Editorial Services and Graphic Design

NaNoWriMo – what’s the world of publishing coming to?

Abbie H

Abbie Hettle, Account Executive at Acceleris

As November draws to a close so does the annual National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of 30 days – not a challenge we would all readily accept! Its popularity begs some reflection on what this says about traditional publishing in the technologically advanced 21st century.

We can all write a blog post. We can all write a 140 280 character tweet. Can we all write a compelling and challenging novel which responds to various literary genres? ‘No’ is the simple answer, but it certainly doesn’t stop the empowerment of the internet from encouraging us to try. What a great example of digital and traditional publishing tools working hand in hand!

There’s no denying that traditional periodical print publishing is massively in decline. Magazines print issues have been ruthlessly axed across the spectrum over the past few months alone. Glamour, for example, announced in October it is focusing on digital publishing at the expense of its monthly glossy magazine, now printing special issues just twice a year. Teen Vogue swiftly followed with the demise of Vogue’s young oriented magazine and the cutting of 80 jobs. All of this signals a sharp shift in young people and their reading alliances.

Meanwhile outside of magazines the novel is seeing something of a resurgence into popular culture. It wasn’t too long ago that the trend for e-readers and e-books seemed to cast the 200+ page bound tome into the trash. Yet the novel seems to be holding steadfast to its print publishing roots. With the re-invention of Waterstones and a growth in book bloggers, #instareads, and monthly book subscription services it seems that, even though publishing seems averse to the onset of digital dominance, there will always be a place for the printed word.

A campaign to renew the relevance of the novel on such a multicultural digital platform such as Twitter instils us editorial folk with new confidence. Weekly magazines and their conveyor belts of predictable and temporarily relevant content don’t hold our attention for too long. We are increasingly turning towards more traditional print like the classic novel as well as digital versions of newspapers, magazines and brochures whose presence both physical and digital seems fixed.

Take a look at our work with The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society. To celebrate its milestone of 150 years we produced a commemorative book detailing the Society’s roots, objectives and achievements across its long history of caring for former seafarers. This project appealed to the Society’s older audience who are invested in their charitable status and its objective of providing top quality care facilities. The hardback book worked for this client whose existence is steeped in history and tradition. We complemented this publication with content that could be utilised in a digital version and on the website. The timeline which ran across the top of each page in the printed book is now a feature on the Society’s brand new website. Tying these two forms together has extended the charity’s appeal and relevance to a great variety of audiences who utilise different media. It has even won a CIPR award for Best Publication

The lesson here is there’s a suitable online or offline print publication for everyone; whether that’s a commemorative book, a graphic novel or brochure. NaNoWriMo’s repeated success is testament to the power of the word and for recent graduates like me and fellow bookworms everywhere, it is proof the book isn’t going anywhere.

Let’s place the printed word back where it belongs. Why not give Acceleris’ Writers Inc department a call to find out how we can help you achieve this? Find us here

Keeping a weather eye on the issue of ‘sea blindness’

Charley Oakes - Senior Copywriter and Editorial Project Manager

Charley Oakes – Senior Copywriter and Editorial Project Manager

If only we could bottle the passion of the UK’s leading maritime charities; we could cure a lot of the world’s ills. I would begin with ‘sea blindness’, a topic covered at Seafarers UK’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June, one of two major maritime charity events I have been privileged to attend in recent weeks, the other being The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society’s AGM in May.

‘Sea blindness’, an issue also touched upon by my colleague Ellie St George-Yorke in her recent article on the Boaty McBoatface debate, refers to ignorance of our island nation’s continuing dependence on the sea for food, commerce and security, and the vital role our seafarers play in all our lives, whether they work in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Merchant Navy or fishing fleets.

Fisherman

Source: Seafarers UK archive

Today there are organisations and charities doing tireless work to support former seafarers and their dependants, and to promote education, training and careers to attract the best talent and ensure our seafaring community continues to thrive now and in the future.

Seafarers UK, for example, is focusing its fundraising appeal for its centenary year of 2017 on ‘Supporting Seafarers: Past, Present and Future’, with three key campaigns. The Royal Alfred, meanwhile, provides tailor-made care and support to former seafarers and their dependants at its residential home in Surrey. This charity is now in its 151st year, which reflects the enduring need for its services. Indeed, an ageing population means the number of former Merchant Navy seafarers and fishermen over the age of 85 is expected to increase by more than 275% between now and 2030!

