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Kernewek for businesses – why it makes sense

I attended this skills day out of curiosity, with an ambition to incorporate Kernewek, the Cornish language, into my work as a writer.

Heavily biased towards promoting the use of this unique language through marketing of existing products and businesses, the session was informative and engaging.

St Austell Brewery, represented by Chris Knight, was the perfect case study to highlight how this Southwestern Brittonic Celtic language can be put to good use. A prime example is one of the breweries best-selling beers Korev, which means ‘Beer’ in Cornish.

Our professional guide for the morning was Mark Trevethan, the Cornish Language Lead at Cornwall Council, who further enlightened us to the possibilities of using Kernewek. He showcased innovative uses of the language from road signs to prime time TV advertising.

Closer to home, Mark opened the door to integration by gently guiding us towards the various resources on offer. More importantly, he highlighted that incorporation of the Cornish language into the marketing strategy of Cornish businesses, will also hopefully benefit the wider Cornish Language agenda.

This well-organised event was delivered by Cornwall 365 at the well known creative hub, Krowji, in partnership with Cultivator and supported by the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.

Shades of California – travels in Portugal

TRAVEL BLOG

I recently ventured to Portugal on a work trip. It was the first time I had revisited the country since a child, and my memories were limited to the acrid smell of drying sardines, long sunbaked road trips and my mother having her bottom pinched.

This time my travels in João Rodrigues Cabrilho’s country of origin took me through densely planted eucalyptus and umbrella pine forests towards an overnight stop near the village of Santa Cruz.

No doubt named a long time before the Californian coastline town, the heat and the flora were remarkably similar. Even the ocean, which I had been desperate to escape into after a hot dusty drive, was shrouded in the fog which often hugs its Pacific counterpart.

The next day the similarities to the sunshine state continued. Comporta, on the edge of  ‘Portugals best secret beach spot’, resembled a deserted Mexican style Hollywood stage set, complete with storks, nesting high on telephone poles and church bell towers.

To enter the bustling metropolis of Lisbon, I was transported over the water on a slightly flimsier version of the sunshine state’s jewel in the crown, the golden gate bridge, only to be faced with a swarm of brightly coloured vintage trams as I negotiated a pathway through the narrow streets to meet friends for lunch.

Thankfully, my new memories of the country are of the coastline which so resembles one of my favourite destinations in America, the overwhelming beauty of the tile-clad buildings and the refreshing taste of Vino Verde.

In Dark Places – the launch

Unfortunately, I was in Yorkshire and couldn’t attend the launch of the book I have recently project managed with Wyl Menmuir. The fireside event to publicise its release was hosted at the South West Outdoor Festival on September 9th. Reasonably well attended, the launch was a success and some of my team published a great write up of their weekend…

…A small group of students and tutors from Falmouth University headed for the rocky hills of Cheddar Gorge, to the South West Outdoor Festival, for the final push of a year-long publishing project in collaboration with Wyl Menmuir and The National Trust.

Our first task was setting up the banner for the book launch. A few giggles escaped our puzzled faces as we battled the raging wind, which threatened the stability of our tent. It took us a while, but with patience and strategically tied ropes, we finally secured the banner in place. Job done for the night, we snuggled up in our sleeping bags ready for the launch the following day.

After coffee and breakfast, and we were on the move, taking turns manning the book tent, spreading the word about our fireside ghost story reading that night, and worrying whether the rain would ruin our lovely evening or not. But the weather kept with us, and not long after seven, the fireside was packed.
Against a beautiful display of the sun seeping into the hills, Wyl read out an excerpt from  In Dark Places. Adults and children alike were drawn in by his lively reading, and the story came to life before our eyes, animating the flames.

by Holly Cara Farr and Adriana Ciontea

 

The final show – Authorial Practice

ART BLOG

Last night saw the end of the academic year for the MA Authorial Practice Students.

In a small gathering in Lamorva House, Falmouth we celebrated the ingenuity and creativity of this year’s graduates who have explored the medium of illustration to its fullest potential.Their work was inspiring and of outstanding quality, bordering on fine art with in-depth thinking and profound, explorative concepts.

It wasn’t any great surprise that the graduate’s work was so exceptional, as the course is ‘one of its kind’ run by dedicated staff, with an academic focus on personal origination in storytelling.

