Copywriting that works

If you're after copywriting that works harder, you've come to the right place! This page explains more about my copywriting approach, and sets out just a few examples of my work as a copywriter since 1999.

It looks at plain English writing, interview-driven copywriting for social housing and other clients, online copywriting, copywriting for further and higher education clients, and my work as a business-to-business and internal / staff communications copywriter.

If you're looking for examples of my audio work you'll find those over on the 'Audio and video' page.

What do you want to achieve?

padI believe that good copywriting is about what works. Of course, what works depends a good deal on what you want to achieve.

Alice and the cat explore this idea in Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland':

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don't much care where…” said Alice.
“Then it doesn't much matter which way you go,” said the cat.

One way of clarifying where you’d like to get to is to write a clear brief. If you’d like a copy of my briefing template, please let me know.

Plain English writing

plain English copywriting iconIf there’s a common thread running through my work, it’s probably making complex information and ideas accessible for diverse audiences, either online, in print, or using real-time media. The task is often about getting to grips with all the details, understanding the target audience, and then expressing the message in jargon-free ‘plain English’, that is, as Einstein once said: "...as simple as possible, but no simpler".

Interview-driven copy


Solon Wandsworth Housing Association

Solon Wandsworth annual report coverI’m equally comfortable writing ‘from the ground up’, by developing research and conducting interviews, or reworking supplied material. This annual report for Solon Wandsworth Housing Association (now Wandle Housing Association) involved visiting residents in their south London homes with a photographer and interviewing them about their experiences. I’ve written various reports for housing associations - and clients from other sectors - based upon interviews with service users and staff. Click the image to read an extract from this one.

Working on the web

I’m passionate about ‘what works on the web’, and I'm still surprised at how little attention is often spent on getting the words right when so much is frequently invested in flashy design. The web is about what works for visitors who want to do things or learn things. They generally don't have much time, and there are billions of web pages to choose from!

The following are just a few of the sites I've been involved with:

 

Inland Revenue

In 2002, when the Inland Revenue (now HM Revenue and Customs) needed a team of writers to work on an intranet and web project designed to simplify information, I was one of almost a hundred writers selected to take a writing test, and was one of the 25% finally chosen to work on the project.

 

Business Link

I also researched content areas for the DTI’s excellent national Business Link website – which was unfortunately replaced by the GOV.UK website in October 2012 – and was involved in other regional business link website research work.

International Co-operative Alliance

I was a content editor on the International Co-operative Alliance’s news website, using the Drupal content management system. I’m familiar with Mambo/Joomla!, and the administration of phpBB forums, and I’m happy to learn other systems to enable me to keep clients’ sites fresh. I've also developed and edit two community news sites in my local area, which both use the Joomla! content management system.

 

Mears Home Care

Mears Home Care - copywriting & SEOMears provides home care services to people with varying needs throughout the UK. Click on the image to learn more about my work on this microsite.

 

From press ads to prospectuses

I’ve worked on projects for various further and higher education clients, including Thames Valley University, Anglia Ruskin University, City University, Kingston University, the University of Bath and The Open University.

 

Oaklands College

Oaklands College box clever headerThis Hertfordshire further education college needed the introductory section of their part-time prospectus rewritten into a more conversational, light and inspirational tone to appeal to their target market. You can read some extracts, and download a PDF of the entire publication, by clicking on the Box Clever image.

“Thanks for this copy - the client absolutely loved it…”

 

Better business-to-business copywriting

B2B writing requires a special understanding of what makes businesses – and business people - tick. I helped set up a design agency in 1989 which is still going today. I worked on the original business plan, and on countless accounts during my time in a marketing and sales role. This experience has given me a valuable insight into the “games business experts play”, and I’ve used this working for sectors as diverse as IT and the marine industry.

 

Citrix Systems

Citrix cuppa

This direct mail piece for Citrix, the global leader in application delivery infrastructure, promoted the value of investing time in training to their channel partners. Each flap of the mailer included a message related to time and the final message encouraged recipients to register online, in time to receive their free incentive - a desk clock. Click the image to read some samples.

 

TallyGenicom

TallyGenicom 9050 brochure

This brochure was one of a series I wrote for global manufacturer of printers TallyGenicom, to introduce the benefits of their new model to the business world. The brief was to adopt a conversational, informal tone that focused on benefits, rather than on technical features. Click the image for more information.

 

 

Internal / staff communications

I've worked on internal communications pieces for several clients, including Livingston, "Europe's Number 1 Technology Rental Company", and on copywriting the following project for Argos.

Argos

Argos internal staff communicationsThis profit protection four-page A4 for Argos was written from a strategy document and a brief, and was designed to fit in with display materials that I was also involved with. Click the image for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

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