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March 9, 2010Scribe WordPress Plugin: a review

As a copywriter, I often get asked to make my work SEO compliant. In short, people are relying on me to know what works in terms of SEO — where should keywords go, and how often should they be repeated? Until now, I’ve relied more or less on a working knowledge of search engine optimization best practices I’ve learned from working with web designers, bloggers and other copywriters. This week, I’ve started using Scribe — a WordPress SEO plugin developed and promoted by Brian Clark of Copyblogger.

What does it do?

In short, Scribe is an SEO analysis tool …

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February 16, 2010Caught red handed: how not to use Twitter

I’ve posted before about the perils of twitter. Twitter is a bubble used by a relatively small community of people — particularly, for some reason, politicians and web designers. But in small bubbles, news travels fast. And if you get it wrong, you get the entire self-righteous community coming down on you, as they did recently with Jan Moir and AA Gill or, more noble-mindedly, over the Trafigura case.

But it’s the fact that Twitter is so immediate that makes it so dangerous. It’s like having a gun with no safety catch. If you hold it in your hand,

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February 11, 2010How to write a good love letter

What with email, chat and social networking, who sends letters any more? Arguably, the long-letter format is a dying art. At most, we can expect the occasional postcard from family members abroad. But there’s one day of the year when you might want to say something a little more personal than ‘wish you were here’.

Love it or loathe it, Valentines Day is the mandated time of the year when we’re supposed to make a pitch for our lover’s heart. Some say it with flowers, with a special breakfast… or even a special ring to surprise their loved ones. But …

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January 27, 2010Employing a professional writer

I can wire a plug. So somehow this makes me think I can re-wire my house. Several electric shocks later, I’m reaching for my yellow pages. I’m not a mechanic, so when my car breaks down, I call the auto club. When I get sick, I call a doctor. The point? These are all professionals plying their trade.

But when it comes to writing, everyone’s a DIY merchant. Everyone thinks, well, I speak English, so I can write well. That’s why it’s hard for a copywriter to make it in this modern climate. People will happily shell out for web …

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January 18, 2010How to save a failing brand

What do you do when your brand is worthless? What do you do when people who’ve bought your product and been burned by past failures to live up to expectations hate your brand so much they won’t ever touch it again?

You go on the attack.

There’s no point launching a ‘new and improved’ campaign — nobody believes those three trite words anyway. It’s not enough to win back people who don’t trust your brand. You could change the name. But if you’re a big company, that gets expensive.

So Domino’s Pizza tried a different strategy. They attacked their own …

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January 11, 2010Tiger, Tiger

I’m very impressed with Woods PR team. In case you haven’t spotted it yet, this is their simple response to all that negative publicity —

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A while back, I suggested Tiger ought to try humour to deflect some of the criticism about his adultery. You know, give a lovely smile and a “who, me?” shrug of the shoulders. After all, anyone who’s ever read Robert Greene’s The Art of Seduction knows that rakish charm can be very effective — like it or not, he argues, women love a cad.

This response is better. Tiger’s a number 1 sportsman. Okay, so …

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January 5, 2010The UK election campaign kicks off

As a one-time political student, I have to admit I’m still a bit of a political junkie. But I love election campaigns because they give a real insight into what’s happening in the world of marketing. If world wars force technology to grow faster, then election campaigns are the atomic bomb of the advertising world. The biggest guns are brought out. And very quickly, it can lead to total annihilation.

Remember this blast from the past?

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Well, a good campaign does stick in the mind. You have to look at the Tories’ latest offering and wonder what they’re thinking…

Tory NHS poster in situ.JPG

I …

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December 24, 2009Merry Christmas!

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Happy holidays everyone. It’s been a great year.

Photo by my friend Spencer (here), check out the best and worst agency Xmas cards here (and the very best here) and remember: Rage at no.1 this year proved one thing: it’s been a really great year for viral advertising (and, err, Sony Records).

See you all in the New Year!…

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December 14, 2009Scandal? What scandal?

Call me crazy, but I just don’t get the Tiger Woods thing. The Guardian is already saying it’s a scandal that spells the death-knell for celebrity sponsorship. Personally, I can’t see it.

Of course, the jokes are already all over the place. Nike are changing their slogan to “Just Screw It” — and Durex are going to release a new range of condoms that “bring out the tiger in you!” — but jokes like this actually make a good point. Why the hell should this so-called scandal really affect Woods’ ability to to sell?

Frankly, “rich man has multiple affairs”

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December 10, 2009Branding Snooker

Snooker has a bit of an image problem. To overseas visitors who don’t know the game, it’a cue sport that’s played on a much bigger table than, say, eight ball pool. It’s also a lot more complex. Snooker is to pool as chess is to chequers. It’s a tough but rewarding game.

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Bill Werbeniuk, a legend from the 80s

It’s also seen better days. The 1980s are regarded as the heyday of snooker, with the world championship final in 1985 being watched by 18.5 million people. Despite being more of a minority pastime here these days, it’s become big in …

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