Blog posts and newsletters
Problem: A financial adviser surveyed his clients, and asked what it would take for them to score him 5/5. They complained that they only heard from him once a year, at review time, and wanted to receive information more proactively.
Solution: We schedule a monthly phone call to agree content. I write fortnightly blog posts and set them up to go out via MailChimp. He also posts them on LinkedIn and shares them on social media.
Result: As the above-average open rate shows, my client now gets regular engagement with his clients. He often forwards their feedback to me:
“I read the insights you shared and thoroughly enjoyed the way they are written.”
“I found [your insights] both interesting and entertaining, unlike some of the dull and long-winded fare that gets distributed most of the time. I look forward to future editions… Keep them coming.”
And the client said:
“All very encouraging support for what we’re doing. Thank you.”
This shows I write (a) compelling subject lines entice recipients to open the emails (b) content that readers like, because the newsletter is sent to the same mailing list and the open rate is consistently high
Problem: A property investor wanted to write to hotels and guest houses, offering to buy their property, lease it, or merely handle the management for them.
Solution: I wrote a direct mail letter outlining the benefits of each idea. To make the letter stand out, we enclosed a tea bag and headed it: ‘Please enjoy a relaxing cuppa while you consider the options’.
Result: The letter was sent to 1,000 hotels, of which 13 invited my client for a viewing, and he ended up buying one of them for his portfolio.
Problem: A personal trainer wanted blog posts to drive web traffic and boost sales. However, his website was inelegant and not mobile-friendly, and the copy was poorly written. Visitors quickly bounced away.
Solution: I rewrote the copy and suggested amendments to the web design and structure. I also designed new social media headers for consistency.
Result: Within three months, visitors were staying three times longer when viewing on desktop devices, and double the time on mobiles. People who clicked through from Facebook viewed an average of 3.03 pages compared with 1.91 before I got involved, and spent 6:01 browsing the site instead of just 1:16. Read the full case study
Problem: A retailer of household goods wanted to launch their own e-commerce website with a ‘young and funky’ tone of voice to match their brand.
Solution: I wrote nine pages of web copy, plus 10 product category descriptions and 176 sub-category descriptions. I also wrote a series of email messages.
Testimonial: “We are pleased with the tone and feel of the writing – we feel it will sit well with the style of our website, our personalities and the products we sell. We all really like the short comments for the sub categories… We have been very pleased with all the work you have done and especially with the speed in which you have done it.” Rob Lowe
Problem: The booking information in this holiday brochure was confusing, leading to extra time spent on the phone dealing with enquiries.
Solution: I wrote a report detailing recommended improvements for the team to implement.
Testimonial: “We used Jackie’s recommendations for our booking forms and travel information. The format was well presented and professional and we found her objective viewpoint extremely useful.” Chrissie Trotter
Problem: A UK company printed and distributed 9 million full-colour statements annually, on a non-standard paper size that was costly and wasteful.
Solution: I redesigned the statements to look cleaner, read more clearly, fit a standard paper size, and use fewer inks. This involved liaison with internal departments and external stakeholders across the UK, including printers and envelope manufacturers.
Result: The new statements were implemented successfully and achieved a cost saving of £500,000 per year.
Problem: A credit organisation received complaints about the tone of voice of their debt collection letters. With 864 letters to choose from, Customer Service Agents were continually creating new letters as they couldn’t navigate the reference system.
Solution: In conjunction with external consultants, I rewrote the standard text to clarify the amount to pay, date due, and implications of non-payment. The tone of voice increased in severity across each series of letters. We also reduced the total to 537 (which still seems a lot but there were three different introductions to most letters), and implemented a simpler reference code system.
Result: Customer complaints about tone of voice reduced by one-third.
Problem: One season, it had been decided that a folder would be distributed with the catalogue. However, due to the extended lead time for folder production, the catalogue was issued late, costing the company £13m.
Solution: I arranged an awayday for all stakeholders, that covered the ‘big picture’, wishlists and RACI charting, and project managed the subsequent catalogue issue process.
Result: Due to smoother communications and working relationships, the next catalogue was issued on time.
Service Level Agreements
Problem: Communications were poor between the database, marketing and creative departments, leading to low morale and reduced productivity. The company also wanted to introduce written competencies for designers and copywriters.
Solution: By interviewing each team separately and then together, we drew up a colour-coded Service Level Agreement that everyone could buy into. I also helped to create the new competency documents.
Testimonial: “As an HR Officer, my first drafts were worthy but wordy – mostly compiled from NVQ standards. Jackie started at the other end and gathered managers’ expectations. The result was a slick workable framework which accurately defined six levels of performance. After six years the competency framework is still in enthusiastic use. A recent review resulted in very few changes.” Sheila Heath
Problem: A sustainability consultant wanted to pitch his ‘walk to school’ project to official sponsors.
Solution: I edited and re-designed the presentation materials to clarify the core messages.
Testimonial: “Jackie took my draft, turned it inside-out and upside-down, and added all the clarity and marketing structure that I’d missed. I used it in my presentation to a high profile ex-government minister who was so convinced by the idea she’s communicated so simply that he has set up my next important meeting and is even accompanying me on the day.” Ashley Blackmore, FootPower
Quality assurance manuals
Problem: The Quality Assurance department of an international brand wanted clear information and interactive forms for their manufacturers, who were mostly based in the Far East.
Solution: I edited the manuals into consistent Plain English, and designed and tested interactive forms using Excel.
Result: A comprehensive and unambiguous system for suppliers to follow.
High Street retailer
Problem: A High Street fashion brand wanted to win concessions in a well-known department store, and the marketing team needed help to devise their PowerPoint presentation.
Solution: Working with talented PowerPoint designers, I helped the client to simplify the presentation content and craft a compelling message on each slide.
Problem: A firm of general solicitors wanted to include every service they offered in their ad campaign.
Solution: I simplified the copy and created a series of ‘reasons to choose’, where each ad featured just one service (with bullet points to cross-sell the others)
Problem: The client wanted to increase responses to his estimates.
Solution: I rewrote the covering letter to highlight his skills, explain expectations, and simplify the process.
Result: Without any other changes, uptake increased from 50% to 70%.
Problem: To run an internal communications / rebranding project, sharing updates about a range of business initiatives with staff across multiple UK locations.
Solution: I worked as part of a small team, delivering presentations to thousands of staff in London, Peterborough and Sheffield.
Testimonial: “Jackie played an important role in ensuring the key messages were shared simply, clearly and professionally. She is expert at communicating in a way that audiences respond to and act on.” Steve Morris