The Wordbrain blog

Thoughts on how and why business writing succeeds or (more often) fails
How to spot spam (and other unwanted communication)
I’ve just received an email telling me that my Apple account needs to be updated or else I won’t be able to continue using it. Do I need to respond or is it spam? Luckily there’s one great big clue which tells me the email is from a dodgy organisation I can safely ignore.
The tech and digital genius of the Bristol and Bath area
Here's more on the Bristol and Bath area – a new report reckons that this is the UK's most important centre for digital industries outside London. The secret seems to be the area's rich creative and technological heritage, a strong entrepreneurial culture, and access to marketing skills. Yep, that fits.
Why B2B marketing should be more emotional
It's easy to think that if you're marketing to a business you need to be, well, businesslike. Rational, with lots of facts and figures, using plenty of technical terminology. Wrong. Very wrong.
Why you need a writer
I have only just come across an amusing blog post written in 2011 about the death of the copywriter (business writer, marketing writer), as announced by a digital guru. It seems that social media has killed the professional marketing writer, because social media tells the truth and writers like me lie. (I do apologise for lying all these years.)
Pretentious punctuation: the semicolon
What do people think a semicolon is for? Why do people write sentences like this: 'They advise customers on their financial planning covering all products but mainly; savings, pensions and investments.'
The power of the unexpected emotional word
I received a text message a couple of days ago. It contained the word 'terrifying'. That's not what I expect to read in my inbox, and certainly not in a text from an organisation. It had my attention instantly.
The global significance of Bristol and Bath’s hi-tech and creative cluster
Wordbrain found itself in the Bath and Bristol area not because I knew there was a cluster of creative and digital industries here but because I liked the idea of living in this part of the world. But it's become clear over the years that there's an extraordinary array of hi-tech and creative businesses round here.
Faceless business-speak just won’t die
You may think the message has got through. Businesses no longer talk to people as they were units. Numbers on a spreadsheet. Mere items. Well, the message still needs repeating. Over and over again.
The Yes campaign’s secret weapon
It's occurred to me that the campaign against Scottish independence has had a problem right from the start, and that lies in the wording of the referendum question.