Category Archives: Business Writing Tips

Improve Your English: Comprise vs. Compose

comprise-vs-composeOver and over again you hear people mixing up the two words Comprise and Compose. They may sound similar, but have entirely different meanings, and are commonly confused for each other, most often with the word comprised being used where the word composed is correct.

Let’s start with the meaning of each word:

  • Comprise: Consist of
  • Compose: To make up or form by combining things, parts or elements

To do a quick check as to which word would be appropriate in your sentence, Continue reading →

Miss-Fortune for This Restaurant

missed-fortuneSometimes even the smallest amount of writing can have a big impact on your business. Take this fortune for example. I brought home several fortune cookies from a restaurant not too long ago, and just recently opened the cookie to enjoy it. Inside I found this fortune that’s shown in the picture.

At first, I thought “Wow!  A free dessert!”  Didn’t you? Then I realized what a big mistake this restaurant made. Do you see it? Continue reading →

Does Your Marketing Copy Tell Your Story?

what's-your-storyAre you using plain, nondescriptive words on your website and marketing materials? Words that everyone else is using? If so, you might be falling into the copy dead zone.

I learned a technique as a magazine writer. As an exercise, we wrote a sentence or paragraph using ordinary words, as in this example:

Hurry! Limited Space Remains for Blog Writing Clients

blogging-works-statisticsIf you want to hire a Clio award-winning writer to write your blog posts, you’d better hurry because we are filling up our schedule quickly.

Although we’d love to work with everyone, in reality, there are only so many clients we can work with at one time if we want to continue to provide our high level of service. And those clients who work with us stay with us for years. It’s rare that we have openings!

Here are some of the reasons our blog writing clients love us and why you will too: Continue reading →

Which Comes First? The Copy or the Design?

website-copywriting-and-designIf you have ever worked with a creative agency to mount a new website, you’ve probably been asked to provide the website copy up front. This can be daunting to someone who is unfamiliar with building a website, or to a person intimidated by writing. (That’s why we get brought in so often.)

Different agencies work in different ways: some want the copy up front, while others provide a template “look” first and then build the copy based on the template.

Which should come first: the copy or the design?

I find this dilemma similar to the age-old question “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”, and as with the chicken query, both can be correct. Continue reading →

This Snowstorm Can Help Your Marketing

stop-sign-in-snow-Linda-Barrett-photograph

Stop what you’re doing and use the snow to your marketing advantage!

When something big takes over the news, like with this East Coast snowstorm, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to sell!  Use references to the blizzard, snow, cold, ice, or invoke images of sitting by the fireplace, wrapping up in snow gear, or drinking hot chocolate. Liven up your script with action words like sledding, skating, skiing, snowmobiling, plowing, or shoveling. Events have a short shelf live, so the quicker you jump on this opportunity, Continue reading →

Is TV Teaching Us Bad Grammar?

farther-vs-further-imageAs a professional writer, I’m being driven nuts by the poor grammar used in the commercials I’m forced to see throughout the day. I also cringe at the lack of knowledge of the English language used by some of the major network broadcasters. I just want to write to them and say “No!”

Here are a couple of infractions I’ve noticed lately:

Farther vs. Further

The common rule, according to Dictionary.com, is that farther is used when discussing distances, while further is used for a figurative Continue reading →

Should You Write in Full Sentences or Fragments?

Do you get this

Do you get this “fragment” prompt?

When I run my work through Spell Check, I’m often stopped by the phrase “Fragment (consider revising.)” Does this happen to you?

While Spell Check helps me find spelling and spacing errors, it doesn’t really know about conversational writing style. Writing for blogs, the web, or social media is different than writing novels or papers. You MUST use sentence fragments.

Yes, use fragments

People don’t speak in full, formal sentences. They speak in fragments. And the point of engaging an audience is to stimulate a “conversation.” I’m sure you’ve heard people say, Continue reading →

What Does a Modern Web Writer Look Like?

My inbox today contained a great infographic titled The Perfect Anatomy of a Modern Web Writer.  It explains what we, as web writers, need in our arsenal as professional writers, as well as demonstrates what to look for when hiring a web writer. So I thought I’d share it.

The Perfect Anatomy of a Modern Web Writer

  1. image-of-modern-web-writer-infographicOutstanding Copywriting Ability.  Copywriting begins with knowing your customer’s hope and fears, her principles and problems…and then figuring out how to help her achieve her goals and ease her pains.
  2. Storytelling Skills.  Storytelling creates a narrative that spellbinds people. There’s no debate: the best web writers are also the best storytellers.

Continue reading →

“Drive” People to Their Destination Through Your Landing Page

image-of-landing-page-tips-graphicI came across a great infographic that shares the biggest landing page goofs business owners can make. It compares the experience of visiting your landing page (or home page) to that of a cross-country road trip.

You want to make the trip a smooth journey for your visitors, taking them from where they are now to their final destination. And you get to decide that destination.

Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter, click the “buy now” button during a special sale, or call you for a price quote or free consultation? Pick one and give them the directions that will lead them directly to the end of the line without confusion or roadblocks. Continue reading →