You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2011.

Many people want to blog, but simply don’t know where to start.  I’m going to try to answer some of the most common questions we’re asked:

  •  Why should I blog and what are the benefits?
  • Can you teach me about blogging?
  • What can I write about in my blog?

What is a blog?

A blog was originally a ‘web log’ – essentially an online diary where people recorded events and day-to-day occurrences.  Many of today’s blogs still do this.  You can read blogs about people’s gardening activities, their experiences in setting up their business, and even how they bring up their children.

However, many businesses use blogs as effective marketing tools and these are different from the online diary-type offerings.

Why should your business have a blog?

Blogs have a wealth of benefits for a business.  Rather than go into this subject here, I’ve had a look round and found an excellent blog post on the subject by Simon Rycroft of netexplorers.

Blog training

While we do offer copywriting workshops to help you learn to write effectively, we don’t run blogging courses.

But if you’re interested in blogging and live in the Oxfordshire area, Black Dog New Media has two blog training workshops coming up shortly.  These will be presented by award winning writer and blogger Emily Carlisle.  The cost is £25 and places can be booked online.

If you can’t make the Black Dog New Media workshops (and you should try – Emily Carlisle is extremely knowledgeable and very entertaining!), check out Mark White’s Better Business Blogging website.  We can highly recommend his free business blogging ecourse.  It’s clear and easy to follow – and delivered in bite-sized chunks.

What to blog about

This is often the biggest hurdle for a would-be blogger.  As a copywriter, I enjoy blogging.  For me, it is a ‘free-fall’ type of writing – I can choose my subjects and write what I want!

If your blog is a diary, like our Copywriters’ Allotment one, you would write about events.  You can ask for advice or post your own hints and tips.

But what about writing a business blog?  What should you write about?

Firstly, blogs are not ‘in your face’ sales tools.  A good blog is informative and interesting. It should not be a sales pitch.  Your blog posts should demonstrate your knowledge and experience, which in itself will market your business.

Anyone running a business is an expert in their own field. Start by writing a list all your specialist areas of knowledge.  For example:

  •  An accountant will have expert knowledge about things like reducing tax, current legislation, and setting up a company.
  • An HR consultant will be an expert in disciplinary procedures and interview techniques.
  • A butcher would be able to offer advice on choosing good cuts of meat and how to make your own sausages.
  • If you are a social media expert, you will know about new applications for Twitter or how to get the most from a Facebook page.

Once you have your list of specialist subjects, ask yourself the following two questions:

  • What are my prospective customer or client’s problems?
  • What advice can I offer to help solve them?

When you’ve answered them, you will have a host of subjects to write about in your blog.

It’s a good idea to keep a list of possible topics for your blog.  If you have an idea, add it to your list before you forget.  If you use Facebook or Twitter, try asking people what advice they would like.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be generous with your knowledge.  You won’t damage your business by giving advice.  Our blog offers advice on copywriting and other aspects of marketing.  Many people who read it act on our advice.  On the other hand, there are plenty of people who will never master the art of copywriting, or don’t have the time or the inclination to try … so who will they contact when they need a copywriter?

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

Fiona Durnin - winner of the Cutting Edge's princess bride contest

Winning bride Fiona Durnin with the Cutting Edge directors

The winner of the Cutting Edge Hair and Beauty Salon’s Bridal Princess competition was announced at the ‘Fantasy Fairytale’ evening at The Gallery – Rye Hill Golf Club on Thursday 31st March 2011.  The winning bride was Fiona Durnin of Banbury, who is marrying her fiancée Neil on August 6th 2011.

Fiona has won a hair and beauty wedding package: free hair and beauty trial prior to her wedding.  And on her wedding day in August, she will have her make-up created and hair styled by the salon’s bridal specialists.

The event was held to celebrate the forthcoming Royal Wedding.  A percentage of the ticket sales and the raffle proceeds have been donated to Tiago’s fund.  Four-year old Tiago Dos Santos from Banbury has cerebral palsy.  The fund has been set up to raise funds for his treatment.  Over £300 was raised on the night and The Cutting Edge has committed to raise a total of £750 for Tiago’s cause.

The Fantasy Fairytale evening started with the announcement of the three finalists in the bridal competition.  They were chosen from the ten brides who entered.  The two runners-up were Samantha Cross and Karen Corbett, both from Banbury.  All three finalists modelled for the Cutting Edge’s wedding hair styling demonstration.  Three of the salon’s stylists worked with the brides, giving them a hair make-over during the evening.

As well as watching the hair demonstrations, the audience had the opportunity to look round the displays and talk to wedding suppliers who had co-sponsored the event.  Close-up magician Richard Young from Oxford entertained and astounded everyone with his dazzling repertoire of magic tricks.   Balloon and bridal flower specialist The Balloon Lady,  decorated the venue, and Bucks Fizz and canapes were provided by Rye Hill Golf  Club.  Wedding cupcakes were proved by Cakes for All.

