Tag Archives: tips

The Hourglass Scaffold – My idea of a Copywriting Plotline for Short Marketing Copy

Note: This is a tentative skeleton as to the template that I used to write marketing copy. I am not endorsing this on a guru level in terms of how marketing copy should really be written, as this is just merely the approach that I am most comfortable with. This approach would best be used for a 100 words or less sort of marketing copy, as advertised in daily newspapers such as The Standard or Metro HK.

People always talk about the weather.

I prefer to start off with a somewhat neutral topic. When you say hi to a stranger, the first question would usually be “You alright?” or “How are you?”, followed by “Nice weather isn’t it?”, or “This is some horrid weather.” The weather question is neutral, though it is something that everyone deals and faces with.

Personally, I prefer the hourglass shaped approach. Start with a general or commonly understood idea, or something that is currently of the “now” in society. For instance, if you are writing marketing copy focusing in on an upcoming guest speaker talking about tips to be rich before 30, you can begin with a commonly known statistical fact of the now, such as “one in three people residing in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong are millionaires“.

Teaser vs Jumping right in with marketing information.

This is debatable, in terms of starting off with a general point, but I believe in giving a bit of a “tease” for the audience to continue on reading. If I immediately start off with the five Ws and 1 H in the first sentence, it’s not so much a creative copy isn’t it? You’ve already stated the meat and potatoes of the information you intend to convey to the audience, though not in a way you could exercise your creative copywriting potential, balancing out conveying information with your creative spin on writing. In addition, by starting off with a common yet hot statement, this serves to garner the attention of a larger audience than just jumping in with the key information.


Musing: on my internship experience with Sustainability Television

Note: You can find the original edition of this post on Sustainability Television here.

Take initiative, be open to new experiences. Immerse yourself in your own internship experience. I didn’t just work with Sustainability Television, I felt myself became part of Sustainability Television in both my work and play life. Make the internship yours.

I was initially confused about how I can make my internship mine. How do I go with the flow? How should I have faith in the system? It was only during my internship with Sustainability Television that I realize I learn when I don’t think about learning. I am not the person to be confined in within a box. It’s better if it is a library of knowledge that I have. But it is best if I immerse myself in the experience of learning.

But how am I going to be in the process of achieving that goal?

I am not satisfied with the finiteness of the word “achieved”. I am more intent on considering goals in the syntax of the infinite. That is, I am always in the process of achieving. Bruce Lee once said “There is no such thing as maturity. There is instead an ever-evolving process of maturing. Because when there is a maturity, there is a conclusion and a cessation. That’s the end.” I don’t just say that there are avenues of opportunity ahead of me, I let myself be immersed in the avenues of opportunities. Because then, I can think less about the avenue of opportunity than where it will guide me like a river.

The Urban Green Tourist – my internship-project turned personal photoblog on the environment

I came up with the idea of a Green Photoblog while eating at a small bistro along W Broadway one evening. Sustainability was definitely something that was on my mind back then, from the Environmental Club that I attended in high school, to the classes focusing on Geography, the internships, the countless treks into the Pacific Spirit Park, the mix-and-mingles with the folks at a Green Drinks discussion session, you name it. I saw a tissue dispenser with its description stating that the tissue paper within is made of mostly recyclable material. I let my instinct to archive and learn take control of my mind as I reached for my camera to snap a picture of it.

A solar powered electric trash can. Snap. Archive.
An upcoming Sustainability Fair at UBC. Snap. Archive.
A UV-treated water dispenser, with a numeric counter that states how many plastic water bottles one would save if they utilize this machine.

My photoblog is modest at best, but it is definitely growing. I encourage environmental thinkers from all walks of life to build upon this project, and be your own “green tourist” wherever you are.

Offline social networking – my means of gaining self-confidence in talking with people face-to-face.

Prior to the internship, I do not consider myself to be much of a people’s person. This particularly showed through when I made my first in-person outreach to an industry fair, attempting to convince the participating panelists on the opportunities in forming a marketing connection with Sustainability Television. Cue embarrassing stammers and rushing over words. Thank goodness I had another intern with me to grab the reins of conversation.

I did not falter from this somewhat botched attempt on my end. In fact, I took this experience as a form of self-motivated inspiration. While doing market research for potential partners, I came across Green Drinks, an international non-profit organization with informal forums around the world, where people can congregate face-to-face to share information on the latest trends and solutions in environmental sustainability. The discussion is very informal and free-flowing. The host of the Vancouver Green Drinks group serves to welcome participants with name tags, but other than that, the discussion floor was for the participants. There isn’t someone to stand up in front of the crowd, proclaiming “May I have your attention please?”. The discussion was similar to an evening party where people are free to mingle around and talk. Jumping in and greeting other participants was highly encouraged. I was immediately reminded in my mind of the advice to make the experience mine. So I did. I made new connections, not just for the purpose of the social media marketing part of my internship, but also a good friend or two.

Taking the “make the internship yours” advice to heart, I decide to express my initiative by checking out upcoming Sustainability events. With help from my ongoing “Urban Green Tourist” photoblog task, I have found an avenue of opportunity for Sustainability Television – to make a public outreach at UBC’s first ever Sustainability Fair this year. I decided to challenge myself, in addition to marketing Sustainability Television to folks interested in sustainability (which my performance was a vast improvement to my first offline outreach), I had the opportunity to be the host of an episode of Sustainability Television focusing on the afore mentioned UBC Sustainability Fair.

Although I may not be able to put down on my employment resumé that I have a knack for speaking face-to-face let alone on a stage, I can state that this internship opportunity with Sustainability Television has transformed my personality and confidence on the path to achieving that knack.

Immerse Yourself

That’s the parting advice that I have for this musing. If you just do your work in a company environment, you have a chance of being successful. But in the competitive working environment of today, attitude is what makes and breaks the hiring manager’s opinion of employing you for their company. Find something that you hold strongly in terms of the company’s values, and stick to it like glue. Make it the nucleus of your resume, your work experience, your informational interview, etc. Immerse yourself, and see yourself be part of the intricate connections and systems of the company. But don’t think too much about it, because one must let their motivation to succeed sink into their subconsciousness to truly succeed.

“Musing: on my internship experience with Sustainability Television” was published on June 17, 2013, which is part of my muses. Read more about Vincent Wong’s work at https://vincentwongwanders.wordpress.com .

Excerpt: Online Marketing Strategies

Note: This is an excerpt from my “case study” blog post on Oreo’s online social media marketing strategy.

There are several clues to prospective companies for making their mark in today’s online neighbourhood of social media.

Strategy 1. Incorporate online internet culture into marketing:

You are promoting your company online. In order to appeal to the internet culture of today, you should be aware of what is already popular in the said targeted internet culture. Wittily parodying the ones that are the most popular is a good start in terms of bringing recognition to your company.

Strategy 2. Incorporate popular “offline” culture into online marketing

You don’t have to hire celebrities immediately to promote your product. However, you should allude to popular culture and form correlations between the said culture into your corporation’s pursuits in order to not be out of date with the times.

Strategy 3. You have online fans. Use them to your marketing advantage.

Fans are the vehicle to drive your company to success. Offer your fans fun promotions and digital campaigns, and they will reward you with their loyalty and confidence in your company.

“Excerpt: Online Marketing Strategies” was published on June 3, 2013, which is part of my past internship work. Read more about Vincent Wong’s work at https://vincentwongwanders.wordpress.com .