Emoji Searching – Would you? Should you? Did you even know you could?

I often think it would be quite exciting to be a search engine; with all that information to your fingertips and all that power over who gets to see what, you could perhaps rule the world. You would certainly rule the world of keywords but what if you became bored with words, especially sets of words, which all essentially mean the same thing? You might like to lighten things up and let people use emojis in their search queries.

Well we have some good news, emoji searching has been around for a while now and, to give an example, if you search using only the Hamburger emoji (which, on some Android versions, still has the cheese underneath the burger instead of on top of it), you will find some useful information about what hamburgers are, some not so useful information about McDonald’s burgers and an interesting discussion on where different platforms place the cheese (talk about obsessions). If however, you search using the Hamburger emoji and the words ‘near me’, you will probably find out the ten best burgers in your town.

If you have tried this (of course you have, who wouldn’t) you will have realised, like I did, that swapping from emoji panel to typing panel takes time and that if you are typing the relevant word ‘hamburger’ to find the Hamburger emoji, you might as well miss out a step and use the word instead. It was at this point I tried to be clever and, instead of typing ‘near me’, add the emoji for House (formerly known as ‘House Building’ but presumably, at some point, Unicode decided that we all knew houses were buildings). Sadly this cleverness didn’t work and lots of videos about burgers appeared instead.

Before we all get carried away with our fun emoji searches, you might want to know whether or not you should be including emoji on your website, just in case people are using them in their searches. The answer to this requires a few facts:

  • At present Google include emoji in search results (this has not always been the case)
  • In June 2018, the Unicode Standard included 2,823 emoji (Unicode are kind of like the emoji police)
  • New emoji are introduced every year (useful 2019 emoji searches will include Skunk, Axe and Stethoscope)
  • Not all emoji are available on all platforms (they also look slightly different across platforms – back to the burger cheese again)
  • Each emoji has a word translation so, instead of distracting your website readers with irritating symbols, optimise your web content for keywords that relate to relevant emoji.

Devon attractions or Devon distractions? Freelance writers be warned

When spring hits and the sunshine comes out, Devon can be a pretty (actually pretty) good place to be living and working. With beaches, moors and a whole load of other outdoor places to explore, a freelance writer in Devon could feel spoilt for opportunities to get outside and find out more about her lovely home. Which, of course, is exactly what I spend a lot of my time doing. Unfortunately some of this is time that I should be spending at my desk writing and paying the mortgage. Here are a few of my thoughts on how to deal with distractions when you are working from home.

Turn your distractions into freelance work opportunities

About this time last year I took a good look at the things that sometimes distracted me from my freelance writing and how I could turn these, and the lovely county of Devon, into ways of enhancing my income. It took a while but, 12-months later, I have visited and written about locations and outdoor activities for four of my favourite outdoor magazines, including Campervan Magazine and Countryfile Magazine, and enjoyed the process immensely.

Build your distractions into your daily routine

One of the great things about freelance work is that you can adjust your timetable to suit your lifestyle. I was finding it difficult to face a day that included no time for the outside so I started getting up earlier and heading off to the beach for early morning swims. I also added a ‘walk home from work’ element to my day, which has caused my family much amusement because I work from home. The great benefit of my self-imposed commute home is that I can adjust it to suit the weather, hours of darkness and how far I would like to walk.

Exploit your distractions to feed your creativity

Some distractions are more beneficial to creativity than others. I do my very best creative composition whilst I am sea swimming or walking up a hill but find the more prosaic bread-and-butter copywriting requires a desk and some serious concentration. One thing I have recently started doing is getting out in my garden when afternoon schedules allow. There are plenty of jobs to be done out there and, after a happy couple of hours spent digging, I find that I don’t mind coming back in to do some more writing into the evening.

It would appear that it is possible to manage distractions as a freelance worker, as long as… sorry, no time to finish that sentence… the beach is calling!

International Women’s Day 2019 – 5 reasons women make the best bloggers

The quest for excellent blog writing has not lost its momentum and it has to be said that there are some great blogs out there. I find that most of my favourite blogs make me laugh, teach me something new and are written by women. It was the last item in this list that made me wonder whether or not women actually made better bloggers than men. Here are my 5 (tongue in cheek) reasons to suggest that they do…

1. Women are great persuaders

Some might call it ‘nagging’, others might switch off to it altogether, but it has to be said that most of us women have ways and means of persuading people to take notice of what we say. This can, presumably, be translated onto the blog page.