Royal Alfred resident

Royal Alfred resident

Awareness of the role of the seafarer and the sea continues to improve but there is always work to be done. The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society runs a campaign every year that does a fantastic job of celebrating our country’s connection with the sea – its annual photography competition invites people to send in their ‘ultimate sea view’, whether images of ships, harbours, ports, wrecks, seafarers or seascapes.

 

‘Wrecked’ by David Jenner, winning image in the ‘Ships and Wrecks’ category of the 2015 Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society photography competition)

‘Wrecked’ by David Jenner, winning image in the ‘Ships and Wrecks’ category of the 2015 Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society photography competition)

 

After working with maritime charities as part of my role at Acceleris for many years, I share their passion for the work they do. I took the following message away with me from both AGMs – we must never lose sight of the nation’s dependence on or our responsibility to the maritime community.

Sea blindness is certainly not an issue at Acceleris, which has a specialist maritime communications team working with a diverse range of clients within the sector. To find out more, please visit the Acceleris website.

 

Crippling, obsessive, maddening perfectionism: a copywriter’s prerogative

I recently read a blog by The Drum contributor Andrew Boulton, boldly entitled The Psychology of a Copywriter, which endeavoured to explore and explain what exactly makes a copywriter tick. The author conceded that everyone has their own quirks and foibles so the generalisation may not apply to all, but I think he may have been onto something when he described copywriters as being prone to “a crippling, obsessive, maddening perfectionism”.

While you may think it strange for me to embrace the labelling of myself and my fellow copywriters as “obsessive” and mad perfectionists, I actually think in this profession these traits are no bad thing. At Writers Inc., Acceleris’ own copywriting division, we deal with large-scale projects on a regular basis and these “perfectionist” traits provide a great foundation for managing complex projects. This got me thinking, what are the key ingredients to managing an editorial project?

  1. Organisation

I have a natural penchant for colour coding and anyone who has visited my house is quickly aware of my love of categorising just about anything, from books, to my ever growing collection of shoes… but a natural desire for organisation serves one well when in the thick of a project.

Admittedly, the concept of organisation is relative, but in a project of any size, having a clear process for collating emails, copy, amends, etc. is essential to ensure that things run smoothly and information is easily accessible at short notice; this has been particularly essential on our current project for corporate law firm Addleshaw Goddard (watch this space for more details!).

When you’re managing a large-scale project and liaising with multiple individuals for approvals and amends, being organised becomes even more vital, as it ensures that you can give informed progress reports whenever requested. It also helps you to keep track of, and resolve, any issues which may occur in the course of the project.

  1. Understanding the brief and beyond

This may seem simple (of course you need to understand what the brief asks for) but it goes further than that. In an editorial project, you need to understand the core values and motivations of the organisation in order to express those ideals through the copy you produce.

Whether you are writing copy for a car manual or a charity’s annual report, you are communicating that organisation’s values to the reader through the tone of the piece and the style of the language that you use. It is also equally important to understand the needs of the audience and ensure the tone of communication is properly targeted.

We recently completed a large editorial project for national maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, creating a book entitled Home from Sea to celebrate the Society’s 150th Anniversary, which required close attention to both the Society’s voice, as well as addressing the audience’s needs.

The literature or website that you produce may be the first interaction that a customer or a member of the public has with that organisation, which is why it is important that values are clearly understood and communicated.

  1. Communication

I refer back to Andrew Boulton’s article here, as I feel he effectively captures the tone of a copywriter’s communications: “The very nature of the job is to be, not the loudest voice, but the most compelling.”

As a copywriter, you need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate editorial advice to your clients, ensuring that the editorial project is smooth sailing and the brief is met, messages are communicated and it is all completed in the most time and cost effective manner possible.

So while copywriters may be prone to “crippling, obsessive, maddening perfectionism”, we do make pretty good project managers!

For more information about Writers Inc., click here or follow us on Twitter @AMCWriters.

