Portfolio

Hello there, potential employer.

I’m an experienced early-career writer who loves to create content that entertains, informs, makes peoples’ lives easier, or all three at once. Trained as a historian, I’m used to research and breaking down complex ideas for different audiences.

My current role is as Content Assistant for the University of York’s Communications team. Here, I create, edit and upload content to the University’s website, handle social media enquiries, help implement marketing campaigns and advise colleagues on how to use our Content Management System.

Below I’ve selected a few pieces from this blog and elsewhere which best illustrate my range in research, writing in different voices for different purposes, and presenting engaging ideas to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. You can see my natural curiosity in the variety of topics I’ve covered: I like to find unusual angles for articles, and I love increasing my knowledge of weird facts and stories (yes, I’m great on a pub quiz team).

Want to chat? Contact me @scranshums on twitter or LinkedIn.

Ecommerce

This piece shows my ability to research and write to a brief. I was tasked to produce a 500-word blog post that could feature on the website for the company “Rug Traders” with the aim of providing useful and informative content that would help reinforce the company’s status as an authority on rugs, and attract quality external links and traffic to the site.

“Alternative academia”

Word got out during my MA that I was a fan of researching unusual aspects of medieval culture. The Editor-in-Chief of culturised.co.uk, an online arts and culture platform, commissioned me to look into the very NSFW art of penis trees. And of course I agreed with gusto, because of the opportunities this presented for puns. You’ve been warned. This article went on to be culturised’s most read of 2017, which I’m immensely proud of.

I’ve contributed and edited articles for culturised, with the aim of making medieval cultural and art historical topics accessible to a wide audience.

I’ve continued to research and write on medieval culture and folklore for a non-specialist audience, publishing pieces on this blog. Here’s one that discusses a particularly unusual Latin word for a witch through its historical and pop cultural context:

Communications

In my current role, I was asked to put together a guide to what my team – Communications support – can provide for other colleagues. This post on our departmental blog clarifies what we do, and how many cups of tea I might need in an average day.

General interest

I love my home city of York, and I love all the independent businesses here. This post showcases a few of my favourite nerd hangouts, and to date is the best-performing piece on my blog. To achieve this I utilised best practice in SEO by undertaking keyword research, ensuring I included these key phrases in the opening paragraphs, tags and alt text. I also connected with the mentioned businesses on twitter and Facebook, driving up traffic to my site by around 25%.

As you can below, I write my own fiction. There’s plenty of pieces out there on how not to procrastinate, but we’re all human, so for this chatty self-help list I decided to focus on how to turn the inevitable into something freeing that you don’t need to beat yourself up about.

I’m also an active contributor to Atlas Obscura, where I submit and edit posts on interesting places in the world. Here’s my first on York’s Hob Moor and Plague Stones.

Event publicity

In 2015, I co-ordinated the Heritage Open Days festival in my home town. After liaising with various community groups to put together a programme of events, I managed publicity by writing a press release and compiling copy and images for the events leaflet. The weekend was a great success, bringing over 10,000 visitors to our events.

Fiction

I write short stories, usually with an element of folklore and the supernatural. This flash fiction featured in Writers’ HQ Weekly Flash Face-Off in August 2020.

(One day I’ll resurrect my novel about inter-dimensional monsters appearing in a Newcastle pub cellar.)