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

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

The Importance of Being Earnest (In Your Copy)

So since it’s my job to create engaging and readable copy for both myself and clients, does it not display some arrogance to assume I can write good copy and what’s more tell you about it? Maybe. But then it’s not as if I just woke up one day and decided to be a copywriter. Writing is a skill I have honed through years of hard work and practice.

And editing? Editing is a skill I still hone daily. Thankfully my MA taught me the importance of editing, right after my BA taught me to just write until the page has enough on it to motivate you to carry on. At least, that’s how I write. I know this is not the same for everyone.

Anyway, back to the topic in hand: the importance of great copy.

I’ve worked with scores of small businesses, and OK I’m maybe a bit more eagle eyed than some ‘normal’ visitors to your website, but if I see typos, misplaced apostrophes or random capitalisation, I really might go and look elsewhere for my product. It implies a lack of professionalism: not checking things through.

copywriting is an acquired skill

Well crafted copy should invite you to look deeper

For me, though, the spelling and punctuation is merely the tip of an ever approaching iceberg. I love to be entertained. We all do. So if I land on your website, of course I want to see some pictures explaining what you do, but I also need to read about it.

But I don’t just want to read like a manual. I want to hear a story. I want to care enough about the characters, feel connected enough with the vision to actually buy into the ideas of your company.

But for some reason loads of companies still think it’s ok to write boring copy.

For what it’s worth, when I’m writing copy for clients these are the factor I consider, and advise you to do the same.

Make a relevant, snappy headline.

OK, articles about writing always bleat on about this. And I have got it wrong heaps of times myself. So I am definitely qualified to tell you: choose your words carefully! Whether this is the headlines of news items or actual page sections: make it clear what the customer will read.

Be funny.

Don't be afraid to be funny in your copy

When I write for Tasting Britain, I reveal funny facts about my life

Don’t be afraid to make jokes, puns and be funny. It makes people like you and trust you and feel comfortable. Even bad jokes are OK, so long you as you acknowledge that they’re bad. So, more importantly write to potential customers the way you would talk to them.

Just be yourself.

I know this isn’t a dating advice column, and even if it was that is so tired and clichéd, but seriously: just be natural. Speak to potential clients through written words the way you would face to face. Client relationships, after all should be about longevity and trust. Who trusts someone who says ‘utilise’ instead of use just because it sounds bigger? Not me!

Don’t dumb down

That said, don’t dumb down what you’re trying to say either. If it’s appropriate, people can handle technical terms or big words; hopefully using context to help understand. There is definitely no need for pretention – it won’t make you seem any more trustworthy.

Be personal

Address the customer as ‘you’, use personal pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘we’ or even mention names. This all helps engender trust and build relationships, which is your primary goal once you have got people on your website.

For more about how to raise your online profile, please read other blog posts. To have a chat about how I can help you, please 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.

Professional writer and press manager

Copywriters in Cornwall need a change of scene too!

OK, I am lucky enough to live on the most southerly and most diverse peninsula in England. The incredible landscape of Cornwall is woven through my prose, and in addition to its inky threads tangling into branding; it provides quirky, memorable copy from the many creative types spanning Land’s end to Launceston and Boscastle to Barripper. Indubitably, the place I call home is one of the most beautiful I’ve been to in the world.  And I’ve been to a few places. In fact, I’m in one now. Surrounded by gently flitting hummingbirds and amazing variations of butterflies, I’m in a cloud forest in Ecuador as I type.

An expert in communication, I absorb the sounds; feeding my imagination

The sights and sounds of Mindo are inspiration for any writer

When I first heard the name cloud forest I think I imagined something like you’d find at the top of the faraway tree. In many ways, Mindo is like that. It’s a paradise: toucans, quetzals and the aforementioned hummingbirds call, chirp and play amazing games in flight as dense foggy clouds hug the tops of mountains; lined with banana trees, palms and other exotic flora. The night-time chorus of crickets, cicadas, birds, geese, frogs and untold other wildlife is relaxing, bizarre and comical all rolled into one.

What does all this have to do with business? Well, it has to do with the essential properties of taking a break. I properly started Palaver Maven this year. And, as most entrepreneurs or new business owners will tell you, this meant I worked tirelessly to get it off the ground. I worked every single day. Many days for sixteen hours. Many days these didn’t seem enough. I pissed off my partner replying to work emails on romantic meals, I neglected birthdays, forgot parties and generally dedicated to my work in a commitment I had never given to anything before.

valuable content comes from being relaxed enough to strategise efficicently

Like all copywriters in Cornwall, Devon or the Outer Hebrides, I love my typewriter

I still do, of course. But the telephone ringing, and emails pinging, and the several different charity projects I had on the go eventually began to consume me. One of the reasons I’d chosen to be self employed was because I’d previously struggled with the pressures of teaching. And it all made me realise I needed to take a step back, be somewhere else and evaluate what’s important.

Time off, even the smallest amount of it, allows you to look at things with fresh eyes, and it’s allowed me to let go of control. I love words: playing around with them, reshaping somebody else’s, and creating my own. I’ve been fully immersed in speaking Spanish since I got here, and it’s made decision making for the new year all the easier. Having a distance from using English: the language I love so dearly, and shape so frequently, has blistered a new approach to it.

Whilst not all small business managers, or copywriters, can fly to Ecuador to work in the rainforest; everyone can take a step back and use the time to evaluate their goals. Everyone can find some inspiration to increase their creative output, and if you can’t: look for it. Have even 20 minutes to entirely step away from work tasks and just let your mind wander elsewhere. Listen to the video above and the gentle sounds of the forest.

If you have any marketing, writing,branding or social media related questions, please use my contact page or call 07729263818 and we can chat about what I know will work for you.

Professional writer and press manager

How did I get onto the front page of Google for ‘Copywriter in Cornwall’?

Carving ornate oceanic clefts to beguile his mistress, the pufferfish seeks to let the world know humans aren’t the only ones impressed by ‘culture’. Today, we walk the landscape of a world where we’ve never had such an easy way to be powerful communicators ever before. As whistling and clicking languages evolved into complex grammatical systems, we now saturate the fibres of the internet with these snippets of culture.

Investing in crafted content yields a high ROI

Primarily focusing on high quality content, SEO’s landscape is changing

Proving that the landscape of SEO has really changed; in just 2 months I have managed to use expert communications and copywriting alone to secure a spot on the front page of Google. In saying secure, I mean ‘hesitantly hover’ and in saying communication and copywriting, I am not denying that I have acquired some SEO skills. I just mean: if I can do it, then so can you. My seaweed harvesting, cutting and drying clients are enjoying similar exposure. So I’m going to share with you some of the ways I’ve done things, to help your brand too.

Start local

Purely focusing on high value content will help your brand get recognised

If you type copywriter Cornwall into Google, you will see my name!

Having grown up in Cornwall, and spent over 25 of my 34 years here, I am aware that the place is small when compared with other counties up and down our island. My work is not limited to Cornwall. I liaise daily with people from Penzance to Aberdeenshire and Narbeth to Norfolk; plus many overseas folk too. However, the population density of Cornwall has made hitting the top spot here easier than when I lived in Bristol.  Once clients start recommending you to others, you’ll soon acquire wider connections.

Care about your content, and make readers care too

Expertly written and high value content is the most valuable thing you can invest in. I don’t mean financially. Although, by all means hire me to write for you, or have someone in-house do it; but, be it in time or money, this expenditure will have the most impressive ROI. Patiently tending to the science and flavour notes of roasting, winnowing and making his own chocolate, Mike from Chocolarder and I have some lengthy conversations to ensure we get his message right across his communications. Mike cares about his content, I care about words and it makes his followers care about his brand. His sales have recently quadrupled, due to implementing an integrative strategy in his marketing.

Harness the behemoth that is the media

Whether it’s announcing a new product or partnership, giving an expert opinion on a news piece, or publicising a forthcoming event: use the media to get your name out there. I met a guy through the amazing internet lift-sharing phenomenon blablacar who gave me this bit of advice: drench the media. He had met a DJ who loved Lana Del Rey, decided he wanted to work with her and managed it; through soaking social media sites with links to his stuff. This collaboration, of course,catapulted his career. When used correctly, the media and the press release act as validations of your authenticity. Particularly when they come from high quality sources, such as authority newspapers.

Understand linking

In saying this, I have not spent any money on backlinks, nor have I really traded them. I have guest posted, and asked others to guest post for me: to give a different perspective, or talk about a different theme. This still prioritises content, as I have only asked people whose writing I know is of a high quality, and interest to give value to my readers. However, something I only learnt this summer is how to use linking effectively.

If you look at the anchor phrases (the words in red) used in any of the links in this article, you’ll see they generally explain what something is, or does, as opposed to just stating its name. What this does is links the keywords to the site: strengthening their potency.

Using pictures breaks up the text

Pictures offer high value content to readers

Picture tags

Another thing I have figured out only recently is that Google likes pictures. That’s probably because my friend, editor, and expert writer Jack ‘Koukouvaya’ Oughton said that exact phrase to me when giving me editorial guidelines for my Tasting Britain submissions. When you add pictures to your posts: not only do they look better, but actually you get to give descriptions, which usually naturally emphasise your key words.

In both my life and my writing, I like everything to be as natural and organic as possible. And somehow following these steps has helped me reap the rewards. I deplore bragging, but am telling the truth when I say if I can do it, so can you.

If you do want some advice or consultancy on getting your brand noticed, call me for a chat or drop me an email. But be warned: I love chatting! It’s what Palaver Maven means!

pa·lav·er: Idle chatter. Talk intended to charm or beguile.
ma·ven : A person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert

07729263818 or laura(at)palavermaven.co.uk.

Professional writer and press manager

Is your content part of the user experience?

Content marketing remains the Marmite of discussion on my favourite hangout for engaging with copywriters across the globe: twitter. Some love it: singing its praises as a new way to make brands connect with customers. Others prefer the more traditional methods of emailing and calling. But with this incessant marketing, how many websites are getting the content right? How many are weaving it throughout the core of the user experience?

