How to help your whole business write better. This list of skills might surprise you.

Great writing isn’t an easy thing to achieve. And if your organisation is struggling with it, you’re not alone.

Bringing personality to life in language

Many people feel that if they could bring their brand personality to life they’d stand out from their competitors and attract more customers.

More empathy in customer communications

Or if they nailed their writing skills their customer service teams would show more empathy, complaints would drop and customers wouldn’t leave.

Different ways to get better writing

There are lots of different ways to get better at copywriting – hire internal copywriters, bring external writers in on contract, use a copywriting agency or train people around the business. What works for you will depend on your resources and objectives.

Before I set up Afia I worked at Boots. I was hired to set up a copywriting service for the whole business. I managed it internally but we bought in agency and freelance copywriters, and we trained people. I gave away some of the most useful things I learnt in our paper on getting the best from copywriters.

Broader skills than you’d think

And just this week someone asked me to help them find a writer to work in-house. They’d employed writers before but found they were a bit shy and not proactive enough. It reminded me that being able to put good words together isn’t enough to make a difference in a business. You need a broader set of skills to improve your company’s writing.

More about selling than writing?

If you’re a lone copywriter in a large organisation, as I was at Boots, you’re in high demand. You need to look after lots of internal clients who sometimes don’t understand the writing process. You need to take good briefs, pass them on to agencies, write and edit and manage the whole project.

You need to establish a tone of voice that reflects your brand’s personality, then make sure people stick to it. You need to engage with people around the business, train, coach and cajole. It can be more about selling than writing.

A skills checklist

Here’s a checklist of the skills I think you need, if you’re serious about changing your company’s writing. Does your organisation have them all covered?

Brand and tone of voice

Brand strategy

Brand management

Brand language strategy

Writing good tone of voice guidelines

Account management

Engaging people around the business

Taking a good brief

Matching the brief with the right writer

Managing sign off, with lots of stakeholders

Version control

Content management systems


Different types of writing

– campaigns, SEO, letters, digital etc




Change strategy


Internal communication




And, above all…the confidence to get what they need to do the job properly.

If you’re struggling to get your organisation writing better, drop me a line and I’ll help you think it through. And let me know if you think I’ve missed any skills from the list.

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