The difference between writing and wording: a guide for stupid penny-pinchers

Now that it’s so easy to do your own marketing online, the value of soft-skills professionals has come into question. Welcome to the Idiot’s Guide to p*ss-poor approaches as in the following…

  • Who needs to pay professional videographers, for example, when you can shoot a perfectly acceptably sales video on your IPhone (never mind that brilliant video camera you can buy for for little or nothing from Amazon) and edit it up a bit on your Mac – upload to YouTube and/or your website, and bingo?
  • Who needs to pay professional photographers to shoot images of your new product or service when your cellphone works just as well and costs nothing?
  • Who needs to use professional graphic designers when you have a world of free art out there you can use to put almost any requirement together?
  • And who needs to use a professional writer to do just “a little bit of wording” for your website or brochure?
Why cheap creative marketing resources are a piss-poor investment

How clever is it for ignorant businesses to sneer at professionals in writing, design, web development and other marketing areas of expertise?

Technology offers many things, but it can’t provide unique human talent. Yet this is being denigrated and cheapened in parallel with the techno-cheapening of everything else.

[Read more…]

Writing about yourself: how not to fall into the I-ME trap

One of the most common among classic writing (and speaking) grammar goofs is the I or ME dilemma, when I-ME does something with someone else.

Is it you and I or you and me?

Did Dad and I go out for brunch yesterday, or was it Dad and me?

Without resorting to formal grammar jargon, here is a simplified but very easy to grasp illustration of the problem and its solutions…and scroll down if you want an easy trick to make sure you stay out of the I-ME trap from now on…

Writing quiz: which of the following are correct?

1.Deanna, Mike, Tom and I went to the movies last night. [Read more…]

Editing your written work: how not to miss mistakes

Today please welcome guest author Lucy Benton – originally from Illinois, USA and now resident of Sydney, Australia. Lucy is a writing and editing expert who also runs a superb blog, ProWritingPartner, which I thoroughly recommend as a goldmine of first-class grammar, editing and general writing resources. Sz.

How to edit your text properly

You ought to remove the flab as well as the excess so your reader truly understands your ideas

We are all well aware of the fact that creating something in a draft allows us to lay down the ideas and to clarify the entire structure of what we’re writing. However, the sharpness and the value of the text comes next – when you edit and refine what you want to say. [Read more…]

Mind your Ps and Qs – English business jargon you love to hate

No matter how much we say we hate it, in business – and other areas of activity – jargon has become part of our lives whether we like it or not.

More English business jargon

Mind your Ps and Qs…

As we’re stuck with it, we may as well enjoy learning about its meanings and origins … so here we go with some more from my series. Enjoy…

From P to Q … business jargon for you

Pack rat: also “packrat” … a term in use in the USA since around the mid 19th century, meaning someone who hoards and keeps everything and can’t bear to throw anything away. Derived from the animal that takes small objects back to its nest and hoards them there. Can also be used as a verb, e.g. “he pack rats old newspapers saying he will read them again one day.” [Read more…]

DIY advertisers: why titles don’t work, and headlines do

When you advertise your business, do you give the advert a title – or a headline?

Ads (a.k.a. “adverts”) with a title often are also “upside down adverts” which you need to avoid if you’re going to get the maximum number of leads and enquiries from each of your ads.

Why titled don't work in advertising

Books need titles: adverts need headlines.

Never forget that an ad – even a small, low-cost ad in a local magazine or “handbook” – needs to offer readers something “in it for them…” not just a title being your name or what you do.

Don’t forget that old-but-very-relevant point … “what’s in it for me” is what sells.

That means, to grab attention and hold it, you need to start your adverts with a strong headline. Not a title.

[Read more…]

10 terrible cliché images that kill your written content

Images in blog and social media posts are essential, the gurus say. Trouble is, too often people slap up the first (copyright free, of course…) image they find on Flickr that does nothing whatsoever to make their written content look anything other than a bunch of similar clichés.

Here are my top 10 pet image hates and why I think they make your written content look awful…

1.Someone on the phone

Why you shouldn't use cliche images in your written work

Shots of people looking important while on the telephone, don’t work. A very old pic of George Dublya Bush – sorry for the blur, but I guess he may be a bit of a blur now, too, bless him.**

…usually sitting at a desk, dressed smartly, smiling in a patronising way and looking Very Important. No-one is fooled by that any more and that reminds me the following joke … [Read more…]

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