Category Archives: Copywriting


Sio’s copywriting swipe file #4: Apartment Therapy

Typically, 404 pages fill me with rage and leave me fiddling furiously with the URL until I figure out where some over-worked marketing assistant has forgotten to put a hyphen or backslash. But a nice error message like this one tends to soothe me a tad:

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This one isn’t as much about the copy as it is about the overall concept. It comes courtesy of Apartment Therapy, a ridiculously popular home interiors blog I read sometimes, and the ‘we missed a spot’ idea is cute given the theme. But I really like the consolation links they’ve provided, offering suggestions for finding other lost things, like missing pets and a silent phone. It’s funny, it helps revive old posts (one of them contains a few affiliate links so the extra clicks won’t hurt) and it makes you think they really do feel pretty crap about sending you on a wild goose chase.

Why every brand doesn’t bother crafting a bespoke 404 page I’ll never know. This article gives an interesting little summary of the anatomy of a 404 page, along with some super clever pages like this one from, of course, Virgin Holidays.

And of course if you’re curious, you can go hunting for Bloodybigspider’s 404 page. See you there!

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Sio’s copywriting swipe file #3: Irvin funfairs

Oh hi, readers! Please come and take a stroll with me through my copywriting swipe file on this lovely spring day. Don’t worry if you’re up to your ears in your Wednesday workload, because this is the shortest bit of copy in my folder and we’ll be finished in, oh let’s say four minutes.

A few years ago, the nice people of Irvin Leisure Funfairs (perhaps George Irvin himself!) followed me on Twitter, for reasons I can only imagine. Well, I’m glad they did because their bio became the first entry in my swipe file:

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Isn’t it nice? Their opening line really got my attention: ‘London’s best family funfair with five generations of experience’. Way to squeeze your location, target audience and USP into nine words! I think it’s pretty impressive to be able to say you’ve been running funfairs for five generations; I checked their website and the Irvins have actually been in the ‘travelling amusement’ industry since the mid-1800s, so you probably won’t find many families still in the game who have more expertise than these guys. I also love that family angle, as it suggests this isn’t just a business, it’s something they really care about. Can’t you just picture them sitting in their back garden with G&Ts talking tin can alleys and tea cup rides?

If it were up to me, I’d be more specific about Irvin Leisure’s 19th-century beginnings in that bio – something like London’s best family funfair with five generations and 165 years of experience – because you can’t buy heritage like that. I mean, this is just adorable: ‘After a life of travel and adventure he returned to his native county and married a local girl, then opened a dancing booth at travelling fairs, in which he played the fiddle.’ If I’m looking for a family funfair in London, I’m definitely going to opt for the one that started as a fiddler in a Victorian dancing booth. So the moral of the story is SHOUT about your USP and heritage if you’ve got them, not just in long-form web copy but anywhere you can. Your Twitter bio might be the first thing prospects read about you, so tell them why they should keep reading.

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Something for the Easter weekend


The question “Is it too early for beer o’clock?” started flying around the office about 11am today, and I’m very proud to say that we’ve managed to make it to 4pm and still not a drop of booze has touched our lips. We’re making up for it by blasting out old school pop classics like Blazin’ Squad, Billie Piper and O-Town. I think Steve now needs a drink more than ever.

So, it’s nearly the bank holiday weekend, woohoooooo! What’s everybody up to? Bloodybigspider will absolutely not be in the office for the next four days so don’t be offended if we don’t reply to your emails – we’ll just be too busy drinking wine and getting chocolate all over the sofa.

If you have any free time between your Mars Easter egg and your fifth hot cross bun, take a look at these little beauties. We thought they were pretty good:


That’s all for now, folks. We’re off to HAVE THAT ALCOHOLIC DRINK we’ve been resisting all day. Yeeeah!

Happy bank holiday xx

PS: A big shout out to Taylor, our design intern who finished with us last Friday. He wrote a lovely blog post for us about his time at Bloodybigspider and we’ll be posting that next week <3

PPS: Don’t forget Pollen is coming up in less than two weeks! Get your free ticket today guys!



Sio’s copywriting swipe file #2

Good Tuesday to you, friends. Welcome to the very, very belated second edition of my one-woman blog series, where I grab something nice out of my copywriting swipe file and show you how wonderful it is.

