What’s the real key to keywords?

One of John Caples most famous ads.

One of John Caples most famous ads.

Is the copywriter an endangered species?

Do people still value a well-crafted headline that stops you in your tracks, grabs your attention and pulls you into the rest of the story?

Is it possible these days to get someone to read past the third sentence of anything?

I hope so, because this is the fourth sentence.

Originally, this post was going to be titled, “At a loss for words?” The premise was simple. If you were stuck with any creative challenge that needed some big idea thinking backed by some well-crafted, on target messaging, I had a very strong recommendation for you. Me.

But then I ran across an article on HubSpot about the value of keywords, particularly when it comes to headline writing. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/common-keyword-data?utm_campaign=blog-rss-emails&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=19663780

I read through the article and it reminded me of John Caples and his tested, proven headline formulas that he published in his book, Tested Advertising Methods back in 1932. Back then, Mr. Caples came up with 35 rules to follow for headline writers. Those rules still work today – but anyone who strictly goes by the rules is doomed to mediocrity.

So now we get this modern day list featuring the most common keywords found in the top shared articles. It’s even broken down by where the keywords are appearing in different social media. What works for twitter, may not be right for Facebook or Pinterest or LinkedIn.


Not really. Nor is it really all that surprising to read that people sharing articles on, let’s say, Content Marketing react strongly to words like ‘Content’ or, ‘Marketing’. For science topics, we’re told to use words such as brain, smart, and future.

No wonder the role of the copywriter is being so devalued. When lists like these come out, it’s so easy to stoop to using keywords in your headline just so that the search engines can find you and your odds of being shared can increase exponentially.

So is it selling out when you include keywords like ‘keywords’ in your headline?

Yes, it is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, you are trying to get people to read what you’ve written. But the real key to using keywords is still creativity. It’s not if you use them, it’s how you use them.

And if you’re still reading this, congratulations. You made it past the fourth sentence.

If you’re at a loss for words for any of your advertising or marketing challenges, I’m here to help. To see some of my words in action, visit www.bloodlinescreative.com or wander amongst a few of my other blog posts and thanks in advance for reading.



Why BloodLines Creative is moving onward and upward


Over the past two years, I was the Creative Director of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. We created some phenomenal work that won local, national, international as well as industry-specific awards. We raised the bar in the department, delivering a higher level of advertising and marketing communications. Many of the materials we developed for McCarthy’s annual Shareholders’ meeting received the highest marks in company history and it was both an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the McCarthy team that made it all happen.

But sometimes in large companies, the status quo gets rocked. So in a move that took me by complete surprise, I was told that the Corporate Communications department was being taken in a different direction and I, as well as my immediate boss, were let go.

So now I’m heading in a new direction as well.

Onward and upward.

Back when I began BloodLines Creative, the intent was to provide Big Idea Thinking to those that couldn’t afford to pay the full freight often associated with traditional agency models. By aligning and then working with a variety of individuals with a range of different skill sets – from designers, web developers, and social media experts to marketing strategists, media buyers, planners and other writers – I was able to provide marketing and communications expertise on an a la carte basis.

That’s still the model and already, it’s working.

In the coming months, you’ll begin to see a flurry of new activity with BloodLines Creative. New projects are in the works. New relationships are being developed. And new avenues are being explored in an effort to go beyond traditional marketing and advertising channels.

Our message is still the same: Big Ideas Start Here.

BloodLines Creative

And they do.

If you’re facing an advertising or marketing challenge, we can help you create success. Whatever the project, from something as simple as an invitation to a full-scale mass media launch, we’ll create messaging that is on target, on brand, gets noticed and acted upon and ultimately, delivers the results you seek.

If you’re one of the individuals with any of the skill sets listed above and are looking to leverage your own talents and partner with someone who is always open to new ideas, we should talk.

Either way, it’s time to get to work and do great things.

To learn more about the work we can do, visit www.bloodlinescreative.com




Thanks, Dad

This is my first Father’s Day without a father around to personally thank for all of his guidance and good times and everything that goes into being a Dad.

Frank X. Blood died on December 20, 2014. And here I am on Father’s Day, feeling that void, yet knowing he taught me more than enough to carry on without him.

My dad was a good, kind man. I have sometimes compared our family growing up to the Cleaver family from the TV show, “Leave it to Beaver”. I was Beaver – a goofy little kid who always managed to find some sort of trouble and my dad was Ward, always providing the insights and direction I needed to learn from my mistakes or better yet, how to avoid them in the first place.

My dad was a teacher, a coach, a mentor, an advisor, a philosopher and always a pillar of strength.

He taught me right from wrong. He helped me understand the importance of family and was the ultimate demonstrator of, “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” as he stood by mom and helped and loved her as her health spiraled downhill. He was always there. And they were quite the couple. Frank and Pat Blood.

When my mom died, I can still remember his outpouring of emotion and how deeply stricken he was by her passing.

But my dad understood the power of continuing to keep on keeping on. And he did – not really knowing what awaited him, but still, embracing whatever happened to come his way.

When my dad remarried in his 83rd year, he had taught me such a valuable life lesson. Life is for the living. And live he did, enjoying new-found happiness with Pat Jasper Blood and touching so many more lives in the process.

