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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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Apr 22, 2018

How Do You Choose a Scripture for Your Devotional?

How do you choose a scripture for a devotional?

If an idea for a devotional comes to you through a Bible verse — or if you’re assigned a scripture to write about — then choosing a verse for the basis of your devotional is a moot point. The choice has been made.

But if you get an idea for your devotional by another means – say, through an illustration or a takeaway – then you need to choose a scripture that reveals that idea.

For me, this is a fun and exciting stage in writing devotionals...

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Apr 21, 2018

Why Do Readers Opt In?

Why do you opt in to a mailing list?

Years ago, when I first started writing, my mentors encouraged me to launch an online newsletter – a type of formatted group email, they explained.

I balked. Sending mass emails felt impersonal. I didn’t like the idea of throwing a lot of content into cyberspace to see what stuck.

Until then, I ...

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Apr 20, 2018

How Keywords Work: an Overview

When you know how keywords work, you can write better web pages, blogs, and social media posts.

Keywords are terms and phrases that define a piece of content.

They’re useful in any copywriting or content, but especially important when

Continue reading "How Keywords Work: an Overview"

Apr 19, 2018

How to Write Links in Email Campaigns to Get More Clicks

You write email campaigns not just to inform your readers, but to engage them and get them to respond. One of the easiest ways to engage a reader is to get them to click on a link you’ve placed strategically in your email content.

Your email’s click-through rate (CTR or “click rate”) measures the number of times readers click on your links and are redirected to another page.

Why more clicks? And how can you go about writing them?

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Apr 18, 2018

Two Types of Business Emails You Need to Know How to Write

As you get savvy at writing email tips, you can save a lot of time and aggravation when you understand this simple fact: all emails are not created equally.

For the moment, let’s set aside the personal, one-on-one email you write to a specific person and talk about these automated emails sent to a large group of people. You may hear them called email blasts, bulk email, or mass email – these automated email marketing messages save time, reduce costs, increase productivity, provide a written record, and make marketing easier.

If you’re a blogger, freelance writer, ministry leader, or small business owner, you need to understand what makes these business emails unique and how to write them. (It’s also helpful to know how to load them into your email list manager. But I digress.)

Two types of automated business emails – as discussed here – have a few elements in common ...

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Apr 17, 2018

An Email Campaign vs. an Ezine: What's the Difference?

What's the difference between an email campaign and an ezine? As a freelancer, blogger, or content writer, you’ll be called upon to write both.

But the terms are easy to confuse.

If you don’t know what makes each one unique, then you will struggle with what to write or how to write it.

Continue reading "An Email Campaign vs. an Ezine: What's the Difference?"

Apr 16, 2018

When Can You Get (or Give) Good Writing for Free?

I’m often asked if it’s possible to get copywriting for free.

The asker quickly qualifies her question. “I mean, can I get good copywriting at no cost?”

Sure!

I know because I've been on the giving end. Once in awhile a situation arises where I write without getting paid for it ...

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Apr 15, 2018

Templates for Takeaways

The devotional’s takeaway, also called the “application,“ is the third element in the 3-part structure. (A devotional’s 3-part structure explained.) The takeaway gives the reader an action step she can take in order to apply the devotional point.

If you aren’t sure how to go about writing this element, try using a writing template to construct your takeaway. These templates are simple life application phrases that are used in spiritual growth. Adapt them to your particular devotional.

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Apr 14, 2018

Writing for Free: An Online Devotional

Writing for free or writing to get paid: does the paycheck or lack thereof affect how you go about your writing process?

I was immersed as a volunteer with an organization when the leader asked me to write some content for free.

I didn’t mind comping my services. The organization was first-class and well run. In fact, my ...

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Apr 13, 2018

3 Cost-Saving Fundraising Writing Tips

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

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

Don’t be like everyone else! It’s absolutely urgent that you keep yourself in front of your readers.

“But I’ve hardly got any budget,” you protest. Never fear. Sure, it will take a little bit more imagination …

… but it’s all a question of knowing how to focus your time and resources.

Just a few nonprofit fundraising tips from a friend can work wonders. Here are three ways to get going today.

Continue reading "3 Cost-Saving Fundraising Writing Tips"

Apr 12, 2018

Freebie: Quozio Lets You Create Your Own Images for Free (in 5 Minutes or Less)

It’s the ultimate in graphic creation for dummies … Quozio is a fun tool that anyone can use to build images quickly and at no cost. The free software takes your plain text and converts it into appealing graphics using a pre-built group of templates and fonts.

In its own words, Quozio “turns meaningful words into beautiful images in just seconds.” You can store them or share them on Facebook, Pinterest, email, and anywhere else.

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Apr 11, 2018

Free Webinars: Build Your Skills at No Cost

Free webinars are an excellent way to acquire skills and information while connecting with other professionals.

Topics address all areas of interest to writers, nonprofits, and small businesses, including effective copywriting, strategic planning, getting donors, website development, online stores, using social media, and best practices, to name a few.

A webinar is ...

