As a solo consultant, I’m drawn to anything that promises to save me time, make my life easier, or help me do a better job. This is a snapshot of my current toolkit and how I’m using the things in it.

This is an updated version of a post I wrote back in 2018. A lot of the tools are the same, but there are some new ones.

A selection of tools on a wooden surface
A selection of tools on a wooden surface
Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

Research tools

Evolve

  • What does it do?: It’s a tool for gathering and analysing insights from research.
  • How do I use it?: I use Evolve for user and stakeholder research. It’s my go-to for capturing notes, creating affinity maps, spotting themes, and creating insight-backed findings reports. I love the structured, organised approach it provides.
  • Cost: Free (for now)
  • Link: https://evolveresearch.app/

Answer The Public

  • What does it do?: Enter a keyword and Answer The Public will give you the most…


Ten Things is my newsletter. Each edition has ten links to interesting, thought-provoking, useful or beautiful things from the worlds of content, digital, business for good, culture and beyond.

These are the top ten Things of the year, according to clicks from readers.

A big number ten painted on a wall in a car park
A big number ten painted on a wall in a car park
Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

1. Lockdown workshop tips

I feel slightly embarrassed, but the most popular thing of the year was something I wrote right at the beginning of lockdown about how to plan and run an online workshop. It’s probably not that useful now, as we’ve all become pretty adept at this since then.

2. Tropicana’s rebrand disaster

Next up, a case study with looks at how Tropicana…


Here’s what I read in 2020. Or more accurately, everything I read until I got a dog and reading became impossible.

A colourful wall of books
A colourful wall of books
Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Non-fiction

The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells

A terrifying read on climate change, with a hint of optimism and a passionate call for change.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff

It was a worthwhile struggle to get through this beast of a book. It’s a landmark examination of how corporations are predicting, influencing and controlling our behaviour.

Because Internet, Gretchen McCulloch

I loved this book about the new rules of language, and how the internet is shaping them. Gretchen McCulloch’s enthusiasm and passion jump off the page and make for an engaging read.

On Bullshit, Harry G Frankfurt

This was a…


Tips, tools, and templates to help you build a coronavirus help website for your community.

A signpost at the bottom of a maintain path
A signpost at the bottom of a maintain path
Photo by Jonas Verstuyft on Unsplash

For the last month and a bit I’ve been working on a coronavirus help directory for Brighton & Hove (the city I live in) on behalf of two amazing clients — Community Works and The Trust For Developing Communities. It’s been quite a journey, so I wanted to share some learnings for anyone else working on a similar project. I’m also sharing some of our artefacts which I hope you’ll be able to reuse or build on. You can find the site at covidbrightonhove.org.uk.

A big thank you to NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group and Sussex Community Foundation…


What I learnt this week about running successful online workshops

A stack of three pads of Post-it notes on a dark background.
A stack of three pads of Post-it notes on a dark background.
Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

This week I should have been running two training workshops. I wanted to make a great atmosphere where everyone would feel comfortable and ready to learn. So I booked a venue: a beautiful barge with loads of space and natural light. I arranged delicious coffee and food. I planned a refreshing walk by the sea as a break. I set the agenda, wrote the deck, and created the handouts.

And then everything changed.

I scrambled to move things online and ran them this week as planned, but online instead. It went pretty well. …


Trying to create a unique, effective brand voice? This is how to do it…

Four microphones on a black background
Four microphones on a black background

Are your voice guidelines six adjectives in your brand book, with a line of explanation for each? Or maybe you have none, because they’re all in one person’s head?

You can be honest. I’m not judging, and you’re not alone. In years of consulting, I can count on one hand (with fingers and a thumb to spare) the number of times I’ve worked with an organisation that had a brilliant brand voice guide for me to work from.

Building a better brand voice is a big opportunity. It has a huge role to play in conveying what you stand for…


How to write a content strategy that’s a map to guide you, not a maze to get lost in

There’s this bit in Willy Russell’s play Educating Rita (also a film with Julie Walters and Michael Caine) where Rita, a spunky working class woman on an Open University course, hands in a five-word essay to her stuffy middle class professor. In response to the prompt ‘Suggest how you would resolve the staging difficulties inherent in a production of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt’, Rita writes:

Do it on the radio.

Those five words are enough to answer the question. They show she knows what’s up with the play and provide a solution. But she’s not playing the game. …


Hot-desking and coworking are growing in popularity, but are they conducive to good work?

A desk with a notebook and pen, some books, a picture and a toolbox full of stationery.
A desk with a notebook and pen, some books, a picture and a toolbox full of stationery.
A desk of my own.

I’m writing from my desk. My desk. I love saying that.

This is the first time I’ve had a desk of my own in seven years. I’m not alone in being desk-less: hot-desking is becoming more and more common, and coworking spaces seem to be popping up everywhere. But for me — and for many others — they just don’t work.

Before I started my business, I worked in an open-plan office where we didn’t have assigned desks. It was a lovely space, but it didn’t suit me. I’m introverted, my job is thinky, and I will procrastinate given the…


I’ve done enough work for one year, so I’m taking the rest of December off.

The sea, taken by me on a swim this autumn.

It’s been a brilliant year professionally. I’ve been doing the work I’m passionate about:

  • creating a new brand voice for Samaritans as part of its brand refresh
  • designing training for Samaritans to help its volunteers deliver an innovative web chat pilot
  • carrying out a content audit for the Attenborough Centre for The Creative Arts
  • working with Change Grow Live to create its first content strategy and overhaul its website
  • helping Rickshaw Travel shape their content strategy
  • writing new website content for The Clock Tower Sanctuary as a pro bono project
  • curating and running the second Curio Conference.

I’ve also been…


How to convince your boss (or yourself) that a day at Curio is a great investment.

Curio Conference is coming to Brighton on 29th November 2019.

If you want to come to Curio but you need to convince your boss it’s worth the ticket price and a day away from the office, here are seven things that we think will sell it to them. And if you’re the boss but you’re wrestling with whether it’s worth your time, they’ll help you decide too.

1. Learn from the best

We’ve got some of the best people in the content business speaking at Curio. They’ll be giving practical, actionable talks so you’ll take away ideas and learnings that you can apply back in the office (and share with your colleagues or clients).

2. Learn from your peers

There…

Lauren Pope

User-focused content strategist helping clients who make the world better, fairer, more beautiful. Founder of La Pope content consultancy and Curio Conference.

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