Why copywriting is like reality TV

February 2, 2012 by Dean Rieck · 4 Comments
Filed under: Inspiration 

Reality TV's cast of Jersey ShoreHmm. I’ve use a lot of analogies over the years to discuss copywriting, but never reality TV.

But Tiffany Markman brings up some good points and gives us all a different perspective as she wades into the swamp of today’s most popular TV genre.


I say ‘reality TV’.

You think of several good-looking people eating earthworms for money, a family of motorbike manufacturers fighting with each other, a chubby guy baking multi-storey cakes, or a nice family with several adopted kids getting a beautiful new house.

Whatever your impression of reality television – and whether you like it or hate it – have you ever considered how much like copywriting it is? No? Well, I have.

And here’s why…

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My grandfather’s chicken-plucking secret of success

November 25, 2010 by Dean Rieck · 5 Comments
Filed under: Inspiration 

chicken plucking successToday is Thanksgiving. In the U.S., this is the day when we give thanks for all the important things in our lives.

I’m thankful for many things, one of which is my late grandfather.

In his simple way, he taught me the most important secret of success in my life.

My grandparents lived in the heart of West Virginia. As a child, I spent many long summer days at their home, running in the wide green yard and splashing through the creek looking for crawdads.

I’d play until my grandmother called me in for dinner.

The meals were never fancy but always fresh because my grandparents raised a lot of their own food, including corn, potatoes, green beans, strawberries, grapes, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and a few chickens.

One afternoon, I was sitting behind the house with my grandmother, who was peeling potatoes and stringing beans. She asked me what else I wanted for dinner. I told her chicken.

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$#!* Happens! A dirty story about freelancing success

August 5, 2010 by Dean Rieck · 4 Comments
Filed under: Freelancing, Inspiration 

the sweet smell of freelance successIt was about 11:00 a.m. when we started up the mountain outside of San Pedro Sula in the northwest corner of Honduras.

The humid air lay heavy and still in the valley below, causing the fields of sugar cane to shimmer in the hot sun.

We were videotaping b-roll for a few TV spots one of my fundraising clients wanted to test. Our task that day was the same as it had been every day that week: to capture images of the devastating poverty these people suffer.

The camera crew donned their battery belts, cables, and assorted gear and we followed the narrow dirt path toward the shacks above.

As we ascended a steep rise and veered to the right, we came across a young boy toting an armload of dry firewood. One of our videographers wanted to shoot this and positioned himself in the middle of the path.

That’s when it happened. And to understand what happened, you must understand the term “wrap-and-throw.”

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5 simple ways to become a confident copywriter

July 26, 2010 by Dean Rieck · 7 Comments
Filed under: Inspiration 

copywriter confidenceConfidence plays a big part in freelance copywriting success, or anything else in life for that matter.

It influences what you do, how you do it, and how others perceive you.

It’s not something you’re born with, though it does seem to be something that sticks with you through life if you develop it early.

But what if you don’t? What if you’re the stereotypical writer who’s an introvert? What if you lack the confidence you need to speak to people boldly, ask for the pay you’re worth, and take the risks your career requires?

Well, I’ve never been the cheerleader type, full of chirpy advice about how to feel good about yourself. Actually, I can be something of a curmudgeon. But I have learned a few things over the years about confidence.

When I started out, I was a typical creative writer type. I didn’t have any more confidence than anyone else. Today, I’m often described as a Type A personality.

So what happened? Where did all the confidence come from?

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How does the gift of copywriting benefit mankind?

December 25, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 2 Comments
Filed under: Inspiration 

I’ve been pondering what I could write about for Christmas day.

Should I try to turn the holiday into a teachable copywriting analogy? Should I discuss how copy contributed to the purchase of all those gifts? Or should I dredge up the story about how Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer started as a copywriter’s promotional gimmick for Montgomery Ward?

Then I started thinking about how much copywriters contribute to society. Nearly all selling starts with a copywriter putting his or her hands onto a keyboard and pecking out words that turn products into the fulfillment of dreams.

If it were not for copywriters, very little would be sold in this world. The impact on commerce, and therefore on the lives of billions of people, would be immense.

So I’d like to pose a simple question: How does the gift of copywriting benefit mankind?

You can be as specific or general as you like. Just think about the effect your work has on the lives of people and share your thoughts.

We write ads or people die!

December 23, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 1 Comment
Filed under: Inspiration 

Do you ever feel that those around you simply don’t understand the importance of what you do as a copywriter?

You and I know that it’s all about the message. And the message requires words. Words that convince, persuade, and sell. Words that determine the fate of products, companies, and brands.

Quite simply, we write ads or people die.

Warning: This video contains some foul language and frightening truth. So if you can’t handle the words or the truth, move on.

30 copywriting blogs that are actually worth reading

September 18, 2009 by Dean Rieck · 35 Comments
Filed under: Inspiration 

There are zillions of copywriting blogs out there. Most fall into one of four categories:

  • Blogs used to promote a copywriter’s services.
  • Blogs by people who primarily want to sell you money-making stuff related to copywriting.
  • Blogs that say they’re about copywriting but seldom provide any usable copywriting advice.
  • Blogs on copywriting by people overseas who can’t write in English very well.

I’m not criticizing any of these blogs. They all have their purpose (except maybe the last category). It’s just that it’s harder than you might think to find good blogs with useful copywriting tips.

Here are 30 blogs (in no particular order) that do offer advice on copywriting.

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