Writing Portfolio

CORPORATE AND COPYWRITING PORTFOLIO

Media Releases

Media Releases – creating buzz for your business

A well crafted searchable media/press release is a value-packed vehicle to generate publicity for your business. The secret to a great release is to make sure you have a relevant and timely story to tell. Journalists and editors do not want to have to hunt for the “angle”. That’s a quick path to the “round file”.

Often what is exciting to you may not be to the world mostly because you’re too close to your business, product, accomplishment or special event. You need a story angle – a hook – that is newsworthy. An irresistible news hook might even lead to a larger feature.

Make it searchable

In today’s digital world you also have to ensure that your media release is mobile, web and Twitter friendly. It must engage readers as well as search engines. Include a key word-rich headline or insert a video into your press release and you instantly boost search engine results.

Make it work multiple ways

A single press release can even be designed to work across multiple platforms – a striking quote or headline can act as a perfect tweet. A video insert can be made to work as a stand-alone.

As a former TV reporter for Canada’s major network you can count on me to produce a video that is broadcast ready. Let me put my well-honed “nose for news” to work for you.

Get your free consultation today »

Media Release Example: Ouzo Power at Lula Lounge

On Sunday March 13th, George Sapounidis, dubbed “musical ambassador to the world”, will be rocking the house at the Lula Lounge with his band, Ouzo Power. They’ll be celebrating the launch of their new CD, Ouzo Power’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1. Continue reading »

Bios

Why do you need a bio?

If the media come calling would you be ready with your story? Perhaps you are launching a new enterprise, or need to refresh or expand upon your recent achievements. If you are an entrepreneur, a consultant, a designer, a coach, an author or a speaker you will not likely be asked for your résumé.

Bios are more in demand than ever. Whether you want to win clients, connect with your audience, attract investors or media interest, a bio is a must.

Your bio is your calling card

Your bio is your introduction to the world. It’s your story – your own personal ad, critical to establishing “brand you”. It showcases who you are, what are offering, what makes you different and why you are a valuable resource. It’s a consistent message that reflects your unique value.

But writing about yourself is hard. Adding to the challenge is the need to satisfy all the different formats that getting known and getting business in today’s digital world require and keeping the message continually consistent.

One size no longer fits all

In today’s social media and networking universe you will need several versions and lengths of your bio for different purposes and different audiences. The challenge is to take the same material, keep the essence, but adjust the length and focus of the content, framing it to suit new purposes.

10 types of bios for different purposes and formats

  • your LinkedIn profile
  • your web site “About” page
  • verbal “pitch” for networking in person
  • short summary for networking through social media
  • Twitter micro bio
  • press release bio
  • speaker introduction
  • media interview profile
  • grant applications
  • academic and professional papers

Bios that open doors

Let me help you get to the heart of your story and craft a bio that showcases your special expertise, that opens doors and that attracts the business you want.

Get your free consultation today »

Bios are as diverse as individuals and their needs. Some prefer a low key professional profile, others a more flamboyant portrayal. The three examples below span that range. The first is a bio for an Arctic Expedition leader, followed by corporate bio, and lastly a model.

Bio samples:

Kristyn Gray

As an infant, one of the first words Kristyn Gray ever uttered was “dolphin”. It spoke volumes about the direction her life would take. Continue reading »

Gyan Jain

When Gyan Chand Jain received his Mechanical Engineering Degree in India in 1961 the country was still in the early stages of industrialization with little opportunity for ambitious young men with big dreams. Continue reading »

Rio Dayne

England in the sixties. A heady time. A transformative time. A time of optimism as Britain morphed from post World War II austerity to a bright new world of revolutionary music, fashion and culture. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Twiggy. Mary Quant. Terence Conran. All defined the new “Swinging England”, radically transforming daily life and how Britons saw themselves. From plain and sensible to exciting and avant garde. Continue reading »

Check out the example for one of my clients who went from PhD statistician working for the federal government to rock star in China. http://chairmangeorge.com/ He required several bios over the span of 10 years. Here is a sampling of various angles we developed for different audiences at different times, including his “About” page.

Chairman George 2013 SPAF Bio
Chairman George International Performer 2008
Chairman George Rebetis Persona
Chairman George & Ouzo Power CINARS Showcase
Chairman George and The Ministers

Corporate Profiles

A corporate profile is similar to a bio – but for a larger entity.


