Category: advertising

A Canadian Folk Delicacy, Sort of.

I realize that you don’t always know what you’re going to get from this blog. One week I might be writing about baseball. The next it’ll be jazz music. The next thing you know, I’m expounding about food. And if the mood strikes me, I might give you the rundown on my philosophy as a freelance writer.

Tonight it’s going to be food. Namely, the new KFC fries. Because the heart wants what the heart wants on a Monday after work.

But I digress.

From the TV ads for the new fries, I got the impression they’d be a crispy, heavily breaded situation. I asked out loud “chicken fried fries?” when I saw them.

But no.

They were tasty though. They reminded me and my wife of the Taco Bell nacho fries without the seasoning, somehow. While I ate them, I went back and forth on whether I’d prefer them over the KFC mashed potatoes going forward. I think if I had to choose one, I’d stick with the mashed, but so long as each are available, I may consider going back and forth between the two depending on my mood.

Except that right now the only meal deals including the fries that I am aware of pairs them with chicken fingers, or nuggets. I don’t think I’d be likely to choose chicken fingers or nuggets over the traditional fried chicken terribly often. I only did so today because it was the deal. We get KFC infrequently though, and the fries are not going to make me go there more often. They are not stand-alone fries that one would order on their own merit like the ones at McDonald’s or the curly fries at Arby’s.

A traditional three-piece chicken meal (leg, wing, breast) will always seem right with mashed potatoes so it’d be no big loss if they don’t pair it up with the fries in a “deal.”

The fingers come with a choice of a couple different dipping sauces and they offered ketchup for the fries. My wife being Canadian and I being a Canadian by marriage, we got a side order of gravy to dip the fries in. That’s sort of a folk delicacy in Canada. You melt some cheese curds over it and you’ve got yourself some authentic Canadian poutine. They should just go ahead and do that.

“LIKE” a Prayer

You know those things that go around social media that say to give it a LIKE is worth one prayer, and to share it is worth five prayers? I mean the numbers are always different and sometimes a comment is worth a prayer too, which immediately boosts the value of the LIKE and the share of course.

I am not writing this to say anything about anyone’s belief system. Not at all. But I recently saw a variation of this thing on a Youtube video that made me pause for a moment. The guy in the video was in a rather harrowing situation, running away from an unseen horror when he told viewers to give his video a LIKE, because that would be equal to a prayer, of which he said he could use as many as he could get at the moment. Not because his channel was struggling due to COVID-19 or anything like that. He just casually tossed it out there because of whatever was chasing him.

Sort of like, “Hey guys, I might get killed by this thing that’s chasing me but make sure you smash that LIKE button if you want to see more of my crazy content!”

It was one of those videos demonstrating the Randonautica app. With the app, the user picks the kind of adventure they want to have basically. Some dark, some fun, some romantic even. Then the app generates a set of coordinates that the user heads over to. You’re supposed to think deep and hard about a certain thing that you want to find at that location, and allegedly one way or another you will. For the most part I think the power of suggestion, the stretch of the imagination and the seeing that which one wants to see are all at play here.

There are a string of videos on Youtube with people demonstrating it. Some are just silly, but some are “terrifying” and those are the ones I am interested in here. These “scary” ones, by the way, are almost always done at night and in many cases recorded by a lone “randonaut.” It seems like they always tell you that you should never go randonauting at night and you should never, ever do it alone. Then they proceed, of course, to do it at night alone to show you why you shouldn’t.

The app has been around a while now but the more of these videos I watch the more it is obvious to me that these videos are just very elaborate marketing for the app. I mean there actually were some people who legitimately did find a dead body while using the app. No joke. But these videos though…they are pretty much as dramatic as possible, much like the run of the mill supernatural explorer/ghost hunter videos that are all over YouTube. Many times when they get to the destination the app gives them, at some point they are met with some ominous sign. One time it said “Leave” on the wall of an abandoned hospital. One time they found a sign in a field that said “The End is Near”. Things like that, which are a bit more than coincidental.

We are supposed to believe the app itself is supernatural. I’ll just leave that one hanging there for you to do whatever you want with it.

