Start-up Stories 1. Paperchain Podcast

Start-up Stories is a blog series following the lives of inspiration self-starters who are running their own business or project. 

Daniel Carpenter Paperchain Podcast performance

Who are you? Daniel Carpenter – Podcast Producer. 

What’s your business?  The Paperchain PodcastSeries two starts on 23rd August 2017!

Tell us about Paperchain Podcast

I started The Paperchain Podcast about eighteen months ago. It’s a podcast in which I interview authors, poets, songwriters, and playwrights about their work. The focus of the conversations is usually about inspiration: where do their ideas come from? Each guest also performs a brand new piece of work they’ve written for the podcast based on a prompt set by the previous episode’s guest.

If I’m honest, the podcast is for me. Or rather for people who, like me, love discovering new writers and listening to brand new work. Really, it was a surprise that the podcast became so popular and that people tune in each month to listen.

Daniel Carpenter Paperchain PodcastI’ve been lucky enough on this second series to be able to partner with STORGY magazine. Also, I’m working alongside some brilliant small publishers, such as Dead Ink, to source emerging authors for the show. I hope in the long term this can continue, and that as the show develops and garners a larger audience, I can find other avenues of funding and sponsorship.

So, Dan, what happens behind the scenes?

It depends on the time of year. Storgy.comEarly in the series, I look for artists who might like to appear on the show and organise recording dates. Each episode is a follow-on from the previous one, so I have to know which order the episodes will air in before I go into recording. I don’t have a studio. The recorder I have is good enough that I can meet artists in a variety of places and still get a great sound. I interviewed a songwriter next to the Thames and it was one of the best sounding episodes. Once the first few episodes launch, I can relax into the promotion. I mainly promote the show through Twitter. Although, I also use Twitter to chat and talk about literature and art in general, which I think helps build my audience.

Dan CarpenterThis year, my marketing strategy has been to reach out to literature blogs and online magazines to pitch features about podcasting. It was through this that I found STORGY, who replied to my pitch enthusiastically. They asked me to not only write a feature for them but also to partner with them on the podcast. That came as a bit of a surprise, though I was hoping to find someone like them to work alongside. It’s been great so far! It’s already producing great results, even though its only been a few weeks.

What’s your story?

I started listening to podcasts about five or so years ago. I fell in love with the idea of producing something for everyone to have free access to. My background is in live literature production, but not audio production, so I spent a while considering whether I really wanted to try this. I was a bit concerned that the sheer number of shows out there would dwarf whatever I was doing. But in the end, I came up with a concept that I loved and ran with it. I bought some basic recording equipment and taught myself how to edit audio using Garageband. Then I roped a friend of mine, poet Dominic Stevenson, to talk about poetry and perform a new poem – that became the first episode!

Any advice for keen start-ups out there?

Go for it! I wish someone had told me that the moment I had the idea for the podcast. If an idea comes to you and you can’t stop mulling it over, go for it! Why not try it out and see how it goes? That’s the best advice I can give.

Where can we find you? 

Paperchain PodcastVisit my website and listen to the podcast at Thepaperchainpodcast.org. You can listen to the podcast on Youtube and through the usual podcast services. Follow me on Twitter: @paperchainpod.


Need help with your writing?Start-up Stories is a blog series following the lives of inspiration self-starters who are running their own business or project. Its aim is to offer advice, motivation and inspirational stories to start-ups, small businesses or those thinking about starting their journey. What’s your story? Contact me if you’d like to be involved. 

What is the bl**p is copywriting and why do I need it?

What is a copywriter?Questions I get asked all the time, especially by well-meaning family members, include: ‘What’s copywriting? Is it different from just writing? Does it mean you copy stuff? I could do that!’

Surprisingly, copywriting doesn’t involve copying things. Oh, the joys of the English language and our misleading phrases. A copywriter is someone who writes copy, particularly for advertisement or publicity releases. Copywriting is any words you see outside of a novel, book or article; whether it’s on websites, brochures, leaflets, posters, adverts, blogs, social media content and press releases.

Most people know the importance of having an online presence as a business. But you may not have analysed what you need to create that great website.  You want it to look and sound professional, but how you do that? By having clear and impactful words alongside great images.

Writing vs Photos – This means war!

