Sue’s newsletter

Wordnerdery is a monthly newsletter with tips on writing, words, newsletters and more.
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Past Issues

Issue 75 – May 2019: The inside view of employee comms, part 1

Issue 74 – April 2019: Words as Legos + more expressive language

Issue 73 – March 2019: 8 ways to make numbers meaningful

Issue 72 – February 2019: 8 reasons to keep e-newsletters in your comms toolbox

Issue 71 – January 2019: 8 ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions on track

Issue 70 – December 2018: Life is short: A Christmas reminder

Issue 69 – November 2018: Look for words that count people in

Issue 68 – October 2018: Think plain to make complex writing more readable

Issue 67 – September 2018: Cat’s + other apostrophe follies (for National Punctuation Day)

Issue 66 – August 2018: Feathers ‘soft as a whisper’ and more expressive writing

Issue 65 – July 2018: Let songwriters inspire your storytelling

Issue 64 – June 2018: Take steps to make legal statements readable

Issue 63 – May 2018: 9 ways to ace your endings

Issue 62 – April 2018: 3 ways to give numbers the context they need

Issue 61 – March 2018: Find your focus in the nut graf

Issue 60 – February 2018: Short attention span? Looks like a job for expressive writing

Issue 59 – January 2018: 8 ways to reel in your reader

Issue 58 – December 2017: Your “About” page is the place to get personal

Issue 57 – November 2017: Are you really explaining? Readability tests tell all

Issue 56 – October 2017: 10 tips for an effective non-profit newsletter

Issue 55 – September 2017: Citing Indigenous people? 10 ways to show respect

Issue 54 – August 2017: Hook your reader with compelling captions

Issue 53 – July 2017: 8 ways to get through the approval process

Issue 52 – June 2017: 5 reasons you should still embrace print

Issue 51 – May 2017: Employees need the inside scoop from leaders

Issue 50 – April 2017: How to keep your marketing e-newsletter in the spotlight

Issue 49 – March 2017: Take the dull out of digits

Issue 48 – February 2017: ‘Content as a Russian doll’ and more expressive writing

Issue 47 – January 2017: 7 ways to sabotage your employee e-newsletter

Issue 46 – December 2016: Let go of the stocking to live in the moment

Issue 45 – November 2016: Is Trump the new poster boy for plain language?

Issue 44 – October 2016: Interviews that get to the core of the story

Issue 43 – September 2016: How often to publish your employee newsletter

Issue 42 – August 2016: 4 steps to meaningful mission statements

Issue 41 – July 2016: 9 steps to readable writing

Issue 40 – June 2016: How to make numbers meaningful

Issue 39 – May 2016: Rhyme and rhythm: Musicians know how to write

Issue 38 – April 2016: 3 ways to spark interest with expressive writing

Issue 37 – March 2016: 7 deadly sins of e-newsletters

Issue 36 – February 2016: ‘Insight as a cat’ & more expressive writing

Issue 35 – January 2016: Jargon? Pin that Jell-O to the wall

Issue 34 –  December 2015: How to make resolutions you’ll keep

Issue 33 – November 2015: 5 Pinterest pointers for small business

Issue 32 – October 2015: Frightened? Good, that’s one way to grow

Issue 31 – September 2015: 5 tips for saying you’re sorry

Issue 30 – August 2015: 7 tips for inclusive writing about disabilities

Issue 29 – July 2015: 7 steps to spin straw into gold

Issue 28 – June 2015: 7 tips for non-profit annual reports

Issue 27 – May 2015: Get an ‘aha’ moment with analogy

Issue 26 – April 2015: 4 ways to simplify your sustainability report

Issue 25 – March 2015: How to reach “non-desk” employees

Issue 24 – February 2015: Is print dead?

Issue 23 – January 2015: Why newsletters still have value

Issue 22 – December 2014: Linguistic cicadas, a six-car pileup of clichés and other expressive writing

Issue 21 – November 2104: Launching a newsletter? Here are some ideas on content.

