Tag Archives: copywriters gloucestershire

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.

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.

Revealed: what you get when you pay $5 for an SEO article…

This is my 100th blog post, so I thought it had better be a cracker.

peanuts

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve long wondered what buyers actually get when they pay ‘peanuts’ for SEO articles or other copywriting on sites such as Elance, Fiverr and others of their ilk. I’d heard about the problems with poorly-written copy, writers who don’t have English as their first language and so on…

To find out what professional copywriters are up against from the so-called copy mills, I recently tried a little experiment. Here’s what happened…

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in article writing, Marketing, Website and SEO copywriting, 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.

Two talented designpreneurs: one Gloucestershire copywriter…

It’s been a while since I last posted. Put it down to a couple of trips away (including Shetland), interspersed with a continued heavy writing workload. It’s that old shoemakers’ kids’ shoes thing – my own promotion suffers…

Working with two inspiring designpreneurs

One of my most recent projects sits nicely alongside another of this year’s writing high spots and both are interesting because they were for women who are pioneering innovative design-led bespoke services. So I thought I would tell you about two of my recent clients, Mati Ventrillon and Britta Curley.

Rejuvenating Fair Isle knitwear

Mati, for whom I wrote a new website,  is based up on Fair Isle, a French-Venezuelan Shetland incomer who became fascinated by the craft and tradition of Fair Isle knitwear, has mastered the centuries-old skills and added her own creative twist and entrepreneurial flair.
mati ventrillon
Mati’s bespoke knitwear has already caught the attention of the UK design fraternity – amongst other honours, Mati was featured in London Design Week a couple of years ago. As well as being a fascinating example of rejuvenating a specialised regional craft form, Mati’s entrepreneurship promises great things for the Fair Isle economy in the future – and offers a tempting array of knitwear for woollen garment lovers around the world.
al hidden copywriter mati ventrillon fair isle knitwear website copywriter

A new take on table design and finishes in Cheltenham

Much closer to my Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, base, Britta Curley’s business, (Curley Burrows) specialises in designing and crafting bespoke furniture with unique surface finishes and detailing. From large carved dining tables to small, coffee tables, every one of Britta’s creations is, like Mati’s garments, a unique work of art. Britta tells me that the launch of her business at September 2014’s Tent London design exhibition was a great success – aided, I hope, by my work as her press release copywriter.
britta curley
If you are a home or business owner seeking a stunning centrepiece table, or an interior designer seeking novel furniture ideas, you really should investigate what Britta’s up to at her studio in Cheltenham.
bespoke furniture in cheltenham: curley burrows

Two design talents – support from one copywriter

As well as both being ambitious, and highly creative, designpreneurs, Britta and Mati both recognised that specialised copywriting wasn’t their key skill and the best use of their time. In Britta’s case she was busy preparing to launch her business at Tent London. For Mati it was the launch of her Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle Knitwear brand online (as well as running a croft and bringing up two young children on one of the UK’s remotest island outposts) that demanded her focus.
In both cases, I was able to take away the research and writing ‘problem’ and create the engaging copy that will tell Mati’s brand story online and introduce Britta to the UK interior design media.

Watch Britta and Mati in future

And my takeaway after working with these two inspiring women? Watch both with interest, commission a Curley Burrows table and dress up for winter with one of Mati’s stunning garments. And if you need a hand getting copywriting off your to-do list? Please remember your Cheltenham and Shetland copywriter
Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in 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.

Vulcan XH558 takes the Gloucestershire Copywriter back in time…

It’s a short but sweet reminiscence this week, prompted by the chance sighting of our only flying Vulcan G-VLCN (military identifier XH558) as it headed for the Weston Air Festival on a recent Sunday afternoon.

Seeing  G-VLCN (I thought our personal number plate was a good one!) flying over was a wonderful experience. I only just caught her, saw her heading south from a bedroom window, rushed to grab the camera and snatched a shot at full zoom just as the V bomber was about to disappear over our neighbour’s roof.

The Vulcan took the Gloucestershire Copoywriter back in time...

Avro Vulcan XH558 about to fly into my neighbour’s open Velux window!

