Another of my guest posts plus a video I made promoting an amazing night of music and charity.  Originally posted on Last Year's Girl.

As someone who enjoys music but wouldn’t know a Rolling Stone if it bit her, it’s a near miracle that I find myself at a gig month after month. I like a night out as much as the next youngster, but this is Edinburgh, where the scene is fragmented, the venues grow thin and ticket prices dissuade all but the most devoted and stout of wallet.

In a city where it takes a good deal of fervour to cough up for shows, Indie Funday Friday is a cheap, friendly, quality panorama of local talent created to get up-and-comings out there, people into gigs and profits to charities. This Friday, August 3rd, will be its first birthday.

Originally guest blogged for Greener Leith.

We environmentalists can get very bogged down in facts and figures.

We can’t do without them, but facts and figures don’t make you care about the environment. To care, people need to be able to relate to whatever needs saving, to be involved emotionally in its survival, and nothing does this better than a good, old fashioned story.

Here’s an example:

This month, Deadline News reported that a brave and furry-ocious lady otter was kicking some invasive mink butt along the Water of Leith.


Books about the Internet have a very limited shelf life.  Such is the ruthless nature of the information super-highway: technology evolves so blinking fast that advice, however inspired, either withers on the branch or has to be swiftly and savvily adapted to new platforms.  Nick Usborne published Net Words in 2001.  That’s around the BC AD changeover in cyber-time, so I’ll be forgiven for thinking I’d find a quaint treatise on the mysterious Internet with the occasional nugget of wisdom still vaguely applicable to the current panorama.  I was pleasantly mistaken. 

Charming concern with slow dial-up aside, Usborne consistently delivers web-copy advice that is as relevant today as it ever was. The book also demands respect for the fledgling position of web copywriter arguing that writing for the web environment can provide enormous returns if given the respect and attention it deserves.  I can’t argue with that.  While not as fledging as it used to be, the position of web copywriter is still not receiving adequite props as a five-minute google will reveal.

So, what’s the secret to the survival of Networds in this mile-a-minute techno race to obsolescence? I’ll show you an example, shall I? There are plenty to be had as Usborne peppers his text with works and what doesn’t. 

Take Automated text.  You know, those responses that leap into your inbox the second you hit the ‘send’ key. 

I met David Seagrave at the Remade in Edinburgh reuse project.  He comes along every Friday for a natter and to learn and share reuse techniques.  We got talking, as you inevitably do with David, and he has turned out to be a most captivating individual.  

To publicise his contribution to the Re: See It exhibition on this week at Edinburgh's Art's Complex, I wrote an article for the local news blog.

Very good.  I sit down at my desk next morning and, lo, an email from the Edinburgh Evening News!  I smartly whip the STV article into a press release (see March post for tips) and managed to get David an interview for that afternoon.  See the result in the Edinburgh Evening News

press release planePress release templates online are a dime a dozen.  Five minutes one the Google and you should have the idea: Contact, headline, intro, body, boilerplate, media contacts, et voila! Press release. 

To these essential ingredients, I would add a heaping dollop of class.  Woo those journos with straight facts, poignant quotations and an interesting angle and not only will they pick up your story, but they are also more likely to use your words, too.

Here goes, 

The second speaker on the ‘Crisis, Cuts and Citizenship’ ticket was Matt Tyrer, development officer for the Highlands and Islands Equality Forum (HIEF) at SCVO and director and chairman of ReBOOT, a computer recycling charity in the north of Scotland.

Well versed in the immense and unquantifiable value of social enterprises and charities, Matt tossed out some real gems for writing practically to communicate the impact of your group to funders.

I was fortunate enough get to the third sector SCVO Gathering this week in Glasgow.  It is, the programme tells me, the biggest gathering of third sector organisations in the UK.  Always on the lookout for charity work, I was pretty stoked to be there.

I didn’t find it the best place to pedal my wares (people manning the myriad stalls were in sell, sell, sell mode and not very open to my services).  Still, there was plenty for a big-hearted copywriter to see and learn, so I am going to take this post by post. 

Vegas based, self-styled social media scientist Dan Zarrella is a straight-talkin', zombie-lovin' myth-buster.  His line is that a lot of social media advice may be spot-on but he wants the facts. I read through a bit of his blog and watched an hour-long seminar

Back in November, I recommended Open Atrium over Facebook for community project coordination, and I still do.  That doesn’t mean that Facebook isn’t effectivisimo for other helpful things like PR and general enthusiasm mustering.  In fact, the Book of Face is ideal for community groups because 
  • It’s free!
  • A staggering amount of people, organisations, publications, and businesses (even your neighbour’s dog!) are on it.  I hear it is one of the top five sites on the Internet, which equals mad visibility potential.
  • You can upload all sorts of your own media freely and effortlessly creating instant engagement.
  • You’re able to tap into the networks of more established organisations for supporters.

To celebrate SEO month here at Service Writing, I have compiled a list of my 10 fave SEO tips.  If you're doing all of these things, I salute you!  If not, get cracking because you really are missing out.  

They are (in random order):


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