Laura food writer goes to Alverton Hotel

Review – The Alverton Hotel, Truro

Having been writing reviews for Tasting Britain for some months now, I have been meaning to make more time to work on updating on here. Hence I was really pleased when I was invited to review The Alverton in Truro for National Cream Tea Day today on my own website.

Sitting down to High Tea is a quintessentially English pastime, which sort of feels quite well positioned on the calendar just before Wimbledon starts. I took my Mum with me, which was an rare treat for us both. a food writer by night and weekend, I’m usually busy running communications for small businesses.

The tea

Tea at The Alverton, Truro

With tea grown so close to home, timing is crucial

Afternoon tea needs to start with tea, right? So, The Alverton use teas exclusively chosen from Cornwall’s Tregothnan Estate, which is just outside of Truro. I asked if I could come and visit in my Tasting Britain role, but sadly they didn’t respond. Anyway, they do make the world’s first true English tea; harnessing the microclimate on the banks of the River Fal.

All of this aside, what did the tea taste like?

We opted for Manuka tea, which is light and fruity, with a citrus nose. Despite being native to New Zealand, Tregothnan have managed to grow manuka successfully in Cornwall. A bit like a yuzu, or a delicately perfumed citrus, this tea was refreshing and tasty.

High Tea Alverton Truro

Not a crust in sight

Sandwiches

High tea starts off with some sandwiches. No crust. We had thinly sliced cucumber, salmon and cream cheese, and coronation chicken. Eating cucumber like this reminds me of a Japanese starter. Very thin and simple, with a little salt. The salmon was salty itself, and served on wholemeal bread, which is how I usually have it. These were an excellent start to high tea, and quite welcome after Mum had tried to make soup for lunch.

The Cream Tea

From quintessential England with the sandwiches, we went to quintessential Cornwall with the cream tea. It being national cream tea day, hundreds of people were embracing the spirit of Cornwall by having scones with jam and cream. Of course, in Devon they’d have been having them with cream and jam, but we’re in Kernow now Toto.

food writer knows her Cornish

A Cornish cream tea tea is always jam first

Nicely risen, if a little firm, scones, delicious strawberry jam and a quenelle of Cornish clotted cream made this a pretty good cream tea. What made it outstanding was the Tregothnan’s manuka tea, and the delicious extras we got.

More cake?

Laura food writer goes to Alverton Hotel

Afternoon Tea in all its glory

After the Cornish cream tea, there was a vanilla macaroon, chocolate torte cake and an amazing pistachio cake, which had the texture of carrot cake, and was moist, tasty and light. Clearly the head chef Simon George has thought about the clientèle and what they will appreciate the most.

The staff

There was a small amount of initial confusion, although it was very busy, as the sun was really shining on the terrace. Full of chattering ladies, in their more mature years, it was actually really lovely to see everyone having such a nice time. Once we had settled, the staff were very attentive and polite – even when we moved on to the gin.

They had begin laying up the tables for the evening meal, and were booked up with a wedding and Truro School’s graduation ceremony, so it was business as usual for the staff.

Overall

Food writer in Cornwall, Laura does The Alverton

Geometric shapes represent the modern décor at The Alverton

With an overall crisp and sophisticated look, I’d definitely like to see more of The Alverton for review on Tasting Britain. At £15 per head for the high tea, I can imagine sitting outside on the terrace and soaking up the rays again for a high tea as a special treat, or even to meet a client who is new to Cornwall. The staff were friendly, and everything was delicious.

 

Many thanks to The Alverton staff for inviting us, and making us feel so comfortable.

Professional writer and press manager

Bank holiday weekend foodie fun in Cornwall

I have basically been skiddling about this week, ridiculously busy meeting new clients, and working on an amazing press campaign for a client and through all of it, I can’t stop hearing about cool stuff happening!

I have compiled some of it in a list on Tasting Britain, but since then I have heard so much more that I thought (having not posted anything for a while, that now is the right time to impart my food & restaurant in Cornwall knowledge and let others know about the amazing variety of events in Cornwall this weekend.

I had the fortune to go to a forage and feast event at the Gurnard’s Head last Friday, with Caroline Davey from the Fat Hen Cookery School. These events happen a couple of times a year, with Caroline also doing her own incredible courses throughout the year. Anyway, enough of my rambling about that, the full review will be coming up on Tasting Britain.

