Word Wise is for busy people who want to write more (or need to), but don't have a lot of time.
My first “official” writing instructor was a guy named Lou who guided me one-on-one, step-by-step, through a course on writing articles. He helped me to focus on writing clearly. “Make one point in your article,” he said. “And eliminate all those extra words.”
After Lou came Chris, my copywriting coach.
Her instruction centered on writing persuasively, no matter how many words it took ...
Every content creator knows they need to have a plan to continue to produce great content.
So here's a piece of good news: you can create your own content writing strategy that's personalized to YOU. And you don't need an MBA or a month to complete it.
This content strategy guide helps take you step by step through the process of ...
Continue reading "Create a personalized content strategy you can stick with"
In the nonprofit world, a letter of inquiry (LOI) is the first formal request to a funder.
Don’t be lured into thinking that an LOI “is just a letter” and therefore easier to write because it is shorter than a grant proposal. It’s no ordinary letter.
An LOI is a heavy hitter. It’s a mini-proposal that distills your work and your specific project into 1-3 pages. If successful, your LOI will earn you the opportunity to submit a full grant proposal.
A letter of inquiry is a lot like ...
Continue reading "What's a Letter of Inquiry and how do I write one?"
How can you know you’ve got a bad headline before you submit an article or publish a blog post or send your email newsletter?
After the fact doesn’t help much. Your headline’s job is to pull in readers to the rest of your content. A bad one means fewer opens, less likes, zero comments…
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.
Every resume is unique … because each person and his experiences are unique. As such, there is no magic formula to presenting your information...
Continue reading "The 5 parts of a resume and how to write them"
You've got a great idea. Should you write an article about it or write a book?
It’s a question you face at different junctures in your writing journey: when you’re first starting out and working towards publication … when you’re building your stable of writing clips … when you’re thinking of breaking into a new niche …
Continue reading "Write an article or write a book? Here's how to decide"
When I first started writing (and many times since then), I got tripped up in The Hook Writing Trap. I mistakenly thought I had to write the hook – the lead – first.
I’d comb through search engine results for a shocking statistic … rummage through my files for the perfect quote … frame a story or anecdote to fit the project’s slant …
I got embroiled in using a dozen different techniques for ...
Continue reading "The hook: you don't need to write it first"
In the late 1990s, Blogger.com and other hosting blog tools became widely available to users. Soon, anyone could start a blog – a “web log.” A blog is an online record of information, activities, or thoughts. Many bloggers are, in large part, unknowns.
Record-keeping by unknowns has been around through the ages ...
Continue reading "How much does name recognition REALLY matter for bloggers?"
Devotionals are a unique genre. And you can write them!
Writing Devotionals That Stick is a full-length, online course that walks with you step-by-step as you learn to write devotionals in a way that stays with today’s busy, distracted readers.
Leaders, entrepreneurs, students, moms, professionals, writers – or those who want to be – have learned to write devotionals by using the principles found in this course.
It’s a fun and easy-to-use guide packed with examples, writing tips, and exercises to help you put the steps into practice right away ...
Continue reading "Want to learn to write devotionals? Check out this online course"
Want your content to get read by more people? Avoid jargon.
Jargon is insider language. It’s that collection of words or expressions that are used by a particular group of enthusiasts or in a profession. You might think of it as a set of verbal shortcuts or niche lingo that’s familiar only to specialists.
Plenty of us are guilty of using jargon-ese ...
Continue reading "Avoid jargon. (Unless you want your readers to feel alientated)"
You’ve got your email campaign or email newsletter or email marketing message all set to go. And you’ve written several subject lines. Now it’s time to choose one. What’s the ideal email subject line length? And is the length of your email subject line a factor in getting more readers to open your message?
Yes and no. Read on to see what I mean...
Continue reading "What's the best email subject line length?"
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 ...
