Life's a Batch, a case study

(October 31, 2019)

Traditionally, a writer could only publish a book through a publisher, because only a publisher had the marketing resources and distribution to successfully sell books.

Since Amazon, that is no longer the case. In fact, the book industry is struggling A LOT, sadly. And so are many other industries and companies who have relied traditional advertising.

As we know, when an industry starts struggling, opportunities for artists and employees become increasingly limited.

But, on the other hand, the great opportunity of our globally connected world is to bypass the publishers (and other gatekeepers of our culture). We now have the means to speak directly to our audience—where ever they may be in the world.

The question is, how do you gain an audience in a flooded market.

Well, the theory is that you start with a tiny group of people who are unserved in the market—specialising in a niche market, in other words. And from that, you slowly build a following or ‘permission marketing’ base, which basically means you (the marketer) have permission to send stuff to someone. Customers subscribing to your email list is an example of this.

By doing this, you flip the normal order of things. Usually, you see an artist or business create the product first, then try and find buyers for it. With permission marketing, you find the audience first, then you create a product for them.

Makes sense.

So that was the theory I was going off when I began Life’s a Batch.

I worked in hospitality for over nine years. I also worked as a freelance journalist, writing articles on cafes and restaurants for a culture magazine.

Here, I realised something: You read a lot about cafes from the perspective of the customer. For that, you can thank the online city guides, Google reviews (and other cafe critiquing platforms), and the explosion of mainstream food culture. Yes, Master Chef, I’m looking at you.

But you never read about cafes from the perspective of the barista or server. What about the 800,000 hospitality workers in Australia, alone? All those dish-rinsing, floor-mopping, coffee-making employees. Don’t they deserve a voice, too?

I worked at a cafe and restaurant which had famously demanding customers. After each shift, my colleagues and I would grab a bottle of wine from the bar, slug back two glasses, and begin venting about the customers.

“And how about that dude who complained about the coffee being 5 degrees too cold,” a colleague said once.

At the time, I was also writing a few creative non-fiction essays. As a sort of self-therapy,  I centred many of the pieces around events in the cafe. While the events were limited to the walls of a hospitality venue, the essays were a commentary on the culture at large. After all, cafes are a microcosm of society, a meeting place for the full spectrum of the human condition.

After some further brainstorming, I decided to brand the concept: Life’s a Batch. I worked with a designer and web developer. And together, we created a blog that really is like no other blog.

I wanted the visual identity to complement and reflect the verbal identity. We took inspiration from early Rolling Stone editorial layouts, 70s psychedelic music posters, and vintage Mediterranean films. The result is a brand that is upbeat, fun, yet refined enough to write essays of merit.

Since day one, I’ve been writing on average 800 words stories or essays every week. And through a combination of thoughtful branding, strategic positioning and by showing up, week after week, I’ve now amassed a group of people (who I adore) who read my weekly essays and check out my cartoons. Not bad for a young upstart who just wanted to share his weekly musings.

Now, I’m compiling some of the material into my first little book. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Speaking of having a permission base, I’d love for you to sign up for more Brew Copy updates, tips and tricks you can use for your brand. It’s the next best thing to a copywriter giving you hand-written scrolls delivered via owl. Hoot. Click HERE.

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