Last year I wrote about the importance of writing for people rather than search engines, two target audiences that often compete with each other on the web.

A similar problem occurs when authors write for companies instead of people. I see this most at business-to-business companies, where the customer is another company rather than a human. It’s important to remember that it’s always a human who will be reading your copy.

One way to make that easier is to imagine the people who are reading your copy. Conjuring that image forces you to speak to them on their terms. I think a leading cause of corporate nonsense speak is the failure of copywriters to personify the audience they’re talking to.

For the benefit of my Executive Speaking classmates, many of whom work at big business-to-business companies, I decided to make my final semester speech on this topic.

The slides contain several examples, citing both successes and failures. You can download them or view them below.


A few of my examples came from UX Designer Natasha Lloyd. Specific citations are at the bottom of each applicable slide.