John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter

www.kuraoka.com
(619) 465-6100
answers to frequently asked questions

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Questions:
Why should I hire you as my advertising copywriter?
How do you pronounce your name?
Why can’t I see your email address?
Can I see some samples of your work?
I have a great idea/story/song/script/book. Can you copywrite it for me?
I have some great ideas for ads for a major company. How do I sell them?
What does an advertising copywriter do?
Do you design the ad, brochure, website, or whatever?
Must I hire an art director or designer?
Do you write television commercials and radio spots?
Do you write direct mail?
Do you write novels?
Do you specialize in a particular industry?
Will you rewrite copy I already have?
How much do you charge?
That’s a lot for an hour, isn’t it?
But I’m a small business or start-up. Can you please help me out here?
Do you exchange links?
Where’s the Ad Blog FAQ?
Hey, I want to be an advertising copywriter. Any tips?
What do you think of online copywriting courses?

Q: How do you pronounce your name?
A: “Koo-rah-oh-kah.” Just pronounce every letter in my name, Ku-ra-o-ka, with no emphasis on any syllable, and you’ll get it right. If you want to sound authentic, give the “r” a quick roll; if you want to fake authenticity, pronounce the “r” as a soft “d” with your tongue grazing the roof of your mouth. Congratulations. You’ve just learned how to pronounce almost any name or word of Japanese origin.
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Q: Why can’t I see your email address?
A: Because you have JavaScript disabled. If you’re security-minded enough to surf the web with JavaScript disabled, then you’re security-minded enough to understand why I cloaked my email address from automated email address harvesters. You’ll have to manually type in my email address, john at-symbol kuraoka-dot-com.
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Q: Can I see some samples of your work?
A: Absolutely! Here is my advertising copywriting portfolio, including print, radio, tv, and entire ad campaigns. And here is my brochure copywriting portfolio, including corporate brochures, product brochures, and sales brochures.
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Q: I have a great idea/story/song/script/book. Can you copywrite it for me?
A: You mean “copyright,” and, to be accurate, you may mean “trademark” or “patent.” You may find the information at the U.S. Copyright Office to be useful. You also may need to consult an attorney who specializes in intellectual property. I am an advertising copywriter, which means that I write advertising and marketing copy - the words you read or hear in ads and commercials.
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Q: I have some great ideas for ads for a major company. How do I sell them?
A: I’m not going to address the business side, except to gently suggest that if you don’t know how to sell your ad concepts, you’re not ready to sell your ad concepts. Instead, I’ll focus on the creative side. Even there, the answer is not encouraging. The typical advertising copywriter or art director routinely develops hundreds of ad concepts before presentation. Most lie crumpled in wastebaskets, including many, many “great” ideas. Some were too obvious, or off-strategy, or presented practical obstacles to proper execution. Or, and this is the most-common reason, those great ideas weren’t so great once they were surrounded by better ideas. It has been said more than once that you can judge the quality of a creative team by the contents of its trash can. Finally, clients routinely reject even “great” ad concepts as part of the selection process. Having a bunch of unsolicited but great ideas for ads - that’s the start of a portfolio, not a presentation. Get a job as an advertising copywriter at an ad agency and get to work. Like most industries, advertising offers no easy way to start at the top, and no short-cut to getting good work produced.
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Q: What does an advertising copywriter do?
A: An advertising copywriter is part of a team that creates advertising and marketing materials, such as print ads and television commercials. Some copywriters work in an ad agency, some work in a corporate marketing department. Others, such as myself, work freelance. In a broad sense, a copywriter writes copy - the headline and text in an ad or all the words in a television or radio commercial - but in real life it is seldom that simple. Whether at an ad agency or within a marketing department, a creative team usually consists of a copywriter and an art director, and creating an advertisement is a joint effort with considerable overlap. In addition to writing ads and commercials, copywriters also write brochures, websites, sales kits, displays, sales letters, and other marketing support materials.
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Q: Do you design the ad, brochure, website, or whatever?
A: No, I write the words. An art director or designer does the design. If you need an art director or designer as part of your creative team, I work with some of the best. I’d be happy to refer you to a design professional who can meet your needs even if you don’t need my copywriting services at this time. Just call me at (619) 465-6100.
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Q: Must I hire an art director or designer? I have a publishing program.
A: Yes! Marketing communication is visual communication. You owe it to yourself to hire a professional visual communicator. If people don’t look at your ad, they won’t read the copy. Think of it this way: the art director or designer opens the door, the copywriter closes the sale. Anything less, and you’re either talking to a closed door, or standing before your customer with a blank stare. Shortcuts come at the expense of effectiveness.
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Q: Do you write television commercials and radio spots?
A: Yes! Radio in particular is my favorite medium. No other medium offers such a cost-effective way to bring a competitive edge to life. You can listen to some of my radio spots and watch some of my television commercials here.
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Q: Do you write direct mail?
A: Yes! My career as an advertising copywriter started in a direct mail house. I write cover letters, mailers, flyers, you name it. I think direct mail is one of the most under-utilized media.
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Q: Do you write novels?
A: No. I have no unfinished novel in my drawer, no screenplay in my head. To me, advertising copywriting is the ultimate writing. Every word counts and the end result must produce action. McCann-Erickson’s slogan, as a definition of advertising, has stood through at least two centuries:“Truth Well Told.” Achieving that remains an exciting daily challenge.
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Q: Do you specialize in a particular industry?
A: No. I believe that cross-fertilization is important to keep fresh. At the same time, I’ve noticed that “specialization” is often just another way of saying “you’ll get the same solutions you’ve seen a dozen times before.”
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Q: Will you rewrite copy I already have?
A: I’d be happy to! When converting copy from one medium to another, I follow a three-step process outlined here.
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Q: How much do you charge?
A: I bill on a project basis. If you let me know what you have in mind, I’ll be happy to give you an estimate. In addition, I offer copy editing at a fixed rate of $160/hour.
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Q: That’s a lot for an hour, isn’t it?
A: Not when you consider (a) how fast I work and (b) the years of success that go into every hour.
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Q: But I’m a small business or start-up. Can you please help me out here?
A: Yes I can help! I have an entire website dedicated to free and cheap advertising and marketing resources to help your small business grow. It has additional articles, unaffiliated reviews, and hand-picked links to selected small business marketing resources. To get there, click on www.TightwadMarketing.com.
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Q: Do you exchange links?
A: No. As a copywriter, I prefer to get paid to write ads, brochures, commercials, websites, and other marketing materials, rather than through a link exchange program that could compromise the impartial perspective I bring to the job. Although a link exchange program can be a valuable part of a company’s marketing plan (indeed, I have even recommended such programs), it really has no place in mine.
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Q: Where’s the Ad Blog FAQ?
A: The page you want is this one.
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Q: Hey, I want to be an advertising copywriter. Any tips?
A: Yes, lots. Read my articles How to become an advertising copywriter and More career advice: what’s it like being an advertising copywriter? Look over How to write better ads for  recommendations on writing effective ad copy. For further reading, look at An advertising copywriter’s bookshelf: recommended books. Once you land a job, look at How to take your copywriting portfolio to the next level. Finally, if you want my individual attention, apply for my Advertising copywriting mentorship. It’s the world’s first free, online mentorship program for college juniors and seniors who want to become advertising copywriters.
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Q: What do you think of online copywriting courses?
A: I think the technology hasn’t caught up with the promise. An advertising copywriter doesn’t just write the words. An advertising copywriter is part of a team of people who work together to develop marketing strategies and tactical executions. Art directors. Designers. Researchers. Production artists. Media specialists. And, the client’s marketing people. That multi-disciplinary collaborative approach is hard enough to replicate in a real-life classroom, let alone, so far, online. Yes, if you apply what is taught in a book or a course, you can learn to write sales copy that sounds like everyone else's sales copy – but even that’s a mere technical skill. If you want to learn to create ads, at an ad agency, then you need to look for something deeper and broader.
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My experience as a copywriter.

