How to write a mission statement to guide and inspire

February 4, 2010 by Dean Rieck · 9 Comments
Filed under: How-to Guides 

mission statementLet me start off by saying that I’m not a poofy, hand-holding, kumbaya kind of copywriting guy. I’m more of the roll-up your sleeves and get down to business kind of copywriting guy.

So I have a love / hate relationship with mission statements. Too often they’re an exercise in overinflated ego and empty rhetoric. (The photo is a tongue-in-cheek reference to “the vision thing” that leads some companies to write a fuzzy, self-indulgent mission statement.)

However, it is important for an organization to have a mission and that mission should be expressed in a well-written mission statement. It’s the corporate version of an elevator pitch.

Recently while writing a mission statement for one of my clients, I realized how hard it can be to express in just a few words the whole of an organization’s purpose for being. But in my usual, step-by-step approach to projects, I came up with a set of rules for how a mission statement should be written to make it useful.

It’s important to understand that a mission statement must guide and inspire. It’s a verbal road map that shows where an organization is and where it’s headed. It describes why an organization exists, what principles it adheres to, and what it strives to accomplish.

In other words, it defines the philosophy, mores, and goals of the organization. Generally, there’s a somewhat lofty tone that lifts the mission statement above the task-oriented language of most marketing. However, as I’ve already pointed out, this can easily spiral out of control and become empty rhetoric. So be careful.

Here are 4 tips for writing a good mission statement.

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How to write the perfect sales letter

December 21, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 5 Comments
Filed under: How-to Guides 

sales letter exampleThe hot copywriting projects today are sales pages, email messages, auto responders, blogs, and all manner of online marketing.

But the good old-fashioned sales letter still works and its techniques are required for many online and offline marketing messages.

I fear that thousands of young copywriters now growing up in the Internet age are trying to learn how to write copy without ever learning how to write a sales letter.

Smart copywriters know better, of course. Trying to write copy without knowing how to write a sales letter is like trying to bake a cake without knowing how to turn on the oven.

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How to write a direct response TV commercial that sells

December 9, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 10 Comments
Filed under: How-to Guides 

Unless you specialize in television advertising, you’re not too likely to get a copywriting assignment to write a TV commercial.

But you never know.

I have a background in TV and radio, so I occasionally write for these advertising media, but not as often as I would like. However, when the opportunity arises, I need to know how to handle it. And you do too.

First, watch this classic TV commercial for Ginsu Knives and pay attention to how it is structured. This is the granddaddy of all modern direct response TV (or DRTV) ads. Even though it looks dated, today’s commercials work pretty much the same.

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How to write a postcard for maximum response

November 16, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 12 Comments
Filed under: How-to Guides 

postcard sampleIn today’s down economy, more and more businesses are turning to postcards to advertise their products and services.

Postcards are cheap, versatile, effective, and easy to produce. Plus, you can get them in the mail fast and get results in just days.

The postcard shown here is an example. Click it to see both front and back as a pdf. This is a postcard I created for one of my clients a couple years ago to generate leads for a product. And it’s a prime example of how to make a postcard work.

Some copywriters have trouble with postcards because they don’t understand the format. Is it an ad you mail? Is it a small self-mailer? Is it like a billboard? Or is it merely support for other campaigns?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

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How to write a radio ad that generates calls or traffic

October 28, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 5 Comments
Filed under: How-to Guides 

Write Radio AdvertisingAs a copywriter, you may not often get the chance to write radio ads. Usually, the client or the radio production house will write the script.

But occasionally, someone will ask, “Oh, by the way. Can you write radio ad copy?” Naturally, you’ll want to say “Yes.”

In the back of your mind you’ll wonder if you can do it. It seems simple enough. But if all you’ve ever written is print ads, radio advertising will feel like foreign territory.

So let’s talk about radio ads and how to write a basic radio script. We’ll listen to one of my own completed radio ads as an example.

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