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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.


Oct 22, 2018

What Is Identity Content and Why Do You Need It?

Identity content explains who you are and what you do.

You know yourself. But do you explain who you are and what you do to others in a way they can grasp? No matter whether you’re a small to medium-sized business, an organization, or a sole proprietor, you want people to understand your work. It’s the essence of building your ”platform.” Plus, it's an important step in writing a strategic plan.

Three identity content formats help you communicate who you are and what you do ...

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Oct 21, 2018

What Makes for Good Christian Writing?

“What makes for good Christian writing?”

Authors, leaders, novelists, editors, students, pastors, development professionals, songwriters – those who may write for the Christian market – regularly ask this question.

The answer is quite simple. Good Christian writing is ...

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Oct 20, 2018

The First 100 Words You Write

Write a summary first.

This structure is called an “inverted pyramid.” Journalists write a summary and place it at the top of an article, allowing readers to get the gist of the story from the opening few paragraphs.

This “first news first” approach has been a journalist’s go-to format since the rise of the telegraph and expansion of newspapers in the 1800s.

The first 100 words ...

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Oct 19, 2018

Ask This Simple Question in Interviews to Get Great Content

Powerful content. Every article, blog, website, and promotion needs it. You can get it by asking one simple question.

It’s one of the best questions I’ve learned to ask customers, ministry directors, partners, clients, supporters in meetings – even celebrities during interviews – as I prepare to write articles and promotions. The result gives you unusually strong information ...

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Oct 18, 2018

A Writing Tip for Savvy Email Subject Lines

Email subject lines are a type of headline.

And there are additional headline-writing specifics that go with writing a subject line: keep it short, be specific, write with urgency, and use your name in the “From” line rather than the name of your organization.

But you need to have a bit of fun, too, so that your email subject lines get the “Open” click. Here's how ...

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Oct 17, 2018

Use This Checklist to Write Powerful Headlines

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

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 your headline needs to capture the reader’s attention. How can you check yourself to make sure your headline is doing a good job?

But no matter what kind of formula you may use, make sure to run it through this super-helpful checklist before you hit “publish" ...

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Oct 16, 2018

What Is Content Writing and Why Is It So Important?

Good content writing drives your communications.

But what exactly is “content”? You hear that word used a lot, whether you’re a business owner, leader, staffer – and even more so if you’re a writer.

When I first started writing, the term “content” puzzled me. Was it a particular style of writing? Or maybe it was certain kinds of writing projects. Every definition I looked up confused me more.

Over time, I have come to learn that the word “content” is used two ways ...

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Oct 15, 2018

5 Kinds of Facebook Posts You Can Write

What makes Facebook posts for nonprofits or businesses different from posts to your own personal page?

People have a following on their personal pages. Their friends want to know what’s going on in their lives.

When it comes to your organization, you have the opportunity to build that same kind of connection.

The most effective Facebook posts (from organizations) create dialogue with readers by ...

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Oct 14, 2018

A Simple Explanation for Creativity

It's all about sticking with it.

“To get a great idea, come up with lots of them.”Thomas Edison (1847-1931), American businessman and inventor.

And more inspiring quotes about creativity ...

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Oct 13, 2018

The Greeting: James's Simple Formula for Targeting Your Audience

A simple how-to of writing to your audience is this: fill in the blank.

As in, “I am writing to ….”

Why is this important? Because when you identify your target reader clearly, you can direct your content to that person, his situation, and his needs.

James gives us a beautiful little model to follow in the first line of his letter ...

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Oct 12, 2018

Writing a Book: Who Is Your Audience?

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 when you talk with a 40-something businessman o

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Oct 11, 2018

Your eZine: Why Should Readers Subscribe?

Three out of four organizations say they publish a nonprofit ezine or email newsletter at least monthly as a way of staying in touch with partners, donors, and prospects, according to our good friends at Nonprofit Marketing Trends.

