Word Wall is one: 12 months of blogging

12 months of BloggingAs it’s been a year since I started this blog, I thought I’d take the opportunity to review the last twelve months and share some of the responses I’ve received and observations I’ve made over the course of the year.

In my first blog post, I mentioned the fact that client project briefs are often vague and open to interpretation. Recently, I asked a client what he meant by 'improvements to the website'. He replied, “The look and feel of our site is being improved.” Hmmm. The copywriter's job is not an easy one!

My next post was on the subject of selling the benefits. Tricky, when you have little to go on as stated above. How will improvements to your website benefit your customers? I’ve now taken to emailing new clients with a (short) questionnaire that can be found on my Contact page to help entice more information from them. The devil is in the detail.

In November 2011, I published a blog post called Art and the railway that briefly mentioned my grandfather and great-grandfather, who both worked on the railways. In August 2012, I received an email from a charming gentleman living in Toronto, Canada, who'd chanced upon my website and read the post with interest. His father had worked alongside my great-grandfather at Exeter Junction in the 1940s. We’ve since exchanged photos and information – the internet can be a wonderful thing.

I then tried to track down posters advertising excursions to Fleet Pond. A few months after writing this post, I received an email from a local history group, after they were given a book of memories that included anecdotes of Fleet Pond and Fleet Station during the 1930s. This led me to pen yet another article on the subject of railways for a newsletter, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last.

In January, I moved on from railways (at last) to talk about social media and its usage by businesses. I still have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love the fact that I can communicate with so many people all over the world. On the other hand, you can drown in a sea of spam.

Blogging, I love. It makes you think, it encourages you to come up with new ideas, and it gives you a venue to spout your thoughts. You can also make enjoyable new connections as I mentioned above.

SEO – Just write good web copy.

It’s tone of voice that makes all the difference. In this post, I mentioned a couple of examples of companies that, in my opinion, get this right. Since I wrote this, I’ve become even more appreciative of businesses that take the time to understand their market and evaluate their image and style before they decide how to present themselves.

It sets them apart from companies that may have great words but fail to deliver them in the right tone. Successful campaigns are the ones pitched perfectly towards their readers.

In Carnivals, conservation and copywriting, I extol the virtues of voluntary work. Over the course of the summer, I’ve sold raffle tickets to drunken blokes at a beer festival, fallen into a bog whilst treating invasive scrub with herbicide, and accidentally removed some low hanging branches from roadside trees when I towed a boat (with a very tall mast) in the local carnival procession (see photo). I’m not sure how this helps me as a copywriter, except that I’m known in my local community. Perhaps not always for the right reasons.

In What’s the difference between print and web copy? I advise not to put too many links into one article. How many have I put into this post?

I mentioned I’d recently joined The Professional Copywriters’ Network in How to work with a copywriter. As well as providing a forum for copywriters to interact with each other, the PCN has been brave enough to tackle the tricky subject of pricing and included a recommended rates page on their site. It's an admirable organisation and one that helps businesses to appreciate the value of copywriters.

Must get a new photo taken. The one used in my From conservation to copywriting feature in Writing Magazine has been knocking around for a few years. Of course, I haven’t changed a bit!

Finally, every subject can be made appealing if you find the right angle. Although, I have to admit, not everyone is as fascinated by railways as I am. Oh, and as I enjoy blogging so much I've set up a new blog, it's called Copy Cook.