Archive for the Uncategorised Category

How your culture shapes the way you write

Friday, October 7th, 2016

cartoon of a world globe and restaurant cloche

We all agree that business writing should be clear, concise and direct, right? As any business writing expert – myself included – will tell you, you need to keep things simple, get straight to the point and ditch the jargon.

But what you may not know – and what many business writing experts also fail to realise – is that this attitude to writing is not universal.

In fact, the idea that you should ‘keep things simple, stupid’ is culturally determined. For many writers whose first language isn’t English, the idea that ‘clarity is king’ is greeted with surprise. (more…)

Business proposals: how to persuade at every level

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

cartoon of street signpost indicating two different directions
A student recently asked me about writing business proposals that will be read by a variety of readers. Here’s his question:

In a multi-level sales process, who is my audience?

I’m a leader with a management consultancy firm, and approving our work often requires multiple levels of leadership to read our work. Sometimes it’s the end user who does the reading and then recommends his pick to the buyer. Other times the top buyer does all the reading. In cases in which a writer doesn’t know exactly whom to write to, how do you chose which reader you should be channeling?

Here’s my answer: (more…)

Vision statement? Apply this three-part test before you hit ‘send’

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

cartoon of a pair of binocularsLast week, a big pharma firm was ‘proud’ to reveal its vision statement for its new Antibiotic Business Unit.

Here’s that vision statement.

Big Pharma plc is working towards a reinvigorated global environment for antibiotic research, development and commercialisation.

We are collaborating with all stakeholders, and acting as a constructive partner to governments to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Commercial environment
Commercially attractive policies, alongside global initiatives, must be developed if new antibiotics are to reach patients.

Did you get that? Were you inspired by it? Can you even remember much of it?  No?

Here are some reasons why that might be: (more…)

Content marketing: What you get when you don’t pay writers

Monday, April 11th, 2016

In February 2016, Stephen Hull, the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post UK was asked in a radio interview why he doesn’t pay his writers.

Here’s what he said.

I love this question, because I’m proud to say that what we do is that we have 13,000 contributors in the UK, bloggers… we don’t pay them, but you know if I was paying someone to write something because I wanted it to get advertising pay, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. So when somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real. We know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.

Here’s why that statement is, frankly, disingenuous bollocks. (more…)

What is a copywriter? (Hint: writing’s only half the job)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

cartoon of different copywriter hats
Someone recently asked me ‘so what is a copywriter?’.  One thing’s for sure, being a copywriter is about way more than just writing.

Here are eight possible answers to the question: ‘what is a copywriter?’.

1. A copywriter is a thinker

‘Thinker’ is the answer that immediately springs to mind, because it’s what I spend most of my day doing. (more…)