Author Archives: Sue Horner

Short attention span? Time for expressive writing

Never mind the famous thought that people have a shorter attention span than that of a goldfish. (Who measured the goldfish anyway, and how?) People pay attention when they are interested, or when it’s in their best interest. So if you’re producing articles, web copy, blog posts, marketing material and other writing, you need to […]

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Blogging is still alive and well in 2018

More than 4.7 million people were asking Google this week if blogging is dead. After quietly celebrating 11 years of blogging in January (I was surprised too), I have to say the question comes up every year. The answer is still no. In fact, Christopher Penn of SHIFT Communications started the new year by advising […]

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30+ ways to steer clear of the T word

Writers and editors love a short, punchy word, especially in headlines. A short word grabs attention while saving precious space. It’s memorable. It gets to the point. Sometimes, though, that word brings something else to mind. I’m guessing that short punchiness is the reason for what seems to be an increasing use of the term […]

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8 ways to reel in your reader

Novelists, journalists and corporate communicators have this in common: We all want readers to read our writing. An effective headline sets the stage, but how we open the story or article invites readers in, or sends them scurrying for the door. How do you start? Here are eight ways: 1. Find the most interesting point […]

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Words of the year are no ‘fake news’

If you’re a word nerd, like me, you probably look forward to the release in early January of the “words of the year” from the previous year. They’re out! In past years, the words chosen were often catchy new portmanteaux – words formed by blending two or more distinct forms (smoke + fog = smog). […]

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‘Fake news’ among words we’d like to banish

The wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan are at it again. Among the words they’re trying to banish for “Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness” are fake news, gig economy, impactful and unpack. As an unnamed spokesperson said when releasing the 43rd annual list, “We’ve drilled down and unpacked tons of pre-owned words and phrases […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries in 2017

As another year comes to a close, I’m looking back at the most-viewed posts on my blog in 2017. Did you miss any of them? As a freelance writer, I often talk about the various aspects of the indie life that I think others may be interested in: Reflecting on marking 26 years in business […]

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Your “About” page is the place to get personal

What are your passions? How long have you been in business and why did you start? If you have a business or personal website, sharing more about what makes you tick helps your visitors feel they know you, leading them to like and trust you. That’s why your “About” page is so important. If you’re […]

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Don’t let jargon get in the way of trust

You can usually spot jargon at less than 10 paces, but it’s fun to have the option of The De-Jargonizer. Plug in a piece of writing, and this handy tool will highlight the jargony words you might want to replace. A recent report about Toys ’R’ Us executives giving themselves millions of dollars in bonuses […]

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Watch out for these email fails

Some companies/people are still missing the boat on email. I have lots of evidence from my own in-box: The “From” field: “Unknown sender” (a Black Friday sale that doesn’t inspire confidence) “No reply @” (I guess you don’t want to hear from me?) Subject lines: “No subject” (Really? That’s what’s going to encourage me to […]

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