Shrek – how to structure your content like Shrek

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I’ve developed something of a resemblance to Shrek in recent years – the waistline has expanded big time, my grumpiness occasionally rears its head and I sometimes end up with clients who are donkeys: stubborn, answering back and reluctant to pay for work done.

But, back in the day, I used to show “Shrek” on DVD regularly: one, because it is a class film; two, students and I enjoyed it; three, I could relax knowing that my fetish for showing films in English engendered high GCSE grades and instilled intrinsic motivation.

Like business, innit, if you like where you work and who you work with, you produce better results. Films did that for me – and my students.

“Shrek” though, the original film, has other crucial factors too as I explained to Joshua over the phone last week, who rang me to pick my brain about writing.

I used the Shrek analogy then and make no apologies for repeating it here.

Ogres have layers, onions have layers, content has layers.

“Shrek” begins in one place (the swamp) and your blog posts should begin and end in one place: like the swamp.

Here’s why.

Your subject line or title should contain enough enticing detail to get people clicking through to read; the opening should compel your reader to continue (that opening can also become your metadescription – that snippet Google shows); the content should be informative and entertaining and take the reader on a journey (like Shrek does to rescue the Princess) and the finale should return to the start.

It’s called in media circles: Freytag’s Triangle but in copywriting it’s called structure I guess?

So there you have it: some pearls of wisdom from someone who graduated in 1986 with an English degree, taught the subject from 1987 to 2014 from ages 8 to 18 and is now sitting in his Norfolk swamp, wondering when Donkey clients will pay up and when his partner, Fiona, will knock out a fresh stovetop coffee.

 

 

Design Access Statements – help for architects

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Bestriding Thorpe Cloud in Derbyshire last year, fending off a nose bleed after hitting heights unheard of in coastal Norfolk, I took a call.

Out of breath, I chatted social media and content with an architect.

The long and short of it was that I was asked to optimise and improve the content of his new website and write an evaluative report on the site and its social media accounts. Bank details were handed over and before I’d taken off my boots at the hillside car park, it was credited.

Now this meant the heat was on to check a website and social media whilst marooned in a Premier Inn in Leek (how the other half live eh?) with wife and children in tow.

I did it of course on iPad and iPhone over the next few days, and, as these things tend to develop, I was asked to write Design Access Statements some 10 months later.

The architect is an excellent bloke, who coached me patiently on the Design Access Statements, set me up with a company email and access to Asana.

The rest is history as they say.

I’m not an architect, obviously, but I am a property writer for the wider property industry and, from that initial phone call to checking flood risks, I enjoy writing those Design Access Statements.

Now if you’re a time-pushed architect with  12 page Design Access Statements that need improving or completing, to the highest level of accuracy with no factual inaccuracies, get in touch with me.

I’m becoming an expert on nearest schools, London stock brick, parapets, density of housing etc, and I can write these for you, whilst you’re acquiring and completing architectural projects.

I will save you time and money.

Trust me.

Drop me an email or call me today.

I’ll even call them DAS to show how clued up I am.

Is 2017 better than 1977, 1987, 1997 etc?

%name ford granada 1977

You sometimes hear people bemoan bygone days, but I think the past is overrated, don’t you?

For the sake of a decent headline and no other particular reason, I’ve skipped back 30 years in 10 year segments which I can handily update after Christmas by adding +1 on.

To save you reading to the end, if you’re short of time or patience, 2017 is undoubtedly better than 1977, 87 or 97.

Read moreIs 2017 better than 1977, 1987, 1997 etc?

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson and Dr Jekyll is currently fascinating me as a content marketer – not because I fancy being marooned on a Treasure Island – Great Yarmouth is as remote as one already – but I’m embarking on a learning journey with my son, who in Year 11, is studying that man’s novella.

It’s a weird old fiction too.

Read moreThe Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde