us a failure even before we start. So be positive and visualize as if it’s happening, for sure.

Here the author narrates few real life instances where it was proved beyond doubt that belief in oneself and God makes them more confident and eventually wins. The author explains about how Clara, Lettie have witnessed the miracles happen in their lives. Read on… the second chapter of Secret Door to Success

Saturday, January 24, 2009

If I were to interview a candidate for a copywriter’s job!

Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for and you’ll succeed ---- Sydney Smith

I recently attended an interview with a big agency’s creative director. I agreed to it with lot of trepidation having tasted a quite bitter experience long time back.

My biggest problem is to carry those odd old print-outs of the only good campaign I did to a reasonably good real estate client. Show these pieces time and again and tell the same answer that I didn’t work on the big brands, ‘cause I couldn’t get a break in the big agencies to lay my hands on one. The scorn on their faces and the careless shrug that says it all about my portfolio scares me most.

The creative director asked me to show some work and I nervously fished out (by mistake) an old file where I stacked my old ads which I did ten years ago. Luckily when he chanced upon one ad which I feel was a good one, and told him that I liked the headline very much (which says “Men of will chase the fate” for an automobile). I told him that I wrote the headline under terrible depression, because I’ve been chasing the good old dream of becoming a good copywriter. He got little shocked if that phenomenon is a regular one. I assured him it won’t be so now, as I’m more matured in confidence.

Before I show my big campaign which I held in my hand, he blurted ‘okay, we’ll call you soon’. I helplessly tucked it back into the cover in which I brought them. And, began thinking of the ordeal of driving back to my home on my trusted two-wheeler back. This one is the lone witness to my frustrations, depressions after each interview and bears with me each time I kick start it very hard to vent my anger.

My question to all interviewers is: how do you interview a writer, copywriter per se, at least an aspiring one?

How do you make a person who trots to your office in search of a job comfortable?
Do you care to ask him if a glass of water to quench the thirst?

If I were in their shoes: I would make the person feel at home before asking anything. If possible treat him or her to a cup of tea or coffee. Or else if the office is too rigid, I’d take him or her to the nearest cafĂ© to get little breathing space and make things bit informal.

I would like to know why and how one is into copywriting. What makes him or her copywriter and the specific reason to be in, and ask why not in other genres; and get to elicit much more information about the candidate’s aspirations and dreams?

While looking at the work, ask him why and how he chose that headline or visual.

In all my discussion with the candidate my only aim is to see the real person beneath the veneer of obvious appearance and the profile showcased before me. That I can gauge by allowing him to talk more by asking many questions about advertising, copywriting and the person’s calling into it.
(Unfortunately, advertising in India has been made out a profession for rich guys and gals (creative department) who can flaunt branded clothes and who can throw tantrums at the drop of the hat for no reason and, who show least respect to anyone except themselves in the vicinity)

I know for sure every struggling writer has a lot to say. I have so much to say about my encounters in my journey through copywriting, though. Allow the candidate to speak more. The whole discussion should be tuned with an informal air and lively chat with a genuine interest to listen with attention.

If I see any passion in the person and if I feel the candidate needs a genuine support to realize his or her passion I would consider him or her.

David Ogilvy entered advertising at the ripe age of 30+, and went on to become one of the greatest copywriters of the world. In contemporary world, he wouldn’t have had a chance to find a job in advertising - given his dabbling in other fields as a salesman and stuff like that.

Everyone makes such a fuss about the dummy profile to be showcased at the interview. How does one get to make a good profile when one doesn’t have the luxury to work with a good art guy, let alone know one? All those who can’t make one great dummy profile can’t be good copywriters, or are you sure that the one who cooks up a profile is a great material for a hot shot copywriter? Even to make a dummy profile also we need the help of a good art guy to help us with the same fire in the belly to make big.

Let’s not lose out any more talented people who knock on the doors of advertising - without maybe formal training, without adequate experience, but with a real passion for advertising. Maybe this is an utopian dream to be real - of making big by sheer passion without being politically correct in the contemporary scenario –having a dummy profile and nodding one’s head with a servile smile… et al.

But maybe, if the people at the helm become more flexible (human) and come down from the high pedestals and talk to ordinary mortals with aspirations. See if the person is thrilled about life around and never stops learning from it.

In writing, it is far easier to write some article you’re interested in and get it published. That builds your profile, a couple of articles, I mean. But in adverting you ought to have a published work of ad campaigns, or a dummy work of big brands. If you take a print out of the copy you dish out and show and you know where it goes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Secret Door to Success - Book Review

My journey through Life
Friends I wanted to share few of my thoughts with you as I was reading a good book gifted by my friend. I felt so happy that these books are of immense use to look inside and take immense courage and spirit to do the impossible. I can’t but share my own experiences of life as I journeyed through, while reading. I feel each ones (yours and mine) experiences are invaluable to know about and take inspiration from each other.