Why do readers voluntarily opt to receive email through these boxes ... and how can you learn to capture readers that way, too?

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Oct 10, 2018

Who Is YOUR Target Reader? Use This Checklist to Find Out

Each writing project, to be successful, needs to target its readers. The best way to do that is to create a composite profile of your audience -- the project’s average reader -- and write to that individual personally.

It takes some research to know your audience. But it’s not hard when you know the right questions to ask ...

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Oct 09, 2018

3 Simple Tips for Writing Better Web Pages

Think about how you read web pages. You’re usually looking for information, right?

Take this page, for instance. You’ve been promised three tips. Right about now, you’re scrolling down to skim for those three points. If they intrigue you, you’ll read more.

A good web writer considers how to help her reader get what she came for when she comes to a website ...

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Oct 08, 2018

Top Cover Letter Writing Tip

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 ...

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Oct 07, 2018

Albert Einstein on Simplicity

“If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born theoretical physicist

... and more quotes about simplicity.

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Oct 06, 2018

Your Writer's Bio: Help Readers Get to Know You Quickly

Editors tell us to have a full writer’s biography ready to go and a short, quick one on hand, too. You use your short version on blog posts, at the end of articles, and on the back jacket of your book.

The idea of a short writer’s bio is thousands of years old. For instance, we know quite a bit about ...

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Oct 05, 2018

What Kinds of Newsletter Articles Should You Write?

I don’t know what to write!”

Yes, you do! Newsletter articles celebrate your organization’s successes. They can and should be fun, energizing, and inspiring to read!

There are dozens of article ideas to use to tell the story of what you’re doing ...

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Oct 04, 2018

6 Tips for Writing Good Copy for Your Book Jacket

When I wrote my first book, I needed tips for writing good copy for the book jacket – the blurb on the back of the book.

It’s a step that’s easy to overlook. But it’s uber-important, especially if you’re self-publishing.

Think about how you choose books to read. You look at the title. Then you flip it over and read the jacket blurb or the “Look Inside” summary on Amazon. After the title, the content on the jacket is the most-read element of your book.

Other readers do the same thing. Since you want potential readers to read your book, you want to invest deliberate thought in this piece of copy ...

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Oct 03, 2018

How to Write a Book: First, Identify the Problem Your Book Will Solve

Writing a book can seem overwhelming. Where should you begin? What should you do first?

When you break the process into smaller steps, writing a book can be a reality. One step is manageable. Do a few steps and soon, you’ll be on your way.

A good book addresses a problem and explains a way to solve it. Start by asking these two questions ...

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Oct 02, 2018

Quick Business Plan Writing Tip

If I had known this one business plan writing tip before I got started writing, it would have saved me a lot of time. And the business plans I’d written back them would have been stronger and would have had more clarity.

The tip is this ...

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Oct 01, 2018

3 Cost-Saving Writing Tips for Nonprofits and Small Businesses

Easy and cheap: those words are gold when it comes to small business or nonprofit fundraising tips.

Chances are during tough times, you’ve had to whittle down your communications budget. Most people expect a “disappearing act” from nonprofits and small businesses.

Don’t be like everyone else! It’s absolutely urgent that you ...

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Sep 30, 2018

Stick With It Longer: Wise Words about Persistence from Einstein

"It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

... and more encouraging words of persistence from other luminaries.

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Sep 29, 2018

The Ask: Moses Used Specifics. Shouldn't You?

Do you feel awkward when you write an ask? Sometimes, I do.

It helps me to look at The Ask from the giver’s point of view. For instance, when I’m invited to a wedding, I appreciate a bridal registry list. It shows me what the couple needs for their new home ...

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Sep 28, 2018

A Tale of Two Envelope Carriers

As I riffled through my mail, two different envelope carriers caught my eye ...two very different looks.

One was a brown paper lunch bag. The other was a lovely, mint green-colored envelope. Score 1 point for each. They both stood out in the post.

But here's what made the real difference ...

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