If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- George Orwell

Scalpel to show importance of cutting words when editing copy

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
- Rudyard Kipling

Amazed child reading great writing

The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
- Mark Twain

Lightning - the importance of choosing the right word in business writing

Please excuse the long letter — I didn’t have time to write a short one.
- Blaise Pascal

Typewriter with discarded first drafts

Copywriting case studies

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AstraZeneca: Speechwriting, intranet content and more

Speechwriting for the CEO and a go-to internal comms resource
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OFT: Annual report, magazine, publicity materials

Stakeholder magazine, annual reports, publicity materials and web content
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Two Tomorrows: Copywriting for sustainability consultancy

Website content, brochures, speeches and more
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Coca-Cola Enterprises: Employee engagement

High-impact internal comms for staff across European factories

Client comments

I’ve worked with Paul both directly and in his capacity as a freelancer over the years. His biggest strength is the way he can take complex information on any topic and transform it into compelling copy. Add to that an innate  understanding of his audience, excellent project management and the experience to deal expertly with senior executives, and you have a pair of hands among the safest in the communications business.

– Neil Jenkins, director, internal and digital communications, Coca-Cola Enterprises

Paul is an excellent writer/communicator who I would thoroughly recommend. After taking a brief he is quick to build his understanding of the subject matter and develop creative solutions before working independently to deliver outstanding results. I consider Paul to be an extension to my team and someone I trust engaging senior leadership and to deliver important projects.

– Alun Metford, global internal communications director, AstraZeneca

Paul is an external writer who supports our team on a variety of writing projects. Paul works as an extension of our team and is a valued partner. He has the ability to quickly digest information, even complicated scientific infomation, and distill it into enaging, understandable copy. Paul brings fresh, out-of-the-box thinking to projects and is able to take the lead once strategy is agreed delivering high quality results, on-time. Not only is he trusted by us (the Communications team) but by our clients as well.

– Joan Pitt, director of communications, NIBR Europe

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Paul for approaching 20 years, in a variety of capacities. He is quite simply one of the best writers in his field and a sheer joy to work with, highly popular within our team and often asked for by name by our clients.

– Chris Carey, managing director, Axiom Communications

Paul is simply excellent. We have worked together for the past 8 years, initially when I was a corporate marketing director and latterly as an integral part of my marketing consulting team. He learns fast, is a consummate wordsmith with a passion for clear communication on virtually any subject – and a terrific project manager, to boot.

– Nicki Websper, managing director, Forsyth Websper

I’ve had the privilege of working with Paul for many years on a variety of projects and across a range of industries. His ability to combine strategic perspective with tangible outputs is second to none. He is that rare breed of writer who can take a client’s tangled and chaotic thoughts and ideas and turn them into coherent meaningful words that audiences actually want to hear.

– Sheila Hirst, director, Omilia Hirst
Parisa

Corporate communication: A rare example of keeping it real

Plenty of companies could be telling great stories that would get them noticed. But so often the dead hand of corporate  ’messaging’ renders their communication turgid and lifeless. As a result, most people don’t make it past the first paragraph and the opportunity is lost. That’s not the case for NIBR, the R&D arm of […]

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Branding on purpose: Call in at The House

I’ve started doing some work for Bath-based branding and design agency The House. They specialise in helping small to medium-sized businesses discover (or, often, rediscover) why they are in business beyond simply chasing a profit – and then they help get that story to the outside world. It’s an approach that can have a reinvigorating […]

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The Pyramid Principle in copywriting

The pyramid principle: Successful copywriting technique

I’m currently reading The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. It sets out a proven technique for communicating complex ideas persuasively in writing. I’m pleased that it supports most of what I’ve been doing since I started out as a writer on employee newspapers some 20 (ahem!) years ago. For anyone who gets called upon to write […]

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Pen to illustrate copywriting services

Writing for the intranet: Old-fashioned virtues still count

I’m doing quite a bit of work on a client’s intranet right now – specifically on content meant to help managers follow important HR processes via self-service. The people I’m working with are responding to criticism from users that the content is unhelpful and that they often give up and have to resort to a […]

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Communicating sustainability

  I’ve recently been busy developing a sustainability website for DNV GL, the world’s biggest ship and offshore classification firm and a leading technical advisor to the global oil and gas industry. This has involved coming up with an information architecture, writing all content and choosing images before handing over to DNV GL’s in-house web team to […]

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Typewriter with discarded first drafts

Sharpen up your writing: Three top tips

I’ve  been working on a long internal communication document for a global pharma. My rough draft came to almost 10,000 words in total. After typing in “Ends” with some satisfaction, I reminded myself  I was still a way off being able to submit an official v1 to my client for review. That’s because I know […]

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computer user

Is your intranet a victim of ‘launch and leave’?

One of my clients surprised me recently by letting me know how many people had read the intranet content I’d faithfully written for them – and how many of those had taken the trouble to rate the content as helpful.  In all my years of being involved in developing intranet content for comms teams, this […]

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Typewriter

To write well at work, forget what you learned at school

Influencing others through the written word is more important than ever in modern business. The content you write – whether email, web page, PowerPoint deck, report or policy – has to cut through the maelstrom of other written communications that assail employees every day. Yet so few of us have ever received any training in […]

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Woman head in hands

Let content professionals manage your content

Intranet content so often fails to deliver what users want. That’s because many companies still favour the distributed publishing model in which content is written from the perspective of the department that owns the process. It doesn’t address what’s most important to users. We come to the intranet with a task in mind, not to […]

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Typewriter

Why does so much business writing suck?

We’ve all heard umpteen times that communication – external or internal – is the lifeblood of any business. Yada yada. But if that’s really true, how come so many people in business, from top to bottom, are so bad at written communication? In almost 20 years as a corporate writer and editor, I’ve met countless […]

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