Tag Archives: website copywriting

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

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The Gloucestershire Copywriter’s guide to inspiring creativity

The Nailsworth-based WinBiz networking group has just announced its forthcoming (Thursday 10 July 2014) quarterly evening meeting. I’m very excited because Helen Westendorp of Treehouse Partners Ltd, the Gloucestershire-based creative-thinking consultants, will be our guest speaker.

treehouse

We’ve been primed to come along with problems that need solving, open minds and colourful clothes. But in the meantime (and following on nicely from last week’s ‘copywriter’s shelfie‘, I got thinking about some of the books in my library that have been helpful when my creativity as a Gloucestershire copywriter needed a boost.

Creativity sources from the Gloucestershire Copywriter’s library

I read my first Tony Buzan book longer ago than I care to remember. Buzan is a master of reworking his basic ideas into an unceasing flow of books to complement his mind-mapping empire. Good for him! Those basic ideas are good and his books are fascinating and inspirational – worth the price just for the beautifully reproduced examples of mind maps. I recently picked up a bargain-priced pre-owned copy of Mind Maps for Business. If you’re new to mind-mapping, it’s worth a pop, particularly when you can get a second-hand copy so cheaply on Amazon.

Creative Confidence

A book that’s currently sitting in my (scarily large) to-read pile is Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley. This came highly recommended and I’m looking forward to getting started on it. The solid five-star Amazon rating speaks volumes – as does David Kelley’s reputation among Stanford, California’s academics and the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial set. What works well there should work well for one of the copywriters in Cheltenham! Writing this has spurred me on to read it when I have finished my current bedside reading (Isaac Asimov’s autobiographical I, Asimov, Victor O. Schwab’s How to Write a Good Advertisement and Designing Quality Technical Information (Gretchen Hargis et al).

Creativity books that inspire the Gloucestershire Copywriter

Creativity books that inspire the Gloucestershire Copywriter

Where good ideas come from

Back to another book that I have already read: Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, which I devoured during a week-long spring break in Marrakesh a couple of years ago. This is a good introduction to Johnson’s substantial body of work. The basic themes of the book are that ‘connected’ minds work better than single minds, where you think can be more important than what you think, and that the best ideas come from building on the ideas of other people. From MIT’s legendary Building 20 to present-day Apple, this is an inspiring read in one sitting or as something you dip into.

 Thinkertoys

Lastly, I must mention Michael Michalko’s Thinkertoys, a veritable creativity toolbox (or should that be toybox) that is never far from meThinkertoys is packed with hundreds of hints and tips to open your mind when you are wrestling with an apparently insoluble problem. Again, you could read this in one go, but it lends itself perfectly to use as a creativity-thinking first-aid kit.

Thinkertoys: from the Gloucestershire Copywriters creativity library

Instant creative inspiration for copywriters or anyone else. for that matter…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if you need a boost of creativity, and you are based in Gloucestershire or surrounding counties, come along to WinBiz at The Egypt Mill, Nailsworth, on the evening of 10 July 2014 – or get over to Amazon or your favourite bricks and mortar bookshop for a copy of one of my recommended books.

And if you want some creative marketing, PR, technical or website copywriting

 

Al Hidden 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.

Will more garages harness the power of the web (and their web copywriter)?

The latest issue of Aftermarket just arrived. It’s a trade magazine for, surprise, surprise,  the automotive aftermarket. I started reading it regularly when I began working on newsletters and factsheets as copywriter for Mosaique Design/Toyota GB. Now I make sure I have a good read every time an issue arrives.

This month, under the headline ‘Are workshops web shy?’, there’s a piece about the lack of web-presence among independent garages. Quoting recent research by the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), the piece describes how fewer than six out of ten garages have websites – and as a result are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to engage their potential customers online.

Having even a simple website is only part of the challenge. There’s content to think about, and it will almost certainly have to be SEO focused. From my experience of the motor trade, your average garage owner or mechanic is more interested in diagnosing an engine or transmission problem than writing pages of website content.

And why should they be? I don’t spend hours fiddling with our cars, so why should they get ‘under the bonnet’ of the words that can differentiate and define their business? That’s where a skilled, experienced automotive copywriter comes into their own: doing the legwork to research great content and create engaging website pages that will appeal to search engines and potential garage customers alike.

My hope is that as independent motor repairers gradually get the message about their web presence, they won’t neglect the importance of well-written copy. So many businesses do, and it’s a wasted opportunity. There’s already one good local garage near us where the quality of the writing on their website is poor. Okay, so they’re a garage, not writers, but as for any organisation, the quality of on or offline writing says something important about their brand – no matter how small or local or specialised they are. And that’s where I can help them, by getting the writing right while they keep their heads under the bonnet or out on the sales floor.

So, if there are any small independent garages out there in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire or surrounding counties that need to harness the power of clear, simple, benefit-led copy… this Gloucestershire copywriter can help. And it won’t cost a fortune either.

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