Our tone of voice and guiding principles
Writing for Macmillan? Well, we want you to think P.I.S.A.
Not the city famous for its leaning tower but our guiding principles: Personal
. These principles help make the Macmillan’s ‘tone of voice’.
These four principles were developed to help you to write clear, sparkling copy that expresses our passion for supporting people affected by cancer.
We created them as we wanted to let people know that we’re not just about nurses. And not just about end of life care. These principles help us tell people about everything we do and what we believe in a clear, direct and confident way.
Whenever we write something, we think of it as a one-to-one between us and the reader. We’re having a conversation – not telling them what’s what. We’re their friend, confidante or adviser.
We want to paint a picture with words and be emotive and show real, personal reactions to situations. Talking about people’s feelings and using case studies is a really effective way of bringing your writing to life.
We’re a passionate bunch of people and we want this to be communicated when we speak to people. We want to motivate as many people as possible to join the Macmillan team and the best way to do that is to inspire them through our words and our communications. That means saying when we think something’s fantastic.
But one thing we always avoid are exclamation marks. As F Scott Fitzgerald once said, exclamation marks are like laughing at your own jokes.
When people are affected by cancer they are bombarded with information – so we want to make it as easy as possible for them. We always find the clearest and most direct way to express ourselves.
That means plain English, no acronyms and no confusing jargon. Do the mum test. Would she understand what you’re saying? If not, go back and try again.
In all our communications, we're practical. We don't just talk about a problem – we suggest a course of action. We want to give people energy – energy to live with cancer, energy to do something to help, energy to get involved with Macmillan.
The active is also a grammatical term. What you need to think about is making sure the subject (what you’re talking about at the beginning of the sentence) comes before the action it performs (or the verb). That way our copy is always powerful and engaging.
Please download our full Tone of Voice document
to find more information about how we talk and useful tips on how to make your communications as effective as possible.