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Happy New Year! January 18, 2014

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Matt F Alleyway_photo VandalAnd I do hope it is a very happy and successful one for you all.

I have been a little bit lapse in this blog. And by lapse, I mean that apparently my last post was June, even though a birthday post was written, but seemed to not have been published. So, 6 months have passed by without an update here. How is this possible?

I will put the initial blame down to a lack of organisation and discipline. My workload picked up significantly in the second half of 2013, and I prioritised doing work for clients, obviously. This involved content research, gathering and writing up of stuff. I was also concentrating on marketing and managing all this work, keeping on top of my business blog, which slid by the wayside as well.

And so, the priority for this blog slid to the bottom of the pile. Which was more important to me? Writing for clients which pay me, followed by trying to build ME as a brand, and then a blog where i rant a little bit, I play a little bit more? I talk about writing and things which are not purely business based? It turned into a guilty pleasure, of sorts.

And then there was the fact that this blog wasn’t the only thing which was let to slip. Reading. I didn’t read a book, not a one, in the final 6 months of the year. Except after Christmas, but I’ll speak about that later.

So, what things have I been doing for the past 6 months? Let me look at my novels. Much like this blog, writing my novel slid down the priority list. That thought process of – this writing is not making me money! I kind of forgot what writing is to me. I love writing first, and am lucky to be able to make some coin from it. So I need to remember that I am allowed to write and not make money. Writing is important to me, first and foremost.

So, I did eventually finish writing book 2 – South of the Border. And as with all good middle books of the trilogy, i left the characters beaten and bruised, kidnapped, stolen, and near death, so you are going- WHAT!!! And craving book 3. I am currently re-reading through SOTB before handing it off to my editors. And then the re-write. Ugh.

2013-Winner-Vertical-BannerBook 3! Of course, Nanowrimo came around, and so I started on Book 3. As will 2012, I struggled to write masses of words. I checked in at 51k and “won”, but I am only 1/3 of the way through the book. It is going to be huge. I already worked through one battle and conflict, I now have to place the pieces on the board for the next one, free MC1 from being tortured, ramp up the aggression between rebels, The Children, who are little robots, the Royals and then Lenzell and Associates. And THEN throw in a surprise attack. AND THEN wind it all up nicely with happy endings and those damn open-ended problems which leave the possibility of another movie. You know how it goes.

I also wrote a short story last year. I can’t find the link, gosh darn it, but it was about Death, cooking a chilli con carne, for War, who bragged he could eat anything with spice. So Death made it with the ash from a Phoenix. HA! Cop that War… it was the first short I had written in a while, and was fun. I want to do more of them. I’d like to organise a writing group, but, organising anything which involves people is a little tricky, I have found.

I began working on a revamp of my website with two of my good friends. There is me, the copy writer, my friend Craig, who is a graphic designer, and designed my Wonderdog Logo, and there is my friend Brodie, who lives in the UK, and is a WordPress hacking fiend. The three of us spent time on Skype together one night, working on my new site. The dynamic we have, I totally believe the three of us could work together helping people get online with design, words and so on, and make a lot of money. However, what would normally take a week, may take us 2 weeks, because we just fart-arse around too much and have too much fun being silly.

But this idea of helping others be successful in business was a growing theme in the second half of my year. I approached a good friend of mine, and my business coach, with a plan to help people who have an IDEA, but not the know how of how to be in a business, to be a business. He thought my plan and proposal was pretty good. He then spent a couple of months throwing stones at it, and discovered he could not poke any holes in the idea. He loves it, which makes me feel pretty special. Someone I respect highly, thinks one of my ideas is good? We just need a fecking NAME for this venture, so I can start working on it more.

But this need to grow, to move, has been with me since earlier in 2013. I am a member of BNI, and I will say that if it wasn’t for this organisation, I would probably be back in 9-5 work, not freelancing. However, trying to get the members to move, to think excitedly, to DO something, to get organised into POWER GROUPS, has been difficult. Sometimes described as trying to herd cats, sometimes as glacial. It was this frustration which lead me to my Business Coach to start this idea, which is essentially a Power Group working together.

shutterstock_123153736My frustrations are also the reason I have become quite good friends with a client, and member of the group, who wants to shake things up ad get things moving as well. Despite my long hair and out-there kind of attitude, I am not always extroverted in situations such as BNI, or other GROUP situations. Simon is. We both have clicked in regards to what we want to do, and I have become his ‘partner in crime’ as I like to put it, in getting things rolling.

