Category Archives: Writing

Writing on the iPad

So we want to eliminate needing to take a notepad and pen with us everywhere to write and sketch our brain farts, when we have our trusty iPad at hand.

There are various apps available from iTunes which have note-taking and sketching functionality as well as pens that sync to an iPad.

Apps for download:
• Studio Basic
• Notes Plus
• Notetaker HD

Pens compatible with iPad:
• Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad and iPhone
• EFUN Digital Pen for iPad
• Stylus Touch Pen

The most superior product I’ve seen on the market to date would have to be from Byzero. It comes with a receiver which clicks into the bottom of your iPad and runs on infrared and ultrasound technology, and works with the Studio Pen. Byzero offers palm rejection and precise and detailed handwriting. There’s plenty of demos of Byzero’s Studio Pen on youtube.

Also Click on this link to read through a review of: Drawing on the iPad: 12 touchscreen styluses reviewed.

The critics are still waiting for better advances with the writing capabilities for the iPad which we might see in the iPad 3?…

Yours in new toys,
Amber van Sloten

Amazing Local Talent at the Brisbane Writers Festival

Image: Betty Churcher’s Notebooks

It’s Brisbane Writers Festival time again and Brisbane is in for a real treat when local born and one of Australia’s best loved art critics, Betty Churcher showcases her most beloved works, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Goya, Velzquez, Courbet and Cezanne, with her own amazing illustrations in her latest book, Notebooks, at the Brisbane Writers Festival this week. Betty Churcher will talk about Notebooks and her experiences in creating the drawings at the Festival on Friday 9th September 2011.

A 2006 trip to London and Madrid to see the paintings that had captivated her since childhood resulted in the writing of this book.

Notebooks is a collection of Betty Churcher’s own illustrations. A trained artist, Betty’s sketches reveal the secrets within the artworks and the processes of their creation.

Betty has been an art critic for The Australian and wrote and presented several television series on art including, Take Five and Hidden Treasures. She holds an Order of Australia and is an Officer of the Order of Australia.

This book is full of the magic of great art, and through it, Betty Churcher has achieved her belief that art has the power to transport the viewer to another place and time.

Yours in Great Art
Angie Rapisarda

Now here’s how to be creative applying for a job!

In France, Victor Petit in his pursuit of finding an internship at a communication agency took inspiration from an iPhone app that mimics mouth movements to the lyrics of a song by electronic duo CASSIUS. The idea being that you put the phone screen over your mouth so it looks like you are singing!!!

Not my kind of iPhone app personally but at least Victor put the concept into a practical real life use! Victor created a QR Code (which we have mentioned before on Brio Daily) that links through to a brief message spoken by Victor himself. The wow factor is that you place your phone screen over the printed CV that he sent to give you the full picture of his portrait and mouth actually speaking to you!

That would impress me! From a communications agency point of view he has demonstrated that he knows print design and also digital process by using video and new media. Wish I had that kind of technology when I was young and looking for a job!

Here are a couple videos for you to watch… The first is the full film clip of the CASSIUS song, the second is the process of viewing Victors CV.

enjoy… yours in digital media,

Choose your words carefully – they could change your world

Words have more power than people give them credit for. In fact writers often scroll through hundreds of words before finding the perfect one, the one word that encapsulates their message completely and correctly.

It’s no surprise then, that effective cut-through communication relies on the mutual understanding of those words and their intended meaning by both sides in the communication equation – sender and receiver. We often forgot that with the rise of social media it’s not enough to simply send your message out into the world; it needs to be understood quickly so it can be processed and acted upon even quicker.

I saw a video recently of a homeless man on the street, his sign saying “PLEASE HELP, I’M BLIND”. He had a few people stopping by and giving money, but nothing that would greatly ease his suffering. He had the right message, but the wrong words to create action in his audience.  His message wasn’t cutting through all the other market place noise.

The clip continues as a professional woman comes into shot. She pauses, picks up his sign. You see her hastily writing something, but you’re unsure what. The homeless man touches her shoes as she puts the sign back into position beside him. The scene changes and more donations are being given to help, the homeless man scrambling to capture all coins in his tin. The professional woman returns after some time and the homeless man recognises her by her shoes, which he’s felt again. He asks with genuine sincerity and appreciation, what did she do to his sign and her reply? “I wrote the same, with different words”.

She used the right words, in the right context to create cut-through communication and connection between sender and receiver, and the effect in this demonstration was profound. Imagine if all your communication was received this way.

Brio Group can help you find the right words to achieve cut-through communication in the busiest of marketplaces. We also offer helpful hints on writing better Press Releases, creating copy for your ads and understanding the rapidly growing business benefits of social media.

Yours in 355 specifically chosen words,


Generating creativity

I woke up this morning bursting with blog article ideas – weekend outings, upcoming events, social media trends, mind blowing marketing campaigns – but then I got to work, and the words disappeared like water droplets in the desert.

I was stuck at a creative roadblock and regardless of the subject I started on; I failed to find the flow. I started searching online, frantically trying to find a theme that could inspire readers, inspire creativity and give me a topic all rolled into one. But alas, nothing was found. Until that is, I employed a little technique I learnt during a Copywriting course with Ad School last year.

The technique is easy to learn and simple to perform. All it requires is a piece of paper, pencil, a few words (maybe a dictionary will help) and 100 blank boxes on a page.

So I took a deep breath, opened my dictionary and based on the first word that appeared (pineapple) I started drawing whatever came into my head. For one whole minute I let my stream of consciousness flow, and it was refreshing not to have to get it “right” first time around.  I continued doing this, randomly finding words in the dictionary and drawing whatever idea, thought, or image came into my head until 10 minutes had lapsed.