If we don’t believe that, then we are supposed to believe that someone behind the app is leaving these signs to give the user the scare that they are seeking. But to believe that, we have to believe that there is someone waiting on call for someone in their area to play the app, beating the player to the spot in order to leave these ominous signs. Sounds like a very elaborate conspiracy.

You also may be wondering why they’d market the app this way. Well, people are into some crazy stuff right? There are thrill seekers out there, people who want to be horrified and they will pay money to be horrified. There is a whole genre of movies, certain theme parks and extreme sports that exist for these people. So it is no surprise really that this app was made for them, and that it would be marketed to them in such a way.

My guess is that when any random randonaut actually uses the app, not much happens. But I could be wrong.

Make World Social Media Day Every Day

Today, June 30th, is in fact World Social Media Day. I don’t know what that means precisely as most of the suggestions for how you can “celebrate” this day are things that people are increasingly doing anyway.

But I’d be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to remind you that if you own a business or are in charge of the marketing for such a business, you have to get serious about social media.

I’d call it “Social Marketing” but that is already a thing, and it’s different.

I am a freelance writer but I’ve always encouraged clients and prospective clients to take my work and unleash it upon the world via all manner of social media and let that wave of influence work the way it does. I find most businesses have a company Facebook page, maybe a Twitter account (or whatever the next big thing is this week) but they don’t always know what to post that is related to the business.

If you post the writing I do for you on your social media, odds are your followers are current customers – people who know your work, who trust and believe in you. When they, in turn, share my post, their endorsement should carry enough weight to inspire a number of the next wave to come see what you’re all about. If they like what they see, they will share the post with their friends. Ideally.

Then they tell two friends.
Then they tell two friends.
And so on. And so forth.

As “World Social Media Day” implies, you can get your message around quite literally the entire world in a day if you strike the right chord with the right people. If you do, well that’s gravy, but all you’ve really got to do is get people in your immediate area to share it with more people in your immediate area, depending on how massive you want to become.

Social media is the ultimate passive marketing, the most effective way to exponentially increase the number of people who hear about you, all with a good reason to trust the endorsement because they heard it from a friend. It is so much more personal than an ad or a local news article written about your business.

Let’s start with a conversation to determine what you need your public to know:

What makes your business so shareable?

What will inspire your followers to turn around and say “Hey guys, you’ve gotta go check this out”?

Think about it and get in touch with me. Let’s go!

…And Be Sure To SMASH That LIKE Button.

Have you noticed a trend in marketing, usually in videos on platforms like YouTube, where the pitch for engagements (a LIKE, a share, a comment) is getting much more aggressive?

It used to be “…and be sure to share and like…” and then maybe it became “be sure to hit that LIKE button…” Then the big thing was an appeal to “SMASH that LIKE button!”

It’s all very ‘roid rage meets social media.

MMA meets marketing.

Spike TV meets…..well that’s not even a thing anymore.

The point is that its over-the-topness allegedly makes the content seem edgy and exciting — urgent even, when really it isn’t.

The only true way to ensure your content will get in front of as many eyes as possible is to actually make it engaging first and foremost, but also meaningful and useful. It has to pull them in. It has to show them who you are make them believe in the work that you do. Giving you a LIKE and a share is a commitment. One’s reputation is on the line when they give your work such an endorsement. You have to earn that!

If the content you are consuming requests that you smash anything, that does not necessarily mean that it lacks substance, but personally I am not inspired to confidence in the content when I am asked to smash the LIKE button before I’ve actually viewed the meat of the content. Frankly I am uncomfortable with how often that is where this appeal is made. It is basically telling you “Smash that LIKE button and then I’ll show you whether the video warrants any such enthusiasm.

Anyway, now that I’ve given you the opportunity to read what I’ve got to say on the subject, if you feel it is of any value, I want you to DESTROY that LIKE button and OBLITERATE that SHARE button! While you’re at it, head on over to the Dailey Freelance page on Facebook and DISMANTLE that SHARE button as well. Come on!

That’s Your Business in the Spotlight

Usually when I open discussion with a potential client about their vision for marketing themselves on their blog, I try to give them a good range of possibilities. I don’t want anything to be off the table. Because I want to reach as many people for them as possible, while keeping it within the realm of those who might reasonably, at some point, become their clients.

