Wednesday, March 15, 2006

email blessing, email curse

Does anyone write “real” letters anymore, now that email seems to be the preferred form of communication? True, it’s fast, efficient, and low-cost—and for most of us, there’s no way we would give it up without a fight. One common problem, however, is that because email messages are often typed and sent hastily, sloppiness tends to creep in: words are misspelled, sentences are incomplete, and grammar is less than perfect. This isn’t the type of impression any professional wants to make via writing, whether making initial contact with a potential new client or a co-worker in another department.

So, let’s revisit the original question: does anyone actually write, stamp, and drop a letter in the mailbox anymore? The answer is a definite yes. After all, you still receive a stack of mail to sift through every day, right? Depending on the situation, a number of instances are often better suited for tangible letters rather than electronic communication. Here are just a few examples:

Cover letter (with resume)
Job acceptance letter
Character reference letter
Pay raise request letterMarketing/sales letter

Today's tip: remember to communicate with your clients and customers in more ways than just using email. Receiving an actual letter will make them remember you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

resources for everyone!

Are you responsible for writing duties at work or for your organization? These basic desktop references are good for everyone to have on hand—they’ll make the writing process easier!

Dictionary - A good dictionary is indispensable, and a must-have reference tool for your desk, no matter what profession you’re in. Merriam-Webster is a good bet, and an online version is also available at

Thesaurus – Looking for another way to say it (whatever it is)? Crack open Roget’s International Thesaurus for a variety of wording choices. Over 330,000 words and phrases in 1,075 categories are included, and updated editions (most recent: 6th edition) keep up with trends in today’s ever-expanding vocabulary.

Style manual - Your company might have a corporate style guide, but it may not address every issue that tends to crop up when writing. One source I like to use The Chicago Manual of Style, which provides guidelines for creating lists, special characters, punctuation, plurals, acronyms, and much, much more.

Monday, February 06, 2006

have you hugged a writer today?

There really is a holiday for everything! I just learned that Feb. 6-10 is Freelance Writer Appreciation Week. Read up on other "different" holidays here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

pondering freebies

Everyone likes to get things for free. And free stuff is available everywhere. I know I've lost track of how many pens, travel mugs, and coffee cups I've collected from local businesses during the past year.

I also like to offer free items to my clients, but do they really need another keychain? Even though I do have those available (they're coupled with a pen and measuring tape portion...very handy) I realize not everyone needs more stuff cluttering up their desk. So I've devised two useful pieces information that I'll be handing out to new and prospective clients this year. Basically, anyone who contacts me to set up a free initial consultation to discuss their writing needs will receive a report called 10 Tips for Polishing Your Prose.

And for those folks who secure my services, I want them to trust me, and to realize that I'm not out to clean out their budgeting account. Thus, I've created a tip sheet called How to Save Money When Working With a Copywriter.

I'm hoping that this information will be something clients can actually use...and at the same time I hope it makes them feel more at ease as they begin to work with a new vendor. Maybe they've never partnered with a copywriter before and are a bit nervous. I don't want my clients to feel nervous...I want them to trust me. And to secure their trust I work hard to provide proof that I am indeed an experienced, dependable writer. I'm there to do a job for them, and my goal is 100% percent satisfaction and beyond.

Here's a question for you business-wise folks: what types of additional value do you offer to your clients?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2006 business planning

It's a new year--hope everyone is having a good one so far. I've been spending quite a bit of time analyzing aspects of my business. What can I do better? What new things should I try? How will I implement my ideas? If you're a business owner, you are probably having similar thoughts.

But just thinking about these important items isn't have to write them down. At least, I have to write them down. So I've got a list going. It's divided into various categories, and I'll be making sure I check off completed tasks. Here's an example of the maing areas I intend to cover:

Customer Service
New Services
Continued Education
Marketing & Networking

One goal I've reached already is an overhaul to my ezine, WriteTips. Thanks to Branmarc Design this newsletter has got a fabulous new look. The first new issue will go out January 15...if you aren't a subscriber yet, please let me know that you'd like to receive this free publication!

Until next week....