Kathryn R. Burke

I am a writer

Kathryn R BurkeI’m Kathryn R. Burke, Kate or Kat Burke to close friends, and I write about people, places, and things—anything, really, that is interesting, fascinating, educational, innovative, promotional, and worth writing about.

I’m a creative woman enjoying a myriad of activities that help market people and places and businesses of (most) all kinds. Whatever it is that you do, when we work together, I can help you do better.  It all starts with . . . good writing, and good writing is what I do. My head is filled with stories and dreams and effervescent ideas that just need to be explored and shared,

So that’s what I’m doing on my Articles and Interviews pages—sharing. Here you will find some of my favorite stories about people, places, and fascinating topics— from aerospace to zebras and everything in between. There are more, but I can’t remember them all; I’ve written so many. And of course, most come with my own photography. (I was a photojournalist first before morphing into a publisher.) Sure was more fun before we had picture-taking, digital phones. It took a lot more skill back then, and with the cost of film – do you even remember film?—the photographer had to be very sure before snapping the shutter. Today it’s just point, click, and post. Goodbye Kodak. Hello Instragram. Now… what was my password again?

I’ve been writing since grade school, published my own ‘newsletter’ in high school, and worked on the yearbook. I paid my way through Europe a couple times (during high school and college) by writing stories and sending them back to be published by the local newspaper. When my kids were little, I wrote for whatever papers and magazines were near where we lived. Later, when I owned an art Gallery in Del Mar, California, I concentrated on interviews and features of artists—including writing a great story about the San Diego Charger’s offensive tackle whose work was in my gallery.  Talk about marketing! That story made national news and about cleaned me out of inventory on our opening day!

Writing is the backbone of marketing. Spoken, written, heard, or viewed, tweeted or texted or posted, the written word is how you tell your story, “get the word out.”   It’s the green light that signals, ‘Come on ahead,’ meet me and learn about what I do and how what I do will benefit you. 

Marketing is all about combining editorial, advertising, public relations, and event planning. It’s not one just thing… its a bunch of things, all working together. It’s called symbiosis.

Marketing is not something you learn in a classroom, not even in grad school. Successful marketing is something you learn with experience.

I learned about this symbiosis early in my career, and have been writing advertising copy almost as long as I’ve written editorial, and creating the artwork to go with the copy—before it was even called ‘creative.’ (Any of you old timers, remember ‘Zipatone?’ ‘Paste-up,’ and flats?’)

Graphic design, the visual component of promotional communications (advertising) and editorial go hand in hand. Knowing how to do both, and working for various publications in large cities and small towns, is how I learned what I needed to know to be able to start publishing my own newspapers and magazines. If you can’t write ad copy, you can’t sell ads, and without paid advertising, you can’t publish. Without good editorial, nobody reads the publication, and therefore, doesn’t see or respond to your paid ads, so… without interesting, well-written stories and editorial content…you’re soon out of business. You also learn that stories (clever advertorial) often sell better than display ads.

When it’s print (which dominated our advertising world until digital took over), you learned to ‘write tight’ to leave enough room for the advertising. Adjectives get the guillotine, adverbs are chopped. You learn to make every word count, yet leave enough ‘white space’ to make it interesting and easy to read. It took a while, but I mastered it.  Writing tight is even more important, now, writing for the web. Most website or social media visitors (who we used to call ‘readers’) have a short attention span and rarely read more than the first few sentences. (Are you still reading this article now now??? Kudos to you if you are.)

Print is my first love, though. I grew up on it. And even though today I spend most of my time in front of a computer screen, I still envision the sound of a press run-up. It’s the best part of print for me and sounds kind of like a steam train coming down the track, getting closer and closer, rods churning, steam billowing, whistle blowing. My heart beats faster, paper rolls off the press, I grab samples and when they’re right, yell, “Yes! That’s it!” It’s the  moment when all my hard work comes to fruition. When my publication is literally ‘hot off the press’ and I’m holding in my hands what I’d held in my heart ’til the presses started to run.

Writing is in my blood.  Print is my passion. But now, writing for the web leads the way into the future, and I am so there. I love what I do. And, before you know it, I may be writing about. . . you!”  ~ Kate Burke