Is your editorial policy dead, or alive?

Published by in Opinion on April 28th, 2012

Outgoing chair of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, maintains that the BBC editorial policy is “one of the most important documents the BBC publishes”. I concur.  In fact, I think all businesses publishing corporate information for employees or customers, whatever the channel, should have robust editorial standards in place. Most of us probably do have some sort of guidelines in place.  But, if you are anything like me, you haven’t looked at the policy since it was signed off because you’ve

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Don’t you love a good story?

It was a perfect morning in the most beautiful city in the world and, to top it all, the first day of my first “proper” job. Fresh out of college, I was thrilled to have landed a two-week contract at a large insurance company.  I was hoping to make a good impression, maybe even secure a permanent contract, and had splurged on a new pair of white court shoes to really knock their socks off (yeah, I know, but it

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Out with spin!

I am sometimes asked by clients to write copy that simply isn’t true, or to present a bad situation in a positive light. While it could be argued that this is the purpose of my job as a copywriter (!), I can’t help but feel that it is just plain wrong. Apart from the fact that I have to choose between sticking to my principles, and earning my keep, there is something bigger and stronger holding me back.  And it

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Don’t brief your copywriter

You want a copywriter to do some work for you.  You’ve even gone so far as to phone a couple and ask them about their availability. But then you realise that before they can start, you will have to brief them.  Somehow explain exactly what you want them to do.  Ho Hum. Perhaps you haven’t briefed a copywriter before?  (It’s a no-brainer. You’ve written copy yourself.) Maybe you don’t consider it your area of expertise?  (Trust me; you do know

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How to choose a copywriter

Choosing the right copywriter for your business is not easy. Above all, you must like the person and feel you will be able to get along well.  Your first impressions will form the basis of a working relationship which will need to withstand frank and constructive two-way communication.  Consider whether the person: will listen, understand and interrogate your brief with intelligence. has an established track record of delivering good quality copy on time. It would also help if that person understands how design and copy

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Everyone can write, right?

Isn’t it wonderful seeing your writing published on the internet? Or a printed brochure bursting with your prose? Perhaps a sales letter painstakingly put together by you and a dozen other interested parties? A press release which made it past a heavy-eyed editor into a newspaper or magazine? I get a frisson of joy down my spine just thinking about it… We can all write. Blimey, we learned to write at school, didn’t we? Admittedly, not all of us would

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Think before you send

Over the last few days I’ve analysed my email etiquette.  I am ruthless.  Email has got to be from someone I know, something I am expecting, or an email newsletter I have opted in to receive.  Everything else gets the delete button, immediately. And, unless I have time on my hands or I’m accessing my mail via my phone while on the move, most of the email newsletters, LinkedIn group bulletins, Facebook alerts and the like are sent to the

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Why do we blog?

Blogging has been trendy for a decade and millions of people who want to share their thoughts, interests and desires have unlocked their secret diaries and published them on the internet. Why, you may ask?  First, technology makes it so easy for everyone to participate.  WordPress, for example, which was started only eight years ago, is now the largest blog hosting service in the world.  You can set up a free account and be blogging happily in minutes.  Just like

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I can spell (with a bit of help!)

After reading the BBC News article “Spelling mistakes cost millions in lost online sales” by Shaun Coughlin, I decided to test myself on some of the more commonly misspelled British-English words.  It was just me, pen-to-paper style.  My trusty spellchecker couldn’t help me and I wasn’t allowed to bury my nose in the huge dictionary on my desk. The result was not bad, but not perfect either.  I scored 21 out of a possible 23, which is 91%.  I also

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So, what is it that you do?

Hello.  My name is Penny Bird.  Would you agree that we spend a great part of the day reading?  Anything from websites to newsletters, maybe even junk mail?  And would you agree that we forget most of it by the end of the day? Well, I write copy for people to read, and remember. That’s my 30-second elevator speech. Do you think it ticks these boxes? Does it catch your interest? Does it explain exactly what you will gain if

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