6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 57-63 of 65 Articles

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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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 Du Jour

Corporate Communications

Effective corporate communications means effective use of language -- not the "let them eat cake" model of discourse! These three blogs take a look at a trio of often-fumbled sides of business communications:

Crisis Manager is "for those who are crisis managers, whether they want to be or not." Scroll down to the post about a restaurant and a police department for a taste of disastrous crisis management -- and what you can learn from it.

ReputationXchange is written by a global public relations company's "Chief Reputation Strategist," who has studied how corporate and CEO reputations are shaped -- and shattered.

Spinfluencer looks at how PR and emerging technologies mix to influence public perceptions, written by a specialist on online public relations.

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You've probably heard the PowerPoint jokes. You know: "Death by PowerPoint," and "power corrupts, but PowerPoint corrupts absolutely." It certainly gets a lot of stick. It also has some surprising defenders. (Full disclosure: Microsoft is a client of mine but I don't work for the PowerPoint team.)

For example, Edward Tufte, author the beautifully named Beautiful Evidence, wrote a blistering article in Wired titled PowerPoint is Evil. Not exactly a neutral point of view. He said "The standard PowerPoint presentation elevates format over content, betraying an attitude of commercialism that turns everything into a sales pitch." He also complains that it reduces data to meaningless infoporn with little statistical validity.

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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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Blog Du Jour

"Bad Language" Blogs

We asked our Bad Language columnist Matthew Stibbe to tell us the top blogs on his "must surf" list. He says:

I scan over a hundred every day so it's hard to pick the good ones but I make a point of reading these four carefully.

Samuel Pepys's diary. This a blog created from the diaries of the famous historical figure.

Lifehacker. Neat geeky tricks for making life more efficient.

Guy Kawasaki. Always provocative and entertaining.

Presentation Zen. Really nice website about making presentations.

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Surveys are an old standby for PR companies on slow news days. But they stink of dubious statistics and questionable objectivity. No wonder the public is increasingly cynical.

You've seen the phenomenon already. Every Christmas and Easter, someone will publish a survey claiming that chocolate is good for you. The media lap it up -- it's a good story. But who benefits? Needless to say, the people behind these surveys are chocolate manufacturers and their PR firms.

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6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 57-63 of 65 Articles