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

Perfectly Content: A Brand Love story

Remember the early stages of falling in love? The quickening heart, the pervasive thoughts, and the butterflies in your tummy?

Does your brand inspire that kind of excitement in your audience?

The trope of marketing paralleled with love stories is nothing new. Although the advent of tinder and related dating apps, does eerily match the behaviour of buyers on online. Communicating with prospective customers relies on devices to woo prospects into falling in love with you. Well, your brand at least.

Freelance writer Cornwall creates brand love stories

Creating imagery makes readers fall in love with your brand

Rather like the idea of tinder, where you want someone to swipe right and choose you, you now have just a matter of seconds to try and hook visitors in when they visit your website. Remember it’s likely to be done via smartphone these days too.

When looking for a date, or potential match, whether it’s online or in ‘real life’, the first thing we look at is appearance. Yes, it’s true that the first thing to make or break the decision making to stay on the page lies within its design; the words you use are what keep people there. Which is why you should always write for people, as opposed to engines.

Because after deciding they have a handsome, pretty, kind, caring or nice face, we then look for compatibility. So even if you have a product that tastes amazing, people are looking for a feeling too. It’s belonging, it’s empathy and it’s something that eases their conscience.

These days we feel guilty about spending money, so anything that helps us feel our money will go to real people, good people, helps ease the way we feel about spending it.

And this is why we need to create a chemistry between curiosity and conversion. The magic happens here in effective communication. My friend will immediately swipe left when someone misspells something, uses bad grammar, or uses stale clichés.

Gone. Like that.

Next, the crucial bit that creates desire, comes down to how they describe themselves.

Content creation in Cornwall relies on its diverse landscape

Content shows how unique you are

All too often we read the same words in an About Us section. We read that people are passionate, expert, or professional. But we don’t know anything about them. This is really important for brands. Write, rewrite and edit this piece of information so it distils the essence of who you are and what you stand for. Or hire a writer who can communicate your brand.

Use language that sparks interest; find exciting ways of communicating content outside of words. Use images, video, infographics and quizzes to gather information about your audience and build a picture of who you are talking to.

And talk to them.

Through content marketing, use words that incite emotions. Without wanting to sound too ‘English teacher-y’ (bearing in mind this was my job for 5 years), these are created through imagery, connections, poetic devices and tone of voice.

To make someone fall in love with your brand, endear them to what makes you unique.

Since I grew up in Cornwall, it’s in my blood. Everything I write, and some of the brands I write for, are riven with its scenery and images of its surging seas, clattering cliffs and burnished beaches. This is what makes it unique, which is why I love writing about it. I write copy for clients in accounting to zebras too, and what makes people fall in love with them is communicating who they are and their moral compass.

To speak about anything from straplines to features, give me a call today on 07729263818 or chat via email about hiring me.

Such an inspirational place as Cornwall produces creative writers

Cornwall is synonymous with clear beaches and crystal water

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

Can your brand afford not to have a professional handling social media?

Clearly intended to invite controversy, the title of Steve Farnsworth’s article Is Social Media Beyond A Public Relations Professional’s Skill Set is pretty effective at producing clickbait.  And that’s its intention. Any article’s intention is to inform people of its angle, but more importantly to incite a reaction: igniting enquiry. I was no rebel for resistance when I saw this little gem early this morning.

Having actually read his article, and the article that incited him to write it, it transpires that I agree entirely with both articles’ premise, and wish now to contribute my own opinion on the relationship between being a PR professional and managing clients’ social media accounts.

Weaving together a raft of skills gained, from marketing to content creation, from social media to journalism and everything in between; it’s the job of a PR professional to create brand messages that are seen by the public. Be that in 140 characters via twitter or an extended blog post about the latest news, and company developments; everything counts as content, and everything creates a dialogue between your brand and the public.

By opting to choose a professional in modern PR, you should find someone who is able to strategise your social media usage, ensuring they:

  • create targeted, insightful content to appeal to a wide audience of prospects
  • educate and inspire both existing customers and prospects to engender trust and build a culture of respect for the brand’s authority
  • generate targeted leads and new sources for lead generation through engaging relevant prospects
Expert content creation is linked with social media

PR Professionals need to wear the hats of experts in marketing and social media today

PR, like SEO, content creation and arguably sales and marketing in general, is a movable feast. Particularly in the digital area. It’s a long lasting relationship that incorporates all kinds of skills and knowledge, which change daily.

