Monthly Archives: May 2013

Disappearing files (or why Word users should understand FAT32 and NTFS)

I use Microsoft Word. You probably use Word. And we both know it can be a pain. As a busy Cheltenham-based copywriter, I recently had a weird experience with disappearing MS Word 2003 files (I have no idea whether the same thing can happen with later versions). In fact, it was more than weird, it was frustrating as anything and it coat me quite a few hours before I (fingers crossed) got to the bottom of it. What was even more frustrating was that online forums, though alluding to the symptoms, didn’t give me a fast answer. Eventually, my own trial and error and a forum post that I hadn’t picked up on before, gave me the answer. I’ve put things right now and all seems to be well with Word.

So just in case you run into any of these symptoms or weird error messages, here’s what happened. It all started with the appearance of worrying error messages (including those listed below) when I was working on a suite of SEO category pages for a client. All was going swimmingly until MS Word suddenly closed – taking my website copywriting with it. Worse of all, in Windows Explorer, the files had changed to 1 kb files. When opened, these contained a few lines of gibberish. Nothing more.

Error messages sent to torment a Cheltenham copywriter

 

 

 

Ominous error messages

Here are extracts from some of the MS Word error messages I encountered:

‘Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error…’

‘There is an unrecoverable disk error on file… the disk you are working on has a media problem that prevents Word from saving it…’

‘Word failed reading from the file (…). Please restore the network connection or replace the floppy disk and retry.’

‘Word has lost data due to a bad network connection or missing floppy. Documents relying on this data are going to be saved and then closed.’

‘Word experienced an error trying to open the file. Try these suggestions. Check the file permissions for the document or drive. Make sure there is sufficient free memory and disk space. Open the file with the Text Recovery converter.’

‘Do you want to retry the save.’

‘Word has insufficient memory. Do you want to save “…” as Rescued document…’

Not what a busy copywriter wants to see

None of these is what a busy copywriter (or any other MS Word user) wants to see – especially when they accompany the complete loss of the document and your last couple of hours’ work. And just for the record, there was plenty of free space on the disks, I wasn’t using a floppy disk, and the hard drives had all been tested and were in good condition.

As Toyah Willcox once sang, it was a mystery.

More hair tearing and brow furrowing followed, along with re-installation of MS Word, virus and malware checking with every application on my system and half-a-dozen online scanners too. And all the time, it was one of the busiest periods of the year so far… The last thing I needed was lost content, lost documents and lost time. Worst of all, when I sought fresh perspectives, the ominous spectre of a complete Windows re-install kept coming up.

Out of desperation  I started working with Apache Open Office and that pretty much solved the problem – except that I couldn’t use the MS Word spelling, grammar and readability checks or run PerfectIT. So it wasn’t ideal and certainly wasn’t a sustainable long-term fix.

FAT32 formatting and Truecrypt virtual volumes

The clue to the eventual solution came from the references to disks and media. Then IT expert Tim Isles mentioned the problems that FAT32 formatting on removable disks can cause.  And that got me thinking, because the problems always seemed to occur when I was working off virtual disks created using TrueCrypt volumes.

A quick check of the formats revealed that I’d created the volumes using FAT32 instead of NTFS. And then I found an obscure reference to this online. In one forum, symptoms akin to those I’d seen had been reported to anti-virus company F-Secure. And they had mentioned the problems with FAT32 formatting. That was when I created new volumes in TrueCrypt, made sure they were formatted to NTFS and started using Word 2003 again. And everything has been working fine for several weeks.

Result!

By the way, an interesting coda to the story came when I worked on a MS Word 2003 file that was on a removable SD card. Exactly the same symptoms occurred and of course, when I checked the SD card I found that it was formatted as FAT32.

If you’re baffled by similar symptoms and error messages, this could be the answer you’re looking for. If it is, I’m pleased to have helped.

 

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

‘Hire a copywriter’ says Cheltenham strategic branding expert

 

We had a great presentation at the Gloucestershire Business Breakfast Club this morning. After we’d munched our egg and bacon and caught up around the table, Darren James of Cheltenham strategic marketing consultancy gillfoxjames gave a stonking talk about supercharging your email marketing.

