Work in progress!

19 03 2011

Dear visitors and subscribers,

I’m planning some changes here on my blog and I’m just writing to let you know that you might experience some disruption while visiting lisaamartin.wordpress.com over the next week or so.

Thanks to the huge success of my posts about Freelancer.com and freelancing in general, the focus of my blog has diverged somewhat. It originally started as a place for me to showcase my freelance portfolio, and as a place where people who wanted to hire me could find me online. I still want to maintain both my general freelancing and portfolio posts, but I think the time has come to separate these two quite different aims into two blogs.

Because the URL to this blog is on all my business cards, stationery and contracts, lisaamartin.wordpress.com will become my portfolio blog. It’s kind of annoying to have to do it that way around, since a lot of my traffic comes from the general freelancing posts, but since the majority of that traffic comes from random searches, I hope that the new blog will quickly build it’s own traffic. The new blog, by the way, will eventually be at freelancerlisa.wordpress.com. There’s not much to see there yet, but if you’re a subscriber to this site for my posts about freelancing, I suggest you head over there and sign up for emails to make sure you’re kept in loop about the forthcoming changes and eventual switchover!

If anyone has an idea for a better name for my new freelancing blog, please comment with your ideas!





method5 software development

8 03 2011

method5 software developmentmethod5 is a Toronto-based software development company with a knack for creating web applications and iPhone apps. They came to me after posting an ad on Freelancer.com and were impressed with the experience I’ve had of copywriting in this field (see the copy I’ve written for similar web design and development firms Moorhead Marketing, Pixel Designer, Kaus Design Studio and Org50.com).

method5 wanted fresh copy for their clean, new site and to “get the message across” simply, without too much jargon, and in a cool, quirky style. I’ve mixed bold type and catchy headers with friendly-sounding, informative text that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet still shows that method5 know what they’re talking about. Since I couldn’t get the phrase, “there’s method in our madness” out of my head while writing this site, I’ve thrown in a few Madness song titles too. I’m not sure if Canadians are that big into two-tone, but method5 seemed to like it!





Losing your teeth linked to losing your mind

2 02 2011

A press release I recently wrote for BioMed Central’s open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions has again hit the newstands. I can’t find an online archive of the original release I wrote, but some lazy journos have reproduced it verbatim, so I definitely know it’s mine!

The release describes a study from the Nara Medical University in Japan whereby elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease were found to lose more teeth than those without the degenerative neurological disorder. Not only is this tooth loss associated with failing to remember to brush one’s teeth and a general poor state of hygiene, but gum disease may in fact accelerate dementia by affecting the sensory neurones in the gums, leading to the brain.

Read the original article in Behavioural and Brain Functions: Relationship of tooth loss to mild memory impairment and cognitive impairment: findings from the fujiwara-kyo study

Read some of the news articles using this press release:





Do spelling and grammar matter on social media sites?

15 12 2010

In answering this question, I’m referring specifically to corporate profile pages and communications via sites like Facebook. Though I’ll confess poor spelling and grammar always bugs me (something to which my long-suffering boyfriend will attest), I’m not in any way suggesting that my friends and family should take an English language course before being allowed to update their statuses or comment on my photos. To a certain extent, my attitude is relaxed when considering Twitter in this argument too, since the very fact that you can only write 140 characters per tweet often necessitates the use of “txt spk” in order to fit your point into the required character count.

My editorial eye seems naturally drawn to spelling mistakes, typographical errors, use of the wrong words, word repetition and poor grammar. I can’t help but notice. Sometimes, while reading The Times (a frequent culprit), in a throwback to my days as a school teacher, I’ll circle the mistakes in red pen; I’ve yet to go so far as to send the edited article back from whence it came, but perhaps I ought. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a crime for published media to contain errors, especially those institutions like the aforementioned Times who portray a professional image and, after all, whose business it is to make sense.

But what of social media? Anyone who’s anyone has a Facebook profile, and more and more businesses are cottoning on to the fact that they can meet their clients on a social, more informal level and create opportunities for interaction, rather than just stuffing leaflets through our doors or sending emails to our inboxes and hoping we’ll read them. Facebook is cool, and creating a social media buzz about a product, a company or a campaign is hot right now.

A friend living in Ireland, who clearly feels the same way as I do on this issue, posted a screenshot of this to his Facebook page today:

Be the Difference” is a campaign being run by the Irish branch of O2, one of the UK’s biggest mobile phone and communications networks, to promote their involvement in sponsoring Irish rugby. As my friend pointed out, it helps if you read it in an Irish accent (“we taught we’d help you out!”), but going by the numerous other errors in this short advertorial piece, I’m not convinced it’s meant to be that humorous!

Is it OK to let mistakes like this slip just because it’s on Facebook? I have no doubt that O2 and other large companies have proof readers and editors cast a final glance over their TV, billboard and magazine ads, so why not their social media ads too? Or, to cut out an extra step in the process (because clearly the up-to-the-minute nature of social media marketing means that a large volume of material is generated on a daily basis), why not hire marketeers that can spell and use grammar correctly in the first place? Perhaps there is an argument that most people won’t notice; that Average Joe can’t spell so why should it matter? I strongly contest this. To my mind, correct spelling, grammar and use of the English language – especially in corporate communications – demonstrates professionalism, shows that a company is intelligent and that it knows what it’s talking about. Of course, having a great product or service that people actually want is crucial, but so is the way that that product or service – and the company as a whole – is portrayed to the consumer. Excepting deliberate use of poor grammar and spelling for humorous intent, sloppy standards and dumbing down don’t work for me, I’m afraid.





More from Ecolicious Foods

14 12 2010

Just in case you missed my announcement last month that I’d recently been made chief blogger at the Ecolicious Foods blog, here’s a little update on what’s been going on with the site and the company.

Unfortunately, despite site owner Steve’s infectious enthusiasm for his organic business venture, progress with the main Ecolicious Foods website has been slow. It was hoped that the online store would go live before Christmas, but it’s looking likely that sometime in January 2011 will be a more realistic launch date.

Nevertheless, the Ecolicious blog has got off to a great start with 4 brilliant posts (I can say that; I wrote them!) including a piece about the possible link between pesticide use and the decline in the UK’s population of bees, and, in the midst of the UK government’s spending cuts, particularly in scientific research and education,  an interesting example of how a grant given by the US government is being used to fund research into organic agriculture.

The Ecolicious Foods blog is on hold now until the New Year, but we’ll be back with a vengance in 2011 to unleash Ecolicious Foods onto the world!





Oz Couriers – Budget Couriers and Removalists

9 12 2010

Oz Couriers is run by the same brains behind USB King and fills a niche in the budget removals and couriering market in Victoria, Australia. It was great working with the entrepreneurial owner of the site, who hired me through Freelancer.com and whose straightforward nature made the project process effortless and hitch-free.

As the site design is clean and easily navigable, it was important not to clutter the page with wordy, elaborate copy, yet as a low-cost company in a highly competitive market, it needed to be convincing without being overly “sales-y” or pushy. I hope you’ll agree that this has effectively been achieved!





I Like Your Design

6 12 2010

For my second project working with András Szabó of Org50.com, here’s a lovely website that has just gone live with copy written by moi. I Like Your Design is a cool little networking site for graphic designers and web developers (or anyone, really) that allows you to save screenshots of full or partial web pages (using a handy Firefox plugin) so that you can keep an online scrapbook of designs that interest you, grab your attention and provide inspiration. The screengrabs can be sorted into categories and you can also search through other peoples’ collections to find out what’s hot in the world of web design.








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