Here are some of the best, from You Go To My Head, penned by the mighty Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots back in 1938.
It’s awesome stuff, and a brilliant example of plain language used to its most powerful effect. Have a read of this. And listen to the Billie Holiday version of the tune on YouTube if you fancy a treat. It’s the best of the bunch.
You go to my head
You go to my head
And you linger like a haunting refrain
And I find you spinning ’round in my brain
Like the bubbles in a glass of champagne
You go to my head
Like a sip of sparkling Burgundy brew
And I find the very mention of you
Like the kicker in a julep or two
The thrill of the thought
That you might give a thought to my plea
Cast a spell over me
Still I say to myself get a hold of yourself
Can’t you see that it never can be
You go to my head
With a smile that makes my temperature rise
Like a summer with a thousand Julys
You intoxicate my soul with your eyes
Though I’m certain that this heart of mine
Hasn’t a ghost of a chance in this crazy romance
You go to my head
Whoops… copywriting fail!
Many thanks to Sing365 for the lyrics.
I’ve nofollowed the Sing365 link. How come? Because I spotted some scary copy on the site, which I don’t want to link to just in case Google decides to take a dislike to it and devalues the site, which could in turn affect my own rankings. To make it clear I didn’t write it, I’ve marked it up as a <blockquote>.
Mentioning the key term ‘lyrics’ six times in the following paragraph is poor SEO practice. It’s badly written too, and I suspect it has been spun.
Sorry folks. Your site is brilliant. But this is nasty:
These lyrics reveal with what sophistication and insight into the human condition that lyrics used to be written as opposed to the lyrics of today which are a race to the bottom covering the most basest of human emotion. These lyrics challenge our understanding of ourselves whereas todays lyrics reinforce simple cliches of pseudo celebrity fantasies that we take on as identity. These deep lyrics over chords which exude mood not found in todays repetitive robotic chord progressions make this a superb example of what song writing can be.
Brighton SEO take-aways
Thanks to the dynamic Kelvin from Site Visibility and everyone else involved with this autumn’s Brighton SEO conference, a blinder of an event. A far cry from the first one, held upstairs in the Quadrant pub and attended by about fifteen of us. Ah, the olden days.
If you missed the conference’s shit hot digital marketing gurus, with their wisdom-drenched insights into an uncertain yet thrilling future, bung it in your diary for next spring. It’s so worth it. And it’s free.
The April 2013 event concentrated on the future in an SEO landscape that had changed beyond belief in the previous 12 months. This time around the dust had settled. Here are my top 3 take-aways.
- Does your content ‘deserve’ backlinks? if you want to generate backlinks you need to create content that ‘deserves’ them. You shouldn’t even have to ask for links. A little like Field of Dreams, if your stuff is good enough, ‘they will come’
- Black hats can still win. Bought, exchanged and otherwise unnaturally acquired links still work, and can win great SERPs positions. But they’re more risky than ever. If you want to build a proper brand, something people trust, it’s best to play nice instead of having to change your url every time you get burned and lose valuable brand equity
- Social – if you’re not in it, you can’t win it. But just being in it isn’t enough. You need to measure the effectiveness – or not – of your social channels in the same way as you measure cost per response, cost per conversion, creative versus creative, ROI and so on for any other medium, online or offline
Cold callers get a taste of their own medicine
As a human being, I hate telesales calls. As an ex-marketer I once project managed large scale inbound campaigns tied into direct response TV ads, which was such fun. We made a fortune. I also arranged outbound campaigns, a lot less enjoyable for the operators, marketers and punters. They also worked a treat. But, cold or warm, outbound B2C teleselling is rarely good karma. It’s invasive, time consuming and irritating. Which is why I love this little story.
Leeds man Lee Beaumont was being plagued by cold calls. So he set up his own 0871 number at a cost of twelve quid. Everyone who tried to sell him something ended up paying for the privilege, and he has made more than £300 profit so far. Nice.
Facebook addicts given electric shock treatment
Hooked on Facebook? Help is at hand in the shape of Pavlov Poke, a system that gives addicts a short, sharp electric shock through their keyboard once they exceed a pre-set time limit on the network.
It won’t kill you. But apparently it hurts enough to act as a deterrent. If that doesn’t curb your social excesses, you can use the system to recruit a crowd worker on Mechanical Turk, who will phone up and yell at you every time you weaken.
