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SunSign during lockdown

Lockdown rules - but you can still keep your business in the public eye! Whether you're currently offering full services or reduced services, or have suspended operations pending the right time to re-open, you still need to think about marketing and communications, even if it's just to 'future-proof' your business. I have the copywriting/marketing skills to help you communicate the right messages to your existing and potential clients via website wording or press release content.

And even though, like many employers, I've made what is temporarily my best business decision, to furlough my employee (in this case, myself, because, as a one-person Limited company, I'm my own employee), this is potentially only for intermittent periods consisting of the government-specified minimum of three consecutive weeks at a time. I haven't totally gone to ground/gone off the radar!

So, if you'd like to explore my services, do still get in touch, letting me know what you need, when you need it, and what your budget is. There could well be scope for 'diarying you in' for the not-too-distant future!

Happy birthday to me - SunSign Communications is 10-years-old today!

I am excited and proud to say that July 3rd 2018 marks exactly 10 years to the day that my company, SunSign Communications Limited, was officially launched. In that time, my business has grown from its core offering - writing and proof-reading internal/staff communications - to include everything from video script-writing and speech-writing to helping people rework their 'personal statements' and drafting industry award entries. In the last decade, I've met and worked with/for some wonderful people and learnt a great deal about different sectors and industries and about myself, as both a professional and as a human being. I'm looking forward to the coming years and would welcome hearing from existing or new clients - you might be surprised at how a modest extra outlay can enhance your communications, both internal and external!

Calling any paperback (or hardback!) writers out there!

Even though writing - and communicating through writing - is my passion, I've never summoned the stamina or had the time to write a whole book, so I am in awe of those who do. So when I was asked by a networking contact - a charming and professional young photographer - to proof-read his book, I jumped at the chance. The subject is how to have the perfect wedding (without feeling obliged to conform to anyone else's idea of 'perfect') and it also serves to promote his business. It is inspiringly and engagingly written but even he acknowledged that the spelling (and, in particular, the punctuation) needed some expert attention, and he chose me as that expert. So if anyone out there has written a book is looking for a cost-effective yet highly-professional proof-reader, contact me at SunSign Communications Limited.

Down among the quarrymen

They say that 'those who can't do, teach'. Many people would say the same about copywriters/journalists - 'those who can't do, write'. But in the case of copywriters (especially those who are local newspaper-trained like myself), we're more than capable of getting a grip on a huge variety of topics and sectors and writing coherently and engagingly about them. Take my newest contract - to co-edit and write an internal magazine for a large quarrying company. After a bit of research and background reading I was soon chatting - and writing - about aggregates and cement as though I'd spent my life at the rock face. So let me boost, enhance and reflect your business by telling your staff, your potential customers (or both) about what you do through provision of magazine text or SEO-focused internet/intranet content. Get in touch for a no-obligation chat or quote.

The rules of engagement

Is there an audience you want to get 'on side'? For instance, do you want to tell your staff about - and engage them with - a new way of working? Or is your audience the general public, so the message needs to hit a more diverse audience and be explained in a different way? I spent many years in an employee communications agency and know how important it is to express the right messages in the right way. As SunSign Communications, I've been involved in communicating various different engagement strategies. I've been part of the internal communications process for two councils who were about to launch a major shared services initiative. And most recently I've been one of two key writers on the pilot edition of a magazine launched by a large Clinical Commissioning Group (which plans and buys healthcare services) with the aim of publicising its services and involving the public in planning them for the future. What have I learnt? - That an external perspective like mine can be crucial in achieving engagement.

Education, Education

Education - in particular, the merits (or otherwise) of grammar schools - is a hot topic right now, and SunSign Communications has its finger on the education pulse. Recent commissions include proof-reading a huge publication for teaching union ATL and researching and writing a feature article for an exclusive lifestyle magazine about how to choose the best independent school in Essex for your child.

It's a gas

Even giant utility companies can need to source external copy-writing and proof-reading services. I've got to know this particular major client, their internal audience and their style and, this autumn, I have continued to help them with carrying out interviews, writing copy and proof-reading for one of their key internal magazines. Whatever the size of your organisation, get in touch to find out what I can offer.

Child's play

When you pride yourself on the quality of your product or service, make sure your communications/marketing materials reflect that high standard. This month I was delighted to be asked, once again, to work on copy-editing and proofing the pages of a magazine produced by an upmarket chain of children's nurseries. The result? Another satisfied client.

Sharing - and caring (about how it's communicated)

Change management is a popular buzz-word nowadays and communications is a key part of managing that change. It helps to keep an organisation's staff 'on side' and allows them to carry on doing their jobs to a good standard without the worry of the unknown. SunSign Communications' Philippa Barr has recently (winter 2014) been hired to be the copywriter for a local authority as it progresses through a major, innovative 'shared services' project, due to go live in April. Contact SunSign if you're interested in receiving some high-quality communications support or advice.

The Proof of the Pudding

Philippa Barr, an Essex based journalist, offers proof-reading services to writers looking to add polish to their manuscript. Ms. Barr states that she is ‘full of admiration for anyone who can harness their creative juices and then put in the hard work necessary to write works of fiction, so if someone is prepared to - and has the budget to - go the extra mile by hiring a proof-reader as part of the finishing touches, that says a lot about their commitment to their project.’ Philippa has 37 years' experience as a journalist/copy-writer/proof-reader in many different fields and offers meticulously high standards of spelling and grammar. As part of the proof-reading process she also acts as a 'continuity editor’ fishing out the anomalies in the text. She welcomes anyone to contact her for a friendly, no-obligation, exploratory chat.

Ghost bloggers in the Sun(Sign Communications)!

Blogging can often take a back seat in business but it's a useful communications tool, and, with an eagle eye on SEO, it can really boost your business profile. Ghost-writing blogs is another service I'm now offering clients. After sitting down with them to find out their desired frequency of posts plus the tone they would like the blog to take (light-hearted or more serious) I research current trends in their industry, take a peek at comparative blogs and draft something for their approval. Voila! An effortless blog for a modest price from SunSign Communications.

And now....The Script

Sadly, not a Hollywood commission from Mr Spielberg, but an exciting new challenge, successfully met, nonetheless. A creative agency hired me to write the script for a short video film they'd been commissioned to make to promote an international nursing degree course. Switching from in-depth interview mode to punchy, attention-grabbing (yet information-rich) sentences while trying to 'hear' in my head how they might sound was certainly a different test of my 'wordsmithing'... But with only a few extra words inserted, my first draft was accepted in its entirety and another marketable and useful skill was added to the SunSign Communications portfolio!

The mother of all website rewrites

Ooh, baby! I have finished work on reworking/rewriting the content of a new website giving advice to expectant and new parents. Just shows, you don't need to 'walk the walk' before you can do the work: I've never been pregnant, a step-parent or, indeed a man, yet the clients were very happy with the results and the speed of 'delivery'.

Non-spin cycle of PR continues

When you think of local government public/press relations, don't think of 'The Thick of It'. I'm more than two years into regular shifts as a communications/PR consultant for a local authority and I haven't met a Malcolm Tucker yet. Just a load of hard-working, genuine people who deserve having their efforts publicised honestly, articulately and enthusiastically.

Internal communications shines at night

I've written 'Day in the Life' features for staff mags for many years but, coinciding with clocks going back, I found myself writing a 'Night in the Life' alternative, for a construction company. The 'Day/Night in the Life' concept has been around a long while, but this is because it's an ideal bonding tool for disparate staff within an organisation.