Why the emotion? Well, the last time I saw a Vulcan flying for real was back in the early 1960s when we lived in Bristol. I must have been about five then, when Vulcans – at that time part of our main nuclear deterrent – flew over regularly.

Seeing G-VLCN The Spirit of Great Britain again reminded me how far I’ve come in 50 years. Back then I drew and wrote little stories, made aircraft and hangers out of plasticine. Now, as well as doing all those things (!) the writing’s taken on a whole different meaning.

It’s been a fascinating journey from a Bristol childhood to working as a freelance copywriter just up the road in Cheltenham. I think back over growing up in Bristol, then in Northern Ireland through The Troubles. Then uni at Cambridge (and pistol shooting under the wing of a retired Concorde at Duxford) followed by years in technical selling, marketing, business development, technical writing,, copywriting and PR across southern England. I developed a passion for Switzerland and British Columbia, got married, got divorced, married again, wrote a novel with an aviation theme and settled under the Cotswold escarpment with the two loves of my life – my wife and my words.  It took nearly 50 years from sitting in that garden looking up at the Vulcans, but I finally got back to where I’m meant to be – a passionate creative who loves using paper and pencil (or a word-processor now) and has been known to do aviation and defence-related copywriting.

Over the years, my interest in aviation sustained, probably helped me get into an aviation tech pubs firm where I worked for Airbus (including doing my bit on the A-380 Tooling & Equipment Manual) and Rolls-Royce (manufacturer of the Vulcan’s Olympus engines) and worked alongside people who maintained and flew Vulcans in those halcyon 1960s days… including one who carried the Magna Carta to the USA aboard a Vulcan.

Vulcan XH558

Beautiful! Simply beautiful!

Looking at the Wikipedia page for G-VLCN/XH558, I see that the aircraft first flew on 25 May 1960, which makes me a few months older than her! We’re both going strong after all those years: me with my marketing, website, brochure, technical and case study copywriting; the Vulcan as the only surviving flying example of a bygone age when Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent really was something to be respected and admired.

That particular branch of the RAF may have gone, to be replaced by a handful of sinister, prowling missile submarines. But the Vulcan continues to rouse the passions of virtually everyone who sees (or hears) her.

Talking of passions, there’s more copywriting to be done…

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

What sticks in your mind? The Gloucestershire Copywriter, grapefruit and the Eifel Tower…

Attending Growing Gloucestershire 2014 recently, I was reminded of the importance of using engaging examples to create word pictures and bring stories to life whenever we communicate – using media, or face-to-face.  It’s amazing how a simple example can turn an ‘okay’ communication into a highly memorable one.

Ben Taylor’s presentation at Growing Gloucestershire 2014

My observation coincided with starting to read Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, and in particular their definition of SUCCESs principles that make ideas stick in our minds. What stood out for me at Growing Gloucestershire was the presentation by Ben Taylor, Assistant Group Chief Executive of Gloucestershire-based metrology (measurement) specialists Renishaw plc.

Made to Stick book

And it does!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed Ben’s talk and learned lots about Renishaw’s philosophy and products. If truth be told, it wasn’t the greatest presentation from a technical point of view. But what the talk occasionally lacked there, it made up for with fascinating content, Ben’s enthusiasm and the memorability of several word pictures that he painted to illustrate important points. I loved it.

The Eifel Tower and the grapefruit

In particular, there’s the image of the Eifel Tower and a grapefruit that Ben left in my mind as he explained the 0.08 arcsec accuracy of Renishaw’s metrology equipment. On the face of it, that sounds pretty accurate, but how much more engaging it was when Ben explained that  this meant an angular measurement accuracy equivalent to describing an arc with the diameter of a grapefruit on the side of Paris’s most famous monument at 289 miles/465 Km – the distance, as the crow flies, from where we were sitting in Gloucestershire to Paris.

Got it! (And I can’t stop thinking about this, and by association, Renishaw plc.)

As I captured Ben's idea in my notes...

As I captured Ben’s idea in my notes…

SUCCESs

Let’s jump back to Made to Stick and the SUCCESs acronym proposed by the Heath brothers to encompass all the principles required of a ‘sticky’ idea:

S = SIMPLICITY
U = UNEXPECTEDNESS
C = CONCRETENESSC = CREDIBILITY
E = EMOTIONS
S = STORIES

Thinking back to Ben’s talk at Growing Gloucestershire, it’s clear why the image of grapefruit and La Tour Eifel has stuck so firmly in my mind.

