Holly Gonzalez Marketing & Copywriting

Smart, sophisticated copy that sells.


Photo by Leong Lok on Unsplash

Diving into the world of online dating has me thinking two things: 1) I’m too old for this shit, and 2) I should definitely be writing down all these bad date experiences. Like the guy who showed up with his caregiver in tow. Turns out there were a few details that he failed to disclose, including but not limited to the fact that he was “in between dentist appointments,” having had all his teeth pulled to be fitted for dentures, and that he’d had a stroke (hence the caregiver driving him to our date.). Or the lovely man who just happened to be a wheelchair, which you know, I would have known had I swiped through all of his photos. There are more, actually many many more, but you get the gist. What the hell does this have to do with copywriting? As a matter of fact, a couple of things.

It’s not about you. It’s never about you.

Whether someone never messages you back, or fails to ask you out again, I swear, it’s about them. People want what they want, and you can’t legislate what floats your boat. And that’s also the secret to great copywriting—stop making it about what you want to write, and focus instead on taking the client’s ideas and zhooshing them up. Make it about them, not you.

The more information you have, the better.

Ask questions, do research, and realize that both prospective dates and clients don’t always reveal all the information you need to move forward. Better writing is the product of more in-depth sleuthing—the more you know about their product, service, target audience, competitors and brand personality, the easier the writing will come to you. As for googling your dates? It’s always nice to know about that felony before you start going out with someone.

Profiles and headlines: more alike than you’d think.

Whether you want someone to swipe right or click through, your message has the same goal. In just a few well-chosen words, you’ve got to convince someone that they’d like to know more. It’s about being intriguing, getting someone’s attention and most importantly, being honest. Your headline should be more than just “catchy”; it’s got to ring true and be aligned with your client’s business goals.

Oh, finally, people are all about algorithms when it comes to both online dating and copywriting—and sure analytics are great, but ultimately it’s about making connection based on emotions—and that will always be much more of an art than a science.

Mistakes I Made

What I learned from a business alliance gone wrong, a guest blog post for Succeeding in Small Business

Lessons Learned from a Small Business Alliance Gone Awry

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I tried to hang up solopreneur shingle and work part-time for a friend with a burgeoning PR firm. I had a kid in preschool, and I thought the lure of a steady paycheck trumped my need for independence. It wasn’t my finest hour, and I’d done a rather fine job of repressing all the ickiness until my friend Jeanne Yocum asked me to contribute a “pitfall” story to her blog, Succeeding in Small Business. Here’s the guest post in all its glory. Even thought I wrote it, I can still say that it’s a darn important read. When you’re in business for yourself, the alliances you forge can make or break your business.


Source: Lessons learned from a small business alliance gone awry | Succeeding in Small Business

Go Play Project: Day 20 | The Language of Flowers

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, language of flowers, shel silverstein, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 20

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?

— Shel Silverstein


I can’t think of Shel Silverstein without thinking of Fairglade, the wonderful, magical place where Max went to elementary school. But it was so much more than a school. If ever there was a place of beloved community, it was Fairglade. When people ask me about it, I call it the “hippie school,” and tell them there were no grades, no shoes, and the most amazing group of kids, parents and teachers ever assembled in one place. This poem is from Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I remember well-worn copies in many of the classrooms. I taught creative writing, and I especially loved teaching poetry—the haiku, cinquain, diamante—all those fabulous restricted forms that work so well with kids.

So today’s collage is inspired by Fairglade and all those terrific Jets, Explorers and Pioneers, now grown up into amazing young adults.

Go Play Project: Day 18 | Mood Indigo

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, mood indigo, surrealism, Michel Gondry, pianocktail, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 18

Last week I saw the Michel Gondry film, Mood Indigo. Very French, very strange and wildly inventive. There’s a flying plastic cloud car that floats over Paris, eels that come out of the kitchen sink, and a “pianocktail,” a piano that dispenses drinks. Perhaps it was the dreamlike quality of the movie, or the surrealism of these images, but Mood Indigo definitely inspired today’s collage!

Go Play Project: Day 17 | A Constellation of Shells

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, a new night sky, constellation, Sanibel, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 17

Growing up, summer meant Sanibel Island—old Sanibel, with the wooden beach houses with screened-in porches, where you were really and truly steps to the beach. And shells, everywhere shells. It’s one of my earliest memories, and even before the memories, there are the photos. So here’s an imagining of a new night sky, with a constellation of shells.

Go Play Project: Day 16 | Pidgety

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, saving all the animals, pigeons, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 16

When my son was about four years old, there was a pigeon with a bum wing walking around our townhouse parking lot. The conversation went something like this:

“It’s a beautiful white dove.”

“Actually, it’s just a pigeon, Max.”

“We have to help him.”

“Well, let’s see how he makes out on its own, and we’ll check on him in awhile.”

Shockingly, the pigeon did not make a full recovery in the 12 minutes that Max was willing to wait.

“We can’t just leave Pidgety. We have to help him.”

All of sudden, the common pigeon had a name, which as anyone with kids knows, is just a hop, skip and a jump to pet-hood.

In case you’re wondering, the options for vets and/or wildlife refuges willing to care for a wounded pigeon are fairly limited in South Florida. Pigeons just don’t have the cachet of falcons and they’re not on any endangered or protected species list. I had worked my way through most of the animal rescue options, and getting nowhere fast, when finally, bingo: Wee Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Near as I could tell, it was just one woman who had turned her home into a refuge for everything from skunks to raccoons to—thank goodness—injured pigeons. Max and I drove the hour to Homestead, and left Pidgety is very capable, loving hands.

Fourteen years later, this is the same kid (now a young man) who will gingerly carry a spider outside, cuddle with a mangy-looking stray cat, and make sure a lost dog gets home okay.

So today’s collage is inspired by Pidgety, and all the animals we’ve tried to save since then!












Go Play Project: Day 14 | Book love


go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, bird by bird, books, Anne Lamott, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 14

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. 

–Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird