Archive | Writing

Real life business vs the business plan

Hi there! It’s certainly been a while since this blog got a proper update. Fear not though: the blog hasn’t been forgotten. The non existing updates have mainly been due to a combination of that so called work life and a heavy writer’s block (caused by no time for reflection). Writing for a living comes with its ups and downs. Up: it’s fantastic. It’s creative. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing and now I’m doing it. It’s very rewarding, developing and fulfilling to see one’s work come to live in front of you. On the downside: you put all of your heart and best efforts (obviously) into your client’s needs and desires and products. And then when you’re done with that, you notice everything else that’s been going on in the world while you were busy working. You look at your perfect business plan and all the actions you were supposed to take, such as for example keep your blog updated with relevant content. (After all, people might be looking at your website so it’s probably a great idea to also practice what you preach).

You look at all the crises you could have approached and written an in-depth and interesting analysis about, only to face the fact that still, you didn’t and besides, 50 thousand other people already commented on it so you realize that you just have to let that one go. On the other hand: once you’ve settled in that good old ”feeling the imposter syndrome again” and calmed down a bit, you’ll also realize that delivering value to your clients and focusing on your real life business obviously is exactly what you’re supposed to do and what you’ve done. And that once those new experiences and lessons learned during the projects have been processed properly by your brain, they will most likely be able to translate into something more valueable to share with the world. You know, more than just posting updates of your morning coffee in order to maintain some sort of content stream on Instagram.

Are you with me? Well. This is pretty much where I’m at right now. Working. While pondering, reflecting and processing all the things I’m not writing about. (Oh the irony!). I’m lucky to be working on a couple of really fun and challenging projects. I can feel that I’m growing and evolving almost every day, but yet at what I consider to be a managable level. Still not gonna lie to you though, not being able to maintain this blog updated will always be a guilty conscience for me. Plus, I don’t want to get caught up in ”only” writing for business. I need these tiny, personal updates every now and then as well. If nothing else, just to have a little check in with myself and see what’s going on.  

So here’s to this Thursday and one of these tiny updates 😉

I’ll be back.

/Malin

 

0

6 copy newsletters that will sharpen your creative flow

Everyone does it. (No, not THAT, you pervert). I’m of course talking about “steal with pride” and and avoiding to invent the wheel every time you get caught in writer’s block.  

Whether you’re already an awesome communications professional or just a fellow language nerd trying to spark your creative juices and writing flow, here’s 6 newsletters on copywriting that you should add to your subscription list!

Photo: color image of binoculars and a beach view illustrating the blog postPro tip from yours truly before we get started: if you’re using Gmail – mark up all of your copy newsletters with a suitable label. Mine are simply marked up immediately with “Copy & writing” and let me tell you – do this and you’ll never need to search for that “good tip I read last week in some newsletter” again.

(And in case you wonder: no, this update has got nothing to do with Google, apart from the fact that I just LOVE Gmail’s organizing features with all of my Virgo heart, thus can’t promote it enough! That’s all).

Ok. Enough with the chatting now.

Ready for some proper newsletter tips? Here we go!

 

Gill Andrews

Action-oriented, direct, competent and sarcastic – what’s not to love about Gill Andrews? Ironically, I can no longer remember exactly when and where I came across this German powerhouse, but her newsletters certainly does the trick for me and I dare say you’ll also want to get up and get your professional shit together once you start receiving them. Subscribe for valuable tips and tricks on reviewing and improving your website as well as on writing better web copy!

 

Copyblogger

Ah well, a blog called Copyblogger on writing better copy, what a no brainer! Right? Maybe. However, ain’t nothing wrong with an occasional no brainer every now and then as long as it does what it should. And that’s exactly what these Copyblogger newsletter updates does for you, as they provide smart and snappy tips on writing copy, grammar and various language related topics + also some deeper insights every now and then.

Yes, you’ve probably heard of lots of the tips plenty of times before but some things can’t just be repeated enough. Subscribe and you’ll see it for yourself.

 

Exclusive tip for Swedish writers: Språkkonsulterna

Unfortunately, this newsletter is only available in Swedish but for those of you who live and work in Sweden – it’s a must read! What’s so unique about this newsletter then? Well, perhaps it’s just the pure beauty and simplicity of daring to pick one subject and stick with it. No trying to squeeze in 50 sub topics on marketing, growth hacking or cheap PR tricks here, just pure semantics and grammar porn! Whether you’re fully focused on mastering the beautiful Swedish language to perfection or just want to step up your game: ”Språkbrevet” is the newsletter for you.

 

Kate Toon

Sydney based Kate Toon is an experienced SEO copywriter/SEO consultant. I came across Kate for a while ago and since then, I’ve come to highly appreciate her witty and informative newsletter updates. Thus, highly recommended reading! While you’re still in the mood, please also take a couple of minutes to read this excellent post on that never ending discussion on how long and how often you should update your blog…

 

Mike Long – Mike’s Weekly Writing Tips

Let’s talk about Mike, baby! Seriously though, you need to add Mike’s newsletter to your subscription list. Do it now. I love these weekly updates – always insightful, sharp, yet eloquently put together with heart and soul. Yup, we could all need some more of Mike Long’s writing in our lives.

