The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

Why newsletters still have value in 2015

However “old school” you might think them, newsletters remain a powerful tool for keeping in touch with employees, clients, prospects and other important audiences. Sure, call me biased. I love newsletters, both print and electronic. But I am not the only one, and here are some of the reasons why: Email and electronic publications help […]

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Please stop ‘hacking’ your life

Don’t tell me you’ve found a way to “hack” your life, or your morning, or your productivity. The tiresome term appears to spring from the standard dictionary definition of “to alter (a computer program).” It gets a nod as slang for “cope with, manage, tolerate, or accept.” The Urban Dictionary calls it “a clever solution […]

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I’m not waiting for LinkedIn to say congrats

If you have a profile on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed that the site regularly points out when your contacts have a work anniversary. Somehow, my own milestone seems to slide past every year without comment, maybe because I don’t have an actual day attached to “January” as my business start date. So let me say […]

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‘Photobomb’ and ‘vape’ are words of the year

People love to create new words, and every year we officially welcome some of the best/most used ones; or maybe, reluctantly let them in the back door. These words generally reflect the “preoccupations” of the year and are thought to have staying power. Whether you like them or not may come down to your age […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries in 2014

Thank you to the people who took the time to read (and sometimes comment) on the Red Jacket Diaries this year! Here are the 10 most-viewed posts in 2014: Polar vortex and other frosty words were newly popular in a cold winter. How dictionaries decide to “let in” new words like binge-watch and adorbs. Thinking […]

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Linguistic cicadas & other expressive writing, in my December newsletter

You can’t always (ever?) be wildly creative in corporate writing. But you can and should choose words and phrases that are interesting and colourful to help your readers “see” what you mean. I’m always on the lookout for expressive writing, and the December issue of Wordnerdery includes some great examples. Read about the “linguistic cicada” […]

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Don’t play ‘bait & switch’ with your links

Have you had this experience? You’re on a website, intrigued by what looks like great content in a tip sheet or a newsletter. You enter your email address to “get your copy” or maybe just “find out more.” Next thing you know, a “Thanks for subscribing!” or “Subscription confirmed” pops up. Wait, what?! I subscribed […]

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Today’s in-box lesson on email marketing

Lessons we can learn from a retailer who is eager to keep in touch with customers by email (in the spirit of the season, I’ll be kind and not say who it is): Make it personal: Today’s message certainly was. “Hello SUE!” it said in the subject line, and “Dear SUE” in the opening. Keep […]

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7 ways to trim and tone flabby writing

Although most of my time is usually spent writing, I’ve had several proofreading and copy editing jobs lately. These are where I review a document for typos, wayward punctuation, grammar errors, the passive voice and other writing that discourages readers and hurts your reputation. You can trim and tone flabby writing by chopping the fat […]

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How to choose newsletter content, in November Wordnerdery

I love newsletters. Preferably short, with a nugget or two of value each issue. A sense of humour is also welcome. But if you’re just launching one, where do you start? The November issue of my monthly newsletter suggests starting with your strategy and your intended reader. Wordnerdery is a quick read about words, effective/expressive […]

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