– Katie Wadsworth
Katie Wadsworth - Copywriter / Account Executive, Acceleris

Katie Wadsworth – Copywriter / Account Executive

An Evening With Leeds University’s History Makers

150

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society 150th Anniversary book ‘Home from Sea’

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

It’s been a constant source of disquiet for me that our brightest, youngest, most vital minds are sold the fallacy that the world is a barren wasteland of opportunity, with a paucity of enterprise and scant pickings, even for those who achieve straight A’s.

Such is the power of stories.

As someone who has never been out of work since age eight (family business making deliveries on a butcher’s bike) and who most definitely wasn’t a straight A student, I thought it was time to get out amongst our city’s young folk and learn for myself what was happening today.

During my time at the inward investment agency for Leeds City Region, I’d been privileged to hear from some truly inspirational leaders, from the emerging fields of fintech and med tech through to chief executives, operations managers, systems designers and many doctors, scientists, security experts and entrepreneurs. All of them confirmed the need for capable millennials in all sectors.

During my five years with HSBC Bank, I’d also seen inside numerous UK businesses and whether they were based in thriving metropolises or declining mill towns, they still relied on a pipeline of talent to help them achieve their business plans. I’ve always seen a glut of opportunity and plenty of need for workers to drive our economy, but with many of our jobs only coming into existence in the last five or ten years as digital disruption takes hold and transforms what we know, what skills do graduates need to fit in? And why are some graduates still keen to qualify in history?

When a colleague passed me the invitation to the History Society Careers Networking Dinner at Leeds University, I initially thought ‘what skills would history graduates have that we’d need here at Acceleris? Quickly followed by ‘what has history got to do with Public Relations?’ The answer to me quickly became ‘everything’.

At Acceleris, we deal in stories and use the power of a good story well told, to change opinions, win funding, stop hospitals from closing, fight misinformation and stop unsustainable practices. One of our most saleable skills is our detailed knowledge of the past and our ability to analyse the media and economic landscape to spot and tap into future trends and issues.

History is in our taxonomy and how we relate topics, themes and people to each other. Recently we’ve been appointed as project archivist for one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society. A role which required not only the conservation and cataloguing of images from 150 years of history, but also the authoring and preservation of a cherished story that would be told for years to come in a commemorative 106 page book produced by our Writers Inc. division.

The painstaking research and ability to deal with the minutiae of people’s personal memories, tall tales or vague reminiscences and the physical evidence had everything to do with the skills history graduates learn.

It’s the same with rapid fire news, features or copywriting, which are all based on the ability to listen and understand and to relate those pieces of information to the wider world, giving things context and meaning.

In addition to learning from a syllabus packed with relevant skills, the quality of the student-organised event I attended was also outstanding. The sit down dinner and the round-table approach, where local companies such as Deloitte, Irwin Mitchell and Teach First hosted around eight students each, showed a real razor-sharp insight into delivering the outcomes the group was looking for – so placements, internships and ultimately, employment.

prologue

The prologue to The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society 150th Anniversary book ‘Home from Sea’

These history graduates have certainly taken charge of writing their own life stories.

Seafood Week Part 3: Helping maritime organisations at their best, look their best

When I started work at Acceleris nearly seven years ago (as of next month) little could I have imagined that this would be the beginning of a professional and personal interest of mine in all things maritime.

The irony of our HQ being in one of the most central and landlocked areas of the UK, has often been commented upon. But location has never been a barrier to us becoming one of the leading maritime communications and PR specialists in the country. As my colleague Ellie St George-Yorke said in her latest blog, our maritime sector work has seen us travel extensively and win our firstpan-European client.39-Two residents on the Royal Eagle (Day trip steamer) on the Thames-1934 or 1935

As the Head of Writers Inc., the agency’s dedicated editorial project division, I am very proud of the work the team has done in the maritime industry across the public, private and third sectors. Whatever the client, we help to raise awareness of this country’s connection and dependence on the sea and the extraordinary people who work in sea-related trades.

 

To mark Seafish’s National Seafood Week, I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase some of the editorial projects, online and offline, Acceleris has undertaken for maritime clients. We are open to any brief and will always advise on the best platform and content for their audience and needs; ensure value for money; and work with the best suppliers to get the job done. Our work has so far encompassed:

  • Websites and microsites
  • A commemorative book
  • Info graphics
  • Annual reports
  • Leaflets, presentation folders and other marketing collateral and stationery
  • Social media campaigns.

