Tag Archives: copywriters from cheltenham

Music for Gloucestershire copywriters…here’s my current Top 5

It was re-reading Hi Fidelity  by Nick Hornby that got me thinking about my current Top 5 for copywriting music – and suggested an idea for a very brief post as we all sit and melt in the Scorchio! summer of 2013.

First off, I must say that if I do listen to anything it has to have no (or very unobtrusive) lyrics. Unless I’m on a very untaxing task, lyrics are too distracting. And as for listening to Radio 4 or anything else that’s remotely intellectually stimulating, that’s an absolute no-no.

So, to the current Al Hidden Top 5, and here’s what this Cheltenham copywriter is listening to…

  1. Rachmaninoff:  Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra
  2. Zero 7:  Simple Things
  3. Radio Swiss Classic (at this very moment, Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto / Symphonic Dances)
  4. Hotel Costes: any of the first five Costes albums (Etage 3, La Suite and so on…)
  5. The original soundtrack album: Ne Le Dis a Personne (Tell No One)

Music like this, a some website copy to write, a bit of client copy-editing and a good old-fashioned press release to craft. Now that’s what I call summer!

What do you listen to while you work and why? Feel free to post a comment and share…

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

This Cheltenham copywriter won’t bend the facts

I enjoyed last week’s Top Gear special about the cars featured in 50 years of James Bond films. As well as reminding me that none of us get any younger, it took me back to the 1960s, Ian Fleming’s novels and being given one of the original Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5s. If I recall correctly, I even had a crack at writing my own Bond-inspired spy stories…

If there was ever a master storyteller it was Fleming. He was a stickler for his facts too – a rule that Top Gear’s writers occasionally seem to bend. I’m sure that the old Fleet Street adage, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, often apply to Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond. It certainly seemed to be the case during the show when, prompted by Scaramanga’s getaway in The Man with the Golden Gun, Hammond got onto the subject of flying cars. In particular the ill-fated AVE-Mizar Ford Pinto-based aircraft from the early 1970s.

al hidden copywriter sketch of ave-mizar flying car

While describing how the car was considered for the film, the Hamster couldn’t resist graphically describing how the car separated from its wings and plunged earthwards. It may have made a dramatic story, but it isn’t the truth. If you’ve seen the official accident report (NTSB Identification: LAX74FUQ18), you’ll know that what really happened was a wing-strut failure before the complete car-aircraft combo crashed in flames.

But I digress… As I watched the programme, I started thinking that my objective, as a Cheltenham copywriter, is to maintain factual integrity while telling an authentic brand or product story.

I could be writing SEO copy or a case study that uses a customer’s story to convincingly sell your product. It really doesn’t matter. Either way, the secret lies in an engaging benefit-led tale. With good source material and skilled writing, little more is needed; it’s really not necessary to bend the facts for dramatic effect.

So, on that note, you won’t find exaggeration, fact-bending or economy with the truth when I write for you and your organisation. You’ll just get a great story about your product, company or brand.

And by the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m not the Stig.

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

Great copywriting book recommendation from Sweden

While in Norway recently, Mrs H and I met Ronja Gustafsson, a Stockholm copywriter and PR specialist currently based at the city’s Entreprenörskyrkan (Entrepreneurship Church) business centre. Ronja’s background is in international marketing and she’s been running her own PR and copywriting business since the start of 2012.

copywriters in stockholm

We were able to swap notes on the UK and Swedish freelance copywriting scenes. And because Ronja writes in Swedish, I’ve suggested that we might be able to collaborate if any of her clients have a requirement for English-language content. If the Swedish scene is anything like that in Norway, there’s plenty of demand for English language  copy. But as we noticed in locations as diverse as Alesund’s aquarium and Norwegian’s in-flight magazine, the quality of written English coming out of the Scandinavian countries often leaves something to be desired when put under the microscope by a native English speaker. That’s in no way to detract from the excellent English spoken by all but the oldest Scandinavians, but a reflection of the importance of getting any translation or copywriting done (or at least thoroughly checked) by a native English speaker.

Back in the UK, I checked out Ronja’s copywriting blog and noticed that she’d reviewed (Boktipps) The Idea Writers by Teressa Iezzi. Having just read several of John Simmons’ excellent books on branding and brand language (including We, Me, Them and it: How to Write Powerfully for Business, The Invisible Grail and Dark Angels: How Writing Releases Creativity at Work), I thought Iezzi’s book, published in 2010, would complement them well. So far, I’ve been proven right.

I’m engrossed, and thoroughly enjoying the insights and excellent writing as the author takes an in-depth look at the state of copywriting and brand creativity – albeit with a strong bias towards the more conceptual, advertising orientated side of the business. Well recommended Ronja – you may want to try John Simmons’ Writers Trilogy.

If you are looking for a PR or copywriter in Sweden, writing in Swedish, why not contact Ronja? And if you’re seeking copywriters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire? Please contact me.

In the meantime, Hej då (as they say in Sweden).

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

A copywriter from Cheltenham fights food waste in Norway

Whenever I travel, food waste in self-service all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants breaks my heart. We’ve seen it again and again, from the UK to Cuba and around Europe. During a recent trip to Scandinavia, I did my bit to fight back…

Our trip to Norway finished with a couple of nights in Ålesund, staying at the excellent Quality Hotel Waterfront on Nedre Strandgate. It’s a Nordic gem, with a strong eco-stance and a delicious buffet breakfast. And that’s where my hackles were raised as, yet again, we watched uneaten platefuls of delicious local bread, brunost and waffles being shovelled into the garbage. Why, oh why, when they can come back again and again for food, do people pile their plates too high and then leave it?

Speaking to hotel management, I suggested a simple notice to encourage guests to waste less. The idea went down well and I was asked if I could help with some ideas. When I said I was a copywriter in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and offered to write something, guest service assistant Karoline Thorstensen (see picture below) was delighted. Mrs H and I were given free-run of the hotel bar and I set to work…

Karoline Thorstensen with Cheltenham copywriter, Al Hidden

Karoline Thorstensen from Ålesund’s Quality Hotel Waterfront and Cheltenham copywriter Al Hidden

The finished text had to be in Norwegian, German and English. I developed a copy concept around ‘help yourself to as much as you want, but help to avoid waste’. It had to be something that wouldn’t appear dictatorial, but would emphasise the benefit of enjoying as much as you want while gently reminding about avoiding wasted food.

Aware that the play on words wouldn’t translate easily, and that I’d need input from a native German speaker, I also drafted a more direct Germanic version. Karoline, who is German-Norwegian, was delighted, loved the concept and promptly emailed my copy to her mother, a native German speaker, to polish my German and draft a Norwegian variant. That happened overnight; the message was on display in time for breakfast.

Will my work help reduce waste? I hope so, and so does Karoline and the rest of the hotel’s team. We’ll be interested to check out the results next time we visit  Ålesund and stay at the Quality Hotel Waterfront. Which we will, because it’s great.

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