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July 15, 2013The web needs traditional advertising, not “native” advertising.

People want to be entertained and informed. "Native advertising" does neither. It's time to look to more traditional campaigns for inspiration.

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June 4, 2013How to inspire brand loyalty

As somebody who writes this stuff for a living, I consider myself pretty immune to marketing. But today I felt some brand loyalty stirring... what could have caused it? Had I stumbled upon brand loyalty nirvana?

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July 30, 2012How to kill content mills

Content mills match cheap copywriters to cheap clients. They pay their copywriters as little as 1.5p per word. Put another way, you'd have to write the equivalent of a novel each week to earn the average national wage. That's not just unfair. It's immoral. So how can we fight back?

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June 13, 2011Into fashion? You — and your brand — need to get into Tumblr.

When I joined Tumblr in 2009, I thought I was pretty late to the party. But the microblogging platform has only gone from strength to strength to strength. But although I hang out there all the time, and have even made a few friends there (although not as many as my livejournal days) I don’t use it for business.

Tumblr started out a little like a cooler version of Twitter. I’ve often said that Twitter feels like a water cooler for us bored, lonely freelancers who don’t get to enjoy the simple pleasures of office gossip — well, Tumblr …

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May 19, 2011Don’t mess with success: why staying on top is about staying true to your core business plan

Like many others, I visit Guido Fawkes, the UK’s most widely read political blog, for my daily fix of news. Guido is in top of his game. His short, simple editorial style (which has a lot in common with my favourite red-top, The Sun) and knack for sniffing out a story (or turning a small story into a much bigger one) has made him the UK’s foremost political blogger. He’s mass-market, and proud of it.

But when you’re at the top of your game, how do you stay there? How do you keep people coming back? On the …

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April 19, 2011What is content strategy? And is a copywriter the best person to define it?

How do you define content strategy? If you’re a digital copywriter like me, you’ll probably define content strategy very differently to a web designer or a user experience architect. For example, a copywriter will focus primarily on how his words appear, in context. While a designer might be more interested in the context — how his design fits around the words.

Fellow copywriter Leif Kendall recently wrote a blog post attempting to define content strategy. He said:

Content strategy is a process used by organisations to define and plan how words, pictures, audio and video (content) are used to

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March 2, 2011Essential skills every digital copywriter needs

In my previous post, I talked about why I felt digital was the way forward — and how an emphasis on sites that work, that inform, and that sell the product directly to the customer are replacing “big idea” campaigns. I said that, in order to be a competent digital copywriter, a copywriter should have a broad understanding of digital skills beyond idea generation and actual copywriting. The skills I suggested were:

  • Conversion rate optimization
  • User experience (UX) testing
  • Metrics (stats like bounce rates, etc)
  • Web design and development
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media integration

In this

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February 28, 2011No more big ideas: why digital agencies are small and scientific

I started my first blog, a Livejournal, in late 1999. Back then, the word “blog” didn’t even exist.

Twelve years ago, I never could have predicted I’d have a successful career using the same techniques I learned while writing teenage ramblings for my friends. Yet here I am.

I guess I’ve always been an early adopter. Yet it never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there who still don’t understand the value of digital.

The ad industry is changing, whether you like it or not.

I read this fascinating piece on the future of advertising after it …

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