October 16

Copywriting, editorial and consulting


Writing Consultant
In brief

Good writing makes business sense. It’s shorter. It’s quicker. It’s unambiguous. And it can be learned, provided we first unlearn the bad habits acquired from old-fashioned bosses or ill-trained bloggers.

Sydney-based writing coach Stephanie Oley offers several tried and tested frameworks designed to lift your writing techniques. Workshops range from in-house to public and motivational.

Drawing on her background in magazine journalism, radio and copywriting, Stephanie’s original courses include marketing, business, media and presentation writing, complete with original workbook.

Any course can be customised. All come with rigorous upfront client consultation and post-workshop feedback.

Did we mention?

When not consulting, Stephanie is creative partner at The Offices, where you’ll find her latest copywriting across a range of media. Offline, Stephanie stays busy exploring her passion for design, culture and community, and rambling about Sydney with her young family. She has several fiction manuscripts in progress.


Scribbles from Stephanie's notepad 


Stephanie offers a mix of in-house and public writing workshops, all replete with her original textbooks. Talk to her about customised writing, speaking and editing gigs too.


1. In-house workshops

Got six or so people in need of training? Or a very specific brand voice, project or goal to develop? Ask about the bespoke workshops, where Stephanie’s core presentations are adapted to carry examples from your organisation or industry.

Email moc.yeloeinahpetsnull@olleh to request a brochure on copywriting for marketers, writing for business, writing for the media and delivering a presentation. Rates are shown for full-day, half-day and hourly training.

2. Public workshops

Since 2006, Stephanie has presented several full-day writing workshops at The University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education. Click on the links below for course descriptions, rates and upcoming dates.

Persuasive Marketing Materials

Effective Business Reports

Write and Promote a Media Release

3. Speaking

Whether you need a presentation for humour, hype or help, Stephanie’s extensive public speaking experience places her comfortably in front of any audience. Perhaps you want your people to get excited about writing better, or need a workshop on effective emails or better online bios? Just ask about the possibilities.

4. Writing

Long and short, content and catch-lines, websites and wobblers: Stephanie’s writing folio spans various formats and styles. See a selection of work here. Visit The Offices to browse her latest work, or download her portfolio below.


Stephanie Oley






Authentic voice found at my local bar


Menu from Corner Bar, Rozelle


Here’s a great example of how one business found the language that shows who they are – plus some more ruminations on voice.


The other night we stepped out for a quick dinner and drinks at Corner Bar, our favourite new local find in Rozelle.


Apart from the cosy atmosphere, chipper staff and tasty food, one thing that struck me was how true to brand the language was. The nibblies were described as smalls, not tapas or appetisers. The fries were chunky-cut, not shoestring. The pizza was a ‘slab’, the antipasti were ‘share boards’, the burgers and other bread-based eats were ‘street sambos’.


All those words reinforce the image of urban rusticism that the bar exudes, and that’s an achievement more important than you may think.


How many businesses out there tout the seemingly identical ideals of passion, dynamism and efficiency? So many you could probably switch their vision statements without anyone noticing.


It’s worth exploring the language you’ll need to express your brand. Are you exclusive, niche, low-cost or high-tech? Once you’ve defined your personality, stick to it – and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.


Here’s another story to illustrate my point. An esteemed Sydney jeweller hired a hot-shot agency some years ago to reinvigorate its marketing materials. That agency chose to ditch the jeweller’s flowery language and use a slicker style of prose. The result? Flopped sales and a damaged reputation. The style of prose now used in this highly successful jeweller’s collateral? Flowery and romantic.


Try logging on to your favourite online thesaurus and diving into the subtle variations that exist on your core brand concepts, to find words that express your business more precisely than ‘passion’ or ‘efficiency’.


For example, enter the word ‘efficient’ into an online thesaurus, and you’ll get close to 50 alternative words. Here are a few:


Accomplished – Not strictly a synonym, but could do the job if you’re after a loftier, more highbrow feel.

Capable – Shows experience and know-how. Implies a work ethic less ant-like than ‘efficient’.

Economical – Now we’re onto something specific: dollars and cents. Note: do not use if your service offering is in any way premium.

Fast – Perhaps you prefer to keep things simple with a one-syllable word like this.

Organised – Aha, this one refers to actual systems – again, much more more meaningful than just ‘efficiency’.


Get in the habit of creating a list of core brand words, distributing it among staff and updating it regularly.


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