Author Archives: alwrites

The Gloucestershire Copywriter’s guide to inspiring creativity

The Nailsworth-based WinBiz networking group has just announced its forthcoming (Thursday 10 July 2014) quarterly evening meeting. I’m very excited because Helen Westendorp of Treehouse Partners Ltd, the Gloucestershire-based creative-thinking consultants, will be our guest speaker.

treehouse

We’ve been primed to come along with problems that need solving, open minds and colourful clothes. But in the meantime (and following on nicely from last week’s ‘copywriter’s shelfie‘, I got thinking about some of the books in my library that have been helpful when my creativity as a Gloucestershire copywriter needed a boost.

Creativity sources from the Gloucestershire Copywriter’s library

I read my first Tony Buzan book longer ago than I care to remember. Buzan is a master of reworking his basic ideas into an unceasing flow of books to complement his mind-mapping empire. Good for him! Those basic ideas are good and his books are fascinating and inspirational – worth the price just for the beautifully reproduced examples of mind maps. I recently picked up a bargain-priced pre-owned copy of Mind Maps for Business. If you’re new to mind-mapping, it’s worth a pop, particularly when you can get a second-hand copy so cheaply on Amazon.

Creative Confidence

A book that’s currently sitting in my (scarily large) to-read pile is Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley. This came highly recommended and I’m looking forward to getting started on it. The solid five-star Amazon rating speaks volumes – as does David Kelley’s reputation among Stanford, California’s academics and the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial set. What works well there should work well for one of the copywriters in Cheltenham! Writing this has spurred me on to read it when I have finished my current bedside reading (Isaac Asimov’s autobiographical I, Asimov, Victor O. Schwab’s How to Write a Good Advertisement and Designing Quality Technical Information (Gretchen Hargis et al).

Creativity books that inspire the Gloucestershire Copywriter

Creativity books that inspire the Gloucestershire Copywriter

Where good ideas come from

Back to another book that I have already read: Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, which I devoured during a week-long spring break in Marrakesh a couple of years ago. This is a good introduction to Johnson’s substantial body of work. The basic themes of the book are that ‘connected’ minds work better than single minds, where you think can be more important than what you think, and that the best ideas come from building on the ideas of other people. From MIT’s legendary Building 20 to present-day Apple, this is an inspiring read in one sitting or as something you dip into.

 Thinkertoys

Lastly, I must mention Michael Michalko’s Thinkertoys, a veritable creativity toolbox (or should that be toybox) that is never far from meThinkertoys is packed with hundreds of hints and tips to open your mind when you are wrestling with an apparently insoluble problem. Again, you could read this in one go, but it lends itself perfectly to use as a creativity-thinking first-aid kit.

Thinkertoys: from the Gloucestershire Copywriters creativity library

Instant creative inspiration for copywriters or anyone else. for that matter…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if you need a boost of creativity, and you are based in Gloucestershire or surrounding counties, come along to WinBiz at The Egypt Mill, Nailsworth, on the evening of 10 July 2014 – or get over to Amazon or your favourite bricks and mortar bookshop for a copy of one of my recommended books.

And if you want some creative marketing, PR, technical or website copywriting

 

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

The Gloucestershire Copywriter’s shelfie …

The selfie is dead – long live the shelfie!

According to a recent piece in The Guardian, selfies may have been the thing in 2013, but pictures of bookshelves are now much more interesting. Others are already on the shelfie bandwagon (or should that be bookshelf?) started by Instagram, including Radio 2’s Simon Mayo and the New York Public Library.

copywriting shelfie

The Gloucestershire Copywriter’s shelfie

As part of my continuous professional development, I read a lot around copywriting, web and SEO copywriting, PR writing, technical communication, branding and other topics relevant to my craft.

So here’s part of this Cheltenham copywriter’s reference library – my reference shelfie. It’s the perfect complement to over 30 years’ practical, real-world experience in sales, marketing, technical writing, PR, and of course in-house and freelance copywriting.

Now, please tell me about the most useful writing books on your reference shelf.

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

The Gloucestershire Copywriter goes back in time. Here’s why…

There’s inspiration out there, not necessarily in ‘them thar hills’, but in the writings of the good and great of copywriting and journalistic writing from bygone days. And I’ve been reminded of a couple of gems that can help everyone who writes for business – including you.

With the fast-pace of technological change, we’ve become used to computers and phones being out of date the day we buy them. But in the world of business writing, the pace of change isn’t so fast and loads of advice that worked decades (or even a century) ago still holds good today.

The timeless wisdom of Claude C. Hopkins

You only need to read Claude C. HopkinsMy Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising to get this. Amongst other things, Hopkins was the brain behind the famous, and still influential, Schlitz Beer ads that are always being quoted in advertising texts.

I’ve been reading these two books recently and was struck by how simply relevant his thoughts on letter writing, testing and other advertising matters remain some 82 years after his death. No wonder David Ogilvy wrote:

Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book (Scientific Advertising) seven times. It changed the course of my life.

You can read Scientific Advertising online for free (or buy the combined books in hard copy).

More recent inspiration for any business writer

Another, more recent gem that I’ve been reading is Donald M. Murray’s Writing to Deadline: The Journalist at Work – my copy was published in 2000. In the book, Murray, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, covers topics as diverse as the journalist’s craft, writing before writing and development of journalistic pieces. As well as a healthy dose of experience-based advice, the book also includes a fascinating selection of interviews with journalists where they talk about writing.

murray_deadline

Though the book is primarily aimed at professional journalists, there are gems that will transform the way anyone writes for business. In particular, I was struck by the chapter titled ‘DEVELOP: Work on What Works’ where Murray discusses the process of developing a draft document.

If there was one thing that jumped out from this chapter, it was Murray’s assertion that writing will take a huge leap forward if, when revising a draft, you focus not on what is wrong, but what is working – what is right. By doing so, the improvement on an original draft is accelerated and, interestingly, most of the problems of early drafts  will solve themselves. Those that aren’t can be more easily isolated and worked on. It’s a radical change from the idea of focusing on what’s wrong with a document. Murray also advocates thinking about revision, not as a punishment for failure, but as an opportunity. Sounds a bit like the old ‘challenges, not problems’ thing, doesn’t it.

Is this for real? I guess it is.