Nobody puts content in the corner

Excellent content uses all of the space

About ten years ago, I met someone who walked around the beautiful beaches of Cornwall in ripped up shorts, a guitar and an obsolete lack of direction. Soon, he turned the MSc in Physics he’d gained into a mastery of SEO: which was a mystery to me at the time. I wrote a lot, and was prolific on social media; one day he told me I’d probably be a really good copywriter.

“I write for passion!” I exclaimed dramatically, never dreaming to deign to write for corporations.

Now I am a full time copywriter, I do think back to those days; knowing that my values haven’t really changed. Yep, I write for small local businesses now, but I still write with passion. My storytelling on client websites is driven by my innate fascination with words, etymology and storytelling. I want to shout it from the rooftops. Even the funny ones.

But how are clients; corporations, brands using their approach to content? Every single word shaped on this site, on any site, should be making use of the great storytelling capacity of copywriters.

No copywriter  puts content in the corner

Like the gunpowder mills at Kennel Vale, Cornwall, content can become obselete

It’s as important as the design! I don’t want my well-honed stories to sit there redundant; like the old gunpowder mills at Kennel Vale. You see, some websites treat content as a disease: something that should be hidden away in a category labelled ‘blog’ just because that’s the new SEO, don’tcha know?!

Remember school discos in the 80s? Maybe before. Either way, I remember the early ones as boys on one side; girls the other. We forgot to use the whole space.

This is the problem many websites have with content.

Content is everything within that site. And out of it too. Social media interaction? Content. Product descriptions? Content. About Us? Content. Images? Content. Landing page? Yep, content too. Don’t limit it to blogs and don’t relegate them to some dark corner.

Nobody puts content in the corner.

 

Integrate content throughout the site to optimise and enhance user experience of the whole space. Link everything together: from the images of your staff party to your ethos, from the press success you have had to the funny anecdotes about what went wrong this week.

All of this is content, all of it is communications and all of it helps people to engage with your brand.

Our very name palaver maven means expert of communications in ye olde playful English and so we know a little bit about effective content use and communicating with brands, for brands and with customers. To have a chat about anything related, please call on 07729263818 or drop me an email on the contact page. A

And if it’s just the content you like, have a signup to our email and get our updates to your inbox. You just pop your email address in below and we’ll do the rest!

 

 

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.

 

Professional writer and press manager

Branding and Storytelling: Why you need to take time

As the skies were illuminated by the giant face of the moon; red and speaking of autumnal fires; as nights have drawn in, chattering with thunder that ripples across the harbour, shivering blades of light into sheltered coves; I’ve been running out of hours to meet with Cornwall’s finest creators, designers and all round lovely people. I’ve still done it, though, and been excited to encounter brand new businesses who have pulled together to create a networking event in a few weeks: The Launch 2014.

In addition to creating high quality content that gives value to clients of clients, this week I’ve been had meetings to discuss branding and tone of voice, and how having an expert can really help in these endeavours. To truly create a strong brand and customer loyalty, you need to give your brand enough respect to take time with it.

Kintsugi - using mistakes to create something beautiful

Strong, dependable branding relies on transparency

Just as each of the products you create are based on trials and experience, learning from failures, the incredible art of kintsugi, of not hiding ‘mistakes’ but seeing them merely as part of the process; getting the tone for your branding exactly spot on is not an instant process.

It takes spending time together with your writers, designers and artists, preferably together, in order to create something that truly reflects the essence of your values, goals and motivations. It’s about taking the very best version of you and injecting it with just a touch of caricature to give a story to your prospective customers, or those already existing, in order for them to feel an emotional connection.

Emotions themselves are, of course, complicated, divergent and duplicitous, just as language can be. Creating an excellent brand starts with transparency; which engenders trust. By transparency, one of the interesting aspects I mean is to talk about your processes. People love a story, and real stories follow the true arc of intrigue and understanding, with elements of drama through crises. These crises make us human and overcoming them makes us stronger. Keeping regular contact with the public, through blogging, social media, newsletters and whatever form of contact you are using seems daunting to some companies.

How will I make a story? Some wonder.

But being a strong brand really just means connecting with people. Getting their emotions involved. Make stories from the rises and the falls of your week. Today we were experimenting with new paper and the print wouldn’t stick properly, so it smudged. Yesterday I hand wrote 70 letters, but the wind blew them into the garden and the dog chased the like leaves. these small failures happen to all of us every day and help to establish connections.

brand evokes emotions

Great communications create imagery

People also invest emotion in something driven by senses; experiences they can relate to. If walking through the grounds of a Sicilian holiday cottage becomes the scent of fresh lemons, and sunshine and July’s searing heat; most people can relate to some of that imagery. And some will result in craving that very experience.

Others might hate lemons.

But that’s OK too because you can’t keep all people happy all of the time.

Like building up great relationships in real life, building a brand people trust doesn’t happen overnight. It happens through consistent storytelling, revealing information that demonstrates our failures and celebrates our successes. It happens with commitment, patience and humility.

To arrange a free consultancy regarding your branding and tone of voice, please call me today. But don’t expect it to take 5 minutes! 07729263818

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