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So who needs a copywriter?

Someone probably told you that one picture is worth a thousand words. What they didn’t tell you is that this mainly applies to exceptional images that tell a story all by themselves. For example, Steve Jobs holding the world’s first iPhone or the man standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

While photos like that certainly have the wow factor, words still give them meaning and context. This is all the more so when it comes to the web, where content is king.  And that specifically means written content – just ask Mr Google or Mr Bing if you don’t believe it.

Beware of keyword stuffers

This is where WYC comes in. You’ll probably already know that well-written digital content is important both to attract customers and to ensure that search engines rank your website above your competitors in keyword searches. This is the art known as search engine optimisation (SEO).

There is no shortage of “SEO copywriters” who claim to be able to do this but the cheapest ones merely stuff keywords into the content in a way that actually does your website ranking more harm than good. This corny technique worked in the early days of SEO but it doesn’t fool the main search engines now. Humans know when text is contrived and so do search engine algorithms. If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.

All WYC copy is written in a natural, engaging style that appeals to humans and machines alike.

WYC recognises that every client’s project is unique and never takes a “one size fits all” approach to a brief, whether you are a sole trader, a charity, a public sector organisation or a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) enterprise. WYC copywriters and SEO experts will go the extra mile to showcase your business in the best possible light.

Website design and development

We can also build websites from a simple contact page for a sole trader to a full-blown enterprise e-commerce site. All WYC websites are built to the latest mobile-first and responsive principles, meaning that your website will look good whether your potential customers are viewing it on a smartphone (like most people nowadays), tablet or a good old desktop/laptop computer.

Contact us for a free initial consultation about your digital content needs!

Biographies

WYC founder Paul Gardner is a journalist, copywriter and PR consultant with more than 25 years of experience across traditional media (including newswires, national and regional press, broadcasters and Teletext) and digital content. This has included 10 years of exercising critical editorial judgements ahead of the competition in the Press Association’s fast-paced and agenda-setting breaking news environment, as well as diverse experience in online media with a good working knowledge (including Google certification) of SEO, PPC, social media management, brand management and content strategy.

His journalistic career also embraced an award-winning stint as a reporter/sub-editor at the Hampstead & Highgate Express (aka the ‘Ham & High’) as well as freelance and short-term contract work for a diverse range of clients including the BBC, ITN, Daily Mirror, Mail Online, The Guardian, Time Out, Johnston Press (Selby Times), Dennis Publishing (The Week magazine), Bauer Consumer Media, York College, York Press, Liverpool Daily Post, Manchester Evening News and Stockport Express.

Paul has adopted best practice in search engine optimisation (SEO) to build traffic for his own websites since 2005, using tools such as Google Analytics to ensure that good SEO practice and sparkling copy were maximising results on competitive keyword searches. In 2013, he joined Farnell element14 (a global B2B electronic components distributor) as a copywriter. Here he learned a great deal about digital marketing, SEO, content strategy and brand management.

All of these strands have now been woven together into a unique combination: a true wordsmith with unrivalled breadth and depth of media experience, including a recent major web content audit (22,000 pages) at the University of Nottingham. He can find the right form of words for any occasion, whether you are a sole trader, a charity, a public sector organisation or a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) enterprise.

For a free initial consultation about your digital content needs, better call Paul!

About

West Yorks Comms (WYC) is a Leeds-based content service for all your editorial, PR, communications, copywriting and digital marketing needs.

Headed by Paul Gardner, a professional writer and editor with decades of journalistic and copywriting experience, WYC offers a full range of services from writing press releases and handling media inquiries to the creation of sparkling bespoke web content that will get you noticed.

Blog

It’s our World Wide Web – reclaim it!

Today is the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web. Just to be clear, as someone always brings this up, he didn’t invent the internet itself – that is best credited to Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn. However, the WWW has still undeniably changed my life and yours for the better over many years.

Tim Berners-Lee tweets "This is for everyone" live from the London 2012 Olympics ooening cermony.
“This is for everyone” – WWW creator Tim Berners-Lee, live at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony

That moment in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, where Tim Berners-Lee tweeted live to the world that “this is for everyone”, was to me one of the real highlights of that year. How I miss that time when we were still a cosmopolitan, inclusive, future-facing country.

What’s gone wrong?

In previous posts about WWW and internet anniversaries, I’ve always thanked people like TBL and VC for their inventions. But now I’m not so sure. It’s still a technology that improved all our lives immeasurably, that was and always will be the case. But something has gone very, very wrong in recent years, as we’ve seen with the deliberate misuse of our data for nefarious purposes including the manipulation of elections. Cambridge Analytica and Putin’s troll farms are just the tip of the iceberg in this regard.

Another issue is the increasingly hostile and abusive discourse on social media, particularly Twitter. I increasingly think that “Internet 2.0”, from which most social media including Facebook and Twitter sprang, is in some ways the worst thing that ever happened to the internet.

TBL has long recognised the issues of both data protection and social media abuse and now he has helped to launch a Contract for the Web to return the WWW to what he always intended it to be – a force for good that belongs to us all. Please take the time to visit the page and help reclaim the web from those who seek to subvert it.

