Tag Archives: copywriter

Rumours revisited – and a great presentation by the Introverted Presenter

Do you remember Rumours by Fleetwood Mac? I’d forgotten how good this classic album is until I heard it again (on cassette no less) en route to the WinBiz networking group at Nailsworth, Gloucestershire the other morning. I was struck by how good the album sounded after nearly 40 years (yes, it was recorded in California in 1976). It got me thinking about how enduring the best copywriting and other business advice is. Then I sat down to breakfast and listened to IntrovertedPresenter, Richard Tierney expound the principles of great presentations in 10 gripping minutes.

‘Think ABC,’ said Richard: Attention, Benefits and Credentials. This is a timeless structure for a powerful presentation (or, methinks, effective copywriting) and not a million conceptual miles away from the classic Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) model that has served us copywriters since time immemorial.

Start at the end, Richard added, with the idea you want your audience to take away – or the message you want your copy to convey. Then open strongly, tell your story and end with that single powerful thought. Remember what former US president Bill Clinton said: ‘If we say two things we haven’t said anything at all.’ And the guiding principle adopted by ITV News journalists down the years, the idea of a ‘Hey Doreen!’ attention grabber…

By then, Richard’s 10 minutes were up, but his message had stuck, which is why I can remember it two weeks later as I start to plan my 10-minute presentation for this week’s WinBiz meeting – that’ll be on client case study copywriting, in case you’re interested.

Oh, how the strongest ideas and principles are often the simplest. They’re the ones that endure over the decades and still reward. Rather like listening to that old Fleetwood Mac cassette the other morning.

For more of Richard Tierney’s wealth of presentation skills expertise, visit his business presentation skills website. And please say I sent you.

 

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.

A plan after Growing Gloucestershire 2013… then it changes

I had a plan and it was a good one. After attending the impressive Growing Gloucestershire 2013 conference I’d sit down and write a load of blogs that had come to me during the presentations. Each would be brief but powerful and I’d have them all done within 24 hours. Then real life intervened.

Loads of new clients

A new client (there seem to have been quite a few of you recently – thank you!) urgently needed conventional and online press release writing for their client. How could I resist, it was for the architectural sector and I love writing for building design and construction related services. Then Mrs H took us off for a couple of days in Wales (only just though) – strictly no work allowed. Then long-standing client Energist needed a load of emails and postcard copy, plus a reworked website page on the run in to new Part L Building Regulations. And in the middle of all this I lost a couple of days through post-concussion syndrome. Copywriter: 6-feet tall; low office ceiling beam: 5-foot nine inches. Moment’s attention lapse. Ouch!

Catching up after Growing Gloucestershire 2013

So here I am nearly two weeks later, having just caught up with my post-Growing Gloucestershire LinkedIn contacts, celebrating the completion of a stunning 26-page aerospace-defence brochure, recovering from a sore head and I’m still buzzing with the excitement of the conference at The University of Gloucestershire’s Park campus.

For this Cheltenham copywriter, the two high points were Dame Fiona Reynolds’ comment about how the National Trust (NT) handled rebranding and brand language on her watch. I asked whether brand language work had gone alongside the visual branding work. She assured me that it had, and told me how she had banned the use of jargon, insisted on the use of we and us and emphasised the use of ‘our’ when talking with members and prospective members of the charity. What about the use of ‘You’ – after all, this is one of the biggest differences one can make when talking with readers in print. But no, and for a very good reason.

Brand language at the National Trust – ‘we, us and our’

The whole NT rebranding was about a shared brand experience (have you noticed how National Trust restorations are now much more open to visitors?). In order to get that openness across in their brand language, this particular communication challenge used ‘we, us and our’ to emphasise that the new charity was a shared resource.  I get that in this particular case, but there’s still a hugely important role for more-you-than-we in most business communication –as I showed my recent client to his delight in the aforementioned aerospace brochure copywriting. More on that in a future post.

The importance of grammar, spelling and proofreading

My second highpoint at Growing Gloucestershire was a point made by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Fiona Spencer in a presentation on 10 Top Marketing Tips. Given that a lot of her content was high-level marketing stuff, I was thrilled to discover that Tip 10 was the importance of proofreading and Fiona’s assertion that spelling and grammar still matter. That’s a big +1 to that. As I am forever telling anyone who will listen, you’ve got to be aware of the dangers of the hidden assassins (the gunshot that kills before you hear its sound) in your copywriting. Particularly online where the subtlest annoyance can send a visitor off to another part of the InterWeb before you know it. That’s where a skilled copyeditor and proofreader can transform your draft writing.

Bye, bye sore head…

So there you have it. A few thoughts inspired by Growing Gloucestershire and only two weeks late – for very good reasons. Watch this space for more… And, by the way, my head’s a lot better thank you. Which is why I can write this instead of curling grumpily in a corner while the room spins uncontrollably and bad elves hammer 6-inch nails into my skull as they seemed to be doing last Friday.

Good job too. There’s a load more copywriting on its way in the shape of client case studies and website/SEO copy, Write on Al!

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

Inspiration the Carie Lyndene way – a review

Even busy Cheltenham copywriters need to get out sometimes. That’s just one of the reasons I attended Success Coach Carie Lyndene’s popular Stop Losing Money to Competitors – Start Earning Your Worth courses yesterday. Having now heard Carie speak, I’d recommend her brand of success training to anyone. I defy you not to learn something useful.

A pinch-yourself-to-see-if-it’s-real gem

The two-hour course was at Cheltenham Film Studios (where my long-time copywriting client MA Design is based). It would have been a bargain if I’d paid for it. But as a freebie, it was a pinch-yourself-to-see-if-it’s-real gem that I’d recommend to anyone looking to take their business to that elusive ‘next level’.