The importance of word images in communication

The takeaway from this, and from Made to Stick, is that carefully considered imagery, whether by word of mouth, graphically, or in copy, really can make a strong and lasting impression on the recipients of the communication. Even better if each method of delivery is supported by the others (hint Ben, a picture of M. Eifel’s engineering triumph next time please). That’s why creative collaborations between copywriter and designer/website designer are usually so much more impactful than dropping copy into a ‘designed’ brochure or website.

Tell me about the stickiest idea you’ve encountered recently

So, what’s the stickiest idea that you’ve run into recently? The one that’s still playing on your mind, reminding you of an event or a business, or inspiring you? Feel free to comment below and tell me.

 

PS: If you didn’t make Growing Gloucestershire this year, make sure to come along in 2015.

 

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

Gloucestershire Copywriter’s tip if you want small-business offices near M5 J13…

This week’s post is an unashamed plug for another of our local Gloucestershire businesses – and proof that when you set out to help someone else you can end up getting valuable and unexpected benefits. Want to know what happened when I called in on Russell Warner at Westend Office Suites at Stonehouse near Stroud, Gloucestershire? There could be something in it for you too, so please read on!

I heard about Westend Office Suites at the WinBiz networking group

I’d already spoken to Russell briefly  a couple of times at the WinBiz networking group (alternate Thursday mornings at Egypt Mill, Nailsworth) and was keen to understand his objectives for Westend Office Suites.

West end Office Suites: perfect for copywriters, consultants or small artisan busionesses

Russell Warner: owner of Westend Office Suites, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I called in – between meetings with potential new copywriting clients – on a glorious Friday. It was a perfect day to see the beautifully converted farm buildings to best advantage. Sitting outside after looking around some of the suites, Rus explained his transition from corporate accountant to office-suite proprietor. As well as being impressed by the quality of the accommodation, I liked his philosophy of building a close and mutually supportive community on the site, his generous approach to parking spaces and his competitive rates. Like me and my copywriting rates, Russell has pitched sensibly and his approach is paying off.

An interesting mix of small businesses

His current tenants include an interesting spread of specialist businesses and even an up-market wedding cake maker (sadly, no samples while I was there!). Although Russell won’t be taking on certain kinds of businesses (for instance, call centres just wouldn’t fit in with the vibe at Westend), he’s still got capacity for accountants, web designers, other creatives and artisan businesses. If I was planning to expand and create a small multi-person writing agency with office premises, I’d be in like a flash. As it happens, I’m not, because one of my grounding principles was not to employ and not to sub-contract – I do everything for my clients and they love the personal service. I’m a Cheltenham-based home-office copywriter through and through!

Westend Office Suites

A wonderful blend of meticulously converted agricultural buildings and a carefully selected mix of complementary tenants…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valuable suggestions for any business networker

As we sat outside and talked, it was fascinating to learn about Russell’s background in accountancy, his plans for Westend Office Suites and his business philosophies. Then, quite unexpectedly, he made a couple of valuable suggestions to help me promote myself at networking meetings – they could apply to anyone offering relatively intangible services such as copywriting, editing, proof-reading or similar.

Westend Office Suites

Impressive offices next to creativity-inspiring meadows and lots of extra-large parking spaces too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice for anyone offering intangible services

What Rus suggested was the importance of bringing along satisfied clients to our networking meetings as guests (as I write this I recall that I have done this, for instance, when Richard Gill of Quantuvis, for whom I’ve done client case study copywriting,  attended WinBiz a few weeks ago – but I need to do it more). My guest meets new contacts, the networking group gets to hear how I helped the client – in their words – and the group meets a possible new member. It all makes perfect sense, as did Russell’s suggestion that I use more before-and-after examples of my work and the benefits it has brought clients. All good stuff and it was really helpful to get an objective external perspective. Thank you again Rus.

Looking for small-business offices in Gloucestershire?

