Article Writing 101: The Perfect Author Resource Box

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If you want to really make your article “SELL” then you’ve got to craft the perfect RESOURCE BOX. This is the “author bio” that is below your article body and it’s also known as your “SIG” (short for SIGnature).

Here are the essential items that should be in your RESOURCE BOX:

  • Your Name: You’d be amazed at how many folks forget to include their name in the RESOURCE BOX. Your name and optional title should be the first thing in your resource box.
  • Your Website Address: in valid URL form. Example: http://Your-Company-Name.com/
  • Your Elevator Pitch: This is 1 to 3 sentences that encapsulates the essence of what makes you and your offering unique. Also known as your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
  • Your Call To Action: You’ve got them warmed up and now it’s time to lead them to BUY from you or visit your website. This is where you “Ask For The Sale.” Best to only give (1) specific call to action.

Here are some optional items you could include in your RESOURCE BOX:

  • Your Ezine Subscription Address: While getting your interested visitor to surf your website is nice, capturing their email address can help you begin the confidence/trust process. If you’re going to do this strategy, include a URL for your ezine subscription address and do not use an email address for the “join” address.
  • Your Contact Information: Such as your business phone number or how to reach you for interviews or your press/media kit. Keep in mind that article marketing is a timeless strategy and you may not have an easy ability to retract what you put in your article once it hits major distribution.
  • A Free Report: This could also be part of your call to action or your free bonus report that further enhances your credibility as the expert on the topic of your article.
  • Your email autoresponder: I’m not a big fan of this strategy due to the fact that spammers will text-extract your autoresponder address and add it to their spam list. Perhaps this strategy was best for the 1990’s and has now run its course.
  • An anchor URL that is related to one keyword or keyword phrase that you want to build SEO strength for. Example: if I wanted to build search engine relevance/strength for the term “Article Writing,” I’d link up that term in my resource box to my website. This is an intermediate to advanced level strategy and should not be abused by over-doing it. Keep it simple.

What NOT to include in your RESOURCE BOX:

  • A listing of every website you own. There is no faster way to dilute your credibility than by posting a half dozen irrelevant URLs that have nothing to do with each other. Best to only post ONE URL that is related to the topic of your article.
  • A listing of every accomplishment you’ve achieved to date. No one cares. Keep your resource box brief and to the point. Yes, your resource box should be benefit oriented so that the reader finds value in reading it rather than your ego being justified.
  • Advertisements or pitches for products that are not relevant to the topic of your article.
  • Keep the size of your resource box so that it’s no larger than 15% of your total article size. Too often I see resource boxes that are 50% of the size of the total article and this is abusive.

Your Perfect Resource Box Conclusion:

The BODY of your article is where you “GIVE” and the RESOURCE BOX is where you get to “TAKE” for your article gift of information. The resource box is the “currency of payment” you receive for giving away your article. Be sure to include your name, website address, your unique selling proposition as briefly as possible and a simple call to action.

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Source by Christopher Knight

Marc Harty’s Seven Point Formula For Creating a Winning Online Press Release

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Marc Harty’s 7 point formula.

#1 Headline

Keep your headline short and make sure you have your keyword phrase in your headline. This is key and something that even the experts miss or forget to do. The earlier you put your keyword phrase in the headline the better.

#2 Summary

Two or three sentences… What is this press release about? What are you talking about? What is the topic?

#3 Intro Paragraph

If you know anything about copywriting you know that the purpose of the headline is to get you to keep reading. The purpose of the summary is to get you to keep reading to the intro paragraph. The purpose of the intro paragraph is to get you to read the rest of the release.

I like to ask a question. I don’t want to get right into talking about myself. I want to add some context. I want to say these day’s things are tough in the economy whatever it is, but something that can build rapport with people.

This isn’t just a press release, its common sense and copywriting 101. Build that rapport with your audience.

#4 Quotes

You’ve probably seen this on the news or in a press release. There is somebody quoted. If you’re doing a press release that somebody is you, but it doesn’t have to be you.

For example, if you’re using one of my techniques and piggybacking on current events, maybe that quote is something that’s out there in the media. Maybe it’s a third-party, a research study and you’re quoting the person who’s in charge of that study.

