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.

In my Sept. newsletter: How often to publish

In this month’s newsletter, I’m revisiting a common question: How often should you publish an employee newsletter? A lot depends on whether you’re delivering news or providing background and perspective, how big it is and how many people are working on it, and how long it takes you to produce a quality publication. Some colleagues […]

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Is it curtains for the ‘full stop’?

“[P]unctuation marks are the traffic signals of language: they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop.” – Lynne Truss, in Eats, Shoots & Leaves It’s almost National Punctuation Day (Sept. 24), that “celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious […]

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How to harness the power of the inbox

Email marketing is a powerful tool. As proof, digital marketing expert Javed S. Khan shared these statistics at a recent meeting of IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators: 91% of people check their email daily 88% regularly check email on their smartphones Email gets delivered 90% of the time or better, compared to Facebook posts that reach […]

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Lose the legalese to be understood

The plaintive opening drew me in immediately: “Why are many financial news releases and publicly filed documents written so poorly?” In A Plea for Plain English in Financial Documents, Steve Lipin and Adam Rosman make the case for good writing in financial news releases, initial public offerings and other publicly filed documents. Instead of writing […]

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‘We’re making changes to our fees’

Last month, my bank sent me a snail mail letter alerting me to “Important changes” coming to my business account. The brochure got closer to the point: “Effective September 1, 2016, we’re simplifying our Business Banking Plans and making changes to some of our fees” (emphasis mine). I don’t know about you, but when someone […]

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In my Aug. newsletter: 4 steps to a meaningful mission statement

One of the best mission statements I’ve ever run across was framed as instructions in the managing editor’s office of the Rocky Mountain News (which folded in 2009): “Get the news. Tell the truth. Don’t be dull.” Companies spend serious time debating the words that go into mission and vision statements (terms that are sometimes […]

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Peek vs. peak; is it so hard?

There it was again, in a caption on the front page of a section of today’s newspaper: a sneak peak. (We won’t talk about the use of bugs in food. Ugh.) I feel silly offering guidance about when to use “peak” and when to use “peek,” but I see one wrongly used for the other […]

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Jargon and insider language? The Olympics have ‘em

The Olympics can’t keep up with the corporate world when it comes to jargon, but they sure have a vocabulary all their own. With the 2016 Summer Olympics in full swing in Rio, let’s take a look. The most noteworthy/cringeworthy is how achieving a medal has become a verb. Athletes are now “expected to medal” […]

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Abuse of ‘resonate’ weakens a strong word

Have you ever noticed that some words suddenly become popular, and you see them everywhere? Next thing you know, a solid word turns into overused jargon, or it gets mangled by misuse. Lately, I keep tripping over the word “resonate.” I understand its popularity. Resonate is a strong word that reflects the original musical sense […]

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Friday Fun: Spam version

I haven’t visited the spam holding pen for a while, so Friday seemed like a good time to check for the latest flattering and incoherent messages. (Thank goodness for Akismet, defender against blog comment spam. Although it no longer shows a running total, at one point it had blocked nearly 80,000 messages!) Here are my […]

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