Thursday, April 27, 2006

How to Write Right

There are two kinds of people in the world: numbers people and words people. (I bet you thought I was gonna say dog and cat people, huh?)

For as long as I can remember, I've been a words gal. I love 'em. My major
in college was Publishing Studies (and yes, I heard many, many, many times - "how do you make a living with that?"). Part of the reason I became a lawyer included learning how to use words to make the world change for the better. Hey, it's not a secret that I'm an idealist.

Even with all my practice writing, I wasn't prepared to write for the Internet. It threw me for a loop to see all the slang used and purposeful typos. Still, I figured I better learn more about it.

Informally, I started a swipe file. It contains any piece of marketing material, written online or off, that caught my attention as being intelligent and compelling. I read that file whenever I have to create a new marketing piece. I suggest that you start a swipe file, too.

I don't copy the text (that would be stealing, tsk, tsk!). I use it as a guide to the different styles of persuasive writing. Some people like to be convinced with facts and figures (probably number types). Some people are persuaded based on their emotions. Others find the experiences of those in similar situations to be compelling. Each kind of buyer requires a slightly different approach and you can learn them by studying the way other writers use words to appeal to each group.

Or, you can hire a commercial writer.

I've learned a lot after years of study, but now my time is better spent on creating content based on my expertise designing Ombuds programs rather than writing sales copy. So, I'm considering hiring a commercial writer or copywriter.

In cruising the Net I came across Barry Morris, who seems to know a thing or two about writing. Mainly, I was interested in his take on using "cold email". He sends a simple email to potential clients asking if they ever use a freelance writer. Most reply yes and request his materials. Sounds so simple, I may try it. I may also put Barry on the short list of candidates to update the writing on my site,

Also, I know a really terrific editor named Ted Thomas of "Write Way". Ted is a reknown poet from the Boston area who has been featured many times in the Boston Globe. His newest endeavor is Words Flight, a poetry blog. Drop by soon-he'll have some of his first audio blog poems up in a few weeks.

I'm also searching for a few other great writers to consider. If I find someone wonderful, I'll let you know.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


PS Here's the link to the next Laser Calls. Feel free to forward them to friends who are thinking about starting or growing an ADR business.


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