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Happy Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is a time of the year where the power of words is more evident than ever. Yesterday morning I wasn’t in the best of moods. I was trying to work out a new plugin for our website, and not being the most technical minded, it was a frustrating process! I decided to have a break and check the hello@purplefeather email account. I saw a message entitled ‘An American Holiday’. Intrigued, I opened the email and what came next made a real difference to my day – it cheered me right up! Here’s what it said:

“Thanksgiving tomorrow 11-28  is an American holiday. We give thanks for many things, our blessings , our friends, our families, and the list goes on. One of the things I am thankful for is stumbling over Purplefeather. That one video [The Power of Words] changed the way I communicate with co workers, bosses and subordinates, I even talk with my kids ( young adults) differently, I may not be formally trained in your technique, but I have changed the words I use and it truly has changed the responses.

So as this is not one of your official holidays (I think), I invite you to share the intent  of this holiday with your family and friends tomorrow. May the good Lord watch over you and those you hold close to your heart. May you prosper in the coming year,  Happy Thanksgiving”

I hope this email has inspired you, as it did me, to take a moment and think about the people you are thankful for.

Pass it forward and give the gift of kind words today 🙂

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One man and his van


Yesterday I shared a blog post about VW and how they have harnessed the power of story in their marketing. Imagine my surprise when John (of John Cavill Gardens & Design), one of our loyal subscribers, got in touch to say that he was in fact one of VW’s featured real life stories! How cool is that?

Like the Purplefeather team, John is a big believer in the power of words. He’s been inspired both by our guidance (John reads all our blogs and has fun implementing our tips) and VW’s campaign to take his web content to the next level, embracing storytelling as a central part of his online marketing. John’s top tip for creating compelling copy is, “always tweaking and having fun with my website content, always looking for opportunities and remaining forever positive in everything I do.” We think that’s great advice.

You’ll be able to see how John tells his story when his new website is launched. You can follow his journey on Facebook:

Comment below and share with us how you embrace storytelling in your marketing. 


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How To Structure Your Content


If you’ve ever done any marketing training, you might be familiar with the AIDA principle. For the web there’s one extra step. So A is for Attention, I is for Interest, D for Desire. C stands for conviction and A is the final Action.


We’ll start with A, Attention. How do you get someone’s attention, generally? Usually by telling them something that piques their curiosity, pushes their buttons or appeals to their self-interest in some way. If I whispered to you on the subway that I’d discovered the secret of eternal life, my guess is you’d want to know more.  Or at the very least you’d be intrigued by my weirdness! The best way to get attention with the written word is by using headlines. Your headline is really an opportunity to tantalise people into reading more by creating an emotional reaction. That’s the only job it has to do. And there are plenty of ways to do that. We’ll be talking more about that in next month’s feature.


OK, so the next step is to build on that interest and move them into your body copy. Think about the basic human needs for shelter, safety, money, love, nourishment, achievement and sex. Most of us want all or some of these needs met on a regular basis. Your Interest statement needs to address these needs. So if the product can save money, specifically mention how much. If it will make their family safer, explain how. It helps to focus on the main benefit.


Right so now we’ve got their attention and engaged their interest, the next step is to stoke up some desire. This is where you pull out all the stops. Paint a picture for your reader which evokes a life made infinitely richer, easier or more pleasurable once they have availed themselves of your product or service. Tell them how people just like them are already enjoying the benefits. Awaken their desire to be more successful, more beautiful, more gifted or luckier than any of their peers. And then make your offer sound unmissable by limiting its supply through use of a deadline or exclusive deal. We all like to feel that we’re getting extra special treatment and that we’re not missing out – that’s just good old human nature.

In this section of your copy you’ll need to give your reader all the details they’ll need to make a buying decision. Remember we make buying decisions with our feelings, not our intellects, though we might use reason to rationalise those emotional decisions after the event.


Moving onto the fourth part of our web page structure then, the C, which stands for conviction. This is where you need to provide social proof in the form of testimonials, statistics and any positive PR or press coverage you’ve received. It’s also where you can address and overcome any objections your customer is likely to have.


