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Word Wise Blog: Content Writing Made Easy

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Word Wise is for busy people who want to write more (or need to), but don't have a lot of time.

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Feb 28, 2021

What I Learned From Loading a Website With a Pro

It was time to load the website copy I’d written for a client. I was on my first conference call with a website developer who was training me to navigate the back end of the new website.

And I was nervous. Posts versus pages … categories and tags and keywords …

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Feb 27, 2021

The Byline: It's a Legacy. What Will Yours Be?

A byline in a newspaper or magazine gives credit to the writer of the article. It literally means “second line.” That’s why a byline is placed just below the article title.

Bylines were rare until the mid-1800s. Nameless writers could share content anonymously, which could lead to unsourced and false allegations in print.

But when a writer’s name was ...

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Feb 26, 2021

Writing a Book: Identify Your Readers Before You Write

Who will read your book? Answer this question to identify your book’s target audience.

And why do you need to do this?

Because you speak differently to a 10-year-old girl than you do ...

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Feb 25, 2021

Ways to Use Social Media in Your Marketing Mix

Intimidated or wholeheartedly enthusiastic: which describes how you use social media as a part of your marketing mix?

Every six months, new social media tools spring up on the Web, while current tools undergo a major tweak. If you have any kind of social media presence, there's usually a learning curve.

For ultra-techies out there, you love the evolution. For those with overwhelming amounts of extra time to invest in regularly learning and re-learning technology, new social media gives you an activity to fill your excess hours.

But for ...

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Feb 24, 2021

How to Write Better Bullet Points

Lists simplify a reader’s experience. When you write better bullet points in bulleted lists, you make today’s information overload manageable for readers. “Good business writing seeks to make information easy to understand,” says business writing trainer Mary Cullen.

The indented, short phrases, preceded by small dots or numbers, were originally confined to web pages, sidebars, and PowerPoint presentations. But these days bulleted lists are everywhere. You’ll find them ...

Continue reading "How to Write Better Bullet Points"

Feb 24, 2021

How to Write Better Bullet Points

Lists simplify a reader’s experience. When you write better bullet points in bulleted lists, you make today’s information overload manageable for readers. “Good business writing seeks to make information easy to understand,” says business writing trainer Mary Cullen.

The indented, short phrases, preceded by small dots or numbers, were originally confined to web pages, sidebars, and PowerPoint presentations. But these days bulleted lists are everywhere. You’ll find them ...

Continue reading "How to Write Better Bullet Points"

Feb 23, 2021

Audience: Know Your Reader Before You Write

Who is your audience? You must answer that question before you write.

A client had just invested considerable resources in developing a package for one segment of his mailing list – his advertisers. The piece was gorgeous: a full-color, glossy magazine, with excellent content directed at people who provide services to teenagers.

“Let’s send it to our whole mailing list!” he said excitedly. “It’s so impressive!”

Unfortunately, the other segments of

Continue reading "Audience: Know Your Reader Before You Write"

Feb 22, 2021

What are Ezines ... and Do I Need to Publish One?

Ezines, short for “electronic magazines,” are online newsletters. They are sent, received, and read on the internet, versus being printed on paper and mailed through the postal service.

What are ezines? Electronic + Magazine = Like print publications, online magazines contain images and text. But content in electronic newsletters also features videos and links.

They’re considered an ...

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Feb 21, 2021

Why Social Proof Is So Powerful in Content Writing

An expert is an authority or specialist in a particular field, whether it’s a geriatric upper extremities orthopedic surgeon or a teenager who has reached the highest level of a video game.

The expert’s comments are powerful social proof to use in persuasive writing because he knows the topic thoroughly, knows the issues associated with the topic, and ...

Continue reading "Why Social Proof Is So Powerful in Content Writing"

Feb 20, 2021

The Social Media Post: Use It to Destroy ... or Strengthen. Your Choice.

A Brigham Young University study of 308,849 participants concluded that people with strong social connections have a 50% greater chance of living longer.

That explains why we’re attracted to social media. People hunger for interaction.

A well-written social media post can ...

Continue reading "The Social Media Post: Use It to Destroy ... or Strengthen. Your Choice."

Feb 19, 2021

A Resume Writing Guide for Choosing Words

No resume writing guide is complete without a section on verbs.

Verbs are all about action – things you do. And your resume is a snapshot of what you do and what you have done thus far in your professional life – so an employer can get a picture of what you will do for him...

Continue reading "A Resume Writing Guide for Choosing Words"

Feb 18, 2021

The 8 Elements Your Homepage MUST Have

Your nonprofit webpage -- your home page -- must entice readers right away.

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen reports that 17% web page views last 4 seconds. That’s not a lot of time. So you need to make them count.