So what’s the takeaway here? Well, apart from those tips for promoting intangible services, my big message is that if you are actively looking for, or considering, rented office accommodation in the Stonehouse, Stroud, Gloucestershire area (minutes from M5 Junction 13) you really should put Westend Office Suites on your shortlist and talk to Russell.

FSB networking and mini-hog roast on 8 July 2014

In the meantime, how about signing up for the forthcoming networking meeting and mini-hog roast that Cotswold Branch of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) is holding at Westend Office Suites on Tuesday 8 July 2014 from18.30. You can sign up at Eventbrite and non-members are welcome – Russell’s existing tenants will be there too.

If you want office accommodation near M5 Junction 13 in Gloucestershire, contact Russell at Westend Office Suites. But if you want help getting vital copywriting off your to-do list, please contact me about my business copywriting services.

 

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.

The Gloucestershire Copywriter recommends this BBC Radio 4 show

I made an exciting discovery late one Sunday evening recently when I discovered BBC Radio 4’s Word of MouthI don’t know how it slipped under my radar for so long. My introduction to the Michael Rosen-hosted show was the recent episode entitled Office  Jargon. The programme, promoted as ‘where Michael Rosen and guests “drill down” into the subject of office jargon’ proved to be an absorbing radio gem. So much so, in fact,  that I searched out the programme pages on the Radio 4 site and discovered a wealth of back episodes just waiting to be listened to.

Over the last few years (there are currently 57 back-episodes on the BBC website),  the programme has covered a fascinating selection of language-related topics ranging from the aforementioned office jargon to ‘miscommunication, mondegreens and misophonia’ and our linguistic ties with German. Check it out. Excellent stuff.

This Cheltenham copywriter will definitely be delving into the programme’s treasure chest of archive material whenever he gets a chance. And I’d recommend that you do too. Now back to a load of website copywriting: it’s garden design and landscaping, specialist roof coatings and commercial laundry today and I love every minute of it.

By the way, do you have a favourite language-related radio programme. It could be in the UK or elsewhere in the world. If so, I’d love to know all about it, so feel free to leave a comment and share.

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

Spotted by a Gloucestershire copywriter at large – Vardø, Norway

Even the busiest freelance Gloucestershire copywriters deserve a break from time to time. Recharge the batteries, top up the creative juices, see new sights and all that. So it was that I found myself in Vardø, Norway recently and spotted a particularly clever example of the rather creative graffiti that frequently adorns the port areas where the Hurtigruten boats dock on their round trip from Bergen to Kirkenes and back.

As seen in Vardø, Norway recently...

As seen in Vardø, Norway recently…

I just thought this example was a particularly witty, concise local adaptation of the translated phrase Allāhu Akbar, or ‘God is great’. It says everything about the importance of the fishing industry up north of the Arctic circle. That’s contextually relevant copywriting for you if ever I saw any.

Personally, I’ve not written about cod yet – but there’s always a first time. Anyone for some witty, concise, Gloucestershire copywriting? I’m told that elvers are great too!

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.

You can benefit from what this Gloucestershire copywriter’s been up to…

I occasionally indulge in a little bit of self-promotion on the blog, especially when it demonstrates the real benefits that a Cheltenham copywriter like me can bring to clients like you.

Today is one of these indulgences. so I thought I’d showcase a couple of recent projects, both drawing on my SEO copywriter skills and experience for Gloucestershire businesses. Both websites, for a local chauffeur-butler service and a specialist recruitment consultancy, also involved carefully designed tone of voice and brand language. In one case inspired by a much-loved fictional character from the 1920s (very subtly, to avoid any sense of parody); in the other, based on the combined characteristics of a prominent business and media celebrity and a popular TV chef.

Homepage for Azure Chauffeur Driven Luxury Cars, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire

Homepage for Azure Chauffeur Driven Luxury Cars, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire – SEO copy by Al Hidden, Gloucestershire Copywriter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When working out a voice for my copy, I often ask clients to think of a prominent media figure who they feel suits their brand. As well as giving them something concrete to imagine, this also gives me an accessible reference source using YouTube, iplayer and other online sources. It’s amazing what characteristics you can pick up by listening to or analysing a couple of hours of TV or radio presentation. Then it’s just a matter of judiciously applying the agreed tone of voice to the copy – enough to give the inner dialogue in the reader’s mind a bit of colour, but not too much.

