Irena Kagansky

professional copywriting

Couples: Why We Neglect the Happiness of Our Partner

  By Irena Kagansky         No Comments

About two weeks ago in the Globe and Mail, I came across an interesting article written by columnist Sarah Hampson: Happiness in Couples is Contagious- So is Misery The article discusses the notion that couples should make more effort to be responsible for their partners’ happiness while at the same time pointing out (very fairly in my opinion) that excessive people pleasers fail to take care of themselves. It’s true; everyone has their own definition of what it means to be happy. Some of us feel content with the idea that our partners are bringing home the dough, others define happiness by the things they experience together as a couple and there are those of us who when in a relationship seek intellectual and emotional unity. Ok, if I was to start nit picking I would say that my ideal partner is a little bit from column A, significantly more from column B and a wagon full from column C, but who really strikes such a perfect balance when it comes to happiness? Having said that, I’d like to offer you a slightly different take on why I think couples tend to neglect their partners’ happiness.

While I do agree that a responsible and happy partnership is a subjective matter I am convinced that as human beings we need to feel like our partners understand exactly what we’re thinking and feeling. In other words there is no denying that we should definitely try a lot harder to take an active part in our partners’ happiness; whether it is emotional connectivity, intellectual harmony or financial stability we’re looking for. Only if we strive to become conscientious partners can we hope to achieve that balance that relationships are based on.

We all need to be attuned to our partners’ aura; we need to inject some of our own feminine and/or masculine sensibilities and charm into the relationship. Couples should not hesitate to let their guard down, open up and welcome a certain sense of vulnerability into their everyday lives. Men about as much as women, have the desire to be nuzzled and nurtured. My husband for example is a big snuggle bear who loves to cozy up to me with a blanket. In relating to one another both men and women crave the kind of mutual responsiveness (I will dare to call it emotional wooing) that often gets severed for a variety of complex social reasons.

The disconnect that happens when attempting to attain that sense of mutual happiness lies in the fact that more often than not we expect too much of both our partners and ourselves. Our need for financial gain, our desire to win the rat race, to become the absolute best, often overshadows our want to connect with each other. How often do we find ourselves racing against time itself, grabbing our morning coffee on the go, taking our kids to and from hockey practice and overwhelming ourselves with heaps of redundant chores and every day minutiae. We literally have to make time, for time; in other words, things like ritualistic kissing that happens as your partner runs out the door or the a la carte style sex that’s only as satisfying as our rehearsed lines about how much we (women) enjoyed a quickie.

In short, I believe that the imbalance in relationships is caused in part by the societal pressures that in a way convince us, that we can achieve greater success only on our own rather than together. We are preconditioned to assume that we can best meet our daily responsibilities individually rather than as a unit. That is mainly the fault of the way in which our society is constructed. We are addicted to acting on our own rather than as partners which contradicts the very values of what it means to be involved in the others’ happiness.

Often when dating we find ourselves more in tune with each other’s’ sensibilities, ideas and desires. We welcome courtship, connection and understanding. We take time to know about one another and revel in our shared happiness. However the longer we are together the less responsive we become to the small nuances and gestures that make us happy. Particularly women often feel relegated by their partners into the role of the ‘long-time partner’ or wife which serves to diminish the desire to actively participate in each other’s happiness. As a result of a variety of internal and external factors and ambitions we find ourselves checking out of the shared experience of our partners. To women, this kind of emotional checking out is particularly distressing as they are creatures that have a need to be wooed and adored.

Another aspect of what happens when couples are together for years are that there are no more surprises as far as your partner is concerned. By now you have washed their clothes, cooked their meals, and watched them waste an entire box of tissues when blowing their nose in bed. There is nothing remotely sexy or chivalrous about routinely “putting up” with each other’s belches, burps and farts. In fact it’s that mundane reality of constantly being in each other’s face that ultimately squashes all desire to connect in a meaningful way. Married couples tend to settle into their “comfort zone” of inadvertently ignoring their partner and thus their happiness. Many of us are just plain lazy and unwilling to reach out and take that extra step. We would much rather conveniently forget that relationships are fragile, than bother re-examining our own truths. It is no secret that today’s busy world is a constant race to come up on top, to compare ourselves to our counterparts, to forget the little things that make us who we are. However we must not discount just how blind that causes us to become to our partners needs and desires pushing us into an emotional wasteland.

