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Nancy Friedman, the naming and branding expert who contributed our "Candlepower" feature this week says, "here's a clutch of useful and entertaining sites about readin' and writin'. 'Rithmetic I leave to others more qualified." She writes:

Writerisms and Other Sins: A Writer's Shortcut to Stronger Writing was first posted in 1995, but it's as relevant as ever. Author C.J. Cherryh defines "writerisms" as "overused and misused language"--and the examples are fresh and memorable. Includes the definitive guide to never mistaking "who" for "whom."

Give What Should I Read Next the title of a book you enjoyed and it will suggest others you should try. Differs from Amazon Recommendations because it's based on books you've actually read and liked, not books you may have bought for others--or bought and returned.

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I logged a lot of years as a journalist before I made the leap into marketing. At first, writing marketing copy instead of filing stories seemed like a big change. But gradually I came to see my journalism training as an invaluable asset in my new career. In fact, I now believe that a journalism education is excellent preparation for writing of any kind.

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Blog Excerpts

Clarity in Marketing

Tom Asacker, marketing guru and author of A Clear Eye for Branding, writes the blog "a clear eye." In it he shares his thoughts on clarity, what he calls marketing's new task. Tom says: "Clarity should be the guiding principle behind every marketing effort. Clearness of thought. Clearness of appearance. Clearness of message. Clarity should inform every campaign, drive every question, and rationalize every dollar spent and every piece of data captured and analyzed." Read the piece here.
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There are different, competing claims about the origin of the term rule of thumb. I prefer the idea that it stems from the fact that the length from the tip of the thumb to the knuckle is about one inch (or if you're a pilot and you use 1:500,000 charts, about 10 nautical miles).

In any case, they are useful guidelines that make it easier to do something without thinking it through from first principles each time. Here are ten of mine as applied to writing:

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Blog Excerpts

10 Most Wanted Copywriting Violations

The World Copywriting Blog, a website that promises "cutting-edge copywriting tips, tricks and tested techniques to get you higher response, more sales and increased profits" offers a list of ten copywriting pitfalls, as channeled through a... dog. Woof.
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When I am up against a deadline and I absolutely, definitely have to get on with my work, I use a few tactics to force myself to concentrate:

  1. Switch off email. I don't start Outlook (or if I do, I disable all the notifications that tell me I have new mail).


  2. Isolate myself. I use Bose noise-canceling headphones but don't plug them into anything. The silence really is golden.


  3. Greed and guilt. I remind myself how much money I'm getting paid for a particular assignment and how ashamed I will be if I miss the deadline. This actually works sometimes.


  4. Stop with the blog already. When I'm pressed for time, distractions like blogging and tidying up become very compelling. Knowing this makes it easier to resist.


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Steve Hall is the force behind Adrants, the opinionated, must-read blog for the advertising industry that dishes up a daily helping of news, trends, research and gossip, all seasoned with a heaping tablespoon of attitude. An industry veteran, Steve has a sharp eye for what works -- and what belly flops. We asked him for his thoughts on copywriting.

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