Absolutely Write lesson: a cottage is not always a cottage

You know that small house in the countryside? The cozy one, often nestled by a lake, where people like to relax, swim and drink beer on summer weekends? Well, I call it a cottage. So do my friends and family members and basically everyone I know. Well, except for French Canadians, who often call it a “chalet” (or […]

*NSYNC doesn’t get homonyms + 19 other weird things I’ve learned as a freelance writer

In a previous blog, I shared a list of all the cool topics I’ve had an opportunity to write about over the last decade-and-a-half. One of the things I love most about writing for others is the research involved. True, I’ll never earn a spot on Jeopardy for most of this stuff. However, I’ve become quite the fountain of knowledge […]

Talking ’bout topics: what does a freelance copywriter write about, anyway?

I’ve blogged about employee engagement and semiconductors. I’ve written about polar bears and mallard ducks. I’ve even penned an article about the weirdest dairy products of all time (FYI, “pet bird-flavoured ice cream” is probably the absolute weirdest). Throughout my career of 16+ years, I’ve researched and written blog and magazine articles on an incredibly […]

Leading provider…or leading others on?

Too often in the corporate world, businesses are leading providers, industry-leading or market leaders. Just look at the boilerplate on pretty much any news release to get my drift. Technically though, there can’t be more than one “leading provider” of the same product or service. Why? Because being first (a.k.a. “in the lead”) is what […]

How case studies help stretch your marketing dollars

Customer stories. Client profiles. Success stories. However you refer to them, case studies are a cost-efficient and multi-purpose tool for promoting your product, service or cause. In fact, few marketing-communications tactics give you such a good “bang for your buck” as a customer case study. Turn your case study into… Here are only a few ways you can use […]

Need help responding to a bizarre email? Look to a Nut.

As a copywriter, I am often my employers’ or clients’ go-to girl for responding to weird, laughter-inducing correspondence. So imagine my delight when I heard of Ted. L. Nancy’s Letters From A Nut book series. The nuts and bolts of “Letters” Each book offers pages of off-the-wall prank letters Nancy (a pseudonym) wrote to companies across the United States, […]

7 reasons why copywriters are sexy

Are you tired of dating the same type of guy or girl? Perhaps you’re looking for someone special to go out (or share the rest of your life) with? Consider a copywriter. Why? Because copywriters are sexy. It’s true! Here’s the proof. 1. Copywriters have vivid imaginations Copywriters find ways to make seemingly bland things exciting! […]

Is your business content tone-deaf?

You never want to alienate your audience. But if you tick them off with the wrong writing tone, you may never get them back. “Short-and-sweet” not always sweet Let’s say a local homeless shelter is asking for donations. You have some used clothing, so you email the organization – and receive this response: Thank you […]

Content and images: how to ensure the perfect match

I’m no graphic designer – but I do know when something doesn’t look quite right. A few years ago, I wrote copy for a non-profit that provided free phone counselling to the public. The brochure’s key objective: promote the organization’s many services to a wide range of ages. Writing the copy was the easy part. […]

How to actually save (yes, SAVE!) money when you hire a freelance copywriter

Bring in a writer on contract and get a professionally-written communications piece for less. How? Save the writer’s time: take on some of the workload, and anticipate their information needs.

Communicating complex data? Statistically speaking, you may be doing it wrong.

They help make headlines, sell products…and tell naysayers where to shove it. Yes, statistics are fantastic mighty golden nuggets of proof that can strengthen any argument, cause or story. But there’s a problem: Not everyone knows how to properly interpret stats, and Those same people are incorrectly communicating them to the very folks they wish to influence. […]

Why being “able to write” isn’t the same as copywriting

Could your organization’s lacklustre, non-strategic approach to copywriting be limiting your profit potential? Your business may have clean, concise, letter-perfect marketing and communications print and online content. But just because it’s lacking in errors, that doesn’t mean said content is: strategic; brand-specific; SEO-friendly; customized for the chosen medium; appropriate in tone; clever in word choice; interesting, compelling and persuasive; or […]

