Monthly Archives: April 2013

When’s a Bentley chauffeur like a Cheltenham copywriter?

Have you ever found it challenging trying to come up with a novel birthday treat for an elderly (or not-so-elderly) parent?

While struggling to find something suitably entertaining for my 80-something mother, I was stumped. Mum is extremely low-maintenance and undemanding when it comes to special occasions. Then I thought of my business-breakfasting companion David Keffler of Cheltenham-based Azure  Chauffeur Driven Luxury Cars and his beautiful 1996 Bentley Brooklands. A plot was hatched… Aside from the fact that David helped us give Mum a day out that she hasn’t stopped talking about, the experience got me thinking about the similarities between a luxury chauffeur service and my own work as one of the freelance copywriters in Cheltenham.

alandbentley

The only licensed private-hire Rolls-Royce or Bentley in Gloucestershire

I won’t give you chapter and verse here. You can read all about David and his Bentley on his website or in any of the media articles that are increasingly appearing around Gloucestershire as he builds his business. Suffice to say that he’s an accountant who has always wanted to drive around in a classic Bentley – while prudently making sure the car pays its way.

As the only private-hire licensed Rolls-Royce or Bentley in Gloucestershire he’s hit the nail on the head with his Charlton Kings, Cheltenham-based business.   As well as the usual wedding car service, the Bentley (the registration C18 CAl could be for ‘Copywriter Al’) is available for executive transfers, airport runs, business functions – and giving family members an unforgettable experience on spacial birthdays and other anniversaries.

From the moment David collected my wife from Cheltenham, to dropping Mum and two other guests off at our lunch venue, his service was professional, friendly, punctual and flexible. We’re all still talking about the day and I couldn’t recommend the experience more highly. He exceeded expectations and that Bentley, as you’d expect, is so luxurious.

bentleyandmum

Similarities to professional Gloucestershire copywriters

That reminds me about the similarities between David and his Bentley and the service I aim to provide as a freelance copywriter offering a bespoke service for my clients. Whether he’s looking after my Mum or driving big-name celebrities, David has a knack for getting his delivery and the tone of the event just right. And just as the previous experience of a skilled copywriter shines through, so David’s professional background clearly sets him apart from most private-hire drivers.  He does what he does efficiently, imaginatively and discreetly so you immediately feel that you can count on him. Which you can.

That Bentley sparkles like well-polished copy

Just as you may not need professional copywriting services every day, it’s good to know they’re available when you do. It’s the same when you want the class and style that only a classic Bentley can offer. Especially one that’s polished until it  sparkles as brightly as a skilled copywriter’s online or offline writing!

Lastly, and just like me, David and his purring 6.7-litre limousine specialise in providing a bespoke service for businesses and individuals in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds and surrounding counties.

If it’s got to be a Bentley for a special business or private occasion it’s got to be David. But when words have to purr or roar like that mighty V8, please remember Copywriter Al!

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

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Simplify your business writing with the madman, architect, carpenter and judge…

They say it takes a while to get into your stride as a blogger and that your mission in the blogosphere gradually evolves. The more I blog, the more I believe I can use blogging to share my skills and insights as a Cheltenham copywriter with you.

Maybe  you’ re thinking of hiring a freelance copywriter or perhaps you could use a few professional tips for your own business writing. If so, I hope that I can help. And here’s a great one to be getting on with…

I was listening to a Harvard Business Review Ideacast podcast the other day when I heard writer Bryan Garner talking about the idea of the madman, the architect, the carpenter and the judge when you’re doing a piece of writing. It’s a cracker, and simple as all the best ideas should be.

The four personas represent four different stages to go through when you are writing anything. You might be putting together a report or an email, or drafting a page of website copy. In each case, you adopt the four personas in sequence.

The madman

Just get down your ideas. Don’t edit or critique them. Just throw them down on the page as you think of them. Like a madman (or woman!).

The architect

Next, adopt the persona of the architect. Add some structure to your ideas, form them into paragraphs. You are creating the master plan for your writing, bringing order to the mad person’s brainstorm, setting out your main points… By now you have an outline for your piece.

The carpenter

Then, just as skilled craftsmen and women come onto site and add detail and finish to the building structure, it’s time to be the carpenter. Following the architectural specification, you develop your ideas more completely – but still briskly, because the judge still has to play a vital role…

The judge

Adopting the persona of the judge, you go back over the work, look at it objectively and critically and edit. This is where you ask yourself whether you could write something better. You polish and craft until your piece is complete.