Spooky time travel in the tube
New scientist magazine, my favourite weekly geek read, reports a sign in London’s tube network offering ‘real time travel updates’. They wonder where the missing hyphen should go. Should it be:
- real-time travel updates
- or real time-travel updates
I vote for number two. It sounds much more exciting.
No issues with the Big Issue
Brighton is full of Big Issue sellers. I buy a copy every week. With at least one book permanently on the go and New Scientist to digest, I rarely get round to reading The Issue. But whenever I do I’m impressed all over again with the quality of the journalism, the warm tone and refreshingly human outlook. A splendid read and, for anyone who wants to absorb the fine art of elegant, plain English communications, excellent reference material.
A simple copywriting tip for the perfect article structure
If you’re struggling to structure an article and you’ve been to sixth form college or uni, the answer is at your fingertips. Structure your article in exactly the same way you’d create an essay and you’re more or less there.
TK Maxx logic fail
Observant (aka pernickerty) bargain hunters are lost in space trying to decode TK Maxx’s latest price promise: always up to 60% less. How does that work, then?!
My new keyboard means mis-types are mostly a thing of the past. I kind of miss them. But here are five that slipped through.
- house pants (plants)
- pertnership (partnership)
- sosmelly pirates (Somali)
- communters (commuters)
- open and shit case (open and shut!)
This one has bugger all to do with marketing or copywriting. But it’s such a remarkable thing I can’t resist including it. Apparently the very clever Jonathan Bamber and colleagues at the University of Bristol have discovered a huge canyon under the ice smothering Greenland… and it’s bigger than the Grand Canyon.
The feature measures an astounding 750km,compared to the US offering’s comparatively farty 446km. And it plunges as deep as 800m.
Now that’s what I call large.
Better still, it’s entirely possible there’s something equally huge, another hidden mega-landscape, under the Antarctic’s southern ice cap, with hints of an unfeasibly massive mountain range.
My new keyboard is on the way. Which is good news when a week of sticky-key-generated mis-types delivered this lot!
- Put your money where your moth is (put your money where your mouth is)
- guest posy (guest post)
- poop-up shop (pop-up shop)
- no stings attached (no strings attached)
- lost conversions (loft conversions)
Obviously spell-checkers don’t pick these up, which makes proof reading a really important part of my everyday copywriting life. Mis-types are often difficult to spot, partly because I’m expecting to see the right word and have read and re-read the same passage countless times during the writing process. And partly because my familiarity with the context and content makes my brain automatically correct them. Which means I’m temporarily word-blind.
To make sure I catch everything, I put each completed piece of work aside until I’ve finished the next one, then I go back and check it one more time. At which point the mistakes suddenly shine through.
Now and again a copywriter creates something absolutely splendid. This is one of those times: a mini-triumph of clarity, charm and practicality, and a really beautiful piece of work. Whoever wrote this, I salute you.
Thanks to the Yellow Dog Project, whose site includes this smashing image. It’s a great idea too, so pass it on.
Someone just asked me how I write copy. Hm.
Unable to answer straight away because I do it on autopilot, I fired up a Word doc and jotted down the steps I take to complete the copywriting process.
Assuming I’m writing from scratch and not editing existing copy, it goes something like this:
- lay down the basic structure, indicating where the <h1> header, <h2>subheads and body copy go
- start with the opening sentence
- write it then go back and edit it any numer of times ’til it reads beautifully
- create the second sentence
- polish it until it’s perfect
- go back make sure the sentences sit together properly and flow smoothly
- carry on until all the sentences in the first paragraph are the best they can be
- rinse and repeat for every paragraph
- on finishing each paragraph, check the copy from top to bottom to ensure it all hangs together properly, rolls off the tongue and says exactly what it needs to say
- when the body copy is complete, add the <h1> header – I find it easier at this stage because the message is fresh in my head
- create <h2> headers
- check the whole thing again for flow, style, grammar, spelling and so on
- check the key terms are included
- check the keyword density is natural, not spammy
- write the call to action
- check the whole thing yet again, making final adjustments
- come back an hour later and tweak it one more time, seeing it through fresh eyes
- then and only then… send the first draft to my client!
(Thanks to http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ColinBroug for the fab free image)