By Grant Butler

Our first company ‘head shot’ in 1998. Grant has since aged considerably; Cassandra not at all.
Our first company ‘head shot’ in 1998. Grant has since aged considerably; Cassandra not at all.

I’m delighted to report that, come August this year, Editor Group will celebrate its 20th birthday. On behalf of all of us, a big thank you to our clients, partners, and current and past staff members, who’ve made it possible for us to keep the lights on and focus on serving up great words every day.

My wife, Cassandra, and I started Editor Group in the front room of a rented Sydney house in 1998. I was still working as IT editor and journalist at The Australian Financial Review newspaper and she had recently finished working in subediting roles with ACP Magazines and other publishers.

The business was first called Pty Ltd, because we owned that domain name and initially planned to build an online editing business. We changed the name to Editor Group in 2004 to better reflect our model of providing tailored services to corporate and government clients in a high-touch way (and because it had rapidly become uncool to be a ‘dot-com’ start-up).

We’ve since grown to a staff of 15 people, with team members in Canberra, Sydney (HQ), Singapore and New York. Our international structure reflects the fact that many of our clients are multinational companies, and that clients value our ability to communicate in – and localise between – the various flavours of English, including Australian, American, British and ‘Singlish’.

I won’t emulate a Clinton autobiography and list our every achievement, nor thank every person we’ve met. However, there are certainly a few big-picture things we’re proud of.

The first is simply remaining in business and largely succeeding in delivering high-quality work each day, month and year, despite the complexity of our work and the many changes in staff, clients and market conditions that any agency experiences over time.

Beyond luck (the internet changed everything in publishing and communications except the fundamental process of finding stuff out and capturing it in the right words – phew!), we think that one of the reasons for our longevity is that we’ve sought to keep things simple. We’ve stuck to our core business of delivering corporate writing, editing and proofreading services, even if we’ve occasionally extended into design, training, video production and other adjacencies. We’ve also maintained the same ownership structure, which has helped us avoid a lot of risk and distraction.

We also feel privileged to have been entrusted with many high-profile projects. We’ve created thought leadership material that was used at Davos and other major forums; helped governments with multibillion-dollar privatisations, major infrastructure plans and royal commissions; supported companies, cities and countries market themselves to investors and consumers; made it easier for global and local professional services firms to win business, merge and win awards; and helped many smaller enterprises, universities and industry associations with the everyday copy they need.

In addition, we like to think we’ve managed to stay ‘nice’ and retain a positive culture, built around a desire to please not only our clients but also our people and partners. We also like the fact that we’ve acted as a training ground for the dozens of writers and editors who’ve worked with us, and the hundreds of clients who’ve attended our training sessions or speeches.

By keeping our own standards high and having a clear sense of how to approach business writing and editing, we feel we’ve contributed to the development of our craft. We’ve also played a role in strengthening the global reputations of Australia and Singapore as locations where organisations can find high-quality English language services. We’re humble enough to recognise we may not have made much of a dent in New York’s reputation yet, but hey, we’re working on it!

So, again, thank you to all those talented writers and editors, and wonderful clients who’ve made it possible for us to work with words and learn something new every day. I hope you’ve gained value from working with us and that our relationship will continue for many more years to come.

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