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How To Improve Your Lousy Writing Skills In The Workplace

This article provides fail-safe strategies to help refine your writing and help you to communicate with clarity, simplicity, and impact so you will never write junk again. You will learn five masterful steps to guide you in planning, writing, and refining an article; and you will learn how to avoid common writing mistakes.

writing, freelance writing, business writing, grammar

If there’s one important reason why you need to write effectively in the workplace, it is this: the quality of your writing imprints a lasting impression on the reader. This reader may be your boss, a client, or a person who is ready to make a billion dollar business deal with you.

Have you ever read a poorly-written document that made you lose interest right away? It was so poorly-written that you lost trust in the author and asked yourself why the author was wasting your time? How about those junk e-mails that sneak into your junk box like annoying cockroaches? You know the ones I’m referring to: the ones pitching vitamins, software, and sex aids. These e-mails are the biggest showcase of writing blunders, stricken to death with grammar mistakes, misspellings, and sloppy sentences. I doubt these e-mails pull a sale because their poor writing style immediately alienates the reader.

What impression does your writing leave on your boss, clients, or co-workers? Does your writing alienate readers, cause you to lose sales or clients, or cost you job promotions? Or does your writing build streams of loyal readers, increase sales for the company, and help you earn six figures a year at your job?

Whatever type of writing you do in the workplace, always know this reality: readers believe the quality of your writing reflects your skills, work ethics, and integrity as a person. If you write eloquently, clearly, and lively, the reader trusts you and you are able to build rapport quickly. If your writing is sloppy, disorganized, and riddled with errors, the reader assumes the rest of your work is flawed, your work ethics are flawed, and perhaps as a person you are flawed. Why should this reader waste his time reading the rest of your junk or even do business with you?

This article provides fail-safe strategies to help refine your writing and help you to communicate with clarity, simplicity, and impact so you will never write junk again. You will learn five masterful steps to guide you in planning, writing, and refining an article; and you will learn how to avoid common writing mistakes.

AIM! FIRE! FIRE!

To become a superb writer, your first task is to establish your aim.

Yiddish novelist, dramatist and essayist, Sholem Asch, once said, “Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.”

What message do you want to convey with your writing?

To establish your aim, ask yourself:

1) “Why am I writing this document?”
2) “What do I want to communicate?”
3) “Do I want to inform, educate, report, persuade, challenge, or entertain?”

Developing your aim will help you to adopt the best writing style for your reader. For example, an educational document will likely be more formal than one written for entertaining.

CONNECT WITH YOUR READERS

To write effectively, you need to connect strongly with your readers. Ask yourself:

1) “For whom am I writing this? Will I be writing for colleagues, my supervisor, my team of employees, or our clients?”

2) “How much information do my readers need?”

3) “How familiar are my readers with the topic?”

4) “How much time do my readers have? Would my readers prefer a short, succinct presentation of facts and statistics, or more narration and exposition?”

Knowing your audience will allow you to write content in a way that appeals to your readers.

SHAPE YOUR DOCUMENT

You know your aim. You know the people who will likely read your document. Now plan your document. What information will it contain? What information will most likely grab the reader and hold their interests? What points do you need to get across? Start with a rough outline of ideas. Then go through the outline and add more information and more detail. An outline will create the structure for your document. Soon enough your writing will come more easily, quickly, and with greater clarity.

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW BEST

At this stage, read over your outline and write the first draft. Establish the main idea of the document and support your argument throughout. If a blank white page glares back at you like headlights, just start writing on whatever topic you know best. According to American novelist Jack London, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Don’t worry about the sequence if the ideas come to you out of order. You can cut and paste later.

WORDY WEIGHT LOSS

If you have time, step away from the document. Come back to it later with a fresh mind. Now add material where needed. Trim away unnecessary sections. Refine the text to communicate what you want to say. Remember: less is more. Try not to repeat ideas. Repetition, unless necessary, is tiresome for the reader. Keep the piece moving along. Use a lively pace. Progress through your points efficiently.

The following sections address some of the most common writing problems. Use these tips to write more clearly, effectively, and lively.

I.) PUNCTUATION

a) Apostrophes

Do not use an apostrophe in the possessive form of “it.”

Incorrect: Our department submitted it’s reports for 2005 last week.
Correct: Our department submitted its reports for 2005 last week.

Do not use apostrophes in the possessive forms “his,” “hers,” and “ours.”

Incorrect: The window office is her’s.
Correct: The window office is hers.

Do not use apostrophes in plural nouns.

Incorrect: How many new computer’s are we getting?
Correct: How many new computers are we getting?

b) Commas

Do not connect two complete sentences with a comma.

Incorrect: The meeting was cancelled, I finished my work early.
Correct: The meeting was cancelled, so I finished my work early.
Correct: Since the meeting was cancelled, I finished my work early.

II.) MECHANICS

a) Split Infinitives

Do not insert words between “to” and the infinitive form of a verb.

Incorrect: I was told we needed to slightly tighten the deadline.

