The Blackad List

A blog about content, with analysis and opinions to spare.

Here's where we reveal the secrets behind our work. If there was a writer's circle, we would be on our ears.
Radio

Copywriting, Process

Typos and the art of not looking stupid

Typos: every copywriter’s nightmare. You’ve stressed for hours over a piece, carefully crafting...

Read More

Copywriting, SEO, How we made…

SEO how we did it: Tails.com

For an online-only businesses like tails.com, discoverability and engagement are...

Read More

Brand Language, Process

What a great brand value proposition can do for your business

You’ve maybe heard about value propositions through the marketing grapevine. You think you...

Read More

UX, Accessibility

How to write for screen readers: accessibility content tips

We’re often asked to follow accessibility guidelines when we work for public sector and...

Read More

Copywriting

Three English grammar rules you can break. Sometimes.

English grammar is a thicket of complex rules. But believe it or not, some of them can be...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

How to write and manage financial services content

Getting sign-off on financial services content can be hard, especially with so many parties...

Read More

Copywriting, Tone of Voice

Tips for writing legal copy: from terms & conditions to GDPR

Lawyers tell us that terms and conditions are important. So why do we all find them boring?...

Read More

UX, Copywriting

How to make short copy engaging

Brand voice is about more than pithy headlines. The real interactions with your customers tend...

Read More

Insider, Brand Language, Tone of Voice

Brands Getting it Right with Tone of Voice

Words might not be as useful as PPE or hand sanitiser. But they can play their part...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

Tips for booking the best digital content training course

Considering booking a digital copywriting training course for your in-house team? A little...

Read More

UX, Copywriting, SEO

A simple guide to metadata

Keeping your metadata in check is a vital part of SEO. This handy guide provides an essential...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

Copywriting costs: why putting a quote together takes time

We’re always happy to take an impromptu phone call to resolve an issue or get a quick response...

Read More

UX, SEO

How to write friendly URLs

A friendly URL is a web address that’s easy to read and includes words that describe the content...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

Great content needs purpose

Content. It’s everywhere these days. On your phone, on the side of buses, on stock cube packets....

Read More

Accessibility, Process

How to create accessible social content

It doesn’t matter how long you spend crafting those words, graphics and videos. If you don't...

Read More

UX, Copywriting

Why you should A/B test your copy

Could a bolder headline reduce your bounce rate? Would a more functional call to action boost...

Read More

Copywriting

Guides to brush up on your grammar

Clients often ask us to recommend a basic grammar guide. You know, for the colleagues who...

Read More

Brand Language, Copywriting, Tone of Voice

How to write bleeping brilliant brand messaging

A documentary about the Scottish fondness for swearing may seem odd inspiration for your brand...

Read More

Brand Language

Why your online and offline brand marketing should match

If you offer customers a long term contract or service for example, utilities, phone...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

Get Copy Approved, Without the Drama

You’ve done the research, written the piece and polished it. Now you just need approval from the...

Read More

Brand Language, Interviews

Arnold Clark on lifting out of lockdown

For a man running a vehicle leasing operation unable to deliver any new vehicles, Jim Blair is...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

Digital copywriting: how to get your work signed off

Just when you thought the copywriting phase was finished, the approvals process arrives to stomp...

Read More

Copywriting, Process, Training

Do you need a digital copywriter? Or a digital copywriting course?

So you need digital content. But how much, for how long, and how often? More importantly, do you...

Read More

SEO

Why is Google changing my meta descriptions?

No matter how much blood, sweat and keywords you put into your meta descriptions, Google doesn’t...

Read More

Brand Language

Socially-distanced marketing: get creative with your brand values

Good brand values are for life, not lip service. You should be able to apply them to everything...

Read More

How we made…

How we made podcasts during lockdown

In my past life, I made a lot of radio ads. It was great fun. It was also terrifying.

Read More

Process

How to scale your content process to match your business

You’re always correcting the same style and tone points.

Read More

How we made…

How we made professional videos during lockdown

Ridley’s self-isolating in Ireland. Marty’s only working with Netflix these days. And Stanley...

Read More

Brand Language, Tone of Voice

Using social media during a global pandemic: advice for brands

What do the Queen, Ozzy Osbourne and David Beckham all have in common (other than a great...

Read More

SEO

Are you writing for you, your audience, or SEO?

Creating high-quality online content means writing for your audience, not yourself. But how well...

Read More

SEO, Process

How buyer personas can help your SEO

Listen up, for an old-but-new performance hack. When carrying out your Search Engine...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

Lifting lockdown: five principles to help you prepare

As one of the first countries to return to a version of normal, New Zealand’s businesses are...

Read More

UX, SEO

Why website 'Coming Soon' pages are a bad idea for SEO

You despise your website. The content is outdated, the colours are all wrong, and you’re worried...

Read More

Brand Language

How sharing topical content affects your brand positioning

Sharing topical content can be great for your brand, but only if it's relevant. Best case: your...

Read More

Copywriting, SEO

How to write SEO-friendly headers

Headers are to web content what bones are to your body. Without them, copy collapses into a kind...

Read More

Brand Language, Copywriting

Clarity is key: brands washing their hands of damage control

Clarity. It’s a shame no one explained its benefits to the 45th President of the United States....

Read More

Brand Language, Copywriting

Is your COVID-19 messaging essential?

Amazon isn’t perfect - but it’s been getting a lot of things right during lockdown. That is,...

Read More

Copywriting, Process

How to give great copy feedback

We’ve handled our fair share of copywriting projects, but even we’ll confess that we don’t...

Read More

News, Copywriting

Kind words cost nothing

Like many people, we’ve been thinking about what we can do to help right now. With no secret...

Read More

News

We're open later. And earlier.

From upside-down childcare to social distancing at the supermarket, COVID-19 has upended the...

Read More

BlackBooks

Blackad book review: Clout, The Art and Science of Influential Web Content

So you’re sold on the idea of content strategy – but how do you produce content that people will...

Read More

BlackBooks

Blackad Bookshelf: Can I Change Your Mind by Lindsay Camp

Great copywriting is built on strong, persuasive arguments. Lindsay Camp's book gives you a...

Read More

BlackBooks

Blackad Bookshelf: Don't Make Me Think, by Steve Krug

Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, but his examination of web...

Read More

Copywriting

You've got another think coming

A digital copywriter lives to get the message across – clear and fast. So what happens when you...

Read More

Process, BlackBooks

Blackad Bookshelf: Content Strategy for the Web, by Kristina Halvorson

Content is king, and Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach are the queens of the kingdom. Content...

Read More

Copywriting, Process, Training

Our tips for running an in-house training course

We’ve been running copywriting workshops since Blackad began in 2002. Alan’s been at it since...

Read More

BlackBooks

Blackad Bookshelf: Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds

99% of presentations suck. Numb speakers reciting bullet-crammed slides to semi-comatose...

Read More

Copywriting, Tone of Voice

Tone of voice analysis: Method cleaning products

How do you bring a seemingly mundane product to life? Enter Method: a company that’s taken...

Read More