Blog: Content writing and content strategy insights

The careers of five best friends begin to merge in a digital workforce

When I grew up I had four besties. Together we were just like Blyton’s Famous Five. Sure, we didn’t roam the countryside solving mysteries and capturing villains. Golly gosh no! But we did freely roam our cul-de-sac for hours enjoying jolly adventures — at least until dinner time.

After university, we all dispersed into very different jobs — one into journalism, one into strategic planning, one into advertising, one into corporate comms, and I moved from solicitor to information designer.

But in the last five years or so, something funny has happened: all our job descriptions are starting to look the same. Disciplines are merging. My friends and I are doing similar tasks and use the same skillsets.

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With regards to a grammar question

Man says "With regards to", thinks "What will I say?" Hello, can you help me with a grammar question? What is the difference between: With regards to beauty, attitude is more important than appearance and  A beautiful attitude is more important than a beautiful appearance.

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Win some, lose some: Plain English triumphs and tribulations

We have to cut costs, fix our buildings and IT systems, and run an exhibition or two. This week is New Zealand's unofficial plain language week. On Thursday we'll celebrate the winners of the Writemark Plain English Awards, 2014. Top prize is for promoting clear communication throughout an entire organisation. That's not an easy job. Elsewhere, gobbledygook from government agencies continues to gush. The wells of snake oil never run dry. 

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Classic manual on plain language: Complete Plain Words by Ernest Gowers

Cover of Complete Plain Words, Ernest Gower, 1954

The Complete Plain Words is the UK equivalent of The Elements of Style. It is the biggest-ever bestseller from Her Majesty's Stationery Office, and has never been out of print since 1954.

The first edition in 1948 was a radical call to clarity from a top civil servant. Anything written by Sir Ernest Gowers, formerly Private Secretary to Lloyd George, had the ring of authority. 

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Readability tests: a tactful way to help bad writers


A Gobbledygook by Niki DalyRaising the topic of readability can be a delicate business. Is your boss out of touch with customers? Is a distinguished expert sending unreadable articles to a newsletter you edit? Is a colleague converting your plain English to gobbledegook?

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Simplicity of language is testable — how about clarity?

To make written web content accessible, it should ideally be as clear and simple as possible. One word, plain as in plain language, means both clear and simple. But what we often forget is that these are two entirely different qualities. 

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Why the WCAG 2.0 reading level criterion is doomed

There's a major problem with the international web accessibility guideline designed to ensure that web content is as clear and simple as possible.

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