And here’s one last thing which I took away from reading Murray; it resonates with me as someone who regularly has to transform clients’ drafts from ‘we orientated’ to ‘you-oriented’ when writing for website or brochure readers. Here’s what Murray writes:

It is print journalist tradition to avoid the first person (in fact, the capital letter I had been filed off all the Royal typewriters in the old Boston Herald city room when I arrived in 1948).

Although Murray then goes on to state that there is an occasional place for the first person in journalistic writing, I just liked this anecdote and it is a great reminder of the importance of writing directly to your reader – and talking about them much more than about you!

A worthwhile read – even if it’s only Chapter 7

So there you go, a few thoughts prompted by a trip back in time into my copywriting library. If you have to develop draft documents, you could do worse than invest in a copy – even if you only read Chapter 7, it will be worthwhile.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve ever learned about copywriting or editing? feel free to comment below.

 

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

The Gloucestershire Copywriter loves these clever airline snack boxes…

I saw a neat combination of cardboard engineering and copywriting while in Argentina recently and thought I’d share it with you.

We made several internal flights with Aerolinas Argentinas and got used to their little in-flight snack boxes. The cleverly engineered containers tick all the boxes. They flatten for distribution, fold into shape easily for filling with tasty treats and carry interesting snippets of information about several top tourist attractions in Argentina. Aerolinas Argentinas even have a Facebook page about them.

Snack boxes from Aerolinas Argentinas – intellgent packaging design meets copywriting at 39,000 feet

Smart packaging design meets intelligent copywriting

Engaging copy

What I particularly liked was the use of brief-but-engaging copy inside the box. As well as the interesting information about the destinations on the airline’s network, there were calls to action for planning trips and booking tickets, reminders about keeping cellphones off at the start and end of flights, and an invitation to scan a QR code to download and assemble more boxes from the airline’s website. We just made sure we collected the full set of five during our flights…

Thoughtful design

It would have been so easy just to make a colourful box for the snacks. But what somebody has done here is to think about how they can use the box to inform and entertain passengers – as well as plugging the airline. It’s an intelligent use of packaging copy. In fact, it got me thinking that I wouldn’t mind being associated with a copywriting project like this one. I knew the years I spent in packaging in the 1990s would come in useful one day!

aerolinasargentinas

Turning onto finals during the approach to Ushuaia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I say good for Aerolinas Argentinas – and they were a much better airline than I had expected – and well-done to the designer chappie (or ‘chappess’) who came up with this somewhere in Argentina.

Felicitaciones!

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

The Gloucestershire Copywriter challenges you not to get hooked on this …

I found this bit of inspired website homepage design the other day and got hooked playing around with it. I challenge anyone not to. It’s very clever and very ‘sticky’ once you’ve discovered it…

ourbrightfuture

Actually, this was the last thing I needed as I tried to get back up to speed after three weeks away. But it is just so engaging and irresistible.

Who remembers Tracy Chapman and classic songs such as ‘Fast Car’ and ‘Baby Can I Hold You? Well, Tracy’s website is currently promoting her new album, called Our Bright Future – with a twistPlaying around with the colour palette and colouring in those clouds and houses (and the birds and plane if you are quick) reminded me of how I often help clients get draft copy completed when they have roughed out some copy ideas but haven’t the time to finish the work.

I call it copy-editing PLUS and it’s another example of how I help businesses and individuals write the copy they don’t have the time, specialist skills or inclination to do themselves. Just as the Tracy Chapman website sets up an outline framework ready for colouring in, so I can take your outline copy and add the ‘colour’ it needs to work effectively online or in print – often without the cost of ‘from scratch’ copywriting.

That’s enough about me. If you need a bit of colouring-in therapy, visit Tracy’s website and be hooked (I take no responsibility for the effect on your productivity)!

On the other hand, if you want a hand getting copy off your to-do list, please contact me.

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

7 words that engage readers – a tip from the Gloucestershire Copywriter…

I was excited when NLP specialist Paul Goddard offered to share seven powerful words with us at Win-Biz Networking recently.

What Paul said resonated with me – I’ve been aware of this for a long time and regularly use these (and other) powerful words in my copywriting. Persuasive copy, containing powerful subliminal messages, needn’t be restricted to ‘high pressure’ American-style sales letters. Used judiciously, the seven ‘magic’ words have an important place in B2C and B2B copywriting – and the written communications we use every day at home or work.

So what are these amazing words?

  • Because
  • Now
  • Imagine
  • Please
  • Thank you
  • Control
  • The name of the person you are communicating with

seven words that will improve your writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s consider them one by one.

Because

Paul used the oft-quoted example of the 1970s research involving a photocopier queue, and how the researcher’s ability to jump the line increased markedly when they added ‘because I need to make copies’ to their request. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the photocopier effect‘.

The lesson? Whether in written or spoken communication, using because strengthens the persuasiveness of your case. It could be on your website homepage or your next email. Either way, used with subtlety, this is a powerful word.

Now

As every direct-response copywriter knows, now adds urgency and encourages action from the recipient of your message.

Try it – NOW!

Imagine

This, as John Lennon’s songwriting has proved for decade, is a wonderful tool for getting someone to think ahead and envisage a scene, a benefit or a feeling. By asking your reader to imagine something, you can put any idea into their head.

For instance, imagine a bear on a jet ski, or the time you’ll free up for other business tasks if you hire a professional to do your copywriting. (And please note how the latter example is so much more useful for your business than the first one!)

Got it? Great! Now imagine using this technique in future.

Please

Because basic courtesies still matter. You’d say please in conversation, so why on earth wouldn’t you do so when you write.

Please remember this next time you write.

Thank you

For the same reason as above. Thank you!

Control

Another subtle one to be used with discretion. We all like to feel in control, especially when we’re trying something new or being asked to make a commitment. That’s why, as writers, it makes sense to remind your reader that they are in control.

They will have control. And so will you.

Use their name

I don’t mean for every other word as is so beloved of sales people who are trying too hard. What I mean is the judicious use of someone’s name to personalise your communication. When Paul Goddard spoke to us he was using the example with reference to spoken communication, but the same applies to writing – by addressing a spec-approach to a named individual , rather than to Dear Sir/Madam, for example.