Currently I’m reading a great book –The Secret Door to Success by Florence Scovel Shinn , which is a real life illustration of embracing success through our day to day life activities and beliefs. How each tenet of us builds the tempo for success and happiness.

Our Words resonate… can you hear the echo?

Life takes a beautiful turn in myriad ways. Wonder how? It is in ways unexpected and unimaginable. But the catch is to open our eyes to look around, and the child-like enthusiasm and curiosity to follow our heart.
I was traveling back home in a train with my wife along with my son who was at that time 6-7 months old. I saw a young man who was reading a book in hand and I asked him what that book was and asked him what he does for a living. He politely said he was a reader at CIEFL, Hyderabad, and he was traveling to Vizag to meet his wife who was a consultant with corporates teaching them English language and soft skills. (We suppress our instincts when we feel like talking to someone but keep quiet; we might miss great personal anecdotes or a good useful advice)

He said another thing that his wife’s earning more than him with two to three sessions of seminars a month. That gave me an idea of how different careers can be. I only know about govt. jobs and private jobs of 9am-5pm kinds.

Excited I asked him if there are there any opportunities for a science post-graduate like me who was so interested and passionate about English. He replied ‘you can try Medical Transcription which is going well in the current scenario’. I asked him what it was and he explained that it was all about the dictates of the doctors in US which needs to be carefully typed. Determined I would give it a try, I thanked him.
The first chapter of the book –Secret Door has a quote from the book of Joshua:
"So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets; and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city." -Joshua 6:20
When the people shouted with great force the walls of Jericho were broken. This quote from the bible must have been heard many times; but did it make any difference to us earlier? If laced with a real life story where a life has been transformed by acting on this principal makes us more convinced and inspired.
Here the author illustrated with beautiful real life incidences where and how one’s words have impacted life. The author particularly made effort to tell the person whom she encounters and tells him/her how significant it is to change our attitude towards what we speak.

In the first chapter where the walls of Jericho were broken, they symbolically represent to the walls we built around us through our bad experiences and unpleasant circumstances; or the way we sucked up through our natural human viles like greed, envy in a very clear way with practical examples how taking the right action, one is transformed and the walls broken. She literally changed lives through some kind words of encouragement and actions –by giving few good books to them to take inspiration.

This proactive spirit to come to the rescue of people is very important. Mere knowledge unfortunately isn’t enough to thwart the dogged notions - the Jericho walls we built around us (I’m overwhelmed to know the impossible things happened in lives!). But acts of love and concern through kind gestures and words change the person, indeed, as we witness in the book.

Here Joshua too exhorted the people who’re tormented of oppression and helplessness; God took pity on them and sent Joshua to resurrect them. Similarly, we too should be ready to act on a good advice through a good book, a good human beings’ sharing, and sometimes through a good drubbing (baring the facts before him/her alone with them) by our parents and friends, on the wrongs we commit. Thinking that as a message from God himself.

The words what we speak does matter. Even if the world is harsh to us, we shouldn’t talk about it bad. I mean keep brooding about it. As we speak ill about others we are drawing a sense of negativity into us. Rather we concentrate on the good in the world and choose to speak about it a lot and we sure attract the good from the world around. This fact is slowly seeping into my being and started taking little, little roots…

As I write this post, I feel it’s a message to me to break the walls of Jericho within me which were formidable hindrances to my happiness in life and the cynical feelings I harboured about some bad experiences in life. Yes, true it works and I’m seeing a positive change in me: I smile more, more at problems; and the sulks getting lesser.

Go... see how many lives are transformed and how they embraced success in their life through change of attitude in the book which is world famous since the early 20th until now. You can find this book in library and bookstore .Pls. check it up for yourself.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A jolly treat to the low spirit

– Happy New Year!
The New Year 2009 shouldn’t appear any different like all the years passed by, if we didn’t really notice it and took time to ponder what is in it for me and how should it matter to my day to day living. Maybe we (all the mortals like me) are so afraid that being organized calls for greater sacrifices or the seemingly impossible trying circumstances and the feelings that hold us back. So, why try and add another one to the exhaustive list.

I’s and is an unorganized person, all my life. Howmuchever I try to fix it up I couldn’t and there’re n number of excuses to throw at for not doing this or that. And the impossible way out in the vicinity (perceived) made me an eternal procrastinator and eventually an under-achiever, given my talents.