Events in Cornwall food and drink

West Cornwall

I did hear a lot about Don’t Wake the Fish, which is an event happening in the wonderful gardens of the Gurnard’s Head this weekend. It is a folky collection of amazing craft ales from various brweries around the county; a BBQ and lots of lovely music!

Now in its fourth year it has already gathered quite a following as being the antithesis of larger commercial festivals. Food will be provided by James Strawbridge in collaboration with The Gurnard’s Head and there will also be a barbecue (the restaurant will be open as normal).
There will be activities for the all the family including face painting, pot throwing, a Pucket tent and traditional garden games. The music schedule is as follows:
Saturday
2pm- Pensans Morris Dancers
4pm- Frankie Davies
6pm- Johanna Graham Quartet
8pm- Cahooty
10pm- Black Friday
Sunday
2pm- Abi Jade
4pm- Stone Roots
6pm- The Hoodle
8pm- The Odd Folk
10pm- The Sandy Acre 7

South Coast Mid Cornwall

On Sunday, in Penryn is I Fought the Lawn. This is another small and very localised festival, which is aligned with the Penryn Arts festival; wherein some excellent local bands will be playing to a predominantly Penryn-ian crowd. But those in Falmouth should hop along too, in support of the amazing arts scene in the area. There will be a bar and music, and as such the event caters to the whole family. Perfect for a bank holiday.
Penryn food and drink festival
Speaking of Falmouth, the Quayside pub is reopening this weekend after a massive refurb, and as such has loads of new ales and beers sourced locally on tap. With some of the best views in Falmouth, this relaunch will also see a new menu of locally sourced food at the Quayside.
Food and drink in Cornwall

Locally sourced food in Cornwall

A Beer and cider festival in Mullion is also happening over the bank holiday weekend. Mounts Bay Inn will host their annual whitsun holiday event, where many local ales and ciders will be on sale, and there will be local live music too. Plus I have read that they have got fresh local lobster on the menu! Woo hoo!
A truly amazing sounding event is happening over at Carlyon Bay; A pop up fine dining event, serving oysters and a variety of lovely drinks. Right next to the divine Sams on the Beach, this event will be on Crinnis Beach, and actually runs from tomorrow 22nd – 29th May. Reservations can be made for indoor tables, but people can also choose to rock up and eat, drink and have fun out on the beach.
food and drink in Cornwall

Oysters from Cornwall

It’s also the beginning of the Fal River Fest, which promises to be an excellent host too foods and craft beers, drama arts and much more. Activities include all sorts of water based activities from sailing to swimming. With lots of delicious eating at the food and craft market at Falmouth’s events square, and a wild food walk in St. Mawes on the 28th with expert Rachel Lambert.

North Coast Mid Cornwall

Tonight Retallack Resort and Spa are hosting the FREE! launch of their new Wake Park. To celebrate opening a further action and adventure attraction, Retallack are hosting a launch night with all sorts of exciting prizes and promotions. There will also be pro wakeboarding demonstrations with DJs and bands performing and a fish and chip feast by former Master Chef winner and revered chef James Nathan. Such a friendly man!

Fun for all, they have created a children’s sand play area plus a farm shop supplying everything from buckets and spades for playing in the faux beach to DIY BBQs and burgers to cook on them!

To keep the beachy vibe, there will be loads of other activiteis at Retallack beach, such as volleyball, outdoor table tennis, fishing lessons and extreme beach fitness classes.

From 6pm tonight!

North Cornwall

The 9th Bude and Stratton folk festival is taking place this weekend too. My old stomping ground, this will be an excellent place to enjoy food, drink and folk! Accompanied by my brotherfromanothermother, Jim Causley will be playing at the folk festival in Bude as part of the line up. Running from the whole bank holiday weekend: 22nd-25th May. Incredible food and hospitality, and some of the best sunsets can be seen from Beach House Hotel at Widemouth Bay, which we think is well worth a visit.

May Bank Holiday Cornwall food and drink

North Cornwall sunset

 

There’s almost certainly more to be getting on with this weekend and the weather does look as if it will be a little on the cool side, but without too much rain, generally speaking.

 

Whatever you’re doing in Cornwall, enjoy the amazing food and drink Cornwall has to offer!

Professional writer and press manager

Communication is at the heart of writing

It’s not easy blowing your own trumpet is it? I find it hard! I mean, that’s kind of ironic since my job is to blow other people’s: you’d think it would be easy for me. But alas. I write blog pieces that contain ideas and strategy and tips for small businesses, to help them. Rarely do I say we got a client published in the Guardian the other day. Or we liaised with the front page of MSN Lifestyle to get our clients’ amazing work noticed.