The truth is, in most instances we do not set out to purposely neglect our partners’ happiness. We are perfectly aware that none of us like being taken for granted. The trick is not to use your partnership as an excuse for no longer making an effort. The key here is not to underestimate the value of conversation, of dating again or re-creating the time when you first saw each other from across the room. There is no harm in going back to writing love notes on mirrors and walls, in shouting “I love you” in the most unexpected of places. It is important to remind ourselves of how sexy we are, how funny; of the certain je ne sais quoi about each other that makes our heads spin.

I invite you to stop for a moment and appreciate the things you have; each other. Happiness is the ability to laugh together despite it all. After all life is tough, so we should all stop taking ourselves so seriously!!

  By Irena Kagansky         No Comments

Below is a post I recently wrote as a guest writer on Feminist Truths. The direct link is here.

Almost daily I hear friends and family tell me: “don’t stress”, don’t worry”, family will help you figure it out”. One thing that my friends can’t fully grasp is the effects of the socially imposed barriers that arise as a result of being a woman living with a disability. They find it difficult to relate to the very real circumstances we differently abled women face. These include feelings of isolation, unemployment, lack of easy access to available government services and more. It’s these manufactured societal attitudes which serve as a means of lowering ones’ self-worth thus disregarding the true essence of a female with a disability. In my opinion these truths are directly linked to the feminist notions around human rights, equality, low income standards and unemployment.

Being a young, university educated woman I too had aspirations of a successful career in Media and Communications. After five years of hard work like many women my age I attended a graduation ceremony where I received my diploma. Yet nothing prepared me for what was to come; years of struggling to find that job, countless interviews followed by rejection. One thing I was never told while in university was that my disability would dramatically lessen my chances for employment. However this is not simply about disability, these and other everyday barriers are being overcome by women who are perceived as visible minorities. More often than not this results in failure to access proper health care, controlled government assistance, social exclusion with minimal to no room for growth or self-advancement; which brings me to the idea of the invisible woman and the need to bridge the gap brought on by the social perception of the “acceptable norm” or normalcy.

The common societal argument is that any deviation from the “norm” should be medically or otherwise monitored, questioned or collectively frowned upon. Women (disabled women included), who do not fit the standard image of a professional, capable and independent individual should automatically be perceived as incapable, unable, and dependant; like the feminist movement, the disability movement as it relates to women, should focus on breaking down the many societal walls that create unfounded feelings of inferiority in us. It is this fear of being “socially perceived” or rather misperceived that prevents us, women in particular, from achieving our full potential. These misled ideas of dis-ability and the female embodiment are nothing but superficially levied social constraints that stand in the way of discovering the real the possibilities behind acceptance.

About two months ago I got married; I am a wife now, but also a dependant according to societal norms. I no longer receive financial support based on disability. My husband is my “primary” caregiver and although I now run a copywriting business; I am a dependant. My unstable income is seen as not enough to grant me the financial independence I crave. Despite my go-getter nature and an eagerness to get ahead, I know that in societal eyes, I will perhaps always be seen as someone who “needs help” from others, I will keep hearing words like: “you are not quite what we’re looking for”. There is a chance that my future children will be seen as children of a parent with a disability and the stigma that comes along with it.

The fact is, in this fast-paced world filled with constant societal pressures, perception is everything; more than anything else it is about that image of the perfect woman, the perfect, wife the perfect mother. Women like myself who have felt that pressure of knowing they will never fit the mold, also know this has to change. We all need to tell ourselves that we acknowledge that these societal norms are nothing but a way for others to shield themselves from that which they cannot explain. As women we need to stand up and let our voices be heard. Working towards a common norm where our collective differences are celebrated rather than judged is the key to personal and emotional freedom.

For more information on disability and feminism visit: Also be sure to check out:

Crazy People Prefer Honest Copy

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Crazy People PosterAs many of you may know, I am crazy about movies. I have a deep appreciation for almost all types of genres, beginning with social commentary films to experimental style cinema and every so often I allow myself to enjoy a truly heartfelt, laugh out loud comedy.  One such film is Crazy People from 1990 starring Dudley Moore. One of the reasons I chose to write a review of this particular film is because while watching it I became quite intrigued by the film’s message that honesty is the best policy not only when it comes to forming and maintaining relationships but also in writing advertising copy. In fact, Crazy People compels us to defy and even question all of the imposed conventions of normalcy that we have come to accept as copywriters.