People—not things—sell stories

I was writing a client case study today when I came across this article by Barb Sawyers of Sticky Communications. Whether we’re talking about fiction or non-fiction, it is people—not things—that tell and sell the stories that folks remember. I have had many conversations with clients about the importance of focusing less on a product […]

What children’s books teach us about better business writing

Dick and Sally went to the store. They bought candy. They went home. The end. Okay, so maybe the above verbiage a little too elementary. But this Copyblogger article repeats what I’ve been touting for years: that business writing could take a page (pardon the pun) from children’s literature. Since my now-four-year-old was a baby, […]

Building a loyal following on YouTube: 5 tips from a YouTube employee

I recently had the pleasure of sitting in a workshop presented by Andres Palmiter, Audience Development Strategist for YouTube, about building a loyal YouTube audience. Here are my five favorite tips shared by Andres, to consider as part of your business-to-consumer/B2C YouTube marketing strategy: 1. Building a YouTube audience takes time. It’s rare to have a […]

Why the “Ghostwriting: Ethical or Not?” debate is pointless

I know, I know…just because “everybody’s doing it,” that doesn’t make it right. But the fact that most (if not all!) companies use ghostwriters certainly diminishes the whole “Is Ghostwriting Ethical or UnEthical?” debate. Ethical or not, businesses need ghostwriters for two reasons: We organize their thoughts into coherent, linear content and finetune it for […]

Writing online: why you should be F’ing up your subheadings

The letter “F” isn’t just for four-letter words. It’s also a pattern you use to read online content. According to eye-tracking researchers like Jakob Nielsen, people scan web pages as two horizontal stripes – that is, the headline and first paragraph; and then a vertical stripe – the content that travels down the left-hand side […]

7 surprising tips to help increase your email click-through rates

If only email marketing was as simple as stringing together a few words and clicking send! But every time you contact your audience, your email competes for attention against tens if not hundreds of others, each begging to be opened. In a webinar by HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella on The Science of Email Marketing, I learned […]

Headline power! 9 ways to get your online content noticed NOW

Are your headlines alluring?Do they entice people not only to come hither, but stay awhile? If not, you may be missing out on a golden content marketing opportunity. Online as well as in print, people look to headlines to decide if the accompanying content is worth reading. In other words, if you can’t attract your […]

10 words & phrases I don’t want to see in your copy

Does your writing have impact? Or are your words overused, used incorrectly, and/or meaningless? Consider yourself banned from using these in your writing: Groundbreaking / ground breaking. To imply something is groundbreaking means that it is a first of something (e.g., Pasteur’s groundbreaking work in biology). Be honest with yourself – is your product really […]

Make business blogging fun: write about anniversaries, holidays and other milestones

Finding things to blog about doesn’t have to be hard work. In light of the upcoming Labour Day weekend, I’m going to share a little tip I like to tell clients who blog: consider holidays, anniversaries and other observances. Get tips in my latest guest blog post, just published on Problogger… (Man, I could totally go […]

Thou shalt subscribe: 11 marketing-communications resources you need to follow

Looking for the path to enlightenment? Then, thou must subscribe to these marketing-communications websites. My fave professional go-to resources are well-written, informative and entertaining. Best of all, each website is chock-full of applicable tips to help you improve your knowledge and know-how. Check them out! 1. PRdaily.com / Ragan.com Created by Mark Ragan, these are […]

Business blogging: build your editorial calendar with these 4 things in mind

You understand the value of having an editorial calendar for your business blog. But how the heck do you create one? Here are four things to consider when determining your content. 1. What day and time? What are the best time and day to post a blog article? Google that very question, and all you’ll learn […]

10 MORE words and phrases I don’t want to see in your writing (or hear in the business world)

Several months ago, I published 10 words and phrases I don’t want to see in your copy. And boy, did it open the floodgates to a slew of comments. Put simply: there’s a bunch of other words and phrases out there that are driving us mad in the business world. Now here are 10 more—with one […]

4 reasons why Twitter is the new, better library

  Been to the local library lately? I haven’t. Instead, Twitter is where I go to learn. That’s right: Twitter is a place of learning, like your local library. Only better. Here’s four reasons why: 1. Access industry experts…in person Have a question for an industry expert? Follow them on Twitter, and then send them […]