 

Mattias Åkerberg – Please Copy Me

I once worked with a colleague who had some (according to me) weird ideas about how to handle relations and the competition out there. Sure, I offer my writing services as well (as you probably know by now if you’ve read my blog for some time!), however, I’ve always liked to apply a “dare to be compared” perspective on my working life.

By that I mean that I think that instead of going for backstabbing or trying to just promote oneself, good things happen when you’re also able to see the greatness in your fellow industry colleagues! Gothenburg based copywriter Mattias Åkerberg is definitely one of those great industry colleagues that inspires me.  We’ve never met, but I have a deep admiration for his writing and how he’s built his own platform. Good news as well: shortly, he’ll also start his own newsletter (in English) on UX writing. Don’t miss out on any updates – visit him and sign up!

 

/Malin

 

 

0

I redaktionens papperskorg kan ingen höra dig skrika

“If you can’t explain it simple, you don’t understand it well enough”. Uttjatade ord, men ack så aktuella. Att nå ut genom kommunikation har aldrig varit enklare – att tränga igenom bruset för att faktiskt engagera din önskade läsare är något helt annat.

Foto: en färgbild på sopkorg fylld av refuserade alster. Plågsamt ofta noterar jag pressutskick med hög risk för att reta gallfeber på mottagaren. Dessutom på grund av misstag som enkelt hade kunnat undvikas med bara lite research, grundläggande kunskaper om journalistik, samt gärna även en dos av det berömda sunda förnuftet.

Här hittar du en lista över de fem vanligaste tabbarna du bör låta bli. Spar gärna ner den tills nästa gång deadline-stressen flåsar dig i nacken!

1) Inget nyhetsvärde
Företaget eller organisationen som du företräder har i grund och botten ingen egentlig nyhet som ni vill nå ut med. Att ni t.ex. lanserar en ny webbsida eller att er webbsida nu finns tillgänglig även på språket X eller Y utgör inte material för ett pressmeddelande. Lär er att tänka som en journalist – var, när, hur, varför och vem.

Var hårda mot er själva så ökar ni relevansen av er kommunikation när ni faktiskt har en riktig nyhet att nå ut med.

2) Ni behärskar inte formatet för ett pressmeddelande
Ett pressmeddelande är ingen annons, inget blogginlägg eller en debattartikel. Pressmeddelandet bör alltid vara formulerat i ett sådant format att en journalist utan onödiga korrigeringar ska kunna klippa ut er rubrik och ingress och göra en begriplig notis enbart på basis av den. Rubrik och ingress tillsammans måste framföra ert huvudbudskap samt givetvis besvara läsarens “what’s in it for me?”.

Den här punkten är kanske en av de allra viktigaste, och även en av dem som det slarvas allra mest med! Låt oss därför stanna kvar här lite och kika på några kontrollpunkter som du kan ta för vana att gå igenom innan du skickar ut dina pressmeddelanden:

  • Rubriken – är den tydlig och slagkraftig och sammanfattar nyheten på ett sätt som även en person utan förkunskaper om er verksamhet kan förstå? Är det faktiskt en rubrik och inte bara en överskrift av texten? Ett viktigt obs: företräder du ett mindre känt varumärke och är osäker på tonaliteten – ta hellre det säkra före det osäkra när du formulerar dina rubriker. Kreativa ordlekar som kanske fungerar ypperligt för välkända varumärken som Nike eller Apple kan landa katastrofalt när de kommer från en okänd källa och riskerar att tolkas helt ur sitt tänkta sammanhang. Undvik. Sakligt och kortfattat är aldrig fel.  
      
  • Ingressen – i ingressen sammanfattar du kärninnehållet från pressmeddelandet på ett kort och kärnfullt sätt. Du bör hålla ingressen till max två-tre rader. Har ni mycket och viktig information som är svår att sålla i – gör upprepade korrekturrundor. Börja med att slakta onödiga adjektivfraser och subjektiva bedömningar.

 

  • Längd och genreformalia – ett pressmeddelande bör aldrig överstiga en A4. En enkel och funktionell mall du kan utgå ifrån kan se ut ungefär så här:
    →rubrik
    →ingress
    →ett inledande, slagkraftigt citat från sakkunnig talesperson
    → kortfattat faktastycke som belägger talespersonens citat på lämpligt sätt och med fördel sätter er nyhet i ett större perspektiv
    → avslutande citat från talesperson
    → kortfattad, praktisk information som t.ex. informerar mer i detalj om när läsarna kan förvänta sig att produkt X kommer att vara tillgänglig, hur ni i bolaget förväntar er att tidsplanen för projekt Y kommer att fortlöpa o.s.v.
    → kontaktuppgifter till pressavdelning och talespersoner
    → om företaget (“boilerplate” som det kallas på branschspråk): kort om er samt länkar till pressrum och webbsida.