On paper, it sounds too good to be true. In reality, it seems to be delivering all it promises. I’m quite tempted to sign myself up!

Only 25 days until the official launch

The South West Outdoor Festival is just 25 days away, that’s less than 4 weeks until our little book is released into the public domain.

As the “first collaborative publishing venture of its kind” between the National Trust and Falmouth University, publishing best magazine The Bookseller has kick-started our latest publicity drive with a great write up of the joint venture.

Read the complete article for more information on this groundbreaking project…

The Nick Darke Awards

The Nick Darke Writers’ Award 2017 entries closed in late May this year, after which a group of staff and students was set the task of reading every one of the 950 scripts.

Ranging in length from 20 to 150 pages this was no mean feat. As one of the volunteer readers, I read over ten scripts in under a month, all of which varied enormously not only in length but in theme and quality too.The shortlist is announced on the 1st September and the winner is announced at an awards ceremony on the 11th November.

Established in 2006 the wards we created to celebrate the best writing for stage, screen and radio. Funded by Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, and the School of Writing & Journalism, The Nick Darke Writers’ Award commemorates the playwright Nick Darke who wrote in many forms but earned his living in the world of theatre, screen and radio.

Open to all national and international writers aged 16 or over, the £6,000 Award provides the time to write that financial support facilitates.

Cornwall film festival 2017

This Autumn I am privileged to be working with the Cornwall Film Festival.

The CFF is Cornwall’s only major film festival event. Currently in its sixth year, the film festival is held throughout November. It aims to spotlight the best of British and International film making and attracts audiences from the UK and abroad.  This years theme is Discovery.

The Festival kicks off on Saturday 11th November with a day of Galas, showcases, (2017 Cornwall Film Festival Short Film Competition), and talks (Industry focus of 2017 festival is Visual Trickery).

The Cornwall Film Festival is a charity and its focus falls beyond just a month a year with its events and pop-up screenings.

 

Open studios – getting my art freak on

It’s that time of year again when I don’t want to be a writer. I want to paint! I want to get that big box of art supplies out of the cupboard and fill the house with the incredible smell of oil paints and turps. A smell that takes me right back to my childhood.

Amongst last year’s Open Studio’s discoveries at Krowji, a reinvigorated grammar school in Redruth, were the paintings of Mike Hindle and the delicate illustrations of Esther Connon. This year, my imagination was captured by the work of Jon Doran, Kerry Harding, Nicola Mosley and Falmouth Alumni artist Alasdair Lindsay.

As I ventured further afield I also unearthed a rich seam of talent in a cluster of studios at Trewidden. Dan Pyne, Paul Wadsworth, Nickie CarlyonJane Ansell, Jayne Anita-Smith and Jo Jewers, displayed a fantastic variety of work and a return will definitely be pencilled in for next year.

In its thirteenth year, Open Studios includes an impressive number of participants with 293 artists, craftsmen and designers opening their personal spaces and running workshops from Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June. All are listed in a nicely designed free guide which encourages art lovers to create a personalised trail to discover the new artisans.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit them all this year, but hopefully, as the year’s progress, I will get the chance to discover most of the artistic talent that this lovely county has to offer.

Pure pink inspiration – race for life

Emotions were running high this morning as a fair proportion of Falmouth’s ladies donned their pink T-shirts to show their support for friends relatives who have been touched by cancer.

Their 5k run, jog or walk took the along the stunning coastline of Gyllngvase, Castle beach and Pendennis Head. A route lined by the last of the magnificent bluebells and amazing sea views, which were all beautified by the glorious sunshine.

For those jogging or running the circuit, it was 5k of heavenly scenery to take their minds of any niggling pains during their 30 to 45 minutes of pounding the asphalt. The walkers took about an hour, but few felt any pressure to finish quickly.

A combination of female solidarity and local supporters were on hand to unite the participants in their fight against this awful illness. Unfortunately, cancer has touched too many of our lives. I am lucky enough to know mainly survivors, but there have been a few who have not been so fortunate and my thoughts were with them.

It certainly was a soulful way to spend a Sunday morning.

Blogging – is it a practical solution for marketing your business?

As part of a university module, I recently launched myself into researching the benefits of blogging for a business. As an aspiring writer and future small business in my own right, I was intrigued as to whether the plus points for this source of marketing outweighed the drawbacks.

