Content Marketing for Branding

Here’s an article I wrote about content marketing for Future Content. Find out what mind-altering gas has got to do with branding here.

‘As much as we’d all like to be Don Draper, the marketing world has come a long way since the days of Mad Men. The money is nowhere near as good, people wear jeans to work, and drinking spirits in the office is generally frowned upon…’

How Now, Gaokao? China Faces Brain-Drain As Middle Classes Seek A Western Education

Here’s a piece I wrote for the higher education news website, Study International, on China’s notoriously tough college entrance examinations. Read it in full here.

‘Think you know exam stress? Spare a thought for the nine million or so Chinese high school students awaiting the results of the gaokao: the gruelling college entrance exams that can mean the difference between a prized university education and – in the eyes of some Chinese parents – failure…’

Five National Trust Attractions Near Bristol

In this article for Time Out, I give the lowdown on five National Trust gems within reach of Bristol. Read the whole thing here.

‘As much as we love city life, it’s easy to forget that there’s a world of breathtaking landscapes and fascinating history right on our doorsteps. The National Trust work tirelessly to preserve the rich heritage of these isles, and if you don’t mind venturing off the beaten path, you’ll find that there’s an awful lot worth preserving. So put down your iPad, step away from the Wii and take a look at five stimulating family days out that are good for the soul (and easy on the wallet)…’

Humour: the content marketer’s secret weapon

This article was published on April Fool’s Day, 2015 as part of a series on content marketing strategies. Read it in full here.

‘Humour has been helping advertisers sell stuff, and average-looking men woo beautiful women (it’s true – just ask my wife), since time immemorial. Ever since Paleolithic man first slipped up on a banana skin, humans have loved to laugh. Although, come to think of it, owing to the lack of medical knowledge at the time, that poor caveman would probably have died a slow, agonizing death from a fractured skull…’

Evergreen content: what it is and why you should write it

This piece for Future Content tells you everything you need to know about evergreen content and the organic search long game. You can read it in full here.

‘Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of content in this world. First, there’s your topical content. Topical content (which is definitely not to be confused with tropical content) deals with topics that are – you guessed it – topical. Big news stories, Facebook fads, whatever’s trending on Twitter…topical content rides on the coattails of these hip, happening stories and capitalises on their social reach, using them to spread a message to a wider audience. It’s a bit like hanging around with the popular kids in school to try and improve your own social standing…’

Coffee Shop Review: Small St. Espresso, Bristol

I enjoy a flat white and a slice of pecan pie in my first coffee shop review for the ever-delectable Bristol Bites. Guzzle it down in full here.

‘Tucked away from the bustle of St. Nick’s Market on the aptly named Small Street, you’ll find the equally aptly named Small St. Espresso. The black, white and baby blue signage simply exudes ‘cool’, with a laidback, playful logo that will have graphic designers weeping tears of typeface-induced joy into their macchiatos.

Inside, the décor is what you might call industrial-lite, all exposed wood, exposed brick, exposed pipes, while the two (fully clothed) members of staff dispense caffeinated delights from behind an elegant black-tiled counter. The vibe is minimalist and effortlessly hip. The clientele, mainly young and tastefully tattooed, drape themselves over cubic tables and seats seemingly fashioned out of old crates in a single small but perfectly formed room…’

Coffee Shop Review: Playground Coffee House, Bristol

A trip to Playground Coffee House ends in tears in this review for Bristol Bites. You can read it in full here.

‘What’s in a name?

When it comes to Playground Coffee House, quite a lot, actually. Walking past, you can’t help but be drawn in by the set of swings in the window, beckoning you to throw caution (and dignity) to the wind and recapture, if only for a few moments, the hedonistic abandon of childhood. If you can walk past such an apparatus and not feel at least a twinge of juvenile yearning, then congratulations: you have no soul…’

Coffee Shop Review: Full Court Press, Bristol

A perfect flat white brings on a spiritual experience in my latest review for Bristol Bites. Readeth in full here.

‘There must be something in the water around St Nick’s Market. Either that, or it’s built on a leyline, or possibly a Native American burial ground (although, granted, this is fairly unlikely). Whatever the reason, the area is blessed with more than its fair share of superior coffee houses, and Full Court Press, which has been operating from its Broad Street premises since 2013, might just be the daddy of them all…’

Coffee Shop Review: Cafe Ronak, Bristol

It’s another one for Bristol Bites, and I’ve seen the light! Oh yeah, ‘ronak’ means ‘light’…

‘I’ve come to find that there’s a strange dichotomy at work in the world of coffee shops. More often than not, the places that serve the best coffee aren’t always the most welcoming, while the most welcoming places don’t always serve the best coffee. Gloucester Road’s Cafe Ronak – which takes its name from the Farsi word for ‘light’ and has been serving up fairtrade coffee and Persian-inspired cuisine since 2010 – is a rare exception to the rule…’

Seasonal coffee blends – great coffee for the summer months

This piece for DR Wakefield will tell you everything you need to know about sublime summer coffee blends. Read the full article here

‘It’s that time of year again. The clocks go forward, raincoats go back on the coat hooks, and umbrellas are relegated to the cupboard under the stairs – for a few months at least.

Of course, coffee can – nay, should – be enjoyed all year round, but as with any seasonal crop, some origins are more suited to summertime imbibing than others. So now that the days are finally getting longer and the weather is (in theory) getting warmer, we asked one of our resident coffee traders, Will Hobby, to shed some light on the vivacious summer blends that are guaranteed to put a spring back in your step…’