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Word Wise Blog: Writing Tips for Busy People

Write more. Save time.

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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Aug 15, 2018

Writing a Good Cover Letter: a Step-By-Step Guide

Writing a good cover letter isn’t as hard as it seems.

A cover letter is a sales document. Its sole purpose is to introduce a person (like you, if you’re applying for a job), a product, or an event, or a packet of information ... and entice the reader to want to find out more.

This simple writing guide walks you through the six sections of writing a good cover letter step by step.

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Aug 14, 2018

10 Words to Use When Writing Headlines

It’s no secret that writing headlines is an important skill for any writer.

And I’m talking about headlines of all kinds: the title of an article, the subject line of an email, the teaser on an envelope, the header on a web page, the post title to a blog – even the caption to an image.

Each of these functions as a headline – that is, text that introduces.

A strong headline is important because it can move the reader to keep reading. A weak headline will not. Naturally, you want to write powerful headlines.

So if you get stuck in the process of writing a headline ...

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Aug 13, 2018

It's Not Too Early to Identify a Matching Gift Donor for Year End

When you identify a major donor (an individual, group or business) who will make a significant-sized contribution to your nonprofit by December 31, you can use that pledge in to motivate other readers ...

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Aug 12, 2018

2 Ways to Write a PS with Punch

Should you include a PS (a postscript) as part of your project – and if so, how should you write it?

Way back when people wrote letters without access to Wite Out, erasers, or the Delete key, a postscript was a handy way to add a piece of news or a tidbit at the bottom of the letter without rewriting the whole thing. The origins of the Latin name post scriptum, meaning “written after,” explain it all.

Fast forward to today when the postscript has morphed into more than an afterthought. It is a full-blown, persuasive writing tool you can use to add information or emphasize your point ...

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Aug 11, 2018

Fundraising Appeals: Why Should You Offer Readers Different Ways to Respond?

It’s not unusual for my dad to receive between five and ten fundraising appeals a day. He is a generous man and gives to many nonprofit causes, so his mailing address is on dozens and dozens of mailing lists.

What’s surprising is that he reads every one of those letters.

Sometimes Dad will read a letter simply to find out what it says. Sometimes he will ...

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Aug 10, 2018

5 Web Content Writing Tips

“Content” is the sum of all the information you create and produce. Web content copywriting – providing practical info about your nonprofit cause, but online – has developed its own notoriety, thanks to the rise in social media.

The 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report cited the leading types of content which leaders plan to spend the most time producing: email newsletters, Facebook updates, event marketing, articles for websites and email appeals.

Note: none of the leaders reported plans to invest the bulk of their time producing content for print. Every item on the “Top Five” list was for an online medium.

Which tells me that knowing how to write content for the web is a pretty important priority for most nonprofit leaders.

Here are the top tips ...

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Aug 09, 2018

Repurpose Your Content and Get 21 Pieces from One

For a writer, repurposing content is the ultimate recycling program.

You start with one piece of content (such as your monthly or quarterly newsletter) and adapt it to fit different delivery platforms and formats (such as your blog, social media, appeal letters, email campaigns, and website.)

Repurposing your content seems so simple that you may feel it’s a cop out.

It’s not ...

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Aug 07, 2018

Writer's Block? 3 Tips for Starting Your Writing Project

Writing faster and better – we all want that! But you may find you need tips for starting your writing project.

I know I do, especially when writer’s block rears its head. Even after years of writing.

The first words on the paper (or screen) – why do they seem to be the hardest? I’ve been there more times than I care to admit.

Over the years I discovered a simple process for jumpstarting a new writing project. It’s been super-helpful for writing faster and better because getting started can be the most agonizing, tedious phase.

Try these 3 tips for starting your writing.

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Aug 06, 2018

The Simplest and Best Copywriting Tip

Writing – or at least writing copy – is not glamorous.

Good writers are packagers. They work really hard to produce an effective, clean piece.

However, simplicity comes naturally to very few. Good writers are either born that way (hardly any) or learn how to get that way (most).

The good news is that clean writing is a skill that can be learned.

Bottom line: the best way to write clean copy is ...

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Aug 05, 2018

Social Media vs Social Networking: What's the Difference?

With all the hoopla about social media and social networking these days, it’s easy to get confused.

Never fear. A tweet is still the sound a bird makes. Flicker is what happens to the lights when the power is going out. And my space is the section of the closet for my clothes … not my husband’s. With social media, there’s just one more layer you need to add to all that!

This quick intro tutorial will get help you become fluent in Web 2.0 (the latest wave of internet-based services that emphasize interaction and collaboration) and start using them to promote your cause or your business!

First things first ...

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Aug 04, 2018

The Profile Article: A Feature Article with a Twist

A profile article is a feature article that focuses on an individual person.

But a profile is not a straight-up biography or news update. Instead, a profile pinpoints a special trait, characteristic, newsworthy accomplishment, or distinction in that individual.

It’s up to the writer to identify that unique twist ...

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Aug 03, 2018

Point of View Explained for Content Writers

Point of View (POV) is the position you take as a writer while you narrate your content.