About 99% of the time, I write the quote for my clients and let them okay it. This isn’t Shakespeare. You don’t have to say something that goes on and on or that will live for 300 years. Make it pithy, short and sound bite worthy.

#5 Support Points – Facts

When I first started in copywriting I learned the distinction between facts and claims. If I say we’re number one, that’s a claim. If I can say we’re number one, because we sell more units or we’ve generated more revenue, now I’ve taken that claim and made it a fact.

What can you do that are support points that are fact-based that you can talk about in terms of your story or topic for that press release?

#6 Call to Action

I would say most people that do press releases do not have a call to action and if they do it goes something like this: “Visit our website blahblahblah.com. Call our toll free number blah-blah-blah.” I don’t know about you, but I am not incentivized. I’m not motivated to move further in learning about this business, service or company, because I don’t know what’s waiting for me. It seems kind of pedestrian.

In press releases people were taught to be non-promotional, because it’s a press release. It needs to be editorial and that’s true. One of the differences in press releases is you can’t use the word “you” in copy, because it needs to be written in third-person.

#7 About

This is a paragraph your company, not the subject of the press release, because you may have multiple products. And it can also be about you if you’re an author or speaker it can be about you.

This is an opportunity that if you have some credibility, if you’ve been published in a specific magazine, as seen on CNN whatever those things are, those are the opportunities to put in that about section.

This about section is consistent from release to release, which is good, because now part of your press release is already pre-written for you and it’s not going to change. It doesn’t have to be long. I usually do three or four paragraphs. Also put in your link to your website.

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Source by Bret Ridgway

Online Freelance Work Example Freelance Bid Proposals

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When seeking out freelance work, the proposal is the meat and potatoes of your effort to get hired and get paid. If you’re a writer, the proposal is also a showcase for your skills because your skill in selling yourself is reflective of your ability to write on behalf of your client.

A good proposal should be concise, powerful and persuasive. It should also have a logical flow which answers the following questions:

o What will you do?

o Why will you do it in the manner you describe?

o How will you do it?

o How much will you charge?

o What are your payment terms (including up front fees)?

o When will you do it?

Start your proposal with an introductory paragraph summarizing any information that has already been discussed. This is important to show you understand the desires of the client. Sometimes the client may only read this portion (it happens) so make sure you get the most important points in the introduction.

Here’s an example freelance bid proposal.

Your contact info

Date

Client’s contact info

Dear Client,

After reviewing your requirements, I’ve researched the aspects of the project as you’ve specified. As I see it you’re looking for a web site that provides (feature), (feature) and (feature). I believe we are best suited to provide you with the solution you’re looking for that will not only (insert benefit) but will (another benefit). Below you will find my ideas to carry out the solution you seek.

With our combined 20 years of experience developing these solutions, I am confident you will be most satisfied with the work we do. We feel that designing a web site is for more than just making money. Our background in design and marketing will lead to a website that helps you gain new customers and keep the ones you have while presenting your company with the image you envision.

You will find our bid for this project and payment terms on the following page. This quote is good for 30 days from the date presented. Upon acceptance, we are ready to start immediately.

Freelance job proposals can be very simple, one page documents or can span several pages. It depends on the complexity of the job and on the client. The best way to figure out what is required is to maintain good communications with your prospective client. As you get more projects under your belt, you’ll develop an archive of proposals, which you can use to build proposals for future projects. Experience and efficiency come with time and action so get started today and write that proposal.

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Source by John Le Bleu

Insight, Oversight, Foresight, and Hindsight for Writers

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Looking for a different angle on your fiction or nonfiction? Consider the concepts of insight, oversight, foresight and hindsight for your fiction character’s point of view or as the angle for your nonfiction topic. They may prove to be the unique twist you’ve been looking for.

 

Insight

Insight is defined as the power to see into a situation (penetration), to see the cause and effect within a specific context, or the act of understanding the inner nature of things (intuition). Some other synonyms for insight, besides penetration and intuition, include, instinct, sixth sense, profundity, sagacity, sageness, discernment, deduction, and wisdom.

