Want to Sharpen Your Persuasive Writing Skills?

Girl smiles while doing homework
4192889 © Anette Romanenko |

This 5th-grade assignment shows you how. Can you do it?

A few months ago, I found one of my son’s old fifth-grade school assignments. The directions read, Create a thoughtful, one-page advertisement that shows the dangers of smoking. There was a specific list of items the advert had to include.

You may find yourself dismissing a grade school assignment as mild amusement. After all, it’s the stuff of childhood nostalgia — lunchroom antics, art projects, chalk dust (for some of us), and the unadulterated joy of summer vacation.

Let me assure you, it’s much more.

The assignment broke down the components of persuasive content. Make no mistake. Every piece of content hinges its success on its ability to persuade. It could be as subtle as convincing the reader to stick around to read the next sentence or as forthright as a bold call to action.

Whatever your moniker — writer, business owner, entrepreneur, marketer, salesperson — the basics of persuasive strategy isn’t an ought-to-know . . . it’s a must-know.

If you want to ensure your efforts are worthy of an A grade, don’t skimp on the assignment’s three required elements:

Continue reading Want to Sharpen Your Persuasive Writing Skills?

9 Article Openers to Smash Writer’s Block

About 60,100,000. That’s the number of responses for a Google search on “procrastination.”

You don’t even have to include “overcome” or “stop.” The internet knows what you’re doing.

Procrastination is just another version of writer’s block. You have an idea, but delay writing about it because you feel stuck. However, once you crack the opener, a beautiful thing happens. Words flow. Structure and organization take shape. Energy and focus bloom.

How do you get from writer’s block to the latter … faster?

You bypass getting stuck at the start. Here are nine article openers to help you break the grip of writer’s block and grab a reader’s attention. After that, the rest is up to you.

Continue reading 9 Article Openers to Smash Writer’s Block

Underutilized Writing Tools That Can Help You Self-Edit Your Work

What they are and how they can improve your prose.

We’ve all been there. You write something and find the descriptions sound flat, the flow isn’t as smooth as you’d like, or you just feel stuck. At this juncture, having the right tools and knowing when to use them is critical for elevating your work out of mediocrity.

When it comes to tools, you have an overwhelming array of options. The following (mostly free) self-editing tools are all powerhouses and many of them are underutilized. Make that your advantage! From idea conception to final revisions, they will give you the focused guidance you need to transform your prose into something polished, professional, and remarkable.

Idea Generation

The first stage where writers flex their editing muscle is during the process of selecting which ideas merit their time and attention. A well-stocked idea pool is a good resource to have. For one filled with interesting possibilities, consider using sources that specialize in the odd and peculiar for unexpected inspiration.

Finish reading this article on The Writing Cooperative.

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

The 3 x 3 x 3 Guide to Testimonials

Rubik's Cube

What’s Your Strategy?

Testimonials are a written or spoken statement emphasizing the virtues of a product or service. Like a great song, a glass of fine wine, or an unexpected act of kindness, a testimonial is a simple item with the power to change someone’s perspective.

In real life, we use them all the time. Continue reading The 3 x 3 x 3 Guide to Testimonials

Due Diligence: The First 6 Moves of Any Content Plan

Content marketing has moved from a trendy sideline position to a mainstream key player. No surprise here. People like to read about themselves and high quality, well-positioned content feeds prospects’ and customers’ egos. It appeals to their emotions. It soothes their concerns. It increases a company’s visibility. It defines your brand by putting your clients and prospects in the spotlight.

A good plan does all of the above, a poor one wastes effort and money. So what separates a good plan from a poor one? Continue reading Due Diligence: The First 6 Moves of Any Content Plan

Playing Keywords on the Internet Orchestra

Have you ever listened to a live orchestra when someone hits the wrong note? Five minutes of elegance and bliss overshadowed by one awkward moment of discord. Or what about hearing a song that you just don’t like? If you’re like me I can’t get the cacophony turned off fast enough. 

Your content marketing strategy is like music. If your company’s web site is an instrument the keywords are the notes and your content holds the melody. The last few years were a time when companies experimented with their web site sounds; a few got it right, some hit some wrong notes while others made us scramble to find the “off” switch. What can you do to make sure your content melody is a harmonious sound that is clearly heard through the internet’s din?  Continue reading Playing Keywords on the Internet Orchestra

Checklist For A Winning Home Page

More people than ever are online for the holiday season. So what is it about certain home pages that they find inviting, reassuring and memorable? Why do these pages motivate them to take action? In other words, what makes a winning home page?

Clear communication, that’s what. A winning home page successfully filters out great customers and gets the visitor to do what the business wants them to do and the customer/prospect is happy to do it. Everyone wins.

Making a List…Checking It Twice

Santa has a checklist for those who have been naughty or nice. Here is your home page checklist for making sure it’s in winning form and communicating exactly who you are and what you want from your online reader.

How many of these does your home page have? Continue reading Checklist For A Winning Home Page

How to Revive Your Creativity

Just Full Of Ideas

Ugh. I hope you can relate. Just when the Halloween candy was finally starting to go away, a wave of Girl Scout cookies hit our pantry. And of course I ordered plenty of boxes telling myself that it’s supporting a good cause. We finished the last of the thin mints…just in time for…the abundance of Thanksgiving! Not sure about you but after this I still have to navigate through cookie parties, gingerbread houses, and mugs of eggnog.

Of course the snowy weather that plans to descend on us only encourages one to stay tucked inside the office, cozy and warm, with tasty snacks on hand. A couple extra cookies, days spent inside…this behavior can drain your brain of its creativity and quietly sabotage your productivity.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. Continue reading How to Revive Your Creativity

Content Is Online Currency: How Much Should You Pay?

Money Grab


When you’re online, well before money enters the scene, there is another kind of exchange rate: time and attention for content.

Recent surveys reveal that 90 percent of B2B buyers prefer to do their research online. There is certainly no shortage of material for them to peruse. Businesses provide content in exchange for a prospect’s time and willingness to consider them a supplier source.  

This exchange is a powerful form of marketing. But how much is this content worth? As a writer, many people call me with vastly different perceptions of a content budget, expectations, and needs. As someone tries to solidify an action plan and budget I recommend they factor in the answer to this one question: how much value will you get from your content?  

Continue reading Content Is Online Currency: How Much Should You Pay?

Respectful Selling


Aretha Franklin demanded it. Rodney Dangerfield got none of it. Your clients want it. And, if your business communication materials don’t have it, you are sunk.

The magic word here is respect.

Respect has a significant and (all too often) underappreciated role in business and marketing communications. What is it, exactly and you can you make sure your site expresses it?

Continue reading Respectful Selling