In copywriting, where you don’t know the names of all the people who are reading your brochure or website page, you achieve a similar effect by using ‘yo’u and ‘your’s in your copy. It ties in with the idea of writing as we speak, of communicating directly with the person who is reading your copy at that moment. As well as personalising your message, use of more ‘you’ than we, emphasises that your message is more about your reader than you. That’s important.

You will do this in your writing won’t you.

Start using these powerful words today

So there they are, seven powerful words that you can start using today to enhance your written and spoken communications and give you subtle control – that’s because they work.

It takes practice to deploy them effectively in your business writing. That’s why an experienced marketing, technical or SEO copywriter might be your new best friend. If you don’t have the time, special skills or inclination to write your own SEO copy, brochure content or client case studies, imagine  the benefit of some professional help.

If that’s the case for you, please contact me now. In any case, please leave a comment after this post and tell me which words you find most powerful when you communicate – and why.

Thank you!

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

New Look blog from the Gloucestershire Copywriter

Slap my hands and send me to the naughty step.

I was listening to a podcast the other day (I think it was an old episode of Boagworld on website copy – and it’s a very good podcast too) and they were talking about usability and the challenge that red links pose to colour-blind site visitors. Uh oh!

Of course, for various reasons, my blog theme has used red links for the last year or so. Well, now I’ve put it right and the theme I’ve chosen works even better with my branding. So that’s a bonus. This, I hope, will be a keeper.

blogscreenshot110214

And if you visited and been frustrated by those red inks…sorry again.

Now it’s back to writing: blog posts for a business development consultancy, SEO copywriting for a specialist coatings business, more SEO copy for an SEO and digital marketing business. And lots more besides.

So much so that I thought I wouldn’t have time to write this week’s blog post. But as ever, something came up.

And I did. And this is it. Without a red link in sight!

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

Does this happen to you too? Tell the Gloucestershire Copywriter…

Do you listen to the radio while you work? Have you ever been writing or editing a document while the radio is on and noticed that a word is spoken just as you type it in your document? I’ve noticed this over the years and it’s happened enough that I’m fascinated why it occurs.

Combining background music or radio with writing or editing is a controversial and very personal subject. We all have a different view on its usefulness (or helpfulness) of background music or radio. Most of the time I’m creating new copy or editing, the most demanding thing I’ll listen to is Classic FM or Classic Radio Suisse. Often, I’ll even switch everything off and work in silence – it depends on the job. I usually reserve spoken-word radio for less demanding writing or editing because it can be distracting. But over the years I’ve noticed that I surprisingly frequently type or edit a word just as the same word is mentioned in a radio programme or podcast. Why is this?

So far, I haven’t been able to find references to this happening elsewhere on the Internet – maybe I simply haven’t been trying hard enough. I’d be interested to hear whether you’ve noticed this phenomenon or are aware of anything else that’s been written about it. If so, please tell me about it with a comment.

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

The Gloucestershire Copywriter recommends this BBC Radio 4 show

I made an exciting discovery late one Sunday evening recently when I discovered BBC Radio 4’s Word of MouthI don’t know how it slipped under my radar for so long. My introduction to the Michael Rosen-hosted show was the recent episode entitled Office  Jargon. The programme, promoted as ‘where Michael Rosen and guests “drill down” into the subject of office jargon’ proved to be an absorbing radio gem. So much so, in fact,  that I searched out the programme pages on the Radio 4 site and discovered a wealth of back episodes just waiting to be listened to.

Over the last few years (there are currently 57 back-episodes on the BBC website),  the programme has covered a fascinating selection of language-related topics ranging from the aforementioned office jargon to ‘miscommunication, mondegreens and misophonia’ and our linguistic ties with German. Check it out. Excellent stuff.

This Cheltenham copywriter will definitely be delving into the programme’s treasure chest of archive material whenever he gets a chance. And I’d recommend that you do too. Now back to a load of website copywriting: it’s garden design and landscaping, specialist roof coatings and commercial laundry today and I love every minute of it.

By the way, do you have a favourite language-related radio programme. It could be in the UK or elsewhere in the world. If so, I’d love to know all about it, so feel free to leave a comment and share.

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

Martin Clarke OBE to speak at WinBiz Networking Supper – 22/1/14

Readers may recall my earlier announcement that the WinBiz Networking Group is holding its second quarterly evening event at Nailsworth’s Egypt Mill from 18.00 on Wednesday 22 January 2014. Our original guest speaker was chauffeur-butler David Keffler, but unforeseen personal circumstances now mean that his appearance has been postponed.

2dcfce8

 

 

 

 

 

I’m delighted to say that Martin Clarke OBE, the ‘concrete superhero’ chief executive of the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF), has kindly agreed to do the honours instead. Martin, who was awarded his OBE in 2013 for services to the concrete industry, was our group marketing manager when I worked at ARC Group Marketing in the 1980s. As such, he is one of the mentors who has shaped the Al Hidden Gloucestershire Copywriter that you all know.

At Win-Biz, we’ve had our eyes on Martin, who is based locally in Wotton-under-Edge,  as a guest speaker for some time. Now it seems that fate has brought forward his involvement and we’re all very grateful that he has agreed to help out. I’m doubly thrilled because I shall be fulfilling an ambition to do a celebrity interview as I look back at a career in concrete with Martin and tease out some enlightening lessons for local SMEs.

Martin is a fascinating speaker with an encyclopaedic knowledge from a stratospheric career in the anything-but-boring world of concrete. To reserve your place at next week’s event (with payment of £15.00 for visitors on the night), please book on the Win-Biz Networking website.

I, and the rest of the Win-Biz team, look forward to welcoming you to an evening of networking with like-minded business folk, a delicious buffet supper and Martin’s talk as the evening’s centrepiece. It’ll be a great night.

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

Season’s Greetings from the Gloucestershire Copywriter

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

What makes a Gloucestershire copywriter?

Hot on the heels of my last post about CV writing, I took a trip down my own career memory lane when former boss, Martin Clarke OBE, got in touch for a chat about some writing support. As well as his briefing, our conversation was a great opportunity to revisit old times – and to remember former colleagues who are no longer with us.