Though I plan to continue to put a variety of choices up for consideration, what I am finding is that what most people want from me upfront is a feature on them (the owner) and/or their staff members.

I get that. Business owners know that while the quality of the product or service they provide is paramount, they also know that if you let people get to know you, you give them a chance to like you. If they like your personality, they are more likely to follow your company’s blog and/or it’s social media. By then, if they haven’t already, they are more likely to become your client because you’ve shown them what you can do for them. Then it’s up to you to earn their repeat business.

So maybe we start with a profile bit. I am an interview journalist at heart after all. So sitting down with you and your staff is a good opportunity for me to get a sense of the image you want to project. Having done that, the sky is just the beginning of the places we can go to make your business increasingly visible.

Can’t wait.

The “Winona” Post

The town in which I went to college and lived for seven years was recently immortalized in a Super Bowl commercial.

Sort of.

Around here, for weeks leading up to the Super Bowl the air was thick with speculation over what the ad was for. We knew actress Winona Ryder had been in Winona, MN (her birthplace and namesake) filming a commercial. Some said it was for “Stranger Things.” Some said it was for Ryder Truck Rental, which, I don’t know, maybe they were opening a branch in Winona and were making a REALLY big splash about it.

The commercial ended up being for Squarespace, a website building company. It also ended up being a bit underwhelming for the locals, because it did not show anything of substance about the city of Winona. There are actually quite a few landmarks and businesses that we are known for, far and wide. There was a several minutes long version of the commercial available online which included some of it, but it wasn’t the same.

Not for us.

To be fair, to the rest of the country it was just an ad about a website-building company with a marginally famous actress in it. As far as they were concerned, the town called Winona could have been totally fictional. But there were people in Winona watching for that commercial to see the places they drove by or visited regularly. Some may not have known or cared what Squarespace is. I didn’t.

That dichotomy kind of mirrors how, on Super Bowl Sunday, some are totally indifferent toward the actual game but are absolutely engaged with the halftime show, or vise versa.

That is the fine line you walk when trying to reach your audience, whether you are advertising or marketing. You’re not talking about a million-dollar spot during the biggest TV event of the year, but the same principle applies.

– Do you want to put your products and services in the spotlight?

– Do you want to showcase your staff and the company’s personality?

– Do you want to cover a spectrum of current events relating to your company’s industry to demonstrate your company philosophy?

If this dilemma sounds like your life as a business owner, check in with Dailey Freelance. We can work together and find a good mix of content in order to reach out to all of the various subgroups of your audience who are interested in what you do for one reason or another. We can reach out to them all. It is strategic, and it is not a perfect science. But I think we can cover a lot of ground without watering down your message.


Would You Rather…? A Business Owner’s Dilemma.

Remember when you were a kid and you played that game where you had to decide, hypothetically of course (hopefully) whether you’d rather wrestle a tiger or…I don’t know…like, eat a bike?

It was called “Would you rather…?” and it was supposed to present you with two equally unpleasant experiences but you had to decide which one you’d rather do. You know, for fun.

Now that we’re grown, we are presented with real world dilemmas like that sometimes. If you own a business and are under a time crunch, while I certainly hope that none of your responsibilities are comparable to fighting a tiger or eating a bike, you may have to decide whether you want to prioritize writing your promotional and marketing materials, OR:

  • Customer service – Often you’re the face of the company. You’re at the front desk. You’re greeting customers at the door. You’re answering the phone. It’s the most constant of all of these things. While you may be able to get in some writing between calls or customers, you won’t be able to give it the focus it requires.
  • Training – I’ve been a supervisor for a small company and spent hours periodically training small groups of new hires. You want to take the time to do it well so you don’t have to do it again. Probably sooner than later. You balance the desire to train them well with the desire to be fully staffed.
  • Maintenance -Little things will come up that you’ll have to take on whether it be changing a light bulb, fixing the office toilet or unclogging a sink. All of these things need to be attended to in the moment, and take up a part of your day.
  • Human resources and “the books” – If you own a small business you may be the person who does payroll, and pays the bills. You probably do the math to figure out how much you need to bring in just to “keep the lights on” and what steps you need to take to make it happen.
  • Legalese – There is a lot that a business owner has to know in order to cover their own backs. Any legal issue that comes up will fall squarely in your lap.
  • Scheduling and taking appointments – Whether it be clients coming in to do business, interviewing potential new employees, or maybe even local media interviews, a small business owner often has a lot of slots filled on their daily calendar.