When I’m web surfing ...

Continue reading "The 8 Elements Your Homepage MUST Have"

Feb 17, 2021

The 3 Types of Links Your Website Needs and How to Build Them

Inbound links … internal links … outbound links … link language can be confusing.

To simplify: there are 3 types of links you need to include on your website or blog. For your site to succeed, you need all three of them.

The reason is simple. Your website or blog is ...

Continue reading "The 3 Types of Links Your Website Needs and How to Build Them"

Feb 16, 2021

The 4 Basic Letter Writing Formats

A letter writing format is a standard layout – a widely-accepted way to organize a letter.

Business letters (including cover letters, appeal letters, acceptance letters, and resignation letters) follow one of four basic formats...

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Feb 15, 2021

How to Read a Grant Application So You Can Write a First-Class Grant

A successful grant proposal starts with the grant application. As in reading the application carefully before you write one word.

I know, I know. A grant proposal can be a lengthy project with lots of elements and you want to get at them right away. Surely the funder is simply waiting to hear about ...

Continue reading "How to Read a Grant Application So You Can Write a First-Class Grant"

Feb 14, 2021

The PS: The Last Bit of Content Shall Be Read First

When I first started down the copywriting road, I thought the PS in a letter was a throwaway.

Then I found out that nearly 4 out of 5 readers – a full 79% – look at the PS first. As in ...

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Feb 13, 2021

The Email: When Better Business Writing Means Shorter

Email can be a good example of better business writing.

It’s short. It’s quicker and easier to write than print mail. It creates a digital paper trail. And it costs less to use than snail mail.

When you write clearly and concisely ...

Continue reading "The Email: When Better Business Writing Means Shorter"

Feb 12, 2021

The 4Us: Use This Checklist for Writing Powerful Headlines

You’ve heard it: writing powerful headlines is an essential skill for any writer.

It’s a skill you need now more than ever. Readers have too much content to process, be it online or in print. They skim and then choose what pieces to read more thoroughly.

How do they choose what to read?

It’s the headline that pulls them in, which means ...

Continue reading "The 4Us: Use This Checklist for Writing Powerful Headlines"

Feb 11, 2021

Star-Chain-Hook: A Simple (and Persuasive) Writing Formula

Star-Chain-Hook is a simple but easy-to-use content writing formula.

Its brevity makes this delightful little formula ideal for email and other short-form content.

Like other writing formulas, this one provides a ...

Continue reading "Star-Chain-Hook: A Simple (and Persuasive) Writing Formula"

Feb 10, 2021

How to Write an Opening Paragraph for Your Blog Post

Your blog post has its best chance for success when you write an opening paragraph that pulls in the reader. Notice I didn’t say opening paragraphs (plural.) I said opening paragraph (singular.)

Yep, just one.

And that first paragraph is a biggee. Because ...

Continue reading "How to Write an Opening Paragraph for Your Blog Post"

Feb 09, 2021

Weed Out Weasel Words From Your Writing

You’ve probably done it. I mean … you HAVE done it.

You’ve used weasel words in your writing.

I have, too. (I did it just now, in the first sentence of this piece.)

Weasels are words that equivocate. They are vague qualifiers like generally, most, and probably that weaken your writing ...

Continue reading "Weed Out Weasel Words From Your Writing"

Feb 08, 2021

How to Get Your Website Noticed

Here is a valuable nonprofit website tip to help you maximize the number of visitors who click onto a page on your site: build traffic.

There are 3 ways you can ...

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Feb 07, 2021

The Lead: Put First Things First

Today’s typical newspaper article opens with a summary lead. It’s a tight condensation of the article’s most important information, presented in a sentence or two and totaling 30 words or less.

The summary lead format grew from the mid-1800s invention of the telegraph. The new-at-the-time technology meant ...

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Feb 06, 2021

The Link: A Simple Way to Put Your Reader First

A link is clickable text. A contextual link on your web pages or blog posts leads readers to related information. (Here’s an example of a contextual link – a link that is a natural part of your content.)

A contextual link allows you to stay on point as you write. You can use it to refer to a related topic.

But now you needn’t expand upon that rabbit trail because ...

Continue reading "The Link: A Simple Way to Put Your Reader First"

Feb 05, 2021

Cover Letter Writing Tip: Get Your Reader to Do This One Thing

If there was just one cover letter writing tip I wish I’d had known years ago, it is this:

A cover letter’s job is to get the reader to take one more step.

When you look at writing a cover letter in that way, it can help simplify matters.

That is particularly the case when you’re ...

Continue reading "Cover Letter Writing Tip: Get Your Reader to Do This One Thing"

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