Martin is one of those super-influential people that everyone should meet during their career (another is Mike Rigby, from whom I learned so much about PR writing at MRA before going freelance). Now the chief executive of the British Precast Concrete Federation (the recent OBE was a well-deserved reward for services to the concrete industry), Martin was the group marketing manager at ARC (later part of the Hanson plc empire) when we worked together in the 1980s.

Reminiscing over coffee reminded me about the importance of the diverse experience we gather throughout a career. From childhood, I was always interested in graphics and writing, yet, by twists of fate and circumstance, my CV shows 15 years of selling, market research report writing, marketing management and technical writing before I launched my own business as one of the copywriters in Cheltenham.

Sometimes during that time I felt I wasn’t on the right course, but with time and focus on what I really wanted to do, I moved myself into the place I’m meant to be – and where, I believe, I was always meant to be.

So what about those years in quarries, selling mortar to hard-nosed contracts managers, or estimating for a packaging operation (alongside the PR writing), or managing promotional projects for Bradstone Garden Products? Looking back at my CV, and the years of experience it represents, I can now see with startling clarity the value of all those experiences. And so, I believe, do my clients. You see, I’m not some Johnny (or Jilly) come lately aspiring copywriter fresh out of college with their shiny English degree. I’ve been round the block a few times, and the quarry, and the packaging works, and the aerospace tech pubs department and the PR agency, and it all adds up to what makes me, well, ‘me’.

Add a bit of innate writing ability, some creativity and a lot of writing practice to those experiences and you have a unique resource: someone who really understands industry and business and marketing; someone who’s been where you are and stood in your shoes. Someone who can convert what you do into a meaningful story for your chosen audience.

Yes, sometimes it’s good to look back and reflect on what shaped the person you are now. And why certain things happened (or why you made them happen).

Then you look to the future and apply everything you’ve learned to the next copywriting project.

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

Atten-shun! Military to civilian transition CV writing

I had the opportunity to deploy my military CV writing service for a client recently.  I’m not one of the mass-CV generators; there are plenty of people offering this service. What I offer is a bespoke service for anyone who wants the attention to detail, fact-finding and writing that a professional copywriter can offer – especially if it’s a military to civilian CV, with all the special challenges this brings.

army

My most recent client, approaching the end of their military career, fell into this category and presented all the challenges of military CV writing: the requirement to demilitarise terminology; the need to turn military experience and achievements into benefits that will appeal to civilian employers; and the usual CV presentation challenges. At least there was plenty of great material to work with; members of the armed forces come with amazingly varied experience, loads of training and a wealth of skills  that should set civilian employers’ mouths watering. It’s well known that, once the transition to a less rigidly structured civilian working environment is managed effectively, ex-military personnel have loads to offer in business or administration – particularly in areas such as transport, logistics, risk management, training and project management.

The project went like clockwork (like a well-planned and executed military operation, in fact). And from the start I was reminded that all the usual skills that I deploy as a Cheltenham copywriter came into play. There was the thorough fact-finding, using a combination of a fact-find form and a thorough telephone interview. Then came the organisation of the document. Not all CVs are ordered the same way, and military CVs demand a specific approach. Then came the identification and presentation of the candidate’s skills, experiences and differentiators to put their case strongly to any potential recruiter. This took a bit of encouragement, but the end result was that my client started thinking the right way. I was able to pack the finished CV with actions, personal characteristics and achievements that will resonate with a civilian. And all the time, the relentless translation of military jargon into language that your typical civilian manager would understand…

The final document was a concise, well-structured CV that put the emphasis in all the right places, sold the candidate strongly and, importantly, allowed scope for the person involved to tailor certain sections to specific vacancies in future. That’s important for any candidate: because every vacancy is different and every CV must be tailored. As a CV writer and editor, building-in this capability is an important part of the document design and writing role.

With so many military personnel coming out of the forces, there’s a great opportunity for civilian employers to access this pool of skills and experience. And for the CV writers, like me, who specialise in military-to-civilian-transition-CV writing and editing. What’s more, while using many of the same skills,  it makes a refreshing change from my usual website, brochure and client case study writing.

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

Gloucestershire copywriter spots silent assassins at tyre depot…

One of our cars needed a couple of tyres last week, so I left the email copywriting that I was doing at the time and headed down to the local branch of a well-known national tyre supplier for some new rubber.  The response to my phone call had been friendly and helpful. The same applied when I pulled up at the depot too. In the warm, clean waiting area there was free coffee and a decent pile of magazines to flick through while the work was being done in a well-organised workshop beyond the window. And a wide-screen TV was running what looked like a very professionally produced series of mini-documentaries about different aspects of tyre care and selection. All good so far…

tyre

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TV caught my attention, as it was supposed to do. I found myself engrossed in a feature on the benefits of fitting winter tyres. It was really interesting, and I was pleased to see that subtitles had been designed in for the hard-of hearing. Of course, it was impossible not to read the subtitles. And as I did, I noticed that the copywriting and proof-reading hadn’t been done well at all. For instance, the word braking appeared as ‘breaking’ and Arctic conditions became ‘artic conditions’ (and not an ASDA delivery lorry in sight!)

My attention was diverted from the (very slick) mini programme to spotting the typos in the subtitles. Worse still, I found myself wondering why, if they couldn’t write ‘braking’ correctly on a tyre-related programme, I should have full confidence in the message that was being delivered (or the brand that was delivering it to me). Some people, it’s true, might not have noticed. But others, like me,  will have done so. And others still may have been distracted by a niggling awareness that something was wrong with the text – without being  sure exactly what.

The silent assassins had struck like the gunshot that kills before the victim hears the report from a weapon. The brand had been dented and the message undermined. And the originators probably hadn’t got a clue.

And the lesson to learn? If you want to reduce the risk of ‘silent assassins’ undermining your marketing message in brochure copy, web/SEO copywriting or in client case studies, a bit of professional support could work wonders. After all, you wouldn’t dream of fitting your own tyres would you? You’d leave it to the experts.  The same applies to copywriting, copy-editing and proof-reading.

And like new tyres at the start of winter, what a difference it makes.

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

Spotted by a Gloucestershire copywriter at large – Vardø, Norway

Even the busiest freelance Gloucestershire copywriters deserve a break from time to time. Recharge the batteries, top up the creative juices, see new sights and all that. So it was that I found myself in Vardø, Norway recently and spotted a particularly clever example of the rather creative graffiti that frequently adorns the port areas where the Hurtigruten boats dock on their round trip from Bergen to Kirkenes and back.