But we do it. Silently, whilst also thinking of valuable blog posts to give hints and tips to other small businesses in the area. For example, through our monthly package with The Cornish Seaweed Company, we’ve seen them feature everywhere from BBC’s Saturday Kitchen to The Guardian Sustainable Business section. Chocolarder have been in the Spring edition of Home and Garden, as well as Delicious having profiled recently, and many other exciting things happening.

Seaweedguardian

As a business, content is not good enough.

Seems an outlandish statement for a freelancer in Cornwall and Devon, right? I mean a good half of my week is dedicated to writing content for companies. But what I mean is that being content with erm content isn’t good enough. It needs to be exciting, engaging and shareable in order for it to provide a high ROI.

Every single expenditure you make on behalf of your business needs to be quantified; hence some companies are hesitant to outlay money for content marketing, PR and communications.

Yet, this element is essential to getting your message heard. You need to have faith that you’re choosing a content writer who prioritises ROI. Much of my week is dedicated to helping promote other businesses, via social media channels and article creation, and by weaving a network of contacts to hold clients together and increase outreach.

Freelance writer with ROI in mind

Content writing needs to evidence ROI to be justified

Initially, upon launching my career as a freelancer, I had a steady flow of clients, and spent days writing articles and white papers; living out my dreams of just playing with words all day. But, like you, a time came when I had to find a way to expand my client base. Here, I learnt the key role communication has in business.

 

 

 

Communications is as the heart of good writing

Some client news stories my packages have helped

You can be making the best product or service, but the world needs to know about it. This is best managed through a series of communications. I mostly use twitter, blogging and press release for myself, and offer packages involving these from just £150 per month. The ROI of this helped one client’s sales quadruple as a result of the work. So the ROI on £150 a month was in excess of 10 times the expenditure.

I have produced content that has wowed big companies in London: from Innocent drinks to Thompson Holidays, and Tasting Britain. However, I am a Cornish girl who is passionate about our beautiful county and enjoys finding communication solutions for local businesses.

 

The power of words is not enough: they need to be communicated to the right audience as well. And this is my job. To discuss how content, copy, white papers or PR & s

ocial media can help raise your profile, give me a call today on 07729263818. Or use my contact form to drop me a line.

Professional writer and press manager

Cornwall food and drink write-up

As a peninsula, Cornwall is rife with a proliferation of amazing seafood; from Falmouth’s world famous oysters, to London’s favourite Mylor prawns, and the fat mussels lining the rocks of the Helford and other estuaries across the county. Within the catchment of St. Ives, Hayle brags salt flats laden with  marsh sampihre and razor clams, and rock samphire and sea spinach act almost as weeds around the coast.

Copywriter in Cornwall specialising in food and drink

Cornwall is prized for its food and drink provenance

Following the success of my last list of Cornwall food and drink related companies, I have so much more to add to this list, which I am uncovering as I wend my around the beautiful peninsula I call home. 30 years ago when I was a child in Boscastle, fish and chips was the height of British food, and the nation suffered from this stigma of sufferable food since.

Until recent years.

Throughout the nineties, as I, like many other teenagers in Cornwall, made my first independent money as a KP in a local cafe, Cornwall became a more recognised foodie destination. Seafood chef Rick Stein rose to popularity, and Cornwall saw many other independent chefs choosing provenance.

These days Cornwall boasts thousands of top class eateries and Michelin star chefs, making it a highly sought after foodie destination. Working as a freelance writer in food and drink has allowed me to meet people from all over the county who are doing great things with food. It’s just so transpired that all of these companies fit with the sustainability ethos we love to communicate here.

Harbour Lights Falmouth

So much more than just a chip shop, my work with Tasting Britain has introduced me to the wonderfully motivating and inspirational Pete Fraser, who manages my local chippie! With a wellbalanced combination of rapeseed oil and a small amount of sustainably sourced palm, these chips are delicious and healthier than most too. Ricky ‘Kaiser Chiefs’ Wilson told the Guardian how great it is, and we were invited down to a relaunch recently. Pete, like Mary Quicke, is a local hero; prioritising sustainability and good, honest food. He has some exciting plans for furthering his commitment to sustainability, hoping to deploy an anaerobic digester to reduce waste.