As I’m reading through several blogs of newbies who’ve seen tremendous success in the past year and heard many a testimonials achieving the targets and goals they had committed to, in much debilitating circumstances than I was in, goaded me to try it out. After all, I felt there is nothing wrong trying an instinct and find out, like all leaders do.

How should I do it? How should I start shaking off this lethargy and this feeling of gloom of not reaching anywhere in copywriting – the dream of working with big ad agencies is not happening, as I realized it needs more than sheer talent to survive in the big mysterious world of advertising? And the depression that pains a lot? Read it as another excuse!

At last, I felt I must put an end to this mess and start taking up the opportunities that come along. When we take first few steps help would come from heaven through a Samaritan. I felt it is time to rekindle my confidence and energies and look positively at things. Thanks to some kind words from a friend
–Vivienne Queckhttp://www.versacreations.net/ who said… “you can be a good copywriter and I want to make you a copywriter-blogger if you so choose”. These words came as a blessing in the New Year. And those words made me write this post in my blog which was languishing since Sept last year. I felt if, only if, I realize what great things happened in my life in the past year despite my low efforts and plain laziness…

Here I count my blessings
If at all we care to count our blessings which we received through family and friends and from others, this sense of time and the beauty of life will dawn on us.

Yes, in order to appreciate the year we entered we need to recall the wonderful things we received, and we never cared how precious they were, and how important they’re to us, last year. And again, how awful our lives could be without them!

For this to happen a questionnaire does help us. My good frined Vivienne Queck, http://www.versacreations.net/, who has been a source of strength for me morally. At First, when I read her post I thought who would go through and who has time to answer these lengthy questions.

Now, as I wanted to write this post and want to commit myself to some planning through this to my friends, I realized how important they’re to have a proper perspective to understand the value of time and life.

It is immensely useful, and I recommend this questionnaire to give it a ten minute thought. Possibly be kept in front of us to see them each day and record some of the life’s feelings and observations so that we can have a different perspective about life each day.

Answering the first question: What was the biggest triumph in 2008, hmm…as I remember it is the realization of the blogosphere’s existence and its immense benefits.

Vivienne Queck opened my eyes to the great world of blogosphere; and in return I came to know and read about such great people who immensely impacted my career: to be specific, to hone my skills in writing and how to write better by carefully reading their blogs.

I thank all the people who painstakingly write great posts (which I think humanly impossible to my imagination unless driven by a strong force – The Almighty) each day and make our lives much more meaningful and happy!

The greatest gift I received is the Bible from another great author –Kristen King of http://inkthinkerblog.com/ which we keep it close to our heart. Not very often we receive gifts from people from abroad!

Besides the greatest gift I received from a stark stranger Mr. Bokjae who blogs at http://www.jangbokjae.blogspot.com designing this blog for me with love. He still looks after it at an elderly age with a wife who is a heart stroke survivor. He is so nice and so helpful and I need to be like him in my life. Now I proudly own a blog and get to know all of you!

And the most important thing is the love of my wife and son who are constant source of help for me, and the gift I received from my wife – the laptop which I like very much and it works so well.

I want thank Mr. George Lenard, USA, who gave me a small overseas job to be written and paid me dollars for the first time in my life. Thanks George!

Last but no the least I want to thank the Almighty who’s protected me, my family and every dear one from all dangers and kept me alive and without whom I would’ve perished long ago.

I want to thank those who hurt me not intentionally (hope there’ll be many more this year!), though; without whose dressing I wouldn’t have had the courage to take some very hard but decisive decisions in my life.

Living to the full

Often I grumbled away so much time with petty matters. I fretted so much about certain things that’re not happening as I wished. I should’ve had taken the alternative step rather than being depressed and waste away precious time.

I blissfully squandered so much time talking ill of my colleagues who was indifferent to me without realizing he/she would be normal if I kept quiet at that time without thinking deep into the incident.

Now I want to smile no matter what the problem I face. I want to be a different person altogether rubbishing all the bad vibes of others as just a passing phenomenon and will be different if I buy some time by smiling at them.

I want to wake up and thank God for keeping me alive. Plan my day in advance to make the most of it. I wish to read Bible a lot and take strength from it more often.

I wish to write regularly sharing my thoughts here: about my life, my calling and about every beautiful aspect of life and blessings I receive each day.

Thanks to the great authors, writers who own phenomenal blogs whose inspiration is monumental to my writing and my intellectual wellbeing every day.

I wish to make lots of money through freelancing and make sincere efforts to achieve this goal to be rich by the end of the year.

How do you want to spend the year ahead? What are your goals and ambitions? Pls. check the questionnaire in http://www.versacreations.net/ for your inspiration and share your dreams!