https://dailytrope.com  has daily posts in which a new a new figure of speech is shown along with an example. The site may be somewhat esoteric, but what the hey! If you like finding new ways to spruce up your writing, this site may help. Here’s one example.

Colon (ko’-lon): Roughly equivalent to “clause” in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second colon (or membrum) or with two others (forming a tricolon). When cola (or membra) are of equal length, they form isocolon.

Colon or membrum is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the slower speed of concatenated membra to the quicker speed of words joined together without conjunction (articulus).

I had a car. I had a house. I had a wife. Everything was great until my wife went nuts. She wrecked the car. She burned down the house. Then, she got a lawyer. Now, she’s out on bail. I’m living in an apartment and taking the bus to work. As far as I’m concerned things couldn’t get much worse, unless she finds out about my previous marriage. My previous wife disappeared in New Jersey without a trace. I was cleared of any wrongdoing, but try to get anybody in Jersey to believe it! They were all against me–unfair, unreasonable, uncharitable. I’ve been living here in Ohio for the past 12 years without a trace of wrongdoing. Did I say “Without a trace?” Whoops.

 

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My Award Winning Video

This is a copy of a letter from a company for whom I solved a major problem. They manufacturer oil burners, but the installation instructions were so poorly written, that the technicians put the unit back into their boxes, returned them and bought a competitor’s model. I wrote the script for a video showing how the unit should be assembled, installed and calibrated. Not only did the completed video solve the problem, it won an award as stated in the letter.

 

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Persistence

If you have been following us on FB, you know that I met a local photographer who was offering to shot videos for people. Since I have a number of video scripts to my credit, I suggested we meet and swap war stories.

As it turned out, one of the people who responded to his offer is a marketing company with a not-for-profit client looking for a 30 second video to promote their services. So the photographer and I developed a concept paper which the marketing folks liked.

Therefore, come Monday we are meeting with the client to gather some materials for an initial draft of the script. It was kind of strange how it happened, but if you think you have what they need, then go for it.

More when it develops.

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Writer’s Block

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The Value of a (Good) Positioning Statement

This morning I had coffee with a person who provides counseling to clients and is looking for ways to increase his business and expand his client base. So I asked him, as I do with most people, who is his target audience. His response? “Everybody.” So I asked does he see more men or woman. “Fifty fifty,” he replies. Lastly, I asked what is the average age of his clients. “Thirty five,” he says. Bingo. Many of his clients are millennials. So the next question is how to reach that segment of the population.

That will take some research. That will take creating a blog or some aspect of social media. That takes time and energy and a few dollars, but it’s more focused that throwing a wide net and coming up empty. So my suggestion was start searching online for how millennials deal with their emotions. It’s a start.

Continuing on with the discussion on how to position oneself or one’s business within a market, having identified that market (which we suggest in the August 7 post was millennials) you then have to decide what are the top three features and benefits you bring to that market. Then, and only then as Seth Godin suggests, do you start developing a marketing approach to reach that market, everything from how it works  to its competitive advantage. Because, quite frankly, everything is marketing.

For example, the company that made an oil burner sold through distributors. The price was right and the features were right. But when a technician got to the job site, the installation instructions were impossible follow. They returned the unit and bought a competitor’s model. Everything is marketing!

Tone

Another consideration when preparing to reach out to your target market or audience is the tone of the materials you develop. I once wrote the copy for a sell sheet on industrial saw blades and I opened it with an analogy to a pizza shop. It was light with  tongue in check,  and the client loved it!

On the other end of the spectrum the script for the oil burner I mentioned in an earlier post was formal and conservative. There’s little room for levity when writing processes such as these.

But a video designed to convince retailers to act now and reserve a location in a proposed shopping mall in a very affluent area of the country does convey a sense of immediacy in an attempt to persuade them to act now.

And then there is the video that looks like a silent movie complete with a Chaplinesque lead I wrote for a local advertising association. It was made purely to entertain the attendees at an awards dinner, and the light, light tone worked!

Trust me on this. I’ve been there. On both sides. Creative people such as writers and artists and filmmakers need the three D’s: Direction, Details and Deadlines. You’re paying them money and you want a product that promotes you and your project in the best light. You know your business; they do not.

That’s why a well developed positioning statement (PS) becomes a checklist. When the writer sends you the content, you can check it against what you wrote on the PS. Same with the graphic artists. Does their work complement the content and help define your unique position in the market? And the deadline serves to make sure that the “team” is proceeding at the desired pace and the launch of the new campaign will occur as planned.

The checklist ensures you avoid the trap of “We never have time to do it right, but we always have time to do it over.” Capisce?

Comments welcomed.

 

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Template from Walter Dean Myers

I like templates. I especially like templates that work. And when it comes to writing, I have used a template I found in a book by Walter Dean Myers entitled “Just Write. Here’s How.” Mr. Myers was a prolific writer especially of literature for young adults. In this book on writing he offers a template for writing fiction and one for non-fiction. Since I write the latter, here’s what he suggests to organize a piece of writing. He calls it the four box model.

In Box I he raises a question.

In Box 2 is the evidence that supports the conclusion in Box 4.

Box 3 is your explanation of why the evidence in Box 2 leads to the conclusion in Box 4.

Box 4 is the answer to the question.

As an example, he cites a biography. One could write an essay on why is George Washington  called the Father of our country?  See? You have a template. Note the question  can be explicit, as with George Washington or implicit as in “It’s 1972 and the man in the corner office is wearing a World War One uniform.”

Comments welcomed.

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