Mensante Corporate Profile

Psychiatric help dispensed from your Blackberry? It could be the therapeutic direction of the future. In fact, help with mental health problems is already available on your computer, thanks to the innovative work of a group of leading North American mental health care specialists led by eminent Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Sam Ozersky, an expert in occupational psychiatry. Continue reading »

Case Studies

Case Studies – Marketing while you sleep

Case studies are like the little engine that could – they pull off a stellar job where other more costly or elaborate methods may not be the best choice.

Case studies are real life compelling business success stories that intrigue potential customers or clients, describing how you faced and conquered a significant and specific business challenge with rewarding results. They are customer focused, provide insight into your creative problem solving and establish what sets you apart from your competitors.

Effective case studies make a case as to why someone should do business with you. And they work for you 24/7. They’re like a sales team working quietly on the job while you sleep.

Get your free consultation today »

The top 10 features of dynamic case studies

  • Short – 3 to 5 pages
  • Focus on a single issue
  • Are structured in a problem/solution format with supporting data
  • Connect with readers/viewers on an emotional level with a story to which they can relate
  • Establish your expertise and emphasize results
  • Use powerful real-life quotes
  • Are multi-purposed: they can take the form of a PDF, a web page, a video, a webinar, a Power Point presentation and more.
  • Have longevity – can be organized and indexed on your website
  • Are often optimized for the web with key words that direct customers to specific solutions
  • Integrate into your other marketing activities

A useful resource

The Case for Case Studies is an excellent overview of how case studies can increase your company’s credibility and express your value proposition.

Case Study example

The Winners’ Career Choice is a case study I wrote to illustrate the highly effective creative approach we took to a large and challenging video project. Read the case study and see the actual results in the video.

Marketing video that doubles as a case study

This marketing video for a landscaping company was not specifically designed to be a case study but it is very much like one. It resembles a mini documentary in format, demonstrating the client’s problem-solving ingenuity in a variety of challenging situations backed by powerful customer testimonials.

The audience draws its own conclusions. Any viewer searching for a landscaping company will be sold – and they will sell themselves, convinced by the compelling story (and high production values) that “show” the impressive results and delve into how these results were achieved. It’s a much more powerful and memorable sell than the usual hard core sales bluster.

Free consultation

If you would like more information about how a case study can be your best marketing asset when it comes to winning over cautious prospects, email or call me for a free 30 minute consultation to find out which format will best work for you.

Website Content

Why writing for the web is different

Did you know that people don’t read websites as they do a book or printed article? Eye-tracking studies show that they scan web pages in an “F” pattern, their eyes sweeping across the top of the page, down the left side and across the middle. They skim, searching for specific information, a solution to a problem, usually checking out several sites and scanning quickly to find what they need. You have mere seconds to grab their attention. How do you do that?

The secrets of a winning website

User friendly sites use a compact writing style. They focus on the “you” not the “we”. They answer the WIIFM question – “What’s in it for me?” What problem do you solve for your visitors? What need do you fulfill?

Good website writing requires strategy – it impels your reader to take some kind of action, to be motivated to call about your product or service, or to learn something. Persuasive writing makes you stand out from the competition, gives you credibility and turns visitors into customers.

Get your free consultation today »

The top 10 features of an effective web site:

  • immediately establishes who you are, what you offer and how it benefits the reader
  • bulleted points that single out key ideas instead of long paragraphs
  • original, timely, high value content that is useful for the reader
  • well organized, concise, jargon-free copy that readers can take in at a glance
  • relevant headings – visual cues – that catch your visitors’ attention, helping them decide whether to read further
  • ease of contact
  • attractive and effective design that recognizes how visitors scan a page
  • consistent, intuitive navigation
  • interactivity
  • search engine friendly writing that uses keywords to ensure you get found and read

Making a good impression with your website

How a website is written is every bit as important as how it looks. It’s your voice – a reflection of you and your company – and essential for successful online marketing. The right words skillfully and strategically orchestrated give shape to your ideas, inform and educate your audience and sell your product, service or expertise.

Hiring a professional writer is not just a solid business investment – it’s an indispensible one. Let’s work together and get it right the first time.

