Blog

Here's an archive of blog posts I've shared since 1999, including articles, interviews, books, and news. Topics include marketing, digital marketing, copywriting, communications, and business.

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May I Have Your Attention, Please! -

May I Have Your Attention, Please!

August 11, 2020

If you've read my “now” page, you may have noticed I mentioned that I'm considering starting a podcast. It's something I've been thinking about doing for a while.

Recently, several people (I've lost count after 20) have asked me if I would be starting one. Of those people, one is my good friend Omar. Omar is a fellow copywriter, marketer, writer, and lover of the performing arts as we both share backgrounds in theater.

The problem is, doing a podcast by myself is a challenge. Short spurts are fine. But riffing on a topic (and staying on topic) for 30 minutes, by myself, can be a challenge.…

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What My Addiction Teaches Me About Marketing -

What My Addiction Teaches Me About Marketing

August 10, 2020

Playing music is something I enjoy. One of my musical addictions is listening to covers. I don't know why, but it's a weird fascination for me.

I love listening to different covers to hear other people's interpretations of the same songs, especially popular hit songs. Sometimes, it's just out of curiosity. Other times, it's a way for me to get into the heads of other musicians.

I want to understand how other musicians view a song. I want to hear their “take” on a song.

Some bands try to make their covers sound exactly like the originals, while others give them their own unique flavor and flair.…

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"To Know Thyself Is The Beginning Of Wisdom." -

“To Know Thyself Is The Beginning Of Wisdom.”

August 10, 2020

Want to grow your practice, make more money, learn a new skill, or improve your business?

In order to get to the next level, whether it's in your career, business, or life, you need to think, act, communicate, network, plan, lead, and delegate like the next level. (And you have to stop all those things with the low-level context in which you no longer want to be.)

I don't mean “fake it 'til you make it.” This is self-deception. And yes, it's fake.

I'm talking about taking a few steps back and observing your actions, your thoughts, and your words, and fix those little things that are holding you back.…

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What's The Most Important Marketing Skill? -

What's The Most Important Marketing Skill?

August 9, 2020

I'm often asked by aspiring marketers: “What's the most important marketing skill to learn? Is it social media? SEO? PPC? Analytics? Copywriting? Video?”

Surprisingly, it's none of those things.

The topmost marketing skill to learn is resourcefulness.

Of all the successful people in the world I've learned from or followed, one common denominator stands out the most: they are all incredibly resourceful.

Some call it creativity, ingenuity, or initiative. But it's all the same. Creativity may be the most common term, but most people associate it with art or talent. Instead, I prefer to use the term resourcefulness because it's not something you're born with.…

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Master This Fundamental Skill To Succeed -

Master This Fundamental Skill To Succeed

August 9, 2020

Being in lockdown due to the 2020 pandemic has been a crazy but also fruitful experience for me. It allowed me to rethink things, reposition my business, and land new opportunities with clients I'm thoroughly enjoying working on.

One of them is Ed Rush. Ed is a successful business advisor who's about to release his upcoming training on how to become an in-demand consultant using what you already know — without the need for any consulting experience or degrees.

(Full disclosure, I'm not an affiliate, but I am working with Ed on this launch and had a hand in the sales copy.…

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Content, Without Context, Is Meaningless -

Content, Without Context, Is Meaningless

August 9, 2020

In the late 90s, I taught marketing classes at a local college. I vividly remember a particular lecture I often gave on the power of storytelling in communications.

Stories are not just for entertaining our audiences. They also give our content context. Context is far more important than we think.

In Daniel Kahneman's seminal book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” the brain makes quick and intelligent guesses based on its unconscious use of context. The lack of context creates confusion. According to Dr. Peter Vermeulen:

“In making sense of the world around us, context is our guide, especially when the input is vague, incomplete, or ambiguous.

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Rip Up Your To-Do List And Use This Instead -

Rip Up Your To-Do List And Use This Instead

August 9, 2020

I've used many task management programs throughout my career. Whether they were to-do lists, daily planners, journal notebooks, online tools, software applications (too many!), etc. Name it and I've probably used it.

And each time, I keep coming back to one. It has been my favourite method for a long time.

The reason is simple: I'm busy. I run several businesses, work with multiple ongoing clients, play drums in two bands, act in a local murder mystery theatre, and more. My life would be a disaster without a way to manage it all.

This one tool drives my entire day.…

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The Stigma And Struggle Of Being A Medical Copywriter -

The Stigma And Struggle Of Being A Medical Copywriter

August 6, 2020

A subscriber to my daily newsletter, Corinne Swainger, asked a question, reprinted here with permission:

Today, many people tend to associate the word “copywriter” with someone who only writes websites, content marketing or blogs. This often means practically everyone now thinks they can write, and is therefore a copywriter.

My own background is based in traditional and modern advertising/healthcare PR/medical education agencies, where a wide range of media (eg, digital, print ad, posters, patient leaflets, booklets etc) are still used for integrated campaigns. My work is also based on several years of medical marketing experience. But it seems less people understand this.

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Avoid This Market Research Mistake -

Avoid This Market Research Mistake

August 6, 2020

A client of mine who was about to spend a huge amount of money on marketing a new product he just launched. This product was the result of pivoting to a new model as a result of COVID.

I asked him if he did some viability research. He said, “Yes, the keyword is a hot trend right now.” But that's a common mistake many professionals and marketers make. Keyword research is where most people stop.

Since the topic or problem is highly searched for or even trending, they think it's viable. Sure, it could indicate there's a problem that a market wants to solve.…

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Write To Express, Not Impress -

Write To Express, Not Impress

August 5, 2020

If you're a professional, I'm positive you had to read long, boring, academic articles filled with densely packed text and paragraphs so long, some would take up entire pages. Most professionals had to do this to some degree.

The problem is that when most professionals market themselves (and attempt to write their own copy), they write in the same dry, academic style. Their marketing communications appear as thorough, stale recitations of facts, devoid of any literary intrigue or storytelling.

After all, most universities and academic circles teach us to follow a formulaic approach when describing our research. We are told to stick with the facts, and avoid generating excitement, interest, or curiosity.…

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