The Rebel Brewing Co.

Tucked away in an industrial estate in Penryn, these guys are doing exciting things with beer. Having been microbrewers for some years now, they are constantly pushing out new beers and ideas, such as their Penryn Pale Ale and the incredible Mexi-Cocoa, which uses the by-products from ethical, sustainable company Chocolarder cacao husks. Independent and award winning, these brewers use renewables to ensure their business looks to the future.

Food and drink in Cornwall is exceptional

A stout with a chocolate heart

Inkie’s BBQ

I’ve written about them before, and have seen them pop up across different places in Cornwall over the last few months. One thing I am pleased to say, after meeting Karen and Debs for a Tasting Britain review is that everything they use to make their incredible low and slow meats is sourced locally. Add to that sustainable packaging, wooden knives and forks and a hand refurbished horse box, and you’ve got the ethos of Inkie’s right there: simple, sustainable and local good food. They have two regular slots a week in Bodmin and Liskeard, but you’ll see them popping up at food festivals and events as the season opens up.

Southwestern Distilleries

Infusing wheat based alcohol with aromatic botanicals is something that distilleries across the country have been doing for centuries. Southwestern Distilleries use their own blend of these botanicals to make small batch Cornish gin, near to Wadebridge. Clear and crisp, this is a gin with a light and yet exotic flavour. A visit to the place where the magic happens is something I’m really looking forward to, on behalf of Tasting Britain next month.

Sean Gee photography

Cornish creativity at its best

Sean’s work in action, photographing Inkie’s Smokehouse on a winter’s night

 

Great things happen in great places, and one of the things I love the most about Cornwall is the community of foodies who contribute to #cornishfoodhour on a Sunday night. From bloggers to food label owners, and foodies to photographers, we all get together to tweet about events, discoveries, recipes and all things food. Through this, I met Sean Gee, a food photographer who has a rather large hand in the Boscastle Food Festival. Maybe it’s because he’s from my home town, or maybe because he relentlessly pops up everywhere ;) I love Sean’s thoughtful and mouthwatering photography.

 

 

Food and drink in Cornwall is one of its biggest exports, as the brand of Cornwall begins to grow internationally. As such, this is a list and subject my food journalism and natural curiosity seeks to expand upon over the summer.

Professional writer and press manager

Pitching a press release (by a freelance writer)

As a freelance writer, there are many projects I write for. From Robotics to Speech and Language Therapy, and from food and health to climate change and coppicing. However, having worked my way up from pot washer to head chef, head waitress and many other food related positions, I am happy to say I am also a freelancer who specialises in food and drink in Cornwall.

Last week was a great week for being a food writing freelancer because I visited loads of places, including Quicke’s farm in Devon. Mary Quicke is one of the most inspirational people I have met. Her face lit up when I asked whether looking after her staff was important to her and she replied that she wanted to give people wings. This is one of the reasons I started working with small businesses. I know the passion that people put in and you’re putting all the effort into creating amazing products, I want other people to know about how great they are.

freelance writer for food and drink in Cornwall

Freelance press release writing gets results

 

One of the best ways to do this is by writing press releases and conducting press campaigns and establishing good press relationships. At the start I didn’t understand the importance of this, and cringe-ably used a kind of say and spray technique.

Often blasting news at over 1000 poor journalists and bloggers, I can assure you, does not make you popular.

So before you even send the thing, spend time creating a bespoke list of press contacts. People who are genuinely interested in what you might have to stay. It takes time, but this is the beauty of enlisting an expert press release writer. They’ll know who might publish, and how to get the results you want. Otherwise a good place to start is by finding reporters who have previously written about your subject, and approaching them.

But here’s the secret to that…

Ascertain a budget prior to contacting. Know what your budget is and how much, if any, you’re going to spend on advertising. Many publications will offer you space for advertising. If you aren’t going to consider this, you’d be well advised to make it clear in your pitch.

Copywriter in Cornwall specialises in press release

Putting a bit of personality in a pitch helps

 

And the pitch.

That terrifying moment that could make all the difference between your release being read or deleted.

For what it’s worth, there are ways to make the pitch work for you. It’s predominantly dependent on understanding how your news is going to benefit that publication, or even particular journalist. Wherever you can, refer to a related story or angle previously covered, to put your idea into context.

Don’t be afraid to be friendly!