2. Women love writing lists

Some of my best blog writing has been done in the form of listicles (articles that contain a list). This is almost certainly due to the fact that, if I haven’t written a list for an occasion, it is usually doomed to failure. This is a listicle… in case you hadn’t noticed!

3. Women are great multi taskers

I know! I know! The gender stereotypes are coming thick and fast here. However, although science has suggested that none of us can, in fact, perform more than one task at a time, the more consistent your content delivery, the better. I can’t remember details but I am sure that I have written posts in my head while making the dinner, digging the garden and brushing my teeth. In fact, I quite often wander off to find the laptop with the toothbrush still in my mouth!

4. Women like hats and know how to wear them

To be a good blogger, especially if you want to be able to blog for other people and on different topics, you need to be able to wear lots of different hats (often on the same day). These hats are metaphorical but, if you are typing all day after your morning dip in the sea, a nice bobble hat can keep you warm at your desk.

5. Women don’t mind asking for directions

I am not talking here about the debate around men refusing to stop and ask for directions but there is often a fair amount of ‘asking for help’ involved in blog writing. For example, using a grammar website will help you to understand how to use punctuation, emailing an expert will stop you from making a fool of yourself and asking someone to read an article through for you if you are not sure about it is a jolly good idea!

So there you go girls (controversial statement coming up)…

In general we women are not better at throwing heavy things long distances, understanding exactly what a petaflop is or lighting fires but we are good at writing and have been for a long time, even back in the days when we had to pretend to be men!

Can’t they make jam? The post-Brexit food crisis.

I am in the grip of a writer’s conundrum here, on one hand I am doing my utmost to sit on my frustrations and stay out of the Brexit debate, on the other, I like talking about food (and of course eating it). The headlines regarding a potential UK, post-Brexit food crisis appear to have a fair amount of substance behind them. It makes sense, if we only produce 60% of the food we need, then we are going to face a shortage if we struggle to import the rest. On the other hand, our post farm-gate food waste is showing no sign of reducing from the staggering 10.2 million tonnes (7.1 million tonnes for household food waste) reported by WRAP in 2015 (this is, of course, not representative across all households, too many simply don’t have enough to eat). But taking the UK as a whole, by my very simple calculations, if we had a population of 65.13 million in 2015, our household food waste was 0.16 tonnes or 160 kilograms each. That’s the equivalent of 160 medium cantaloupes, which, of course, we will struggle to grow ourselves so won’t be throwing away at all in 2019.

Which kind of brings me to my (quite possibly flawed and simplistic) point. Isn’t there just a chance that, with food shortages looming, we might start to see a few improvements in our relationships with food purchasing, food allocation, UK farming and farmers, and the way we consume what we buy? How many of us really appreciate the hard work and decades of experience that go into farming? How many of us currently grow our own fruit and vegetables, eat local produce in season, use every part of what we buy or understand how to preserve what we don’t immediately eat? Skills such as making jam, pickling onions, boiling bone broths and even picking blackberries are way below the radar of many Brits and most of us have no idea what a pig eats. You only have to examine the expansion of supermarket ‘ready-meal’ aisles to work out these things. If a temporary or even threatened breach in the food supply chain does occur, it would be good to think that, instead of stock-piling, we turned to stock making. A romantic notion I know, but it is one I like.

Even writers have to do spring cleaning. 5 speedy ways to spruce up your blog

At Fi Darby Freelance we often find ourselves responsible for the content and appeal of several blogs at a time. As well as having two blogs of our own, we like to keep our clients happy. All of which means that a bit of blog spring cleaning is definitely to be recommended. (This should not, by the way, be muddled up with ‘bog spring cleaning’ which is much more smelly!) We have five top tips to help you give your blog the spring cleanup it needs.

  1. Check your blog calendar

If you haven’t installed a calendar plug-in on your blog yet, we suggest that you do so at once. You should have a regular blogging schedule that keeps your website up to date and gives the search engines fresh content to check out. Use your statistics tools to work out which days and times are most appealing to your audience and get writing… or employ us to do that bit for you!

2. Conduct a link review

There is nothing that irritates a readership more than broken links or links that lead only to a big fat 404, and as we all know, an irritated reader is not likely to convert into a paying one. If you don’t post too often you can do this review manually, which often shows up other little changes that need to be made, or you can download free link checker tools to do it for you.

3. Go through your comments

Responding quickly to comments is one of the best way to build a loyal, organic blog following but we all know that this takes time. If you haven’t done so for a while, set aside some time to go through your comments and reconnect with a few prospective customers.

