Yearly Archives: 2017

Focus on content, not sender, for employee e-newsletters

What’s the best practice for sending an internal newsletter – from the CEO, “Internal Communications,” the head of the Communications department or someone else? That was a question that came up this week. I don’t know of any definitive best practices related to who sends an e-newsletter (do you?), and I could only find one […]

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Train your brain to be happier by being grateful

Do you have a positive outlook on life? I usually do (against all odds, you might say), but had never kept a daily journal of positive thoughts until 2014. For my birthday that year, my friend Sheila gave me a blank journal entitled, “Your story isn’t over yet.” It was a devastating year, to say […]

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Leads like flashlights and more great quotes about writing

While collecting bits of expressive writing, I also write down words of wisdom about writing itself. Here are a few examples: “John McPhee calls the lead the flashlight that shines down into the story.” – Roy Peter Clark “Ledes are like Japanese haiku. They have to sing. They are the store window. If the reader […]

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8 ways to get through the approval process

Sometimes, it takes longer for people to read your words than you took to write them. I’m talking about the abyss called the “approval process,” which swallows your articles, reports, web copy and other writing that will – eventually – appear in public. This is fresh in mind after I received an online newsletter with […]

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Madness ‘like a fault line’ and more expressive writing

Do you want to explain something, make a point or reflect or spark emotion? Reach for what I call expressive language, which shows rather than tells. I’m always on the lookout for examples, and here are some appealing ones: “Catherine was his California – she was his sunlight and wine and blue ocean – but […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries so far in 2017

Summer has barely arrived, weather-wise, so how is it possible 2017 is already halfway through? Pause a moment to enjoy the pool, along with a look back at the 10 most-viewed blog posts so far this year: 1. “Eyes and ears still key in the digital age” summarizes a panel discussion of IABC communication leaders. […]

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Before & after: The Hemingway app judges direct mail

Last week, I got a letter from the publisher of Reader’s Digest, indicating I “could” be a winner. Ooh, I have a chance to earn a chance to win ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS! The letter is a classic direct mail sales letter, complete with the required P.S., supposedly one of the most-read parts of such […]

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5 reasons you should still embrace print

“How many words can you read on a computer screen before you start drifting off or your eyes start burning?” asks journalist, magazine editor and internal communications manager Rachel Ifans. Rachel calls print the best medium for long-form journalism (which you may have noticed is also making a comeback). She gives 10 reasons why print […]

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How to write a great event recap

“Are you just a really amazing note-taker or great with shorthand to get the info you need?” That’s what a colleague asked me recently, wondering how I take down the notes I turn into event summaries (recaps). Shameless flattery accepted. I do often recap events for the associations I belong to, so people who weren’t […]

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(Almost) everything you want to know about certification

Who doesn’t want to be recognized for knowing your stuff? For many professions, certification gives you unbiased recognition that you know what you’re doing. Accountants, engineers, Human Resources professionals, financial planners and more have certifications. Now, communicators have one, too. One of the first to earn her Communication Management Professional (CMP) “badge” is my friend […]

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