As one of the freelance copywriters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, I’ll talk about the merits of hiring a copywriter as long as anyone will listen. And as I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen website and print projects stall because the copy isn’t ready – and that’s usually because the client is trying (unsuccessfully) to do something that doesn’t come naturally to them.

 

‘Use a copywriter’

What’s super-nice about moments like this morning’s is when other marketing or online authorities push the ‘use a copywriter’ message as positively as Darren did. Darren was talking about writing email content and crafting dedicated landing pages that continue your story beyond the recipient’s inbox. But a skilled and experienced copywriter can also help in dozens of other situations: your new website; that much-needed client case study writing; press releases; brochures that actually work for you rather than making expensive waste-bin filler.

When can a freelance copywriter help you?

Anytime, in fact, when you don’t have the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to write your own copy. And you need help getting vital writing off your to-do list and out there working for you.

Thanks for waving the copywriting flag and valuing what freelance wordsmiths can do Darren. Appreciated buddy.

Now tell me readers, what would prompt you to hire a freelance copywriter?

 

breakfast

 

 


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

Try the best email management tip I’ve ever tried…

Here’s the best piece of email management advice I’ve ever found. Try it – it works.

As a busy copywriter in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, I need to get my head down and work uninterrupted. Coming in and out of the zone to answer the phone or check email every few minutes isn’t good for my productivity and the quality of thinking and writing I deliver to my clients – whether its website copy, another client case study or a press release.

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I long ago switched off email notifications – be they sounds or screen

pop ups. I also set my email clients so they don’t check for mail as often as before.  But the most useful email productivity tip of all has been to check email less frequently during the day. At first it sounds strange (unworkable even). But work it does and it helps your concentration as well as your productivity.

The most persuasive case that I’ve ever found for checking email three times a day comes in two recent podcasts from Manager Tools. As ever, this site has delivered the goodies; I urge you to listen to them, try their recommendations and feel the benefits. The comments and feedback on these pages are also very useful – and bear out the effectiveness of this approach.:

Email Three Times A Day – Part 1

Email Three Times A Day – Part 2

 

Does this work for you? How have you tweaked the basic model? Let me know what you think.

 

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

SEO copywriting tips that you can use today…

Inspired by last week’s valuable content marketing blog, I thought I’d share some SEO copywriting tips based on my experience as a Gloucestershire SEO copywriter. In this article I deconstruct the process of writing an SEO page, suggest some tools to help you, and offer practical advice if you decide that you don’t have the time to do your own SEO writing.

typicalseopage

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to try writing your own SEO copy. But be warned, because I regularly see prospective clients who couldn’t find the time to do this – or burned lots of expensive management hours trying unsuccessfully to save a few pounds by writing their own SEO copy. In the case of recent client Arden Construction, their new website had stood ‘completed’ for months while they tried to write their own SEO copy…

 

arden

There are plenty of different approaches to writing SEO copy and I’m sure many of them work. The methodology that I take you through in the article is one that I’ve used successfully in conjunction with respected SEO consultants for several years.

If you fancy a go at SEO copywriting, please read on. I hope you find the article useful.

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

 

Valuable Content Marketing – the new book every marketer should read

I sat in the sun last weekend and read an impressive new book called Valuable Content Marketing by West Country authors Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton. Now the weather seems to have got better here in Gloucestershire, you could do worse than pour a long drink, find a sunny spot on the patio and read it too. I’m sure you’ll find something of interest – even as an experienced Cheltenham copywriter who already creates valuable content, I certainly did.

valuablecontentmarketing

Unthink lots of what you’ve learned about marketing communications

The basic premise of Valuable Content Marketing is that you should unthink lots that you’ve learned about sales and marketing communications. Instead, you need to stop pushing sales messages, get online and make your marketing valuable to prospects and customers. It’s all about generosity, the good karma of what goes around comes around and making everything from a freebie to your website content intrinsically valuable. By so doing, the pair assert, you will connect with clients and customers in a way they’ll appreciate – and they’ll do business with you when the time is right.

Great stuff – but did they miss one important trick?

Valuable Content Marketing  is easily digestible, nicely laid out and full of ‘instant takeaways that you can start applying to your business immediately. I particularly liked their templates and checklists and mini case studies. But I think they missed one valuable trick. To find out what it is, read more on my Valuable Content Writer website page .

 

 

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