Blog

Jan

28

The failure to communicate the most important idea

Going deep… Writing the website for Our Voices in 2014 opened my eyes to the climate crisis. I had my “oh sh*t!” moment, as psychologist Mary Pipher describes it, when we realise that the planet is broken. As a professional writer, I saw there was an ongoing failure to communicate the idea of climate change. […]

By Liz Holt

2 Comments

Apr

08

Poor copy damages brands – 5 reasons why

1. SLOPPY WRITING REFLECTS DIRECTLY ON YOUR BRAND.  If your writing is poor quality, what else don’t you care about..? It’s what your client or customer could be thinking. A missing apostrophe here probably means a lack of detail there. Equally, good copy speaks volumes about the quality of your service or product. (The definition […]

By Liz Holt

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Feb

11

Am I a brand?

This a question I’m often asked by smaller clients. The answer is always Yes – even if you don’t have a big budget and a big reach. You’re a brand because you need to represent yourself Out There, instead of in person. You use some method of communication to ‘speak’ to each of your own […]

By Liz Holt

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Oct

01

How to reduce & control your copywriting costs

Pick and mix as you see fit: produce a great brief… organise the WHAT so I just do the HOW… avoid the 50% time cancellation charges… make me an offer I can’t refuse. Produce a great brief Are you a designer? Please make sure you know all the answers to the Copy Brief before we meet, […]

By Liz Holt

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Sep

30

Write a Copy Brief for the best results

What exactly is a Copy Brief? If you’re new to writing briefs, I hope this blog helps to explain the whys and wherefores. A Copy Brief or Creative Brief uses a Q&A format to help you clearly define and express the creative problem to be solved. Wording varies but the basic questions comprise: 1. Background. […]

By Liz Holt

1 Comments

May

09

Writing for ourvoices.net

ourvoices.net had its soft launch for the UK on Wednesday evening at St. Paul’s. It’s the first online climate petition for all people of faith and belief, and it calls on our global governments to finally achieve meaningful agreement that will prevent devastating climate change. The focus is on the Paris 2015 Climate Summit, organised […]

By Liz Holt

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Mar

05

A great example of consistent brand language

  Rock solid consistency in brand language makes a huge difference, as this ‘Page error’ message by Faber & Faber perfectly shows. It ‘feels’ like Faber. It assumes the right level of knowledge for the target audience. (They know what a haiku is – and get the joke.) And even though Faber Academy slipped up […]

By Liz Holt

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Oct

10

A plethora of print

Yummy. A variety of finally-printed jobs have been arriving on my doormat, which I’ve written over the past year. I’ll upload ‘proper’ shots for each project into my portfolio section in time. Meanwhile… these comprise: A conceptual copywriting piece for the lavish Athenaeum hotel on Piccadilly. It’s a summer promotion that was mailed out to […]

By Liz Holt

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Sep

13

The reason why creative copywriting is so vital

The target won’t respond to you unless they believe what you’re saying is true, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say something originally […]

By Liz Holt

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Jul

11

Asking questions.The inventive Thomas Heatherwick.

Thomas Heatherwick, inventor of the Olympic Cauldron amongst many other incredible things, was interviewed by Joanna Lumley at the sweltering Buxton Festival last weekend. I sat there feeling as though my brain was being tickled. This quietly-spoken, modest man is a master of divergent thinking. I took the plunge and spent £29.95 on his book, […]

By Liz Holt

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Jun

26

Copywriting for the Cairngorms National Park

In early Spring 2013 I wrote ’10 Surprising Stories’ to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the designation of the Cairngorms in the Highlands as a National Park. The 10 Surprising Stories can be found on the web throughout 2013. This is one of those completely fabulous ‘brands’, which overflows with USPs… 25% of all of Britain’s […]

By Liz Holt

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Jun

19

Pun-free copywriting: the one exception to my rule.

Generally speaking, I hate the use of puns in copy. They’re often a lazy short cut to making a line sound ‘ad-y’ without it actually being a good ad. Think more deeply and there’s usually a more interesting thought and better solution. But I liked this one. It’s bang on the cheeky, chatty, knowing tone […]

By Liz Holt

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Jun

13

Letters, words and typography

Continuing the theme on typography, watch this trailer for a film about the typeface Helvetica, which makes the point about the ubiquitous nature of this particular font. It’s everywhere. http://www.helveticafilm.com/watchnow.html  

By Liz Holt

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Jun

07

Seeing the blind spots: writing buddies

Last night we had another great session in our children’s writers group here in Edinburgh. We all feel we get so much from each other’s feedback. I was reading out a new picture book manuscript, ‘Shimmery Wish!’, and the group suggested a couple of tweaks that felt right to me and have really made a […]

By Liz Holt

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May

31

I love this article about kids’ writing

My daughter described blossom as ‘snow flowers’ at the age of 3ish. Kids are utterly creative with language because they don’t yet know the ‘rules’ and use anything to describe the world around them. Their neural pathways are doing crazy things and aren’t yet hardwired into habit. So listening to kids talk and write is […]

By Liz Holt

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May

24

A great headline

The Economist know how to work words. Their ads and front covers have a strong, consistent tone of voice that promise savvy content. For a while we subscribed to the magazine because my daughter was getting interested in politics. I kept this issue (June 2011) and came across it this morning while tidying up. “The […]

By Liz Holt

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May

02

Copywriting and typography

Typography is – or at least should be – as much of a craft as copywriting.  The written word can ‘sound’ different with different fonts. I’ve just come out of a further briefing for a client’s new website, during which he showed me a headline I’d written for their home page, set in about 10 […]

By Liz Holt

2 Comments

Apr

28

Freelance copywriters #1

It occurred to me that I should blog a bit more about what I actually do for a living. I’d love to blog and tweet extensively on the projects I’m always working on – there’s so much to say – but the problem is client confidentiality. Most clients, understandably, don’t want the rest of the […]

By Liz Holt

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Apr

22

Writing tuition from The Faber Academy

I’ve just experienced three days of writing and learning in the eaves of Faber & Faber on one of their excellent Faber Academy courses: Write a short story in a weekend. Marcel Theroux with guest tutor Deborah Levy gave us drops of wisdom that I honestly think have changed the way I write. (And after […]

By Liz Holt

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Apr

11

#NonCon

Egged on by Phillip Ardargh (tweeter and children’s author), #NonCon trended at No.1 on Twitter yesterday. #NonCon is a non-event, attended by nobody, about nothing, with no speakers, located nowhere. Not even a double negative doesn’t explain what this is all about. Examples: Elen Caldecott: For me, it’s the lack of volunteers giving their time […]

By Liz Holt

0 Comments

Apr

11

The meaning of the word ‘Society’

Okay so this blog is a bit political. But the combination of the new benefits cuts on April Fool’s Day (pinch, punch, first of the month) for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, coupled with Margaret Thatcher’s death this week, feels like enough of a perfect storm to make me do this. […]

By Liz Holt

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Feb

25

Good copywriting for Top Table

I was standing almost opposite this poster yesterday and it happily killed about 60 secs waiting for the next tube. It’s in praise of going out for dinner. The copy is a good example of how to bring a proposition to life, and it works with the shot of the girl as a table. You […]

By Liz Holt

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Nov

30

The Fairy Pools – a short story for children

I wrote this story after an inspiring visit to Skye – and the beautiful ‘Fairy Pools’ at the foot of the Cuillins. The story was published in Scholastic’s ‘WOW 366′ for children (primary school age), where each story was told in just 366 words. Copyright has since reverted back to authors. The Fairy Pools  by […]

By Liz Holt

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Nov

16

Great voices in unexpected places

Good writing always catches my eye. This fabulous example is on a plinth standing outside North Berwick’s Sea Bird Centre. I pause to read it almost every time I pass by on my way to sip another latte in the sunshine. Look at this phrase, which encapsulates the clear and strong ‘voice’ of the Tribute: In […]

By Liz Holt

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Oct

30

Your brand needs to have the right ‘voice’

It can be hard enough for aspiring authors to find their own writing ‘voice’, let alone brands. The authorial voice comes from some mysterious place between the conscious and the subconscious, infusing all the writing with a feel that is uniquely you. The same should be true of brands. And by brands I don’t just […]