You’re pitching to another human, so write as such. I often report what I can see from my window. I’m sure this isn’t thrilling, but rather it makes the connection of being a real person, experiencing real life. Which is priceless through so much digital, clinical, impersonal fluff.

Freelance writer in Cornwall

Then again some of our views are amazing in Cornwall

Don’t use any hyperbole either. Just chat like you would to a friend, outlining why you think the release might be useful to them.

Offer to help if they need anything more, and then sign off.

So ultimately the key is to be personal, be friendly and be helpful. And that’s all. If you’d rather pass it over to someone who’s been there before, give me a call or drop me a line.

Cheers!

 

Lx

Professional writer and press manager

Food writers making sushi

Shades of pastel layered over the horizon speak of calm, and yet inside me is a fire. Having lived in Japan for a year in 2012, I’ve already been down to Falmouth’s best kept secret restaurant and reviewed their incredible sake and sushi evening.

Food writer writes about sushi

Chef’s selection of fresh Cornish fish sushi

Being a Cornish food writer and amateur photographer, I jumped at the chance to make California Rolls a few weeks ago. This weekend, however, I went with another Cornwall food blogger Claire Hambly from Aboe Designs and tried my hand at Nigiri making.

Food and drink PR experts

Getting fresh food, writing fresh words

 

The difference between making the California rolls and nigiri was that for nigiri, we had to learn skewering the King prawn to keep it straight. This way, when it’s butterflied to sit atop the ‘log’ of rice, it won’t bend the rice. Fortunately, Paul, a fellow attendee, had previously worked in a Japanese restaurant when he’d lived in Tokyo in the seventies. He explained that in Tokyo his boss would have gone to Tsukiji – the incredible fish market in Tokyo, where trading begins at around 4 in the morning – and bought live king prawns. When he skewered these, they’d use a spine embedded in their fan tail to try and fight back.

 

 

 

 

Luckily, these were already de-headed, and so skewering them was less a battle and pretty straightforward. Watching their colour become bright pink from grey has always given me joy; growing up in Cornwall and being surrounded by fishermen and amazing chefs. Already Kacho was permeated with the amazing smell of seafood.

Professional creative food writing

Plump, juicy and colourful seafood

Actually making the nigiri shape was much easier than I’d anticipated, but from memory of previous sushi making, getting the rice right is the hardest part. One of my funniest memories of culinary cock-ups happened when I was about 22. I was getting hammered on vodka when I’d invited some friends over for dinner. This resulted in burnt sushi rice and much hilarity. Anyway, thankfully Naoko had pre-cooked the rice expertly, flavouring it with sushi vinegar.

We started off with avocado, which I love, and Claire has a funny phobia of! After the slippery customers finally sat on the rice, I was started to share some of her dislike for it, but to be fair the rest of the sushi seemed pretty easy comparatively. There was delicious thinly sliced radish, cucumber, the king prawn, scallop and teriyaki salmon.

As is customary in Japan, the food was arranged to be visually appealing. Naoko added a variety of delicious toppings for us to decorate and flavour with. One of which was Cornish Sea Salt’s Porcini mushroom mix. The Seaweed Sea Salt would make a lovely addition here too.

Sitting down to eat a lunch of the sushi Naoko made whilst making it ourselves, we were also given a bowl of steaming miso and daikon soup, flavoured with a mushroom dashi. Sven Hannson-Britt created a delicious dashi recipe using The Cornish Seaweed Co’s Kombu. I’m looking forward to interviewing him later in the week for a Tasting Britain profile.

Food copywriter Cornwall makes sushi

Eating with the eyes

Feeling replete from the wonderful meal, we got to take our makes home, in a traditional cherry blossom print plastic box.

Cornwall has such a thriving food scene, and meeting other foodies at events such as this is testament to the incredible things that happen when people get together. This week I have also been excited to hear from the folks at Bude for Food, who are getting ready to prepare for an even more epic year this year. These guys, and particularly Beth from Widemouth’s Beach House Bay, are the sort of awe inspiring social foodies who are using food to empower communities, and I’m proud to be involved in everything they do.

food writer and photographer take colourful photos

Professional writer and press manager

Best food and drink related companies in Cornwall

It’s been a busy week. Which is definitely a relief, as it means we are climbing out of dull January and looking up and out at the exciting, spring shoots of February. In my role as writer for Tasting Britain, I have arranged some wonderful reviews for hotels and restaurants in Cornwall and Devon, as we prepare for the season of busier roads, ice cream and swathes more people on the coast path.

