Change comes to us in many forms in business. Usually it feels like just as we’ve got used to a way of working – something changes. New personnel, new roles, new management, new expectations, new clients, new equipment, new web sites, new applications, new policies; it can all become a whirl of chaos in which we wonder how we’re ever going to get anything done.
When Google released their new web browser Chrome a colleague of mine reeled with horror. ‘It has no home button!’ he shouted. ‘I hate change’. Being a developer, it only took him few seconds to add the missing feature himself. But his reaction was telling.
After the fourth edition of SevenHolidays’ successful book Resorts of Maldives, it was time to go online. Firstly to serve the same purpose but to a wider audience and for free: to educate holidaymakers about which resort is best for them with personal, unbiased reviews and photography. Secondly, to sell those holidays.
The book is a page turner. Enjoyable to read, as you marvel at the luxurious top resorts, and get sucked in to deciding which resort you would like the most. Putting all this information online (free) from a content perspective was about finding a neat way to present the reviews and photography, but more importantly, of sucking people in in the first place.
ChurchInsight have been providing websites to churches, charities and other organisations since 2002, developing and improving their platform many times over along the way.
I came into their new UK sales web site project as a copywriter, but ended up having a big say in the overall structure and tone of the site. Insight does so much that the important thing was to draw out a few selling points clearly and simply instead of trying to get them all in and losing people in the ensuing melee.
I first worked on the Checkatrade web site as a copywriter. Checkatrade are a unique business, compiling a free directory of reliable tradespeople for the public, by selling a vetting and monitoring service to the tradespeople. The workmen and women sign up because they get so much work through it, because the public love finding tradespeople that they can trust.
The main challenge in furnishing the site with copy was writing for all the different audiences on the same site. The public are after a simple, useful and clear service. Tradespeople need to be sold memberships. Members need to enjoy the benfits that their membership has brought them, and the staff need to make sense of it all behind the scenes.
Cantle is a coaching business that needs to be experienced to be believed. Owner Jim McNeish’s clients come (falling over one another) from word of mouth. It is in his interest to stay hidden to raise curiosity and appetite.
So editing Cantle’s first web site was about making sure that the descriptions enticed without giving too much away. The copy worked with sumptuous photography to wet potential client’s appetites. Not giving too much away meant keeping the blocks of prose short and allowing plenty of white space to let the content breathe on the page – essential for the tone of the organisation whose tagline is ‘breathing life back into organisations’.
Welcome to SmyWord. Here we go.
First off I’ll put up some portfolio pieces and then I’m keen to get the conversation going. Balanced with the actual content work I do I’ll be able to post 1-2 times per week, on content strategy, writing for the web, grammar and style, communication, and a bit of psychology (because we’re humans writing for humans after all).
I’m keen to bring some energy to the dialogue about writing for the web. It seems that at last people are starting to take content seriously. They are realising that they can’t just throw in some words at the end of a project, or expect the developers or designers to do it for them.