I’d only met Carie briefly before yesterday. To be honest, I was prepared for just another get-rich-quick course. But our two hours together was packed with valuable takeaways and quickly changed my preconceptions.

You’ll need to move fast if you want to hear Carie for free, because she’s only planning one more free course before there’s a fee. Go anyway, it’ll still be a steal if she charges for the sessions. Learn more about inspiring Carie and book your place on her Eventbrite bookings page.

Different reasons for attending

Before getting down to business, we attendees swapped notes on our reasons for coming along: these were varied to say the least, ranging from inspiration to grow small businesses to affirmation that an existing approach is correct, support for Carie, and business networking. My fellow attendees were an equally diverse crowd, ranging from graphic designers to a presentation specialist, a virtual PA and a chiropractor. (Yes, it was a good networking opportunity for a Gloucestershire copywriter.)

By the end of the morning, and after Carie had generously spent a load of time talking with us individually,  we went back to work inspired and impressed.

Referencing many of the world’s self improvement masters

A detailed review would be too much of a spoiler for the treat that awaits you when you attend. Suffice to say that Carie’s presentation ranged across the ideas of Bob Burg (the Go Giver), Jim Rohn, Robert Kiyosaki, Michael E. Gerber ( the E-myth) and many other respected thinkers. Most valuable of all was how Carie drew on her 30+ years of business experience to weave these ideas together with her own. Every word was thought provoking and I’m sure no-one in that room didn’t come away with at least one inspiring idea for their business.

As well as getting confirmation that my own professional-lifestyle copywriting approach was right for me,  I was particularly impressed with how Carie happily fielded questions from us during her presentation – and still managed to keep on schedule. That’s a clever trick when you consider how easily some presenters are distracted and led off-topic by side-discussions. Not Carie, which helped because it would have been hard to bottle up all the ideas she’d provoked until the end of the session.

Listen to Carie yourself

Whether you’re a freelance copywriter like me, a graphic designer, a would-be online entrepreneur or anyone else growing an enterprise, you really should listen to what success coach Carie has to say.

Who have you found particularly inspiring while developing your business?

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

‘Hire a copywriter’ says Cheltenham strategic branding expert

 

We had a great presentation at the Gloucestershire Business Breakfast Club this morning. After we’d munched our egg and bacon and caught up around the table, Darren James of Cheltenham strategic marketing consultancy gillfoxjames gave a stonking talk about supercharging your email marketing.

As one of the freelance copywriters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, I’ll talk about the merits of hiring a copywriter as long as anyone will listen. And as I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen website and print projects stall because the copy isn’t ready – and that’s usually because the client is trying (unsuccessfully) to do something that doesn’t come naturally to them.

 

‘Use a copywriter’

What’s super-nice about moments like this morning’s is when other marketing or online authorities push the ‘use a copywriter’ message as positively as Darren did. Darren was talking about writing email content and crafting dedicated landing pages that continue your story beyond the recipient’s inbox. But a skilled and experienced copywriter can also help in dozens of other situations: your new website; that much-needed client case study writing; press releases; brochures that actually work for you rather than making expensive waste-bin filler.

When can a freelance copywriter help you?

Anytime, in fact, when you don’t have the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to write your own copy. And you need help getting vital writing off your to-do list and out there working for you.

Thanks for waving the copywriting flag and valuing what freelance wordsmiths can do Darren. Appreciated buddy.

Now tell me readers, what would prompt you to hire a freelance copywriter?

 

breakfast

 

 


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

Try the best email management tip I’ve ever tried…

Here’s the best piece of email management advice I’ve ever found. Try it – it works.

As a busy copywriter in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, I need to get my head down and work uninterrupted. Coming in and out of the zone to answer the phone or check email every few minutes isn’t good for my productivity and the quality of thinking and writing I deliver to my clients – whether its website copy, another client case study or a press release.

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I long ago switched off email notifications – be they sounds or screen

pop ups. I also set my email clients so they don’t check for mail as often as before.  But the most useful email productivity tip of all has been to check email less frequently during the day. At first it sounds strange (unworkable even). But work it does and it helps your concentration as well as your productivity.

The most persuasive case that I’ve ever found for checking email three times a day comes in two recent podcasts from Manager Tools. As ever, this site has delivered the goodies; I urge you to listen to them, try their recommendations and feel the benefits. The comments and feedback on these pages are also very useful – and bear out the effectiveness of this approach.:

Email Three Times A Day – Part 1

Email Three Times A Day – Part 2

 

Does this work for you? How have you tweaked the basic model? Let me know what you think.

 

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

Valuable Content Marketing – the new book every marketer should read

I sat in the sun last weekend and read an impressive new book called Valuable Content Marketing by West Country authors Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton. Now the weather seems to have got better here in Gloucestershire, you could do worse than pour a long drink, find a sunny spot on the patio and read it too. I’m sure you’ll find something of interest – even as an experienced Cheltenham copywriter who already creates valuable content, I certainly did.

valuablecontentmarketing

Unthink lots of what you’ve learned about marketing communications

The basic premise of Valuable Content Marketing is that you should unthink lots that you’ve learned about sales and marketing communications. Instead, you need to stop pushing sales messages, get online and make your marketing valuable to prospects and customers. It’s all about generosity, the good karma of what goes around comes around and making everything from a freebie to your website content intrinsically valuable. By so doing, the pair assert, you will connect with clients and customers in a way they’ll appreciate – and they’ll do business with you when the time is right.

Great stuff – but did they miss one important trick?

Valuable Content Marketing  is easily digestible, nicely laid out and full of ‘instant takeaways that you can start applying to your business immediately. I particularly liked their templates and checklists and mini case studies. But I think they missed one valuable trick. To find out what it is, read more on my Valuable Content Writer website page .

 

 

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