In this month’s Good Copy, Bad Copy, we’re talking about… maths. Yes, maths. The bane of my life as a student and, to this day, a subject I remain bewildered by.
Judging from Fiona and David’s discussion, I’m not alone. B2B (and B2C) writers have often had a difficult – no, abusive – relationship with maths or, more specifically, statistics. And while many marketers are guilty of mixing up percentage points with percentages, we must take responsibility for the accuracy of the numbers in our copy.
That’s why we invited the award-winning maths resource designer, writer and podcaster Lucy Rycroft-Smith of Cambridge University, to talk us through the fundamentals of statistics for marketing copy – and put an end to some common mathematical misconceptions in the process.
As Fiona rightly points out, “our job is to communicate clearly and accurately, and if we aren’t sure ourselves, we can’t do that job properly”. So, get ready for some truth bombs – and possibly the toughest maths test you’ve taken since you last wore a school uniform. We promise, it’ll be fun!
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In Episode 78, you’ll find…
3:25 – Why writers need to get comfortable with numbers
8:09 – ‘Why is maths so scary?’ with special guest, Lucy Rycroft-Smith
14:30 – Why we shouldn’t think about maths as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’
17:14 – What is “mathwashing”, and why should marketers avoid it?
21:00 – How percentages can mislead our readers (and complicate our copy)
28:00 – Lucy’s special three-part percentage challenge
Read more about maths for B2B marketing…
Resources Lucy mentioned in this episode include:
- Sir David Spiegelhalter OBE FRS
- The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data
- The Royal Statistical Society’s free “statistics for journalists” course
- Flip the System UK: A Teachers’ Manifesto
- The Equal Classroom: Life-Changing Thinking About Gender
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How to listen…
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Podcast editing and music by Bang and Smash