While it may sound malicious and such, it really isn’t. What we want to do is to work on our businesses, and help others work on theirs. We want to not only find people who need us, or our professional contacts, but also look beyond that, and see who knows who. Do you know 5 people, who know 5 people, who may want to know about Social Media? There’s 25 people who may want to know more. Lets have a lunch, listen to what I have to say, and see what we can do together.

It is the combination of these two gentleman which is making me feel like I can go forth in the new year, with a RAAAAAAAWR attitude. If not everything works, that’s okay, a lot of stuff WILL!

Another little project I have started, and am quite proud of, is my jewelry store. Someone showed me a while ago, how they had converted, or re-purposed, a Star Wars toy into an earring. It was the right size and looked freaking awesome. A couple of years later, I was sitting here and thinking- I want to get crafty. I want to do something, creative, buildery, or something. I would like to learn to mod and paint nerf guns. I’d love to build those secret books and so on. And then I remembered that Star Wars toys.

Bought me some, worked on them, and many friends said the same thing- OMG they are AWESOME! So, I came up with a name, and now have an online store and Facebook page.

The name of my store is Meraki Cosmogyral. I can hear many people saying- what? It is two separate words which describe me so well, and what attitude I bring to this venture. Meraki – (v.) to do something with soul, creativity or love; to put something of yourself into your work. Cosmogyral – (adj) whirling around the universe. For me, just seeing those words, together, gives me a smile. I like the idea that we’re going WEEEEEE around the universe. I like that.

What it means now is, I get to wander around toy stores, looking for things to make into earrings, key rings, or charms for necklaces. And friends find things and are thinking- Matt could use this too! I love when my ideas get others thinking as well.

Meraki Cosmogyral Store Envy

So, 2013 was a great year for me, even if I didn’t keep up with the blogging. As a Freelancer, I finally broke even, and have been able to work, and buy stuff, for a good six months. I am growing, as a business person, making great connections, finding more and more clients, growing in confidence.

What is in store for me in 2014? Having more clients and having them for longer. Getting the process down so I can slot a client into a program, create content, spread the word, build their brand and make them known. Release book 2. Collaborate with people to help others grow their businesses. Educate people more, through presentations, courses, and so forth.

I am really looking forward to 2014.

Time flies when you’re having fun, except… July 6, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in books and reading, Writing Group.
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writing-a-bookAccording to my log, it has been close to 2 months since last I wrote here. I think I am seeing a trend. I am scheduling things, planning things, and then letting them slip. I plan on doing a regular blog here, once a week on a Wednesday, and a business based blog on my website once a week. I plan on releasing a newsletter once a month. In all three cases I have let myself slip. I have my reasons, but when you take a step back, perhaps i need to say to myself- no more excuses?

Well, let me look at these excuses.

This blog? I have been particularly busy in the 2 months since April. I have made the transition from scraping a living, to break even and into the black. I picked up 7 clients in 2 months, who want regular social media from me. Plus the odd job here and there. I am now working on my time management so I don’t get overwhelmed with just 7 clients, and I can handle even more, and this is working. But the process to get there did steal time away from other writing.

The newsletter? In the month of June, I attended 2 funerals- one for my grandfather, and then literally 2 weeks later, for a refereeing mentor, and father of one of my good friends. Both of these events threw me, I must be honest. I would start to write and just not be in the mood. I have not been in the mood before and broke on through, I believe this has been something I have gained this year- being able to write, for my job, even when I didn’t want to. But this was different. And people I knew were sympathetic to me, and understood why I stopped and lay down for a while.

excuses-flow1My weekly business blog? Catching up on work, and being busy with work, I let a couple of weeks slip by. Poor time management, as I said before, of which I am tightening up on.

Maybe it is a mid-season slump. The second act in a three-act play which will pick up in the final third. I think this may be the case. That stunned moment when lots of good things happen to you, mixed in with a couple of real bad things. Then you get yourself back on the metaphorical horse, and get riding again.

