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.

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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Team up with others for growth (and fun!)

Working with other freelancers can help you bid on projects too big for one person. It’s a growth strategy when you can’t fit any more work into your day. And sometimes, it’s simply a way to work with people you enjoy. Here are some tips for collaboration, as discussed by a panel put on by […]

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Past clients aren’t ‘dead,’ they’re just resting

Don’t think of former clients as “dead” clients. They may just be “resting,” as the shopkeeper tried to say in the famous Monty Python parrot skit. If you had a good relationship with past clients once, you may be able to rekindle it or encourage a referral by keeping in touch. The key? “Be direct,” […]

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Networking? You need a business card

Twice in the last two weeks, I ran into people I knew at a networking event. They were networking. Actively seeking work. Meeting new people. Neither one had a business card. Some people think that a printed business card is terribly old school. Yet it’s still the simplest way to give your contact information to […]

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Easy ways to market your small business on a shoestring

How do you market your small business when you have limited marketing bucks? Oakville’s Chamber of Commerce sponsored a panel discussion on the topic for last week’s Small Business Week, to which moderator and entrepreneur Michele Bailey graciously invited me. Here are some of the tips I took away from speakers Grace Attard, Ben Molfetta […]

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Writing for impatient readers, in my October newsletter

Have you run across “TLDNR” yet? It stands for “Too long, did not read.” That’s the response impatient readers are increasingly leaving for long, wordy, dense blocks of text posing as a blog post. The October issue of my monthly newsletter shares some tips for avoiding TLDNR, including “get to the point” and “use familiar […]

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How to set up your website for success

Visitors to your website are either on a mission to find information or they want to be entertained. Either way, it’s your job to make the site welcoming and easy to navigate. “Usability is the term for the art of making a site easy to use,” Andrea Dubravsky of ADWebcom told a recent meeting of […]

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