Friday, September 4, 2015

Stunners: People Like to Share Pictures and LinkedIn Will Publish Just About Anyone's Post

Fridays! I like to use them as a social media catch-up day. Because a metric ton of MUST READ articles appear every minute, I try to be selective. And I hate clickbait.

So when I was drawn in with the great headline WHAT DO PEOPLE LOVE TO SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA? I was miffed that the answer was....
...wait for it...!

I took my rant to a new (to me) venue and created my first LinkedIn post.
~ - ~ - ~ - ~ -

What did you write today? And where?

If you're a freelance copywriter and would like to use this space for a guest post, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know in a comment on the LinkedIn post, or find me on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Picture This: in PDFs, All Over Your Site, Images Matter

Ah, pity the poor alt tag. I have championed the little bit of code for years. And the hard-working descriptors still matter.

But not as much as the images themselves.

Google's been busy (< anyone want to nominate that for shocking headline of the year?) updating its image search protocols this summer. Among other things, the search superhero is now pulling images out of .pdfs and indexing them too!

Anyway, the good news for me and my oft-overlooked alt tags is they're still mighty important.

Writing for the Web 2015

The same can be said about meta descriptions and title tags. And of course, one could argue that using the right image is the most important thing about images and your website.

But, hey, I'm talking about alt tags here. They really never got the respect they deserved, and still don't.

Speaking of respect, if you're looking for a writer who thinks talking about alt tags is might have found her.

Full disclosure: she's extremely selective about freelance projects these days. But if you think your alt tags need a little TLC, I know how you can reach her.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Where Do You Find Writing Jobs?

"Our focus is building tomorrows business leaders" but apparently, not in using apostrophes. 

As a writer, I have mixed feelings about a job posting like this. The organization has a real need! But who proofs its ads? Third graders? 


Where do you find writing jobs? Craigslist has had its share of bad press, but is still a good place to look for jobs (or "gigs," which, at least to Craigslist folks, are not the same thing). 

Linkedin certainly seems to have lost its focus re: jobs lately. 

I'd like to see more boutique placement firms like 10-til-2 leading us to great opportunities, but I'm not seeing it happen as fast as I'd like. 

I am seeing a general increase in content-, marketing- and PR job opportunities here as summer wanes. What about you? Where do you find writing jobs? 

Would love to hear from you! Contact me here or tweet to me. I tweet, when I'm not writing. Or looking for a job... 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hemingway, We Hardly Knew Ye (But, Nice App!)

Full disclosure: he isn't/wasn't my favorite author. But, he's one of those icons, right?

Hemingway House and Cats. There are always cats.And, gotta say - nice app!

The Hemingway App is designed to make us all better writers.
Banish adjectives!
Write declarative sentences!
Make a point!
Keep it short!
(And, presumably, don't overuse exclamation points.)

Well. Fiddlesticks. A post with two Wikipedia links. I've done all the damage I can for one day.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Arbor Day & Other Things Journalists Do

Yes indeed I do have a chip on my shoulder and feel at least a tad resentful that journalists don't get the respect they deserve. Just in case you were wondering. 

So, here: a few examples off the top of my head (or Wikipedia) of things Journalists do or have done that make them quite worth your respect, and appreciation, even.

So, there.

Journalists Rock Holidays, Space Exploration

In 1872, Julius Sterling Morton, a journalist, politician, and tree-hugger, started setting aside one day a year to celebrate trees. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872 and became a national thing (as much as it is today, I guess) by 1885. Arbor Day - in case you want to make a cake or climb a tree or something, and aren't quite sure when to plan your party - is celebrated the last Friday in April. 

Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, is hailed as the "Godmother of Thanksgiving." Her letter to then-president Abraham Lincoln spurred him to proclaim the third Thursday of November a National holiday. 

A handful of journalists (actually, folks in the even-more-maligned PR industry) had more than a bit of influence on getting the US to the moon

Public Opinion & History

Lest you think I revere only the "old school" journalists, I'll toss this in the mix: journalists have always, and will always, shape opinions. Like you, I think some opinions are more worth shaping than others - so I revere some and revile others. (Hey, journalists are nothing if not human.)
One I revere: Anderson Cooper for coming out publicly AND matter-of-factly, simultaneously saying, "maybe you should know" and "not that it matters."  
Who I revile: Sadly, a growing list, heavily populated by those who report on the rich and famous with an apparent belief that what Kim Kardashian wears is relevant to anyone other than Kim Kardashian. 

On the list of folks I admire: anyone who provides solid reporting (I like those three-sources types). Journalism - good or bad, I'll admit - provides the first draft of our history. One good example I'll point to this year: MtV's study on the racial undercurrents of 2014. While it will never enjoy the level of respect conferred on The Wall Street Journal or Rolling Stone, Viacom's aging bad-boy brand deserves major kudos for that.

Hats off to those who write it right. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

High School Communications Contest - March 2015 deadline

The National Federation of Press Women hold several contests each year, one of which is for high school students. Time is nigh to register - and past nigh to start writing! - so consider yourself prodded.

More contests offers a nice list of Creative Writing Contests (for adults and young writers) with NO entry fees. Gotta like that! Check the website for one that may inspire you. Happy typing!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Another Way to Say it

When Racism Slips into Everyday Speech, an excellent 2014 article in The Root, really challenged my ways of thinking, speaking, and writing.

Of course, it also challenged my opinion of myself as a non-racist, and as an "educated" user of language. (Here's another great thing about the internet - I can't hear you laughing.) Anyway, since reading the article, I've tried to rephrase some of those offensive sayings by using less idiomatic language. It required more brainpower than I expected, but I was OK with that - communication is a worthwhile endeavor and thinking has yet to be proven bad for your health.

Dog wearing glasses
Old Dog, still learning. 
I hate to admit that many of the phrases the article cited were ones I used often, although I didn't know their origins. Yeah - me, lover of word origins. Yes, I'm embarrassed. Properly educated/chagrined, I'm changing my ways.

Rather than refer to people I don't know as "the peanut gallery," "hoi polloi," or "unwashed masses," I'm opting for the quite useful phrase "anyone else" or "everyone else." Or instead of "Grandfather clause," I see the better turn of phrase is "longstanding exception" or "accepted exception."

Good Communication Not Always "Creative"

As I said, I used these phrases and others on The Root's list pretty frequently in the past. I considered them lively, interesting descriptions - and I assumed I understood their meanings without taking the next step to find out how they'd developed. Definitely my bad.

Also bad on my part: I mistakenly thought using these "creative phrases" was a means of demonstrating my love of language. But I know better. The #1 job of words is to communicate, so it's critical to choose your words to communicate what you intend - not a meaning that could offend.
So, the bottom line is - even an old dog can learn a new trick or two. (Lord help me, I didn't research the origin of that phrase...)

As I've told many a business owner about corporate communications, your words should work for you, not against you.