 

Insight can reveal itself abruptly and unexpectedly. For example, when faced with a difficult problem or dilemma, your suddenly know exactly what the solution is. You have an epiphany or an “Aha!” moment. In fiction, your character may have these on a regular basis, giving her the reputation of being a psychic or something. Or the insight may be part of the plot, where everything becomes clear to the reader, though not overtly of course. For nonfiction, the writer might use their personal insight on a topic or field of study to explain things for his or her readers. Or the writer may show readers how to develop their own insight and how to use their insight in their personal, work and social lives.

 

Oversight

Oversight is defined as observant and conscientious attention; strict supervision or management; or an unintentional omission or mistake. Synonyms for oversight include: disregard, neglect, a slight, boss, overlook, superintend, supervise, or to watch over.

 

In fiction, your character may be an overseer who manages slaves in the field, who is a strict disciplinarian in the work place, or a high-ranking government employee responsible for keeping the masses in line. For nonfiction you may be writing articles or books on government oversight committees, asking who is overseeing the government, discussing government regulations or clinical supervision. Nonfiction writers could also create an oversight system which they teach to their readers, or even show readers how to set up their own oversight protocols for their workplace or charities.

 

Foresight

Foresight is the act of foreseeing or seeing a development beforehand; prudence; or the act of looking forward. Synonyms include: caution, carefulness, good sense, care, forethought discretion, unusual perception, creative discernment, prescience, vision, exercising good judgment, common sense, circumspection, to be farsighted, or to be a visionary.

 

In fiction your character might be a futurist (someone who looks at all the present and past facts and trends to predict future events) or a religious or spiritual person who has a gift for keen foresight. For nonfiction, writers could interview futurists about their economic and political foresight, they could offer their own foresight into any field based on their expertise, or they can teach their readers how to develop their own foresight based on the facts and trends of current and past events.

 

Hindsight

Hindsight can be defined as retrospect, the awareness or discernment of the nature, makeup, or disposition of any event that has already occurred, or the penchant for seeing past events as being more predictable than they actually were at the time. Synonyms might include: 20/20 vision, 20/20 hindsight, Monday morning quarterbacking, experience, realization, knowledge, learning, looking back, recollection, remembering, the knew-it-all-along effect, memory distortion, or creeping determinism.

 

In fiction, your character may have failed to see the signs or clues to their predicament, but in hindsight now sees the error of his or her ways, or the character may be using hindsight as a means of reflection to re-examine his life. Nonfiction writers can use hindsight to discuss how our memories can be faulty or how they may have been affected by our belief systems and our personal histories and biases. Writers could also teach their readers how to use hindsight to re-examine their belief systems or to reflect on and re-examine their lives. Both fiction and nonfiction writers can make use of Monday morning quarterbacking and the knew-it-all-along mentalities. Better yet, consider how hindsight can be used to inform foresight in either your fiction or your nonfiction.

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Source by Joan Whetzel

Walking by Faith: The Story of Andrew DeVries

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Athletics had always been the most important thing in my life. In fact, at age fifty-five, standing six-foot-six, I had just tried out for the Michigan Senior Men’s Olympic Volleyball team, and there was a good chance I was going to make it.

Then tragedy struck. In a motorcycle accident, I shattered my left leg. Doctors prescribed amputation. Prior to surgery, as I lay in the hospital bed discussing with family and friends what life would be like without a leg, a young physician’s assistant named Sarah Scholl said, “Andy, what kind of golf balls do you play?”

That was an idiotic question, but I told her, “Titleist Pro V1.” The next morning, a 12-pack of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls was by my bed. Sarah’s gift gave me a glimmer of hope.

When I awoke after the operation, I was surprised to look down and see two legs and ten toes. Fortunately, the doctors had decided that my leg had enough circulation to try to save it. But months of rehabilitation lay ahead. In a subsequent operation, I almost died on the table.

When it was time to move to a rehabilitation hospital, Sarah wheeled me to the ambulance. “I have a favor to ask of you,” she said. “My father died some time ago. When I get married, I want you to walk me down the aisle.”

“Sarah, it’s doubtful I’ll ever be walking anywhere. Besides, you don’t even have a boyfriend.”

