All posts by Tom Chandler

My Writing Blog Picked by Writer’s Digest In Their “101 Best Web Sites For Writers”

My copywriting blog (The Copywriter Underground) has appeared in the prestigious Writer’s Digest annual “101 Best Web Sites For Writers” review.

One of only three sites in the review’s Freelance category, I’m conveniently located directly below The Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers of America and just to the left of the Horror Writers Association, which seems appropriate given what freelance writers experience on a daily basis.

Naturally, recognition of almost any kind is flattering (when I interviewed fave fly fishing writer John Gierach, he said “any writer who says he doesn’t enjoy a little recognition is an asshole”).

I’m not sure how or why the Underground was chosen, though because I’m sick and my desktop computer hardware is failing me (on the eve of several giant projects), I’m guessing it’s a simple matter of karma; nature creating a kind of neutral buoyancy so I neither sink nor swim.

Then again, it could have been my winning personality, or perhaps my willingness to hyphenate compound modifiers (I’m going with the personality angle).

My Copywriter Underground Blog Chosen as One Of “Internet’s Top 40 Freelance Writer’s Blogs”

My Copywriter Underground freelance writer/marketer blog – despite serving mostly as an outlet for a certain grouchy copywriter/marketing consultant bent on total annihilation of social media mega-hype – has been picked by the oDesk blog as one of the Top 40 Writer’s blogs.

And yes, it appears that oDesk actually visited the blogs in question instead of simply crafting another linkbait list. Kudos to them.

I’m touched. Yet I refuse to gush like Sally Fields gushed in her 1985 Oscar speech.

It’s always gratifying to receive the recognition of your peers – people who write and market for a living.

Chandler Asked to Build an Online Marketing Boot Camp

An economic development non-profit has asked me to create an online marketing boot camp – a series of seminars aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses create and refine an online marketing presence.

I previously taught blogging and email marketing seminars for this organization (both excellent engagement marketing media channels). Yet businesses today need access to the bigger picture – they need the ability to create an integrated online presence that engages customers and prospects across multiple media channels.

In other words, a simple Web site – static and without reach – simply won’t cut it any more. Instead, the Online Marketing Bootcamp offers an A-to-Z look relevant Web technologies, including:

  • Web sites
  • Blogs
  • Email/Enewsletters
  • Social media
  • Mobile technologies

Working as a group, we’re going to decide which media channels are right for which businesses, help them select technologies, craft content strategies, and create meaningful metrics to track their progress.

Internet marketing technologies are evolving too quickly for the average business to keep up; Online Marketing Boot Camp clears away the hype and misconceptions, leaving attendees with a solid, effective online marketing presence.

New Writer’s Handbook Reprints Chandler Copywriting Essay

The editors of the New Writer’s Handbook – a collection of essays by writers for writers – asked to include one of my Copywriter Underground blog pieces in their latest collection (Volume 2)

It’s always nice to receive recognition from your peers. Especially when you’re being recognized for the quality of your writing.

In this case, I spoke to the power of the parenthetical statement. English teachers largely hate it. But – used properly – it creates a sense of intimacy with the reader.

From my article:

In skilled hands, a parenthetical statement will help bridge the gap between writer and reader, puncturing the invisible barrier between the two. (See what I mean?)

They give you the ability to step out of the copy and into the reader’s space. You can even share what feels like a private joke (just don’t tell anyone else!), transforming your reader from skeptic to confidant.

Today’s marketing evironment demands more from a writer than an ability to neatly arrange vowels and consonants. Audiences are bombarded with messages, and marketing is fast becoming a game of engagement, not manipulation or interruption.

A copywriter capable of selling generates sales.

A copywriter capable of selling and engaging customers generates steady, long-term revenues.

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Chandler Teaches Online Marketing Workshop for Entrepreneurs

Northern California’s Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) is an economic development non-profit which has developed a (deserved) national reputation for their innovative approaches to rural wealth building.

To help their rural, small-business entrepreneurs access global markets and compete with bigger – and more centrally located – organizations, JEDI is looking to Internet marketing. Accordingly, they asked me to teach segments in online marketing to a class of entrepreneurs, and also wanted a workshop on interactive Web 2.0 marketing.

The workshop was a sellout (we’re scheduling a second to meet demand), and working with the entrepreneurs was gratifying.

My message was simple: small businesses can out-compete bigger organizations online — especially when using interactive “engagement” methods. Engaging with customers and prospects via shared values and passions is much easier for smaller companies, who — due to smaller customer acquisition budgets — need to do a better job retaining customers.

Engagement marketing techniques are a natural for entrepreneurs looking to compete and win in tough online markets, and JEDI’s entrepreneurs immediately grasped that thinking.

As technology recedes, and values-driven content comes to the fore, the technology advantage enjoyed by larger businesses will erode. It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur.

Tom Chandler Quoted in BrandWeek Article About Deceptive Mailing Practices

I’ve written a lot of direct response over the course of my 22+ year career, and I’ve always been an outspoken critic of deceptive mailing practices, believing they harm all marketers in the long run.

Brandweek header

That’s why BrandWeek sought me out when they wrote a story about the growing practice of deceptive mailers. While they quoted me several times, this quote received prominent play:

“What I don’t understand is why organizations allow deceptive practices to undermine their carefully [and expensively] cultivated brand images in the first place,” said Chandler. “I recently received a series of envelopes from a large credit-card bank where I held an account. All shared the same alarmist stamp that “Important Information” about his account was enclosed. “Of course, it wasn’t important information,” Chandler said. “It was a series of cross-selling pitches. After a month or two, I canceled my account.”

Rather than deceive, why not delight recipients?

My Copywriting Blog Picked as “Top 10” Writer’s Blog For Second Year

My copywriting blog — aimed primarily at copywriter and business marketers — was once again picked as a Top 10 Writer’s Blog via a contest held by Michael Stelzner of Writing White Papers fame.

Heady stuff indeed — and proof that good content offers even the tiniest of businesses a “thought leadership” role.

Here’s the entire list of winners:

  1. Copyblogger, by Brian Clark: Holding the number-one spot for the second year running, this site excels at teaching the art of writing.
  2. Freelance Writing Jobs, by Deborah Ng: For writers seeking new work, this site is your sole destination and maintains a top spot in our contest from last year.
  3. The Renegade Writer, by Linda Formichelli and Dianna Burell: Are you a freelance journalist looking for inspiration? Look no further.
  4. Web Content Writer Tips, by James Chartrand and Harrison McLeod: With a focus on making more money as a writer, this blog is full of helpful how-to articles.
  5. Web Writing Info, by Courtney Ramirez: This excellent blog looks at social networking and emerging web-based opportunities for writers.
  6. The Golden Pencil, by Anne Wayman: Wayman, a second-year winner, examines how to go for the gold as a freelance writer.
  7. Catalystblogger, by Jennifer Williamson: Williamson writes about the pains and trials writers face.
  8. Freelance Parent, by Lorna Doone Brewer and Tamara Berry: Two moms provide excellent perspective on writing with a dash of parenting.
  9. Write from Home, by Amy Derby: Derby provides fresh commentary and advice on writing.
  10. Copywriter Underground, by Tom Chandler: This site, a second-year winner, provides regular doses of inspiration for copywriters.