I’m a craftsman of authentic voices and a builder of copy for the content marketing generation.
People respond to communities and stories from companies that promote engagement and transparency over raw information. My work is to tell unique stories that attract genuine interest and command action.
I offer a full suite of freelance writing services to support editorial design, social media planning, SEO strategy and ad copywriting. It’s a collaborative approach that creates content true to your voice. Together, we’ll tell your story and create meaningful connections with your audience.
These are the advice and rants of an experienced marketing slave. My regular blog posts on everything from content writing tips to SEO tactics. Copywriting advice, SEO suggestions, news and maybe even a few laughs from a true spawn of marketing sludge.
In case you want to know more about who I am and how my mind became twisted as such, you can read more about my history. A snapshot of my working and life experiences. Perhaps more interesting to you, I have to deal with me everyday.
Professional freelance writer and editorial strategist at your service. Available for content writing, social media support and overall copy design for businesses of all types. Let a corporate storyteller help you chisel the right words that express your advantages.
I’m a nut for cooking shows. I’m not talking about drama-ridden, spoon-throwing reality shows, but the ones with absolute masters of culinary experience. Maybe it’s because I can draw so many parallels between great cooking and great writing.
I recently binged on Chef’s Table on Netflix (highly recommended) and revelled in the story behind each master. As I did, specific things stood out as metaphors for exceptional writing.
“I don’t like companies having my data.” Says someone between status updates. “I feel violated that they know everything about me!”
This hypothetical individual isn't alone. About 50% of people are worried about the amount of personal information about them online.
“We don’t want to sound like just another boring service provider." A small electrical company told me when discussing their website content. "We want to come across unique and appealing to homeowners, not just more corporate talk.”
My first thought was, ‘Are you just another boring service provider?’ I can understand a desire to stand out, but what would I want from an electrician? I want professionalism, collaboration and the ability to get the job done. If you pass that test, perhaps I’ll call for a quote. What’s really important to me is that what you say in your marketing matches what you deliver.
"It needs to be social at times and viral."
That sentence was one of biggest turning points in my career. Young, doe-eyed entrepreneur and slick marketing dude faced with the same jargon I slung for years. It was a proposal filled with buzzwords. The customer was asking for something they couldn’t define to fill expectations they couldn’t articulate. Nightmare.
I was reading some article on our love for garage sales. The quaint backyards and double bays opened with all the personals a lifetime has gathered, ready for bargains.
What is really appealing to people is that you’re buying more than just second hand treasure (or junk), you’re buying stories. A family cared for this furniture, children grew up and made memories with those toys and these tools lasted a generation and will continue to serve.
I’m probably most upset about this because of the dire saturation these Chevy ads have been having everywhere. It grinds on me to see most advertising in place of my programming, but these Chevrolet ads are so blatantly misleading, and not in that fun ‘make fun of yourself’ way that we find endearing.
The beauty of archetypes is that we all know what they are, even if we can’t consciously place them. Symbols have always been powerful marketing tools because they carry a certain emotional weight, and provide shortcuts to meaning. There’s a symbolic connection with the image of a magician or ruler that transcends borders and cultures, and those are the roots of archetypes.
Look, I have to say first that I like the idea of the program; I just don’t like how it was done, whom it was done by or why they did it. Make sense? More discussion about racial equality is a huge hot button right now, and it needs to be brought to the forefront, but why Starbucks?
I have to question the entire thought process with my top reasons that the program didn’t make sense. Not reasons why it didn’t work, but why would you do it in the first place?
Over lunch, a friend showed me a photo of their new corporate business cards the made in-house. He works at a design company, so they make cards all the time, but this time it was special. These particular ones were for an owners, and he received a full box of cards that read ‘Business Manger’. A typo – from a design company – to one of the owners. Things got messy.
When did working hard start going out of style? We feel sorry for those people who bust their buts, putting the extra time and extra mile to set themselves apart. Sure, there’s plenty to say about abusive work environments, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m questioning is our destructive culture of wanting to get as much as possible for the least amount of effort.
I caught the most recent Nestea commercial on TV the other day, and the 15 second product spot perplexed me enough to comment. I’ll provide the link here, but I’ll give a breakdown of how I took it.
A Pretty although somewhat homely girl turns to arms-length guy and says, “Jake, I love you.”
Completely plain and unmemorable male actor replies, “I, uhhh. (undecipherable moaning)”
The recent lawsuit brought back old marketing discussions I used to have about Red Bull. Though I’m not going into detail about the legal case here, it was interesting to note that the overall underwhelming nature of the product was called into question. It doesn’t give you wings? We all knew that, but it’s complete underperformance compared to the competition is an interesting topic to explore, particularly with the product’s popularity.
I go back and forward on the value of personas. Sometimes they are super-critical to your marketing approach, sometimes it becomes a factor of analysis paralysis. Considerable time has been wasted trying to create the perfect persona, so I try to simplify my characters more into habits than details. If you’re doing product development, sure, go nuts with your finer elements, but for marketing, we’re trying to intercept people.
When I used to tell people I did content marketing, nobody really understood what that meant. Even when talking with agencies and successful companies, most people think of content as writing, and people think of marketing as advertising.
“So you must write ads then?”
Content marketing is still so new to people that it shouldn’t surprise me how undefined it is. I’ve seen a few good definitions that relate to story telling and creation, but it you have to break it down into describing each part.
“Tell me how you provide value.”
“I’m not sure. What do you mean by value?”
“Why do you matter to companies? Tell me about one of your customers, and why they work with you.”
I may be a copywriter, but I understand the power of a great photo. Grabbing our attention and instantly connecting with our emotions; you can create an entire story in one great shot. This builds the tone and sets the stage for a reader and gets them engaging with content.
I’m bringing this up to hopefully inspire people to take a long hard look at their marketing...
Marketing, and in particular content writing, always seems like an unpredictable path. Customer’s change their minds, people go on holidays, unexpected additions creep in; and before you know it you’re a month past due and people are screaming.
It’s not like you’re slacking off, so why are people so upset?
I don’t think it’s a revelation to most people that sponsored content exists. We’ve seen it in media, games and promotions for generations. So what’s different now? Now we’re seeing sponsored content inserting itself into mainstream journalism with any skepticism being met with shrugging shoulders.
What is the foundation for success online marketing? AdWords? Organic SEO? Content? Well, I lean towards content but even that is superseded by having a solid strategy in place. It’s not as simple as just rankings or writing anymore, it’s about having a plan that attracts people, compels them to look further and engage with your business.
I wouldn’t say I’m cornered, but there are definitely elements that help the flow of content production. Most of it comes down to focus, because we’re all creative, it’s just how we channel it into something important and stay on task. Writing is one of those interesting professions that requires a constant mental effort. The moment you go into autopilot, your content becomes mushy and uninspiring.
Sean Kopen is an Edmonton based profession freelance writer providing content writing and copywriting services to industrial, commercial, government and non-profit companies. A corporate storyteller, Edmonton blogger, editorial designer and content coach, he builds strategies and to assist both local and international businesses.