“Someday I will,” she said.

Hope and love

At the rehabilitation hospital, where I had pretty much reconciled to living the rest of my life in a wheelchair, I got a call from John Wilder, my volleyball coach. “Congratulations, Andy, you made the team! You’re playing in the Senior Olympics.”

I told him about my accident and waited for him to say he’d miss having me on the team. But Wilder shocked me: “You get better. I’ll play you if you can just stand up.”

His words ignited a spark. I went at rehabilitation with a vengeance. Seven months later I was able to show up for the Senior Olympics. Although I could barely stand, John kept his word: he put me in the game.

When it came my turn to serve, I looked at my wife, Kay, sitting in the stands. She usually shunned my athletic events. I couldn’t blame her; I had always put sports before her in my life. But today Kay was not only present, she was beaming. As I gazed at her radiant smile, I lost it, right there on the court. Suddenly I understood why God had allowed this accident. He cared that much about our marriage.

I collected myself enough to serve. We won that game and the next. As the competition intensified, the coach had to take me out, but our team went on to win the gold medal.

Life from death

Back home, my health continued to improve. Then, suddenly, my liver shut down. In a major surgery, doctors bypassed it with a shunt. That saved my life, but unfiltered blood reaching my brain caused my hands to shake so violently I had to sit on them. I applied for a liver transplant and waited.

A year went by, then two. No call from the transplant hospital. How does one pray for a transplant? For me to live, someone else had to die. What makes me better than someone else’s husband, or someone else’s father?

One day it occurred to me that this wasn’t the first time someone needed to die so I could live. Jesus had done that for me. If God loved me that much, I could trust him with my future.

In what seemed to be a divinely inspired conversation, Kay and I learned that Indiana had twice as many registered organ donors as Michigan. So we rented an apartment in Indianapolis and applied for a transplant. Within two months we received a call: a man had died in an accident; I was one of ten transplant candidates who would benefit.

Through the valley

The speed of my recuperation amazed the doctors. For the first time in five years I subscribed to a magazine in my own name. But I pushed rehabilitation too hard. While doing sit-ups, I ripped the incision in my abdominal muscles. During emergency surgery, doctors put mesh inside my abdomen and sewed the muscles in place. A tube was inserted up through my nose and down into my stomach to pump out fluids.

After surgery, I had to sit in bed in one position without moving and without food. Time passed so slowly that the second hand on the clock seemed to stand still. A day dragged by…two days…three days…how much longer would this agony last? I had never felt so hopeless and miserable.

Around 4:00 a.m. of the fourth night-the longest night of my life-I cried out to God: “Lord, take me! I can’t do this any longer.” Kay was by my side, where she had faithfully been ever since my accident. She murmured, “Nor can I.” At that point Kay and I completely gave up. We were at the absolute bottom of the valley-the blackest hole we could imagine.

Fifteen minutes later, our surgeon unexpectedly entered the room and said, “I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling something had changed.” He looked over my vitals. “We can take the tube out.” By the end of that day I was walking. One month later, I went back to work full time.

Jumping and walking for joy

My left leg had no nerves, so I figured my volleyball days were over. But my exercise therapist had an idea. She strapped my knees and ankles together so I could jump rope. I worked up to two jumps…then six…then twenty! I was so excited I phoned an old volleyball teammate: “Hey, Tim, I can jump!”

“That’s great! We’ve got a volleyball tournament in Milwaukee in two weeks. Come and play?” That seemed far-fetched, but two weeks later, at the last minute, I decided to go. When I showed up, my old teammates stood and cheered. It was an emotional scene.

The first five games were tough, but in the sixth game I got a perfect set and a legitimate kill. A few minutes later I blocked for game point. That taught me an important lesson: Don’t waste time wishing you could do the impossible. Just do your best and sometimes the impossible happens.

After the game, I thanked my old coach, John Wilder, for inspiring me in the beginning. “You’re the one who deserves the credit,” John said. “You never gave up.”

“Actually, John, I did give up, but God never gave up on me.”

In 2009, seven years after my accident, I received an e-mail from Sarah Scholl: “I have a boyfriend-will you come?”

