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.

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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Be seen as an expert with LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile can help you be seen as an expert in your field. At a recent meeting of one of my freelancer groups, Communicators Connection, my colleague Carl Friesen suggested paying attention to these areas: Photo: Use a head-and-shoulders professional photo, in which you are dressed for business and smiling. Make sure there aren’t [...]

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Tips for getting and using quotes

The Canadian Press Stylebook is all about practical. Yet I love that it says using quotes in your writing will “put the rosiness into the cheeks of the palest stories.” The September issue of my monthly newsletter, Wordnerdery, has a few suggestions about getting and using quotable quotes, including don’t make stuff up. This may [...]

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How to put together a great Paper.li newspaper

At a recent session about marketing yourself with social media (described in this post), Donna Papacosta told the group that a great way to share content that engages and attracts your target audience is by using Paper.li. This online newspaper pulls in content from the places you specify to “automatically find, publish & promote engaging [...]

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Are you keeping up with the adorbs new words?

You may have missed the latest crop of words welcomed (or possibly just reluctantly allowed) into the English language, but you have surely heard many of them. Binge-watch is one example, something I did with some friends catching up on Downton Abbey seasons, and others did watching episode after episode of Breaking Bad. Besides binge-watch, [...]

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PIC session shares how to market yourself with social content

For a switch, here’s a summary of the session I attended last night with IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators and Donna Papacosta, created with tweets. Be sure to go to the second page of the Storify summary to see a link to Donna’s SlideShare presentation: [View the story "How to market yourself with social content" on [...]

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The ultimate list of pricing resources for independents

Money is always a touchy subject, isn’t it? Equal pay for equal work done by men and women is still an issue. Companies don’t seem to want employees sharing salary info. Independents rarely share billing information either, and we’re always wondering if we’re charging too little or too much. And those who hire us aren’t [...]

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Avoid jargon monoxide with the Son Test

Newsletter articles and any other writing — speaking too! — can be improved if you cut out “hollow and meaningless” business language. This gobbledygook is also known as jargon monoxide, a wonderful term I discovered this week in a tweet by Stanford professor Bob Sutton, aka @work_matters. He in turn credits author Polly Labarre for [...]

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10 ways to jump-start your blogging mojo

The last time this happened, in 2012, a Google search pulled up a piddling 31,000 hits. This time, “lost my blogging mojo” brought up more than 700,000 results. I think I am in good company. There are lots of reasons why I seem to have lost my blogging mojo, including the ache and fracture in [...]

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