Business Letters

Business letters that drive decisions

Business letters are sales tools. They sell your product, your services and most importantly you. They make requests, offer thanks, influence decisions. A concise, persuasive professional business letter with a clear objective gets attention and opens doors.

The perils of bad letters

Unclear writing is inefficient and causes confusion which takes time and money to rectify. Muddle the message and you lose your audience, create a bad impression and put a dent in your credibility.

Reaching a global market

The exchange of clear communications is even more important than ever in today’s multi-lingual, global cross-cultural market where your customer’s first language may not always be English.

You are what you write

Effective business letters:

  • influence decisions
  • facilitate negotiations
  • streamline the business process
  • drive sales
  • build client confidence

A strong business letter speaks to your reputation as a knowledgeable professional. It’s a reflection of you and your business. It gets you heard, understood and hired.

Get your free consultation today »

Here’s an example of a letter of reference for business school that has served as communications model for this client for several years. The name has been changed for privacy.

Read the letter here »

Proposals/Promotional Packages

Winning Proposals

A strong, well-written, client-focused proposal can make the difference between landing a project or losing it to the competition; between confusion (that can ruin a project) and clarity that solidifies business relationships.

Proposals are persuasive written documents that demonstrate your understanding of a prospect’s needs and goals and how your products, services or expertise can provide the solution to remedy their problem.

A proposal is skillful storytelling. It paints a picture of expected results.

Here are two examples of proposals I wrote and presented for two different video projects that I researched, wrote, directed and produced.

Blue Maxx proposal Read proposal here »

Options for Homes proposal Read proposal here »

These two proposals are an example of the same concept written with a different focus for two diverse markets.


Sound and Fury Proposal for City of Richmond Read proposal here »

Sound and Fury Proposal for Royal B.C. Museum Read proposal here »

Pitches

Who Needs an “Elevator Pitch”?

“So what do you do?” You’re at a conference, a meeting, a cocktail party or a networking event, and it’s the question everyone asks. They aren’t interested in the story of your life. They’re making a quick evaluation of how relevant what you do is to them and whether they can relate to you.

The power packed Elevator Pitch

Your “elevator pitch” is a micro bio. A power-packed commercial of 60 seconds or less. Great for cold calls or You-tube profiles too. Compress it further and it’s your Twitter profile, even your email signature.

Like good commercials, elevator pitches are laser focused tight packages – encompassing who you are, your target market and what is distinct and important about what you offer.

Get your free consultation today »

Here are three examples of pitches:

Chairman George Read pitch here »

Ouzo Power Read pitch here »

Rio Dayne Read pitch here »

NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES PORTFOLIO

Home Décor & Design Articles

Title: Historical Gem Sparkles
Publication: Toronto Home Magazine

Rustic bling, rustic glam: these oxymorons define Shirley Walters’s taste and her surroundings. Matriarch of the country music group The Walters Family, Shirley has a style that epitomizes the genre’s glitzy side. Read the full story »

Title: Beddy Buys
Publication: Toronto Home Magazine

Following through on an ill-advised dare, I once lounged on Leonardo da Vinci’s bed. It still stands in his 15th – century manor house-turned-museum in Château du Clos Lucé in the Loire Valley. As alarm bells clanged, my instigator and I, having snapped the coveted photo op, melted into the puzzled German tour group now trooping into the room. Read the full story »

Title: Real-Life Reno – TV producer and designer collaborate on dramatic home

Publication: Toronto Home Magazine

When television producer Angela Jennings hired Jane Lockhart – host of one of her own interior design shows, well-known designer and Angela’s long-time friend – to revamp the interior of her newly purchased home, she thought she was prepared for, well, the reality of real-life interior design. Read the full story »

Condo Living

Title: Clutter-loving couple gets sleek new digs
Publication: Toronto Star

Chintz, clutter and tchotchkes. These were the defining elements in Pam and Charles Hanbury’s 70-year-old home in a Thornhill heritage district. Read the full story »

Title: Vision takes shape
Publication: Toronto Star

Dracula’s lair. A year and a half ago that’s how Tania Scarangella described the loft her then fiancé Domenic was proposing to buy. Read the full story »

Title: A Steep Learning Curve
Publication: Toronto Star

When Alessandro Munge was 10 years old he would accompany his mother, a drapery seamstress, on her client visits. Read the full story »