What is copywriting and why do I need it?When it comes to photography, we all seem to know what we’re doing. We may not be able to take a great photo, but most people can tell the difference between an amateur or professional photography. You can tell when a photo’s blurry or badly framed. Although you might not be able to analyse why one photo is better than the other you will still know which one looks best.

Writing is different. Words are much more subjective, and when used well they become invisible. Good writing is often the last thing on people’s minds when trying to promote their business or project, and most cannot see the difference between good and bad writing.

What is good copywriting?

Good copywritingGood copywriting, like good photography, should be immediate and emotive. Yes, even writing that is selling a product or service. It should inform the reader, make them trust you and want to keep talking to you. Imagine meeting someone new at a party.  You want to make a good impression. You might share information that you think they’ll find interesting. You might shape your language to find a common interest or show your identity.

Here are a few pointers to think about when creating good copywriting for your website:

  • Why are they there? Your website isn’t a suspense story, share vital information at the top of the page.
  • The tone of voice: Do you want to appear formal or informal? Friendly and talkative or an expert in your field? Think about your audience and the impression you want to make.
  • Your personality: Do you want to appear as an individual or a group? You may want your website to be more personal, as though you’re talking directly to your reader, perhaps with humour or slang you would use in real life. Or do you want to appear as a business speaking in the third person and using industry jargon?
  • Readability: Do you know the average age and language level of your audience? The length of sentence, word length, the number of syllables and paragraph length, can affect how easy your website is to read.

Why do I need copywriting?

good copywritingFirst impressions matter. Think about meeting someone for the first time. You want them to feel happy to have met you and wanting to talk to you again – or if you’re anything like me you will. The words you use to communicate are important to how your customer or audience will feel about you and remember you. Through our choice of language, we reveal our knowledge, upbringing, prejudices, intentions, aggressions, world view – I could go on.

A carefully crafted introductory paragraph for your website can affect how your readers respond to you. Whether you’re running a business, at the beginning of your start-up journey or managing a project, think carefully about the words you use to represent your identity. The right words can have a powerful effect.

Looking for help with your writing?

Need help with your writing?If you want help with writing for your website or marketing materials, here I am! Contact me for a copywriting quote.

Say hello on Twitter and tell me what you think of my blog: @NiciCopywriter

Website copywriting for a jewellery designer

Judith Peterhoff Jewellery Logo

BoulBoulle Stacking BanglesI recently completed a copywriting project for a new business: Judith Peterhoff Jewellery. Judith asked me to produce SEO website copywriting and product descriptions. Her website is aimed at the luxury handmade jewellery market and showcases her new collections and bespoke services.

The SEO website copywriting brief

Ready to wear jewelleryI met with Judith in London to discuss her copywriting needs. She asked for copywriting for each page of the website, including Home, About Me and Bespoke Services. She also wanted me to edit the product description of each jewellery item. Each page needed to be optimised with jewellery-related key words to improve her search engine ratings (SEO copywriting).

Judith wanted the writing to have a personal, conversational and direct style. She wanted the colour and personality of her pieces to shine through in the tone of her website. I asked Judith questions about her customers, aims, USP and desired writing style. We established that her customers tend to be women in their late 20’s – 40’s with a love of unique statement jewellery. Men of the same age purchase her items as special gifts.

The website copywriting process

I wrote the pages in a first-person, conversational tone, using ‘me’ and ‘I’ instead of the company name. I referred to the customers as ‘you’ rather than ‘the customer’ to create a direct and informal style. The copy not only showcases the details of her jewellery, such as the materials and gems but also what inspires her pieces. We were keen to include personal details to show how unique her items are.

Bespoke family pendantHer BoulBoulle collection, for example, which features delicate beads of precious metals, is inspired by her mothers maiden name which means ‘big ball small balls’. These sorts of detail give the website a conversational tone-of-voice and highlight what is different about Judith’s pieces. One of my favourite pieces is her bespoke handmade family pendant which she made for the arrival of a baby. It’s made with twists of delicate wire in three different tones to represent each family member – a sweet and subtle way to personalise an item.

The copywriting for her bespoke services landing page detailed her USP: step-by-step updates to the customer, including photos and videos of the jewellery making process. She wanted to showcase her ability to meet any commission. So, we also produce a blog post detailing how she personalised bespoke pieces and the customer’s story behind them.

