Tempted to Throw Away the Manuscript on 5 Separate Occasions

😣The dark secret about showing the client the “first” version

I just finished reading my first book written during the pandemic era. The title is Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel by Anthony Doerr. A significant length of 640 pages, but the book didn’t seem long. You can hear the editor’s praises (without giving away spoilers) here.

Now I know why the book was on the New York Times bestseller list for 19 weeks. The novel is about five characters whose stories cover almost six centuries. The people are all interconnected through a priceless ancient text.

Why mention it?

First, in case you didn’t know, Anthony Doerr is famous for winning the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. He invested ten years researching and writing the award-winner, All the Light We Cannot See.

The book received reviews like this:

“If a book’s success can be measured by its ability to move readers and the number of memorable characters it has, Story Prize-winner Doerr’s novel triumphs on both counts. Along the way, he convinces readers that new stories can still be told about this well-trod period, and that war–despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices–cannot negate the pleasures of the world.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

And this:

“Intricate . . . A meditation on fate, free will, and the way that, in wartime, small choices can have vast consequences.” The New Yorker

But if you suspect I’ve drunk **the Anthony Doerr is the Greatest Author of All Time kool-aid**, hold on.

Continue reading Tempted to Throw Away the Manuscript on 5 Separate Occasions

Wake Up, B2B! Use Concrete Phrases to Sell More Today

concrete art refers to concrete phrases in writing

Everyone loves a good story. Good storytelling requires concrete details. Straightforwardly true. But is B2B listening?

I recently read a consumer research article, published in July 2020, about how language shapes consumer behavior. And it’s not a psychological trick. Or a persuasion technique. Or some marketing-speak that bears no resemblance to the present B2B world.

Gathering evidence from “five studies, including text analysis of over 1,000 real consumer-employee interactions, demonstrated that customers were more satisfied, willing to purchase, and purchase more when employees speak to customers concretely.”

What?!

Express yourself concretely and get more sales? Simple word choice is a game-changer. Really?

Yes, really!

So can we apply this language tip to shape the attitudes and behaviors of our web visitors? Sure we can. Let me share details about concrete details.

Continue reading Wake Up, B2B! Use Concrete Phrases to Sell More Today

10+ Digital Marketing Tools to Create Delightful Content

Creative Confidence book cover

While I help marketers build their growing businesses, I’m also Marketing Chief for my company. Thought I’d share the marketing tools that help me produce attractive content for my growing audience. A copywriter doesn’t work alone. Well, yes, she does, but she also relies on great tools and platforms.

Here are the resources I use every day, beyond a spiral notebook and a pen (staples!).

Continue reading 10+ Digital Marketing Tools to Create Delightful Content

Read This if You Take Writing Seriously

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My picture with Ann Handley, after her presentation at Content Marketing World 2017

Were you assigned to write a blog post that’s due next week? Oh, horror of horrors! Are you worried about starting with a blank page? Do you dread writing a story from scratch?

Every bit of writing in marketing has an objective. And that can be worrisome if you don’t know your objective. If you think the words matter, then you take writing seriously. So if you’re in this camp, you may want to keep reading.

I’m sharing some pointers from Ann Handley’s presentation at Content Marketing World 2017  – Writing Secrets from Productive and Prolific Writers (the Jerks!): How to Create Better Content When No One Has Enough Time.

Her advice just might boost your writing today.  Continue reading Read This if You Take Writing Seriously

No One has Time to Read Ambiguous Messages, so Get to the Point

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Photo Credit: “Point!” © 2007 a2gemma, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

BEEP! A notification chirps from your smartphone. You pull the phone out of your pocket, wipe your fingers on your cotton jeans and swipe the smooth screen to unlock. Tapping open the email app, then …

BANG!

BOOM!

CRASH!

The emails clamor in your inbox. Each email is screaming at you. Look at me! Look at me! Read this now. Do this now. Emails are reminders of your unfinished tasks.

And your inbox is bursting. Continuously flooding with messages, the inbox is a cacophony that will never be silent.

When you acquiesce and scan the first email, trying to understand the long message on the little screen, do you wish the sender had written more words?

Probably not. You wanted the writer to be brief, concise and clear. Please get to the point, you beg.

If this is what you want, imagine what your client is thinking. Continue reading No One has Time to Read Ambiguous Messages, so Get to the Point

Do These 6 Things Today to Makeover Your Writing

All those ideas swimming in your head are finally on paper. The draft of the sales copy is saved in a file. You wrote your email. A chapter of the book has been written. You realize you’re not done, but it feels good to have completed the first draft.

Ready to make your copy 50 percent better? Thought I’d share some tips everybody can use to improve their writing today.

First, let’s take a look at two ways to describe a city’s landmark.

“The location is Western Australian. In the city center, just near a road, stood a monument about dead men and boys, some really young. A really hard time was had by them. It was a very long time before the community simply went back to a routine of school, work and marriage, but not seen by outsiders.”

Confused when reading the description? Already bored you to tears? Yes, it was mind-numbing to read.

Let’s see the description with exquisite detail. Read how M.L. Stedman portrayed the city’s landmark in her book, The Light Between Oceans, voted the Best Historical Novel by 1.5 million voters on Goodreads.

“… hard-bitten experiences that marked any West Australian town. In the middle of the handkerchief of grass near the main street stood the fresh granite obelisk listing the men and boys, some scarcely sixteen, who would not be coming back to plow the fields or fell the trees, would not be finishing their lessons, though many in the town held their breath, waiting for them anyway. Gradually, lives wove together once again into a practical sort of fabric in which every thread crossed and recrossed the others through school and work and marriage, embroidering connections invisible to those not from town.”

Now that’s an example of award-winning writing. How did she do that? We may not strive to win prizes for writing the best novel of the year — well, we may not all want to write a novel — but we can improve the writing we do, every day.

Six Tips to Makeover Your Writing

  • Use the active voice
  • Avoid the use of intensifiers
  • Use definite, specific, and concrete language
  • Create and use a personalized style sheet
  • Read your copy aloud
  • Ask another person to read your copy

 

Continue reading Do These 6 Things Today to Makeover Your Writing