Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why You Should Outsource Your Rebuttal Posts

As modern marketing options continue to evolve, people seem to be engaging professional copywriters for all sorts of things that didn't even exist a few years ago. These days a freelance marketing writer may be asked to supply content for Facebook business pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn profiles, Craigslist ads -- the list goes on and on. But one of the most interesting jobs I had was writing rebuttal posts for a local business who'd been slammed by a disgruntled customer on an online forum.

If I recall correctly, my client leased and maintained washing machines, and one recipient had gone ballistic over a messy mechanical failure. The customer had been poisoning the Internet with a series of lengthy negative "reviews," which were mainly just angry rambles peppered with name-calling and serious (and according to my client, untrue) accusations. "We need to respond to this guy with some rebuttals to shut down his argument once and for all," he said. "But we just don't trust ourselves to do it right." So they turned to a pro. Smart move! 

Let's say your business faces the same predicament. Somebody who wants to dirty your good name is running a smear campaign, accusing you of terrible products, non-existent customer service, sluggish delivery and so on. Maybe they're even going so far as to call you a crook. You know you're in the right, so why not jump onto your keyboard and fight back? I'll tell you why not:

1. Emotion never wins an argument. When two parties are engaged in a dispute, which one comes across as the more credible -- the eye-rolling, foam-spewing screamer, or the calm, level-voiced debater? The answer is obvious. But if you're in a fresh lather of your own over what this person is trying to do to your company or organization, chances are that your response will not exactly show you at your best. You want to rebut the charges, not create a fight scene worthy of a Godzilla movie. A cool-headed third party can make sure your rebuttal sounds factual, logical, and authoritative. The original poster looks like a total crackpot by contrast. You've won.

2. Faulty writing opens you up to more ridicule. Even if you can keep your temper under control when you compose your rebuttal, are your actual writing skills up to the task? Part of crafting an authoritative, intelligent response is writing text that reads correctly and fluently, with no errors in spelling, grammar or English usage. Remember, your assailant is looking for any excuse to put you down and make you look bad in front of your target market. Don't hand him a loaded gun by posting a rebuttal riddled with mistakes.

How did the Great Washing Machine War turn out, you ask? Actually, I wasn't following the online debate as it played out, but my client told me that the rebuttals I'd written for his company were just what they wanted and needed to clear their good name in the public eye. So if you're entangled in an online fight of your own, don't get mad, and don't get even -- get a freelance copywriter to rebut your enemy into submission!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Why Rehashing Old Blog Topics Makes Smart Marketing Sense

A couple of months ago I inadvertently destroyed my blog database, sending hundreds of articles into the ether, or wherever they go in such situations. I've been going back and forth over whether to re-post the original articles from my archives or just keep plowing forward with fresh new content. But just how fresh and new would the content really be? Without plowing through all the old posts I've written over the years, how can I know whether or not I'm simply repeating myself? 

Then reality hit me: Of course I'm going to repeat myself. I do it all the time. So do the vast majority of bloggers. And that's okay -- in fact, it's smart.

Wait, what?

Yes, I'm serious. Coming at the same topics over and over again is actually an intelligent marketing strategy, for several reasons:

1. The same old subjects will develop new twists and turns. For instance, say you posted something about gas prices back when the late 90s, when blogging was a brand-new thing. How relevant would that information be for this week's readers? That's an extreme example, but you get what I mean. Times change, and so do the critical issues of a given topic. So of course you'll revisit that topic again and again -- you have to, if you want to keep feeding fresh, helpful information to your readers. 

2. There's always "one more thing." Columbo knew it, and so did Steve Jobs. There's no way you can possibly exhaust every enticing angle of a particular subject. Take, I don't know, any specific medical condition. You'll find that there's far, far more ground to cover than the usual tiresome roll call of symptoms, causes, treatments, et cetera. What about all the success stories of different patients who have fought their condition? What about the many different coping methods for maintaining a high quality of life? What about alternative health practices versus traditional medical protocols? You could beat the subject to death -- to the great benefit of your target audience who may suffer from the condition. And we're talking about just one ailment here!

3. New readers may not read old posts. If you're blogging regularly and promoting your brand online, you may be gaining new readers all the time. But how many of those readers will have the time or desire to click through every single article you've ever written, no matter how relevant those blasts from the past might be to them? You're better off re-introducing the subject matter in an all-new post so the next generation of your adoring throng can experience it from the most current possible perspective. 

Heck, for all I know I've written this very article before. But you know what? It feels fresh and new to me.