I wrote about 10k words of my novel in this time. That sounds like a lot, but it was all done in a two-day moment of clarity. Other than those 2 days, it has continued to be relegated down my list of things to do. It was a year ago that I released the first book. I said I would get the second book out by now. Wow, letting the fans down.

So, I think I came into this blog to put it out there that I have not kept up my end of this bargain I have made, but I recognise it. So, just before the end of the second act, a spark of hope will appear. Could it be? Could he really?

Stay tuned to find out….

I am extremely energy efficient. I just need the energy first. May 14, 2013

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5StarI may have alluded on here before that I get very excited about people who want to work with me, who want to hire me as a writer. However, it seems those who would like to, seem to peter out, and not actually want to. Money pressure, not being ready, wanting to do it themselves. Despite a history of this happening, I still get excited.

I do realise that it is a part of the sales process, following up, keeping them keen and interested. I also realise that the sales part of the entire process is one of my weak links. Talking to people, getting them excited and interested, doing the writing and researching content, these things I am great at. The sale? The fishing and keeping them on the hook? Not so much. The writing genes were given to me by my father, but apparently not his awesome salesman genes. But, this is something I am working on, trust me.

Any way, at the end of April I signed up a social media client, ink on the dotted line. We sat down, planned out the first 3 months of marketing, looked at what would be happening in the real world which people would like to know more about, what content I will be producing, how I would check with him that it is all good. And off I went.

I GOT A CLIENT!

excitedpuppyI say this in such a way for a reason. Yes, I got a client. It is not surprising, since I have a few ready to sign on, I do know what I am talking about and doing, but the fact they said YES to me, got me REALLY excited. While we were out and about that weekend my wife was amazed, and slightly annoyed, at my energy levels bouncing around like a freaky mix of small child and adorable puppy. I was extremely happy and, validated, I guess?

So, while I was in this space, I wrote 8000 words of my novel. I wrote tag lines and company titles for another client, checking URL availability. I wrote an article for a magazine, started down the path of an awesome collaboration with some skilled people to help micro and small business. Not that I wouldn’t have done all those things anyway, but the zeal with which I achieved them, just from signing up one client?

I’m not a physicist, or a mathematician, but I think that maybe the ration of energy in and out might have been off. Or, I had a lot of stored potential energy which just needed a release.

This experience has made me think though. If I could somehow apply the rules and structures of a Professional Writing Client, and apply it to my novel writing, how quickly could I whip that thing out and to my editor?

Following on from that, I have had a lot of conversations this month about writing. How to write blogs, what writing works in which forum, how many words does an article make, how to re-purpose content. Crazy ideas for cyberpunk stories with organic hardware smuggling. Sometimes it is a good thing to sit and just throw crazy ideas out there. Like the Daily Pages from the Artist’s Way, you get all that crazy out there, and you settle down into the awesome.

Or something…

My thoughts about Iain M Banks April 5, 2013

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v2-Iain-Banks-GETTYI read on my Facebook feed yesterday that Scottish author, Iain Banks, or Iain M Banks, as he is represented on my bookshelves with great pride, announced he is dying.

“I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.”

Reading further, he proposed to his partner, if she would like to be his widow. They married, quietly, in March, and are now traveling around visiting friends and family. He says he is unlikely to see the end of the year, and the doctors give him months.

I am knee-deep into The Algebraist, a present given to me by a friend at Christmas because she knows I love Iain’s work. My friend’s biggest fear was that I might already have the book.

This news of Iain’s pending demise saddens me. I am really affected by it. Someone reminded me we lost Anne McAffery recently, and while I am sad for the literary world over her passing, I, I don’t know. It seems because her passing was quick, and not announced ahead of schedule, it has not affected me as much as reading this man’s account.

This foreshadowing by Iain, has me thinking- is it better to know? Or is it better to be surprised? If you had the chance to tie up all of your loose ends and say goodbye, is that better?

There are people who would say that it is better to live life to the full so when you do pass on, you have left nothing behind. My best friend was like that. If he wanted to do something, he’d do it. He certainly lived life. He wanted to work and travel overseas, and he did it. Skiing in Europe? Sure! Live and work in London? Why not? He was in Johannesburg, working, and we were chatting. I was telling him he totally had to go to Capetown, climb Table Mountain, bungee jump, take a trip along the Garden Route, and drink some wine. I do believe he was going to book a week’s leave and do it.