This film boldly suggests that being a part of a group of “crazy” people who dare to put so much of their faith into creating wacky, completely honest copy is about as normal as it gets. In some weirdly satisfying way, this movie further solidifies my philosophy that copywriting at its best is about humour, originality, emotion and honesty. While this movie is in no way a cinematic masterpiece nor is the acting stellar, the film makes up for its shortcomings by wittily injecting a sense of possibility and child-like curiosity into the minds of its viewers. In Crazy People, we see consumers barge into stores after reading headlines like this: “Metamucil: It helps you go to the toilet. If you don’t use it, you’ll get cancer and die” or “Buy Volvos, they’re Boxy but Good” I was pleasantly surprised  and intrigued by the number of people in this film who not only enjoyed brutal honesty when it comes to a product but happily buy into it.  This movie suggests that there is ample room for ads that are driven entirely by a certain public hunger for absolute, in your face honesty, which serves to not only endorse the product but authenticate the genuine experience of its target audience.

For any of you copywriters out there, I recommend that you watch this film, and then re-read this post.

Richard Florida – Rise of the Creative Class

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When I first got my hands on Richard Florida’s award winning book, The Rise of the Creative Class, I was thrilled. I felt like saying it’s about time that someone wrote a book that put creative folks like us on the map. In this book Florida, completely crushes the idea of the starving artist; in fact he deliberately places the creative class at the very top of the totem pole.

Much like the author himself, I believe that creativity is something that affects every facet of our daily lives. If used efficiently, it can help move us in the right direction towards both spiritual and economic prosperity. With the creative class continuing to reinvent the wheel, we have begun to take a closer look at new ways to boost our economy, reexamine our approach to youth and education and make room for endless possibilities. With the arrival of the internet more doors are being opened. The young are taking the web by storm and the old are hobbling along in a futile attempt to win the race of the ages. Nuclear families are being redefined, marriages are being put on hold; in the name of a mad and invigorating contest amongst all of us to be defined as the new, creative class that will end up at the top of the heap when all is said and done.

As I write, these words I find myself enthused by the idea that in today’s economically and quite often emotionally stifled society it is creativity that is breathing new life into the way we do business. We are welcoming the opportunity for all sorts of creative expression and individual growth. Slowly but surely people have come to realize the truth; art is a powerful tool that not only inspires change but without which our economic and individual resources would dwindle.

The creative class now more than ever before has the reigns over the spiritual and fiscal development of our nation. Richard suggests that by giving into the current creative movement and allowing it to wash over every aspect of our socio-economic ripening we will be able to define success in greater measures and rely solely on our unique individual strides and successes rather than adhere to external pressures.

The creative class is one that sees the world through its own colored lens. These are people who have opened themselves up to the environment they exist in. They care deeply about all things in the world and cannot wait to unleash self-expression and otherness into the atmosphere. There are millions of us who have now jumped onto the bandwagon of creativity and are already making a difference. Even blue-collar jobs and factory workers are being exposed to the full potential of creative thought.

Those of us who are not yet onboard with the emergence of the creative class need to start turning the page; the faster we recognize that creativity is the future the better equipped we will be to embrace what is to come. It is crucial to begin thinking outside the box, diversify our goals and resources and create a close knit collaborative environment in which we can all creatively co-exist.

This way of life is here to stay and companies are starting to realize the importance of supporting such a model. Business styles are shifting, employees are being recognized for their efforts and the corporate pecking order has seen better days. There is increased flexibility when it comes to work loads, scheduling and it seems as though many superiors have relinquished control. The creative class is spreading their wings and infusing their lives with endless movement. The lines between work and play have blurred. The creative force is charging full speed ahead without looking back.

This book is a tremendously inspiring journey that I would recommend to anyone who has not yet discovered their full potential.

Business Copy SOS!

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It is important to take business copy seriously as it is one of the most profitable and rewarding services you can offer a client. When a busy company is scrambling to get things done, when baffled executives are pulling their hair out during crunch time; that’s when you come in. By now you should have learned that an integral part of any business is communication. There is a constant need to network, liaise with other companies and produce favourable results. Sadly not many businesses actually know how to write convincing copy.