Through his example, I know how important it is to always enjoy each day, be thankful for family and friends and believe there’s a better life that awaits us all. My dad’s faith in God lives on in me and in all the lives of everyone he touched.

So Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

I can’t say it to you in person. But I know you hear me, just the same.

We’ve heard this Monsanto story before

Monsanto isn’t going anywhere. Right?

How are we to know?

Quite frankly, we don’t. Maybe the recent news of their effort to purchase Swiss-based Syngenta AG won’t result in them going any further than their new Chesterfield campus. They have, after all, committed to spend more than $1 billion to their Chesterfield location and that certainly doesn’t sound like a company that’s going to up and leave the region.

Still, it makes you wonder.

According to an article in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is, “looking at this with optimism.”

What else can you do other than try and be optimistic?

Sure, Monsanto has been a part of the St. Louis business community since 1901. That may pale next to Anheuser-Busch and their 1852 beginnings but it’s still some pretty serious roots in St. Louis.

And if there’s any company that should have an understanding of roots, you’d think it would be Monsanto.

Fortunately, Monsanto is the one seeking to do the buying, expanding their ability to focus on issues facing farmers challenged with feeding the world’s growing population.The company supplies approximately 90% of the world’s GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds. I’m not sure how Syngenta fits into that plan – they also are a biotech company that conducts genomic research. And genetically modified crops have certainly been under fire.

Geoff Whittington, of Next StL writes, “GMO technology is highly controversial and has many detractors. A major 2008 UN /World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that genetically modified crops have little to offer to the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change. The report recommended organic farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries. Additionally, the United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have mandatory GMO labeling laws.”

World population growth continues to expand. Conditions for growing crops don’t appear to be improving. Something’s got to be done and the solution is far from simple.

If Monsanto wants to change their name to Mongenta or SynSanto, that’s fine by me. If they want to move from their Creve Coeur campus a little further west to Chesterfield, that’s still good for the St. Louis region and perhaps the Creve Coeur campus could become a new hub for more biotechnology and research-based companies.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin thinks the whole potential Syngenta acquisition is all about Monsanto incorporating overseas in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know if he’d be saying such a thing if Monsanto were based out of Peoria.

For now, they’re based out of St. Louis – Creve Coeur/Chestefield – it doesn’t matter.

As long as they don’t end up in Switzerland.

Walking the Line Between Art and Commerce

How do artists make money off of the art they create?

What is that fine line between art and commerce?

Those are questions that have been on my mind as I continue to create more paintings but have been doing very little to actually market them.

The painting shown here is called, “Walking the Line”. It’s the first painting that I sold since my last gallery show in 1992. This one was featured in a MySLArt.org recent monthly show where area artists get to display three of their works at the Old Orchard Gallery in Webster and anything you sell is commission-free.

It’s no way to make a living – but I’m definitely not trying to make a living off of it. For years, I painted for the fun of it – always trying to get better and trying to continue to explore new concepts and directions. Back in 1991, I had my first art gallery showing at The Creative Gallery. That was followed up by two additional shows – and then, my painting room was converted into a spare bedroom and I went dark for almost 16 years until this past Father’s Day when Tom Jr. gave me two small canvases and challenged me to begin again.

You can see a small sampling of things I’ve done at https://www.pinterest.com/bloodlines/paintings/

At my second gallery showing, I created two different t-shirts featuring my paintings and sold them at the show. I made more money on the t-shirts that evening then I did selling paintings as most of the attendees weren’t ready to spend a few hundred dollars on my paintings but were more than happy to purchase a t-shirt.

So I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s some other way to market the art I’ve been creating. For inspiration, I visited the site of Mark Kostabi (http://mkostabi.com/) – who in the late early 80s was deemed to be the new Andy Warhol of the New York art scene. I love his work and Mark was a huge promoter of the art he created, claiming “Modern art is a con and I’m the world’s greatest con artist.” At one point, Kostabi was hiring other painters to produce his paintings and even others to come up with ideas for paintings that others would paint and then he would sign his name to the final product and sell them to galleries.

That’s when you know you’ve made it.

I’m not good enough as a painter to ever reach such heights.

But I do think it would be interesting to turn a few of my painting images into greeting cards or posters or create more t-shirts.

Ideas are welcome. Joint ventures are possible. All inquiries and suggestions will be answered.

Art is meant to be shared.

It is not meant to be housed in a basement.



June is my favorite month by far. Always has been. Probably always will be.

Growing up as a kid, June meant that school was officially over and the summer fun could commence. That meant baseball, bike riding and swimming by day and catching fireflies at night, staying up late, sometimes to listen to a Cardinals game out on the West Coast, sometimes going to the drive-in or sometimes doing nothing at all and being absolutely content, knowing that new adventures awaited the next morning.

June is the promise of a summer to come.

June is wedding season, graduations and pool parties. It’s outdoor concerts under the stars. Grilling and chilling on our screened-in porch. It’s corn-on-the-cob and watermelon. Early Saturday morning tee times before the heat kicks in.

It takes a long time to get to June.

Then before you know it, it’s gone and it’s the Fourth of July. Blink again and the kids are returning to school, earlier and earlier it seems.

30 days of June.

Enjoy them all.

And Go Cardinals!