A Simple Plan to Avoiding Cancer of Communication

communication, breakdown of communications, how to avoid communication breakdowns

When you hear the word cancer, you probably want to cringe.

Just writing the word cancer makes me want to delete it. I’m not a fan of hearing or reading the word, but we need to face it.

What is cancer? According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.”

My dad died in May 2004 from cancer. In 2001 he was electrocuted at work which awakened the asbestos that sat in his lungs from a long slumber. Eventually, the asbestos turned into cancer. My dad went from weighing a normal weight of about 160 – 170 lbs. to 75 lbs. when he passed away. He was literally skin and bone.

Just as people can become infected with cancer so can businesses.

Why?

“According to Charlie Sheen, “We have cancer of communication. No one listens anymore.” Charlie made this statement when he appeared on Dr. Oz‘s talk show on January 16, 2013.

Whatever you may think of Charlie Sheen, he’s right. If you don’t listen to your employees, they’ll quit and you’ll be known as a company with a huge turnover rate. If you don’t listen to your customers, they’ll buy from your competitors. If you don’t pay attention to the trends within your industry, you’ll lose customer and could be bought by another company. If you don’t utilize the right copy in your marketing kit or on your website, you won’t reach customers. [Read more…]

Sink Your Teeth into Better Content Writing with the Vampires from True Blood

Lately, I’ve been catching up with the cheeky and sexy HBO series True Blood. Be still my beating heart! Anyway…I started to think about how True Blood can help improve your content writing.

True Blood (season 1)

True Blood (season 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The vampires on True Blood use their eyes to glamour (compel) a person when they need to get out of a sticky situation. It comes in handy for briberies and commandments. But it also comes in handy when you want your content writing to be read by your chosen target audience. It’s how you become an ‘authority’ in your niche market.

Wouldn’t it be great if your content made readers want to take some type of action?

It doesn’t matter if you’d like them to subscribe to your blog, share blog posts or purchase a product/service. The bottom line is that your readers must feel something that makes them ‘want to’ take action based on your content.

Let’s face it; most entrepreneurs and business owners want to drive traffic to their blogs, websites, squeeze pages, and email signup forms.

In order ‘to drive’ your clients, customers and readers, you first must entice them by using the right words within your content writing. Forget about trying ‘to force’ them to take action because you can’t force anyone to do anything. Just ask a parent! [Read more…]

7 Points to Look for on Social Media Sites When Hiring a Freelance Writer

Social Media: Changing Business

Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Let’s face it; social media and the internet can be a blessing and a curse. Most people are courteous and professional on their social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. However, a select few post lewd photos, unsavory links, don’t agree to disagree, and bash people. This information is available for everyone to see, including potential freelance writing clients. Like it or not, social media leaves a freelance writer and their professionalism open to interpretation. Here are several points to help you navigate the murky waters of social media when you check out a freelance writer.

7 Points to Look for on Social Media Sites When Hiring a Freelance Writer

1. Bashing previous clients. You’d think this would a ‘no-brainer’ but some freelance writers have been known to bad-mouth former clients and employers. They don’t understand that it’s not good business to ‘burn or blow up’ a bridge. It’s best to walk away in a professional, dignified manner.

2. Negative Nancy or Nick. Most freelance writers are aware of how to write comments on blog posts and forums. They’re professional and agree to disagree. However, some may tear people a part. This isn’t professional or helpful to the conversation. If you come across a freelance writer like this, they may not be the writer for you.

3. Sketchy contacts. There’s a saying about how you can tell a lot about a person by the company he/she keeps. This is why it’s important to choose  friends and contacts wisely. Peruse a freelance writer’s list of contacts. How solid are they? Are they legitimate contacts? Is a writer’s social media website filled with a lot of contacts to make them look good? Ask these and other questions to determine the legitimacy of contacts.

4. Endorsements. LinkedIn allows endorsements; it’s a hot topic. Review endorsements carefully. Does a freelance writer have solid, well written endorsements from actual clients? What about former employers? What did they have to say? Not all endorsements help a writer. Unfortunately, most of them are for show and don’t tell you much.

5. Unsavory media. This is a sticky area. What a freelance writer does on their personal time is their business. However, if you find pictures of them ‘jugging’ from a beer bong while wearing a lampshade on their head, you may receive the wrong impression. How would this affect your decision to hire them as your writer? Can you imagine having lunch with your potential freelance writer with that image of them in your head? Listen to your ‘gut instinct’ if you feel comfortable hiring the writer.

