Tiffany Markman

Freelance writer, editor, trainer and writing coach
Location:Johannesburg, South Africa


Tiffany Markman is a highly opinionated freelance copywriter, copy editor and writing trainer who has worked for over 180 clients in South Africa and across the world. She is an EMPOWERDEX-certified EME who hates misplaced apostrophes and dangling modifiers but loves pizza and pina coladas. Read more at, reach her anytime on , follow @tiffanymarkman on Twitter and sign up for her newsletter.
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Tiffany Markman
[Marketing & Media] I'm working on my Trends piece for 2013, and wondering how much flack I'm going to get for some of my positions. *deep breath*
Posted 3 years ago | Like
Why I don't compete on price

I'm not a hard-ass. Okay, I am a hard-ass. But I'm not a bitch. So I don't turn down quoting opportunities to be brassy, nasty or spiteful. I turn them down when the proffered rate is so laughable as to waste my time entirely...

By Tiffany Markman 8 Mar 2016

Penny Sparrow: the bird that pooped on Jawitz Properties

In light of Penny's disgusting #monkeys diatribe, I'm thinking about poor Herschel Jawitz and a brand that has come into disrepute over the last few hours, through no fault of its own...

By Tiffany Markman 4 Jan 2016

One easy tip for producing non-crap digital copy

A lot of the digital copy out there is badly written. Okay - a lot of it is crap. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that well-planned, well-structured, reader-friendly and carefully proofed text pretty much guarantees higher conversion...

By Tiffany Markman 22 Jun 2015

"In other words..." - Writing to clients without pissing them off

With business writing, you can't really say what you mean - unless you want a world of drama. Here are some ways to engage with clients and customers without offending them, using 'safe' versions of the rude phrases that tempt you...

By Tiffany Markman 9 Mar 2015

A letter to the Spinning Rainbow Ball of Mac Doom

I get it. I do. You're there to teach me life lessons. To circumvent my natural complacency. To provoke pre-emptiveness. So, this letter is to thank you...

By Tiffany Markman 2 Mar 2015

Communication lessons from The Steve & Nancy Saga: A Sorbet Story

Let me first admit two things: 1.) I'm a groomer. Big time. I polish. I wax. I whiten and straighten and tweak; 2.) I do a fair chunk of this at Sorbet salons, making me what they call a 'guest'...

By Tiffany Markman 26 Nov 2014

Why missions and visions suck - and how to fix them

This article began as, 'Why missions and visions typically suck: a letter to clients'. But then I did a bit of research and found a Bain and Company survey...

By Tiffany Markman 5 Nov 2014

PowerPoint needs more power

Yup, that's right. You heard us*. PowerPoint - mostly - stinks. And it's time to take back your PowerPoint power, because Microsoft is trying to take it away from you.

By Tiffany Markman 20 Jun 2014

Ten Twitter tips for non-newbie tweeters

So you're a medium-term tweep, huh? You don't need another one of those silly etiquette lessons. Or a guide to the strictures of RTing...

By Tiffany Markman 14 Apr 2014

We need to stop being suckers

I'm sick of people trying to scam other people. I don't mean those poorly punctuated 'Dear Beloved' emails. Nor those irritating Amway-ers who were school friends...

By Tiffany Markman 3 Feb 2014

[2014 trends] Communicating like a boss: Anti-trends for 2014

Trends pieces. From November onwards, they're everywhere. Everyone with strong opinions, an active pulse and the ability to use a keyboard is looking at the year that was and using that, with tweaks, to predict what's coming.

By Tiffany Markman 14 Jan 2014

Multitasking - the myth

Tackling multiple tasks at once means faster results. Also, it's a great way to impress a boss. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll bet 'good multitasker' appears on every CV you've ever sent. But the newest thinking is, however, that multitasking is actually a weakness, not a strength. (video)

By Tiffany Markman 30 Sep 2013

Whaaat?!? You copied my copy?

Reflections on textual pickpocketing... by a victim of copy thieves.

By Tiffany Markman 24 Jul 2013

Plain language may not be what you think it is

I've been ranting and raving for the last two hours. My face is red and I have a large vein pulsating on my forehead. Simply: I am irate beyond reason. This is why...

By Tiffany Markman 28 Jun 2013

[2013 trends] The old 'new' rules for language

Here's my list of old 'new' language rules for 2013: things that have evolved over the last few years, things pro writers are using in certain contexts and things you will see more and more in today's writing, now that you know what to look for. [Please note: the listed items are to be used only in light of the mini-disclaimer at the bottom.]

By Tiffany Markman 15 Jan 2013

Dear Apostrophe (A Love Letter)

You and I have come a long way together. We began our collaboration some 25 years ago, when you'd regularly forgive my crayoned abuse of your good nature. Then, we became allies: just you and me, against the world, using permanent marker to 'correct' the punctuation on signs proclaiming Ladies Room.

By Tiffany Markman 19 Oct 2012

The top five 'Adjectives to Avoid' in your corporate profile (Part I)

In a recent column on how (and why) a company has to have a corporate profile, I emphasised the value of providing a compelling reason for the reader to choose you - specifically, outlining what it is about your business that elevates it above your competitors. To do this, you need to use good adjectives. Un-boring ones.

By Tiffany Markman 19 Sep 2012

Writing for PowerPoint, or 'How not to bore your audience to death'

There are 300 million PowerPoint users worldwide. There are 30 million PowerPoint presentations happening daily. About a million right now, as you read this. And at least 50% of those (but probably more) are unbearable. In short, 500 000 audiences wish the boardroom ceiling would fall on them. Or on the speaker.

By Tiffany Markman 19 Jul 2012

Neuroeconomics for dummies & those with little time

I was invited to a talk on neuroeconomics. Yes, really. And it blew my mind. Here's why: presented by Prof Don Ross* of UCT, the talk unpacked the brain's reward system, what motivates people to act, and - most importantly for me as a copywriter and communicator - how to entrench a short brand message in the reader's mind.

By Tiffany Markman 12 Jun 2012

How not to self-destruct on Twitter: the People vs Jessica, Tshidi & Itumeleng

I wrote a piece recently on the five things you should look out for on Twitter. And then, oh then, what happens but several fascinating case studies emerge before me. Not one. Not two. Three.

By Tiffany Markman 9 May 2012

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