Tag Archives: cheltenham

Choosing a copywriting practice

Al Hidden Copywriter: owner-copywriter of a small Cheltenham, Gloucestershire copywriting agency

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing a copywriting practice

Someone recently told me that Cheltenham has the highest concentration of creative businesses outside London. Put all those design agencies, web designers, copywriting agencies, graphic designers, photographers, app designers and other creative consultancies together and it’s guaranteed to be a challenge to find the one that’s perfect for your next creative project.

More on choosing a copywriting practice

So what are you seeking from your copywriting practice? Will it be large and (probably) expensive? That’s fine if you’re a major global brand, but maybe not such a good fit if you’re a micro business or startup SME in Cheltenham, Stroud or Cirencester.

Alternatively, maybe a small, professional, owner copywriter would best fit your organisation; if you’re planning a major pan-European campaign, perhaps not. But if you need a website, a brochure, a few case studies and the occasional press release, the low overheads and corresponding pricing structure of a good one-man (or woman) band is likely to be perfect.

Let’s look at both for a minute. Read more here

 

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

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7 steps to your better Meet the Team page

Meet the Team page for Cheltenham-based Elliot Oliver Sales & letting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s easy to write a boring Meet the Team page on your website. Just drag some random information from employee job descriptions, throw it together on your About Us page and drop in pictures snapped by the office’s amateur David Bailey!

Alternatively, follow these tips for creating a Meet the Team page that really engages site visitors, shows your team’s skills and personalities to the full, and speaks volumes about your brand…

1. Before you begin

Before you interview, write and photograph, think carefully about what you want your employee profile page(s) to achieve and the messages you want to convey about your people and your organisation. The best Meet the Team pages are carefully planned and created.

2. Interview the team

Interview the team: talk about their business motivations; greatest successes; interests; likes and dislikes; and get a quote or two.

Then comes the really clever stuff! Read more

 

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

How good is your website content?

online content examples by the gloucestershire copywriter

 

 

 

 

In October 2014, I was invited to lead a couple of mini workshops sessions at The Business Kitchen’s introductory taster session held at Maggie’s in Cheltenham. My talk and the accompanying handout went down well with the attendees, so I thought I’d share them with a wider audience here…

For websites to engage humans and search engines, content is (and always was) king. Good content is relevant and meaningful to your site visitors, well written and consistent with your brand. Google’s recent algorithm changes have made content’s importance topical, almost as if content is a newly discovered recipe for online success. In reality, since Bill Gates’ prophetic 1996 ‘Content is King’ essay, the smart money has always been on creating content that helps your site visitors solve problems – in alignment with Google’s guiding principles.

Whether you just want content to read well, or you want it to help your search engine optimisation (SEO), good content writing matters. When SEO performance is important, the difference is that you’ll need to integrate properly researched page keyword sets into your content. Read more here…

Al Hidden 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.

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.

Dru yoga comes to a copywriter’s rescue…

It’s been a week or so now since we did Airbuses and barking dogs. Forgive me for the longer than usual break, but two things have conspired to make blogging a mightier-than ever challenge. Life as a Cheltenham copywriter would have been a whole lot more difficult if it hadn’t been for the generous help of a neighbour who teaches Dru Yoga.

First, there’s been a very welcome rush of work requiring quotes – and writing! That’s a good problem. Spring is well and truly sprung and several projects that have been in the pipeline for a while have finally gone live. I’ve got SEO copywriting, client case studies, website product and category page writing and more on the go at the moment. All my favourite stuff. Lovely!

But circumstances have conspired to make looking after clients and getting work done harder than usual. Last week, some thieving toe-rags decided to vandalise (or try to steal) the copper wires in my telephone exchange here in Cheltenham. Nicking copper has to be the big growth industry around here – as elsewhere in the UK at the moment.  Anyway, the result was that several hundred Cheltenham properties have been phone-less since the middle of last week. That’s never happened before…

Combine the two events and you’ll understand why being a Cheltenham copywriter has been less than easy since 27/3/13. BT says the phone line will be fixed by tonight, but the day’s nearly over and it ain’t working yet.

The last couple of days have been made easier by the generosity of one of my neighbours, Dru Yoga practitioner Karan Walsh. Karan very kindly let me access her Wireless-Internet. It hasn’t been ideal, because I’ve had to work on the 15-inch screen confines of my laptop, but it’s been a whole load better than trying to work with an old dial-up connection as I did for the first few days… Thank you Karan.

‘Glacial’ is the word that comes to mind. How did we ever manage back in the old days?

So, by way of a thank you to Karan, here’s a link to her Dru Yoga in Cheltenham page on yogahub. She’s a great yoga instructor and passionate as anything about the Dru variety. If you’ve never tried yoga, give it a whirl (Mrs H did and loves it).

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in getting copywriting off your to-do list, please contact me. I’ll write while you go to Karan’s yoga class!

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

A Cheltenham copywriter’s appeal for no double spaces at sentence ends

It’s something about people of a certain age – often, but not exclusively, women trained in secretarial skills and PA-ship (or whatever you call skills as a personal assistant). Every office I’ve ever worked in seems to have at least one – sometimes more. They were always adorable, but there was one thing that was guaranteed to cause a serious office domestic. That was  space. Not the kind associated with Apollo or Star Wars or suchlike but simple, white apace.  Or more specifically, two spaces. At the end of paragraphs.

It drove me mad before I became one of the copywriters in Cheltenham. And it still does when someone sends draft copy with double spaces after every full stop.

Them too. The merest mention of not having two spaces at the end of every sentence seems to get them up in arms. ‘It’s good secretarial practice’, they’d cry; ‘It’s what we were taught at secretarial school’; ‘It’s what I’ve always done’.

nodoublespace

But why?

In one respect they were correct. Putting two spaces after every sentence was taught at secretarial schools, it was considered best practice and it is what they have always done. But that was years ago when computers and word-processing weren’t even a twinkle in Bill Gates’s eye. Times change and for decades there’s been no good reason at all for continuing to do so – especially in Microsoft Word, or any other word-processing software. Here’s why.

Let’s think back to why, all those years ago, the practice of double-spacing was introduced. It came about because typewriters (you know, those clattery machines you see in old black and white movies) don’t have proportional spacing. Because of this, you have to enter two spaces at the end of a sentence. If you don’t, your typing doesn’t look right. End of.

But word processors changed all that, so with Microsoft Word, WordPerfect and all the others that have come and gone over the last 30 years the need for manual double spacing has disappeared. You see, word processors include a feature called proportional spacing. The software spaces words and sentences so they look just right on the page. The typist, whoever he or she may be, doesn’t need to worry any more.

But some do and it drives me barmy when I get a page of text packed with double spaces. You can search and replace to get rid of them, or set Word to get rid of them, or use an editing tool such as PerfectIT to clear them away. But I just wish people would stop putting them there in the first place. Like putting a hyphen after a colon (:-) it’s just wrong – and for very good reason.

Aargh! Rant over. That’s better.

Do you still put double spaces after every sentence? Please, please, please tell me why.

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