Until that is, I arrived here, telling everyone about the 100-box technique and how it’s a lifesaver for anyone in need of a creative solution.

In times of creative droughts, how do you find and cultivate your creativity?

Yours in creativity,


Before I die…

I’ve always driven past billboards/ads/posters and eagerly scanned their content for some form of inspiration to bring to my day. But it seems that beer advertisements with half-naked models, realestate billboards with cheesy agents and towering fast food burgers just aren’t cutting it for me. I can’t help but feel like big businesses have lost the ability to communicate to and understand how the everyday man/woman ticks.

Then I came across this project by Candy Chang in New Orleans. Her public art project invites passers by to chalk their own ending to the sentence: “Before I die I want to…” on a disused building in her neighbourhood. The public are invited to share their most intimate or crazy aspirations, inspiring fellow pedestrians to chalk up.

The opportunity to fully voice your opinion uncensored creates a huge opportunity to be completely honest and think deeply about your answer. This got me wondering that, with all the leaps and bounds in social media, are big brands really connecting with their customers and getting honest feedback? The disconnection with using faceless technology to communicate still creates a barrier. What would happen if companies started using such ‘in-your-face’ approaches as this public art project? Would there be a more honest approach with feedback if both parties are face to face and therefore more accountable for their words? I would personally love to walk into a store or management office and write up on their wall my review of their service (a bit extreme maybe, but boy would I feel like I was being heard!).

It could be a reminder to the bosses on the top floors that the decisions they make effect people, the environment and communities, not just dollars and annual figures. Maybe a utopic idea, what do you think?

Yours in thought,

Julian Assange book deal leaked

The editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has signed a deal with UK publisher Canongate and US Publisher Knopf (a division of Random House) for his written memoirs. Canongate is partnered with Melbourne publisher Text, so it’s possible that the book will also be published here in Australia.

Ironically, the news was first leaked in a Spanish tweet, from Claudio Lopez, who works for Random House.

In another ironic coincidence, Canongate and Text also publish Barack Obama’s memoirs, whose government has been publicly embarrassed by the secret documents made public by WikiLeaks.

Assange has to deliver the manuscript by March for publication later in 2011, unless it gets leaked before then!

Yours in WikiLeaks updates,

5 helpful press release writing tips

A poorly written press release can be what stands between getting press and not getting press. It’s important to communicate your news angle clearly and draft your press release professionally – both in content and format.

1. Write like a Journalist
Your lead sentence should aim to get across your story angle, start answering the “who, what, when, why and how” and be squeezed into one sentence of about 28 words. If your press release is written in a style and language that’s natural to a journalist, you’ll have better chance of your content getting reproduced (sometimes verbatim!).

2. Develop a Newsworthy Angle
Sometimes businesses think their press release is newsworthy; but in fact, depending on which media you’re targeting, it may not be newsworthy at all. A health-related story will have better chance of getting a run in a health industry title, than say a local paper. But, tailor your press release with a localised angle and you’ll have a better shot at grabbing the attention of the local news journalist. Refer to some news angle basics: timeliness, proximity, and human interest.

3. Craft each Release per Media Outlet or Journalist
Research the specific journalist who covers the round your news item best fits, i.e. community news, health and beauty, business or entertainment. This information is often found in the credit box of the title, or located on the media outlet’s website – alternatively, just make a quick phone call. This is important to ensure your press release gets under the news-hungry nose of the right journalist.

4. Format the Press Release Professionally
Content wise, remember to keep your press release simple and newsworthy. Include a striking headline, a dateline, and contact details. Should your topic require additional background information, facts, statistics or a biography, include this in a paragraph labelled “Background Information” at the end of the press release. Stylistically, keep the press release between one to two pages. Include “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top left hand corner. And finally, a press release that contains images (emailed or provided on disc) is advantageous.

5. Elect a Media Liaison Contact
If you’re looking after your own business’s PR, and do not have a professional PR Practitioner, you’ll need to elect a contact person who is skilled at answering media requests. These requests may be anything from lining up an interview, issuing photographs, to providing additional information. Ensure your elected contact is briefed on the basics of what is public and non-public company knowledge.

If you found these tips helpful, and would like to uncover ways to generate brand awareness through PR or marketing activities, Brio Group can help.

Yours in PR,

Brisbane Writers Festival 2010

Next week  (1 – 5 September) more than 250 writers and participants will gather in Brisbane as they take part in more than 150 sessions, (including 24 workshops), as part of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF).

BWF 2010 is so much more than the name suggests… It’s an opportunity for people who love reading to come together; to listen to their favourite authors speak; receive feedback on their own work; to make new discoveries as well as share their own thoughts and connections to the stories.

We’ve selected a few program highlights:

Matt Condon, a firm Brisbane favourite, will share his thoughts on Brisbane, and home more broadly, with other Brisbane devotees, Robert Forster and William McInnes.

Jessica Watson will be back on dry land sharing her story of how she sailed into history while Jessica Rudd (Kevin Rudd’s daughter) will take us behind the scenes of her debut novel Campaign Ruby – an interesting chat given the current state of politics.

Benjamin Law invites you to meet The Law Family – eccentric, endearing and hard to resist!

And finally, talking about the world of new media, Brisbane bloggers Fiona Crawford and John Birmingham will be joined by China’s wild-child of literature Mian Mian, (who sued Google for breaching copyright and won!).

For all budding writers or published authors in Brisbane, next week is all about you!

For more information click here.

Yours in literature,