Updates. Ideas. Rants. Techniques. Opinions. Blog.

Divider line

Why These Tone of Voice Guidelines Are Taking Ages

I’m writing some tone of voice guidelines and, honestly, they are taking forever.

I know what you’re thinking. How long does it take to write ‘friendly and honest’ in a nice font? We have the idea of guidelines as instructive and, providing the actual development has been done, summing it all up should be simple.

But, actually, it’s not the guidelines themselves that are taking a long time. It’s everything that comes before them.

Telling people how to write is the easy part. The catch is in telling them why.

Continue Reading

The One Thing You Should Know About Your Customers

Whether you’re putting an email together or building a brand from the ground up, audience is everything. The golden rule of branding and copywriting is that you need to understand your customers – their motivations, their interests, their desires.

That’s why the first step in a big new copy project is often a customer survey – a look at perceptions and preferences that you can use to underpin your decision making. Things like where you’re most likely to reach people, or what’s most likely to convince them.

But there’s one thing I see that’s overlooked again and again. A single finding that affects everything.

Continue Reading

A Copywriter Doesn’t Always Sell Things

It’s here again. It’s almost Christmas. And there are things everywhere.

Things to eat. Things to do. Things to wrap. 

As you’d imagine, I’ve written copy to sell a huge range of things over the course of the year – from cars to milk.

But many of my most memorable projects in 2017 haven’t been about selling things at all.

They’ve been about selling ideas.

Continue Reading

How To Use YNAB for your Small Business

Stephen Marsh and Seth Rowden are two copywriters with one thing in common; they both swear by using You Need a Budget (YNAB) for managing their finances.

Here, they swap notes and talk about why freelancers and businesses should use a zero dollar budget, including:

  • Coping with irregular income
  • Why tracking every pound doesn’t have to be a pain
  • How a strong budget solves the biggest problems freelancers and small businesses face around their finances
Continue Reading

How to Balance Copywriting & SEO: The Best of Both Worlds

For a long time, the discussion around SEO and copywriting was one of conflict. Concise messaging versus a length that search engines will notice. The most benefit-driven heading for the job versus the one that includes the right keywords.

Today, though, search engines are more sophisticated. With the right support from an SEO specialist and a copywriter – in most cases not one person who professes to do it all – you can strike a balance that improves visibility, gets people to your website, and then engages and converts them with strong copy.

I’m delighted to have Gareth Simpson on the blog – someone that’s seen the evolution of SEO first-hand – to talk about that balancing act between copywriting and SEO.

Read on for some practical tips on building relationships with robots and people alike.

Continue Reading

Making Sense of your Freelance Income

With National Freelancers Day 2017 coming up on June 8th, existing and aspiring freelancers are coming together to talk about the issues of doing it for yourself.

Here’s a prediction: expect to see the web full of blog posts and articles about becoming a freelancer, working from home, maximising your rates, and winning work.

But that’s just one side of things. What happens next? What do you do once you’re up-and-running? How do you handle the money (or lack of it)?

With inconsistent income, feasts and famines, managing your revenue as a freelance copywriter (or any kind of freelancer) isn’t easy. In fact, I’d say it took me six of the eight years I’ve been in the business to get a workflow that worked for me.

And so, whether you’re already freelancing or just thinking of getting started, here’s a little guide to what I did – and what I do now to keep things organised.

Continue Reading

Three Things I Learned in 2015

When your seasonal blog post starts life as relevant, passes through 391 days of making your website look dated, then becomes relevant again, you have two options.

You make the most of that fact and get on with some real work, or you finally accept that it’s time to put a new post online.

And what better topic than the issue of not blogging? What exactly have I been doing for the past twelve months? And, if I’ve not been sharing things I’ve picked up during the year, could I share them all at once now?

Yes, I can.

Continue Reading
In a rush? Grab my self-contained PDF portfolio.