Health & Wellness

Title: The ‘gift’ of survival – Beating colorectal cancer let broadcast journalist Pamela Wallin bring a hidden subject into the open
Publication: Toronto Star

A week before Pamela Wallin was scheduled for colorectal surgery, a group of her closest friends held a cancer shower for her. Her mother was horrified. Read the full story »

Title: Reducing C- Sections
Publication: Toronto Star

“It was a textbook pregnancy until my due date- then suddenly everything went wonko,” recalls Marnie Robinson. Read the full story »

Lifestlye/Urban Living

Title: Words That Sizzle: Cookbooks and Stores that Sell Them Break New Ground
Publication: Toronto Home Magazine

Cookbooks have gone risqué. Take a peek inside Fifty Shades of Chicken (a best-selling culinary parody of Fifty Shades of Grey) and you’ll find chapter headings such as Mustard Spanked Chicken and Learning to Truss You and others a little too racy to mention. Read the full story »

Title: At Home on the Range: These Cookers are for Culinary Artists
Publication: Toronto Home Magazine

Prince Charles, Madonna, Sting, Sharon Stone and TV chef Jamie Oliver all own one. It’s the Rolls Royce of stoves (or cookers, as they are known over the pond), the classic icon of British culinary tools: the AGA cooker. It may look like your grandmother’s oven, but it’s unlikely Grandma’s oven could be programmed by remote control or a touch screen. Read the full story »

Title: Patient caffeine addicts getting spectacular reward
Publication: Toronto Star

“The café is the people’s parliament,” wrote 19th century French novelist Honoré de Balzac, himself a dedicated patron of France’s lively cafés. Read the full story »

Title: Let it go, let it go, let it go
Add storage space by clearing clutter – Pro’s tips for tacking your junk
Publication: Toronto Star

Ask Tina and Paul Oliveira what their biggest clutter predicament is and you get furrowed brows and a long pause. “That’s the problem,” says Tina, a program consultant with the federal government. “We don’t know where to start . . . ” Read the full story »

Education

Title: Back to Their Future
Publication: Our Kids Go to School

It seemed like it happened overnight. Becky Kamm morphed from model child to teenager from hell. Read the full story »

Aging

Title: Amazing at Any Age
Publication: Comfort Life

Not many people get 105 roses from a television station on their birthday. But then not many people live to be 105. Read the full story »

Title: A life-saving link
Publication: Comfort Life

Sandra MacCharles was at her wits end. She was caring for her 88 year old mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. Read the full story »

Accessibility

Title: Home free – How one man beat the odds to find a condo of his own
Publication: Toronto Star

Up at seven. Feeding at eight. Temperature taken at 3: 30 p.m. When Scott McArthur was a teenager, his life was pretty much circumscribed by the walls of the institution where he lived. Yes, there were classes during the day – like learning how to spell by moving sponge rubber blocks around on the floor . . . Read the full story »

Entrepreneurship

Title: Condo marketer passes the bar – Somewhere in an industrial alley is a new club with red velvet, cold steel.
Publication: Toronto Star

If you build it they will come – provided they can find it. Read the full story »

Title: Llama sculptor Louise Judge – fulfilling her dream
Publication: Camelid Quarterly

Louise Judge was destined to sculpt llamas. Read the full story »

Title: Storage unit puts clutter back on shelf – Portable steel shelving proving popular in condos
Publication: Toronto Star

When Pieter de Koning got married in 1998, he moved into his bride’s 650-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Toronto. With him came a truckload of engineering textbooks, toolboxes, photo equipment and piles of hockey gear. Read the full story »

Real Estate

Title: A good real estate agent can save time, money
Publication: Toronto Star

You’ve just seen an ad for the home of your dreams – right size, renovated, perfect location. Even the price seems right. You call the smiling face attached to the ad and make an appointment to view the house. Read the full story »

Culture

Title: Fusing food, fortune
Publication: Toronto Star

As dim sum master chef Wing-Sun Ching grasps a Goliath-size mixing bowl in both arms and carefully releases its contents into a roiling broth, he all but disappears in a cloud of steam. Read the full story »

