Helping corporate clients

Corporations and big business want tangible results and concrete outcomes, as well as exceptional service.

Over many years I’ve honed my speciality and personal ‘brand’ to the point where I can comfortably offer a range of tailored services to meet your communications needs. I’m speedy, thorough and extremely patient – and I know my stuff after many years in the trade! I learned the ropes in the media, in small business and in government, and I believe in the philosophy of continual learning and development.

I’ve often worked closely with senior management – whether it’s on annual reporting and managing complex communications projects, or developing a narrative to help promote a focus area or strategy – and I understand the sensitivity of information, especially in draft form.

Fleshing out a draft so humans can understand it is second nature to me. After all, writing for actual people is very different from writing an outline paper or business case. That’s not to say I haven’t also specialised in plain English for communicating via internal channels – that’s been a key focus for me, including training staff to write simply and effectively. It saves managers’ time, and that’s always appreciated.

Take a look at some examples

Here are some of the ways I can help corporate clients, whether you’re in a medium to large business enterprise, or in corporate communications and marketing, or in a project area looking to make your baby fly!

Writing annual reports and editing, writing or project managing other complex reports or plans

Reporting against KPIs or strategic direction is the usual way to keep organisations accountable to stakeholders, including shareholders and the public. I’ve been involved in researching and writing strategic plans for years (both corporate and government), so I understand big-picture thinking about strategic goals, visions and objectives, as well as measurable outcomes and the actions required to reach those lofty goals. What I’ve specialised in over the course of my career is putting it all together into one readable, public-facing document (or set of web pages) that summarises what a corporation does, who you do it for, and what you’ve achieved during the reporting period. I can help you manage the project from go to whoa, and I can be that all-important second set of eyes on a report you think is ‘just about ready’. I keep up to date with best practice in annual reporting, and I will happily convert a rather dry bureaucratic document into plain English, making the most of your report topic and its findings. Whatever type of report you need, I can help you finesse and polish it to shine!

Developing, honing and finessing language for communications and marketing material, like reports, brochures, booklets, flyers, ads or web pages

My service here is all about finding the right words to communicate your product, service or initiative, so that designers (print or online) can create the look you want before you release it for its target audience. I also edit and work from text supplied – whether it’s loose bullet points, your own carefully penned drafts or workshopped content written by committee. When I review your text I’ll explain in comments on the draft document why I’ve made changes and I’ll apply your style guide (or best practice standards). I’ll assess the language for overall tone, voice and consistency, and analyse the use of your key messages. Above all, I’ll apply plain English conventions so that readers know what it is you want them to do or understand about you, and apply grammatical rules. No corporation wants a typo or grammatical faux pas in their communications content! See my explanation of the different types of editing, in case you’re wondering.

Developing your own tailored writing style guide

This will help corporations and large businesses communicate consistently, effectively and in line with international best practice standards. I’ve written ‘double digit’ style guides for government agencies and companies, and I pride myself on keeping abreast of the latest thinking in what’s best practice and what’s considered acceptable. You can trust me to know what the consensus is on any given topic or editorial choice when it comes to communications/publishing style. I can also apply conventions agreed by the Australian Government.

Developing and constructing narratives so that targeted stakeholders understand and relate to the communication

Examples are segmenting ‘stories’ (key phrases and messages for targeted audiences) to convey the essence of new products, strategies or services. People want to know what’s in it for them, and what they have to do. We all relate to ‘stories’ that bring to life big picture thinking and intentions behind a project. I’ve worked on many such narratives including those around broader government strategies, disability funding reform, innovative new health and employment services and new monitoring, assessment and reporting frameworks for public schools. I can help you develop your notes, ideas and gut feelings into concrete words that you can take to management for approval or road test with a focus group. This might become the basis for your communications plan or media statement key messaging, or content for your marketing collateral – and of course I can help you with each of these areas as well.

Developing and delivering training to your staff about effective writing, plain English and your writing style guide

See above if you don’t have one! You might be shocked to learn that about half of adult Australians (same goes for the Brits and Americans) have a reading age of 12 years old or below. This means it’s vital that your communications content (websites, web pages or printed material) is pitched correctly to meet your readers’ needs, and is simply explained using everyday language. “It’s not dumbing down, it’s opening up!” Even the most basic piece of communication will benefit from applying a plain English lens, and this article (Plain English in government_ return on better communication _ The Mandarin) adeptly explains the many benefits to readers and writers of using plain English. If cost savings don’t impress you, maybe the drastically reduced time managers spend deciphering reports will!

 

Helping government clients

I know what it’s like to work in a government agency, where I spent many years in communications units or public affairs departments.

I’ve worked closely with senior management – whether it’s on annual reporting and managing complex projects, or developing a narrative to help promote a policy or focus area – and I understand the sensitivity and the internal politics of how government operates.

So I’m very familiar with how the wheels of government turn, and protocols like working with ministers’ offices and getting management approval. Fleshing out a policy so humans can understand it is second nature to me. After all, writing for actual people is very different from writing a briefing paper or applying for project funding. That’s not to say I haven’t also specialised in plain English for communicating via briefings and ministerial papers – that’s been a key focus for me, including training staff to write simply and effectively.

Take a look at some examples

Here are some of the ways I can help clients in government, whether you’re in communications and marketing, or in a project area looking to make your baby fly!

Developing and constructing narratives so that targeted stakeholders understand and relate to the communication

Examples are segmenting ‘stories’ (key phrases and messages for targeted audiences) to convey the essence of new policies, strategies or initiatives. People want to know what’s in it for them, and what they have to do. We all relate to ‘stories’ that bring to life big picture thinking and intentions behind a project. I’ve worked on many such narratives including those around broader government strategies, disability funding reform, changing HR practices and innovative new monitoring, assessment and reporting frameworks for public schools. I can help you develop your notes, ideas and gut feelings into concrete words that you can take to management for approval or road test with a focus group. This might become the basis for your communications plan or media statement key messaging, or content for your marketing collateral – and of course I can help you with each of these areas as well.