As seen in Vardø, Norway recently...

As seen in Vardø, Norway recently…

I just thought this example was a particularly witty, concise local adaptation of the translated phrase Allāhu Akbar, or ‘God is great’. It says everything about the importance of the fishing industry up north of the Arctic circle. That’s contextually relevant copywriting for you if ever I saw any.

Personally, I’ve not written about cod yet – but there’s always a first time. Anyone for some witty, concise, Gloucestershire copywriting? I’m told that elvers are great too!

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

Lunch with the Gloucestershire Copywriter: Jason Ayers of MA Design Solutions

Back in the summer, I met with long-standing client Jason Ayers of MA Design in Cheltenham for a spot of lunch and a chat about business, web design and development, and copywriting. Jason also revealed some interesting things about his background – and an unexpected creative talent. Here’s how the conversation went…

Jason Ayers of MA Design Solutions in Cheltenham

Jason Ayers of MA Design Solutions in Cheltenham

AH:  So what are you eating, Jason?

JA:  Pasta and chicken with copious quantities of salad, I think.

AH:  And how’s biz? Where’s MA Design going?

JA:  Biz at the moment is good. It’s enjoyable. It’s busy, which everyone, I think, would say anywhere.

AH: And the biggest challenges?

JA: Google without a shadow of a doubt. Our little furry penguin friend causing headaches. Particularly for lots of people that we don’t work for, so that’s a good thing, because they’re getting headaches and coming to us. It’s a challenge, but I think we’re getting there slowly but surely.

AH: Remind me how you got into the business. I know your background was graphics before the web game, but I’m curious about the background. How did you get to where you are now?

JA: Chris and I started MA Design in 2001. Before that we worked together at a travel company. It was quite a large company so I used to manage their studio which was like, 12 or 13 staff and a lot of traditional printed stuff, brochures, you know that full print remit, dealing with national and local newspapers so all the adverts would go into those. It was as much a mass management project as it was looking at the design aspect of things, so that’s where it started.

AH:  Are you a designer who went into management or a marketing person who got into design?

JA:  That’s a good question. I guess I’m a bit unusual because I don’t think I excel at design but I like to think that I can cut the mustard…

AH:  Did you train in design?

JA:  No. I trained in Communication Studies which covered a lot of those areas of design principles, typography, communication, mass communication and different types of media, media history, language and even psychology. It’s stood me in good stead for the management side of things but also understanding principles behind communication. Then the design side of things started to come in with the work in the studio environment. So I’m not classically trained in graphic design or marketing but with a much broader, I guess, understanding of how people work, how communication works as well.

AH:  You’re doing all right, aren’t you?

JA:  Usually smiling…

AH:  So what’s the big secret of your success with MA Design?

JA: OK, I think one of the main things is seeing clients’ businesses through their eyes. We don’t say ‘OK, what do you think you want?’ and then say ‘Oh, well, actually, here’s what we think and it’s gospel’. We prefer to get in your head and see where you are, where you want to take the company, and what your priorities are. Everybody wants to be top of the shop, with a good logo and social media. And lots of people still want printed stuff. So it’s understanding the business rather than understanding what’s best for [us].

MA Design Solutions: website for Arden Construction

MA Design Solutions: website for Arden Construction

AH: Surely everybody says they’re trying to do that, but you’re never going to know a business as well as the owner, so how do you actually do it? How do you really get that insight?

JA:  I think you learn from what they’ve done in the past and what’s worked for them before. Then you bring your experience and your understanding with general practices and principles and see what worked for other people and other organisations. I think you’re right. I don’t think you can ever get fully immersed in somebody’s company but over time I think you can get to learn a lot of stuff about specialist subjects – such as hydraulics that I’d never have dreamt of understanding but that just came with building up a relationship with clients and going on a journey with them, spending time to understand them, where they are now and where they’re going.

AH: So how do you use freelance copywriters in your work and what are your thoughts on using them in general?

JA:  I think you could extend this to any service that we’d look to supply, to subcontract, use associates or whatever the terminology you want to use. For me, in any relationship with a copywriter, photographer or social media specialist, there needs to be a certain level of professionalism. That’s one of the big things. And their experience. If somebody is a copywriter a photographer, there are a lot of assumptions you can make if they’re in business and have been around for a certain amount of time. That’s very important, but one of the key overriding things is professionalism and trust. We need to be able to trust that person to represent our brand in the best possible way. Price comes into it, obviously, but ultimately if things go wrong, then it looks bad on us so we wouldn’t use that person any further.

AH:  What are your thoughts on freelance white labelling? Freelancers being themselves and working for you. Or a freelancer ‘being MA Design’ as it were? This must bring challenges. What are your thoughts on those two extremes?

JA:  I think it depends on our client and project. Some clients want one port of call; they want to deal with one company that’s got everything in-house. That’s how we come across. I think you’re right, there are pros and cons to both approaches. We will use people from the white labelling perspective but it can add extra admin time, misunderstandings or misinterpretation of conversations and emails and stuff. But if that’s what the project dictates, then that’s what we’ll do.

AH:  The integrity of the subcontractor comes into it as well because, at the end of the day, you need the confidence they’re not going to run off with your client and start working directly.

JA: Yeah, and I think that’s a two-way thing with the client as well. People that we work with, we’re transparent with. A lot of people understand the relationship and we’ve not had anybody try and pinch one of our partners and go direct to them intentionally. Sometimes, it does happen just naturally and we trust our providers to say, “Well, we had so-and-so, you know, one client come back and they want X, Y and Z and then, you know, it comes back under our remit.

Al Hidden, Gloucestershire Copywriter

Al Hidden, Gloucestershire Copywriter

AH: Let’s talk about the challenge of selling-in professional copywriting services to clients. Now there’s an interesting one because it’s quite a difficult area isn’t it?

JA:  Yeah, I think if you’re selling services beyond your own skill sets, that you’re not just selling yourself, then that’s a challenge. Where you’ve got clients who can see value in something it helps. So if people understand the value of a professional photographer, not just somebody just walking round with a camera pressing a button but somebody that sets a scene, strips a scene, you know, and manages everything, then that helps. Similarly with copywriting, if somebody appreciates the added value of having a professionally-written piece of copy as opposed to them just making something up, its easier than when you have to convince people, to educate people. That’s when it becomes harder.