Just hours later, to everyone’s surprise, he had suffered from an aneurism.

Now, I cannot compare the sadness I feel at the pending death of Iain and that of my friend. But, in times like this, it is a thought that passes through my mind.

Terry PratchettI also read of Terry Pratchett’s descent into losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, and his campaigning for his right to die, and that saddens me as well.

As a writer, I value my brain, my mind, the creative muscle between my ears that has been my best friend and refuge for a long long time. When I read about Terry’s wish to die, at his own hand before losing his mind, I understand that. If I lost my mind, if it were to go on me? It is one of my biggest fears I have. I think I would rather go, than remain with a mind that was gone.

I don’t drink much. I enjoy beer and bourbon, don’t get me wrong. But I can tell, after 1 or 2 drinks, my mind kicks back into neutral and just idles. And I don’t really like my mind being idle. I am so used to it running at hundreds of miles per hour, that when it slows down from alcohol, I can feel it. And I don’t like it.

Having this conversation with a friend, about my fear of both losing my mind to dementia or Alzheimer’s, or having a fully functioning mind but trapped in a body which didn’t connect, brought to the topic of zombies. She told me that, she has the same fear, and it is why she fears zombies the most. And they are my fear as well. Of all the horrible beasties out there, zombies are my least favourite. I have said that it is the humanity of it, I guess. Seeing people who used to be people, it disturbs me? But now, perhaps, another level, another reason I don’t like them, has been revealed. My fear of losing my mind and becoming a mindless zombie.

I have declared? Accepted? Finally figured out that, the thing I am here to do, in this life, is write. Oh sure, I will do many other things, but I am a writer. And, if the one thing which makes me do that thing I feel I am best at, is taken from me? What else would there be?

Busy is as Busy does March 27, 2013

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wooshToday has been a very busy day for me. Good busy, very good busy, but darn it to gosh! A client meeting in the morning, discussing a social media content package, plus and information pack of what I do so they can on-sell it to their clients who would also like social media.

Then a meeting with my business coach, 1208 Business Logo - Blue - Full Logo-01where we talked about 48 hour goals, fortnightly goals, planning and such, building products for me to sell, marketing me. I know I have written before about taking myself seriously, but getting coaching about my writing as a BUSINESS, and changing how I think about myself as a writer, as a business, is making me take myself seriously again. Hard to explain….

From there I went and spoke to another client, a law firm, about doing social media and training and writing articles and blogs. Good client interview, they really challenged me and I mostly was up to the challenge. Some technical knowledge I couldn’t be perfect on, but, I left them convinced I know what I am doing and can really help them. Of course, there are discussions to be had, but, positive.

I am looking forward to writing for these people.

This evening I attended a networking event. Not such a great event. Not formal networking structure, no selling to each other. I need to sell myself to you, so you can then sell myself to someone else. That is networking, surely. Anyway, a speaker asked- why are you in business? And I answered- because I am good at what I do. Two people whom I have done work for before both said- yes you are.

That made me feel really good. Add this is why I want to work for more people. Yeah, the money would be good, it would relieve a lot of tension in my shoulders. It would allow me to do more and achieve more. I would be able to invest in me, my business and my relationship…s. But it would also allow me to write. A simple little thing, surely. If I get to write for these clients, on a regular basis, then I get to write, on a regular basis.

But, hang on Matt, don’t you have a novel you are writing? Can’t you write that on a regular basis? Well, yes I do, and no I don’t. I have been regular in the past few days, but when I promised to get it done by the START of March and it is near the END of March? It kind of implies I’m not writing on it regularly. I would love to, but work writing prioritises, and then tonight, I don’t have the brain power to get into character.

Writing is what I am good at, and to be given the chance to do good writing, regularly, would be absolutely awesome. And not for myself, but for other people.

Speaking of my novel, sorry, late call there on the segue-way, my editor has Acts 1 and 2. Did a quick word count, Act 1 is only 24 500 words, Act 2 is nigh on 50k words! A little bit lop-sided, but, the acts end where it feels natural. And the current Act 3? That is sitting at 13k, more or less. So a big middle act. I hope you went to the restroom at first interval.