Like mighty oaks on a still night, the principles are unbending: you want to increase exposure, focusing on targeted prospects, present a positive public image of the company and build trust relationships. But where PR has changed is that it’s interlinked with content creation. And it’s essential now to offer value to prospects and existing clients. This often happens in the form of linking content marketing to social media. And to being available on social media channels to answer questions and develop dialogue.

For example, embedded into my work with Chocolarder and The Cornish Seaweed Company, is recipe creation to engage prospects. This is giving people who are interested in the product something for free. They don’t have to use Chocolarder chocolate or Cornish Seaweed to create the recipe. It’s personal choice. However, since many people have also read the copy in the About Us section, and interacted via social media, the majority have a vested interest in the ethos of the company and will choose their product.

Giving prospects something valuable to take away

Content creation includes recipes

The result is that by giving people a valuable product, albeit free recipes or advice, you strengthen your position as an authority on the subject, whilst also creating desire through subtle marketing. Gone are the days of the hard sell, with individuals preferring to invest in companies who create a feeling.

It stands to reason then, that the same person who is creating the tone of voice across all channels –  blogs to brochures, and pins to tweets – ought to be responsible for managing PR campaigns. So in retort to Farnsworth’s question: A PR professional is more than qualified to manage social media. So long as they’re forward thinking, modern professionals who understand the evolutionary and fluid nature of all things digital. Preferably with an online portfolio demonstrating a varied toolkit to draw from.

I can offer content management and brand development across all channels, including PR campaigns or management.

Some of my clients choose to outsource my services, and for others I have an in-house role. How much or little involvement you wish me to have depends entirely on your business, your budget and your preference. If you want me to suggest ideas; I’m full of them. However, I’m also pretty well qualified at just converting words into stories.

To have a chat about any of this, please feel free to call 07729263818 or email me laura[at]palavermaven.co.uk.

Professional writer and press manager

A storyteller’s tale of a year in business

Buena’ dia’, whistled the man through his gapped teeth and ratty moustache. The plastic bottle of aguardiente ensconced in his dirty jacket hung as a Christmas decoration from his bailer twine. He took advantage of the first available space to nestle his head into the bristly seat cover. I studied his face. A face you could climb up; its crags and boulders mimicking the Andes; rising in the surrounding pueblos. His left eye was a pastiche of the lake at Cotopaxi – minus the perpetual rainbow thrown into the sky. Outside the rain tapping on the leaves applauded in the last month of the year. Its gentle beat was the quietest sound as November departed. The road from Quito to the jungle is long and winding.

 

Deciding to spend my holiday this year working on cacao farms in Ecuador; the days involved trekking through muddy paths, wielding a machete and learning permaculture; evenings marvelling at the combined sounds of a bassy frog, honking goose and cascade of cicadas. The rhythm of a rainforest rave like nothing I’d ever slept through before, it became a prize, a comfort at the end of a long day.

with an incredible content of antioxidants real bean chocolate is having a resurgence

Bespoke bars come from aerated beans

Waking up to the sounds of a rainforest couldn’t feel much further from the skreigh of gulls ripping bins apart on my backstreet doorstep in Falmouth. Further again from the swollen black sky of Tokyo where I was living a few Decembers ago. Having chosen hummingbirds to decorate my website and associated social media pages, it seemed serendipitous that the end of my first full year as a fledgling business I should be surrounded by them; their call part of the soundtrack to my day.

Having started 2014 reproached by my failure to teach full time, I ended it by returning to several things I love: Ecuador, volunteering and (yes) chocolate. Not entirely unrelated to the work I’ve been doing with Cornwall’s only bean to bar chocolate producer, Also I am looking for social responsibility projects to support as part of my long term vision for the business.

What I expected to learn and what I eventually have; like the best laid plans of mice, men, hummingbirds and writers – well, went astray. But it did provide me the space to take a look at the future of Palaver Maven and what I want to happen next. From the fantastic work with  sustainable seaweed harvesters The Cornish Seaweed Company and their propulsion into mainstream media, to the attention The Chocolarder has received from luxury magazines and food blogs; it’s been an amazing year. My small business has made connections to big press on behalf of small businesses, and

I’ve been blown away by meeting each and every person who has dropped their job in order to live the dream.

