Five ways to turn beasts into great blogs!

Untitled  If you’re involved in the area of finance, super or property, and you’re still trying to tame the demands of a weekly blog – creating informative, yet interesting, content – then, perhaps, these few tips may be just the ride you’ve been looking for.

As a freelance content writer, I’m reasonably experienced at writing keyword websites and blog copy. I also have some expertise in real estate, so I’m quite at home (no pun intended) about writing around property, finance and even superannuation.

In my many years of advertising, I’ve written about everything from BMW to baked beans.

Recently, I was quite surprised when I wrote half a dozen blog pieces for a recruitment company, and the end result was a disaster – prompting this blog.

The agency I was freelancing to provided good reference, a tight brief, and substantial information to help build my prose.
Once written, the client was chuffed, and I felt more popular than a ham sandwich at Clive Palmer’s house.

However, once these blogs crawled through the client’s editorial mob of gnashing scissors, they read more like: “Ten Dull Things To Do in a Gulag”. These ‘editors’ just didn’t realise that, unlike a gulag, readers choose to read these blogs – or not so.

For blogs to be effective, they have to first stand out, as well as be engaging, and then provide something of value to the reader.

Sadly, their potential to be engaging as well as readable had been squeezed out of them. They should have, at least, left the following:

To get this right, as Curly said, “The secret to life is one thing…” And my blog writing secret is ‘One Word’. Think of your product as one word and write around that word. For example, when writing for BMW the one word I use is ‘Dynamic’ – all my copy has a dynamic tone to it. When working on Hyundai, the word was ‘Fun’, and likewise my copy. Here’s a tip, when I write around Super, investment, etc, the word I usually write around is “Reassurance”. Reassurance that your money is safe, reassurance that your money will grow, etc.

2. Headline
It’s simple, engaging headlines entice readers to drill into your copy. The easiest way to crank out a great headline is to write a straight line describing your blog content, and then fiddle with it. Also, make it inviting. Five ways sounds easier to read than 25 ways.

3. Aspiration
Most people reading about money, property investment, super, etc, are trying to see what’s around the corner, and how to better their future. So, make sure your blog fuels their aspirations. What is it about your brand/product that can make your readers’ life better?

4. Keywords
Jump on YouTube and punch in the keywords (key phrase): ‘How to use Google Keyword Planner Tool’. From there, you’ll start to understand the power of keywords, long tail keywords, what is searched for, and a bunch of other stuff that will help your copy get out there.

5. Visuals
Let’s face it, people are lazy. It takes an effort to read a headline. On the net, people are skimmers. They will only read a blog if their brain tells them there’s something worthwhile for them in it. Yes, a punchy headline may inspire the reader’s brain, but a great visual not only grabs the cerebrals, it also sets a theme/tone to your story. Plus, if you use something different – like cartoons, as I do – your copy immediately stands out from the rest. Further activating those cells.

6. Don’t waffle
One last tip (Hey, I know I said 5 ways, but I’m being generous), Try and keep your copy to around 500 words – 600 tops. Plenty of my SEO buddies tell me that’s best practice for keeping search engines happy. Now, hop back on that blog horse and enjoy the ride!

12 quick reasons why superannuation is like marriage!


Beam me up if I’m wrong here, but most people still believe in marriage, as well as superannuation. While both provide unbelievable benefits, unfortunately, there’s also the dark side that can lead to some ugly D words: Divorce and (here’s where super comes in) Despair… for your future.

However, perhaps if we lift the lid, or sheets, ever so gently on these two subjects, we can see how they correlate… and have an amazing synergy that, perhaps, we can learn from?

1. Elvis or Gomer?
Yeah, you’ve been dating for a few years, checking out the talent. And then one day, BOOM, you meet Mr/Mrs Right. Your life’s quest has now been satiated. All the boxes are ticked. Everything makes so much sense. And you’re thinking, if I don’t sign this up I might miss out.

Whether it is a partner for the rest of your life, or a financial arrangement that will support you to the end of your life, you move forward and make a commitment – confident of a rewarding future.

With rose coloured glasses, you now start the journey of discovering, was it Marilyn Monroe or Phyllis Diller you actually married? The same predicament presents for the aspiring super funds you explore. They all have great attractions, but what will they look like in the future?

2. For better or worse…
As the honeymoon continues, both in marriage and with your super fund, you are beaming with new life. Your many experiences of tyre kicking have paid off – and you bathe in the knowledge that your future is anchored on a rock solid foundation. Both emotionally and financially, you are headed for a fantastic future.

3. Does my ego look big in this?
You even find yourself quite keen to show off your trophy wife/stud husband to your dinner party friends and work colleagues. In a similar fashion, no barbeque get-together is too sacred not to talk about your latest super returns and, by the way… how did your fund perform compared to mine?

4. Hey, what’s that?
Hmmm, in time you start to notice things that simply weren’t there before. Your better half appears to be doing things that just don’t make sense, and there’re moments when they can be quite annoying. At the same time, why is your super not performing as it should be?

5. Cybill had how many personalities?
To your delight, and at times annoyance, your other half can be stunningly sensational and light up your universe with complete fulfillment… and at other times they’re just not there in the room. Funny how your Super can deliver amazing returns one year, and then the next time you check it’s a shy underperforming hollow thing in a dark corner.

6. Seconds anyone?
As time goes on, you two start to do what most couples do… put on weight. Not too dissimilar to your super – you hope.

