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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 15, 2019

Freelancers: How to Build a Writing Sample Portfolio

“How do I build a writing sample portfolio?” a newbie copywriter asked. “People won’t hire me without first seeing my work. But I can’t get clips unless I write.”

It’s one of the questions I hear most often. And it’s a problem I faced, too, when I first started writing. A potential client always asks that pesky question: “Do you have any clips?”

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Feb 14, 2019

Free Checklist: 9 Ways to Write Better Email Subject Lines

Better email subject lines are easy to spot for one simple reason: they get the reader to open the email. You can measure your email open rate with objective data, Download this checklist for writing better email subject lines with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter4Save(Download your own PDF copy of this checklist here.)

You can measure your email open rate with objective data, recorded by your email list manager. The open rate reveals in large part whether or not your email subject line works.

But what if you don’t know how to write subject lines in order to boost your rate?

Download this checklist for writing better email subject lines ...

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Feb 13, 2019

5 Trigger Words to Use to Get Your Reader to Act

Trigger words set off a quick response in your readers because they generate urgency.

These are a special set of keywords that are especially useful in countering a reader's inertia.

Use them in ...

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Feb 12, 2019

5 Quick Tips to Help You Write Cleaner

"Write cleaner." You hear that all the time from writing coaches.

In order to hook your reader and keep him, you’ve got to grab his attention with enticing content – facts, anecdotes, statistics, angles, ideas. But it’s clean writing that will make or break you. Because your reader will only stick with a piece if it’s easy to read ...

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Feb 11, 2019

Know the Main Idea of Your Piece of Content Before You Write

The writing process is easier when you find the main idea – the single most important thing (SMIT) to tell your readers – before you write.

If you do, you’ll save yourself time and aggravation. And your writing will have clarity.

When I first started writing seriously, I struggled with this piece of advice. My problem was that ..

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Feb 10, 2019

The Headline: Write the Little Things Well

The title, the headline, the email subject line: how do you go about writing them?

Maybe you dash them off quickly, like an afterthought, once you're done with the heavy lifting in the rest of the content.

It was in one of my earliest assignments that my first writing instructor called me out about this very issue.

"How many headlines did you write before you decided on this one?" she asked ...

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Feb 09, 2019

3 Short Story Writing Tips from the Master Storyteller

I love these three short story writing tips from the Master Storyteller, Jesus. They’re tucked into Matthew 13 amid six parables, almost as an aside ...

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Feb 08, 2019

7 Kinds of Letters Copywriters Write

Copywriters write dozens of kinds of letters.

They are a part of daily life, both in your personal communication and your professional communication.

Different types of letters have different purposes. One size does not fit all.

When you know the purpose of your letter you can construct it accordingly ...

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Feb 07, 2019

Basic Copywriting: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Basic copywriting is text that persuades.

It’s essential for any business or organization. Copywriters use the written word to promote your cause, service, or product.

But good, basic copywriting doesn’t just “sell.” Anecdotes, verbal pictures, and facts conspire together to tell a story, educate, inspire – and more than anything else – produce ...

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Feb 06, 2019

Try the Simple 5-Part Story Structure for Writing Quick Content Stories

A content writer needs to write stories.

If the idea of figuring out a story structure makes your fingers quake at your keyboard, then take a breath.

Let me go on the record here to say that when I started writing content, I was intimidated by storytelling. Yes, I love to read novels. Yes, I realize that ...

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Feb 05, 2019

This Little 3-Letter Word Is Powerful in Persuasive Writing

The word "now" is simple. But its effect is powerful.

You can use it in articles, on envelope teasers, in fundraising appeals, on response devices … in any document where you want to propel your reader into action.

What’s more, the word now seems so ...

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Feb 04, 2019

The Best Source for Images for Your Newsletter (It May Surprise You!)

Where are the best places get images for your newsletters?

You. Your clients. Your projects. Your work.

Think about it: which would impact you most: a touched-up image of a child holding a neat, clipped lamb… or a gritty photo of a young boy and his strong though shaggy flock of goats set against the backdrop of a dirt-poor village?

Don’t worry if your images ...

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Feb 03, 2019

Using a Writing Formula: Is It Cheating?

"If I use a writing formula, am I cheating?"

It was a question posed to me by a new writer. To be completely honest, I asked the same question myself when I first started writing.

A writing formula is a template to follow when you're writing a specific kind of project - kind of like a recipe, except that the ingredients are your content.