Recently having started writing adventure stories for Sharing Socks, I feel happy to combine my love for adventure with social projects; particularly those surrounding education and equality. As 2015 beckons, presenting with it the option for expansion, I’m excited to be offering the opportunity to help young people in Cornwall find an in-road to media careers.

with a love of words as obvious as my own, Thomas is a hero

A Child’s Christmas in Wales: Dylan Thomas’ inspiring poem

So as December arrives, we’ve got tasting menus to try around Cornwall, and exciting events such as returning to the rainforest here in Cornwall to tend to, it’s a great time to be in Cornwall. And it’s an even better time to be a business in Cornwall.

From brand relationships, case studies, press campaigns and white papers to newsletters, website copy and regular content, have a browse around the site and let me know if there’s something you think I can do for you.

Cornwall businesses help raise money

Why I chose to #FollowTheFairies anyway

More heavy rain tapped on the streets of Falmouth this morning as somehow another Friday has sneaked up and hoodwinked us into thinking this means a day of rest. Sometimes this is the case, but this week doesn’t seem like one of those weeks.

Gearing up for all sorts of things that need to be sorted for my trip to help families in Ecuador prepare small cacao plantations; whilst trying to meet deadlines for clients from Truro to Trowbridge and ‘Cisco to Singapore; something about those pesky fairies goaded me into ditching the pressures of PR; the wonders of writing; and use my words for free.

If corporations are helping people does it really matter?

Marketing magic or fairy dust?

Arguably, a marketing campaign on both their part and mine, the fairies tell us to help people; as they are doing. To raise brand loyalty, yes. But also to actually help people. Unlike the M&S campaign, I don’t have heaps of money to throw at sensationalising my ‘good deeds’. I just work some extra hours and – yes – probably feed my Florence Nightingale complex. Will I gain recognition by working for free? I doubt it. I’m an atheist so I don’t think it secures any afterlife for me.

But I didn’t get into this industry to make loads of money, though. I did it to feel empowered and move away from an education system I felt was demonstrating the wrong values to students; perpetuating stigmas. I did it because I actually love words. I did it because I want to empower local communities to create opportunities for young people. And I continued with it because I have started to see the changes taking place.

Albeit subtly.

I wax lyrical about patience and tenacity; the two being major players in the long waiting game of content marketing. At the same time, I run consuming PR campaigns, liaise with businesses from foragers to wine experts; cacao farmers to counsellors and most things in between. I type and tap and edit and ponder and I feel permanently unable to catch up with my to-do list.

And yet in the middle of this frantic world of rushing photos here and articles there, and getting x linked up to y; sometimes it’s good for me to just remember what’s really important. So, when a little girl I used to babysit for (who is now 30…) asked me if I can help to raise awareness about her campaign to help Abi walk, I took the fairies’ advice and I used some of my day to help get this campaign some traction.

I’ve always felt with charity that I can give time more than money; having still not got out of my student overdraft. So even though I know my ‘good deeds’ are perpetuating a campaign for a big corporation, and even though writing about them instantly devalues their altruism: hopefully they will help, in some small way, to make a difference to someone’s life.

Professional writer and press manager

Why Social Media is Vital to Your PR Strategy

Blustery winds and the onomatopoeic sounds of leaves started November, which seems to be rushing by in a whirlwind of excellent and yet crushing marketing campaigns; gearing up for Christmas. This years’ #FollowTheFairies campaign has been nothing short of excellent in terms of representing the exact post I had scheduled for this week. It portrays the dichotomy of our lives in glittering glory.

content trends rise and fall

Brands in Cornwall can reach anywhere in seconds with social media

One of the things I’ve learned in my varied life as a teacher, chef and now writer; is that people will always be talking about you.

Back in the 80s when we just told our friends what we thought about someone or something, it had an effect on things within a certain locale. But obviously through social media these thoughts and opinions can spread far and wide. Word of mouth is powerful, and now it’s never been easier to digitally let words out of your mouth or off your fingers and across the mosaic of wires we call the internet.

This cascade of chatter, like the November seas, has its rises and falls.

 

As the name Palaver Maven was intended to suggest; I’m an expert in creating chatter. And I love to do this across all channels. Since I initially tried to reject it in the early 2000s, the rise of Social Media has been exponential. In recent years, I embrace it as wholeheartedly as I did the rebrand of Opal Fruits. I mean it took me time, but it grew on me.

