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Understanding audiences

March 11th 2016

It is stating the obvious that different subjects will require different pace and tone; writing about an insurance policy needs a more serious treatment than say, a pair of Levi’s (although some may disagree), but understanding the motivations of your audience remain paramount. It is all too easy to forget when messaging, whether it be […]

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I can see clearly now

March 04th 2016

Clarity is an essential ingredient to successful copy. Whether either writing a website, an ad, brochure, blog, email, direct mail or a press release don’t use unnecessary words or ones ‘a foot and a half long’.* Avoid jargon, metaphors, business-speak and other figures of speech. Write as if you are having a one-to-one conversation. If […]

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More copywriting mantras

February 22nd 2016

Less is more In these attention-sparse days, short-form copy has become the norm for many media channels from Twitter to Facebook, the web to broadcast news. Messages must be distilled to their absolute essence. I draw the analogy of boiling a stock pot: the final reduction delivers a rich concentration. Get to the heart of […]

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Summit or nothing?

February 16th 2016

This wonderful piece was spotted by the hawk-eyed Brian Minards on the web today and he’s adapted the famous Sound of Music lyrics to mark the occasion. Many thanks B. Another example of how the English language has gone down the ‘pan’ or should, as my parents taught me to say, use the word, ‘lavatory.’ […]

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The Passage of Time Part 2

February 11th 2016

The story so far: My annual sailing trip was following a familiar pattern: poor food, lousy weather and the prospect of a bumpy channel crossing to Cherbourg before heading for the peaceful delights of Normandy. The thought of wonderful seafood restaurants and maybe even some sunshine are the only things keeping the boat’s anxious crew […]

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The Passage of Time Part 1

February 04th 2016

For the last ten years I have been recording ten to twelve minute pieces for our local Radio for the Blind organisation’s audio magazine; these recordings also get broadcast on local hospital radio. I can write about anything I want and they provide a good forum for an amusing rant, sharing happy memories or just […]

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To write with clarity and simplicity*

January 26th 2016

*Advice from The Economist Magazine’s Style Guide for their staff writers. It is a difficult maxim to maintain but it is sound advice to anyone either contemplating tapping the keyboard or putting pen to paper. Here are a couple of simple tips I try to follow: Less is more In these attention-sparse days, short-form copy […]

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Write like a Spook

January 19th 2016

For all wordsmiths who enjoy manipulation of the English language look no further than the CIA Style Writers Guide. Get your download from www.openculture.com/2014/07/the-cia-style-manual-writers-guide.html 185 pages of tips on how to write like a spook. From those wonderful people who brought you such euphemisms as ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ (Illegal kidnapping and Torture) and ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’ […]

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New website about to be launched

January 15th 2016

I have decided to expand my author website to include my commercial writing activities. There seems to be some logic to this move as both are about the use of words and love of the English language.

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Consistency

December 20th 2015

Bill Bernbach’s famous American advertising agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), made a virtue of promoting perceived negatives and turning them into positives. DDB’s legendary early 1960s ads for the VW beetle, ‘Think Small’ and ‘Lemon’ used wit, humility and simple black and white imagery to engage readers. To this day VW advertising remains witty, informative […]

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