Harnessing the power of words
Welcome to BHP
After a few false starts, it took an extended sojourn in Tokyo, Japan, for me to discover what I was good at, and what I enjoyed most: putting words together to tell a story, while making the reader want to know more. And one way or another I’ve been doing it ever since.
As a lifestyle journalist and copywriter, I am as comfortable writing pithy ad copy as I am press releases; as proud of a punchy headline as of a long-form think-piece.
Pride is one thing; vainglory is another. My words are there to do a job: to engage, and to persuade readers that what they’re reading about merits further attention. To make them decide to post off the coupon. To click on the mouse button to ‘find out more’. To help them make their minds up. To place their trust in this company, or that business.
On the wall above the desk in my office (alongside a sticky-note reading: “Just write the damn thing!”) is a plaque that says: “As complex as necessary, as simple as possible”. It was given to me in 1991 when, recently returned to the UK, I set up shop as a freelance wordsmith. And it’s a maxim I’ve done my best to adhere to ever since. Literary flourishes have their place; but my job is to get the message – your message – across.
Why BHP? There’s a story there... mine to tell.
The name’s Bond
Between November 2009 and February 2018 I worked exclusively for the Holiday Property Bond, a “holiday club” (as a wordsmith I should be able to think of a more accurate description) with 42,000 members (Bondholders) who have invested in the purchase and development of a portfolio of holiday properties across the UK and Europe, in which they have a financial interest, and the right to holiday (rent-free) for the duration of their investment.
The company produces a monthly e-zine for its Bondholders; regular annual or biennial brochures showcasing the Bond’s property portfolio and other holiday homes; and reams of promotional material.
In pretty much every case, the words were mine. But my main focus was the BOND: a quarterly glossy “coffee-table” magazine – a mix of hard news about the Holiday Property Bond, lifestyle pieces and (naturally) holiday-related articles. I was its editor, and remain its chief writer.
Today I pen travel articles for the mag I used to edit; research and write up the stories of existing Bondholders for use in advertising and promotional material - an interesting job, particularly at the interview stage: no two Bondholders' stories are exactly the same - and, until recently, compiled more or less daily blog posts to promote the Bond to the general public.
The company’s name is usually abbreviated to its initials.
HPB. BHP. Coincidence? I think not.
In a former life...
Between 1991 and 2009, though parenthood got in the way, BHP just about earned me a living. Ahead of the internet and email curve, though based in Britain I produced copy for some fairly heavy-hitting Japanese concerns; though latterly my clients were a bit less far-flung.
Drum and Monkey
Search engine optimisation is all about keeping your website dynamic. Or so I’m told. I don’t pretend to understand why – but I do intend to use this space to write about stuff that (at the time of writing) matters to me, presses my buttons, or tickles my fancy. Feel free to agree, disagree... but above all, to engage.