New website for Bluefish Contracting Ltd

Website copywriter for Bluefish Contracting Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first came across this technique when a client, after hiring a respected branding consultancy, briefed me to write as 80 per cent Kevin McCloud and 20 per cent adventurer Steve Backshall. The key moment came when the client reviewed the first draft and expressed surprise at a particular turn of phrase. I explained that Kevin would definitely have said that – I knew because I’d watched quite a bit of his content and transcribed over an hour’s worth during my research.

‘You went to all that trouble?’ asked the client, obviously impressed.

‘Of course,’ I explained. ‘Wouldn’t anyone?’ It just seemed like the obvious way to tackle the challenge I’d been set.

Since then, I’ve increasingly used this technique as web and brochure copywriter for various clients. It’s surprisingly easy to do (well, I find it so) and it gives great results. So if you’d like your website copywriting in the voice of anyone from David Dimbleby to Julia Bradbury, just let me know. I may be Al Hidden the Gloucestershire copywriter, but I can be anybody you like for a modest project fee!

And your website or brochure copy will come alive because I have this skill.

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

Recycling old bikes for Africa – this Gloucestershire copywriter approves

If you’ve got an unwanted bike, there’s a great Gloucestershire charity that recycles bikes for Africa to help students in Gambia get to school or college.

I recently combined a meeting with one of my copywriting clients with a visit to Jole Rider in Tetbury. While there, I dropped off an old touring bike that had belonged to my late mother-in-law. Mary would have been thrilled that her trusty Raleigh Trent (complete with original Brooks sprung saddle) was going to help the kids rather than gathering dust in a garage or going for scrap. Whether the old Trent will actually go to Gambia or go into Jole Rider’s Heritage Collection remains to be seen – either way it will be helping the Jole Rider cause which is good.

Al Hidden Gloucestershire Copywriter at JoleRider, Tetbury

Taking a break from the usual SEO, brochure and case study copywriting at Jole Rider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My visit was a good opportunity to catch up with David Swettenham and his partner Helen King (like me, a copywriter and novelist until Jole Rider took over her world) who started Jole Rider. They founded the charity a few years before I became a freelance Gloucestershire copywriter in 2006. Now, having recently moved from an old hangar at Hullavington, their modern, spacious Tetbury unit is a great location for developing their work. In fact, as I arrived, the latest 423 of more than 12000 bikes were heading off in a container. With your help, the magic 20,000 bikes milestone can’t be too far away.

David Swettenham and Helen King with the classic Raleigh Trent

David Swettenham and Helen King with the classic Raleigh Trent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, have you got an old bike that can be done up by the Jole Riders team and sent to Africa or sold to raise funds at their associated Bike Shed retail outlet? If so, please contact Jole Rider through their website. It’s a wonderful cause and they’ve already done brilliantly. They’ll appreciate any more support, no matter how small, as they continue their work.

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

Writing in Shetland (again)

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog posting front over the last few weeks. Put it down to a combination of loads of work (mainly website and client case study writing – love it!) and a bit of travel. I was back up in Shetland a couple of weeks ago. It was our third trip and the place just grows and grows on me – especially when the weather is as good as it was for our week there.

While I was up north, I was invited to pen another guest post for Uradale Organics – and be able to legitimately call myself a Shetland copywriter, or at least a copywriter in Shetland. It’s always a pleasure to help promote Ronnie and Sue on the croft above Scalloway – particularly so this time as they have spent the best part of the last year sorting out the mess from the massive peat slide that nearly swept the croft away just after our visit last August. If you are interested in organic beef, lamb or wool – or any aspect of the modern face of Shetland crofting – this is a fascinating blog to follow.

Uradale Organics blog

The Uradale Organics blog is a fascinating insight into Shetland crofting in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you will see from the post and the rest of their blog, success (and a wee bit of fame) has come out of the post-cataclysm events. Not least because the croft was featured on BBC Countryfile when they did a Shetland special a couple of months ago. Keep up the good work at Uradale.

 

And by the way,  if you’re reading this and you happen to be Shetland-based organisation that could use a bit of creative Web, SEO, brochure, technical or marketing copywriting

 

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

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.

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.

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.