Time to get some perspective

Do you remember those Magic Eye pictures? They were all the rage in the 1990s. (There was even an appearance in a Seinfeld episode … but, I digress.)
The point of these pictures was to stare at it until you saw the hidden 3-D image within the picture. Some people saw the image right away, others took some time, and some people never saw the picture (although they claimed they did).
Those pictures used to drive me crazy because I was never [...]

FREE is powerful, but dangerous

“Free” is a very effective power word. It grabs your reader’s attention and may even convince him to take that next conversion step.
However, if you use “free” incorrectly, it could cost you.
Does “free” remove value?
I recently witnessed the following scene.
A 15-year-old boy uses color ink to print the informational page for a PC that he wants to buy (Let’s not kid ourselves – that he wants his mother to buy). The printed description has a picture of the computer, so [...]

What’s in it for me?

As I have mentioned before, I am a fan of 1980s pop culture. One of my favorite teen angst movies from the 80s is The Breakfast Club. However, I don’t want to talk about any of the main characters or pivotal scenes.
No, I want to talk about a few lines muttered by Carl, the janitor.
In one scene, Carl catches Richard Vernon (the school administrator) snooping through the personal files of the other teachers. Vernon wants Carl to not mention it [...]

Many writers, one voice – it IS possible

Your in-house marketing team may consist of several copywriters … or at least numerous team members who contribute content.
Your website may include:

Product pages written by your creative team
How-to pages written by your tech team
About pages written by upper management
Blog posts written by members of various departments

So how can you ensure your content marketing has a consistent voice?
Share who you are writing for
Your customers want you to tell them, “What’s in it for me?”
But how do you highlight what they need [...]

Are your complimentary services free? Understanding word choice

During some recent holiday travel, I saw this sign in the San Diego airport. I had to take a picture of it because I wondered how many people asked. “How much does it cost?” before they added the handwritten sign “free.”
Who are you trying to reach?
A 2012 report indicated that the average reading level of the books taught in U.S. high schools (grades 9 through 12) was just over a fifth-grade level.
Using the readability index calculator, I tested two very [...]

What Girls can teach you about your soul-crushing corporate job

Do you feel stuck in your corporate job?
Yes, you’re happy to even have a job. Your paycheck arrives like clockwork. You have benefits. Heck, you may even have a creative job like marketing communications, design or SEO writing.
Yet, you feel like your corporate job is sucking away at your soul.
You dream of casting off the chains, hanging out your freelance writing shingle and being your own boss. Picking your own clients. Writing about what you feel passionate about – not [...]

Write for Humans and Robots for Best Search Results

I’m not an SEO expert. I don’t even play one on TV.
But I am a communications expert and, as part of my job, I’ve been writing my entire career.
In 2008, when social media began to take a hold, many of us had to quickly figure out how to use content to build our brands.
And, as part of that brand-building exercise, came learning how to write for both readers and robots.
In fact, I didn’t realize there was an entire technical side [...]

The SEO content writers’ manifesto

I am more than “just a writer.”
I am a profit driver. A matchmaker. A storyteller.
A content marketing dream-fulfiller.
My SEO writing helps companies reach more people, do more good and make more money.
It doesn’t matter if I’m writing about industrial machinery, hotels or software.
Or if I’m blogging, tweeting or writing sales pages.
I entice my readers. I entertain them. And I empower them to make a buying decision.
I know that I have a responsibility to learn more, write more, research more.
The more I [...]

I can’t read this

This isn’t something that I want to admit, but I need new glasses.
Each day, I find that I’m squinting more often trying to see something. This week, I haven’t been able to read the directions on the bottle of cold medicine, which I so desperately needed to take.
The thing is, I should have visited the eye doctor a few years ago … okay, more like five years ago. I thought my eyes were fine, so I put it off.
Well, they [...]

Do you love ‘em and leave ‘em online?

Imagine this…
You’ve finally gotten a date with the girl (or guy) of your dreams. He or she wines you, dines you and treats you like royalty. You’re enamored. You’re blown away. You’re willing to do anything to keep the good vibrations going.
Then, the relationship reaches the … um … conversion phase. You’re on cloud nine …
… until the person never calls you again.
If you’ve had this happen to you, you know how it feels. You go from telling your friends [...]