Owl Alternative Engagement RingI worked jewellery related keywords into each page and product description to ensure prime search engine optimisation. The keywords were chosen based on trendy jewellery items, such as ‘stacking bangles’ and ‘charm bracelets’ and popular materials such as ‘rose gold’ and ‘black zirconia’.

I sent the website copywriting to Judith in Word.doc files. We made a few tweaks based on Judith’s preferences. Once Judith was happy with the details, tone-of-voice and key words, she uploaded the text to her WordPress site. I checked the website pages to ensure keywords and hyperlinks were in the prime positions.

Browse Judith’s colourful jewellery collections and read the copy. You might even enjoy this blog about an owl-inspired bespoke alternative engagement ring.

Judith Peterhoff Jewellery

Judith Peterhoff JewelleryJudith Peterhoff is a one-woman jewellery designer-maker based in North London. She hand-makes ready-to-wear and bespoke jewellery items, including rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Her designs are colourful and elegant made with precious metals and gems.

Let’s work together

If you’re a start-up business or looking to refresh your website I can help. Contact me for a website copywriting quote or drop me an email. 

Copywriting at its best

India copywritingI love collecting quirky, misphrased copywriting and my recent trip to India was a great source of inspiration. Copywriting blunders can sometimes be witty, poetic or even sentimental.

Have you ever heard of the concept of found poetry? It’s a poem that’s made by taking words and phrases from other sources and reframing them, by changing the structure or adding and deleting lines, giving it new meaning. This is what got me interested in the concept of found copywriting. I wonder what compelling copywriting can we create if we re-use copy from other sources and give it new context?

Found copywriting I found my favourite piece of copywriting in the Himalayan mountains on a recent trip to India. A road sign that begged: ‘Be gentle on my curves’. You can interpret this a multitude of ways – kinky, sweet or sentimental. Taken in context, you can work out what it means: the curve of the road, but in English, we don’t often use the word curve to refer to a bend in a road. What really makes it funny, though, is the personality that the words attributed to the road sign. The request to ‘be gentle’ is polite, a personified request, and the phrase ‘my curves’, implies that the road sign has a body or shape of its own that is capable of sensation. 

Found copywriting in IndiaThis is what I love about copywriting and words – how easy it is to interpret them in a number of ways. The meaning of words not only depends on formal definition but also the context, tone of voice, and the reader’s personal history, experience and perhaps even mood. Words are so easy to misuse, manipulate or misinterpret. That’s why we must be careful with them – or be gentle on them. I’m in the process of turning my favourite found copywriting into a found poem, so watch this space. I’ll share it with you when it’s ready.

What’s the funniest copywriting you’ve seen and where? Let me know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter for more copywriting updates.

New read for my #bookclub. Here’s to a week of learning about the financial crisis!


New read for my #bookclub. Here’s to a week of learning about the financial crisis! Wish me luck!

Darling Baby Mine by John de St Jorre


Darling Baby Mine by John de St Jorre is out today. I’m biased, because I editing the book, but it’s a fascinating literary memoir that deserves to be read.

It’s about John’s search for his mother, with nothing but a memory of her smoking to keep him company. Her identity is a secret and she’s mostly been wiped from the family tree. When his father dies, in John’s later life, he finally managed to find his mother. She’s living in a mental asylum, where she has been for most of his life, and their relationship starts there.

It’s been one of my favourite projects to work on due to such a heart-wrenching true story but also such an easy-going and professional author. I love this book. Check it out here. 

#ComfortReading


#ComfortReading

My sunday morning snuggly read to help me get out of bed. Accompanied with coffee, sunshine and sunday morning music.

City of books, city of readers

thelastenchantments:

“London – city of books, city of readers…” – The Last Enchantments

The Mechanic

A new short story from one of my favourite writers. 

‘You’re already fifteen minutes late to pick me up. I’m standing in the front hall in my baby-doll dress and prairie boots, pretending to inspect a photograph of my young grandmother releasing a seagull from her sandy hand, when Dad comes in from his office. He scans me up and down. “Boots? It’s summer, doll."’

Read more of The Mechanic

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe

I’m currently reading Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe

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