And then:

  • Social media – Keeping your company’s social media up to date can be just as time-consuming as marketing/blogging. But it is also something that business owners tend to take overly seriously. Social media should be regular but it doesn’t always have to be directly about what your company makes or sells or the service it provides. It can be fun, off the cuff, and doesn’t have to take up too much time.

This is a service that Dailey Freelance does offer, though most business owners prefer to do this themselves.

  • Advertising – if you’re a small business this may involve nothing more than calling the local newspaper and telling them what you want your ad to look like. Maybe they handle the rest. But putting out the right message is a consideration that takes time.

This is very similar to the blogging service provided by Dailey Freelance, except that with your blog, you publish the content yourself. You have control over it. You own it. It’s just a matter of whether you want to take the time to write it yourself or hire a freelancer.

As the owner of the business, each of these things are of more immediate concern to you than blogging. But that doesn’t mean that blogging is of less importance. The more and more digital the market place becomes, the more essential this type of marketing will be. Why not hire someone who has the time to craft great, effective messaging for you?

It’s Holiday Promotion Time!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like once we reach this time of year, well, the whole thing is kind of a blur.

How are you going to decorate for Halloween?
Who’s bringing the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving?
What do we get Grandma for Christmas or Hanukkah?

And that’s just at home!

If you own a business, as we speak maybe you are dreaming up some fun and spooky Halloween promotion to bring people in the door. But it gets hectic real quick after that.

  • Perhaps you want to show your clients how thankful you are for them.
  • Maybe you want to give them a gift at the end of the year.

The very first client of Dailey Freelance was a business owner who asked me to write a promotion of their services as a Christmas gift one would purchase for a loved one. Since that time of year is coming around again, I look forward to taking another crack at that for you.

Whether your products would make a good holiday gift, or if you have some other festive promotion you’d like to publicize, send me a message at daileyfreelance@gmail.com and tell me about it. We’ll talk and I’ll help you roll it out.

The days are flying by! But that is only one more reason to put me to work for you. It’ll free you up to focus on all of the other end-of-year activity that is coming. Let’s go!

What I Learned From The Worst Editorial Blunder I’ve Ever Made.

Some twenty years ago I was on the staff of my community college student newspaper. It was there that I made the biggest editorial blunder I’ve ever made.

I was working with a small team of great minds on an ad promoting the school’s tutoring department. We bounced around a few ideas, but what we landed on was something like “Is Homework Getting to Be a Real Pain in the Ass? Come to the Tutoring Center for Help.”

I remember having strong reservations about publishing it, but I was a rookie and the person leading the charge on the project was a senior member of the newspaper staff. So I, and the others involved, agreed, and we put our names on it and submitted it.

There were admonishing emails from the college administration.

There were retractions and apology ads run.

There were lessons learned.

Yes I was young but I should have just said I didn’t want to have my name on such an ad, and that I didn’t think it was the best we could do. Sure it was eye-catching, but not in the best way. I should have suggested we talk to the people above us, or who worked in the tutoring center. At that point I think it would have been clear what we should do.

I have a feeling this ad never would have run had we done that. The opinion of those who we were doing the ad for would have edited us. And when you are doing advertising, or marketing, or doing freelance of any kind those opinions are the ones that matter.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes popular opinion is wrong and you shouldn’t make your decisions based on what others are going to like or what is going to be popular if you are writing something you deeply believe in. And I DID deeply believe that homework was a pain in the ass. But you pick your battles, right? This wasn’t worth all of the fallout. And it did not serve our client.

In any case, I should have edited myself.

Recently as a pro blogger, a similar situation came up when a staff member at the company I was writing for dropped a line that I really wanted to use because It was eye-catching and not just in the shock-value sort of way. But I had a feeling that the owner would prefer I leave it out. I was sure of it actually. I asked her anyway, I guess just to show her I was a conscientious of the image I was creating for her business. I was correct.

I could have gone with my gut and edited myself. I asked and let her edit me. But I was glad I at least asked.