AH: Because we’re in an age, aren’t we, where everyone thinks they can write and take pictures. Especially with the camera technology that’s available to everyone now.

JA:  with professional copywriting, I think it comes down to two areas. There’s the obvious benefit of getting the piece professionally written, well-crafted with proper English. But I think one of the big added values comes from the saving of time. That can be a really big factor.

AH:  Are you thinking in terms of getting the site going live?

JA:  No, I’m thinking more from our customers’ perspective. They can save time. So if you look at, for instance, one of the clients we’re working with at the moment, that means writing blog articles that can be repurposed so one piece does a lot of things. From that particular client’s point of view, though I’m sure he could write a very well articulated, very thoroughly put together article, he hasn’t got enough time in the day to write his blog posts…

AH:  I guess his hourly rate is going to be higher than a capable copywriter or photographer. It makes sense.

JA:  Again, I think it’s like that with lots of businesses, especially smaller businesses and owner-managers. Everybody has to be an accountant, designer, bookkeeper, marketer or social media person. You’ve got all these different things that you can do yourself but it comes to a point where you’ve got to do what you do best, do your job and grow your business. So, as I say, one of the big benefits of proper copywriting is saving the customer time which is a very big thing for us.

AH:  It used to be a challenge getting content off clients for brochures. Now it’s the same for websites and it can actually be a huge show-stopper when you are trying to get a website live or a brochure published.

JA: I think you’re right. I would say 80 per cent of delay on a website project. And it helps to have decent copy from a relatively early stage in the design process too. Loro ipsum placeholder text on the page doesn’t really give the full feel of the site at approval stage. Having personalised content, even just on the homepage, is fantastic. And the speed of completion is definitely faster when somebody is being paid to write. For the clients, there’s always a very good reason for why there’s been a delay. They’re doing their job so the last thing they want to do is to have to sit there and write two or three hundred words of content to go on each page of a website which is now growing into 10, 20 or 50 pages. That’s where professional support helps.

MA Design Solutions: website for dhp consulting ltd

MA Design Solutions: website for dhp consulting ltd

AH: A question for you: how long does it take you to write a page of content for a website?

JA:  I don’t know. No, hang on, let’s spin this one round. How about for you?

AH:  It depends. If I’ve got free rein on an SEO page that’s set out with a really good page keyword set from someone like Neil Tufano [MA Design’s SEO consultant], who you know I’ve worked with for years. Well, in that case you can probably do it in an hour. More often, for a commercial site, probably somewhere between an hour and two hours per page is realistic.

JA: I think people that aren’t trained in PR and copywriting think they can do it themselves. What makes it harder is giving them 10 or 12 SEO keyword phrases that they have to place into content which is reliant on them using that phrase exactly instead of changing things around and removing plurals and singulars and that kind of thing. I think when people sit down and try to do it themselves, they’d struggle to do it within two hours or even longer.

AH:  And you’ve also got to factor-in the preliminaries that go with the work.

JA:  Yeah, it’s interesting. People’s perception on how long these things take. I make people very aware that there’s so much work involved. It’s not just a case of, oh, I’ll just put a few words together.

AH: It comes back to making best use of your skills and the value of your time. What’s a typical hourly rate for a senior manager or director in a SME?

JA:  It’s got to be £80–100 an hour. Even more if they’re an accountant or a solicitor, I don’t know, what will their fees be charged out at? Even a junior solicitor, say, £70-80 an hour. It has to make sense to do a brief and then actually let the creator get on with it and then come back rather than having to sit there and agonise over something that maybe doesn’t come to them too naturally.

AH:  What are your thoughts on working long distance? Working remotely with, say, a London-based copywriter, compared with local copywriter? The London guys say, yeah, you can do it all by Skype and email and you don’t have to use a local copywriter or a local photographer if you’re in Gloucestershire. Yet, actually a lot of my clients say they like this face-to-face contact. What are your thoughts on remote working?

JA:  I think that from the localised perspective, it’s a massive selling point. I think that long-distance relationships can work. We work with people outside the county and there are some guys that we work with that we’ve never actually met face-to-face. But I think for something that is as personalised as copywriting, which is really reflecting your tone, that face-to-face interaction is very important. I don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all but I think it’s a distinct USP over and above working with somebody that’s too far away that they can’t come across to meet for a briefing at short notice on a Friday afternoon. In any case, you’re going to pay through the nose for it and probably pay double the rate anyhow for using somebody from the Big Smoke. That’s just the way the industry is.

AH:  From your experience, are London fees still astronomically high?

JA:  Yeah, to my knowledge.

AH:  Would a London-based MA Design be horrendously dear compared to the very good value Gloucestershire-based MA Design that we know and love?

JA: I think so. You only have to look at the operational costs involved with London, if your staff are living in London and you operate in a business with business expenses in London. You’ve got to do the maths on it. It’s going to affect what you have to charge.

AH:  Moving on, have you any thoughts on the changing nature of copywriting? We’ve seen the rise in the role of the web over the last 10–12 years, but where’s it going next? Where’s the role of the freelance copywriter going next?

JA:  I think, looking at it from the commercial aspect and one of your previous questions about selling-in the copywriting, it’s a difficult thing to sell if people don’t see that they need it. But I think that there is a cost that’s associated with it and I think that the future of copywriting is probably going to involve more re-purposing than previously. People want more bang for their buck so where you’ve got social media, and I’m not just talking Facebook and Twitter, you’re looking at Google Plus now, people are expecting to be able to take one article or one page or one project and re-purpose it across several different communication channels or several different items and so I think that’s probably going to be important …

AH:  Do you sense that your clients are actually starting to get the Google message about content and quality of content and regularly updating content? You’re there at the sharp end. Have they seen the light?

JA:  I think they’re starting to. The British seem to be typically reserved, typically behind the curve, certainly from the Google perspective: build website, make website A-OK, then pay somebody to do SEO on a monthly basis. That way I, as a website owner, just pay somebody to do stuff and I don’t have to do anything. I think the way the web is now evolving, especially in response to recent penguin updates, the whole concept is shifting towards empowering website owners to produce a news-rich experience with content of their website that people will like. Content that people will want to share and find engaging. That is basically what Google’s Matt Cutts is saying: Make it good and we’ll reward you for it.

