Content Strategy & Me.

Posted: 19th Feb 2014

The Gather Content Collection.

Here are all the guest posts I created for the Gather Content blog. If content strategy is your bag, here's a lovely wee collection for you.

How to write great web copy.

What is Content Strategy - Theory vs. Practice.

Engage your audience through a quest narrative.

How to collaborate - The creative and the practical.

The A to B to Content - Planning website content.

Structure and meaning - The principals of creative writing in Content Strategy.

Getting your team Content Strategy savvy.

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.

Warm off the press...

Posted: 10th Aug 2012

NEW site, blog, logo, mug...

So,change is acomin'! After countless to-do lists and procrastinations I have finally got my arse in gear and beagn devloping my NEW site designs, content and altogether 'Distil-ness'. My work is in progress and coming along nicely, hopefullly, a brand new look will be coming at your face by the beginning of September. nail biting Alongside my new look site and logo, will be a much delayed commitment to my lovely, swish blog, and to becoming best buds with his wee self. With self-set homework, some greedy eyeballs and a procrastination free noggin, good things are on their way. Keep your eyeballs peeled and follow my progress on Twitter. It's business as usual with some great projects landing on my lap... See you on the other side!