Tag Archives: business writing

The Gloucestershire Copywriter’s cure for the summertime blues

Summer’s here!

I’m gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler
About a workin’ all summer just to try to earn a dollar

Well maybe not, because despite what Eddie Cochran sang in the late fifties before his untimely death near Chippenham, it’s turning into another busy summer packed with website copy, client case studies, brochure copywriting and a great new regular blog-post writing  gig for my old friends Gemini Translation Services in Keynsham, Bristol.

Thinking about vacations

Actually, you won’t hear a holler from the Gloucestershire Copywriter and the only fuss is how to juggle all the great copy coming my way. But the scorching weather here in Cheltenham did set me thinking about vacations and the importance of planning and taking regular breaks – whatever one does.

Planning a trip can be stressful

For anyone in a pressured employed or freelance role, planning a great trip can seem like another unneeded stressor when you’re up to your ears in the daily grind. That’s where one of my local networking contacts, Lucy Thurston of Travel Counsellors, comes to your assistance – as she did brilliantly when we were planning a special three-week trip to Argentina, Chile and Brazil earlier in the year.

Gloucestershire Copywriter – Torres del Paine, Chile

The Gloucestershire Copywriter on tour – March 2014

Let Lucy take the strain

Lucy, who is based in Cheltenham, takes your ideas (ranging from ‘here’s a detailed outline of what we want to do’ to ‘I haven’t a clue, I just need to get away’) and she sorts your trip out using her experience. a network of experts and the backing of Travel Counsellors. Whether you fancy a budget flight and a hotel at the other end or a multi-week southern hemisphere adventure as we did, her organisational skills, customer care and access to a great travel organisation are second to none – and she organises trips for groups too.

Lucy certainly knows travel and she’s a dream to work with. The beauty of using Lucy and letting her do what she does best is that you can get on with the day-to-day while she does all the legwork and puts a great trip together – with all the ATOL bonding and other reassurances you could need. I’ve even heard that she’s been known to leave milk and a loaf of bread ready for clients’ return. Now that’s what I call service (yes, Lucy is that good at what she does).

Lucy Thurston – travel consultant to the gloucestershire copywriter

Lucy Thurston – Cheltenham travel consultant

Come to think about it, Lucy and I have more in common than just being members of the same networking groups. Like her, I free busy people up to do what they do best. I don’t arrange trips to Europe, the Americas or the Far East. Instead, I get copywriting off people’s to-do lists – the business writing for websites, PR and brochures that you don’t have the time, specialist skills or the inclination to do yourself.

Happy holidays everyone

So book a great trip through Lucy, brief me before you go and take a well-deserved break while I write through our scorching summer. Then look forward to some sparkling copy on your return – and maybe a pinta and a loaf too!

Happy holidays everyone! Now, maybe I should take two weeks and have a fine vacation too…

Lucy!

 

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

An Airbus, a ‘barking dog’ and a Cheltenham copywriter…

It’s amazing how a little bit of understanding can calm the nerves and make sense of something that at first appears unfamiliar. On a recent flight back to the UK, we were aboard an Airbus A320. If you know anything about the A320 you’ll know all about the so-called ‘barking dog’ that sometimes makes itself heard during push back from the gate, especially if you’re sitting somewhere around the centre of the aircraft – as this Cheltenham copywriter and his other half were last weekend.

a320 airbus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it was last Saturday. As the aircraft was pushed out onto the taxiway and the engines spooled up, the distinctive sound of ‘barking’ filled the cabin. As I immersed myself in Influence by Robert Cialdini, I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation in a nearby seat. With some concern, another passenger asked one of the cabin crew what the noise was and what was going on – and whether the plane was okay.

As I’ve heard many times, the flight attendant smiled and explained that it was the jet’s hydraulics – not a stray mongrel in the freight hold – and completely normal. The passenger looked relieved and settled back with his newspaper. All was right in the world and a few minutes later we were climbing out over the Med and heading north.

An interest in aircraft and several years working as a technical copywriter around Airbus has taught me that the mystery ‘barking dog’ is actually the power transfer unit between the aircraft’s green and yellow hydraulic circuits. It’s particularly noticeable during push back when one engine is running and the PTU drives the hydraulic circuits on the other, as yet unpowered, side of the aircraft. If you sit down at the back, you’ll barely notice it – try it next time you’re on an A320. (Even better, learn the answer and impress friends, family and fellow-travellers with your knowledge…)

barkingdog

There’s a parallel with certain aspects of copywriting. I’ve lost count of the times a client of my freelance copywriting business asked me about the questions starting a website page, a conversational writing style or the use of ‘and’ or ‘but’ at the start of a sentence. To some people, perhaps those brought up on a certain (misguided) understanding of English, such techniques sit as uncomfortably with business writing as the idea of a collie-cross running loose in the hold does with the idea of international flight. Usually, all it takes to set the client’s mind at rest is a clear explanation: questions are a way of engaging the reader’s attention; a conversational style is important for similar reasons; while conjunctions and sentence fragments add pace to website copy that should replicate spoken communication as much as possible.

Just as there must surely be travellers who will remain convinced that their plane is malfunctioning, occasional stick-in-the-muds won’t be told. But generally, people get what I’m doing with words and appreciate the benefit for engaging communication with their audience. That’s when they sit back with their metaphorical cheese toastie and Starbucks Italian Roast and enjoy the flight (read writing project) – while their Gloucestershire copywriter does what he does best from the ‘flight deck’…

Trust your copywriter. By all means ask questions, but be ready to be surprised because business writing is often rather different to the writing we were taught back at school…

And like the ‘barking dog’ on the A320, it’s nothing to be afraid of at all and merely shows that everything is happening just as it should.

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