AH:  You know that. I know that.

JA:  So do the clients know that?

AH:  Are they getting it?

JA:  They’re slowly getting it, yeah, and this is again, I think, where people will always look to outsource and get people involved in helping them. And that’s where I think it comes back to the role of the copywriter.

MA Design Solutions: website for Sweeping Beauties

MA Design Solutions: website for Sweeping Beauties

AH: So what is the most important thing for you when choosing a freelance copywriter?

JA:  For us, as an agency, it comes back to my earlier point about representation and being able to deal with our clients in a way that reflects us positively. Writing skills are of course very important, but I think that is kind of an assumed; you take that for granted. You’re not a copywriter or a copywriting business for however many years if you can’t walk the walk. But for us, certainly the biggest thing is to know that when we put a freelance copywriter in touch with our client they are going to do the job and communicate with them properly. That’s certainly the biggest thing for us.

AH:  Changing tack completely, I want to ask you about something that’s fascinated me for ages. Your sister Tracey runs a local telemarketing business [Jonti Telemarketing in Cirencester] and your partner Lisa has a dog-grooming business with an online presence. You must get involved with these. Does working with partners and family create special challenges?

JA: I think it can do, yeah. There’s the level of expectations. For instance, in the case of my sister’s business, having a website delivered and two weeks later, saying ‘why am I not top of the shop in Google for all of my key phrases?’ That’s something we see a lot of with everybody and I think there’s a different kind of pressure when it’s people that are closer to you… One thing that comes out of working on those projects is that you get to see closer to home the impact and the importance of getting it right. So, with Lisa my partner’s website, for her dog-grooming business, Blossoms Pet Care, she’s now fully-booked for her services until the middle of July. She now literally hasn’t got anything left free until the August Bank Holiday with her new business, so to be moaned at that ‘I’m too busy…

AH: You get moaned at?

JA: Yes, I’ll get moaned at that she’s too busy. That’s a good moan to have, I think. If things weren’t in place that are in place, then she would quite possibly be struggling with generating new business, going round the old routine of banging on doors, pushing things through letterboxes, advertising in the local printed magazines. Yes, so it’s work, but bang for buck, when you see the enquiries that are coming through, ‘Oh, I found your website…’, ‘Oh, I’m just on your website…’ so when you see it close to home and you see what it can generate, then you realise that you’re doing the right thing…

AH: Interesting. Now, Do you fancy a bit of dessert?

JA: Oh God no, or I will be asleep, I won’t…

AH: What are you going to do when you get back to the office? Apart from have a sleep…

JA: Yeah. Have a sleep followed by check what will probably be about twenty or so emails.

AH:  So tell me, before we finish, what do you do to unwind when you’re not at work? What’s your thing? I know you like photography.

JA:  Yeah, I do a little bit, a tad…I think for me it’s music.

AH:  What, do you play? Guitar?

JA:  Turntables.

AH:  Really?

JA: As in DJ’ing, yeah. I used to own a nightclub as well

AH:  In Cheltenham?

JA:  No, in another area of Gloucestershire, shall we say? I’ve been involved with clubs since I was about eighteen. I’ve DJ’d in Greece and in Melbourne, Australia.

AH:  Did you live in Melbourne?

JA: Only for six months.

AH: Who are your musical influences, or is there no-one quite like Jason?

JA:  No, no, no.

AH: Did you DJ under your real name?

JA:  No, as Fat Boy Fat.

AH:  As distinct from Fat Boy Slim?

JA: Exactly. That was a nickname my mother gave me.

AH:  I’m guessing that was the early 90s?

JA:  Yeah, so I mean, I started in ‘89, the year before I went to Australia.

AH:  So Greece, Melbourne…when were you out in Melbourne?

JA:  ‘89–‘90. Twelve months out there. Six months living in Melbourne, five months travelling and another month back in Melbourne.

AH:  So who do you really rate in the business? Who are your influences?

JA:  That’s hard. A lot people try to pigeonhole each other. Oh and you do this and you do that…

AH:  Is that dangerous?

JA:  It can be, yeah, like with EDM in the States and the superstar DJ explosion and people jumping on the bandwagon, like David Guetta. And Calvin Harris is another example. You know, pop-wise they’ve exploded and done really well and then you’ve got others coming from a more purist sort of DJ perspective.

AH:  So it is now just for amusement and relaxation at home?

JA:  Yeah, and also, I do the odd wedding, strange as it may sound, but that’s more to do with a wedding which is dance music-orientated as opposed to classic.

AH:  What’s on your turntables at the moment?

JA:  I don’t know names of many tunes. Just if it sounds good, it goes onto a disc and I play it.

AH:  Really, as simple as that?

JA:  Yeah. I’m available to hire for weddings and bar mitzvahs. I did get asked once if I’d come to play at a funeral. Yeah, so in my spare time, playing music and relaxing.

AH:  That’s brilliant and a fascinating way to round off a very interesting insight into your world. There’s loads of great material. Thank you very much for taking time out to talk so candidly.

JA:  It’ll be really interesting to see the end result.

For more information about MA Design’s online and print design services, or their widely-acclaimed free SEO training seminars:

MA Design Solutions Limited
Cheltenham Film Studios
Arle Court
Hatherley Lane
Cheltenham
Gloucestershire, GL51 6PN

Phone: 01242 220320
Web: http://www.ma-design.biz/
Email: enquiries[substitute’@’ here]ma-design.biz

Or come along to the Gloucestershire Chamber Networking Breakfast on Wednesday 20 November 2013 where Jason will be taking his successful SEO seminar on the road and presenting Google Search, SEO and you…

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

Win-Biz networking evening event – 22 January 2014

I was delighted to learn that David Keffler, owner of Azure Chauffeur Driven Luxury Cars in Cheltenham, has agreed to be the after-supper speaker at the Win-Biz networking group’s second evening event on Wednesday 22 January 2014.

winbizkeffler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a Gloucestershire copywriter with an interest in things automotive, I’ve got to know David well this year as we’ve worked together on several projects (I’ve already been his website copywriter and PR article copywriter). As well as being the only operator of a private-hire-licensed Bentley and BMW X5 in Gloucestershire, he’s an accountant who’s made the successful transition to running a bespoke chauffeur-butler service from his Charlton Kings, Cheltenham base.