I’ve enjoyed visiting clients in various parts of the county this week, whilst completing tasks from adept press campaigns about food and drink in Cornwall to creating content for sustainable companies, and it’s got me thinking about the amazing talent we have here in Cornwall.

With several clients in the food and drink industry, Cornwall is a place of seasons. The on-season and the off; as opposed to any dramatically defined weather related distinction. As the sea thrashes against Bude’s jagged cliffs, meeting the Devon border, and right round and down across treacherous paths and craggy cliffs; it’s a place of durability over winter. Although we have seen some delightful skies with shades of pastel layered over the horizon.

So, this week’s news relies on a good old fashioned list. Whilst I make no secret of the fact that I write for Cornish Food & Drink businesses, and therefore support them, I only choose to work with those who have an ethical and sustainable ethos.

Branding & Design

Kingdom and Sparrow

With offices in Falmouth named The Old Lemonade Factory, there is an amazing design company, who specialise in Branding of Food and Drink packaging just around the corner from me! With clients such as The Rebel Brewery, Cornish Cider and The Cornish Seaweed Company, these guys have some incredible projects on their portfolio, and have been recognised the world over as packaging design specialists.

Cornwall's branding soecialists

Expert branding has been recognised worlwide

Brewing

Black Rock Brewing

When I lived in Bristol I was surrounded by craft ale micro-batch breweries; some of which were hidden away in dungeon-esque vaults, rather like the incredible restaurant I used to work in. Anyway, these days, down in Cornwall a brand new craft ale specialist have started appearing in bars in Falmouth. Such as Black Rock Brewing. Black rock is the famous landmark helping guide enormous vessels into Falmouth’s deep, natural harbour. Their clean, IPA has been a year in the making and tastes wondrous.

Firebrand

Having gone to school in Launceston, my memories of the place tend to involve hiding at the castle and slipping through secret alleyways in order to not get caught ‘skiving’. Well, I wasn’t the perfect student back then, I’m afraid. Anyway, I visited Firebrand’s Bar and Restaurant last month, and the food was really something to write home about. My review for Tasting Britain goes live next month. But on to their brewing. With an experimental eyes these guys like to play with different brews, hop varieties and flavours.

Sustainable brands

See the disclosure above. Whilst I may work with some of these companies, I have chosen them for their similar ethics to ours, and as such wholeheartedly believe everything I write on them.

Yallah Coffee

Having spent some of my twenties on coffee farms in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Ecuador, I love the stuff Yallah are doing. They prioritise picking their own coffee overseas and roasting, packaging and selling it sustainably here in Falmouth. No messing, just straight up good coffee.

freelance writer in Cornwall fights ninja style!

One of my lesser know professional skills: machete wielding in Ecuador

The Cornish Seaweed Company

Clambering across rocks and sifting sand from seaweed is all in a day’s work for this local sustainable food company who, yes, I work for! Thee fact that seaweed is full of vitamins and a sustainable food source makes this one of the best health foods to eat, and it’s abundant right here on our beautiful coast. This year has started on a great trajectory for seaweed, and I love anything that puts Cornwall on the map.

The Posh Pasty Co

Despite having ambled around temperate biomes munching on these more than once, The Posh Pasty Co have only recently come to my attention, as a company in their own right. Like others in this section, these guys have the hat trick of being ethical, sustainable food suppliers in Cornwall.

Chocolarder

Again, yes a  company I consider friends too, Chocolarder source ethical beans, which are brought in by sail where possible. All added ingredients are 100% ethically sourced to produce Cornwall’s only bean to bar chocolate. Foraging in hedgerows for floral additions, or boosting beekeeping by using clover fed honey, Chocolarder is so much more than a chocolate producer.

 

 

 

Professional writer and press manager

Bring in a writer at the (re)branding stage

As snow wages war with sleet and rain across the country, and temperatures even on this idyllic peninsula drop to below zero, the colours in the sky present a phenomenal palette of pinks and shades of blue and grey. The first daffodils, crocuses and even snowdrops have started to appear in Cornish hedgerows and on the fields of Cornwall’s treasures: The Scilly Isles. Seasons are marked clearly in Cornwall: on-season and off-season.

