Permission to Write that Horrible First Draft

We’ve have led dozens of writing workshops over the past 10+ years. One of the workshops was on “the art of revision” for creative writing projects.

We were surprised to learn that some writers assumed that if their first draft was unsatisfactory, they needed to throw it out and start over with a different piece of writing. These writers felt liberated when they found out that very famous authors always went through multiple drafts of their work before they got that final draft that everyone now knows as a masterpiece of literature.

You may not think of your blog post or newsletter article as a “potential masterpiece” of literature, but it should relieve you to know that no one ever writes something perfectly the first time they put pen to paper (or fingers to computer keyboard).

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Imperial or Metric?

Meters? Kilometers? Yards? Miles?

Distances and measurements are tricky when you are reaching out to English-speaking clients. You need to ask yourself: Which English does my ideal client use?

With our German clients, we always have to ask at the start of any project: Are you specifically focused on the American market or the British and English-speaking European market?

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Tips for Writing Explainer Videos

Last year, we helped a client with text for a few explainer videos.

When they sent the draft text to us, they said they needed it trimmed to under 250 words to fit a 60-second video. Unfortunately, the text they sent was nearly 400 words.

They were trying to fit a lot in. They introduced two characters, explained their positions and their problems, introduced the company’s product, and then went on to detail every feature and benefit.

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Have you ever seen a shop with an empty display window?

So why are you leaving these digital spaces blank?

I don’t know about you, but I love window shopping. Even if I don’t need anything, it’s fun to see how some shops get very creative about the displays in their windows. Tailors in my neighborhood have some truly eye-grabbing ones.

And most stores will change their displays according to the season or the next upcoming holiday. One glance will tell you whether Christmas, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day is on its way.

Would you leave a shop window empty when you know it’s a good way to attract customers? I don’t think you would.

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She’s ruined “joy” for the rest of us…

We’re just going to step right out there and say it: Marie Kondo has made it impossible for anyone else to say that something should “spark joy” without being seen as a copycat.

But that’s okay. We should all be trying to find that one phrase that will be linked so closely with our business that no one can hear it without thinking about our business.

We’re thinking about this because we recently saw someone use the hashtag #sparkjoy on one of their posts.

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Before You Promote Your Event on Instagram…

I’ve been hanging out on Instagram a lot more lately (follow me here!), and I’ve noticed a big problem that small businesses and coaches are running into with event promotions – especially since so many people are now hosting online events.

Due to Instagram’s algorithm, you can’t be sure that your event announcement will be seen before your event happens! Your followers have no ability to see posts in chronological order, as they can with Facebook (the Most Recent option for the Newsfeed), Twitter (option to “See Latest Tweets first”), or LinkedIn (option for “Recent” instead of “Top”).

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Tips for Using Acronyms in Your Business Writing

Are you confusing and losing potential clients with your alphabet soup?

Did you know that CIA is not just the acronym for the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States? It’s also the acronym for the Culinary Institute of America.

If you are marketing your product or service to an international audience, you need to understand that not everyone will immediately recognize the acronyms you use. People who are new to your field might also not recognize an acronym! You don’t want to risk alienating folks or making them feel like “outsiders” when they don’t know which company or organization you are talking about.

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Take Your Text from Jargon to Cliché to Your Brand Voice

I have a problem with jargon. Many businesses think that using a lot of industry-specific terminology in their marketing materials makes them sound more impressive.

“Pimp your SEO for killer ROIs!”

But it doesn’t make you sound impressive. It sounds fake. It sounds like one of any number of jargon-spewing social media accounts I see out there featuring some 20-something guy in a suit standing next to an expensive car and claiming to make six figures per month. Continue reading

Does Your Website Sound Like You?

A recent client came to me because she wanted to redo her websites in English. One of the problems she told me about was the fact that her clients love her, but after getting to know her, they say: “You know, your website sounds nothing like you…”

Then, I was being interviewed for a podcast, and the host told me she gets the same reaction.

This got me to thinking about how the “voice” of your website works for or against you when you’re reaching out to your ideal client.

How do you stand out? How do you connect with your website visitors? Continue reading