What a joy it was walking-not wheelchairing, but walking-Sarah down the aisle.

Andy DeVries is a director of development at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A complete journal of his journey is posted on caringbridge.org under the name “andydevries.”

His website has had more than 25,000 hits.

2011 Andy DeVries

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Source by Michael J. Dowling

Sewing – Tools and History

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The practice of sewing, as in using thread and needle to attach various kinds of material, has been dated to at least 20,000 years ago. Sewing is practically a universal occurrence, and the actual beginnings of it stretch back to the beginnings of history. It predates the weaving of cloth by many centuries, and was used to stitch together hides, furs, and bark for clothing and other uses.

Early sewing needles were made from bone, wood, or natural needles taken from plants as Native Americans did with the agave plant. The earliest verified sewing needles made from iron date back to the third century B.C.E. and were found in what is now Germany. Chinese archaeologists report finding a complete set of iron sewing needles and thimbles in a tomb dating from the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220) in China. This is the earliest known example of a thimble in history. The thimble was developed to assist early sewers to push needles through thick hides and furs, and was first made from bone, wood, leather, sometimes glass and porcelain. Later thimbles began to be made from metal, and before the 18th century dimples in a thimble had to be punched into it by hand. The thimble also became an object of beauty with thimbles made from precious and semi-precious stones, and precious metals.

The first thread was made from plant fibers and animal sinew, which was used to sew together hides and furs for clothing, blankets and shelter. Later it was found that fibers from plants and animals could be spun together to make thread. The ancient Egyptians made thread by spinning these fibers together, and devised methods of dying the thread using berries and plant matter. In China and Japan, silk fibers taken from the cocoon of the silk worm was spun to make very fine thread.

For most of the history of sewing, it was done by hand. From the simplest stitches to ornate decorative work was done with a needle, thread and a steady hand. It remained so until the first patent for a machine that “emulated hand sewing” in 1790 in England. It is not known whether there ever was a machine built from the 1790 patent.

The first functioning sewing machine was issued a patent to Barthelemy Thimonnier in France in 1830. It used a single thread and a hooked needle to make a chain stitch similar to the one used in hand embroidery. The inventor was nearly killed when enraged French tailors rioted and burned down his garment factory because they feared the machine would cause unemployment. In 1846 the American Elias Howe was issued a patent for his machine, but the mass production of the machines did not happen until the 1850’s when Isaac Singer built the first truly successful sewing machine. With needle, thread, thimble and machine, the art and craft of it has not only formed items for our use and comfort. Sewing has helped form civilization itself.

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Source by Alan Beggerow

The Late Colin David

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Colin David’s mortal body left this world on 25 Feb., 2008, but his soul breathes in his art and people. Colin was one of those good adroit painters who fashion human anatomy with their skill and imagination. Just like Ustad Allah Baksh, Sadqain, Shakir Ali, Saeed Akhtar, Colin portrayed women figure as a special element in his painting. He was a superb draftsman with a technical perfection that is all too rare. According to an art critic Marjorie Husain, Colin used to paint non traditional style in the restricted ambiance of Ziaul Haq era which consolidated his position as most popular artists in time.

Colin was born in Karachi in 1937; he began his art education at the University of Punjab when the fine arts departments opened its door to male students in 1956. According to Niilofer Farrukh he once ran away from home because his father, a journalist, did not allow him to take up Art as a profession. Colin David was among the first group of three young men who were taught by Khalid Iqbal, and by Anna Molka Ahmed who was hugely pleased by the talented trio. She included them in many of the Department projects and in later years, spoke of their success with pride. After doing masters Colin got opportunity to study in UCL where he was guided by sir William Cold Stream, an artist who painted in “Euston Road” group style. There Colin got opportunity to paint from life and found his artistic meter. It was a time when Naz Ikramullah was taking a course of Lithography at the Slade, and Colin mentioned meeting her in letters home.

Returning to Pakistan in 1962 Colin rejoined the faculty of Fine arts department of Punjab University, and remained there until 1964, but differences with Anna Molka Ahmed caused him to leave the department and join the National College of Arts, where Shakir Ali was the Principal. Colin remained there, an integral part of the college for 25 years.