Once Act 3 is finished, even while it is being edited, I will then engage my cover designer. She likes to read the book to get a feel for it so she can craft the cover better. So, it is moving, it is building steam. :) Joke there, did you see it? romney laff

Not writing helps with the writing… March 12, 2013

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010 NoWriting1-300x300That may sound like an excuse to not write here, because I haven’t. But actually, it is something I am learning about the business of writing. Taking time away from doing the writing, to plan what I am to write about, actually helps when I get back in the saddle to tap away at the keyboard.

As a freelance professional writer, I am finding there is a lot of writing to do. Off the top of my head is this blog, my new blog, which you can find here –> Paw1… finishing off my novel (Still a work in progress), writing a newsletter, two newsletters, actually. And I have been editing some friend’s work, and, stuff.

However, through all of this, I am being coached by a business coach. I’ll give him a shout out, because he is really making me shift the way I think about things, about myself as a writer, and as a business person. I am slowly re-wiring my brain. 1208 Business Logo - Blue - Full Logo-01 That is his Facebook page. Go and like it, freak him out with all that attention.

But one thing he is getting me to do is look at the year, to plan things. In an effort to put a little bit of a divide between my professional and personal writing hats, I have launched a new weekly blog, and I am refreshing my monthly newsletter to be more business focused. To do this, I have divided the year up into quarters, with most of the 1st quarter used up, it gave me the month of March to get a run-up to the rest of the year. So, I thought of 3 BIG topics to talk about, then broke them down into 3 monthly lots, and then weekly topics to write about. I have the next quarter all lined up with topics about Social Media. I don’t have to sit at the computer and think- what am I going to write? Because I look down the list of what hasn’t been written yet, and off I go. It has made me more efficient, and actually makes me start to write sooner.

What else? Well, when writing projects crop up, they get scheduled into my day, so I know what I am to be writing and when. Tonight I did have here to do my personal blog, really I did. And here I am. I also have an hour or more worth of novelling to do, but considering the heat, that might get rescheduled.

Tomorrow I have to create a presentation about social media, work on a 1500 word article, and a copy writing proposal.

Another thing which I have noticed makes me work, is giving myself a deadline and announcing it. I announced that I would have my novel FINISHED by March. It didn’t happen, but I did get Acts 1 & 2 to an editing stage. My editor has Act 1, and by the time she nears the end of Act 2, I will have the book finished, and it will seem as if I had the book finished for her in time. Smoke and mirrors ;)

Trying to change the way your mind works, after so many years of working in a certain way, is a difficult task. But I am slowly seeing the benefits of this change of thinking, of planning more rather than going off by the seat of my pants. I should have know, really. My first couple of Nanowrimo novels I ‘pants’d’ them. But when I hit my sci fi epic, I put a lot more plotting and planning into it. And now I declare the month of October to be my month of Plotting and Planning. And I have found the quality of work I produce to be remarkably better.

Oh, and I think in April, I will have a new book cover design to show off. Shhh.. don’t tell Scarlett. She doesn’t know I want to hire her yet ;)

Happy 3 years to me! Now bring me cake… February 19, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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3rd_birthday_cake WordPress  tells me I have been at this blog for three years now. Time flies, I must say. I took a quick look at what I was doing three years ago in my first blog post, titled Commitments to Writing. I had just started my IRC based online writing group- Wednesday Night Writers. That group no longer exists, sadly. I quite enjoyed it, it made me write some good stuff. But, people move on.

Actually, I have only written one short story since then. My mind and writing has shifted to the longer prose of novels, and to building my copy writing skills and business.

My latest novel, South of the Border, I declared to my editor that it would be finished by the end of February. Since I have announced to someone, and to others, and now you, my MASSIVE fan base, that the first draft will be finished in, woah, 9 days, I am now accountable to that. I have just finished Act 2, which is good. So I now have 9 days to write the massively climatic battle and lead into book 3. Sure, I can do that.

News on Book 1- The Girl From Out of Town, it has been formatted, and the cover worked for a print version. I am just waiting on some cash to grab some ISBN’s, and to figure out the US tax requirements. So soon, I will have a print novel, in my hot little hands. It is not a quick process, but it is a process nonetheless.