My struggle with using writing formulas was this: it felt ...

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Feb 02, 2019

A List: A Good Content Writing Tool - for a Surprising Reason

A list is a good content writing tool.

I use lists as a set of bullets on a web page, in a series of subheads in an article, and in a sequence as part of a sentence (like this one). Lists allow me to organize my content logically.

Here’s a surprise from the other side of the coin: a list is good for ...

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Jan 31, 2019

How to Hit a Bulls-Eye When You Write Bullet Points

Bullet points (or “bullets”) have become a staple on web pages, in sidebars, for PowerPoint presentations, even in direct mail. They present information in list form.

Bullets are indented, short phrases, preceded by small dots, squares, dashes or graphics.

They’re everywhere, and readers like them. But it's easy for content writers to get sloppy with bullets. You can avoid that by ...

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Jan 30, 2019

Parallel Construction Explained: A Step-By-Step Guide

Parallel construction is one of those subtle undercurrents that make for quality content writing.

When it’s there, it’s not noticeable. But when your lists or sequences are not parallel, your writing feels awkward or disorganized.

Compare it to a typo – an obvious writing boo-boo. Parallelism – not so much. That’s why when you’re self-editing, you want to recognize non-parallel phrases and fix them.

Parallelism is a writing device in which ...

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Jan 28, 2019

Use These 7 Tips to Write Your Elevator Speech

Your “elevator speech” is a brief, concise explanation of what you do, presented in about the time it takes an elevator to go from the bottom floor to the top.

In about 30 seconds.

So how is that going for you? Use these 7 tips to help you write your elevator speech or improve the one you've got ...

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Jan 27, 2019

How to Capture Ideas for Writing Projects

Capturing ideas is a crucial step in the writing process.

You haven’t truly adopted the “ideas-are-everywhere” mindset of a writer until you figure out a way to capture the ones that come your way.

You need to find a way to remember them. Your ideas can be one of your most valuable resources because they are unique to you ...

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Jan 26, 2019

The How-To Article: Do You Assume Your Reader Knows Every Step?

Do you ever miss steps as you write?

On the first day of English class, the teacher asked us to pull out a sheet of paper. “Write a how-to article explaining how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” she said. She gave us 15 minutes to complete the assignment, then collected the papers and dismissed us.

The next day, the teacher entered class wearing ...

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Jan 25, 2019

The "You Rule": It's a Persuasive Writing Tool

There's a basic copywriting rule that can change your content almost instantly. It all goes back to your freshman English teacher, who familiarized you with the concept of “point of view” (POV) in fiction.

She explained that a story is told from the perspective of one of the characters.

The fundamental copywriting rule is directly related to point of view. Like POV, it lets you experience what the characters go through right along with them ...

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Jan 25, 2019

The Parts of a Resume: A Primer

The basic parts of a resume outlined here are a tool you can use to understand how resumes are constructed. This list will also help you gather your personal data, organize it, and present it effectively in a professional resume.

5 parts of a resume with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter0SaveEvery resume is unique … because each person and his experiences are unique. As such, there is no magic formula to presenting your information.

Having said that, most resumes incorporate the standard components listed here ...

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Jan 24, 2019

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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Jan 24, 2019

Just Take A Step: Get the eBook FREE Today

It's easy to get busy, distracted, and overwhelmed. You beat yourself up and then focus on what you don’t do.

Just Take A Step is a devotional Bible study that points out what you can do. It's set up in 8 short chapters that you can do either on your own or with a group. And you can get the eBook version free on January 23 and 24 ...

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Jan 23, 2019

How to Write a How To Article that Actually Gets Read

If you’re a writer, you need to know how to write a how to article.

A how-to article is a durable short content form because it provides step-by-step instructions to help your reader complete a task.

Personally, it’s one of my faves to write because it is so logical and sequential. First, do this. Then, do this. Do a couple more things and POOF! You’re done with the task.

But here’s an ironic little secret about writing a how-to ...

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Jan 22, 2019

12 Kinds of Visual Content You Can Create: A Simple Tutorial

I’m a content writer (not a designer), but I understand that graphics and copywriting go hand-in-hand, much like peanut butter and jelly.

The internet has changed things up for us mid- to small-sized folks. My clients – ministries, nonprofits, and small businesses – can’t afford a designer for every project.

Which means that over time, I’ve had to learn the basics for manipulating images for web content and print ...

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