Today: Thai restaurant in Bangkok.

Steve and I went to Thailand for New Year, and it was very nice apart from Steve’s allergic reaction after accidentally eating nuts and being confined to bed for basically the whole day. That wasn’t Bo.lan’s fault, though; in fact, we didn’t even go to Bo.lan so it would be very unfair to blame them. The nut thing is irrelevant actually, I was just setting the scene.

Bo.lan is a restaurant that I thought about booking for dinner before we flew to Thailand. In the end, for whatever reason, I didn’t, but I came across this online flyer for a food and beer pairing event there and I pretty much fell in love. It’s not at all in keeping with the restaurant’s overall tone of voice (not judging by the website copy anyway) so I assume it was written by Beervana, the beer people.

Now, I’m not saying this sort of ‘fuck you’ attitude is always the right approach to copywriting. Actually, it’s almost never, ever the right approach if you want to sell stuff and have people like you. But in this case, it is good. So. damn. good.

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Doesn’t it make you really, really want to go to this event? I imagine Marilyn Manson would be manning the cloakroom, Metallica showing you to your table and Ozzy Osbourne directing your attention to the specials board, which would just say ‘you’ll eat what you’re fucking given’. Plus everything would be so spicy you couldn’t even touch it with your tongue, and all the beer would have dead beetles floating on the top.

I WANT TO GO NOW and I don’t even like beer. Or beetles.

This is a classic example of ‘don’t be rude to your customers unless you know they love it’, sort of like Kathryn in Cruel Intentions and Rizzo in Grease.

PS: I was originally listening to some soothing rain sounds while writing this but obviously had to switch over to Black Sabbath because that’s what the devil holding the chilli and the pint would want.

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Who let the blogs out? #1

We read all our favourite marketing blogs so you don’t have to. The best tips, facts and stats from the experts every week:

1. Unbounce – landing page advice

  • Hero images can really let your landing page down. The dominant photo on there should be a ‘credible photo of a solution that encompasses relevance, context, value and emotion to support, educate or persuade your visitor’. So don’t send your hero out there without his cape. [Read more]
  • Message match is important. The messaging, particularly the headline, of your landing page should tie in strongly with the wording of your ad so people are reassured that they’re in the right place. [Read more]
  • Flip through the first lines of a few books for landing page copy inspiration. You should be defining your intentions straight away so readers know what they’re in for. [Read more]
  • Treat your web visitors like wild animals. People are hunting for information on your website like animals forage for food, so make it easy to find and exciting to read. Rawr. [Read more]


2.  Social Media Today – award-winning social media blog

  • Right Relevance is a nice way of sourcing and queuing up interesting tweets that relate to what you do. We usually use Klout for this, but Right Relevance seems to dig out more discerning, carefully targeted content. [Read more]
  • When choosing a service provider for your email marketing, website integration should be an important factor. The sign-up process for new users should be completely automatic, with new subscribers being instantly added to the database without any fiddling around from you. [Read more]
  • After evergreen content? Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool to find popular, low-competition keywords that relate to your USP. [Read more]


3. Copyblogger – content marketing advice

  • You should think of infographics like pillars that reach back in the past to revive old content and reaches forward to create more content. [Read more]
  • To encourage activity on your blog, get a ‘blog buddy’ who will comment on everything you post, and then do the same for them. This is the equivalent of buskers throwing a few quid in their own hat to persuade passers-by to add to the kitty. [Read more]
  • Content marketing can help maintain healthy relationships with your customers. That way, most customers will eventually turn into fans of the brand, and vice versa. [Read more]
  • Despite claims to the contrary, The Lego Movie fails as a piece of content marketing because there was no clear call to action. [Read more]


4. SfEP – The Society for Editors and Proofreaders

  • Use a recent photo of yourself on Twitter or LinkedIn so people recognise you at networking events. [Read more]
  • Treadmill desks can help you concentrate and increase productivity. [Read more]
  • A recent survey by The Chartered Institute of Building found that most people would trust a builder more if they knew they were a member of a professional body. This mindset applies to other industries too. [Read more]

We like to waste spend a lot of time reading marketing blogs, so please give a shout out to your favourites below and help us procrastinate even more.