No, Piers Morgan did NOT hack a dead girl’s phone

Almost everyone loves to hate Piers Morgan. And, to put it bluntly, the former tabloid newspaper editor turned TV presenter makes himself an easy target. From an epic tantrum over vegan sausage rolls to public sulking sessions at awards ceremonies, Piers does invite ridicule by coming across as a vain, thin-skinned manchild.

Piers Morgan sulking at the National Television Awards, January 2019.
Piers Morgan doesn’t take kindly to missing out on an award.

But the one barb that is most frequently aimed at him, particularly on Twitter, is something that he didn’t do: the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone when she was already dead.

That dubious distinction goes to a shady private eye called Glenn Mulcaire, who was acting exclusively for Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World on this specific task. Mulcaire hacked Milly’s mobile phone in March 2002 when she was still being treated as missing and alive. Piers Morgan had worked for the NotW in the past but had left to join the Mirror Group in 1995.

Mulcaire had deleted voicemails from Milly’s mobile phone, making it seem that she was still accessing messages. This gave her family false hope that she was alive when she was already dead. There had already been concerns about phone hacking by tabloid newspapers before then, but the revelation about Milly Dowler’s phone was the final straw. It caused public outrage that led to the Leveson Inquiry into media phone hacking, closure of the News of the World after a 168-year run and several NotW staff facing criminal prosecutions.

Daily Mirror sacking

Morgan was certainly involved in other shady activities like the Iraq war fake photos scandal, which led to him being sacked as Daily Mirror editor in 2004. Tabloid newspapers in general were also involved in hacking famous people’s phones. However, the crime of hacking Milly Dowler’s phone was specifically carried out by the News of the World.

So by all means criticise Morgan for the fake photos scandal from 15 years ago or mock him for his notoriously prickly ego. But smearing him for something he didn’t actually do hardly gives anyone the moral high ground.

Ex-Labour MPs and Panama: close but no cigar

The defection of seven backbench Labour MPs to form a new association calling itself “The Independent Group” has caused a few ripples in the mainstream media, albeit with a “funny tinged” faux pas. This isn’t a political blog so I won’t get into an analysis of the politics (although I’ll declare an interest here and say I’m a Labour member). What I will be addressing here are some of the myths that are already circulating about the group’s website and company registration.

A few internet sleuths have been looking up The Independent Group’s website domain registration, using a tool called Whois. They have discovered that details about the group’s website, theindependent.group, have been redacted and there is a mention of Panama. Understandably enough, particularly following the Panama Papers scandal that exposed industrial-scale tax evasion, people have assumed that The Independent Group have something big to hide.

What’s in a name?

Unfortunately it isn’t quite the smoking gun that these people think it is. The domain name was created and purchased through a domain registration company called Namecheap Inc. This is a perfectly legitimate company that anyone can use to register a website name (I have bought a couple of domains through them myself over the years). Buying a *.group web domain through them costs the princely sum of £7.77 (plus VAT) at current exchange rates.

Now here’s the thing. Anyone can look up the name, address, email and phone number of the owner of any website through Whois. A lot of website owners aren’t comfortable with this, especially as there are a lot of spammers, scammers and stalkers out there who abuse the system, so Namecheap offers an additional service called WhoisGuard. This anonymises the details and is based in… Panama. It doesn’t mean that the website itself is registered in Panama. Note also that anyone who needs to contact the website owner to serve a notice can still contact them via the abuse@namecheap.com address.

Of course it’s legitimate to ask why a political group feels the need to hide behind an anonymisation service but it simply isn’t true that funds can be secretly squirrelled away in offshore accounts via this facility. All that is being hidden here is the contact details for a website domain registration that costs less than £8 per year.

So the Panama connection isn’t really a smoking gun, it’s just an easy assumption to make when you don’t understand how website registration works. Tell your friendly neighbourhood tinfoil hat wearer that it’s more like a clown’s gun with a flag that says “Bang!”

Another myth that has spread about the website is that it was registered in 2015. This is completely false. As you can see on the screenshot of the Whois record, it was actually registered on 10 February, 2019.

Mover and Shuker

The Independent Group is currently operated through a private company called Gemini A Ltd, which at the moment is owned solely by Gavin Shuker MP (one of the original seven defectors). It was created on 16 January 2019, as you can see from the Companies House record.

It is registered at 3rd Floor, 1 Ashley Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, United Kingdom, WA14 2DT, which turns out to be above a Wetherspoon’s pub. This is just a correspondence address and there are 200 companies registered there, according to Companies House. It’s not actually clear at the time of writing whether JD Wetherspoon plc owns the entire building or simply owns or rents the ground floor. It doesn’t particularly matter either way, however, as maildrop facilities of this kind are a fairly common and perfectly legal operation.

The Independent Group’s registered address is in an office above this Wetherspoon’s pub, The Unicorn, in Altrincham. (Google)

So this is a private limited company, which is registered in the UK. There is nothing wrong with that as such. What is rather more controversial is that “The Independent Group” is operating as a private company and isn’t registered as a political party, which means that it isn’t subject to the same scrutiny by the Electoral Commission and by Parliament as a registered political party would be. A private limited company does have to publish accounts but as this is such a new company, it is under no obligation to publish accounts for quite a while. This is where people need to focus their attention if they want to scrutinise exactly what this group of MPs is up to.

Contact

You can contact WYC on 07477 497662. No telemarketing calls please!

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