I told you this was a simple, easily remembered idea. The person we have to thank for this bit of inspired writing wisdom is Professor Betty Sue Flowers of the University of Texas.  If you want to explore her work on what Bryan Garner calls the Flowers paradigm, there’s more information online.

Alternatively, just remember the madman, the architect, the carpenter and the judge next time you have to write something and see what a difference they make.

And if you don’t have the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to do a piece of business writing such as SEO website content, brochure copywriting or a client case study? I’m always here to help organisations like yours in Gloucestershire, surrounding counties and elsewhere in the UK.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

In praise of Håg ergonomic seats – again

Are you into office-setup porn? Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be alarmed at. I heard the term used while listening to a podcast recently.  The discussion was about people’s predilection for viewing each others’ creative office setups. There’s even a site called The Setup, where creatives post details of the equipment they use to get stuff done. And of course, anyone who visits Lifehacker.com will know they regularly feature creatives’ workspaces  too.

I guess this fascination comes from our desire to see how others do the tasks that we do, or to learn how we could create a better, more efficient, working environment. And then, of course, there’s the idea of a dream writing-graphic-web development setup. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cosy basement office or my kitchen table. But in my dreams? It would have to be a sunny office in one of the chalets at Haldi ob Schattdorf, overlooking the Reuss valley and Altdorf in Switzerland’s Uri canton. For now, I have to make do with the view from my favourite webcam – and memories of the great times I’ve spent in central Switzerland.

What consistently strikes me about these workstation or setup reviews is the preoccupation with computers, desks, multi-monitor setups and peripherals. Too rarely in my opinion do the authors give sufficient attention to the quality of their office seating. That’s a shame – aafter all, you only have one back and it’s easily damaged…

As a busy Cheltenham copywriter I spend hours at my computer. I’ve blogged previously about my fondness for Norwegian Håg (pronounced ‘Hawg’) office seating. Unlike some so-called ‘ergonomic’ seats, the Håg range really is a treat for your back. So much so, that my Danish chiropractor was so impressed that he re-equipped several practices with Håg products.

hag03bristol

That’s why, now that I’m doing more copywriting and editing at a satellite location not far from Portishead’s marina development near Bristol, I’ve invested in another Håg 03 seat. It was a logical decision due to how impressed I’ve been with the Hag 05 and 03 seats in my main office. As ever, I bought my little Norwegian beauty from regular supplier Nigel Eldridge at the Office Backcare Centre in Cheltenham,  Gloucestershire. I can’t sing Nigel’s praises highly enough. If you’re in the Gloucestershire area (or even if you’re not), have a chat with him about how proper ergonomic office seating can transform your working life.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Dru yoga comes to a copywriter’s rescue…

It’s been a week or so now since we did Airbuses and barking dogs. Forgive me for the longer than usual break, but two things have conspired to make blogging a mightier-than ever challenge. Life as a Cheltenham copywriter would have been a whole lot more difficult if it hadn’t been for the generous help of a neighbour who teaches Dru Yoga.

First, there’s been a very welcome rush of work requiring quotes – and writing! That’s a good problem. Spring is well and truly sprung and several projects that have been in the pipeline for a while have finally gone live. I’ve got SEO copywriting, client case studies, website product and category page writing and more on the go at the moment. All my favourite stuff. Lovely!

But circumstances have conspired to make looking after clients and getting work done harder than usual. Last week, some thieving toe-rags decided to vandalise (or try to steal) the copper wires in my telephone exchange here in Cheltenham. Nicking copper has to be the big growth industry around here – as elsewhere in the UK at the moment.  Anyway, the result was that several hundred Cheltenham properties have been phone-less since the middle of last week. That’s never happened before…

Combine the two events and you’ll understand why being a Cheltenham copywriter has been less than easy since 27/3/13. BT says the phone line will be fixed by tonight, but the day’s nearly over and it ain’t working yet.

The last couple of days have been made easier by the generosity of one of my neighbours, Dru Yoga practitioner Karan Walsh. Karan very kindly let me access her Wireless-Internet. It hasn’t been ideal, because I’ve had to work on the 15-inch screen confines of my laptop, but it’s been a whole load better than trying to work with an old dial-up connection as I did for the first few days… Thank you Karan.

‘Glacial’ is the word that comes to mind. How did we ever manage back in the old days?

So, by way of a thank you to Karan, here’s a link to her Dru Yoga in Cheltenham page on yogahub. She’s a great yoga instructor and passionate as anything about the Dru variety. If you’ve never tried yoga, give it a whirl (Mrs H did and loves it).

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in getting copywriting off your to-do list, please contact me. I’ll write while you go to Karan’s yoga class!

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.