By now your prospect should be feeling really hungry for a transaction. What could possibly go wrong? The fifth part I want to talk about is the call to action, or put simply where you tell them to buy now, with urgency. And it’s where most web copy falls flat on its face.

If you’ve written your copy or presented your content in a structured way, you need to follow right through to the finish. This is where the energy needs to be ramped up! Sometimes it helps to write this piece of your content first. What do you want them to do as a result of engaging with your content? People expect to be reminded of the benefits and be told exactly what to do next. Don’t disappoint them! And if you can end on a note of inspiration, do so. If you’ve watched The Power of Words, you’ll notice that the part of the message that really hits home after you’ve read the sign is ‘change your words, change your world’ which transitions into Purplefeather’s logo and web address. It evokes emotion, and reminds you what you can do with a strong call to action.

Hopefully this post has given you some more helpful tips on conversion and there’ll be many more to come over the year. What do you think? Love to hear your comments.


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Courting Success

We’re going a bit Wimbledon mad in the office this week – and it’s not even quarter finals yet! You might have received our tennis themed email if you’re on our mailing list. If not – you can sign up here (bottom left of the page), and we’ll even throw in our Top 10 Web Copywriting Tips! Anyway, back to the flavour of the week. . . Wimbledon.

And a lot can be learnt from Jacob‘s Creek ad campaign to promote their ticket competition. Harnessing the power of storytelling, in TWO different ways, they sure know how to connect with their audience.

  1. ‘Meet the True Characters of Wimbledon’ and ‘The Open Film Series’ – I challenge you not to feel more emotionally involved with the tournament and the sport after watching these videos. In fact, Andre Agassi’s honest and charming interview ‘Step’ about his first grand slam victory inspired me, made me smile, and brought back that excited ‘summery-Wimbledon-final’ feeling all at once. Kind of makes me want to enter a competition to win some centre court tickets. . . How convenient, there’s a handy link to the Jacob’s Creek competition right under the videos!
  2. The Fans Gallery. We love telling stories as much as we love to hear them. So what better way to get Facebook fans to engage and interact than to ask them to send in their favourite Wimbledon stories and memories?

Need help harnessing the power of story for your business? Here’s a summary of how we can help bring your brand to life.

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Get All Your Ducks in a Row


“Most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem, however every website in the world has a conversion problem.” – Bryan Eisenberg,

Boring, I know, but the first step in creating copy that converts is preparation. Spend 50% of your writing time planning your content and you’ll save yourself hours of pen-sucking, head-scratching tedium further down the road. Start by asking yourself these 3 questions:

1. Who am I writing for? (Imagine a living breathing person rather than a demographic)

2. What do I want someone to do as a result of reading this page? (e.g. buy and share)

3. What are the primary and secondary key phrases I will optimise this page for? (from your keyword research, pick one mainstream phrase and one niche phrase per page)

The single most important thing you need to consider whenever you write a piece of copy is:

What value will this piece of content add to my reader’s life?

And if you think that sounds a bit dramatic, consider how many waking hours you have in your day. Then think about how many different bits of information you have to process within that timeframe. Emails, blog posts, websites, texts, tweets, Facebook updates, train timetables, billboards, newspapers, books, radio and TV broadcasts, conversations, meetings… not to mention the continuous running commentary in your head. Bleuuugh! It’s enough to make you crawl back under the duvet.

Your customers are probably facing the same level of information overload so it will brighten their day if they can read a piece of content that considers their needs and gives them something worthwhile to take away. That can be a juicy report or independent review, some free advice or anything that makes their life easier. When people receive something they value for free, they are much more inclined to do business with you.

Once you know the answers to the above 3 questions and are clear on the value your reader will get, you’re ready to start structuring your content. And that’s what we’ll be looking at next month…

P.S We’d love to hear your comments!

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3 Secrets of a Top Travel Copywriter


You know how on your first couple of days of a holiday, it can sometimes be hard to switch off? The cogs in your mind are still whirring at office-pace and as hard as you try, you can’t help but have a couple of little thoughts about work.

