We have trained staff from a broad range of industries. Some have attended our public courses and others benefited from inhouse training specifically tuned to their needs. The organisations listed are only a few of those we have worked for.
The Internet has been hugely important for charities to build better and cheaper communication with its audiences. Some charities are very good at it – while others...
It was five ago when we ran our first web writing course. It was for Axa Sun Life in Bristol...
Over the last 12 years we have delivered inhouse courses at universities and training higher education staff from over 30 organisations. ...
We have been impressed by the way public authorities have risen to the challenges of e-Government. Such a wide range of technical information now needs to be clearly conveyed on...
In the last two years there has been a significant swing away from paper to online medical advice and information. As a result we have spent more and more time with medical publishers...
As professional communicators for many years we particularly enjoy working with fellow professionals and bringing them up to speed with the new online...
A survey found that 70% of consumers regularly do pre-purchase research on the web. But much of this ‘online window shopping’ often proves...
Web savvy consumers are now widely using the Internet to book their own travel tickets and make all holiday arrangements including hotels, flights and car hire. They expect easy...
You may not find your particular sector detailed here, but the chances are we have had experience of training people in your sector. Take a look at the list to the right.
Charities / not-for-profit
The Internet has been hugely important for charities to build better and cheaper communication with its audiences. Some charities are very good at it – while others are cutting costs and using less able web designers, and would benefit from some extra guidance.
We enjoyed giving a presentation at a seminar run by NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) when we discussed ‘the good, the bad and the plain ugly’ web communication in this sector. We realised from the enthusiastic response that the delegates agreed. And some voted with their feet by attending our web writing training soon afterwards!
If you believe that effective web communication could be the key to more successful money-raising and communication with your audiences – perhaps we should be talking!
Just some of the charities that have attended our courses can be seen to the right:
It was nearly 10 years ago when we ran our first web writing course. It was for Axa Sun Life in Bristol. Today we have now trained staff from most major UK banks, building societies and insurance companies.
Good clear communication, both internal and external, is the lifeblood of this type of business. Some companies have realised that the basic principals of web writing need to be taught to all their staff – as most are now writing specifically for screen reading in one form or another.
The financial services sector is beginning to recognise the power of the ‘cyber shop window’. But to be successful with this channel - you cannot churn out ‘brochure look-alike’ material.
But material must be delivered clearly, and within the financial services regulatory constraints. As Phillip Thorpe, former Managing Director of FSA observed at the Internet Summit at George Mason University in Virginia:
"We look at this new and amazing medium and ask ourselves, with all this information now available to people, can they understand it? Do they understand the choices that are being required of them, does it expose the public to new or technically enhanced fraud, or the foolishness caused by the wildly optimistic promotion of products or services? … These questions are premised on a belief that regulation can be for the public good."
But despite the eye of the law breathing over web creators' shoulders, we find that much of the business web design innovation comes from this sector. We find it stimulating to contribute to our clients’ brainstorming with the latest thinking in web writing and text presentation on screen. We hope that we will be invited to help you too.
Some organisations we have helped are listed to the right:____________________________
Higher education / universities
Over the last 12 years we have delivered inhouse courses at universities and trained higher education staff from over 30 organisations. We directly address issues of ponderous academic writing style that can lead to communication breakdown.Perhaps it's ironic that some of our finest educational establishments are having difficulty in engaging with their target audiences. They also face increasing pressures to compete and attract students from overseas.
Then they are anxious to set up industry and business partnerships which means they have to be more commercial. There is now an urgency to tackle this issue head on and train staff to create more productive content for their websites.
Our extensive experience in the academic environment means that we have much more to offer than our competition. Some of the organisations we have worked for are listed on the right:________________________
Local Government / public sector
We have been impressed by the way public authorities have risen to the challenges of e-Government. Such a wide range of technical information now needs to be clearly conveyed on multiple channels, by staff who are not trained as communicators – to an audience that includes those that have a low reading age or with a limited command of English.
