We must take more pride in analysing how stories are made

There’s a common founder myth (read ‘cliche’) that goes something like this:

“From a young age, I found myself fascinated by how things worked. Once I took the TV apart to see how the little people got inside. Just like Steve Jobs, this is why I think the back of the cabinet/ inside of the device must be as beautiful as every other bit.”

12 elements of a user-friendly blog page

With high quality content playing an increasingly important part in search rankings, blogging has become a key part of almost any company’s marketing strategy.  

But writing interesting content is not enough in itself. You might have the best article in the world, but if it isn’t presented in a user-friendly format then nobody is going to read (or share) it. 


17 fantastically useful tools for content writers and bloggers

Writing requires discipline, focus, talent, sacrifice and a thick skin, so I have no idea how I’ve managed to survive this long without my editor noticing my fundamental lack of these skills.

What I do have though is an awesome arsenal of tools and web applications that help paper over any cracks in my expertise.

From idea generation, to writing without distraction, to creating jargon-free copy, these 17 tools should also help you improve your own craft and hopefully stop you from banging your head against the keyboard for too long.

Death to content: long live the editor

If the saying goes that content is King, today’s warring agendas, varying competence and vulgar chaos would put Game of Thrones to shame.

In the effort to rule their industry, almost every player has ended up churning out the same old slurry by neglecting a key element of creating great stories.

It comes down to this: the world doesn’t need more content, it needs better editors.

A good editor establishes a fair, consistent point of view. They bring priorities, standards. They understand when to say no — and why.

It’s a concept that (forgive me) Steve Jobs brought to Apple, and rings through its most heartfelt advertising.

David Ogilvy’s 10 top tips for video scriptwriting

In September of 1982, David Ogilvy, often regarded as the father of modern advertising, sent an internal memo to the employees of his agency.

In it, he outlined 10 tips for great writing. While these tips aren’t specific to scriptwriting, they are certainly applicable.

His wisdom on the subject is timeless. 

A blogger’s guide to setting up a WordPress site: writing your first post

This is the second in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.

Last time I discussed the first few steps, involving sign-up, the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and your social media presence.

In this article I’ll discuss writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS), but first, here are some general writing tips for bloggers using any platform.

A blogger’s guide to setting up a WordPress site: the first few steps

This is the first in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.

Firstly I should reveal a little bit of background about myself. I began a WordPress blog a few years ago; it was a little read music site full of rambling incoherent nonsense semi-related to reviewing new albums. 

Inexplicably within six months, the blog had grown beyond its humble beginnings as something to annoy my friends on Facebook with, to something that was doing fairly well in search engine results pages (SERPs) and driving higher than anticipated traffic.

I took the decision to transfer the blog from WordPress (which restricts you to the .WordPress.com suffix) to its own domain (with the much more loved by seach engines suffix .com), hosted by a third-party service, while still using a WordPress template and its various plug-ins.

How to keep making content…forever

Blast it. I can’t write. I’ve been sat at my desk all morning pontificating. Trying to get something down on paper and it’s just not happening.

In the age of content marketing, writer’s block is a big problem. And frankly it’s not the first time I’ve had this problem. So how do I keep those web impressions a-rolling?

Turns out the answers fairly straightforward: I take a leaf out of the Coen Brothers book, and I write a post about not being able to write a post…

Should we be rethinking the content we’re producing?

I was prompted to write this post after a Twitter conversation was initiated by Simon Penson by asking: 

“How long is too long for a blog post before people switch off? 1000 words, 2000 words? Trying so hard here to cut this one off…?!”

You can follow the strands of the discussion yourselves by clicking the link above, but the general consensus was that longer blog posts can work, provided that they’re a) interesting, and b) presented well with clear formatting.  

But, this post is going to be about more than length, although that is certainly part of it. 

What is the future for British parent blogging?

Last weekend, more than five hundred bloggers gathered at Moorgate, London, for the biggest parent blogger conference in the UK. 

The event, BritMums Live, attracted keynotes from Sarah Brown, Ruby Wax, Cherry Healey, and many respected bloggers, journalists and writers.