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Apr 10, 2018

9 Ways to Write Better Subject Lines: A Free Checklist

Better email subject lines are easy to spot for one simple reason: they get the reader to open the email.

Use this handy checklist to help you write better email subject lines.

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Apr 09, 2018

What to Write in Your Welcome Email

Ping! Another subscriber notification pops into your box. What kind of welcome email did that new reader just receive from you?

A welcome email is the first email a new subscriber receives from you after opting in to your email list or in response to your lead magnet. You can set up the email as an auto responder in your email list manager so that every new subscriber receives this email automatically once he has joined your list.

Some list managers require you to create your own auto responders. Others offer welcome text already loaded into a prepared auto responder. No matter the case, make sure you take the time to customize yours. This is a wonderful opportunity to greet new readers personally and let them know you’re glad they’re a part of your community.

Continue reading "What to Write in Your Welcome Email"

Apr 08, 2018

Tips for Writing Takeaways

The two key tips for writing takeaways for a devotional are this:

1. Keep it simple2. Focus on one principle

A devotional’s takeaway, also called the “application,“ is the third element in the 3-part structure. The takeaway is practical. It gives the reader an action step she can take in order to apply the devotional point.

Take note of these extra tips for writing takeaways.

Continue reading "Tips for Writing Takeaways"

Apr 07, 2018

The Newsletter: What's Your MOST Important News to Share?

I could hear the team member’s frustration on the conference call as we discussed content for the upcoming newsletter. “But there’s a new staff member and some changes to the board of directors,” she said. “That’s the most important news we’ve got going on! We’ve got to lead with it in the newsletter.”

Her words rang in the beat of silence that followed.

Then the communications director’s voice came over the line ...

Continue reading "The Newsletter: What's Your MOST Important News to Share?"

Apr 06, 2018

How to Use Keywords to Write Better Web Pages: A Simple Guide

When you know how to use keywords, you can write better web pages, blogs, and social media posts.

Keywords are terms and phrases that define a piece of content. (How keywords work.)

They help drive search engine page results rankings, so the keywords you choose can drive readers to your website, blog, or social media platform for free. (Yay!)

But how do you know which keywords to use?

Continue reading "How to Use Keywords to Write Better Web Pages: A Simple Guide"

Apr 05, 2018

How to Write a FAQs Page

As you plan how to write a FAQ page for your website, the most important element is simplicity.

FAQs – the acronym for Frequently Asked Questions – are a list of questions and corresponding answers that address basic issues about a topic, your product, service, website, or organization. This is an opportunity for you to give your reader a quick synopsis of what you do in a way he can understand easily.

Continue reading "How to Write a FAQs Page"

Apr 04, 2018

3 Types of Newsletters: Which Is Right for You?

There are three types of newsletters: the company newsletter, the consumer newsletter, and the organization newsletter.

Which one works for you? That depends ...

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Apr 03, 2018

How to Hit a Bulls-Eye With 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.

That’s because bullets are short. They’re easy to read, especially online. And if done well, bullet points give you a “quick and dirty” summary of information.

Continue reading "How to Hit a Bulls-Eye With Bullet Points"

Apr 02, 2018

How to Write a Story to Make a Point

When you know how to write a story, you up your writing game. I’m not talking about writing a novel, short story, or other form of fiction, but rather storytelling in content and copy.

It’s standard operating procedure for writers to use a story as a hook, in a transition, or to drive home a point. Anecdotes and illustrations are central in good content and good copywriting.

For stories to be effective, you need to start with the end in mind. You’ll have the best success in writing good stories for content if you first ...

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Apr 01, 2018

Writing a Takeaway: Keep It Simple

Writing a takeaway is the most practical step in devotional writing.

The devotional’s takeaway, also called the “application,“ is the third element in the 3-part structure.

The takeaway gives the reader something to “do” – an action step she can take in order to apply the devotional point.

Continue reading "Writing a Takeaway: Keep It Simple"

Mar 31, 2018

Does That One Word Make a Difference? Positively!

Science affirms what writers have known for decades: word choice matters.

British psychologist and mediation consultant Elizabeth Stokoe has analyzed hundreds of phone calls between mediators and potential clients. She has discovered one word that makes a difference for a resistant prospect to agree to ...

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Mar 30, 2018

Quick Writing Tip: Put This Word In Its Place!

This tip for writing clearly is particularly helpful to me because it is so simple. It focuses on only one word.

Only.

As power words go, “only” is a strong one. It’s a word we use naturally in conversation. So for content writers like you and me, “only” fits in well with guidelines to “write like you talk.”

But there's a catch ...

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Mar 29, 2018

Journaling to Write Devotionals

You can use journaling to write devotionals for your blog or your ministry.

Journaling is a personal record of your thoughts. It's a way to capture your ideas on paper, process them, and then use them.

You may already use journaling in your personal life to record the ways God speaks to you and how you respond and grow.

But you can also use journaling as the basis for written content. Journaling can be an important part of your writing process.

Continue reading "Journaling to Write Devotionals"

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