Sponsored blogposts and advertorial – can we take them seriously?

“What difference does the word ‘honest’ make to this sponsored post?” writes my good friend and highly successful business leader Jenny H. Actually, to save you time, I can reveal that it’s a glowing review (what a surprise) so the ‘honest’ bit is just a little bit of clickbait. Would it work on you? Be honest!”

The sponsored post in question had been shared on social media with the rather unwise headline of My Honest Review Of (name of product.)

Sponsored blogposts - can we take them seriously?

Would you trust a product review that’s themed like this?

This was classic “advertorial” – text written in an editorial style that does anything from provide you with a reasonable – if favorable – view of a product, service, place, etc., to being nothing more than pure, and rather amateurish ad copy, written in a vaguely editorial but hardly credible style. [Read more…]

Writing: the emotional flashpoint of dyslexia

It was as if I had slapped her across the face in front of this room full of people.

Writing: the emotional flashpoint of dyslexia

Why is there still so much ignorance, and pain, attached to dyslexia?

Being a Grammar Fascist and a pain in the *ss about spelling, I had taken a copy of the handout sheet she prepared to go with her talk and quietly marked corrections to three spelling mistakes in the content. I wrote “#justsayin'” on the bottom, waited until no-one was looking and she had finished her talk, and slid the sheet over to her.

“I couldn’t care less about people who might object to some silly little typo,” she snarled, and sat down, deliberately turning as much of her back towards me as possible given that she was sitting next to me.

[Read more…]

Writing from the heart – and by hand

Do you groan when you have to address an envelope by hand, or write something in a greeting card? Or do you welcome the chance to express your true self through personally-penned words rather than use the impersonal blandness of a keyboard?

Writing from the heart – and by hand

How many of us remember how to write by hand – neatly?

Recently I was chatting to my good friend Sarah Sibley who runs a business offering the most gorgeous personalised stationery, and we got on to the subject of handwriting and how today it has become almost a novelty in a world of text generated by keyboards that make everyone’s written communication look identical.

Much as I love the online environment because it offers so many varied opportunities to communicate via the written word, I can’t help wondering if its sheer “high-tech-ness” isn’t slowly strangling the poetry and romance out of writing that I, like all children born in the Ming Dynasty, experienced when writing before the digital age. [Read more…]

Letter to India: is your written and spoken English too good?

Dear English-speakers from India,
One thing that has struck me many, many times in corresponding with Indian people in English, is that the English you speak and write is so utterly perfect in grammar, syntax, spelling and general presentation. You have learned the language as it should be spoken and written, with the grace and elegance the language should still be using now.

Letter to India - is your english too good?

Is Indian English too good for everyday international communication?

The trouble is, the standards of English used for nearly all communication in the main English language markets have deteriorated. Proper, well-mannered and well-constructed English as so many Indian people speak and write is (sadly) viewed as old-fashioned and long-winded. In our modern throwaway society all but the essentials in language have become disposable, too. [Read more…]

How to write but get it horribly wrong

I must share the following correspondence (identity concealed) I received last night from an organisation I respect … and which had been very badly let down by some crude, thoughtless writing on the part of their marketing communication suppliers.

This is how a mere few words of incompetent writing can create a car crash of bad feeling and potentially significant harm to the organisation concerned. I have edited out the extraneous bits so you get the picture faster.

When marketing communication projects go wrong - how can clients cope with the fallout from the car crash? A classic example of this awful problem for businesses

Is this yet another example of a car crash in marketing communications?

The lessons we can learn from this are very, very valid…

A classic example of ill-informed writing by a supplier who should know better

Here is the email that kicked it all off … and the first few sentences make me feel slightly nauseated. Is it just me, or do they affect you in the same way? [Read more…]

Essay writing services that help students cheat: would you be proud of a degree earned this way?

These cheating essay writing services people are so, so sneaky … I thought I could smell them when they email me offering “guest posts,” but I fell for this one who did actually write more or less what I suggested he do.

Cheating at college by buying written essaysThree things rang an alarm bell once the article arrived: one, a sub-heading wasn’t quite correct English; two, his bio at the end was incomplete, terminating in mid-sentence; and three, there was an embedded link. When I clicked the link, Microsoft warned me that it was suspicious. But I was nosy, and getting angry by this point. I avoided clicking on the link, but typed it into Chrome.

Guess what? I found myself on the most blatant cheating “essay writing services” site I’ve ever seen

[Read more…]

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