Issue 20 – October 2014: Tips for writing for impatient readers (and aren’t we all?)

Issue 19 – September 2014: Tips for getting and using quotes

Issue 18 – August 2014: Don’t gas your readers with jargon monoxide

Issue 17 – July 2014: The expressive language of loss

Issue 16 – June 2014: What the new anti-spam law means for newsletters

Issue 15 – May 2014: Use plain language to boost readability

Issue 14 – April 2014: How often should you publish your newsletter?

Issue 13 – March 2014: ‘Dumpster diving in the Internet’ and other expressive writing

Issue 12 – February 2014: Do’s and don’ts for email newsletters

Issue 11 – January 2014: 13 content ideas for association newsletters

Issue 10 – December 2013: Looking for your thoughts on IABC WC14

Issue 9 – November 2013: How to make a 105-word sentence readable

Issue 8 – October 2013: Writing lessons from Dancing With The Stars

Issue 7 – September 2013: What dogs can teach us about communications

Issue 6 – August 2013: 5 writing tips from musicians

Issue 5 – July 2013: 7 writing tips from Sesame Street

Issue 4 – June 2013: An ‘orthographical fig leaf’ and other expressive writing

Issue 3 – May 2013: Tips for great interviews

Issue 2 – April 2013: Fight for readability

Issue 1 – March 2013: Dig to find newsletter content

“Well-written, thoughtful messages stand out to people, in my experience. That’s why we are always looking at other organizations’ and writers’ emails for new ideas about how to communicate authentically and effectively. (One big reason I enjoy your newsletters!)”

Kathryn Hickok

“I enjoyed reading your newsletter! Unlike many others that promise big in the headlines then don’t deliver, it was interesting, helpful…and short, which makes it easy to read on the run.”

Karen McCall

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The Red Jacket Diaries blog

My take on writing, communications and the independent life. Here are the latest posts:

The inside view of employee comms, part 1

Having been on the outside of company employee communication for many years, I’ve recently gone looking for the current "inside" view. The May issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, starts a series where I report the results, starting with one perspective on the role of...

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Hidden facts? Might as well be weasel words

Print can be expensive, so I understand that Costco will no longer send their printed Costco Connection magazine to lower-tier members like me. After all, their stated mission is “to continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest...

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How to write emails employees will read

With the data from 350 million internal emails in PoliteMail’s 2018 Benchmark Report, Michael DesRochers has a good idea of what encourages employees to read them. Michael is Managing Director of PoliteMail, which helps companies measure and improve email broadcasts...

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Storytelling sells prospects on the cruise life

My husband and I have never taken a cruise, but somehow we’re on a mailing list that leads to regular promotions for ocean and river adventures. We also get frequent invitations to events where we can get more details. Finally, we accepted one, and set off to learn...

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Words as Legos and more expressive language

Do you want to explain something, clear up confusion, make a point or reflect or spark emotion? Reach for what I call expressive language (AKA figurative writing), which is a memorable way of showing rather than telling. For example, Oxford Dictionaries describes...

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How to know when it’s time for a refresh

Google made me do it. My website refresh has been in the back of my mind for months. I had a few changes I wanted to make, but nothing seemed urgent and the project fell off my radar. I finally set things in motion after a few reminders about Google’s view of sites...

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Volunteering: More valuable than you might think

It's National Volunteer Week, so hands up if you volunteer! Hey, good for you – and good for the organization you’re helping. Much of the work in associations, schools and other groups only gets done if volunteers tackle it. In fact, if you find yourself grumbling,...

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Eight ways to make numbers meaningful

Love them or hate them, numbers are all around us. Whether numbers mean anything to your reader or not often comes down to how well they are explained. I recently ran across Making Data Meaningful (pdf), a guide designed to be “a practical tool to help managers,...

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Happy birthday to the World Wide Web

Can you remember life before the web? Probably barely, even if you are old enough. The World Wide Web turned 30 this week, starting “a technological revolution that has transformed the way people buy goods, share ideas, get information and much more," reports Jamey...

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