 

3) Språk- och grammatikfel
Slarva inte med korrekturläsningen. Vet ni med er att ni kommer att sitta i processer sent på natten så se över och hitta en rutin för “four eye principle”, så att den som ytterst sitter och ska skicka ut pressmeddelandet har tillgång till ett par extra ögon. (Ni kommer att tacka er själva när ni upptäcker den där extra nollan som slunkit med).

 

4) Intervall för utskick
Allt är inte ett pressmeddelande. Spar pressmeddelanden till de händelser som verkligen är en nyhet. Exempel på nyheter:

  • Förvärv
  • Nedskärningar
  • Större produktlanseringar med ekonomisk effekt på verksamheten
  • Rekrytering till nyckelpositioner som vd, styrelsemedlemmar eller personal på ledande befattning.

 

5) För många kockar involverade
Vem äger egentligen skrivprocessen i er organisation? Bortsett från viktig faktagranskning bör ägandeskapet över pressutskicken alltid ligga hos er kommunikationsavdelning. Släpp kontrollbehovet och lita på att dina medarbetare kommer att involvera berörda personer internt när det behövs.

Behöver du hjälp med att se över och skärpa till era pressmeddelanden är du varmt välkommen att höra av dig.

Lycka till med era framtida nyheter!

 

/Malin

 

0

Buying articles for your corporate blog instead of writing them yourself

Photo: black and white "genre" shot of computer and office toolsIs it really that time of the month again? You know: delivering on your organisation’s key metrics, building that thought leadership you’re always talking about – posting those blog posts you just never seem to have enough time for.

In case writing and publishing those much needed articles mostly causes internal headaches, it might be a good idea to simply outsource your content creation to a professional writer.

There are several good reasons to buy articles instead of trying to do everything by yourself:

  • No need for trying to invent the wheel every month
    By hiring a professional writer to manage your continuous blog posts, you’ll also automatically get that important external perspective on the topics you’d like to highlight and promote in your corporate feed and channels.
  • Focus on what you’re good at
    Let’s face it: even though we’re living in a constant flow of reading and receiving information and messages, it does not mean that each and everyone of us should be managing corporate information. Focus on what you’re good at and let a communications professional provide you with their expertise within writing and communication.
  • Guaranteed maintenance by continuous updates
    By finding yourself a professional, trustworthy and passionate writer, you’ll be guaranteed those weekly or monthly updates for your blog without having to worry about the quality.

Think your communications department should be able to handle this task? That’s understandable. However, here’s the thing: maybe they’d love to but just won’t be able to. Not because you haven’t hired highly skilled professionals, but due to how several organisational aspects, changes, issues or challenges a lot of times tend to involve your communication professionals and completely consume most of their time.

All of a sudden: there’s just never enough time, peace and quiet for your team to research and produce high quality content.

  • Don’t frighten your customers and stakeholders with poor writing
    Excellent communication is an essential part of any business. So you’ve got the world’s best products and services? Great! Make sure your poor writing skills aren’t scaring your customers or potential investors away then.

Good writing equals good business opportunities.

Next time – skip the headache and invest part of that communications budget on getting the texts and assistance you need.

 

Want help? Feel free to get in touch at malin@ambaurora.se

 

/Malin

0

Celebrations: The Birth Of My Business

After a couple of intense months, things are finally starting to come together! Last week, I got the final approvement needed from the Swedish authorities to be able to actually call myself ”business owner” now. Such a happy, yet freaky feeling for someone like me, who’s always been employed.

A bright color image of balloons on a bridge

Celebrations and some bright balloons are in order when you start your business, am I right or am I right? 😉

This week has been intense too, as I’ve been working hard on finalizing the details and the texts for my website. You would think that things would be easier when you’re working for yourself, being able to have the final say on everything, right? Ironically, it turns out that instead it’s the other way around. Or at least for me, a never ending Virgo born critic…

It certainly seems that for every text finished it’s possible to immidiately find a new one that requires attention and corrections. On the other hand – definitely not complaining as this is really something that I love to do! As of right now I will still have to have some patience before I officially ”launch” my website and this blog to a broader audidence, as I will need to sleep on some texts and details before hitting the ”go public” button.

Stay tuned though, as I’m not only excited to get my business started but also being back as a blogger! Primarily, my blog will be written in English as I have lots of English speaking peers and stakeholders in my network with whome I want to be able to discuss. Still, I am based in Stockholm so I think that there will be a mix between English and Swedish blog posts here as I most likely also will want to comment on current events within Sweden.

Welcome to my blog, hope you’ll enjoy spending time here with me!

/Malin

0