Category Archives: Copywriting for different sectors

Great to see one of my Shetland copywriting clients on prime time TV

Ben Fogle New Livesd in the Wild UK Episode 5 on Fair Isle

 

 

 

 

 

I love a bit of travelling. Occasionally even something a bit adventurous like spending a week with a Swiss heli-logging crew or flitting around the Adamants Range in British Columbia in helicopters while researching a novel. But I must admit that my sense of adventure can’t match that of Ben Fogle, who is making a name for himself discovering new lives in the wild on Channel 5. He started with some of the world’s wildest locations, then brought the concept closer to home with interesting people and places in the UK. And that was what brought him to Fair Isle, off Shetland…

Episode 5 of the first series of New Lives in the Wild UK aired a few weeks ago and I happened to catch it. This time, Ben travelled to the remote island of Fair Isle (63 inhabitants!) just off Shetland. During his week on the windswept rocky outpost, Fogle stayed with American Tommy H. Hyndman who moved to the UK 10 years ago to start a new life on Fair Isle.

Ben Fogle meets Mati Ventrillon

At the time of writing, the episode is still available online and there’s more information about making the programme on the Fair Isle Blogspot.  What I was particularly excited about was that Ben’s show featured my client Mati Ventrillon while he was on the island. Oh what a small world it is…

Flying back from Shetland with Fair Isle in the background

Shetland connections

Anyone who follows me will know that I have family connections with Uradale croft near Scalloway on mainland Shetland. It was through Sue and Ronnie at Uradale (as seen on Countryfile and heard on Radio 4’s On your Farm) that I was introduced to Mati a couple of years ago when she needed help with her website copywriting. You see, Mati, who is actually a French-Venezuelan architect, is also passionate about all-things Fair Isle and has single-handedly revitalised the island’s knitwear industry with her Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle knitwear brand.  She also sends her cow to visit Sue and Ronnie for its annual service.

Not only does she now sell her amuradale farm blogazing clothes around the world (apparently, Ben Fogle’s wife gave him one of her sweaters as a Christmas gift), but she has featured on a banner above Oxford Street during London Fashion Week. This is a lady with a brand that is going places – amazing when you think that she is doing it from a small crofter’s cottage powered by a wind turbine on one of the UK’s remotest outposts. And she does her share of fire duty at the island’s dirt-strip airfield too!

Helping Mati promote her brand online

Mati has always had a strong vision for her brand, for promoting the tradition of knitwear on Fair Isle and for telling the story of Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle Knitwear in just the right way. So it was that, after several thorough fact-finding interviews over a sometimes-dodgy phone connection, I crafted the words that define and differentiate her business – with, I hope, the same craft skill and passion that she knits her fishermen’s sweaters and caps.

A joy to work with her

By her own admission, writing in English, and copywriting for the web in particular, isn”t Mati’s greatest strength. Although her English is actually very good, it isn’t her first language and she was wise enough to allow a skilled copywriter to capture her brand in words. It was a joy to work with her and you can see the results of our collaboration on her website. If you find yourself in a similar position, we should have a chat.

MAti Ventrillon website – copywriting by Al Hidden Copywriter

Back to Ben’s Fair Isle

But enough about copywriting for Shetland and back to Ben Fogle’s week with Tommy. During the episode we see the Fair Isle fire engine just after he has landed. That was when I started to wonder whether Mati would be featured. And indeed she was when there’s a lovely segment of the show where she is fitting Tommy with a sweater – perfect for his extreme golfing activities (but that’s another story and you’ll need to watch the programme for that).

mati-on-channel-5

If you find your way to Fair Isle, say hello to Mati and Tommy. And in the meantime, how about treating yourself or someone special to one of Mati’s lovely pieces of Fair Isle knitwear? Ben Fogle’s wife did!

 

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical, PR and article copywriting. Visit his Shetland Copywriter page

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Blogging for chauffeurs – 7 top tips for a better blog

Blogging for chauffeurs
– 7 top tips for a better blog

A Bluetooth keyboard is a great tool for a blogging chauffeur

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you like many of your chauffeur peers? Do you tweet regular status updates and use LinkedIn for professional networking and building business? Maybe you have a Google+ profile and Facebook too. Banter about just arriving at Heathrow or Gatwick for another pickup is all good and well (but be careful about the confidentiality of what you announce).

But to really engage with your target audience and the search engines takes something a bit more substantial. In this article, I’ll share some of the professional blogging tips and tricks that I use. I’ll encourage you to make more of your blogging and I’ve even included suggested topics to inspire you…

chauffeurs can blog whenever they have  few minutes

Professional chauffeuring gives you all the source material – and the opportunities – for inspired blog posts that prospects and search engines will love!

