Writing for clients this month in Dargaville, Whangarei, Northland and cyberspace

Writing help for Whangareians and Dargavillains

April has been a good month for writing. It’s been good for me, for clients and for the public reading the words I write to amuse them / inform them / sell stuff to them. While there’s not much money circulating in journalism, and fiction has been devalued, there’s still a pretty healthy online economy around words.

So, without further ado, here are some of the ways I’ve been helping people with their writing needs in the month of April 2018.

  • Whangarei business and event mecca The Orchard is graciously allowing me to present a lunchbox seminar on May 10. The topic is ‘Blogging for business: How to make your words worthy’ and it’s a mixture of big picture and little detail. Event listing here.
  • I wrote a blog for the Public Relations Institute’s PR Central blog about getting Maori spellings right and being more observant and respectful of the reo. It’s inspired by an unfortunate tendency in NZ for people who put out words not considering the negative effects of betting Maori words wrong.
  • Creative writing – I completed the manuscript of a new short story collection called ‘True.’ It should be 16 short stories, provided I don’t cut any of them. It’s likely this one will be self-published as usual. Expect updates in winter.
  • I built a website and blog for a highly respected member of the Kaipara community, turning his stories, photos and voice into an internationally-accessible online medium.
  • A similar project I helped a client with was a Whangarei man who wanted some transcription done, capturing complicated family history. It was a challenging job – transcription is extreeemely slow – and it turned out that 70 minutes of recorded conversation equates to 9000 words. No exaggeration.
  • I got back on my journalism horse (I haven’t done any journalism since March) and wrote an interview with an extremely high profile person in the insurance industry for an industry publication.
  • I got onto the second draft of a novel called ‘Crimechurch’ which will be ready this year. It’s a gruelling, gritty collection about seven lives intersecting in the South Island underworld.
  • Short short story checked (galley proof) for publication in a University of Canterbury collection
  • More good reviews for young adult novel Moneyland. Plus lots of word of mouth.
  • The ‘Write Club’ fiction writing crash course I’ve been delivering with Community Education Whangarei wrapped up. I’ll be providing the learners with ongoing support, and I’m going to take the material from the course and deliver it in one day workshops in libraries around Northland, starting with a One Day Fiction Writing Crash Course at Mahurangi East Library at Snells Beach. Here’s the event.
  • I had several meetings with clients on the verge of contracting lots of writing from me. While not everybody was ready to go this month, it’s been good to get more insight into the needs of clients in Kaipara, the Far North and between Dargaville and Whangarei.
  • The month also featured lots of blogging for Whangarei, Northland and Auckland clients, plus lots of personal literary development – poetry, improv and fiction. Oh, and I’m about to start doing videos for YouTube, too – creative writing advice. Might call it Wild West Writing.

Stay classy, San Diego.

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

Mike helps you learn at lunch – Blogging for business: how to make your words worthy

On Thursday May 24, I’ll deliver a Lunchbox Session at Northland’s central shared office space and networking hub, The Orchard. Lunchbox session poster Michael Botur writer

Delivered by writer Michael Botur, this session will show you how to choose useful blog/news content for online publication.

It’s about choosing words you can be proud of to bring eyeballs thanks to search engine optimisation (SEO). Mike will give examples of great content which “has legs” and engages with an audience so your brand comes across as personable and helpful.

https://michaelboturwriter.com/

Mike will be reverse-engineering some recent topical blog cases and showing where blogs come from, where they go, how news is made from blogs, and how blogs might reach your audience.

Mike will also give a list of free places to publish blog material to establish your organisation’s values and voice online.

 

SESSION TOPIC 

Blogging for business: how to make your words worthy.


SESSION PRESENTER
Michael Botur | Content Writer

SESSION DESCRIPTION 

This session will show you how to choose useful blog/news content for online publication.

It’s about choosing words you can be proud of to bring eyeballs thanks to search engine optimisation (SEO). Mike will give examples of great content which “has legs” and engages with an audience so your brand comes across as personable and helpful.


This Lunchbox Session is targeted at anybody who has a need for useful words, from sole traders to SMEs to anybody in charge of publishing words for an organisation, whether a large corporate or a small entity.

