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Set Your To-Do List Down and Look at this To-Be List

Every book and blog on productivity tells us to create a to-do checklist for every day. These are very important for the freelancer, yet I think a more subtle and important truth is being lost. The quality of the “person” making and executing the to-do check list is more important than the list itself. In ..
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A Stylishly Illustrated ‘Elements of Style’

Last month my wife and I checked out an exhibit at the First Gallery in Nashville that featured the illustrations Maira Kalman did for a new edition of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” That’s not exactly a book that one would consider working with as an illustrator, is it? Kalman’s illustrations are often funny and ..
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Never Make These Mistakes. Ever!

These things drive me crazy: Two spaces after a period, and Tabs used to indent paragraphs. I do a lot of editing and unfortunately there are many who think that the folks who have developed word processing software haven’t figured out a way to code these formatting conventions that we used to have to do ..
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Warning: Bottom Trollers Read at Your Own Risk

This one is for all the idiots who think they can get the world’s best copywriter at a pay scale that would embarrass the night shift assistant manager at McDonald’s. Check out this screen shot: Some guy in Chicago wants a copywriter who will breathe some sales life into his dead art glass website and he ..
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A Simple System for Meeting Your Customer’s Expectations

I write for several clients every day and as obvious as this may sound, the key to keeping them happy it to meet their expectations. To do that on a consistent basis, I’ve developed a simple system. First, as I enter into a new assignment I ask questions. Occasionally an experienced client will have specified ..
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When Good Content Marketing Research Goes Bad

When a friend tweeted a link to “Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us” last week I said to myself, “Yes! Here’s exactly what I—and everyone else—need to know.” As I read the first point I said, “Wow!” But that changed as I moved further through the conclusions. Here’s my full ..
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Make Headlines Dance at Your Command

Ugh. Space didn’t allow me to say everything I had on my mind about headlines when I touched on the topic recently. I’m still happy with what I wrote and it is especially applicable to most blogs and content marketing articles. However, I’m going to take a small step to the side and look at ..
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The Advantage of Fiber-Based Analog Search Techniques

I once had a freelance job that required me to write three 500-word blogs a day for one client. The client was a major chain of furniture stores in Australia and two of those articles had to be on furniture or home decorating topics. If you do the math, you’ll see that I had to ..
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The Headline Writing Trick You Can’t Afford to Ignore!

If you’re reading this, my headline worked. If not, then why am I typing this? The simple point is that today the main job of a headline is to get you reading at least the first sentence of what follows. Any headline that does that is successful. The downside to this is that we see ..
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Blogging Tips for People Who Think They Can’t Write: #1

Writing isn’t brain surgery, which is good because if it were, I’d have bodies strewn all over the place. However, many who are quite adept at brain surgery—and other highly skilled professions—can’t write a lick. Effective writing requires us to jettison some notions that may apply in other fields, but certainly don’t work when we’re ..
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