There are too many from the last seven years to mention here, so I’ve chosen my three favourite, but very different Acceleris editorial projects in this sector to date:ifish

  • iFish – dispelling fishing industry myths on behalf of European trade body Europêche

PROJECT TYPE: Interactive microsite including innovative Fish Facts info graphic

LAUNCHED: April 2015

PEOPLE HAVE SAID: “I’ve looked at iFish and to be quite honest, I think it’s amazing, very well constructed and just the sort of thing we’ve been waiting for, to help promote and portray a real-time picture of the industry in light of so much pressure and negative press.”-Member of the public

SEE FOR YOURSELF…

 

  • Home From Sea – 150 years of The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society 150

PROJECT TYPE: Commemorative hardback history book

PUBLISHED: July 2015

PEOPLE HAVE SAID: “I am immensely pleased and proud of the book, which met and surpassed our expectations. Since the launch event we have had some verygood feedback from residents, relatives, staff, partner organisations and other external sources. No one could fail to like it and be impressed. We have a book of which we can be justifiably proud and a fitting tribute to the Royal Alfred.” – Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt MBE, Chief Executive of the Society

The first reaction of HRH The Princess Royal, on receiving the first copy of the book as the charity’s Patron, was: “Good title!”

SEE FOR YOURSELF…

 

  • shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

PROJECT TYPE: Charity website raising awareness of its work providing vital financial aid to mariners in need

LAUNCHED: June 2011shipwrecked web

PEOPLE SAID: I just wanted to thank you for all your work and the help you’ve given us to ensure we have a modern website to be proud of.” Stephen Fisher, Marketing & Communications Manager at the Society

SEE FOR YOURSELF…

 

You can see many more examples on our website www.acceleris-mc.com

If you have a need for a printed publication, website, microsite, or something completely different, please get in touch.

Rewriting the book on agency editorial services

The Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society Anniversary Book, Home From Sea

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society Anniversary Book, Home From Sea

It’s not every day you get to shake hands with a senior member of the Royal Family, but Louise, Ellie and I got to do just that, when we met HRH The Princess Royal at a client event.

This was a very proud moment for all at Acceleris, for a number of reasons:

1)      Princess Anne is one of the busiest royals, with a wide range of public roles. She supports or is Patron of 327 organisations (only The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales represent more). In 2014, she carried out nearly 530 engagements in the UK and overseas. She had four appointments that day alone, and reportedly shakes 300 hands a week – that’s 15,600 a year!

2)      She is Patron of maritime charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, a long-standing Acceleris client, which this year celebrated its 150th anniversary of caring for former seafarers and their dependants. The Princess attended the anniversary event in July as the charity’s VIP guest and to present it with a new Royal Charter.

3)      She was the first to receive a copy of the Society’s 150th anniversary book Home From Sea – the first book to be produced by Acceleris!

Louise meets HRH

Acceleris’ Managing Director, Louise Vaughan, meets Princess Anne

I was also lucky enough to meet HRH!

I was also lucky enough to meet HRH!

Home From Sea charts the Royal Alfred’s history from its foundation as “a hospital for worn-out and disabled merchant seamen” in 1865, to the specialist care home and housing in Surrey that it is today. The brief was specific – to produce an engaging and informative record of the organisation that should be “picture heavy, wording light and suitable for a coffee table”.

Writers Inc., Acceleris’ editorial project division, really showed its mettle during what was a rewarding but often challenging task.

Strong client relationships really bolster successful projects. As this was to be a record of its first 150 years, the Royal Alfred understandably placed a lot of emphasis on getting this project right and set up a special ‘book committee’ of trustees and staff to work with us, each with their own valuable skill sets and insight into the Society.

Then: an early meeting with the book committee

Then: an early meeting with the book committee

Now: the book committee with the finished article!

Now: the book committee with the finished article!