Mike will demonstrate:

– Examples of the right words and phrases to make your content more discoverable by search engines

– Free places to publish your words online to leave an imprint

– Methods to brand yourself as an expert in whatever field is important to you

– Ways to frame your words as news


LEARNING OUTCOMES
– Understand how to structure a media release

– Take away a checklist helping you understand whether your words are useful or not

– Learn how to influence your online presence

– Understand how to make writing palatable to the audience consuming it, by understanding the best formatting, fonts and phrasing

MORE ABOUT THE PRESENTER
Michael Botur of Whangarei offers professional writing services, whether it be the difficult job of transcribing interviews from scratch, or polishing words which have already been created. He has expertise across many types of written material, from print and online news to magazine stories, literary fiction, oral performance and public speaking, blogging, SEO and social media. 

Contact Kayla at The Orchard to learn more OR to nominate a suggested topic or presenter. kayla@theorchard.co.nz

**

As I put it in a recent Chamber of Commerce advert, I’m here to help if you find yourself saying the following…

  • “Write an interview? But that’ll take forever.”
  • “I wish I could find a writer who knows Northland inside-out.”
  • “I’m sick of writers misspelling Māori words and names.”
  • “If I have to write it myself, it’ll take time away from what I’m best at.”

Getting help from an experienced wordsmith means:

  • Capturing words that are accurate, easily shared and professionally-presented
  • Creating stories with a high likelihood of getting published in news media
  • Communicating your brand with the world, using the voice your brand speaks in.

I’m here to help no matter what industry you’re in, particularly between Northland and Auckland.
Types of writing I take care of include:

Oh, and I take pretty flash photos, too.
To get in touch, flick me an email at mike@michaelboturwriter.com or phone 021 299 0984…
or find me at Whangarei’s shared workspace, The Orchard.

Getting Māori Spellings Right: Ten Reasons to Take Your Time

Spelling Māori Stuff Right: Ten Reasons to Take Your Time

by Michael Botur

 

Many organisations take a lot of care in spelling te Reo Māori correctly and deserve a pat on the back. Plenty of others need to use te Reo Māori better if they wish to keep a very important audience onside. It’s not just about pleasing Māori – it’s about respecting the mana of any language.

Really all we need to do is give te Reo Māori the same respect we give to the French, Latin and Greek words we drop into our English every day. Be observant of the conventions of te Reo Māori, check with authoritative people and websites if you’ve got the convention right, and you’ll be sweet as, bro.

I’m not saying I always get it right. I come from a first generation British immigrant background and I’m still learning. Heck, I once mistook Māori King Tūheitia for Tukuroirangi Morgan and the Herald had to kill my breaking news story. But I know that Māori are a tight-knit, passionate community who love seeing Māoritanga done right, so here are ten reasons to go slow with the reo:

  1. Because one letter out of place completely changes the word. ‘Moari’ is, er, not quite the word this respected Kiwi bushman brand is looking for.
  2. Because communications needs to help maintain accuracy. If you’re trying to write journalism about Tame Iti, spelling his name Tama Iti invites the next writer to get it wrong too.
  3. Because some letters just don’t exist in the Māori alphabet– as Hamilton City Council candidate James Casson found out in 2016 when he published a mihi of gibberish taken from Google Translate, featuring letters such as ‘L’ which aren’t part of the Māori alphabet.
  4. Don’t feel that words which bother one group of people bother all people. ‘Pākehā’ isn’t an offensive word to everybody, nor is the word Tauiwi (meaning all non- Māori peoples). Tauiwi is a term we used a lot when I worked for a literacy provider called He Waka Matauranga. It’s a very useful word and it gets us out of the habit of describing NZ as “bicultural” country of just Māori and Pākehā. Why not ask your local audience for their preference?
  5. Also ask your audience, when there are oro puare (open sounds: vowels) does the audience prefer words spelled with tohutō/ pōtae (macrons) or spelled with double vowels? Hamilton City Council has taken the effort to acknowledge what Tainui prefers. But it’s a different case with Counties Manukau DHB whose style guide opts for ‘Maaori.
  6. Because you don’t always need to specify the iwi affiliation of people you’re writing about. Sometimes it’s straight-up weird, like the time my local newspaper specified the iwi of a man convicted of a violent crime the whole city was talking about.
  7. Because a lot of code is buried in a person’s name and if you screw it up, they don’t get the benefit of that historic and cultural association. A word simply won’t come up in search results, or link a person with an organisation, if it’s spelled wrong. For example, last year I helped an organisation correctly label the names of people speaking in videos for a multi-million dollar public health campaign. The names of many people were spelled wrong in the final drafts of the videos before I spotted the errors; the misspellings simply weren’t obvious to the video creators, who weren’t observant of the conventions of commonly-occurring names of whānau. Sometimes the errors were as simple as ‘Aperahama’ being spelled ‘Aparehama’ – but remember, across all cultures around the world, throughout history, a person’s name has always been of the utmost importance.
  8. Because in a place like Whanganui where iwi had to fight to get what they saw as the best version of the city’s name acknowledged by authorities, there are dozens of brands which haven’t changed their name – the city’s largest newspaper, for a start. This seems to imply some communicators are reluctant to adapt their product for an audience. If you’re in Northland and you won’t change the way you choose to spell and pronounce Parahaki (now Parihaka), ask yourself: am I sending a certain message to the audience?
  9. A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S. Not all organisations are happy with their prestigious name being abbreviated. When I worked at He Waka Matauranga, acronyms were considered an insult to an organisation’s name; however, Northland health providers such as NHHT and KAONT seem to embrace their acronym and use it in their communications frequently.
  10. Speaking of KAONT, if you are writing about an organisation that spells it ‘Ki A Ora’ instead of ‘Kia ora,’ you should stick with the organisation’s spelling. Look at the iwi Ngātiwai, which might seem spelled strangely, but we need to respect that a name belongs to the creator of the name (even Radio NZ is still learning how to spell that one properly.) Besides, you’ll miss out on search engine optimisation if you don’t align your spelling with the spelling which belongs to the brand.

 

All set to write more respectfully? Fantastic! Here are some of the resources I use all the time:

 

 

 

Real testimonials from real great clients

“Mike Botur has been working on a contractual basis for Alliance Media for a number of years on a wide variety of client work covering newsletters, website writing, company profiles and a whole array of other work. Mike is great to work with and is a real ‘point and shoot’ kind of guy who works with enthusiastic passion.” – Andy Mayhew, Director, Alliance Media

 

“Michael volunteered to help the Hundertwasser Art Centre project with our media releases and we are very grateful for the professional and thorough job he has done for us spreading our messaging.” – Jenny Hill, Prosper Northland Trust

 

“As the publisher of PropertyPlus magazine, I have worked with Michael well over a year now. Michael contributes articles for our SpeakEasy column, which are published on a weekly basis in a timely and professional manner. His writing is witty and resourceful; he supplies enthusiasm, honesty, and a genuine desire to give our readers information they will find educating, useful and easy to read. Michael is pleasant to work with and very reliable. I can highly recommend him and will keep on working with him.” – Anita King-Lassauw, Dutch Courage Media & Publishing New Zealand

Helping good Northlanders put out great words.

 

Hard writing job hand it to mike the writer PNG.PNG

 

Tēnā koe! I’m Michael Botur, Whangarei local. I’m here to help if you find yourself saying the following…

  • “Write an interview? But that’ll take forever.”
  • “I wish I could find a writer who knows Northland inside-out.”
  • “I’m sick of writers misspelling Māori words and names.”
  • “If I have to write it myself, it’ll take time away from what I’m best at.”

Getting help from an experienced wordsmith means:

  • Capturing words that are accurate, easily shared and professionally-presented
  • Getting stories written with a high likelihood of getting published in news media
  • Communicating your brand with the world, using the voice your brand speaks in.

I’m here to help no matter what industry you’re in, particularly between Northland and Auckland.
Types of writing I take care of include:

Oh, and I take pretty flash photos, too.
To get in touch, flick me an email at mike@michaelboturwriter.com or phone 021 299 0984…
or find me at Whangarei’s shared workspace, The Orchard.

Ka kite anō,
Mike
www.MichaelBoturWriter.com