Developing, honing and finessing language for communications and marketing material, like reports, brochures, booklets, flyers, ads or web pages

My service here is all about finding the right words to communicate your policy, service or initiative, so that designers (print or online) can create the look you want before you release it for its target audience. I also edit and work from text supplied – whether it’s loose bullet points, your own carefully penned drafts or workshopped content written by committee. When I review your text I’ll explain in comments on the draft document why I’ve made changes and I’ll apply your style guide (or best practice standards). I’ll assess the language for overall tone, voice and consistency, and analyse the use of your key messages. Above all, I’ll apply plain English conventions so that readers understand what it is you want them to do, and apply grammatical rules. No government agency wants a typo or grammatical faux pas in their communications content! See my explanation of the different types of editing, in case you’re wondering.

Developing your own tailored writing style guide

This will help your agency communicate consistently, effectively and in line with international best practice standards. I’ve written ‘double digit’ style guides for government agencies and I pride myself on keeping abreast of the latest thinking and ideas in what’s best practice and what’s considered acceptable. You can trust me to know what the consensus is on any given topic or editorial choice when it comes to communications/publishing style. I also apply conventions agreed by the Australian Government for all of the public sector.

Developing and delivering training to your staff about effective writing, plain English and your writing style guide

See above if you don’t have one! You might be shocked to learn that about half of adult Australians (same goes for the Brits and Americans) have a reading age of 12 years old or below. This means it’s vital that your communications content (websites, web pages or printed material) is pitched correctly to meet your readers’ needs, and is simply explained using everyday language. “It’s not dumbing down, it’s opening up!” Even the most basic piece of communication will benefit from applying a plain English lens, and this article (Plain English in government_ return on better communication _ The Mandarin) adeptly explains the many benefits to readers and writers of using plain English. If cost savings don’t impress you, maybe the drastically reduced time managers spend deciphering briefings and reports will! And here’s another excellent article about everybody’s right to access and understand information from government.

Writing annual reports and editing, writing or project managing other complex reports or plans

Reporting against KPIs or strategic direction is the usual way to keep organisations accountable to stakeholders, most of all to the public. I’ve been involved in researching and writing strategic plans for years (both corporate and government), so I understand big-picture thinking about strategic goals, visions and objectives, as well as measurable outcomes and the actions required to reach those lofty goals. What I’ve specialised in over the course of my career is putting it all together into one readable, public-facing document (or set of web pages) that summarises what your agency does and why, who you do it for, and what you’ve achieved during the reporting period. I can help you manage the project from go to whoa, and I can be that all-important second set of eyes on a report you think is ‘just about ready’. I keep up to date with best practice in annual reporting, and I will happily convert a rather dry bureaucratic document into plain English, making the most of your report topic and its findings. Whatever type of report you need, I can help you finesse and polish it to shine!

My portfolio

Over the years I’ve done a huge variety of work, so this is just the tiniest sample of creative communications content I have produced, written or edited.

Strategies and plans

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I can hone your carefully considered ideas into language that communicates with your target audience (or stakeholders). I can also help you organise your thinking about structure, strategies versus actions, as well as measurable outcomes and KPIs that might be linked to your public reporting requirements. These are some of the strategies and plans I’ve been heavily involved in producing:

Annual reports

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Over two decades, I’ve planned, researched, written, edited and project managed more than 20 annual reports, several of which have been shortlisted for best-practice awards. I can help your agency or company meet its annual reporting requirements and either take the weight off your hands for the whole process, or step in right at the end and apply my tenacious editor’s eye across your content, looking at voice, tone, consistency and of course applying correct style and grammar. Ranging from 15 pages to 200 pages, these are some of the annual reports I’ve project managed, written and produced from start to finish:

Complex documents including reports/booklets

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However sensitive or complex your information, you can trust me to review and edit it thoroughly, applying your house style (or best practice conventions) and a critical eye for key messages and points, media-worthy aspects and risk management. Here are just a few of the detailed reports or documents I’ve edited or been closely involved with:

Websites

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Writing for the web is more complex than just transferring your printed documents to another format. As online content writers, we consider screen reading research, simple language targeting your reader, active and direct language and structuring your content to meet the reader’s needs – plus a whole lot more. I can help you finesse your language with an eye for online conventions and guidelines, keeping plain English front and centre.

I’ve also curated, published and edited a very successful web project for the past decade – Parenting Express is a creative hub for writing about raising the next generation, and being a parent or carer to children. I have an enviable collection of memoirs, articles and poems as well as book reviews for readers around the globe.

Newsletters and brochures

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Newsletters galore – once they were the staple form of business communication, now they’re an optional extra or an online standard. Whichever your preference, I can help you make those words fly! Here are just a few newsletters or brochures I’ve written and/or edited:

Magazines and articles

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I started my career as a music journalist (about 50 interviews, features and reviews over two years), and enjoyed a two-year stint as editor and project manager of a 24-page glossy Adelaide arts and culture magazine. Over the years I’ve lost count of how many articles I’ve written for state and national publications like the quarterly Adelaide Hills Magazine (four years x four-page feature every edition on kids’ playgrounds plus features on topics like education options), ‘trade’ work health and safety magazines and websites, property-related and renovation feature articles in the weekly Toop&Toop magazine, feature homes spreads for Home Beautiful magazine, right through to memoirs published in literary journals Overland and Meanjin.