Your Words Are Not a Laughing Matter

Writing business copy is NOT about creativity where flowery language is celebrated. Whether you are crafting a business plan a report or a sales letter, amusing audiences with colourful jingles is not the idea; in fact it is quite the opposite. As a copywriter your job is to help unscramble the puzzle by offering the client a clear solution to a problem. Businesses hire professionals like you to help them clean up the mess by finding real answers to their questions. In business writing your style should be direct and to the point. The way you present your copy must make it easy for a business to reach their goasl. In essence, you are tasked with delivering a message in a way that makes absolute sense to everyone involved. Corporate writing can make you loads of cash. All you have to do is proof to potential clients that you can do the job well; which takes practice and dedication.

Stay On Track with Your Message

As I have already mentioned clear and concise communication is crucial when it comes to running a successful business. Failure to fully understand your clients’ message or vice versa, can result in real blunders. That is why writing good business copy is all about putting forth key information that will win over your client by convincing him or her that they can entrust you with an important project. Planning, preparation and organization when writing is crucial and can earn you instant brownie points. Always watch your grammar, overall message and sentence fragments. Avoid making clients search through pages of confusing language in order to get to the main idea of your argument. Purposeful writing is what your clients expect from you at all times. Keep in mind, these days a better writer equals more $.

Layout and Presentation

More often than not how tightly you write depends on your choice of outline, organization and planning. Are you writing a letter, an ad or a press release? How formal or informal is your tone and objective? Attention to the details of your copy makes a world of difference. Your clients tend to base their decision on whether to buy your services largely based on whether or not they can appreciate your unique voice and style. If you’re appealing to a friendly crowd of beachgoers adjust your voice accordingly. If you’re working on a formal report trim it down. Your content should always reflect the interest or your audience so keep sight of your target.

Style Verses Stench

Remember there is a good possibility that your reader has no idea what you’re talking about. So be certain that what you’re saying right from the get-go is something they need to know. It helps to breakdown your work into segments of information that you can easily follow when writing business copy. Keeping your readers attention is a great way to ease into it when formulating your message. In other words why should they care? What’s in it for them? Make a strong case for yourself and stick to your guns. Be direct and simplify, simplify, simplify. Bullet points, headings and subheadings will help keep you on point and motivated. Pose questions to your audience, propose alternative outcomes and leave some things to their imagination. Many readers are quite visual that is where graphs, charts and timelines can start the ball rolling. Not only will this approach serve as a visual stimulant it will also get your point across that much more effectively.

Grammar for Copywriters

One of the easiest ways to seem unprofessional is bad grammar. Always triple check your spelling, your language use and double meanings. A poorly structured sentence, phrase or even the wrong letter can become a deal breaker. So take charge, read lots of books and always edit. One last word of advice, ask for feedback from others and do what needs to be done to avoid needless slip-ups.


Advertising Copy at Its Best

  By Irena Kagansky         No Comments

It is no secret that any advertising campaign is only as good as the copy you write. What you put into it is exactly the result you’re going to get. However perfecting your craft on the consistent basis is always a step in the right direction. If you’re reading this post writing promotional materials is already something you love to do. As such, I don’t believe I need to overwhelm you with anymore with the specifics of effective marketing. Perhaps all I need to do is show you how to add to your existing work, to make it more user-friendly and something that your audience will appreciate.
Writing good promotional copy is no walk in the park. It takes insight and a deep understanding of the people you’re writing it for. Any great advertising should be catchy, surprising and pull the reader in from the get-go. Your words on the page should be enough for them to gain a clear understanding of your product or service. In other words for every copy action there must be an appropriate reaction. The guidelines I am going to give you today will help you stay the course and navigate these waters with confidence.

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Audience Even Closer

Knowing who your audiences are is crucial when it comes to successful promotion. Write with your target in mind. Think of who would be interested in what you have to say. If you’re appealing to the average Joe, think of what they’re like, where they come from, what their lifestyle choices might be and so on. Ask yourself, what would they value, what do they enjoy doing, what products and/or services are they most likely to buy. Understanding your audiences not only gives you an advantage over them but also over the way you choose to promote your product or service. Doing this will help you stay on target as well as make your material that much more relevant and inviting.

