Tag Archives: cheltenham copywriters

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

Advertisements

Season’s Greetings 2014 from Al Hidden, Gloucestershire Copywriter

season's_greetings_from_alh

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

Customer case studies: Sold! By your client in their words…

Well-researched and written client case studies are an effective way to get your clients to sell you in their own words. Once created, they’re easy to use across many print and online platforms with minimal reworking. Now that’s cost-effective…

Case studies are traditionally short and sweet – and rather clinical. They work by showing how you solved a client problem – to engage potential customers who face a similar challenge. And at the end, you quote your client, saying what a jolly good supplier you are.

But there’s another way, and in this article, I share my approach to writing client case studies where your client sells your business using even more of their words. Read more here…

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

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.

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 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.

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.