For many, the on-season starts as the days get longer and warmer in April, and draw to a close some time around the October half term. As such, now many local restaurants and foodie places are taking their annual leave, in order to be refreshed when the new season starts. Some businesses in Cornwall use this opportunity to have a think about their goals and objectives for the coming year. The Blue Bar is closed for refurbishment, The seaweeders are tending to environmental needs across the seas, and pioneering companies are getting ready to launch around the spring.

As a contemporary, professional writer, it’s not rocket science to guess why I might think bringing a writer in to the process early on is a good idea. Whilst I do love my work, and seek further opportunities to work with companies to achieve greater success, I can honestly say this saves time and money in the long run. I recently became acquainted with a new copywriting service called Red Letter Ltd. They produced this wonderful piece of copy to demonstrate my point here.

Copywriting in Cornwall is fuelled by creativity

Hiring a professional saves time and money

Sometimes, trying to get the message right internally actually takes up too much of everyone’s time, which could be used on production. Choosing someone whose job it is to produce and implement great copy: through article creation, optimising the words on the site or creating a new brochure text, will save the rest of your staff time. Ultimately this saves money; allowing people to focus on their strengths.

Having recently been researching Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with reference to employee engagement as part of a marketing white paper I am creating for a client, it occurred to me that many staff members likely feel deflated when they spend ages labouring over copy, which then gets replaced by that of an expert. Hence, businesses should think ahead to the costs saved by getting an expert to tame and shape words.

A copywriter can create text expertly

Businesses can ensure staff feel valued by getting professionals to do professional jobs

The main goal of excellent copy is to make people care. Emotional connections need to be established to draw people forward towards even thinking about a sale. A copywriter knows how to use these words to establish a connection from the seed to the fruit.

Having someone help to brand, rebrand or product launch, gives you the confidence to know that each word will count, emotions will be carefully brought into alignment with business goals and your message is clear and concise.

This is what sells.

Connecting with people who are familiar with a problem, demonstrating that you can solve it, and ultimately gaining and strengthening trust that they are in safe hands.

Professional writer and press manager

Control Room: Sail Away

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in an amazing project in Bristol, where the city council have started letting out empty spaces for art takeovers. Sail Away betroths the seas of Cornwall to the river of Bristol through art and poetry. Situated in the old control room that operates Redcliffe Bridge, it maps my life: when I lived in Bristol, I lived on this river; in Falmouth I have observed the sea.

With over 100 origami ships sailing the seas of the controls for Redcliffe Bridge, the space is minimally decorated; telling stories of the river.

River stories in Bristol

Poetry and art speaking of the sea

As a professional writer, the idea of the installation was to get people interested and promote reading and literacy. I decided to use some of my poetry about rivers and tales of the sea to decorate the exhibition too.

Poetry featured in the exhibition includes:

Colours

Blue is the colour of the deep sea, of high skies and of cracking ice in Antarctica; a place of bleak austerity where nothing grows and hardly anything lives. Blue overrides everything, blue is nothing, and blue fades into blue when we try to locate the horizon. Blue is the colour of the curling tendrils of smoke that dance from a thousand cigarettes, the colour of body bags and the colour of the dark veins running along the hands that hold you. Blue is the eyes that haunt me.

 

Black is oil pouring from crevices in the ocean, black is the bottom of a mine, the back of a cave and the hollow centre of an eyeball. Black is death and cancer. Black is engulfing, endless and enduring, and like its counterpart, black is at once both empty and full, nothing and ceaseless possibility.

 

Green is the colour of newness, freshness, of jungles and fruit trees and the glowing guardian of springtime. Green glistens on giddy waters and ripples through riparian banks. Green is also duplicitous; it stains rooftops of decaying copper

Voices

I was looking for new ways to talk about old things.

Is that not the job of the poet, like the magician,

as Wordsworth says;

to present ordinary situations about low and rustic life

in familiar language?

But to present them in a way that makes them extraordinary.

We start our journey in Falmouth,

taking us through its stages and ours within and without it.

You can even smell the flocks of florists displays

and see the fragments of shredded love notes

the school-girl trickled from her pockets on the journey home.

Like a modern day Gretel,

whose words clatter like pebbles on the cobbled streets

and whose gingerbread

is the sweet taste of nicotine

inhaled at the bus stop.

 

And feel the acrid blade of urine hit your throat when you walk

beside the old man who sifts the ground

to perpetrate his respiratory problems

with the used ends of anything he can;

menthols,

cigars

and Lambert and Butler.