Are you giving prospects (and search engines) the
content they want to read?

How are you taking advantage of your prospects’ and Google’s insatiable hunger for useful, relevant content? Forget the cheap and cheerful, keyword-stuffed SEO articles of yore. Instead, think about creating articles, posts and updates that offer relevant, timely and useful information to your followers. Information that executive PAs will share and holidaymakers will keep until they need a chauffeur. Information that will set you apart from your competitors.

Chauffeurs blog at airports such as Heathrow

Got a few minutes before your next airport pick-up? Capture a few ideas for your next blog post…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above all, content that will gain you points in the world of sementic web search where sharable content is indeed King, and potentially the Ace up your sleeve, when it comes to promoting your services. Here are seven pro-copywriter tips to help you get started.

 

Al Hidden is an experienced Cheltenham based copywriter specialising in Marketing, blogging, Web/SEO, technical, PR and article copywriting – including copy for several executive chauffeurs

A must-read if you send or receive CVs…

I was given this inspired Christmas gift by Mrs H. Even after a quick flick through Crap CVs by Jenny Crompton (I’m still reading the excellent Speak Human by Eric Karjaluoto), I can see what a gem it is and the hours of amusement it promises to deliver.

 

 

 

 

The dedication ‘ To all the hopelessly unemployed’ says it all: the contents, so lovingly curated by Ms Crompton, range from the brief (‘HERE ARE MY RESUME AND IM NOT SO INTEREST IN YOUR JOB THANKS MO’) to the hilariously verbose.

I’m excited already, not just because I write military to civilian CVs professionally, but because it’s just hilariously funny. I challenge anyone not to laugh (and laugh, and laugh) and learn.

Have you read Crap CVs? What did you think of it? What’s the funniest CV blooper you’ve ever come across?

Al Hidden 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.

An unashamed plug for the North Devon Animal Ambulance…

Pro Bono work is good. Writing for worthy charities is good. Writing for the North Devon Animal Ambulance (NDAA) is very good, not least because it allows me to flex my writing muscles in an area that’s very different from my usual marketing and technical copywriting beat here in Gloucestershire.

I’ve been writing for the NDAA animal ambulance service since 2007. They’re a great charity, hardworking and making a noticeable difference to the lives of wild and domestic animals in, not surprisingly,  North Devon. What I really like is that, although the NDAA is ostensibly an animal charity, almost every action they take has a bearing, either directly or indirectly, on people. Humans like you and me. That’s good too.

Over the years I’ve crafted press releases, edited a quarterly newsletter and written website and SEO copy for them. In fact, we’ve just finished working on the charity’s third generation website and it certainly shows the power of the Web to allow even a small, volunteer-only, local group to shine.

I say ‘We’ because the new site wouldn’t have been possible without the input of Barnstaple-based Matrix Print & Design and their website wizard Colin Munday of The Web Workshop (near Umberleigh). These are the guys who created the structure and the striking design that has already got people talking on North Devon street corners – and digging deeply into their pockets to help North Devon’s own animal charity..

As for my bit? Some 30 new pages of SEO copywriting on everything from animal rehoming to wildlife rescue in North Devon. And all written around a carefully researched pool of long-tail keywords and key-phrases to give the NDAA an even wider online search ‘net’ with which to hook new volunteers, donators and the much-needed legacy donations.

If you love animals, have an affinity for Devon and the South West, and want to do your bit then contact the NDAA. If you want sparkling copy, but haven’t got the time, specialist skills or the inclination to write it yourself… An unashamed plug for the North Devon ANimal Ambulance

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

Interesting radio programme on translation and localisation

Every so often I listen in to the radio show by San Francisco Bay Area career coach Marty Nemko on KALW, 91.7 FM or through Martyr’s podcasts on iTunes.  A recent episode of Work with Marty  resonated with me because of writing work I’ve done as a copywriter for translation and localisation businesses here in the UK.

I’m a freelance copywriter in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and I found the show fascinating. If you’re in, or use,  translation, localisation or internationalisation I’m sure you will too. Marty’s programme gives some very interesting perspectives on the state of on the business – including the role of online machine translation.

It’s a good listen and I’d recommend it to anyone in this field. I’ll be listening to it again to extract all the gems it contains (typical of Marty’s shows). Please check it out for yourself through iTunes or Marty’s own website.

And if you run a UK-based translation. localisation or internationalisation business that needs some creative copywriting? I’m here for you – as I was for Gemini Translation Services in Keynsham, Bristol when they needed SEO copywriting for two websites (and very good they are at what they do too!)

Until next time…

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