Well that’s what happened to me last week, when I went to stay in a Normandy chateau, in the history steeped village of Sainte-Marie-Du-Mont. It’s a magnificent building; grand from the outside, but homely and comfortable on the inside. There were regal double poster beds in every bedroom, and perhaps the pièce de résistance was the medieval banqueting hall. I couldn’t have imagined a place I’d rather be. Yet when I tried to translate my feelings on to a post card – the words eluded me! At that moment it occurred to me how much I admire the PurpleFeather travel copywriters.  I started to think – what’s the secret of their success?

Secret 1: They transport the reader to the destination with rich and detailed descriptions. Images of actually being there sipping champagne make the reader believe they are there already.

Secret 2: Offer escapism, experience, adventure, peace. Appealing to all senses in a short piece can be hard. Think about how you would describe it to a friend without boring them – not at all generic.  

Secret 3: It was easy for me to send my postcard to the intended audience – all I had to do was include a stamp and address. But how do our copywriters ensure that their ideal audience are directed to the relevant article or web page? Keyword research! Keywords are carefully selected and integrated into copy to ensure that it is optimised for search engines. More advice on keyword research.

For more details of how we have helped travel industry clients increase their online conversions, take a look at our portfolio. 

Do you think you could benefit from working with our travel copywriting team? If you have a project you’d like us to consider, drop us a line at 


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Turn your business around for less than £50

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Small and start-up businesses: listen up!

The spring sunshine appears to have gone to our heads. We’re offering you a day in the company of three of Scotland’s business visionaries for just £49, including lunch!

If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you’ve probably wondered if anyone is actually enjoying growth and making serious money in 2013. The simple answer is YES! With the right tools and insider knowledge you too could experience significant growth and make 2013 your year.

  • Rob Levick of The Profit Detective will present his step by step guide showing you how to grow your business 40%-60% in the next 18 months
  • Our very own Andrea Gardner will be showing you the secrets of creating compelling online content that connects, convinces and converts
  • Wrapping up the day, Seth Gardner of RedSnappa will reveal insider knowledge on how to harness the power of video for your business

Purplefeather have teamed up with The Profit Detective and RedSnappa to host an unmissable opportunity for you to learn the secrets of business growth at our exclusive training day Profit, Power and Persuasion on the 17th April.

Join us at the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel for this one day workshop and networking lunch and discover how to grow your business and connect with your ideal audience.

Get in quick and book your place to claim our early bird offer £49 for the first 49 delegates including lunch and refreshments.

Take a look at the event brochure or head straight to the simple online booking form

See you there!


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Brand Storytelling


January is drawing to a close (how did it pass so quickly?), and with that comes National Storytelling Week. Organised by the Society for Storytelling and beginning tomorrow (26th January), it aims to promote what they describe as ‘the oldest art form in the world’.

It might be old, but by no means is it dated. In fact, we believe that storytelling is more relevant than ever. . .

Businesses tell stories because people remember them, and it’s a way of identifying emotionally with your customers.

Take the new Microsoft Internet Explorer ad. Aimed at the child of the 90s, the ad takes ‘Generation Y’ on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Bowl hair cuts, check. Light up trainers, check. Cassette players and floppy disks, most certainly CHECK. The ad tells the story of its audience, and cleverly draws parallels with its own journey using the tagline “you grew up, so did we.”  The association between the viewer’s journey and the brand helps to create an emotional connection with the audience – an audience they are trying to win back from competitors Firefox and Google Chrome.

Will they do it? Only time will tell . . . but they’re going the right way about it.

Email to find out how we can help you tell your brand story 


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Change Your World with Andrea Gardner

roaming gnomeWe have been overwhelmed with kind words about Change Your Words, Change Your World, and we want to do something fun with you.

As both a thank you and a collaboration, we invite you to get involved in our new photo project!

One of our favourite films is Amélie. Remember how she sent her Dad’s garden gnome all around the world, sending pictures home in front of world famous landmarks and tourist spots?

We want to create a collage of all the wonderful places in the world that Change Your Words, Change Your World has reached. Show us your changed world!

