Category: Copy Writing

How to see Durham in a new light

Recognise the image above?

It’s the cathedral city of Durham, host of the bi-annual Lumiere Festival.

The UK’s largest outdoor light festival returns in November 2019, celebrating its tenth anniversary of transforming the historic city into a nocturnal art trail.

I was there this week, writing a series of articles for a paid-content supplement in The Times.

My stories take a cultural angle to mark the tenth anniversary of the festival — read more on December 29.

It was also my last job before signing off for the Christmas break. And a reminder why Sir Walter Scott was moved by a visit to the city to pen these festive words:

Grey towers of Durham! Yet well I love thy mixed and massive piles.

How to make the most of a day out at Chester Zoo

An autumn afternoon spent wandering around Chester Zoo didn’t feel like work.

But it was: a guest blog post for the Marketing Cheshire blog with a half-term theme and timed for the return of the popular TV series, The Secret Life of the Zoo.

Here’s a sample:

I’ve come to Chester Zoo on an autumnal afternoon to meet some of the new arrivals from the zoo’s recent baby boom — some 733 mammals have been born in 2018, beating the previous highest total of 566 in the same time period.

But what lies behind the baby boom? Science, explains zoo ranger Amy Pilsbury. “We’re constantly monitoring the animals’ poo to check their hormone levels.”

Read the full story, Cute babies and half-term fun: how to make the most of a day at Chester Zoo.

How to make a content job read like editorial

I would like to think I have the words for any subject.

That is, after all, the nature of life as a jobbing freelance writer.

So, when I recently found myself at Helsby High School [pictured above], talking about the surface of their sports floor, I didn’t bat an eyelid.

It was a copywriting job for a Cheshire-based company and I was there to bring more of an editorial flavour to the content for the website.

The answer? A case study-style piece based round a series of sub headings. The story needed a clear format and lots of direct speech to play up the human interest of the story.

Here’s a flavour of the final copy:

When Helsby High School, Cheshire, wanted a dual-use, versatile space for sports and community events, Sports Surfaces (UK) had the solution.

The new floor has a minimum lifespan of 15 years and is much easier, as well as cheaper, to maintain. More importantly, it has had a transformative effect on the school.

There are the health benefits to students of greater physical activity, plus increased engagement with community events, raising revenue for the school in the process.

“We have seen how both staff and students feel more confident with less likelihood of injury,” explains Helsby Facilities Manager Howard Woodfine.

“And we now have more enquiries from outside clubs, like touch rugby and cricket.”

Guest blog posts for Chester Growth Partnership

Chester has some real characters — try Calum [pictured above at cigar shop Turmeaus].

I’ve been helping to uncover some of them recently with a series of guest blog posts for the Chester Growth Partnership.

It’s a copywriting job with plenty of journalistic research and a touch of personal blog-post-style experience.

Over autumn I’ve interviewed some key figures from the Chester foodie scene, experts in property and uncovered offbeat ideas for Christmas shopping on a tour of the Rows.

It’s been great, in particular, to celebrate the independent shops and small business that make the city special.

The content is hosted on the blog but also shared through the Marketing Cheshire social channels — look out for my stories on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The full set of guests posts is as follows. Look out for more in the new year.

Eat, drink and be merry: Chester’s foodie revolution

Could the future of Chester be more Blade Runner than black and white

Medieval cellars, an adult creche and German sausages — that’s how to celebrate Christmas in Chester