Welcome once again to my monthly newsletter. It’s September! The temperature will be dropping soon, but new projects are starting, school’s back in, all that’s pretty exciting, right? To celebrate, I’ve launched a new original content feature in the newsletter, a reflection that springs from my curation. Hope you like it.
As I usually remind you, my readers include clients (past or present), and other friendlies. You’re all journalism or marketing/communications types, so I’ve curated content here to be useful. If this newsletter doesn’t work for you, there’s a handy unsubscribe link at the end of this email.
Original: On using old spaces in new ways
I’ve been observing for a while now how Entrepreneur magazine editor Jason Feifer uses his Editor’s Note space to educate readers on how journalism works and what he looks for as an editor: https://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/editors-note. Over the past few months, he’s written new posts on how to get featured in the magazine, on three phrases to avoid when pitching a story to an editor, and more.
I think it’s genius on two fronts: great example of making better use of a space beyond its original purpose, and good reminder of the power of educating your audience. For me, it prompts a rethink on what other spaces we could in new ways. Given the pace of content today, an editor’s letter seems a bit tired, yet this renews the space as a destination, and I find myself looking forward to the next tips he’ll provide. It also makes me think about other spaces we could make work harder. In another example, Oprah’s O magazine often annotates the masthead to tie to a major feature in the magazine: if the feature were on vacations, then annotations focus on where the staff like to travel. I look at that masthead more than most; it’s like extra footage during the credits of a movie (yet another spot that’s been reclaimed).
On another front, I bet the educational bent of this particular Entrepreneur effort has resulted in an improved quality of pitches from his readers, something that saves time and translates to better content. When I hear editors complain that a majority of pitches miss the mark, I sometimes wonder about whether a thoughtful revamp of their writers’ guidelines, to include not only the boilerplate but examples of stories that did and did not work could save everyone time. Sure, writers are supposed to read the magazine’s back issues, and they shouldn’t stop, but why not help us get inside the editor’s head? Especially with insights that might not be apparent from a quick read through. A client recently forwarded me a set of brand guidelines that totally saved me time by alerting me to words to avoid, not in their vision. I’m sure the effort saves them time too in that they didn’t need to educate me (and all their other creatives) directly. Great idea.
Love the headline “Data is the new oil” – this CBC article looks at the ever increasing value of personal information to marketers
Writing life tools – some of these are familiar but some discoveries – a good list 48 items long of tools for writers from productivity boosters to distraction eliminators
LinkedIn State of the Salary: the site has published an inaugural report, based on data from its 2 million users
Hack your workflow: an editor’s software/system for managing pitches from freelancers
Hack your habit of too many meetings: tips from Fast Company magazine
And a video
I thought this Generic Millennial Ad spoof was a good reminder about the need to curb stereotypes
What I’m reading
Maybe it’s back to school time that prompted me to revisit the blog for one of my favourite authors as a kid, Lois Lowry. I found her online a few years ago and it is great, although a updated a little less frequently lately: http://loislowry.com/ Anyone ever google their favourite childhood authors/books?
Time for my annual fall skim of writing books on my shelf: first off? Roy Peter Clark’s How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times
What I’m writing
Still lots of corporate projects right now, but some articles awaiting publication. Stay tuned!
Also back to teaching, this term a course on freelancing in Humber College’s Professional Writing and Communications graduate certificate. I asked students to write a reflection on why they want to be writers and their responses remind me of why I like what I do!
And now my familiar call – as you know, I write and edit everything from feature articles to web profiles to newsletter copy to news releases to annual reports. I’m also newly equipped to write more intelligently about financial topics! Visit my copywriting portfolio at www.codeword.ca or read my articles online at www.suzannebowness.com. Call me to discuss your next project.
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