Of all the revelations from the last 12 months, one of the most ‘sobering’ was a grim statistic: alcohol-related deaths have hit a record high.

Data from the ONS states that 5,460 deaths between January and September 2020 were caused by alcohol.

Now, I’ve been thinking about writing this for a long time. It just so happens that this gloomy press release landed in the same month I decided to give up alcohol. Even more timely, the nation is in uproar over the possibility that pubs might open in April…without booze.

Why I gave up alcohol

This isn’t an excuse to be pious. I’m not…

This morning, like many others, I woke up to a barrage of messages from my family Whatsapp group, arguing about coronavirus. Long story short: seven diametrically opposing views do not make for happy families.

What has this got to do with pandering to the algorithm? Everything. My wise old matriarch delights in sharing her daily curated newsfeed content, dogged with negative stories challenging the efficacy of the vaccine.

Like clockwork, one of us disputes the claim while another says we need to be open-minded. Matriarch fights back. Chaos ensues.

Nature or nurture?

As human beings, we have always been hard-wired to form social…

Owen Turner — United by Design

Today is National Freelancers’ Day — a celebration of the finest self-employed talents out there, whose contributions make up some 5 million of the UK’s workforce.

As a proud freelancer, I like to think I espouse good values. Professionalism, reliability, courtesy. Ask any other and you’ll doubtless hear the same.

But is this the general consensus of the wider population? Or indeed…

Is ‘freelancer’ a pejorative term?

The inspiration for this week’s blog comes from a dear professional friend of mine. We’ve worked together on a few projects — podcasts, webinars, blogs etc. …

Choosing a niche is a hotly debated topic for humble copywriter folk. Some argue that they relish the variety their non-specialisms bring; others love to niche as a means of becoming more competitive. So, where does sustainable copywriting fit within this?

In the interests of ease, I’ve used the terms ‘sustainable copywriting’, ‘ethical copywriting’ and ‘eco-friendly copywriting’ interchangeably here. This helped to garner the widest range of responses in my research.

Strictly speaking, however, we could argue:

  • Sustainable copywriting relates to long-lasting alternatives e.g. upcycling fashion or the circular economy
  • Eco-friendly copywriting relates to specially designed green products, e.g. …

Business coaching. Like it or loathe it, the industry is growing, and was valued at $15 billion globally in 2019.

The definition of “business coach” is a bone of contention. Some prefer to focus solely on advancing the goals of their clients’ businesses, while others use “coach” as an umbrella term for life coaching, encompassing everything from sales to personal confidence.

According to Brand Minds, coaching may comprise:

  • Executive coaching: ‘soft skills’ and personal development
  • Business coaching: ‘hard’ skills like sales and performance
  • Employee satisfaction coaching: healing broken relationships
  • Sales-only coaching: internal, focusing on business development
  • Female empowerment coaching: niche…

The other night, an exchange with my co-director got me thinking about boundaries. Despite the fact that we’ve spent most of 2020 behind screens, it feels like we’re more up-close-and-personal than ever.

I was absent-mindedly responding to a personal message on Instagram. A York man, whom I’d never met, was giving me advice on how to get around London by tube.

“Wait, so people can send you private messages? Not comments?”

“Well, yeah — he responded to my story. I asked if anyone knew any tube stations near London Bridge.”

So ensues a half-hour conversation about how social media works…

Image credit — @imjustagirl16

This time last week I had a very lively Zoom call with a travel client. I won’t reveal their identity, but I will say the obvious — times are hard.

Thankfully, they’re a positive bunch and there is a palpable optimism among the team. In fact, the resounding message from the call was, “our clients are keen to start working with us as soon as they can”.

This long-term view is something we should all be embracing, in spite of ongoing media negativity. No one knows this better than the travel blogging community. …

Am I in the wrong job? Apparently, in a sea of introverts, I’m one of the only extroverts. Based on evidence from two social media polls, it appears that half of all copywriters are the shy and retiring type:

  • Just 8% of creatives consider themselves extroverts
  • Half of us are proud introverts
  • Almost half — 42% — are an ‘ambivert’ or ‘omnivert’.

Now, naturally, there are going to be some anomalies. I opened up the field to copywriters, bloggers or “any other content creators”. …

#HashtagWinning: The Secrets of LinkedIn Content Data

Ever feel like you’re shouting and nobody’s listening? We don’t need a mountain of data to understand the ‘corona effect’ on our marketing.

As a self-confessed LinkedIn junkie, I get a kick out of creating content. Sure, I use Twitter, Facebook and the ‘gram, but LinkedIn is the place where I make my most valuable connections. Hence, you can imagine my utter heartbreak when all my engagement fell off a cliff:

Ten points if you get the joke, Colombian literature enthusiasts. This week’s data-is-sexy-I-promise tribute goes out to leads, and how we’re approaching lead generation right now.

Lockdown really does feel like 100 years of solitude, doesn’t it?

Okay, I’ll stop.

But it does shed light on the powerful switchover to virtual we’ve seen in recent months. If you’re lucky enough to work in a field that’s been largely unaffected by coronavirus, you may have noticed a change too. Perhaps your workload has even increased.

Let’s crunch the numbers and see if we can draw any powerful conclusions. …

Katie Thompson

Freelance writer, NCTJ-trained journalist, marathon runner and unapologetic power ballad fan.

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