Liquorice,

and thick papers, thin papers, tobacco from around the world.

 

Breathe the singed skin smell of the tattoo parlour .

Cough now as the tar mix hits the back of your throat and your head

rattles with the pneumatic drill in all its

irregular,

erratic and

irrational

repetition.

 

Listen to the sepulchral organ;

grinding out of tune and into the streets.

Its deadening chords in synch with the relentless

sighing chime

of time

of the bell.

 

Past the secret doorways, favoured by thieves;

each echoing times now changed.

Glimpses between houses;

like picture postcards showing snapshots

of seascapes,

sliding into the sea with its rattling flotilla

gently tugging on the water of one of the deepest natural harbours in the world.

Caustic waves

of vinegar from a thousand fish suppers

under the bunting.

And feel the tiny droplets of rain moisten your cracked and dried lips

as you see the colours lighting the sky

and in the rain and the storm;

the war ships stand grey and cumbersome

while the peace dove roosts on the rooftops

and coo-coos under

the sound of thunder.

 

This is the town where nothing happens.

 

Cornish writer installs ships in Bristol harbour

Overlooking the river, words set sail to the sea

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Professional writer and press manager

Setting business resoultions

So, I implemented a much needed hiatus from updating over the Christmas period. Catching up on real life and hanging out with friends and family can be an all too distant memory for many other small business managers like me!

I’m not a massive fan of resolutions, since so many people set wishy-washy goals without achievable steps. Myself included. This year, to save me from tears, I’m focusing on goals that are attainable.

Seasonal dust beginning to settle, we welcome what I believe in the rest of the country to be a wintery cold new year. Down here in Cornwall it’s still been a respectable 8° at its lowest, most of the time. Apart from the 2 days of ground frost, which excited me so much I actually got my camera out to photograph its glittering beauty.

winter frosts resemble new beginnings in business

Crisp content glitters like the frost of winter

Last year, I focused on one resolution: to write more. Crikey! I don’t think I could have expected this to be fulfilled with quite the ferocity it was. Some weeks producing over 10,000 words of content for just one client, and adding to that heaps of calls, emails and meetings. Still, I achieved it, due to its simplicity.

So what resolutions can small business owners make, and stick to in 2015?

Outsource

Whether it’s accounting, content creation or social media; weed out the aspects of progression that are time consuming and outsource them to an expert. Generally, this means they will spend a focused amount of time, which is likely to be much less than you, on achieving goals within that area. Outsourcing is the first step towards progressing because you’re focusing your own time elsewhere.

 

Having recently acquired several new clients, I am excited to see that more and more small companies are understanding the value of outsourcing a multi-skilled writer. Building case studies, content and even branding and marketing strategies for different companies allows my clients to do what they do best, and gives me the same opportunity.

Remember to schedule relax time

So, OK right now after having had some time off, you can see how vital that time is. Productivity, motivation and enthusiasm are all restored with lashings of resilience if you allow yourself to enjoy some time off. It’s simple, and yet so many of us are forgetting to do it. Hopefully the inevitable rest many of us have managed to glean over the festive period reminds us of the importance of this!

Commit to Content

I know: it’s easy for me to say. Indubitably, large companies have all got this underway now. Producing excellent content is a strategic endeavour, which brings with it a range of benefits, ultimately resulting in the same thing: more sales.

Boosting organic SEO, developing trust relationships and demonstrating your authority within your field; content creation is a game changer for anyone whose business has an online element. Which should be almost everyone in 2015!

Excellent on brand writing will raise your profile

A successful media campaign yields impressive results

Promote your business

Whether you have a budget for advertising or prefer to carry out an email marketing campaign, make a commitment to a consistent promotion, so people know you’re still there: offering them a solution to their problems.

Through regular interaction on social media, we have seen The Cornish Seaweed Company’s exposure raised significantly through appearing twice on Saturday Kitchen. This has not happened overnight but rather through regular promotion and contact with a relevant audience. It’s a similar story with Chocolarder who sold out of all stock this Christmas due to massive press exposure from our campaigns.

However you choose to do it: from flyer drops to social media or through press release and blogging, decide on a strategy and implement it. Sales for one of my clients have increased by more than 5 times.

Essentially breaking your goals down into bite size chunks and working through them empowers you to feel like you have achieved something.

Anyway, I’m still getting my head around this whole getting back to work thing. And it’s Sunday and the kettle’s boiled. Happy new year.

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