The evening’s finale started with a bridal fashion compered by Chipping Norton business man and presenter, Ken Norman.  The wedding gowns were provided by Banbury’s Katherine Allen and the men’s wear by Henrys of Banbury.

The winning bride was announced at the end of the evening.  All three finalists were presented with a bottle of champagne by Kirsty Pearce, salon director of The Cutting Edge.  The winner, Fiona Durnin, was presented with a bouquet of flowers.  All three finalists also won a studio photo sitting and free portrait with local wedding photographer, Fiona Baker.

Kirsty Pearce from the Cutting Edge said, “All our salon staff were involved in choosing the winning bride. We had asked all the brides to tell us why they wanted to win the competition and this was used for the judging.  Fiona Durnin’s reasons were so compelling, several members of our team were moved to tears.  We would like to thank everyone who took part: the brides, all the guests on the night, and of course all our sponsors.”

– ends –

Notes to Editors

Image: Fiona Durnin (centre) with The Cutting Edge Directors, Jayne Wells (left) and Kirsty Pearce (right). Photograph provided by Fiona Baker Photography.  High resolutions images available.

The Cutting Edge Hair & Beauty Salon in Rotary Way, Banbury, will shortly be celebrating its 4th birthday. The salon employs 14 stylists and beauty therapists, including long hair and bridal specialists.

The Bridal Princess contest is open to brides of all ages who are planning their wedding before October 2013. Entry to the contest is free. Brides will need to attend the Bridal Fantasy Fairytale Evening where the winner will be announced.

The Bridal Fantasy Fairytale Evening will be held at The Gallery – Rye Hill Golf Club on Thursday 31st March 2011 at 7.30, where the winner of the contest will be announced. The evening is being sponsored by Greg Heath of Rye Hill, Fiona Baker Photography and other local wedding specialists.

Included in the evening will be a Bucks Fizz reception and light buffet and wedding cupcakes, hair and beauty demonstrations, and a fashion show finale.

The 3 finalists of the Bridal Princess contest will be announced at the start of the evening. Each bride will be presented with a bottle of bubbly and have her hair and make-up done by The Cutting Edge bridal team. Once their make-over is complete, the finalists will have the opportunity to pose for photographs taken by professional photographer, Fiona Baker. The two runners-up will receive a free 8 x 6 portrait picture.

The winning bride will be announced at the end of the evening. She will be presented with flowers and her wedding hair & beauty voucher. The winning bride will also receive a 10 x 8 professional photograph, taken on the evening by Fiona Baker.

For more information, please contact:

Kirsty Pearce / Jayne Wells
The Cutting Edge Salon Director


Here we have a get well ode … that’s full of love and cheer

To say we hope recovery … is well and truly near.

A surgeon’s knife and hormones … must truly be to blame

We hear you’re feeling down at mouth … that really is a shame!



We know that you are more than … more than most can hope to be

A writer oh so talented … with a wit that’s clear to see.

So dear Em … we wish you well … your body it must mend

Lots of healing wishes … with this ode to you we send!



We hope that you … in double quick time … are feeling well and happy

to delight us with another blog, that’s funny, wild and snappy.

Here’s to you and your Twitter fans … who’ll join with us to say …

Hope you’re feeling better and … tomorrow’s another day.


With love, sympathy and apologies to Emily Carlisle at



Yesterday saw our very first copywriting masterclass held at Bloxham Mill near Banbury.  We had a full house of 10 people from a range of businesses.  Although we expected everyone to be local, one of our delegates travelled from Hertfordshire to attend the masterclass!

PR Masterclass training in Oxfordshire

Wearing PR hats!

The ice was quickly broken when everyone was tasked with making themselves a PR hat … from a sheet of newspaper.  They didn’t know origami was also on the agenda!  Later in the morning, Ray Avery the general manager of Bloxham Mill, popped in to judge the results.


After covering some PR theory, everyone got down to work writing their own press release.  Their enthusiasm was inspirational … as were the results.  At the end of the session, each delegate was given a comprehensive take-home pack of notes to back-up their hands-on learning.


The feedback was very positive, with many of the students demanding more copywriting sessions!  Here’s what some of them had to say:

“Word-right’s PR Masterclass was really enjoyable and very informative. A relaxed way of learning.  I would definitely recommend this class. Joy has a great deal of knowledge which I would love to tap into further.”


“An excellent, concise course with a comprehensive take-home pack. Would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who wants to write eye-catching press releases.”


“I never thought I would be able to write press releases, but now I have the tools and confidence to do so.”

Future copywriting masterclasses will be announced shortly.  For more information, visit the WORD-right website or call Joy McCarthy on 01608 642845.

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