7. The hassle-in-laws
With marriage come the in-laws. As they start to make themselves known, you find that some are easy to deal with. The others remind you of your super fund – in that, they too start to contact you with issues… be that insurance offers, or other financial options. These, just like relatives, will now be forever in your life.

8. Ka-ching
As either of you progress in your careers, so does your income and the what-part-of-Europe-can-we-now-holiday-in pay packet. At about the same time, your compounding super starts to deliver impressive statements.

9. Where’s the remote?
Inevitably, there’s nothing as unpredictable as the economy. Which can result in one or both of you lying around the sofa all week, wondering what Oprah is doing? Again, much like super in a bear market.

10. Patience is a virtue?
Marriage, at times, can be just as eventful as an election rally for Donald Trump. Whether you succumb to the consuming statistics of divorce, or stay the true and narrow path of marriage, will be determined, to a large degree, with how you ignore the temptations that arise. Staying true to your superannuation fund will also be a test of endurance.

11. A team effort
At last, it’s time to grab that golden iWatch and retire with your beloved. You’ve both (or the four of you, including your super funds) weathered the ‘what-ifs’ of life, and can now enjoy the fruits of your lifelong toil.

12. Let the good times roll
About now, you should find a soft chair in the shade and have a good long think. Statistically, you’re one of the few to make it to God’s waiting room with someone you love, and have the financial freedom to enjoy it. Whether you’ve spent your life with Marilyn, Phyllis, Elvis or Gomer, their support, as well as that from a quality super fund, gave you a great life. And if anyone is offered the same life opportunity, they would quickly say: “I do”.

Does the age of your finance/super writer add up?


If you’re in the business of communicating with your clients about superannuation, property investment and getting one’s life ready for retirement, just how familiar is your funky young writer with these ‘grey haired’ products?

From someone that’s been around the writing traps for years, here are a few thoughts to ponder over.

The recent budget was full to the brim of superannuation-affected changes. And yet, the few young writers I talk to emit a dull fog when I try and raise the subject. Hmmm, as well as realising I’ve gotta get out more, I’m also questioning if younger scribes can really connect with this particular product when writing about it.

My perspective is based on many years of copywriting, and having freelanced for around 100 advertising and marketing agencies, interstate and overseas. From the major agencies, the minors, and smaller two-man-bands, I’ve written for just about everything.

In the process, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed, squeezed, sniffed, eaten and ridden in the product I was working on. Really, the only way to understand what you’re writing about is to partake in it. Fortunately for me, I have never had to work on a funeral account.

Crack the idea

I even recall the week my art director and myself were working on the Le Snak account. We had wall-to-wall Le Snak up to our wahoozies, and we had to come up with a whiz-bang idea to fit the bus back, bus sides and metrolite (bus stop) media – the USP being portability.

In between experiencing all the other staff in the agency visiting us to say hi, briefly talk about life, and then briskly leave with a handful of Le Snak, I finally cracked the idea.

It was birthed from endless hours dwelling on portability, which led to a quick trip to the luggage section of Myers, Chatswood. As I started to look at all the different types of luggage – from airline bags and backpacks to bum bags, I started to notice that at the right angle their zippers looked like teeth. Ah, ha! Idea born.

We shot a series of bags with their zippers open, looking as if they were wild animals trying to eat a pack of Le Snak. The campaign ran nationally and was so successful, the client decided to run it the following year as well – plus, I was even able to keep some of the bags.

The point of all this, is that I had to connect with the product to deliver the strongest piece of communication.

And that’s the exact modus operandi that should be used for superannuation.

Aside from wine, the only thing that gets better with age is writing

In more recent times, I’ve been accepting the arrival of grey hairs as just God’s way of telling me the sleek, young body I’ve been living in all these years is about to get a factory recall. And, with that remodelling, thoughts arise of retirement and how to pay for it when I get that golden iWatch in 20 years.

Which means, when it comes to writing superannuation and investment copy, after all this time of playing with the clients’ products, I’m now actually living in one of them. And any writer over 40, such as myself, has more skin in the game than Kim Kardashian would on selfie night.

That’s why I’m throwing the gauntlet down at young writers. And by young, I mean someone young enough not to have any interest in super.

How much would they know about the product? Apart from the recent timing and contribution changes, are they aware of the propensity of people to have multiple super funds, on average around four funds each, and that females end up with about half the amount males squirrel away? Each fund sucking their very future away with fees and insurance charges. Yes, that’s a hassle. However, it can be even more of a hassle to combine them into one. And which one?

Which fund has strong returns and/or allows you to move your insurance over? What are the tax implications with the new super fund, if you’ve made after-tax contributions? And how do you avoid getting burnt by high fees with the funds you’re terminating?

Then there’s the hassle of getting it done. If you’re unsure which company you should pool your super with, good luck with the free government website – that site is more confused than Donald Trump’s hairdresser.

You should also be prepared for a shock when a private organisation offers their services. The one I contacted wanted to charge $1200, for something that a super fund will do for free.

Then, in the process of moving, when one of my accounts had the wrong birth date, instead of just changing it over the phone, I had to verify who I was with a frustrating trip to  a distant police station for validation.

The harder things come, the more you appreciate them

Fortunately, all this angst is quite educational. Yes, superannuation content usually involves issues relating to timing, personal circumstances and taxation planning; however, any writer who hasn’t personally tried to sift their way through the super minefield may be accused of already retiring – as their content will reflect their inexperience.

So, if the blog or native advertising writer you’re using may be more interested in things other than super – like cheese – then start packing their travel bags. As great content is only written by those that love, and know, what they’re doing.