 

What the professionals say…

The number one reason for any company to start a business blog is the hope that it will increase traffic to their website.

So how do people normally find your website?

Typing your name/web address into an internet search engine is one way, but this implies that your audience already knows that your business already exists, so really you are not attracting anyone new. More likely they will find you by searching the terms that define your website.

Paid adverts can guide people towards your site, but social media is becoming a more effective tool for driving users to follow a direct link. A blog is a persuasive, useful add-on to this type of marketing which can deliver more compelling information concerning your product. Once an audience has clicked through to read your blog on your website, they are more likely to stay on your site and explore the content. This could convert into wider recognition and future sales, which is your main aim.

How else does a blog help your website?

Sites are constantly scanned for activity, so new content is a big plus with the search engines. A higher ranking on the net makes your site more visible to a potential client. So each blog is one more opportunity be found, which is one more opportunity to drive traffic to your website and one more chance than you had before.
Blogging also gives you a chance to post consistently on social media sites with interesting and relevant content. A like on a social media post is good, a share is better, a comment is great, but a click through is the best result of all as you have engaged your audience. This is the first step in creating a bond with your user, however, it is a delicate game playing in a social arena and new online relationships need to be nurtured to gain results.

How do you convert your online customer relationship into a lead?

A call to action is a good solution and the offer of exclusive information, free products/samples, seminars etc., is the best way to tempt a new viewer and future customer to give you their email address. Once you have this you have a subscriber, which means that you can now legitimately keep your potential customer up to date with your product/news. It also means you have the start of a mailing list, an invaluable asset, with the long-term aim of a sale and hopefully a personal recommendation.
The long term benefit of a blog is that it continues ranking in cyberspace, which means it could continue to gain leads for days, weeks, months, and even years and lead to many more new relationships over time.

What should make up the content of your blog?

Anything that could be helpful to your audience is a good place to start as it establishes your authority. If there are any questions you have asked tutors, peers or professionals that have helped you, then pass this on. Give feedback on something you have read, somewhere you have visited or attended, your information could be useful to others.
If you have a new idea for a book or article, writing a blog about it can also be a useful method of gauging market reaction to an idea, without sinking precious time and money into a project that may be dead in the water.

 

What do the businesses say?

So armed with all the information from the professionals who recommend blogging, I spoke to a number of companies from the south-west who use a variety of different formats to market themselves.

Many use social media effectively and are aware of the benefits to business. The best of these focus on ‘crafting the stories and imagery to define brands, grow followings and improve performance’.

Their blogging strategies identify all the right buzzwords: authoritative standpoint; SEO rankings; increased visibility etc., however, their methods differ greatly. Those who really understand the power of the blog have developed creative approaches which are usually generated from seeing past the obvious delivery platforms. They are using podcasts, prose, poetry and much more to engage their readers.

It is clear that the rules of writing contribute heavily towards the best blog posts and that the better the skill of the writer the better the blog. This is easy when you are a writer yourself but for those who have no such talent within their business investing in the right person to create the right tone of voice or create the right content is not always seen to be cost effective. Undoubtedly those who do, create a better following as consumers choose what they see and hear, so in order to reach them you need to offer them great media content that they can engage with and enjoy on a regular basis.’

From talking to the business owners the biggest common mistake is the creation of content which is solely business orientated, focused on the work they undertake. Many who fall into this trap, found their blog stats soon dwindled due to a lack of fresh content. Diversity and storytelling achieve the most followers which in turn drive visits to their websites. The reader clearly wants a reward for their attention, entertainment or information.

Some of the companies I spoke to realised they should make more use of their blogs to raise their profile and to elevate their website rankings, but declared a lack of enthusiasm by their staff and a lack of time in the working day to write the content.

 

So what is the answer? Is a blog good for business?

It is quite clear from talking to both sides of the fence that blogging is not a ‘wham bam thank you ma’am’ process. It is a gentle dance of familiarity and trust to convince the reader that a product is worthy of investment. This is not an easy task and takes writing talent.

Transforming content into an engaging and effective marketing tool really makes a difference. So if you’ve got it flaunt it and use it as best you can to promote yourself and your craft. If you haven’t then outsourced, but either way, be prepared for the long haul as any worthy relationship takes commitment and requires a long-term time investment. These are your keys to marketing success via a blog.

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