What is Your Value?

What about your offer makes it unique? Why is it one that your clients just cannot refuse? What makes your proposal stand out from the rest? Assuming your target demographic buys into what you’re selling, what’s in it for them? Your goal here is to make them care about and accept your reasoning.

Roll Out Your Unique Selling Point

This is common sense, originality pays off. If you can weave a compelling story; one that is unique and can wet your targets’ appetite, consider it a success. If you can show them something that the competition lacks or did not think about before, you will be the first to introduce a new concept. Your unique selling point relies almost entirely on the effectiveness of your overall pitch. Your offer should generate enough interest to attract new clients.

Define Your Purpose

You cannot write without purpose. Think of what you’re aiming to achieve, what reactions are you looking to provoke and finally what actions you imagine people taking after reading your copy. Make absolutely certain that you understand why you are writing, the last thing you need is for your target audience to be scratching their heads in confusion.

Your Lead Matters

It is extremely important to get your reader to notice your offer. You cannot afford for it to be lost, misplaced or worse; ignored all together. That is why your lead or subject line matters. Take your time creating your lead and/or subject line and don’t be sloppy. Your opening lines are your main marketing tactic they are what drive your targets’ need to read on. Make it about them. Use words such as “you”, “contemporary”, “latest”, “exciting offer”. If you can make your reader feel special and appreciated by simply by means of the words you use, consider it a done deal.

Make Your Headline Pop

The headline is what immediately catches your readers’ attention. He or she naturally starts to make the necessary connections and associations with you service or product. Once again the question that comes up is what’s in it for me? The headline should clearly speak to who you are and what you’re selling. If the headline is weak you will lose your reader. Hint: You may want to play with the wording of your headline or subject line until you’re happy with the results. Writing the body of your piece may also spark ideas for your subject or headline.

Don’t Be Wishy-Washy

When creating a headline be direct. Don’t use words that fail to make a clear statement like “if”, “I hope”, “I think that”… Use affirmative, concrete words that reassure your reader that you are the real deal. Words that project confidence and professionalism are also the ones that reflect positivity and inspire a level of trust in your reader.

Passive Language Does Not Work

Writing in a passive voice will put your reader to sleep. Your copy is meant to energize and inspire not bore the heck out of your reader. Delivering your message in a passive manner will hinder your chances and make your idea seem irrelevant and dull.

Personalize It!

Personalizing your message can make the reader feel warm and fuzzy. If you can inject your idea with a personal touch it will make you and your product that much more real to the reader. Introducing real-life examples of your successes such as quotes, testimonials or photos of satisfied clients generate a favourable outcome.

For more information about this and other topics I invite you to read Secrets of a Freelance Writer, How to Make $85,000 A Year by Robert W. Bly.


Writing Compelling Web Copy is As Easy as One, Two, and Three

  By Irena Kagansky         No Comments

The term “social media” is everywhere, it has become the way we communicate, connect and do business. The internet has quickly developed into a powerful networking and research tool. Nearly every transaction can be made online, from personal banking to buying and selling of goods and services to digital books. One hardly needs to leave the house to have a pair of slippers delivered right to his or her doorstep. That is why building a strong web presence is so important. Yet for many of us writing excellent web copy is just not our forte. The number one priority with online writing is to entice, influence and convince clients that your business is worth every bit of their time and money. Your online presence offers your clients a glimpse into who you are and what you do. That first impression when someone visits your site can make all the difference when it comes to the way your clients see you. I know that writing for the web can be quite daunting especially since the style of writing requires you to be concise and to the point. Web copy is a significant part of your promotion and marketing strategy. This type of writing allows you the opportunity to engage with a wider audience and write searchable content or SEO. Before you panic let me assure you that you too, can write compelling website copy.

Always Keep Your Audience in Mind

Anticipate your audiences’ needs and always keep them in mind when writing web copy. Know exactly who your target audience is and how much they know about your business. Use language that is geared towards that particular demographic as a way to market your business effectively. Every piece of writing you publish online, be it promotional material, blog or advertising copy should reflect the values of your target group. Find out all there is to know about who you are marketing to; their interests, preferences, lifestyle, age and emotional triggers. The trick to attracting new clients is in using wording that appeals to your clients’ likes, dislikes and personal stimuli. When writing web copy stay on track and never lose sight of your goal. Remember, the use of slang or any other forms of offensive verbiage will drive your clients away and likely generate negative publicity.