You explain the events or information from your view (first person), directly to another individual (second person), or as an observer (third person.)

Write from a POV by paying attention to the pronouns you use ...

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Aug 02, 2018

No, It's Not Too Early To Play Your Year-End Content Strategy

A simple year-end appeal timeline can help you stay on schedule in communicating with partners and prospects and asking them for gifts at year end.

This is particularly important as the calendar turns over from August to September, and then creeps closer to December. About 40% individual gifts are given to nonprofits during the last quarter of the calendar year ...

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Aug 02, 2018

6 Outline Formats: Different Ways to Organize Your Content

You’re ready to write an outline: you have gathered ideas, processed them, and have determined the main point for your piece.

Now what?

No matter which kind of content you write – article, blog post, web page, email campaign, e-book, speech, other – you need to organize your material into a logical order.

Even if you’re one of those writers who instinctively ...

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Jul 31, 2018

5 Types of Articles to Include in Your Newsletter

What kinds of articles should you include in your newsletter?

A newsletter is written to an “in-house” audience and addresses a specific topic. That’s a whole lot different than newspaper articles, which are written for a larger, more general audience.

Knowing the difference has distinct advantages. As a staff writer or freelancer, you’ll be called upon to write newsletters to help cultivate readers and build a relationship with them. You write newsletter articles specifically to this pre-qualified set of readers – those who have already expressed an interest in you by purchasing a product, making an inquiry, opting in, or expressing support for you in some way – landing them on your in-house list.

I've seen over and over that successful newsletters have 5 kinds of articles. Your goal is to cultivate your audience for your niche. Each of these types of articles achieves that goal in different ways ...

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Jul 31, 2018

How to Write the 3 Major Components of a Business Plan

Writing a business plan may seem daunting. Don’t let it be.

Your plan provides structure to define your organization. It states your goals (Executive Summary), the needs your goals help meet (Needs Statement), and a roadmap to achieving them (Business Strategy.)

The document is particularly useful when ...

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Jul 30, 2018

The Top Online Copywriting Tip

The top online copywriting tip is simply this: write conversationally.

It’s a tip you can apply to all kinds of copywriting for the web: email, websites, blogs, social media – even sales pages.

But this writing tip is not just for online writing. A conversational style is fast becoming the norm in all types of media.

I wondered why until I began to think about how I respond to conversational writing ...

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Jul 28, 2018

The Question: Look Who Asked 307 of Them

When you ask your reader a question, you invite her to interact with you.

Jesus used this technique. Scripture records 307 questions Jesus asked listeners.

His questions ran the gamut ...

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Jul 27, 2018

3 Tips for Writing a Resume Objective

a brief statement that specifies the kind of position you’re seeking.

Take a sec to note an important distinction between a resume objective and a resume summary statement. Both offer information at a glance, but the kind of information they offer is different ...

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Jul 26, 2018

Online Writing: What Makes It Unique

Online writing is any kind of text that you read on a digital device – on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

It’s also called digital writing.

Writing online can take different formats – websites, blogs, sales pages, social media posts, eBooks – even text messages.

Each piece of digital writing takes a different structure, but they have these 3 elements in common ...

Continue reading "Online Writing: What Makes It Unique"

Jul 25, 2018

3 Practical Ways to Write Conversationally

You've heard it over and over from content writing gurus: "Write like you talk."

Readers expect a conversational style when they read an email, web page, text, blog, social media post – anything online. They’re used to commenting on blogs and interacting with pop ups and apps. Conversational writing is also the norm when readers see ads, direct mail, and consumer newsletters ...

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Jul 24, 2018

Make a P-L-A-N for Your Website Content Writing

The prospect of website content writing may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re starting a website from scratch or overhauling a current one.

What may be confusing you is not so much writing individual pages themselves, but how to figure out what pages to include and how to organize all the material.

Use this simple P-L-A-N ...

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Jul 23, 2018

17 Ways to Use a Headline to Keep the Reader Reading

While every writing task is important, copywriting headlines is crucial. A headline is your introduction, first impression, opening line, and sales pitch all rolled into one.

That’s plenty intimidating. But never fear! Here you’ll find plenty of practical information to help you learn to write compelling headlines including …

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Jul 22, 2018

Check Out These Books for Your Summer Reading List

Freelance writers – and those who want to be one – know one of the cardinal rules of the writing business: “To be a writer, read a lot.”

If you're looking for a good book for your beach trip ... or a couple of books to read during your staycation ... or you simply want to beef up your summer reading list, then check out this list.

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Jul 21, 2018

The Site Map: Dig Deep to See What's There

I studied the computer screen, gritting my teeth in frustration. Why couldn’t I find the list of course curriculum on this particular website?

One by one, I clicked each tab in the navigation and studied its drop-down list. Nothing.

So I kept scrolling down until saw that precious link in the footer titled, “Site Map.”

I clicked … and what opened up was a beautiful, glorious outline of the ...

Continue reading "The Site Map: Dig Deep to See What's There"

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