The web team not only has to resolve thorny technical problems – but is also responsible for training the inhouse staff to use new content management systems and to communicate material effectively on the web as well. And all this must be done within a rigorous timeframe.
With our considerable experience in this sector we are able to give the support that the web team needs. We motivate the departments in the front line – and engage their interest, involvement and enthusiasm for the web project. In addition, we help the web team with design, navigational and usability issues – to ensure your target audiences will have a good user experience.
Past experience has shown that our visit occurs at a sea-change in corporate communications for the organisation. Staff recognise that the training will lead to a more customer-focused organisation. Perhaps for the first time they will be escaping from the shackles of a long history of gobbledegook, and truly start relating one-to-one with their audiences.
We have provided training for 37 local authorities, of these 32 have gone on to gain a Plain English Crystal Mark awarded by the Plain English Campaign. The list to the right is just some of them, you will also find a few of the many government agencies we have assisted, a fuller list can be supplied.
Pharmaceutical / health / veterinary
In the last two years there has been a significant swing away from paper to online medical advice and information. As a result we have spent more and more time with medical publishers – helping them to communicate some of the most difficult text imaginable for the web.
Following detailed research, De Groote and Dorsch reported that medical professionals now prefer accessing documents online, particularly material stored in online databases. People either read the entire full-text of a journal online or print it out to read – paper is no longer the first choice source.
We claim no detailed medical knowledge, but have found ourselves training doctors at the European Commission, and teams of web communicators at the BMA, British Medical Journal, NHS Innovation at Warwick University and the teams working on Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin and Treatment Notes at the Consumer Association.
Medical web professionals, in our view, are among the most appreciative of mastering web writing skills. From our being initially being slightly daunted at training medical communicators we now look forward to it!
Some of the companies in this sector are listed on the right:
Professional corporate communications / marketing / PR / journalism
As communicators ourselves we particularly enjoy working with fellow professionals and bringing them up to speed with the new online channels of communication. We believe that this type of training will make their skillset more marketable to future employers, and significantly increase their effectiveness in the corporate communication's environment.
Professional writers and editors who cut their teeth on paper publications often believe that they can write for the web too. But they may be disheartened to learn that they may be doing a worse job than less able writers who have been on one of our courses.
Most of our courses address internal communicators, web, marketing and PR staff – but we also regularly welcome freelancers and those between jobs, who are making the most of the opportunity to broaden their writing skills.
A survey by Forester Research found that 70% of consumers regularly do pre-purchase research on the web. But much of this ‘online window shopping’ often proves to be frustrating due to poor site design, navigation and lack of consideration for content and text layout.
Efficient online retail outlets offer high-performing websites that ensure greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and can directly lead to an improved market share.
Whether it’s improving intranet communication, needing to write persuasive sales copy, or sending out timely email newsletters – writing for the screen is now central to successful growing retail businesses.
We have listed to the right some of the retail organisations we have had the pleasure of working with:
Web savvy consumers are now widely using the Internet to book their own travel tickets and make all their holiday arrangements including hotels, flights, cruises, train ticket purchase and car hire. They expect easy navigation, and comprehensive information to be available within seconds.
There is an art to writing good, clear, persuasive copy for an external audience – and it’s not the same as writing for a printed travel brochure. We teach simple and practical guidelines to ensure that web pages look more enticing and work more efficiently.
We are also able to help in creating effective marketing email newsletters, which are increasingly being used by the industry to build customer relationships and sales.
The travel industry is also now almost exclusively using the web to communicate internally with its staff, representatives abroad and suppliers. That means that staff, who were not trained as professional communicators, must publish online to keep others informed. Our web writing training can incorporate style issues and raise standards throughout an organisation.
On one notable course we had a splendid cultural mix of delegates who had flown in from Atlanta, Cairo, Singapore and Switzerland - and we all had a productive and memorable day. We understand that the course made a significant contribution to motivating and bonding the client’s worldwide team.
Abve right are a few organisations from the travel industry that have taken part in our courses: