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Copywriting Apprentice copywriting course textbookThe Copywriting Apprentice is launching its new interactive distance learning copywriting course.  The course, which has been written and developed by professional copywriters, has been created to provide a comprehensive, professional learning experience for aspiring business writers.

The course combines traditional textbook study with an extensive online learning management system (LMS), to give students a sound grounding in every aspect of copywriting.  The Copywriting Apprentice course syllabus covers 20 chapters, divided into four blocks:

1.    The foundations of a copywriting career
2.    Online copywriting
3.    Offline copywriting
4.    Setting up a freelance copywriting business

To complete the course, students must complete 12 tutor-marked assignments and 16 interactive multiple choice quizzes.  The Copywriting Apprentice course also includes three telephone one-to-one tutorials.  This allows the students and their tutor to forge a closer working relationship and helps tailor the course to meet the individual’s needs.

The Copywriting Apprentice team are highly professional, working copywriters who also have hands-on training experience. Student assignments will be marked to stringent standards and an independent moderator will supervise all tutor activity.

The course will have international appeal and students are expected to enrol from English-speaking countries across the world.  The Copywriting Apprentice distance learning course will also deliver benefits to other professionals, not just those wanting to pursue a career as a copywriter.  Marketing professionals, Virtual Assistants, and anyone working in the field of content marketing, will benefit from the course.

After enrolment, students must complete a pre-course assessment to ensure they have the necessary writing skills to tackle the course.  Most privately run distance learning courses accept students regardless of their ability.  This can result in people failing to complete their courses, disappointment and a waste of the students’ money.  Students who don’t pass the Copywriting Apprentice initial assessment will have their fees refunded in full.

Students will have a year to complete the course, although it is anticipated many will take less than 6 months.  On completion of the Copywriting Apprentice course, students will be awarded a certificate and have use of the company’s quality mark logo.

The pilot version of the Copywriting Apprentice course has been running since the spring 2012.  Four students are participating in the pilot scheme and have provided valuable feedback on the course content and the LMS user-experience.

David McCarthy, director of Copywriting Training Ltd, which has developed the Copywriting Apprentice course, comments “In the UK, there are no formal dedicated copywriting qualifications.  As a result, many people who set themselves up as copywriters lack the necessary skills and techniques.  The Copywriting Apprentice course will teach aspiring writers about every aspect of copywriting including SEO.  We also stress the need for continuing professional development, which is so important for anyone involved in writing online content.”

Prospective students can view the syllabus and enrol online at www.copywriting-apprentice.com.

Direct mail letter image

We all know postage prices are going to soar at the end of April.  At 50p to send a 2nd class letter, will direct mail letters become a thing of the past?

In February, we set up a new limited company for the Copywriting Apprentice.  Since then we’ve been besieged with letters from accountants introducing themselves and their services.  A savvy move?  Possibly, though we  already have an accountant. But what if we didn’t?  Would any of these letters have me clamouring for their services.  In a word, no!

Sadly, accountants have a reputation for being dull and boring.  There are many who are trying to break this mould and working hard to make people realise not all accountants are coloured grey.  Our own accountant is one of them.

But sending dull letters of introduction doesn’t help. While they might not be conducting mass mail campaigns, the cost is still significant.  Just churning out some standard form letter written by someone who doesn’t understand the psychology of direct mail, isn’t going to deliver any ROI (return on investment).

So what was wrong with the letters?  Here’s a selection …

Formatting – text too small and tightly packed.  The content squashed up to the top of the page making it hard to read.

The headline – ‘Congratulations’ (on what?)  ‘You’ve set up a new company’ (yes, we know that) – nothing there to attract our attention.

Large amounts of uppercase letters SHOUTING threats about the repercussions if we didn’t comply with the legislation.

‘WEEd’ on content … we do this, we do that.  Nobody said what was in it for me (we’re talking benefits here).

Signature – electronically printed.  That’s a turn off in itself.

The PS – what PS?  There were none.

Imagine if one of those accountants saw the light and employed a professional copywriter.  Their letters would positively sparkle in comparison.  And if there was business to be had, who do you imagine would get it?

So as a result, we did our sums.  And knowing how accountants like numbers, I’ll share our findings here  …

We based this on our charges for writing a direct mail letter and on the modest amount we pay our accountant each year.

So … if a well-written letter brought in one (just one) new client in a year, that accountant would enjoy a 600% ROI.  

You might not be an accountant, but if you’re thinking of sending out any direct mail letters, my first bit of advice is stop and think … and my second is to find yourself a good copywriter.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy
Remember, if your letter isn’t written properly by someone who knows what they’re doing, you might as well not bother and save yourself the cost of the stamp.

In an earlier blog I suggested some of us small business owners should get together and have a Christmas party.  The idea went down well on Facebook and Twitter.  Now it’s time to make the decision and book your place!

Do you want to join in the ‘Buffet and Bop’ fun at:

  • Rye Hill Golf Club
  • Wednesday 7th December
  • £19.50 per person

Why not bring along your other half?  They’re the ones who support us throughout the year and put up with all the ups and downs of our business life.  Now’s the chance to say a big thank you to them too.

You’ll see the full details of the menu etc on my earlier post.

Book now!

To book your places, email me telling me how many places you’d like reserved.  Payment is by cheque only (£19.50 per person), payable to Rye Hill Golf Club.   I’ll email you by return telling you where to send the cheque.  Please note: payment MUST be made by cheque.  We can’t accept cheque or debit / credit card payments.

Booking Deadline

  • Bookings and cheques must be received by Friday 25th November to secure your place(s).
  • Bookings will depend on availability at Rye Hill.

Well … what are you waiting for?  Email me and write that cheque today!

Happy Christmas!

Having posted a copywriting tip about the importance of prominent contact details on Twitter and Facebook, I decided the subject was worthy of a blog post.

I’m sure I’m not alone in suffering the frustration of wanting to contact a company after looking at their website, and several minutes later giving up because their details were not to be found!  I touched on this subject in an earlier blog about calls to action and recommended you include a phone number there too.

Companies which fail to provide their contact details on their marketing materials are nothing new.  Perhaps worse are the examples of incorrect contact details – old addresses and phone numbers which are no longer in service.  Have you experienced this?

For want of an address a sale was lost!

In the late 1990s, a brochure from a garden centre was posted through my letter box.  It arrived at a very opportune time.  I decided to pay them a visit and buy some plants.  But, I had recently moved to the area and I didn’t have a clue where this particular garden centre was located.  I combed the brochure from start to finish and – nothing!  Undeterred, I went online to see if I could find a website – there wasn’t one (but that wasn’t uncommon at that time).  Because the garden centre wasn’t in the immediate area, they weren’t in my Yellow Pages either.  Needless to say that garden centre didn’t get my sale and I can’t  help but wonder how many other people were put off by their oversight.

What the law says

But aside from the inconvenience and the possible loss of business, companies failing to put their contact details on their website are breaching the legislation.  The law states a company must disclose its address on its website, other marketing materials and business communications.  Sole traders or partnerships must give a business address – a PO Box doesn’t count.

Limited companies must display their registration number, state where the company is registered and give the registered office address.  If you are VAT registered, then your VAT registration number should also be given.  Remember: this doesn’t just apply to your website – even your email signature should contain the same information.

Address it and gain!

Apart from the legal implications, companies which hide under a veil of anonymity are missing some very obvious marketing opportunities.

In today’s market there is an increasing desire to ‘keep it local’.  ‘Business miles’ are as important to some as ‘food miles’.  If your website visitor can’t tell if you are in Wick or Winchester, you could be missing out on valuable local sales.

Then of course there’s the matter of trust.  Are you going to spend your hard-earned cash with a company you know nothing about and can’t contact if things go wrong?  I wouldn’t and I don’t think I’m alone in that!

I know many home business owners are reluctant to display their address publicly.  If it does concern you, perhaps using a virtual office address is the solution.  The benefits of being open and visible can far outweigh the disadvantages of being a well-kept secret.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

If you’re a Twitter fan, you might wonder what all the tweets bearing the ‘#oxsconeoff’ hashtag are about.

WORD-right scone practice!

WORD-right scone practice!

#oxsconeoff is the Twitter tag used to announce the one and only, now world famous, Scone Baking Competition, being held at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday (May 3rd) at Fallowfields Hotel, Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire!

No doubt you were taught as a child not to eavesdrop … but this is exactly what I did on Twitter a couple of months ago, and look where it got me!  There was a ‘conversation’ going on between Anthony Lloyd (@FallowfieldsUK) and Tracey Jefferies (@TraceyJefferies) on the subject of scones.  I happened to see this and tweeted saying ‘must make some scones – haven’t made them in ages’.  And the dye was cast!  Anthony Lloyd set us up for a scone-making competition at the Community Day on May 3rd at his Oxfordshire hotel.  The competition hotted up when Sarah Steel (@nurserysarah) got involved.  Fortunately she is now back from her extended holiday in Cyprus, courtesy of the volcanic ash, but it was a near thing!

Home-made scone

Scone with whipped cream & WORD-right's home-made bramble jelly

Needless to say, all 3 contestants are canvassing votes on Twitter from their supporters.  Perhaps next we should take on the politicians and form an #Oxsconeoff Party in time for Thursday’s election!  Of course my fellow competitors won’t stand a chance, and if you check out the pictures you’ll see what they’re up against.  Just don’t tell them … OK?

The event, which runs from 11am until 5pm, is an action-packed day out for all the family.   Local radio station JackFM will be there to join in the fun.  Among the attractions are a host of stalls, guided tours round the Fallowfields Farm, Falconry Displays, and a fun dog show.  There is a small entrance fee on the day, with the proceeds going to charity.