By Liz Holt

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Jun

06

The Spirit of Chartwell

Funny to hear on Radio 4 on Sunday that the Queen’s barge for the Jubilee Pageant / flotilla was none other than the Spirit of Chartwell. It’s a peach of a ship, French-polished to perfection and featuring fully restored historical items from HMS this and SS that. I wrote the copy for their website in […]

By Liz Holt

1 Comments

May

02

Shakespeare and the power of stories in advertising

I wrote this article for The Drum Magazine, pub 18 May 2007. Given the Shakespeare fest currently going in in the media in the run-up to the Olympics, I thought I’d post it here.   PLAY RIGHT. Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ is still often used as a model for understanding business ethics. But what can The […]

By Liz Holt

2 Comments

Apr

17

Copywriting: acting without the stage fright

It’s often occurred to me that copywriting is like acting. Think about what actors do. They portray a believable persona that is entirely separate from themselves. The characters engage the audience and play out the story. The actors must sustain this ‘voice’ and congruent body behaviours for every second they’re on stage, from their eyebrows […]

By Liz Holt

4 Comments

Mar

30

The picture I wish I’d taken

Walking home tonight, the low evening light was shining through the new leaves of a little tree at the edge of the Meadows (a tranche of parkland in Edinburgh city centre). Its trunk was no wider than my palm. Bunches of pale green leaves were semi-unfurled, hesitant in the spring air. The tree was very […]

By Liz Holt

0 Comments

Mar

29

All done in the BEST possible taste….

My beloved landlord, Newhaven (the agency that makes those famous Tennents Lager commercials) has made this wee little film. It’s promoting “Bawbags”, a Scottish underwear brand. (I’m glad my spam filter is switched on). I’m so speechless, I can’t say anything else. Just watch it (and share the love, if you’re so inclined). Bawbags presents John’s […]

By Liz Holt

1 Comments

Mar

19

Please touch

  P.S. Another thing about that art exhibition on Friday evening: some of the exhibits had little signs such as these. It’s not the first time it’s been done, but  I appreciated it all the same – especially for an exhibition with such a tactile theme as Collage. Even so, despite the invitation, the touching […]

By Liz Holt

0 Comments

Mar

18

Ereptation, and other forgotten words

On Friday evening I went along to an art exhibition opening with my artist friend Joanne at the arts complex in Edinburgh. The theme was exploring collage. I thought this piece was really interesting. The artist Eleanor Symms calls it  ’ereptation, n.obs.a creeping forth‘ and explains: This work forms part of an exploration of obselete […]

By Liz Holt

5 Comments

Mar

17

Scotland’s brand new spa

I like this spa. And I’m not just saying this because they’re my client. They’ve got it 100% right in the look and feel. You drive out from Edinburgh along the stunning East Lothian coastline, past those iconic cute red sandstone farm cottages with their red pan tiled roofs (a hangover from the Dutch connection […]

By Liz Holt

3 Comments

Mar

11

Jammy blog

No I’m not talking Hartley’s or Bonne Maman (much as I like thinking about food). I’m talking about a blog that I am very, very much looking forward to writing at the end of this week, after my visit to Archerfield’s brand new spa, the Fletcher’s Cottage on Friday. My extremely nice clients have invited […]

By Liz Holt

0 Comments

Mar

02

More Equal Exchange

Here are some of EE’s coffees, in Earthy again. I note they’ve switched to some white packaging with coloured labels (I think I prefer the coloured stuff) but it’s all still the same copy. I was so chuffed when the client was bold enough to go with my cheeky little headline for the Italian roast […]

By Liz Holt

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Dec

05

Spotting Equal Exchange packets in Earthy

Equal Exchange’s products are absolutely brilliant. I love spotting them around the place. Here’s a shelf of honey in Earthy, an unusual shop on Causewayside in Edinburgh. (Just, handily, around the corner from my flat. Perfect for nipping in for an organic cappuccino and brownie, complete with sunshine and papers on a Sat morning.Trying not […]

By Liz Holt

1 Comments
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