These days, tone of voice (TOV) is most definitely a thing. Businesses care about how they sound and how they speak, as well as how good they look on the page. We get asked about creating tone of voice guides more than we used to, and we get asked to work with these guides more, […]
A while back we challenged ourselves to single out one thing we had learned in our time as copywriters. Here are the results so far from four people who write for Plain Text. Paul Connolly, copywriter, journalist, novelist: “Ask Elmore Leonard” Sometimes I run into a wall on a project. Perhaps the client’s voice […]
Clients sometimes ask whether we can provide the pictures as well as the words. Now that we’ve teamed up with visual communications specialist IDB Creative, Plain Text can provide fully designed promotional materials, from print to video. We first struck up our relationship with IDB’s founder Ian Boyle working on projects for leading B2B agency […]
My brother-in-law, a mechanical engineer, once shared with me a sentence with which his manager portentously opened a meeting: “Before we push the boat out, we’ve got to get into bed with the beast”. I fell about laughing when I heard this. But everyone in the room had apparently understood what the boss was talking […]
Here’s part of Plain Text’s first newsletter, published in 2001. In it, we railed against technology jargon by composing an imaginary tech industry press release, then ‘translating’ it into language ordinary folk could understand. Why repost it now? Because nearly 13 years on, we still encounter this stuff everyday. Musn’t grumble, of course – it […]
It’s great being a pedant. Many professional writers love nothing more than gleefully pouncing on a wayward apostrophe the way a predator picks off a limping herbivore. The bestselling 2003 book “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” played to this pleasure, offering delicious catharsis to all those who had secretly fumed for years about the “grocer’s apostrophe” […]
Education Secretary Michael Gove has published a 10-point plan for plain English at the education department. Some advice is unsurprising (cut out unnecessary words); others a little more questionable (his list of ‘great writers’ may raise some eyebrows). Here’s his manifesto for effective writing: If in doubt, cut it out. Read it out loud – […]
Two ‘move your business here’ ads offer a perfect case study in how to do (or not do) great B2B communication.