Social media, of course, gives people another platform to talk about you.

Or your brand.

And now they can do some real damage if they want to, or help to create a buzz. If someone mentions your brand on any social media, it’s going to get picked up by other users of that platform.

Conversations, allegations, accidents, or emotional experiences can spread as easily as water from behind a dam. And not only that, but they can reach further and wider than Brunel could have ever perceived.

Pretty much once they’re out there, these soundbytes, snippets of opinion; you have no control in the matter.  If your company is not harnessing the extreme power of social media in today’s world, then you are missing valuable conversation with not only customers, but prospective ones. Of not only answering queries as they come up, but also celebrating the great stuff. Admitting the errors. Of making followers active.

These days, people trust social media more than other forms of marketing. It’s a friendly place. It’s an arena for real people to emote about what they like or dislike. What’s funny; their views on current affairs.

What about the magic and sparkle?

The reason this post links so well with the #FollowTheFairies campaign is that the small acts of ‘kindness’ exhibited by the fairies, were reported by local news; quite the way a traditional press release might be. However, that hashtag incited many people to create ongoing murmurations online and suddenly: we knew who the fairies were. In some ways we’re disappointed to know that the magic has gone. In the same way we did with the fairies, we want to believe.

By now, be it through local press or online presence, or often a combination of the two, people have helped to endorse the fairies and what they are doing. This is why social media use and strategy needs to be an integrative part of your business’ marketing plan.

An endorsement on social media is free advertising.

More than content with my Michel Roux Jr chat

Being endorsed by a celebrity can change things over night for brands

Because it takes no more than the click of a button: it’s easy to endorse a brand. Positively or negatively.

When working on a press campaign recently, a little bit of interaction with a celebrity chef increased my clients’ site activity; sales; and responses from ‘traditional’ press. Having seen the brand pinged about via twitter and other social sites, it was beginning to feel ubiquitous; rapidly increasing followers.

 

 

 

 

To talk over branding or content ideas with a Palaver Maven, please subscribe by leaving your email in the box below, call or fill out the contact form.

Web content that captivates

How to Improve User Experience on Your Website

From last week’s post about the brilliant, inspiring minds we meet in Cornish businesses at The Launch event, we were lucky enough to connect with Victoria and Stuart from Cornish Pixel. Their website is beautiful.This is a guest post by Victoria from Cornish Pixel.  Victoria writes the weekly Cornish Pixel blog which provides advice on helping businesses make the most of their online presence.

 

Pencils are a copywriter's best friend

Excellent writers know where they are with pencils

I don’t really like computers; I’m a pencil and paper kind of girl. You always know where you are with a pencil. It sits comfortably in my hand and it moves wherever I choose. It doesn’t get sick and the only update it demands is a ten-second spin in a pencil sharpener. Of course, its life isn’t limitless and it will one day die. Luckily, its twin brother can be bought for 20p. I love pencils.

Unfortunately, the same feelings cannot be felt for my new computer.  It seems neither PC nor tablet, but a frustrating combination of both. And whilst it looks pretty and could probably double-up as a GCHQ code-breaker, it’s a huge tease!

This latest oh-so-cool time-saving device is actually costing me time; its favourite game of hide and seek is killing me. I can often be heard yelping across the office: ‘Aaarrrgggh! Where the hell has my desktop/settings/photos/documents/control panel disappeared to?’

Much consideration has been given to the design and technical capabilities of this particular computer, and the experience of the user has been neglected; style over substance. A curse many websites also fall victim to.

Of course, websites should look good (and ideally like they weren’t designed in the 90s) but, it is far more important that web visitors enjoy being on a website, and are able to access all the information they need simply and quickly. Therefore, it is vital that online businesses consider the ‘user experience’ (UX).

A good web designer/developer should be versed in user experience design or UED/UXD.  Being able to craft a beautiful looking website without considering how the site will make a potential online customer feel, is much like serving a scrumptious looking roast chicken with an unexpected rose-pink centre.  Looks wonderful, but makes the customer sick.

