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Posts tagged ‘copywriting’

Welcome to 2011: Time for a virtual facelift & Network Hub night!

There’s nothing like seeing in another year to make us reflect on the past – and look to the future. If we’re lucky, we learn a few handy lessons along the way too.

It’s a year since the launch of the copywriting side of the business kicked off, which I proclaimed in my first blog post of 2010 (in the midst of deep snow, just like recent weeks!)

So what was my big professional lesson of last year? Network, network, and network! That’s how I connected with my first copywriting clients and I’ve found face-to-face networking to be fruitful, as well as fun. Some events are more ‘me’ than others, but building business relationships and my company profile this way is something that’s become vital to my working week.

Which brings me to…drum roll please, ladies & gents…Network Hub – the new name for the business social events I put together with another creative professional and friend, Richard Smith. Last Thursday evening, we held our first do of 2011 at the Showroom Cinema Cafe, in Sheffield.

Just like our launch event in October, we were thrilled with the turnout – about 70 proactive guests! By the amount of chatter that hardly seemed to let up, many new connections and re-connections were made over a few drinks, in a relaxed atmosphere, which is exactly what our evenings are all about.

The snapper (yours truly) gets snapped @ Network Hub, Showroom Cinema Cafe, 20/1/11. Photo credit: Elizabeth Birks

Check out a couple of the much-appreciated positive comments received after our big night:

‘I haven’t been to a formal networking event for a long time and to be honest, I was concerned and a bit fearful. My fears were assuaged, however, as I began to meet so many lovely people. As a group worker, I know that a good event reflects the people who set it up and this was an evening of warmth and genuine interest in other people. I found it an atmosphere conducive to meeting people and making connections.’ Valerie Monti Holland,

‘Thanks for the invite & hospitality again last night. There seemed to be a good mix/good buzz/plenty of conversations and connections. Well done, you are a star!’ Jim Lawson,

Our next night’s coming in April so watch this space! In the meantime, our fresh website look’s now live and loud. Any thoughts about the revamp would be most welcome….

Here’s to a fabulous 2011 one & all!


Life’s a stage – so keep your focus and mind that perspective!

It’s just as well there’s no evil pay-per-hour penalty charge god, who imposes whopping fines for straying out of our comfort zones because I would have been in danger of being declared bankrupt over the last week…

Reason one: I found myself ‘starring’ in the crucial end scenes of a friend’s short film which she’s creating and entering into a competition. While you wouldn’t remotely call my silent appearances acting, for an intense few hours I was urged to pose, pose and pose again, continually channeling diva-like thoughts, while cutting an identical array of striking poses on a real pock-marked theatre stage. There were masses of lights, an army of tripods and countless camera cuts – all focused on me in a classic cocktail dress!

My snapshot into the movie game has left me with a different perspective about actors – and a renewed respect for anyone who has the resilience of mind and body to grind relentlessly away in the film-making industry. Behind the perceived razzle-dazzle of the big screen, there’s a shed load of elbow grease, brute force and sheer tenacity of spirit encapsulated in clips which often only exist for a few seconds of screen time. All that monumental effort – so easily lost in the blink of an eye. Watch this space for details of my film debut(popcorn not included!).

Reason two: Back in the real world, I sat whizzing through my grand tactical plan to increase my reach into the copywriting field, at a meeting with a business adviser, when he wedged a small spanner into the cogs of my well-oiled marketing machine. ‘Rather than re-inventing the wheel,’ he said. ‘Look at what your competitors are doing….’

Shrugging off my slightly-battered ego, I duly accepted his point. My brilliant writing skills and media expertise may be invaluable to any number of companies but convincing corporate clients this could be an uphill struggle, as many time-strapped and budget-restricted small businesses are looking for an easy solution to their marketing and publicity needs – a one-stop PR shop.

So from now on part of my strategy to win such business, is to team up with a local like-minded web designer, photographer and possibly printing company to offer tailored communication packages. If you can’t beat ’em…

Another day, another meeting(it’s been that kind of week) with my fabulous self-appointed professional mentor. Suddenly I was finally guided back onto familiar territory. ‘Forward-thinking brands recognise the power of storytelling,’ she told me. ‘That’s where all your writing experience for magazines will really shine through…’

Steering away from my comfort zone, being scrutinsed and getting these new perspectives made me refocus on the value of the path I’ve been treading as a journalist.

And far from being lost, I’m ready to put my best foot forward again. But acting? I’ll do you all a massive favour and stick to my day job.

Ringing in the new decade with a commercial bang

With the New Year just days old, I can appreciate why many of us, sick of our austerity-ridden times, can’t wait to herald in a bright new, shiny decade of hopes, dreams and promises with a flurry of fireworks (even though we apparently haven’t decided what these ‘inbetween’ years will be called yet!)

While I’m not blinded by this starry-eyed thinking, I’m more than ready to look to this inspirational light in my professional life. I’d be deep in SBO territory(stating the bleeding obvious as my former ex-Fleet Street journalism tutor would quip) if I told you the only way small business owners, sole traders and freelancers like myself can survive this economic fall-out is to adapt and diversify our skills and services to the ever-changing business landscape.

On top of this more general trend, during 2009 I watched the media industry I’ve worked solidly in for 12 years morph again and again. The emergence of free newspapers, rising tide of online news & entertainment, citizen journalism, the blogorati, social networking….

None of these elements alone are new threats to the status and security of traditional print journalists. But once the strength and combined measure of this heady mix is stirred, will many one-trick hacks be left too shaken? For some, this communications cocktail could be too much to stomach, or even prove lethal.

So, spurred on by my survival instincts, this week I’m launching a new strand to my business.

From now on, I’ll wear two writing hats – one will remain in journalism and the other will supply copywriting, PR, marketing and media consultancy services to the corporate world.

After completing a brilliant commercial writing course in November, run by Linda Jones and Carol Garrington of Passionate Media, my metaphorical pen is primed, precise and brimming over with purpose.

Here’s to a successful 2010 for all!