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Tender at heart: the X Why Z of tender bids and sales copy

Tender bids and sales copy are not the most glamorous side of B2B copywriting, yet still form the vital beating heart of many writers’ daily lives.

Business writing is all about impact. And nowhere is impact more necessary than in a tender. Livelihoods are at stake. The impact of success is great: the impact of failure greater.

The principles and motifs of clear business writing feature heavily in any good tender bid. And they apply just as much to the wider art of writing effective sales copy.

The two formats – bids and sales – are closely related. Both represent the essential DNA of good business writing, the archetype, the X Why Z.


Dealing with losing a client: misfortune, carelessness, or it just happens?

Oscar Wilde famously quipped that to lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

Can Wilde’s witty maxim can be applied to freelance businesses, and the inevitable fact that our hard-won clients don’t stick around forever?

We spend so much time, capital and emotional energy finding and maintaining those precious relationships. How bad really is it when the hard-won clients – the golden icons of our professional life – move on?

Franciele Cunha Unsplash Couple Mountaintop

Social Costs? Four Reasons To Spend Less Time Online

The irony of the title of this blog is not lost on me, given the piece is intended for broadcast on social media among other places. Even the structure of it, you could say, is ‘blogg-y’ – X ways to do stuff. Pop will eat itself.

A few weeks ago we spent five blissful days in coastal Suffolk. The bliss was prompted, partly, by a decision I took to leave my tablet at home and only check my phone once a day for emergencies. Sally’s (non smart) phone was also available to adult children on both sides. And as it happened the wifi didn’t work, so she couldn’t access her chromebook either. We were device-free. Time slowed and life richened.

But the lessons haven’t been learned. We’re back home and more online than ever.

And despite the joys and amusement and insight I get from many, most, of my lovely online friendships, life overall seems no happier for it.

Is it time to take the lessons of five days of RLO (Real Life Only) and recalibrate more comprehensively? It’s risky saying that kind of thing on social media, where you’ll be held to account. Actually that’s part of the point, a personal manifesto of sorts: shoot me if you see me here.

But first a brief look at the four ways my social costs are getting too high.

Clear Business Writing For Editors: #SfEP2018 Workshop

Despite their facility with language, professional editors and proofreaders sometimes find it hard to translate their editorial skills into their own business writing.

Many editors are brilliant writers in their own right; hardly surprising given the close read-across between the disciplines. Still, editors – being editors – are also prone to insecurity about their writing: even some of the best, in my experience.

The workshop I led at the #SfEP2018 annual conference at Lancaster University aimed to give editors some guidelines and tools to improve their business writing confidence: whether they’re writing emails, letters, CVs, reports, reviews, summaries, websites, blogs, articles, policies or other documents.

Impact and engagement are at the heart of all business writing: we want to avoid our reader ‘swiping left’ on our content, sending it forever to the virtual dustbin. We want our writing to have an impact, an effect, to get someone to do something or think in a particular way. It’s not necessarily to educate or entertain. We have an objective, an aim, in every piece we write.

That’s what distinguishes business writing from other forms of writing. And we are actively trying to avoid disengagement as well as achieve more positive impact.