Effective web design should prioritise the needs and wants of its users; websites should not be an opportunity to showcase the designers’ fabulously versatile and kooky creativity.  If I visit a website looking for a supplier of paving slabs, I do not need to see an eye-popping headache-inducing cabaret show of a homepage. I will not think, ‘Ooh look, they can put on a show like Jean-Michel Jarre, their patio slabs must be awesome.’ Instead, I’m more likely to bounce off the website immediately and find a more-soothing and inviting website to browse.

People do not visit websites to be entertained, unless they’re after Netflix or Foxy Bingo. They visit to find information. No one needs to see an outdated Flash animation on a homepage; of images turning, rotating, spinning and swirling.  It’s puff.  And it’ll make users feel like they’re staring into the hypnotic eyes of the snake in Jungle Book.

Keep browsers on your website by following these tips:

  1. Try not to make visitors dizzy and disorientated with over-stylised moving images. Keep things clean, simple and pleasant to view.
  2. Avoid irritating visitors with pop-ups and ads. They’re an annoying distraction.
  3. Do not test visitors’ patience by making them search for information. Ensure site navigation is straightforward and intuitive.
  4. Avoid boring visitors with useless information. Keep all written content succinct.
  5. Do not use an illegible typeface. Choose one which is easy-to-read and doesn’t require special spectacles.
  6. If your website’s ‘call to action’ is to contact you or buy a product, ensure the steps the user takes to reach your desired outcome are as straightforward and apparent as possible.
  7. Make sure your website can be easily viewed on various platforms such as tablets and smartphones. Users browsing on a mobile device will not wait for large files to load. They’ll bounce off to a responsive website instead.
  8. Encourage interaction by connecting with your social media platforms.
  9. Avoid 90s’ clipart and irrelevant photos. Choose appropriate images to foster positive feelings.
  10. Don’t make customers hunt for your phone number. Ensure your contact information is easy to find.

Websites should be inviting, comforting and useful; like a cup of tea and a bowl of soup on a winter’s day. If your website is an uncooked chicken, don’t be surprised if customers go elsewhere to find both style and substance.

We know a thing or two about user experience and web design. Hop on over to Cornish Pixel to learn more.

Thanks for reading.

Victoria.

 

Author bio: Victoria is the co-founder of digital agency, Cornish Pixel.  Based in Wadebridge, the team offer bespoke web design, e-commerce and SEO services to businesses across Cornwall. Pop over and say hello at www.cornishpixel.com or via Twitter: @cornishpixel.

Professional writer and press manager

The Launch 2014: Celebrating Cornwall’s Innovation

In weather that can only be described as pathetic fallacy this week, Falmouth has seemed at once chaotic and beautiful; windy and mild; now exciting and nerve wracking. Last night I took my notebook to The Launch 2014, where we donned branded waistcoats and chatted words, branding and strategy with some of Cornwall’s finest bright minds. Professional journalists, Copywriters in Cornwall, innovators, artists and crafters.

Empowerment

Along with its unrivalled beaches, diverse scenery and friendly manner, Cornwall has been receiving a lot of attention recently for its innovation. The Launch celebrated this. In a place with such stark inequality and disparity of wealth, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is seeing Cornish people take back some power. Where we can’t find jobs, we create them.

It’s core to my business ethos.

Boscastle attracts copywriters

Artists, Writers and creatives are drawn to Boscastle

Growing up in Boscastle meant I was blissfully unaware of how stunning where I lived was, in comparison to the rest of the UK. I mean, I thought everywhere was like that. Everywhere was full of creative people: writers, artists, and musicians. Cornwall is a breeding ground for excellent writing.

Don’t get me wrong: Dorset is biscuit tin cuteness; Wales’ dramatic black mountains conjure somewhere between Middle Earth and Narnia; the lakes and peaks ‘oop North’ are gorgeous. But, for me nothing beats a good sunset at Widemouth or Trebarwith. These places are seared to my brain, since I played there as a child. Even after living in some interesting and exotic places, such as San Cristobal on The Galapagos Islands, I can’t find beaches that match their beauty.

Cornwall, you see, is a brand

In many ways the iconic landscapes, the rises and falls of tides, and the association with DuMaurier, Hepworth and good old Richard Lander demonstrate Cornwall’s eminence exuberance and infamy. In a place famed for toiling tin, for hard workers and innovators, Cornwall is still resplendent on the international stage; putting its unique stamp on products from handmade pasties to bespoke websites; from agile and creative words to hand made artisan chocolate.