Continue reading "Use this simple 5-part structure to write a content story"
A perfect example of an elevator speech is offered in one of the final scenes of the 1988 Academy Award-winning film, Working Girl. Wall Street secretary Tess McGill (played by Melanie Griffith) has thirty seconds in an elevator to explain to an investment bank CEO how she conceived a lucrative deal for his firm.
Tess describes her acquisition idea so clearly and simply that ...
A lead magnet is a free piece of content.
During the first days of online marketing, a lead magnet – then, usually an eBook or a PDF download – was a novelty. People were used to paying cold hard cash for books and information products. Who gave away free books, especially good ones?
Lead magnets revealed the Myth of ...
Continue reading "Why give readers something they REALLY want -- for free"
The 5W’s and H: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?
These six questions are the basis for research skills and information gathering. They’re used by anyone focused on fact-based writing, including journalists, researchers, law enforcement officials, bloggers, and more ...
Continue reading "Learn how to use King Solomon's research skills"
When my children were young, I was working full time, but I wanted to build my freelance writing business.
So I wrote in short spurts as I had time ... usually just 20 minutes here or there. Since then, I’ve used this approach to build three of my own blogs and build my business.
You don’t need to just talk about blogging. You can learn from my mistakes and missteps. You can become a 20-Minute Blogger, too ...
Continue reading "If you've got 20 minutes, you can build your blog or website"
FREE on Kindle May 10-14 only.
The fundamentals of good writing are woven into scripture. Biblical truths provide the cornerstone for our lives. That includes our writing lives.
These 101 devotionals combine the best “by the book” practices in the writing profession with God’s writing guidelines in scripture to encourage and equip writers to write by The Book – God’s book.
Each devotional includes a scripture, and illustration from the writing world, a summary truth to equip you in your writing journey, and a prayer you can use to apply the principle to your writing life.
Whether you write as ...
Continue reading "JUST RELEASED: My new book is free on Kindle May 10-14 only"
Oh, the angst of writing that first sentence … the first paragraph … the first section: your lead.
But along with those nerves, there’s good news: all different types of leads work. The best have earned their rep for a simple reason. They work.
And you needn’t master an infinite number of types of leads to write well. Whether you’re ...
Continue reading "8 types of leads to use to pull in readers"
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 …
Continue reading "17 ways to write a headline that keeps the reader reading"
Your USP – Unique Selling Proposition or Unique Selling Point – is what makes you different from other organizations. It's also sometimes called your "Competitive Advantage."
“I want to show the reader that my nonprofit stands out,” my client said as we discussed ...
Continue reading "38 ways you are unique: find your Unique Selling Proposition"
Scott Morton, international funding coach for The Navigators, knows a thing or two about writing a fundraising campaign.
He has guided hundreds of ministry workers through the process of raising support for ministry by following a simple principle from the Apostle Paul ...
Continue reading "Paul's fundraising letter model and why it works so well"
Your language arts teacher taught writing rules so that you’d learn to communicate clearly on paper. Rules like:
Each sentence needs a verb. Especially one-liners.
Don’t use contractions like don’t, he’d, you’ll
And never start a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but, or yet.
Notice that I’ve broken each of these three writing rules.
That’s not to say you should ...
The writing process is easier when you whittle down your main idea – the single most important thing to tell your readers – before you begin to create your content.
This worksheet acts like your own personal main idea generator. It guides you through the process of ...
Continue reading "Need to find your content's main point? Use this worksheet"
Point of View (POV) is the position you take as a writer while you narrate your content. It’s your lens, like a camera.
You explain the events or information from your view (first person), directly to another individual (second person), or as an observer (third person) ...
Continue reading "Point of View (POV) explained ... and tips for using POV in content"
95% of bloggers give up. I could have been one of them.
Fortunately, I had mentors who offered me valuable tips for beginning bloggers. I followed their advice and now, years later, I continue to seek out counsel from experienced writers in the blogosphere to keep growing my blogs. (Yes, “blogs” in the plural.)
Other bloggers have not been so fortunate. ..
Continue reading "How to avoid the "Abandoned Blog" Syndrome"
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