You Can Have It All, Just Not All At Once

by Nicole Branigan on March 3, 2014 · 0 comments

Or some other cliche about everyone needing to chill the f$&% out.

January-March is the busiest time of year for me. Large companies and small businesses are rolling out marketing projects based on new budgets approved after the New Year. It’s a great time to be an independent copywriter because it means I have the luxury of saying,”yes,” to some projects and, “no,” to others. It’s a luxury I’ve earned after  five years of freelance copywriting, and a luxury I’ve had to learn to use wisely. Saying no to projects means I have more time to work on the projects I care about. This results in a better process for me as a writer, and a more polished end product for my clients.

But I can’t have it all. I don’t get to have the perfect client with an unlimited budget and a flexible project deadline. The perfect client is typically in a rush, or is running low on funds. Or perhaps the less exciting project has an unlimited budget and is willing to pay for someone to plow through the dull material at a higher rate.

You don’t get to have it all either. You don’t get a copywriter that will work tirelessly for little money. Maybe you will get that, but speaking as someone that used to be that copywriter, the end result won’t be as pretty as you hope.

So we don’t get to have it all, or when it rains it pours, or a bird in the hand is worth two stuck to the grill of my car. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, but it is important to realize you can’t always have your cake and eat it too. Be patient with the copywriting process and I promise you that your copywriter will deliver.


Blackbird Meets Vorstellen

by Nicole Branigan on January 20, 2014 · 1 comment

In German, vorstellen means, “to propel forward,” and that’s just what Chris Kimmelshue and the rest of the Vorstellen team do with class, high-end automobiles. I was so excited to work with these guys because they really understood their business. They aren’t trying to do 8 million things – they are doing one thing and doing it very well.

The project started with the landing page copy, which is always one of my favorite things to work on because it’s short and to the point. The purpose of landing page copy is to say, “Hi. We’re here and you’re going to want to pay attention to us.” Minimal words, big impact. Chris knew he wanted a tone that was classy, clean and confident and I was able to hone in on their expectations. Client happy. Freelance content writer happy. Done. I’m looking forward to doing more with the Vorstellen folks in the future!

Vorstellen Landing Page Copy

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Sometimes Even Santa Hugs Hurt

This is a holiday post after the holidays.

The Christmas/New Year/Kwanza/Winter seasons have given me a lot to think about. When financial pressures and medical emergencies creep up on you days before one of the biggest holidays, you tend to take a couple of days to reflect. Combine that with the first Christmas where your toddler “gets it,” and you start to seriously question every decision you’ve made as a parent and a human (sometimes those two nouns are incredibly far apart).

How You Act During The Big Moments Count

How you behave under pressure matters, and is often telling of how you behave as a person in your normal/non-crisis life. We had an emergency with our oldest pet while I was at work last week, and my husband was under the gun to make decisions about our toddler, our dying dog and a possible tornado [actual possible tornado, not metaphorical] heading towards our city. He handled himself with heart and made decisions based on feeling and gut and that’s all I can ever ask of my husband and the father to my child.

How You Act During the Little Moments Also Counts

In thinking about how we behave during the substantial and trying moments of our lives, we should also examine how we act during the everyday moments. Because what better indicator on the asshole-o-meter than how you treat your server, or the post office worker or your family. How you act every day represents the values you hold and the ideals you share with the world.

So, pretty much it all matters.

[And Another Thing] About Materialism

This Christmas awakened a tiny, selfish beast in my son. Never before has he received so many gifts from Santa and family! Never before has he had so many new toys layed before him for the taking! Never before has he-wait, there are also rules? I could see my son being pulled in so many emotional and developmental directions and his sanity was the ultimate collateral damage. My husband was uncomfortable, I was uncomfortable and my son was going batshit crazy.

I mean, how lucky are we to complain about ABUNDANCE? How lucky are we to have blogs where we write about our stupid first-world feelings? If this season of this season has taught me anything it’s that how you behave in every section of your life matters and try not to focus too much on the shit that’s wrapped in fancy paper and too much plastic.


Ads I wish I Wrote – Part I

by Nicole Branigan on December 9, 2013 · 0 comments

It must happen to everyone. Musicians hear a song and think, “I wish I wrote that!” Artists see a painting or sculpture and think, “I should have created that!” As a copywriter, I always see advertisements, web content and taglines and think, “JEEZ! I wish I wrote that!” Here is an example: (click image to expand)

Don’t you love this Lego ad from 1981? It’s succinct and doesn’t talk to you like you’re an idiot. It makes a point without making the point. The point that Legos are for everyone. It also captures a moment in words and pictures that is often indescribable. The moment when your child builds something and they are so proud of it and you’re so blown away you think the world could explode. That. They did that. This little red-headed beauty with her smirk did that. The line, “What it is is beautiful,” did that.

I don’t want to get all Don Draper on you, but a good ad makes you recognize a product and see the value in it. A great ad does that, but also makes you feel something typically indescribable, and does so with a beautiful and eye-catching combination of words and images. This ad does that. And I wish I wrote it.



It’s My Website, I Can Say What I Want

by Nicole Branigan on October 28, 2013 · 0 comments

Miley Cyrus At VMAs

It’s a hot mess, but it’s a strategic hot mess.” – Miley Cyrus

Yes, it’s your website, and yes you have the freedom to say whatever you want but it’s also important to pull the reins in. And this is coming from someone who prefers the occasional swear in her professional [read: self-indulgent] blog posts.

Your website is yours, but it belongs to your viewers. They decide whether to click through each page, share a blog post or pick up the phone to call you and find out more.

Your website should reflect you and your personality but not at the expense of your business. Don’t cover up your personality, but let it shine in a way that is complimentary to you and appropriate for your business.

How Do I Show Personality Through My Website?

  1. Great Design. Your website should look like it’s your website, but it should also be intuitive, user-friendly and beautiful.
  2. Superb Copy. Personality shines through great copywriting. A skilled copywriter will hone in on who you are and channel that into words that explain your business as well as give the viewer a feel for who you are.

Don’t be a hot mess for the sake of being a Miley Cyrus hot mess. Put professionals in your corner that help you narrow in on who you are and what you do in a way that is accessible to your audience.

*Editor’s Note: The author of this blog post may or may not have watched the MTV Miley Cyrus documentary that one time.

Photo Cred