In those times of experimentation Colin developed a unique, distinctive style which showed his own inclination. His first solo exhibition, a collection of figure studies in oils painted with great luminosity was held in Karachi in 1970 at “The Gallery” where Colin hailed great appreciation. His work in the genre of the nude inspired new art collectors. The element of design in a form of “figure” always creates balance and harmony in his compositions. Sense of space was an important subject in his paintings. Colin explored the female figure as a symbol of beauty and presented “women as a women”

Colin successfully portrayed the sensitive studies of children at play. In one of his painting he portrayed a child while eating toffee while un wrapping it, chubby fingers persevering, and an expression of total single mindedness on the child’s face. It increased the UNICEF interest in his art. Many of his art pieces went to foreign art collectors.

It was ironical that in his life many times he was obliged to hold exhibition in his home and unnamed spots for selected audience since he was unable to show his work publicly. Once he said “In the earlier stages of my career when figure painting was artistically acceptable, my exhibitions were always highly successful. The public understood and appreciated my work. They still do of course, but it means my exhibitions become elitist.”

In last days of Coulin, despite of bad health he continued to work and exhibited his art work in Karachi and remained popular.

Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays, we go.

– Henry Austin Dobson

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Source by Sehrish Ch

Editing – The Most Important Step in the Writing Process

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Whether you’re writing an essay, a book, a marketing brochure or website content, the most important step of the writing process isn’t in the planning of what you’re going to write, and it’s not in the choice of tone, style or language; the most important step is in fact the editing. As a writer therefore it’s important to appreciate the significance of the editing process and to some extent be able to edit your own work.

The editing process is a systematic way to get the best out of your writing; it involves recognising weaknesses in your use of language, plot, characterisation, dialogue etcetera, as well as identifying the strong areas and realising themes that can be expanded. The editing process should also include the basic proofreading elements of checking for spelling mistakes and grammar errors.

It is often difficult for a writer to edit their own work well as the more time they spend on their writing the closer they become to it. An editor requires a certain amount of distance from the work they are editing to ensure they can get the best from the text they are working on. It is often the case that a fresh pair of eyes will quickly pick up inconsistencies or errors that the writer has missed, because the writer knows what they are expecting to read and their mind generally fills in the blanks or skims over the mistakes. This is why using a professional copy editor is often preferable to trying to edit yourself. This doesn’t however mean that a writer cannot be involved in the editing process; in fact it is often better if the process is a joint effort between writer and editor, allowing for the editor to make suggestions or prompt the writer to think of alternative ways to convey their message. The writer can subsequently develop their own work, in their own style as a result of the editor’s comments.

Many writers find that although their first draft of a manuscript, poem or essay, holds all of the basic elements that they which to express in their work, it may be many edits down the line before they are finally happy with the finished result. This is not a reflection of the writer’s natural ability or technical skill, indeed a good writer is one who is willing to edit, edit and edit again; this commitment to a project will pay dividends in the end, causing a writer to produce work that far surpasses the efforts of a first draft.

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Source by Jo M Roberts

Words With Hyphens That Work Well in Copy and Why

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This is my fourth tips article for newbies on writing copy that sells, words that work for you. Everyone knows that what you say about your product or service can swing the difference between ho-hum and aha! and get you those sales. But not everyone knows that just jamming your copy with buzzwords and keywords may not have the effect you want – getting your readers to admire your product, accept your claims for it, and act to get it.

The secret I’m going to reveal to you is how words with hyphens work on the reader and therefore some words and phrases you need to use to make your copy sizzle. Words with hyphens make an effect not just because of what they say but because of how they look. Words that have hyphens draw the eye along and keep people reading. Everyone wants to get to the end of the word, the end of the sentence, the end of the story. That’s the principle behind hyphenated words. It’s important because the point of every part of a piece of copy is to keep people reading on until they’re ready to clip the coupon, lift the phone or click the link to buy.

Here’s a dozen hyphenated keywords for copywriting: award-winning, easy-to-use, fool-proof, make-or-break, must-have, no-questions-asked, no-risk, no-money-down, plug-and-play, quick-and-easy, ready-to-go, world-class. You can easily find many others by studying copy you read on the net or that drops through your mail.