4. Freshen up your look

You don’t have to go for a complete website rebuild to brighten up your blog. There are a number of small changes that will improve your site’s overall appeal as well as making it clear that you are still here and still out to impress.

  • Switch from stock images to bespoke ones that really tell your story
  • Colour theme your images and text to give a fresh look
  • Experiment with black and white or stylised images
  • Develop a word theme for blog titles
  • Add a logo based ‘we’ve worked with’ panel to your side bar

5. Add a related post widget

If potential customers are reading one of your blog posts, they may very well want to read another, and then you might just have them hooked! A related post widget selects previous posts to display underneath each new blog post and helps lead your readership further into your site.

Very few of us enjoy spring cleaning in any form but we all appreciate the results. Take some time next week to look your blog over and see how well it is working for you. If you need any help, you know where to come!






Internet Abbreviations for Business

Imagine a world where everything we said had a word or character limit on it. We wouldn’t stop talking, we would just develop our own language and our own system of abbreviations. This is, of course, exactly what has happened with social media but with the overspill of internet abbreviations for business into general job parlance, it pays to keep ahead of internet jargon and internet contractions. To help you avoid getting your UV mixed up with your UI or, IMHO worse still, your UTI, we have some of the key internet abbreviations for business (plus a few entertaining extras FYI) DFTBA!!

NBDNo Big Deal (as in, ‘It doesn’t really matter’ as opposed to, ‘I didn’t get the sale’.)

FYIFor Your Information (also translated as, ‘You had better read this or else!’)

CTACall To Action. Kind of like an old-fashioned bugle call but no battles here, just instructions at the end of a piece of text on how to spend your money!

FIFO – No giants or fee-fi-fo-fum here, just an inventory phrase meaning First In First Out or, ‘Use the old ones first’.

101Basic Knowledge. For example a blog post such as this might be an Internet Abbreviations 101

HTHHappy To Help. Almost certainly even when you aren’t!

B2B and B2CBusiness to Business or Business to Consumer. Quite simple really, you are a business and you (hopefully) either sell things to other businesses or you sell them to consumers (customers).

ROI – Nothing to do with French kings, Return On Investment is all about money.

OOO – Not necessarily on Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but this one does mean Out Of Office, so who knows!

THx – A lazy way of saying thank you but more acceptable than, ‘Ta’.

NRNNo Reply Necessary. You could read this two ways, either the sender is being considerate or you are expected to resist argument!

MTFBWY – If you are a Star Wars fan you will get this one straight away, if, like me, you are not, you will never want to use it anyway.

MTWTFSS – I will leave you to work this one out yourself… my favourite are the last two!




How to become a great influencer in 2019

Put simply, influencer marketing is marketing that is based on relationships already built up between influencers (e.g. social media users and bloggers) and their audience. As far as brands are concerned, working with influencers provides a win-win situation, particularly in niche markets. The world of the influencer is an attractive one but how do you become a great influencer in 2019? Continue reading “How to become a great influencer in 2019”

What is influencer marketing?

The predictions are that influencer marketing in 2019 is set to continue its rise in popularity. We lost our love of traditional ‘push’ advertising a long time ago, overtly personalised ads are not hitting the mark and more of us than ever before are viewing our media on the small screen. Continue reading “What is influencer marketing?”

How a freelance copywriter found business support in Devon

My fondness for my career as a freelance copywriter in Devon has been well documented. I love the research (particularly if it takes me outside), I love the learning (writing on new topics is great for that) and I love the writing. Over the last few months however, I have recognised an issue in my approach to business. I have no problems allocating copious amounts of time to activities that are direct money-bringers but feel a measure of guilt if I syphon any of this precious time over to business-building. There is a historical reason for this, when I first needed to make my writing pay, I set myself a ‘jobs priority’ list that put ‘paid work’ at the top and ‘business growth’ nowhere at all.

Continue reading “How a freelance copywriter found business support in Devon”

Words I don’t like… but, as a copywriter, sometimes have to use

I have friend who strongly objects to the words ‘juxtaposition’ and ‘moist’. Her objection to the latter is so strong that she has been known to tell people off for using it, but she is not alone, my research suggests that, as a nation, we prefer our vocabulary desiccated rather than clammy. We all have them, the words that irritate, grating on our nerves whenever we hear, read or (God forbid) say them. As a copywriter I have to be prepared to write about anything (well nearly anything) and use vocabulary that will be appreciated by my target audience. This has led me to some conflict and the occasional trip to the confessional (in the form of my husband) to admit my guilt. Here are my three most disliked word-rant words.

Continue reading “Words I don’t like… but, as a copywriter, sometimes have to use”