On the 3rd day of SMWGla...

Posted: 3rd Oct 2012

Social media & charities

Given the experience and work Glasgow digital marketing agency Tictoc have undertaken in the charity sector I expected this event to be one of the most resourceful of the SMW programme.

Tictoc's Julie Ferguson spoke passionately and with real insight, detailing the processes that occur when uncovering and developing social campaigns for charities. Measurement and monitoring of these campaigns is key to their success and with most charities or non-profit organisations struggling with slim budgets,the effective use of social tools is invaluable in establishing genuine connections and communications. 'Social Listening' - Who's talking?Where?About what?...

Establishing the relevant social platforms to utilise is an importnat part of this process. As Julie stated many use Facebook without question, what often isn't considered is that Facebook isn't the best converting platform. A good social campaign, or campaigns in general, should centre around the journery - the journey for information, authentic communication and interaction, whether the end means is to drive sign ups and donations or present key messages.

Creating campaigns that can fuel future adaptations, so experimental rather than conventional concepts,can contribute greatly towards engagement and active sharing. This helps set the foundations for growth and establishing long lasting relationships.

I was surprised to hear that platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram were severely underused in the UK. Implementing such allows organisations to generate original content and manage content themselves. Perhaps this highlights the underlining issues in the charity sector as a whole such as understaffing, lack of volunteers and training.

Engaging with supporters and actively encouraging their participation allows these key followers to do the talking, they do the work, they generate and share. A real voice behind a campaign.


In Bloom - SMW & Crowdfunding.

Posted: 3rd Oct 2012

A Blooming revolution

Everyone loves a good success story and there's plenty to be had where Bloom VC are concerned. Through Crowdfunding, Bloom utilise their knowledge, support and guidance to enable start ups, students, community projects, pretty much anything you can think of, to get their 'campaign' off the ground and secure 'promises', which are translated into cold, hard cash.

So, the perfect example is 'Bonnie Bling'. Like most people at the event as soon as I saw Mhairi's acrylic jewellery I recognised it. As like, Michelle Rodger, one half of the Bloom VC founders, her enthusiasm and praise for Crowdfunding and her experiences with Bloom are infectious. Mhairi outlined how she began her campaign. Paramount to this was her presence on social media platforms and how she engaged with potential funders.

After setting her funding target, which has to be reached within a pre-set amount of time or all funds, or 'promises', acquired cannot be claimed at the end of the campaign, Mhairi embarked on a crazy journery of 'will she, won't she' madness.

From 'promises' of £5 to £2,000, her 60 day campaign resulted in Bonnie Bling being able to purchase the laser cutting machine needed to begin production. I don't think Mhairi herself even expected the success that followed such as distribution deals and fashion awards.

The enthusiasm and genuine passion speaker Michelle Rodgers, of Bloom VC, expressed throughout the event left us all looking for a project to bring to Bloom! In the room was an architect looking for funding for an exhibition space, a pair of students looking to save a much loved Glasgow pub and an advocate of animation hoping to begin workshops in such. This mix emphasised that Bloom were equally involved with causes and social enterprises as start up businesses.

I didn't leave the event inspired only by the people and success stories I'd heard. I genuinely thought the trust and freedom that Bloom exhibit by handing complete control over to these 'campaigners' and what they aim to achieve was inspiring in itself.


The Meet Market - SMWGla

Posted: 3rd Oct 2012

It's good to talk...

Rounding off a nice Social Media Week was STV Creative's 'The Meet Market'.

Hosted at the grand Film City in Govan, this collection of designers, animators, photographers and digital masters, were brought together to chat and share their work with a room of fellow creatives.

Glasgow has always been home to a crazy amount of pretty sharp professionals, all on the ball and producing some superb work. Alongside the showcasing of their work was a proper opportunity to grab a beer and chat.

First up were Effektive Design and Berg Studios, designers of digital and print wonders, demonstrating their extensive knowledge and passion for creating considered, beautiful design for an impressive array of clients.

Rubber Rocket followed with a show reel that was packed with "ah, they did that" moments. A trio of passionate, excited folk who are creating brilliant work for global companies.

Sandwiched inbetween was Made by Crunch, Yomo, Glasgow Press and many,many others.

After several beer breaks, sampling the award-winning Arran Brewery's spoils, Chunk Digital's Donnie round off the afternoon with an honest, insightful look at his developing digital company.

Hopefully, 'The Meet Market' will become a regular event. Inspiring and invaluable for creatives all over the city.


Copywriting - Creative Writing (Creative optional)

Posted: 9th Oct 2012

Beware the 'flux'...

My background in creative writing, screenwriting, has been both a benefit and a burden in fostering my career as a copywriter.

Custom building a story, paving a journey for your targert audience is what any writer strives to do. For me, it's the old artistic license that lingers in the background that needs a good tug on the lead and pulled to heel from time to time.

The robotic formula of brief, research, draft, edit, re-draft, gets on anyone's wick on day to day basis (not that I'm bashing my lucky position as a busy freelancer).