Big thanks to Anastasia for giving us the idea! Here’s another example of a similar project.

All you have to do is take a photo of your copy of Change Your Words, Change Your World in front of a landmark in your city and post it on Andrea’s Facebook wall, link it to Andrea on Twitter, or email it to

We look forward to seeing your photos!


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Change Your Words Story Competition Winner

Change Your Words, Change Your World by Andrea Gardner

When  Change Your Words, Change Your World was first released on Amazon we set up a competition for you to enter your stories for a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

First off, we’d like to say a massive ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who entered stories! They were fun, bittersweet, inspiring and uplifting in equal measure.

And the winner is… Dan Stewart!

Here’s Dan’s story:

I used to be depressed.  I was jealous.  I had a chip on my shoulder.  When I looked around, I saw people that were better than me, that had unfair advantages, that were getting what they wanted while I just couldn’t.  I was miserable and at the lowest point in my life.

This was 1993 and 1994.  I had worked really hard to put myself through college only to find a crappy job market that left me waiting tables.  One day, a regular customer presented a credit card.  I glanced down at the name and started laughing.

My customer was not amused, but I just couldn’t connect this guy – a guy I liked – to the scowling face on every bus, bench and billboard in town.  So I said,  “Oh COME ON, you’re Richard Mulholland?”  And then he started laughing too.

For at least 20 years, Mr. Mulholland was the most visible attorney in Tampa.  You literally could not get through the day without seeing or hearing his name at least five times.  To me though, he was just a fun customer who liked to eat steak with his wife.  I had the impression that I reminded them, perhaps, of someone they knew and cared about.   We had a comfortable routine, polite banter followed by light interrogation.

“What are you still doing here?” one of them would say as I approached the table.

“Well, they won’t let me leave until you pay” I’d reply.

“Well, I’m not paying until we’ve eaten” he’d say.  This would continue until I’d brought them free dessert.  (Be nice to your waiters, people!)  One night, he handed me his business card and told me to come visit his office.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I bought a new shirt and drove my crappy old car to the tallest building in Tampa and secretly hoped that he would offer me a job.

He didn’t.  But what I learned that day was ultimately much more valuable.

I was made to feel like a visiting dignitary.  We strolled marble lined hallways and politely chatted with many members of his staff.  Afterward, seated across from him at his desk, we gazed out the window at the truly spectacular view of Tampa Bay.  I could tell that I was about to learn why he had invited me to visit.

It was one of those rare moments, where the universe seemed willing to provide whatever I needed.

He picked up a picture frame and turned it towards me.  There was a row of skinny children clinging to the running board of an old pickup truck.  “I’m the tall one” he said.  “I grew up working the orange groves not far from here.”

We looked at the picture together in silence.  I thought about my alcoholic mother and abusive father.  I thought about the fights and the screaming, the hidden bottles of scotch and the stain of embarrassment that colored everything I was.

“If you’re going to get out of your orchard, Dan” he said, “it’s up to you”.

That lesson was not instantly learned.  I was confused.  I wanted directions.  I was fragile and frustrated and a little angry that he didn’t simply tell me how.

Seventeen years have now passed and I’ve come to regard that visit as a turning point.  I still don’t know if there was another reason he invited me.  Perhaps I was being considered for a position and found wanting.  Maybe he did see something in me after all?  I do know that he spoke four words that have made a difference in my life.  They stuck to me.  They shifted my perspective and helped me stop waiting for life to happen.

“It’s up to you”.

I decided to shift my focus away from my weaknesses (past) and towards my strengths (future).  To stop waiting and to start happening.  To recognize that my extreme discontentment was a gift that would fuel a great journey from my present reality to wherever I wanted to go.

Thank you Richard.  I’ve paid it forward.

You can find more from our winner Dan at his blog.

Congratulations, Dan! You’ve won a copy of Change Your Words, Change Your World signed by author (and Purplefeather director!) Andrea Gardner.

Thanks again to everyone who told us their stories, and feel free to share yours on Andrea’s author pages on Facebook and Twitter, or with Purplefeather on Facebook and Twitter.

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