These hyphenated words all have one thing in common. They describe something. They’re adjectival, to be grammatically precise. But they don’t just give information about the features of your product. They interest, intrigue, excite, reassure, guarantee and convince. They hit all the right buttons, answer all the questions in the reader’s mind before you’ve maybe even named your product or service, let alone asked for the sale. The hyphens increase the effect by joining the words together. Hyphens are verbal starbursts, golden starbursts that go off like explosions of emotion as the reader reads on.

If you haven’t been consciously using hyphenated words in your copy, you can easily and enjoyably get used to writing sentences using whole strings of them. Sit round the kitchen table and see who in your family can make the longest sensible sentence using words in the list and others. Enjoy!

Here’s an example from a real piece of copy I wrote. “Harness the fantastic POWER of high-powered marketing materials to Win Clients, Build Relationships and Achieve a market-leading reputation as the No. 1 source of top-class… staff for the… industry!”

So much of what we read in copy seems obvious until someone points out the skill and judgement required to select the words that are going to work best to propel the reader along to the point of sale. It’s like picking the right needle for a thread or the right spanner for a nut. So go pick out some hyphenated words for your next piece. They’re often the right tool for the job!

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Source by Michael H Collins

Technical Writing – Definition of Target Audience

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As a technical writer, you seldom write in a vacuum. For whatever type of document you’re writing, there is a designated Target Audience.

Depending on the assignment, the target audience can be very broad: everyone who buys a Harper’s Handy Home Widget, or it can be very specific: aerospace mold makers using a TRF-3 Tri-axel Reciprocating Fulminator. When you write, you must write to a defined target audience.

The easiest target audience to write for is the most clearly and narrowly defined one. As the target audience becomes less specific, the tech writer’s job becomes more difficult.

General Characteristics of a Target Audience

Every target audience shares common characteristics. Normally, your client knows what those characteristics are and gives them to you. In some rare cases, you may need to research the target audience to discover what makes it a target. Some common, shared characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Income
  • Education
  • Interests

You’ll notice that these are the same characteristics taken into consideration by marketing companies. For the tech writer, though, there are other characteristics that may be even more important than these.

Specific Characteristics of a Target Audience

When writing procedures it’s important that you understand what the target audience already knows about the subject. From that, you can decide at what level you need to begin and how much information you need to supply.

In the case of a common, household appliance, such as a toaster, you can tell from the manufacturer’s target market who the target audience is likely to be. If the product is going to be sold in the US in large department and appliance stores, you can pretty safely assume that the people who buy it already know what a toaster is, what it does, and how to use it. They know it’s an electrical device that has to be plugged into a 110v outlet. If it’s like most toasters, it has a slot for each slice of bread and a control of some sort that determines how well done the toast is. Obviously, you don’t spend much time on these elements.

If the toaster has a setting for toasting only one side of bagels and English muffins, you want to be sure that the user knows about this feature and how to use it. Not all toasters have settings for frozen waffles or tarts. This needs to be clearly explained.

What you’re doing is deciding what the user already knows and what he or she will need to be taught. Of course, there are the standard Warnings and Disclaimers that are usually written as though the user was either five-years-old or a complete idiot.

On the other end of the scale is writing for a very narrow or specialized audience. Again, the client should supply you with information. But whether that happens or not, it’s your job to find out the salient characteristics of the target audience. You need to ask:

  • Who will use the product?
  • Under what conditions?
  • What is the user’s expertise, training, level of experience?

Fortunately, that’s often easier the more specialized the target audience is.

If you’re writing about an improved model of a testing device, you can probably assume that the technician using it is already trained in the subject and has experience using the current device. Unless the operation is significantly different, the focus will be on how the new model is different from the old model.

Generally Speaking…

The same standards apply regardless of what type of material you’re writing. You’ll write a technical report or a brochure depending on who’s going to read it. It’s only after you have a clear understanding of who the target audience is that you can begin to plan the approach and develop the content for any writing assignment.

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Source by Bryan S. Adar