After initial group meetings, the production process took 18 months. Efficient management was vital, covering:

  • Editorial services – working alongside co-author John Allan, a maritime historian, we wrote several chapters and edited and proofread the entire book.
  • Graphic design – it was a pleasure to partner with Rebus Design on the publication’s design work. They are an efficient, professional and creative team who had worked with us on Royal Alfred previously on its Annual Report and advertising.
  • Print – local suppliers Harrogate Printing did a sterling job, offering advice and support at every turn and producing a top-class product, complete with hardback, gold leaf and immaculate finishing throughout.
  • Research – in addition to our own insight and information built up over seven years of working with the charity, we delved into the charity’s archive, a veritable treasure trove of old photographs, poetry, cartoons, documents, press cuttings and personal journals and recollections from key personnel going back decades.

On 26 May, our book went to print, and on 3 July, the first copy was placed into the hands of Princess Anne.

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt MBE, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “I am immensely pleased and proud of the book, which met and surpassed our expectations. Since the launch event we have had some very good feedback from residents, relatives, staff, partner organisations and other external sources. No one could fail to like it and be impressed. We have a book of which we can be justifiably proud and a fitting tribute to the Royal Alfred.”

Hear more from Brian here:

Now we look to the future and new similar opportunities. As technology evolves and shapes the way we consume content, it is heartening to confirm that the print publication still has its place and is often the most appropriate communications tool for some organisations and their audiences. The Royal Alfred now has an attractive, visual record of its first 150 years and, with this client’s support, we look forward to building on this new specialism for the agency.

For more information on this or other projects, please contact Charley Oakes on 0845 4567251 or email charleyo@acceleris-mc.com 

Have a Word: My favourite content ideas of the week

I start this article with a confession. I’ve fallen into the habit (and the modern stereotype) of sometimes choosing news and social media feeds over my latest C J Sansom hardback for bedtime reading. While absorbing media of all types is an essential part of any communications professional’s role, I’m not in denial – I know I must banish smart phones and computers from the bedroom and return to reading proper books! Until I invoke this technology-free zone, however, I’m trying to make my late-night browsing as useful as possible, by sharing it with others.

As copywriter at Acceleris, I’m always observing how organisations and indeed, other agencies, convey their messages in new and innovative ways and can alter emotions or perceptions as a result. Here are just a few examples I’ve spotted this week*.

1)      This is the hardest quiz you’ll ever take

Our client The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society runs a specialist dementia care centre in Surrey, so a week rarely passes at Acceleris without the subject of dementia being discussed. Alzheimer’s Society, the leading UK care and research charity for people with this disease, has published a quiz on Buzzfeed. By devising questions and answers that are not as straightforward as they look, Alzheimer’s Society has shone a spotlight on how dementia can affect everyday thought processes.

2)      Take the time to see the world around you, because some people can’t…

When I started watching this video, I didn’t know who was behind it or what it was for. I only know that the main message made me feel quite emotional and respectful of its creator, web content company Purple Feather. By creating a simple story about how words can change people’s attitudes, and using video as the medium, Purple Feather both entertains the viewer and subtly promotes its own services.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX5aRzXUzJo

3) ‘Baby got books’?

This is a bookshop manager’s adaptation of a sexist and crass original rap track by Sir Mix-A-Lot, and the result, while grammatically unsound, is definitely an improvement. I also thought it was a fun and imaginative way of using modern culture references to encourage young people to read more books.

The bookshop's take on Sir Mix-a-Lot's popular song

The bookshop’s take on Sir Mix-a-Lot’s popular song

It also served to remind me that I need to restrict my iPhone addiction to daytime hours and reacquaint myself with Mr Sansom.

There are just 26 letters in the English alphabet. We make love by them; we make war with them. The ability to write effectively and appropriately for your intended audience and business is an essential skill no matter the output, whether for print or broadcast, internal or external. This is the culture of Writers Inc., the specialist editorial project division at Acceleris – why not find out more?

* These examples were spotted because they were trending or shared this week. Their original publication dates may vary

 

Location, location, location

There are three special words beginning with ‘P’ that drive us at Acceleris. Two of them – Projects and People – feature prominently in our blog articles, but it occurred to me on a six-hour train ride to Plymouth, for a team that travels so widely on a regular basis, we haven’t really taken the…

Have a Word: At home with Home from Sea

There’s a definite thrill in getting on a train to meet a client knowing you’re taking part in an agency first. For the very first time, Acceleris is collaborating on the publication of a book. The client: The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society. The topic: 150 years of care for former mariners in need. The challenge:…