October, 2012

Five things you should know before dealing with the media

Guest post by Nicky Rudd, MD, Padua Communications

Dealing with journalists can be tricky – especially if you’re not used to it. I asked Nicky Rudd, seasoned PR practitioner and managing director of Padua Communications, to share her experience. 

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The power of quietness

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my need for silence when I write.  It followed a frustrating and unproductive morning of being driven bonkers by the banging, drilling and sawing a couple of doors away.

Robert Stubbings  a former advisor manager with Business Link South East, has just sent me a link to a post that gives a slightly different angle on the relationship of quietness to productivity.

It’s by Roberta Matuson, CEO, Human Resource Solutions based in the USA and is titled ‘The link between quietness and productivity

Roberta points out that it’s often the quiet people who are the most productive and she gives some great examples of why she believes that to be so.

While it’s not exactly related to my post it does show how powerful a force quietness can be. Definitely food for thought and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Thanks to Robert for sending it to me and to for Roberta of course for agreeing to let me use it.




The art of translation – guest post by Rachel Giles

I’m in the process of getting a page of copy translated into around 12 different languages to promote my localisation service to business people who don’t have English as a first language.

I’ve written the copy and have the translators lined up. On the surface it’s a relatively simple task: just a few paragraphs of copy to introduce and explain a service.

But the point of the localisation service is to make sure that copy that’s been translated into English flows and reads well. It needs to get the message across and engage the audience too. So, of course I need to be sure that happens with my copy in each of the languages it’s translated in to.

Going through this process got me thinking about book translations.  We take it a bit for granted when we read classics like Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary or more modern books such as Blindness by Jose Saramago.

But how on earth does a translator capture the essence and poetry of the original? How do we know that the translator isn’t more talented than the author? And what about those words and phrases that only exist in the original language and not in English?

I decided to ask writer, editor, and publisher, Rachel Giles.

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Do you need total silence when you write?

Our neighbours are having their garden landscaped. They’ve had a team of gardeners working flat out for the better part of a month and that means lots of sawing, banging, angle-grinding, and music.

I’m rubbish at shutting out noise – especially when it’s intermittent. During the silences I find myself waiting for it to start up again. So I’ve abandoned my little writing hut in the garden and retreated indoors where it’s much quieter.

I really wish I could find a way to block out noise and wondered if other writers find it so difficult, and if so what they do to get around it.

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Surbiton business owner gets around Olympic word ban

On Friday I wrote about the ridiculous restrictions on the use of certain words and phrases connected with the Olympics. It’s meant to stop businesses from infringing the rights of the sponsors with ‘ambush marketing’. But it’s hard to see how a small local business, who uses an Olympic theme for its window dressing, could possibly hurt a giant like McDonalds.

One such small local business has come up with an inspired way to get around the ban. Take a bow Stephen Holt, owner of Focus Wear in Surbiton.

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‘Brand police’ deployed to hunt out ambush marketeers

‘Britain flooded with ‘brand police’ to protect sponsors’, screamed the headline in the Independent on Tuesday 18 July. I’m not sure if Independent headlines really do scream but it was enough to draw me in.

According to the report, hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers have been dispatched to tour the UK, checking companies to make sure they’re not ‘ambush marketing’ or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors.

Businesses have been warned that, during the Games, they are banned from using certain words in their advertising. I must admit, I’m a little baffled by some of the words on the banned list.

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Are You Ready to Write Your First Book? Guest post by writer’s coach, Leda Sammarco

When people find out I write for a living they often ask if I’m ever going to write a book.  I’ve thought about it and I know that, if I ever get around to it, it will be a factual book rather than non-fiction. And I also know it’s likely to be about my love of Cornwall. But where to start?

Well, I decided to book a session with writer’s coach, Leda Sammarco. It was great! She really helped me think about why I wanted to write the book and who I’d be writing it for. She also gave me lots of information on how to get published.

The session was so useful that I asked her to write a guest post for my blog to help other people who are thinking about writing their first book. I hope it inspires you! Over to you, Leda.

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June client of the month – St Georges Finance

St Georges (no apostrophe!) Finance  is my client of the month for June.

St Georges Finance is an independent funding specialist working mainly in the property sector. Clients include people who want to start property portfolios, SMEs who need finance to buy business property, and residential property developers.

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Is it OK to leave bad spelling un-checked?

I was a little surprised at an idea put forward by a teacher on BBC Breakfast the other morning. He was being interviewed because he believes we shouldn’t get too heavy on children’s spelling mistakes.

His reasoning is that a child could write an excellent essay, but it may be littered with spelling mistakes, and if they get it back covered in red corrections, their confidence will be undermined. I find it particularly baffling given the concern about literacy levels in the UK.

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April Client of the Month – Ashtead Performance Group

April’s client of the month is Simon Aldridge, MD of Ashtead Performance Group (APG).

I’ve worked with Simon for the last five years, ever since he asked me to write the words for APG’s website.

APG works with senior teams to equip them to achieve excellent performance across their business. And therein lay the challenge.

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

Word Alchemy Blog