Main page | Advertising portfolio | Brochure portfolio | Consumer goods | Eco-friendly products | Food services | Healthcare | Hospitality & tourism | Internet | Manufacturing | Packaged goods | Real estate & construction | Retail & restaurants | Service | Technology

Advertising & marketing advice.

Advertising strategy and other lies
An advertising copywriter’s bookshelf: recommended books
Brands and branding: a white paper
Do you make these mistakes in advertising?
Free (yes, free) advertising copywriting resources
Four ad copy traps that ensnare even experienced copywriters
How to become an advertising copywriter
How to take your copywriting portfolio to the next level
How to write a brochure: advice from an advertising copywriter
How to write better ads
Long John Silver on writing ads
More career advice: what’s it like being an advertising copywriter?
Napoleon’s advice to entrepreneurs, Part I: starting the enterprise
Napoleon’s advice to entrepreneurs, Part II: the entrepreneurial character
Napoleon’s advice to entrepreneurs, Part III: growing the enterprise
The ART of repurposing marketing copy (Or, why you shouldn’t use brochure copy as web content)
The economy (and what to do about it)
When you should consider hiring a freelance copywriter
Advertising copywriting mentorship
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Me, me, me.

Awards & honors | Curriculum vitae | Ad Blog | Services

Email me.

Call or fax me.

Phone and fax: (619) 465-6100

Write me.

John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter
6877 Barker Way
San Diego, California
92119-1301

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