The highlight of course will be the scone-making competition, with the audience being roped in for some tasting and voting.  No doubt there will be much nobbling of judges going on through out the morning, before we get down to the challenge … with jam and cream at 20 paces.

So what do you do next?  Take yourself and the family along to Fallowfields Hotel on Monday and join in the fun.  Oh … and don’t forget to vote for me (@WORDright)!

And … if you’re wondering what all this has to do with marketing a business … I’m a firm believer in raising our profile in the local area, be that with scones or anything else (providing it’s legal, moral and decent, of course!).

Mary Thomas of Concise Training

Mary Thomas of Concise Training

The week got off to a great start with this morning’s networking meeting at FBBC.  With several new faces swelling the ranks, it was a lively and informative meeting. 

The day’s rosette goes to Mary Thomas of Concise Training who took us through the workings of LinkedIn and Twitter.  Judging by the interest and questions, there were a great many other networkers in the room who benefited from this session. 

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR

Mary is a professional trainer and her skills were obvious as she took us through the presentation.  There was no deadly reading of slides here!  We were hanging on her every word!  Introduced and supported by Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR, another internet social networking impresario, Mary’s presentation was ‘pacey’ and easy to follow.  As an added extra, there were professional hand-outs for everyone … so no note taking required. 

With Nigel Morgan as the audience ‘stooge’, the power of Twitter was demonstrated with ‘tweets’ going out live from FBBC.  So, a big thank you to Mary Thomas.  I’m off now to pore over my handouts and ‘tweet’ about my LinkedIn success!

CD Automation

CD Automation

Paragon Alliance Ltd and CD Automation Srl today announce the launch of their new company, CD Automation UK Ltd (http://www.cdautomation.co.uk). As market leaders in the manufacture and supply of power switching, monitoring and filtering products, the new company’s mission is to bring true value for money and exceptional service, as well as providing innovative control solutions.

CD Automation UK Ltd is the result of the merger between Sussex-based Paragon Alliance Ltd and Italian CD Automation Srl. Paragon Alliance was established in 2001 and has an enviable reputation as one of the UK’s top instrumentation distributors. In 1990, Italian company CD Automation developed its range of Thyristor Power Controllers and quickly became the world-wide market leader in microprocessor technology.

The merger between the two companies means CD Automation UK Ltd will become a major force in the manufacture and distribution of power controllers. The company will be based at Selmeston, East Sussex and its extensive product range is rated as one of the best in the world today.

Predicted Growth

CD Automation UK Ltd will be making new appointments throughout 2009 and 2010, to enhance and support its existing operation. The company’s network of distributors and agents will also be increased. The new appointments will play a vital role in offering technical advice and in-depth product knowledge to CD Automation UK’s growing customer base. The company’s engineers are available to answer queries and provide help where required. In addition, extensive product information and selection tools are available online and can be accessed at any time, from anywhere in the world.

CD Automation UK’s Mission

CD Automation UK’s mission is to provide exceptional products and service as befitting one of the world’s leading manufacturers. The company’s philosophy is based on an exemplary level of customer service to companies of all sizes. It will provide simple ordering systems, short lead times, fast and flexible deliveries, and technical expertise.

After-sales Support

In the event of breakdown, CD Automation UK Ltd guarantees dispatch of a replacement product within 48 hours. The company also provides support anywhere in the world with its unique product support tools. Every comms-enabled product comes with a free CD configuration tool, which will help determine and identify any problem areas. CD Automation’s engineers will provide remote support for immediate evaluation and trouble-shooting. All the Thyristor products come with a 7-day free trial and exchange service and carry a 30-day money back guarantee.

Managing Director Jeremy Watson comments, “The launch of CD Automation UK Ltd means we can draw on extensive manufacturing skills and our service and distribution experience. The company is set to become a leading force in the international power switching market. From the initial enquiry through to after-sales, our vision is to provide true value for money and exceptional service to all our customers, no matter what size the company.”

Anyone wanting more information on CD Automation UK’s range of products, should visit the website: http://www.cdautomation.co.uk or phone +44 (0) 1323 811100.

– ends –

Notes to Editors

CD Automation UK Ltd’s head office is on Mays Estate, Selmeston, East Sussex. Manufacturing of the Thyristor Power Controllers will continue from the Italian plant. A new, 4,000 sq metre purpose-built plant was opened in 2008.

As well as Manufacturing the Thyristor Power Controller products, CD Automation UK Ltd will distribute an extensive product range which includes: • Temperature Sensors including Thermocouples and PT100 Probes • PID Temperature & Process Controllers & Profilers • Temperature & Process Indicators, Panel Meters & Displays • Solid State Relays (SSR) • Cartridge Heaters • RFI/EMI Powerline Filters & Power Entry Modules • HMIs & Energy / Power Quality Meters • Thermometers & Testers

For more information, please contact:

Jeremy Watson, Managing Director

Tel: +44 (0) 1323 811100.

Email: jez.watson@cdautomation.co.uk http://www.cdautomation.co.uk

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