Even beaches in the Galapagos Islands don't rival the scenery of Cornwall

La playa de Chales Darwin, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

The seed cracks open

I may have quoted Occelli before, so I’ll paraphrase: to achieve its best, a seed must crack open and turn inside out; externally this appears as destruction, but essentially, it is regrowth.

Cornwall is an impoverished area. Eurostat reports released earlier this year, claim that due to its disparity of wealth; cost of living for the poor leverages less spending power than anywhere else in Europe. Yet the launch last night told me that innovation is very much alive, and leading aspiration in the county. Local businesses in Cornwall need to create opportunities for young people in the community.

Cornwall is also a hub of innovation. Over 20 startups exhibited at The Launch yesterday evening, and I have spoken with and met several others this year at various food fairs and networking events. We may be lacking support from a London-centric government, but we won’t go down with that ship. We will come up fighting, like the Celts who crafted us and we will persist as a brand.

Cornish creativity is some of the best

Emerging from Cornwall are some of the finest ideas, usually at prices that London companies could not afford to roll them out at. Having once been a pupil within the county, and since been a teacher; the minds being shaped beyond Brunel’s bridge (the gateway to the county) seek to extend this creativity and bolster the Cornish brand.

And long may it continue.

Professional writer and press manager

Developing character: the multiple personalities of a content writer

This post may debunk the magic. Read on at your discretion…

“you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.”

Excellent branding, as I’ve often said before, starts with excellent planning, and also entering into and maintaining a dialogue with your audience. We’ve always been told, in any industry, that customer service is the most important factor. Which it always will be. Essentially, great customer service is about communication. All good relationships are about communication, and excellent branding is making a commitment to a long relationship.

What it also involves is an element of magic. And what I mean by that is not some terrifying display á la The Great Danton or Houdini. It’s the element of magic that Michael Caine, aka Cutter, in the film The Prestige refers to when he says “you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.” And creating amazing stories across all brand communication channels is much the same kind of magic.

People must realise there is a lot more to a brand than the lovely pictures that get shown on social media and the crafted stories spun to engage and inspire readers. Behind every business is accounts and finances; admin; bills; payroll; training; outsourcing; and whole host of less-than-exciting menial tasks that a small business simply cannot function without. And yet, what they buy into are the snippets of stories, the development of character: the suspension of disbelief.

we know it's not really magic, but we don't want to know the truth

Storytelling in branding is like magic

Coming up with a strong and believable branding story requires creativity and strategy and excellent storytelling. It also requires the attributes of a professional writer. You need to sound like the protagonist. Your brand is leading the story, by becoming an authority voice. Kathi Kruse wrote an excellent post about the techniques used within a good content strategy, and essentially boiled hem down to the literacy points I would have taught my kids when I was teaching: show don’t tell, build drama, write about the stuff you like. All of this is advice that excellent writers such as Marquez, Atwood and Murukami would give.

It’s no surprise that with this level of detail, professionalism, strategy and time, many people choose to employ a professional writer to create tone of voice.

Part of my job as a content writer and branding consultant is to help craft these stories for my clients.  And to do this well, first I need to spend some time with them, really getting to know their character, the character of their brand and start to shape a direction for the story of this character to go in. The peaks and troughs. Ups and downs. How would they react to current affairs?

In any one week, I might be an American business man imparting his marketing secrets; a food expert reviewing restaurants and products, a young fashionista describing the newest makeup on the market; or a yoga expert evaluating the effectiveness of different anyasas. I also have my regular posts, where I review food and drink products and restaurants, write for The National Curriculum.com website and give marketing and content writing advice right here.

I imagine long running soap stars must have the same problem!

At times, I  have focused so sharply on this array of characters that I almost feel I have multiple personalities. I write only for brands I care about, and so immersing myself in their worlds is no hardship. But once a project is complete; which can happen for any number of reasons; I find myself missing hanging out with my friends. I imagine long running soap stars must have the same problem!

Just as we do for a good story, a movie or book; we need to suspend disbelief when ‘buying into’ (in the psychological, time investment sense) a brand. And if you can ignite that same sense of curiosity, excitement and empathy, you will build a successful brand and see sales increase.

To find out more about my services, stay tuned via my e newsletter once a month. Sign up by popping your email in the box below, but please feel free to contact me by phone or email too.

 

Page 1 of 212