And on the professional front? Well, I am in that freelance trap of doing work and having clients be a little lapse in making payments.  It is a struggle, and a stress, to be honest. You want to do your best for clients, but it is tricky not to bring a little bit of stress with you into each job when you think- can I afford to do this? I am sure that in a month’s time, when I have 10 clients under my belt, 5 websites, numerous blog posts and brochures, I will look back at today and think- wow, how close was I to the edge?

And further to my professional writing biz, I made a judgement call last week. I have a newsletter – Matthew’s Writing Snackbox. It was my little monthly newsletter with news on writing, character development, a real mix of tastes and flavours, as per the title of the newsletter. But it did not have a direction. So, I need to tighten it up and focus it more. I have decided it will be more focused on copy writing, marketing and such, to be a real valuable source of information to clients and people who want to write, or want some tips on how I do the things that I do.

And what about the rest of the cool stuff I find on writing which I included? Well, as someone said- isn’t that what your blog is for? Isn’t that what your Facebook is for? So, yes, I will source the same material, the same content, but divide it up into work and pleasure, if you will. So much happens in the world of writing, and I want to share as much as I can with people.

So look out 2013. This is the year I change things up, write stuff, become successful, and, STUFF!

35005508

Lightning in a bottle February 5, 2013

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When I am inspired to write, by gum I am inspired to write. I am into dreaming, remembering my dreams and interpreting them from time to time. I love dreams, and hate them too. Last week I had a night terror about a gang of kids trying to kill me in a gym locker room. I ripped myself out of that dream and refused to go back to sleep because I knew I would go back into the same place and get beat on. It is also in my dreams that I get to hang out with my best friend, who passed away a little over 4 years ago. And yes, we were hanging out on Sunday night. He was drunk trying to get me into a night club, but because my clothes weren’t right, I was not allowed in.

But that is not what I was talking about. Both on Saturday night and Sunday night I had epic dreams. One involved being immortal, buried alive and then chasing the guy who tried to murder me 5000 years into the future, traveling at the speed of light to other planets and such. And the other dream was an alien invasion, survivalist, time-traveling dream. Both were awesome.

On Sunday morning I came to my computer and wrote my dream down. In 10 minutes I had 1500 words written down.

On Monday morning, same thing, I transcribed my dream down. Again, 10 minutes, 1200 words.

I am blown away by being able to crack out 1500 words in 10 minutes!

And then I look at my novelling, and how it crawls along at sometimes 2000 words a day. I have written for three days straight, but the impetus of the novel has totally dropped off. I think I need to spend a day doing nothing but novelling, away from the internet. Or, get the work writing done in the morning, and then take the afternoon off. See if I can repeat those epic stats of 1500 words in ten minutes. 9000 words in an hour? Damn.

I know I have had moments of inspiration where I have written LOTS. I would love to be able to bottle those moments, or some how put myself into those moments. Perhaps there is.

Or, perhaps those moments of inspiration are for dream recall, poetry and short stories, and I should keep the novelling as though I am running a marathon.

 

Food for thought. Olympics+Day+9+-+Athletics

Viral Marketing. (That’s an ad?) January 25, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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old spice 1There are two forms of marketing which are very effective, and yet very hard to pin down to a strategy. One is guerrilla marketing, and the other is viral marketing. Lets have a look at viral marketing.

Viral marketing is when an idea, a video, or a tweet, or a picture, is circulated around the internet at the speed of thought, exposed to millions of people, and remains in the social consciousness for a long time afterwards. Just think of the ‘Old Spice Guy’. The commercial first aired during the 2010 Superbowl in the USA. The ad, on you Tube, had close to a quarter million views in the 2 hours after the Superbowl, and was increasing 100 000 every few hours after that. The ad was so well thought of, it even garnered positive responses on 4Chan!

Following on from the success of this, the marketing company behind this viral hit then had a 2-day marathon of video responses to questions raised on Twitter. Again, this was a huge success. Responses came back to the twitter questions with amazing speed and hilarity. The company earned nearly 11 MILLION video views, 29 000 Facebook fans and 58 000 new twitter followers. And, to hammer home the point of the viral marketing aspect, and how popular it was, the actual Old Spice product was barely mentioned in any of the video responses.

