Thanks to my friends at the Bay Area Editors’ Forum, I just learned of a great Wired.com article called “What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos.” The article offers some of the science behind that all-too-common malady.
The piece quotes psychologist Tom Stafford, a researcher at the UK’s University of Sheffield: “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high-level task.” And your brain temporarily concentrates on that task to the exclusion of other ones, such as accurate typing.
Essentially, when you’re writing you’re in what I call the “creative” phase. And well you should be! Get it all out and do your best to say what you want to say.
Then switch to the “editing” phase. You can find lots of advice about that in a former blog post of mine HERE. Here’s one of those tips: Continue reading
You’re a professional in the nonprofit or social-mission business world. And I know you have a website. But could it be more effective?
Join the many others who have already benefited from my workshops on web copywriting! This time I’m offering it as an interactive webinar that anyone can attend: Thursday, September 8, via the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership. Here’s the description:
Have you been putting off making needed changes to your website copy? Not sure what will make the most impact? Need some detailed feedback?
Of course, you know that your website forms an essential part of your organization’s marketing. It needs to deliver compelling content that your readers eagerly engage with. The words and pictures have to jump off the screen and meet your readers where they are. But actually cranking out that copy can sometimes be a challenge.
This webinar will offer you plenty of tips and techniques to make sure your content is web reader-friendly, while it stresses your community impact.
- 3 planning fundamentals that help you get the results you want
- What you need to know about today’s web users
- How to ensure website usability & accessibility
- Intro to Search Engine Optimization
- Recommended resources on the web
One recent morning a very interesting email came across my desk. It was from a reporter at the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Could I offer any words of wisdom about jargon in nonprofit fundraising appeals?
Hmm…where shall I begin?
My thoughts, combined with those of other experts in the field, came out in an article published earlier this month. While only subscribers can read the full text, you can start with this excerpt:
Stakeholder. Leverage. Consensus building. Paradigm shift. These are just a few of the words and phrases that drive some communications experts crazy when they pop up in fundraising appeals.
Such jargon tells potential donors next to nothing. And as people’s attention spans grow shorter, a direct-mail letter or an email littered with such phrases may fall flat with the people you want to reach.
Jargon often creeps into fundraising appeals because the authors become too comfortable with office parlance. They forget to think about whether people outside of the organization will understand the letter, email, tweet, or Facebook post. Continue reading
March 8 was National Proofreading Day. Wow! A whole day just for acknowledging the importance of proofreading and encouraging error-free writing.
While perfection is actually not humanly possible, striving for it is always a good idea. That is, especially when you are trying to project a polished, professional image. And I know that as a changemaker, you definitely are!
Detailed proofreading makes your work stand out from the crowd. If you think your computer’s spell-checker is all you need to catch your every error, think again. If only things were that simple!
Final proofreading is actually harder than it looks. You have to keep in mind dozens and dozens of grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules. And you are still bound to miss things on your first go-round.
Here are some of my favorite tips to make your proofing task less draining: Continue reading