Too Much Wit Is, Too Much

Remember, flaunting your intelligence is great however excessive shrewdness can work against you. What is humorous to you may not seem comedic to someone else. Entertaining yourself at your clients’ expense is not the current way of doing business. In fact, your job is to make absolutely certain that your clients fully understand and identify with your message. I strongly suggest that you consult with a professional or someone you trust about your copy before making it public. A good indication that your clients will not appreciate your copy is if your friend says “it’s great but maybe you should have done this instead” or if your mom smiles and declares “how cute!” Generally I recommend that you write for someone who is not an expert in your field. This way you improve your chances for success not to mention that it is always good to cast a wider net.

Write to Optimize Your Search Engine

The term Search Engine Optimization adds a bit of a twist to the expression “write with a purpose”. In this case the purpose is not only to appeal to your target audience on an emotional level but to choose words that people can search for through an online search engine. For instance if I am looking for a copywriter that writes great ads, promotional materials or business copy, a company should be able to find these key words simply by plugging them into the search engine. Your word choices must clearly describe what your business is all about and what you have to offer perspective clients. Key phrases such as “professional copywriter serving local businesses and non-profits” or “copywriting with a conscience, always working within your budget”. Note how all of a sudden potentially searchable words appear in your content. Ideally you would combine exceptional copy content with Search Engine Optimization in order to drive traffic to your site.


Personality Sells: How to Use Who You Are to Keep Your Clients Happy

  By Irena Kagansky         No Comments

It took me time to realize that clients are not looking for descriptors like “we put our clients’ needs first” or “exceptional service at a lower price”. Most of those working in a corporate world have heard more than their share of broad sweeping statements. In fact more often than not, it is these claims that turn prospective clients away from choosing your business. Understand this; to get a client to buy what you’re selling you need to inject it with personality! Sell yourself as an authentic brand. The idea is to make them see YOU as an irreplaceable commodity that no reasonable buyer can forgo. Start by answering these questions: What unique personal attributes do I have that can be packaged up and presented to potential clients as a selling point? How can I integrate these qualities into my business model and my copy in order to attract new clients and keep them coming back? In other words, personality sells!

Writing is about persuading your clients to buy into your message. It’s about conveying images in a way that speaks to the emotional authenticity and style of your client. By being in tune with your target audience’ unique voice and expectations, you can begin to adjust the personality of your copy to fit the needs of that market. Remember, creative flexibility along with what you may call “intuitive marketing” will keep the cash flowing and your clients happy.

How Can Personality Add To Your Features and Benefits?

If your copy is friendly, cheerful and engaging it can draw the reader in, within a matter of seconds, which is rather important when you consider the world we live in today. Hardly anyone reads printed words anymore which means that one of the only ways to reach your audiences fast is via the internet. Your words have to go out with a bang! It is crucial that you hit them over the head with it or else you are dead in the water. I say when you write your copy with personality it not only gives it the energy your clients crave, it also makes them gain trust in your product at which point you are free to flaunt your unique selling point.

The personality of your writing is the first thing potential clients take note of when visiting your web page. Your online presence is integral to your overall business image as well as in developing your brand.  Your personal and professional charm should instantly come through in your language. The words you choose to appeal to clients must paint a clear picture of who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t be afraid to be different, the fact is the more creative your strategy the more chances you have to outsmart the competition. Words are what positions your business so let your clients know what you’re made of!

So Writing with Personaliy, How Does That Work?

First have a clear idea of who your audience is. What do they drink or eat? How old are they? Where do they live? What music do they listen to? The more you know about your buyer the more aware you become of his or her passions, ambitions and aspirations. Writing great copy means adapting to and identifying with these values in order to reach that demographic.

The secret to pitching the right ideas to your clients is in finding out as much as you can about the type of business it is. Inquire about their vision, expectations and business associates. Ask about the industry, market responsiveness and their overall agenda. As a copy writer your final product must always reflect the personality of the business you’re targeting.

How you choose to write your copy can mean the difference between success and failure. The competition is out there ready to step all over you and it’s up to you to rise and shine!