6. Grammar and other mistakes. This is why it’s important for everyone to set a Facebook Personal Page to the highest settings. There’s nothing wrong with Lol!, LMAO, and other abbreviations; however, a freelance writer’s business is writing and communications. Check out their Twitter page, Facebook fan page, and LinkedIn page to see what they’re posting.

7. Does the freelance writer interact on their blog and fan page? Social media can make your head spin! However, a freelance writer who understands the importance of ‘connecting’ and developing relationships will interact with fans and followers.

Rebecca

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Freelance Writers Spice-Up Your Freelance Writing with Ginger Software

Image representing Ginger Software as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

This is a review of Ginger Software and based on my ‘use’ of the writing software. I was not paid to write this review. However, I was offered a permanent version of Ginger Software which I have yet to activate.

Rony H., who’s a part of Ginger Software’s marketing team, emailed and asked me if I’d be interested in testing and reviewing Ginger Software. Before I agreed, I inquired about Ginger’s customer service. I will no longer review products without knowing how a company responds and treats customers. Too many writers complained about the customer service of another writing software company which has prompted me to ask ‘tough’ questions. With that said, here’s the review of Ginger Software.

What I like about Ginger

Let me reiterate how much I appreciated the attention to customer service. I communicated with Rony, who was nothing but professional and speedy, with responding to my inquiries. I found Ginger software to be super easy to download; it didn’t take long. The bonus is there are no ‘wonky’ toolbars downloaded onto your computer. This is a big issue with other writing softwares.

Ginger Software includes features such as a Learning and Settings section. The Learning section is very helpful. When you click on Learning, you’re taken to Ginger Learning. Click on the ‘Most Recommended Topics’ to learn more about these areas. You have the option to review Lessons and Quizzes. This is extremely helpful for writers.

I liked how Ginger Software scanned my writing line-by-line. The writing software also catches and hi-lights errors. You have the opportunity to correct or learn more about the errors by clicking on Learning.

When you click on Settings, you can view General, Display, and Speech settings. Adjust these according to your needs. I liked the ‘Speech’ setting because sometimes it’s helpful to hear what you wrote. The Settings section includes Enter Activation Code, Help, Contact Support, and About.

What could be improved?

My suggestions were as follows:

1. Include a translator. Sometimes, a writer translates writing into different languages.

2. Include reference materials such as dictionary, thesaurus, etc. I didn’t see these.

3. Include information on punctuation in the Learning section.

Free gifts for you from Ginger Software

1. Ginger Software’s free online correction service where your website visitors can go and paste/type their text and have it corrected instantly. Visit Ginger Software to grab your free gift.

2. Ginger Software’s brand new writing tool for web sites. The writing tool below can be placed on any webpage on your website, to enable the website visitors to receive corrections directly from your website. Visit Ginger Software to grab this free gift.

If you want to purchase writing software that’s easy to use, consider purchasing Ginger Software. As I said, I inquired about the company’s customer service before I agreed to ‘test’ the writing software. I, personally, had no issues with customer service and communication with Rony. Plus, the company’s offered everyone free gifts. This doesn’t happen every day. You may want to take advantage of this generous offer.

Rebecca

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What the Heck Is An Infographic?

Information

Image by heathbrandon via Flickr

Question: My client asked if I could put together and or include an infographic with my article. What the heck is it? As a freelance writer, do I need to know about this? I’m a freelance writer, not a graphic designer. Help!

Answer: Infographics are taking over the blog-o-sphere with fervor. Freelance writers with an accounting or marketing background (business) who are familiar with creating Excel speadsheets which include charts and graphics, will have flashbacks if and when they create infographics.

Basically, an infographic is nothing more than a graphic or visual representation of complex information which is turned into a pretty, easy-to-understand visual. They’re becoming quite popular among bloggers and article writers. Freelance writers with a graphic design background could include and or offer an infographic to complement a blog post or article.

Learning to create an infographic could benefit you. The more you know, the more services you can ‘add’ to your freelance writing services. This translates to an increase in revenue. Don’t be afraid to learn new skills, even if you don’t think it applies to freelance writing. You never know how new skills will benefit you now and in the future.

Rebecca

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