More recently, Dick Smith has been the fortunate recipient of viral advertising. A funny, tongue-in-cheek ad he created for Australia, playing off his name, encouraging everyone to eat his Australian made products, or, ‘eat dick for Australia day’, was banned from prime time early evening TV because it contained potentially offensive material.  dick_smith_ad_640x360

This news hit the internet, and almost immediately people were posting links to the ‘uncut and original’ ad on social media. Dick had interviews on talk shows, and on Sunrise, the hosts even congratulated him on having his ad shown on their show for free.

There is, of course, a formula to viral marketing. But, it is a formula whose ingredients are volatile and may not mix well. You need the right balance to make it work. You may have seen companies try and build a viral marketing campaign and fail. One of the best (or worst) examples was when the Chevy car company in America, opened it’s advertising space for people to make their own commercials for the newly launched SUV, the Tahoe. You could choose from different clips showing the vehicle doing, SUV stuff. You could run them in any order, have inspirational music, and then put your own messages up there.

You can possibly imagine the result when The Internet had finished with this marketing campaign. If you would like some help imagining that, have a look at these great examples – Great Padded Cell, or this one, encouraging you to Murder Your Family , language warning on that second one.

A viral marketing campaign, as I said, has a formula, but is not something that you can force, crowbar into popular culture. You need a reason for people to share it- an emotional connection, a ‘what the…?’ reaction, something is really funny and witty. You need the call to action to be subtle (depending on your message). That call to action can be to actually share the video, or as in the case of ‘Help for Paws – how and iPhone saved the lives of 5 puppies‘  the call to action is obviously- donate NOW! And, you need a good story to go with it. It needs to be compelling, hold your attention and make you want to watch all of it.

Guerilla Marketing (What did I just see?) January 25, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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This is one of those phrases which, ironically, is hard to pin down to a definition. It is not Viral Marketing, which we will look at in a future blog post, it is more having your brand seen, often in sneaky and cheeky ways.

How many times have you seen a bunch of guys, painted up and chanting at a sporting event? If you are in the crowd, you are looking right at them. If you’re watching TV, chances are the cameras have focussed on them during a lull in play. What if those guys were wearing something with your brand on it? Not blatantly out in the open, but some branded shorts, or a flag in team colours and your company’s name on it? Suddenly, your brand name has reached millions of people, depending on the sport, and you haven’t had to pay a cent in sponsorship money.

Have you ever seen large golf umbrellas at the 18th hole on a PGA play off? The camera shows a vision of a professional golfer, concentration etched on their face. And in the back is an umbrella, in distinctive colours? You see a red umbrella with a swirl of white you think- cola. If you saw an orange umbrella with a white arrow? FedEx. Was there an actual paid commercial for either of these companies? Probably not.

There is a trick in making sure you are casually sitting where the camera will see you in the background. If you see a reporter on the street, standing behind hem but in the line of sight of the camera, with a logo visible, and there you have it. Or, as I have often seen on the morning breakfast shows, the windows which open on to the public, so you can see them live to air. Well, the people on the other side of the camera can see you too, waving and on your mobile phone. So why not take advantage of that and have a sign, a colour scheme, a printed t-shirt?

A fantastic example of guerrilla advertising was during the Sydney Olympics. The Triple J radio station held a competition – Beat The Drum. If you could get their Drum logo show to the widest audience possible, in a legal way, then you would win your rent paid, for a year, or all your bills paid for the year. The winner was a person who had seats right behind the medal podium at the swimming. Every time athletes stood there to get their medals and sing their national anthem, there was the Triple J drum logo.

Triple J paid nothing for the campaign, and trust me, there were plenty other attempts to get the logo out there. A woman on the Sydney foreshore with body paint; signs on busy freeways; costumes at rock concerts. Sure, there was a cost in the prize, but to have so many people getting their brand and logo out there?

It can be hit and miss, but if you can pull off an ingenious, subtly, but telling guerilla marketing campaign, the money made for very little outlay, could be significant.

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Guerrilla marketing gone wrong, with this man arrested at the 2004 Athens Olympics

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