It's the 'click' that happens amongst the routine that makes me sit at that desk and power through, and it's this creative flurry when the penny drops and you land that concept, that makes things interesting and prompts the really hard work.

Wading through the creative craziness and mass of unfiltered ideas is the hard bit. Sieving, editing, fleshing out, while effectively echoing the brief, is where the real talent resides. I've built on my 'auto brief recognition', ABF, function over the years, letting my noggin kick in and scan that brief while things start to 'flux'.

I've always favoured the paper and pen over the keyboard, how words look and sound really is important to me. The delay between the ramblings of my mind to the twitch of my fingers acts as a light filter, maybe this is where the ABF does its job.

Whether you're creating sales, marketing, B2B or branding copy getting the words down and naturally communicating the key messages is paramount. Balancing the objective with the creative is where the real job of a copywriter, rather than the wordsmith, is housed.

Easier said than written...

Posted: 22nd Oct 2012

Just Write?...

This week has been a corker. A flurry of lovely folk have featured the new Distil site on their web emporiums such as Site Inspire and CSS Brigit.

Perhaps even more wonderful than these mentions and recognitions are the emails and tweets I've received from budding copywriters looking for some pearls of wisdom.

Creative writer by previous trade, I knew how to craft a story, however as outlined in my previous blog post 'Creative Writing (Creative Optional)', my ability to reign in this creative impulse has developed into a craft all of it's own. Copywriting is just as much, if not even more so, about technique and formula as it is about creative prose.

This is something I've had to develop and maintain throughout my projects at Distil. Devouring blogs and forums galore on the subject. Progressing or starting as a freelance copywriter is a much blogged topic obviously however the usual steps of read, connect, write are all in order and correct, but for me have been a difficult process to swallow.

In light of these recent requests for tips/advice, I thought I'd give my very genuine, personal take and honest recommendations on progressing or starting out as a copywriter.

I have read very few copywriting books. An admission that may or may not be well received. In my spare time, as a real person, I read, I love to read and learnt my creative writing trade from such. Maybe I feel like I did my stint, but when it came to 'training' as a copywriter I built on what I had already - the ability to write.

What I focused my 'training' on was learning my industry. I began to research and contact people from advertising, marketing, branding etc, and dedicated myself to the study of these industries. I lived on blogs from all areas of that certain industry, whether it was design, finance news or recent campaigns and the agencies involved. Learning is utilised by application.

Harnessing techniques and tips from my fellow copywriters via forums and kind responses to question filled emails, I did what seems to be the final and frightening step - Writing. In most blogs or articles along this subject matter there seems to be this process of research, learn THEN write. I'm not dismissing this imperative stage, and vital part of the copywriting process, but I do believe in not being scared to get things wrong. It's called copywriter for a reason.

I would draft ideas, create spec ads, for selected eyes only as I'm not an advocate of featuring them in your portfolio, and forward them to professionals and creative comrades. An honest opinion is the only valid one. I wrote all the way through my 'training' period and use a lot of my pieces as reference points in similar projects.

To date, I've created high quality copy for retail, architects, film production houses, record companies and designers/creatives themselves. Whether original web copy, SEO smarts, sales letters or articles, the way I have learnt to write copy has influenced what I produce.

Ultimately my advice is parallel learning with the craft itself, learn on the job from those who know what's crap and what's quality and adapt, foster your own process that will set you in good stead for the future with people who truly appreciate your talent.


Posted: 31st Oct 2012

Great times...

So, it's been a crazy few weeks/month. Being featured on SiteInspire, DesignFridge and a few others, has been most lovely indeed and I've had some awesome feedback.

The designer of the Distil site is Liam Rutherford, LiamR, he's a Glasgow based designer/developer and is a very talented individual. He understood I wanted to create a great copywriting site that showcased my writing and style alongside some sweet aesthetics. So many are bogged down with copious amounts of sell, sell, sell copy that no real character comes through, plus the more words there are on the page, the less likely you are to read the important ones.

I wanted to post up a wee rundown of what's been happening. I'm at that floaty, pre-launch stage with a lot of the projects I have on the go at the moment.

So, remember remember the 15th November. A project I produced all original site copy for is launching mid-November and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product, it's all been quite hush hush but it's been a first for me and hopefully, Scotland.

In other news, I produced original copy for TrueNorth, an Icelandic film production company. Designed by Berg Studios, developed by LiamR, the site looks amazing and it was a real pleasure to write copy for such an exciting company. TrueNorth have worked on Batman and Bond movies so yeah, pretty cool. I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider telling them I needed to be in Iceland to complete the project. The images they produce are nothing short of spectacular.

Alongside this I'm starting to work with a wonderful Danish designer, Jord, on his design site. His logo work is pretty awesome and I always enjoy producing copy for the designers themselves. So, keep your eyes peeled.

I'm also starting to collect all my projects and create an extensive portfolio that I hope to put on the Distil site as a downloadable PDF. I've been meaning to get all my wordy adventures together sooner than this but they just keep comin'!

Well, that about the long and short of things at the moment. I'll keep you posted.