Title: Making Up the Magic of Opera
Publication: Toronto Star

By day, she’s a sales clerk in a piano store, a wife and a mother. By night, she’s a fierce warrior, a general, a kung fu fighter – and sometimes a princess. Read the full story »

Features

Title: Hailing an unsung Holocaust hero – Chinese diplomat honoured for helping Jews escape Vienna
Publication: Toronto Star

There’s no doubt in Eric Goldstaub’s mind. He owes his life to consul general Feng Shan Ho. Read the full story »

Title: Good quality – 10 minutes
Publication: South China Morning Post

Even the chickens look torpid in the heavy afternoon heat. All day the mouldy concrete of Tai Hang Tung Resettlement Estate has shimmered in the steamy haze, and by mid afternoon, endless rows of box-like cubicles have absorbed the relentless sun. Read the full story »

How-to

Title: The long and short of choosing drapes
Publication: Toronto Star

The giant flag draped over the window may seem cool by the frat set, but it’s not the kind of statement you want to make when you proudly take possession of your very own condo. In fact, most condos have rules about what is acceptable as window coverage. Read the full story »

Title: Handy guy offers some dandy tips
Publication: Toronto Star

“I’m just a handy guy with style,” says Peter Fallico, host of HGTV’s Home to Go, a show conceived around the idea of portability but avidly followed by probably far more condo owners than renters for its wealth of inexpensive DIY ideas. Read the full story »

Entertainment/Hollywood & Hong Kong

Title: Movietown where the pace is furious
Publication: South China Morning Post

Appearances can be deceiving – and nowhere is this more true than at Shaw’s Movietown. Read the full story »

Title: The Celluloid Mafia – Behind the facade of glamour, Hollywood is a deadly pit.
Publication: South China Morning Post

He knew Hollywood well during its golden age. But he was not of it. British cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff worked with Hollywood legends Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and titans like Alfred Hitchcock and Errol Flynn. Read the full story »

Celebrity Profiles

Title: Kaye as in “king” – not always as in “klown”
Publication: South China Morning Post

“I don’t do this kind of thing very often,” Danny Kaye reveals as we sit down to a Chinese New Year day interview.
“But then I always say that when I meet a girl for the first time,” he says batting his eyelashes in mock bashfulness. Read the full story »

Title: A Brooklyn boy’s flamenco to fame
Publication: South China Morning Post

He was only a boy from Brooklyn growing up in the Mediterranean quarter of this raucous city … Read the full story »

World Events

Title: Toronto faces flood of people, cash from nervous Hong Kong
Publication: Toronto Star

Until the Beijing massacre, there was optimism in Hong Kong that when China reclaimed the British colony in 1997 it would not mean the end of freedom and prosperity. Now people are lining up to leave. Read the full story »

International Stories

Title: Bitter dregs in a planter’s life – How the shock of nationalisation touched one family
Publication: South China Morning Post

When the telephone insistently jangled in the Connolly household at six a.m. on a bright July morning in Sri Lanka’s magnificent hill country, Ruth Connolly put down her cup of coffee and picked up the phone. Read the full story »

Art

Title: Art for Art’s Sake – Know what you Like. Go for it.
Publication: Toronto Home Magazine

Manhole covers adorn a prominent wall in Scott Mullin’s city centre loft. Read the full story »

Film Reviews

Title: Who’d have guessed Polanski had so much blood in him
Publication: South China Morning Post

There have been 16 versions of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, adapted for the screen. Of these, Roman Polanski’s uniquely graphic and visceral interpretation, some would say, a masterpiece, will certainly prove to the most memorable of all time. Read the full story »

Concert/Cabaret/Stage Reviews

Title: The Breath-Taking Spell of Buffy
Publication: South China Morning Post

Buffy Sainte-Marie is more than a performer. She is a spell cast over the audience. Read the full story »

Book Reviews

Title: Political commentary of the highest calibre
Publication: South China Morning Post
Book review: Trudeau and Foreign Policy: A Study in Decision-Making by Bruce Thordarson

When Pierre Elliott Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada in the spring of 1968, the foreign policy of the previous 20 years came under intensive review. Read the full story »

Pets

Title: Distillery District hosts first canine convention
Publication: Toronto Star

It’s barely open and already The Distillery District is going to the dogs as Woofstock unleashes its animal attractions next weekend. Read the full story »

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