He’s an interesting bloke and his presentation (during a ‘Parkinson-style- interview) promises to be valuable for small and large businesses alike. You can read more details at the Win-Biz networking site.

Incidentally, the growing Win-Biz group, which meets on alternate Thursday mornings at Nailsworth’s Egypt Mill, offers wonderful opportunities for networking in the Stroud and South Gloucestershire areas. I’m the resident provider of copywriter services, but the group still has plenty of opportunities for other business disciplines. We’re a great crowd and the group is really gaining momentum. You can find more information on the Win-Biz site.

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

You can benefit from what this Gloucestershire copywriter’s been up to…

I occasionally indulge in a little bit of self-promotion on the blog, especially when it demonstrates the real benefits that a Cheltenham copywriter like me can bring to clients like you.

Today is one of these indulgences. so I thought I’d showcase a couple of recent projects, both drawing on my SEO copywriter skills and experience for Gloucestershire businesses. Both websites, for a local chauffeur-butler service and a specialist recruitment consultancy, also involved carefully designed tone of voice and brand language. In one case inspired by a much-loved fictional character from the 1920s (very subtly, to avoid any sense of parody); in the other, based on the combined characteristics of a prominent business and media celebrity and a popular TV chef.

Homepage for Azure Chauffeur Driven Luxury Cars, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire

Homepage for Azure Chauffeur Driven Luxury Cars, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire – SEO copy by Al Hidden, Gloucestershire Copywriter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When working out a voice for my copy, I often ask clients to think of a prominent media figure who they feel suits their brand. As well as giving them something concrete to imagine, this also gives me an accessible reference source using YouTube, iplayer and other online sources. It’s amazing what characteristics you can pick up by listening to or analysing a couple of hours of TV or radio presentation. Then it’s just a matter of judiciously applying the agreed tone of voice to the copy – enough to give the inner dialogue in the reader’s mind a bit of colour, but not too much.

New website for Bluefish Contracting Ltd

Website copywriter for Bluefish Contracting Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first came across this technique when a client, after hiring a respected branding consultancy, briefed me to write as 80 per cent Kevin McCloud and 20 per cent adventurer Steve Backshall. The key moment came when the client reviewed the first draft and expressed surprise at a particular turn of phrase. I explained that Kevin would definitely have said that – I knew because I’d watched quite a bit of his content and transcribed over an hour’s worth during my research.

‘You went to all that trouble?’ asked the client, obviously impressed.

‘Of course,’ I explained. ‘Wouldn’t anyone?’ It just seemed like the obvious way to tackle the challenge I’d been set.

Since then, I’ve increasingly used this technique as web and brochure copywriter for various clients. It’s surprisingly easy to do (well, I find it so) and it gives great results. So if you’d like your website copywriting in the voice of anyone from David Dimbleby to Julia Bradbury, just let me know. I may be Al Hidden the Gloucestershire copywriter, but I can be anybody you like for a modest project fee!

And your website or brochure copy will come alive because I have this skill.

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

Recycling old bikes for Africa – this Gloucestershire copywriter approves

If you’ve got an unwanted bike, there’s a great Gloucestershire charity that recycles bikes for Africa to help students in Gambia get to school or college.

I recently combined a meeting with one of my copywriting clients with a visit to Jole Rider in Tetbury. While there, I dropped off an old touring bike that had belonged to my late mother-in-law. Mary would have been thrilled that her trusty Raleigh Trent (complete with original Brooks sprung saddle) was going to help the kids rather than gathering dust in a garage or going for scrap. Whether the old Trent will actually go to Gambia or go into Jole Rider’s Heritage Collection remains to be seen – either way it will be helping the Jole Rider cause which is good.

Al Hidden Gloucestershire Copywriter at JoleRider, Tetbury

Taking a break from the usual SEO, brochure and case study copywriting at Jole Rider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My visit was a good opportunity to catch up with David Swettenham and his partner Helen King (like me, a copywriter and novelist until Jole Rider took over her world) who started Jole Rider. They founded the charity a few years before I became a freelance Gloucestershire copywriter in 2006. Now, having recently moved from an old hangar at Hullavington, their modern, spacious Tetbury unit is a great location for developing their work. In fact, as I arrived, the latest 423 of more than 12000 bikes were heading off in a container. With your help, the magic 20,000 bikes milestone can’t be too far away.

David Swettenham and Helen King with the classic Raleigh Trent

David Swettenham and Helen King with the classic Raleigh Trent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, have you got an old bike that can be done up by the Jole Riders team and sent to Africa or sold to raise funds at their associated Bike Shed retail outlet? If so, please contact Jole Rider through their website. It’s a wonderful cause and they’ve already done brilliantly. They’ll appreciate any more support, no matter how small, as they continue their work.

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

Writing in Shetland (again)

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog posting front over the last few weeks. Put it down to a combination of loads of work (mainly website and client case study writing – love it!) and a bit of travel. I was back up in Shetland a couple of weeks ago. It was our third trip and the place just grows and grows on me – especially when the weather is as good as it was for our week there.

While I was up north, I was invited to pen another guest post for Uradale Organics – and be able to legitimately call myself a Shetland copywriter, or at least a copywriter in Shetland. It’s always a pleasure to help promote Ronnie and Sue on the croft above Scalloway – particularly so this time as they have spent the best part of the last year sorting out the mess from the massive peat slide that nearly swept the croft away just after our visit last August. If you are interested in organic beef, lamb or wool – or any aspect of the modern face of Shetland crofting – this is a fascinating blog to follow.

Uradale Organics blog

The Uradale Organics blog is a fascinating insight into Shetland crofting in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you will see from the post and the rest of their blog, success (and a wee bit of fame) has come out of the post-cataclysm events. Not least because the croft was featured on BBC Countryfile when they did a Shetland special a couple of months ago. Keep up the good work at Uradale.

 

And by the way,  if you’re reading this and you happen to be Shetland-based organisation that could use a bit of creative Web, SEO, brochure, technical or marketing copywriting

 

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