December 3, 2009Branding yourself

So, after nearly six months, over 16,000 unique visitors and a fair few new clients, I decided to change the look of the site a little. Again, my friend Spencer at, who designed the site, was responsible for the new shoot.

There were a couple of reasons for the change. Mostly, if I’m honest with you, it’s because I’ve noticed that while clients seem to prefer the image of the chain-smoking, three-day-stubble sporting writer on the page, when you show up at a 9am meeting looking like you’ve been on a week long bender and reach for your …

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November 27, 2009Does SEO still matter?

The last three jobs I’ve done have all involved SEO in one way or another. Yet without fail, every time I’ve handed over draft “BTL” copy (that’s the big, block paragraphs that make up the bulk of a website or a sales brochure, rather than headline or concept work), I’ve been told to lose the repetition. Or simply to reduce the size of the copy — sometimes from paragraphs to two or three sentences. Which is fine by me — I happen to think that short, minimalist copy that grabs attention and tells people what they want to know, quickly, …

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November 16, 2009How to increase your social media ROI

ROI (return on investment) = (Payback – Investment) / Investment

It’s simple. Spend less money.

But hang on — if you spend less, won’t your payback fall too? Couldn’t your ROI actually fall if you stop spending money on social media marketing?

Of course it could. But that’s where most people are missing the point of social media. I don’t think there’s any specific correlation between the size of your investment in social media and the returns you get. Of course, if you spend more money putting your face out there, the chances are you’ll get noticed more. But it’s …

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November 12, 2009Lessons we can learn from Mad Men

So Don Draper is’s man of the year, ahead of Barack Obama, and the founders of Facebook and Twitter.

Good. He’s a hero. An archetypal, flawed, don’t-make-’em-like-that-any-more hero. He also happens to work in advertising.

He’s also a fictional character. But what can us real-life ad men learn from Don?

1. Stay ahead of the game

I just watched the finale of Season 3 online. I live in the UK. I’d have to wait months to see this on TV. So I didn’t.The world has moved online. Move with it, or be left behind — just like Harry …

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November 11, 2009The key to social media is trust.

I think it’s just a fact we’re going to have to live with. As soon as an idea gets co-opted by the advertising industry, people’s attitude toward it changes. In much the same way as I think the death-knell of Twitter was sounded by its adoption as a campaigning vehicle by the major political parties (how uncool is that?) so too is social media, in a wider sense, being corrupted by our efforts as advertisers to harness the buzz-generating power of a good viral campaign.

It’s inevitable. Most people see social media as a way of connecting with their friends. …

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October 24, 2009Social Media

I found my way to DrinkTank earlier this week. It’s a networking event for new web startups in Covent Garden. Naturally, there was a lot of networking going on. I don’t network very well, to be honest — I prefer to talk to people one on one. ‘Elevator pitches’ tend to be forgotten thirty seconds after the thirty seconds they take to deliver. When you hear sixty in a night, no one person’s voice stands out from the crowd.

So I got talking. I didn’t go to pitch my services, rather I went to brush up on the latest developments …

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October 19, 2009Space to think

I’ve been in and out of London a lot lately, sometimes for work, sometimes seeing friends. And it strikes me how hard it is to be creative there, with so many distractions. I’ve been hard at work lately, sometimes at the weekend, sometimes even at night. The dangers of being a freelancer are that you set your own hours.

It’s hard setting time aside to relax, especially when you’re an “always on” kind of guy like me. I used to have a pool table (technically, a friend’s pool table) and that helped me to focus a lot. A fifteen minute …

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October 6, 2009The rise of online advertising

I haven’t blogged for a while. When I don’t blog for a while, it usually means one of two things — I’ve been to busy with paid work, or I’ve nothing useful to say. There’s nothing worse than mindless posts.

In actual fact, it’s been a mixture of both this time. I’ve been doing a lot of copywriting, but I’ve not felt as if I have a lot to add in terms of sharing my thoughts with the world. There’s my random musings on Tumblr, of course… but I’ll spare you those here.

The most interesting thing that’s happened for …

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September 27, 2009Mistakes and microblogging

No, not another post about why I don’t twitter. Although I would like to go over some of the things I said in my previous post. I write reasonably lengthy blogposts because providing keyword-rich, detailed, informative posts is the cornerstone of my SEO strategy. But it is good, from time to time, to keep it simple.

This post, linked to by Guido Fawkes simply as “Twitter Tsar Talks Tosh” on, sums up a lot about what’s right and wrong with Twitter. Skip to the end:

Labour is experimenting with different social media activities, including a way of using

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September 24, 2009Social Media Strategy… knowing what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve said it before. I don’t have time to twitter. Twitter is, for me, a devalued communication mechanism — I find it too time-consuming to find the few pearls in amongst the slurry which, let’s face it, is plentiful. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Twitter is useful. Of course it is. It’s the number one way of attracting social media hits to a site, fast.

I like being twittered about. It brings hits to my site. But I don’t twitter about myself. Direct tweets, linking to your own material, are virtually worthless. They’re spam. They’re a flood. They’re a …

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