Correct: I was told we needed to tighten the deadline slightly.

III.) SPELLING

a) “A lot” is always two words.

Incorrect: I have alot of work to do.
Correct: I have a lot of work to do.

b) “To” is a function word often used before the infinitive form of a verb (to go).

c) “Too” is an adverb that means “excessively” (too difficult).

d) “Two” denotes the number 2.

Incorrect: This file cabinet is to heavy for me to move.
Correct: This file cabinet is too heavy for me to move.

e) “There” is an adverb indicating a place (over there).

f) “Their” is a possessive word that shows ownership (their computers).

g) “They’re” is the contraction form of “they are.”

Incorrect: There results for this quarter were excellent.
Correct: Their results for this quarter were excellent.

Incorrect: Their working very hard today.
Correct: They’re working very hard today.

IV.) STYLE

a) Sentence Variety

To write more lively, vary sentence structure. Use alternate ways of beginning, and combine short sentences to create different sentence lengths.

Before:

I organized the files for all the new accounts this week. Then I created a more efficient labeling system. I color-coded everything. I made sure all paper files had been documented electronically. I put these files in the empty file cabinet.

After:

This week I organized the files for the new accounts and created a more efficient color-coded labeling system. After I documented all paper files electronically, I put these files in the empty file cabinet.

V.) ACTIVE VOICE vs. PASSIVE VOICE

The English language has two "voices": active voice (the subject performs an action); and passive voice (the subject is acted upon). In business communication, all good writers write in active voice. Lazy writers write in passive voice. Writing in active voice shortens your sentences and makes your writing sound more direct and formal.

Examples:

PASSIVE: The recipe book is read by her.
ACTIVE: She reads the recipe book.

PASSIVE: The radio announcement should be listened to by everyone.
ACTIVE: Everyone should listen to the radio announcement.

PASSIVE: The photo is being taken by the photographer.
ACTIVE: The photographer is taking the photo.

HELPFUL RESOURCES

To learn more about fixing common writing mistakes, check out The Electronic Writing Course ( http://www.ElectronicWritingCourse.com ). It’s a program that teaches the basics of good writing and editing. If you want to check your document against 36,000 style and usage mistakes, check out StyleWriter ( http://www.StyleWriter-USA.com ). It’s a style and usage Plain English checker. If you want to write more lively and creatively, check out WhiteSmoke Software ( http://www.WhiteSmokeSoftware.com ). It’s a program that fixes and enriches your text.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll stop yourself from writing lousy in the workplace. Your writing will be lively, clear, and concise, and you will build rapport with readers. Perhaps it’s now time to e-mail your boss a perfectly-written e-mail requesting a salary raise?

 

How To Get Started Writing Your Sales Letter In Just Minutes

Anxious to get started writing your sales letter? Good. I strongly urge you to begin with a plan. With a simple plan or outline in place, you’ll be armed with all the essentials you need to create a powerful and persuasive piece.

It doesn’t matter what your writing project is – book, report, or sales letter. Planning makes life easier. It organizes your thoughts. It gives you a roadmap to follow so you’re never stuck at a dead end. A sales letter plan forces you to think t...

copywriting, web conversion course, sales letter, internet marketing, make money

Anxious to get started writing your sales letter? Good. I strongly urge you to begin with a plan. With a simple plan or outline in place, you’ll be armed with all the essentials you need to create a powerful and persuasive piece.

It doesn’t matter what your writing project is – book, report, or sales letter. Planning makes life easier. It organizes your thoughts. It gives you a roadmap to follow so you’re never stuck at a dead end. A sales letter plan forces you to think things through up front -- before you write -- making the actual writing much easier and giving it a smoother flow.

It doesn’t matter what your writing project is – book, report, or sales letter. Planning makes life easier. It organizes your thoughts. It gives you a roadmap to follow so you’re never stuck at a dead end. A sales letter plan forces you to think things through up front -- before you write -- making the actual writing much easier and giving it a smoother flow.

When you get right down to it, a sales letter plan helps you:

• Gather Important Information
• Organize and Assess All Available Data
• Assemble Key Sales Letter Components
• Prioritize Benefits Based On Their Appeal To Prospects
• Confirm That The Important Ingredients Are All Present Before You Begin

A sales letter plan simplifies the actual writing. It gives you concrete material from which to work. It naturally dictates the direction you take, and it enables you to follow along a roadmap to the successful completion of your sales letter.

The more detailed your plan, the easier it is to write compelling sales copy. With a plan, you’re never left wondering what to write next. All the essential information is right before your eyes -- making it quicker and easier to form interesting and persuasive copy.

“When it comes to writing copy, far too much attention is paid to the actual writing and far too little is paid to ferreting out facts about that which the copywriter is trying to sell.”

Gary Halbert

Planning isn’t just a means to an end, however. Yes, having a completed sales letter plan in front of you is very important. But the hidden value of your plan lies in the thinking processes that go into completing it. As even the most basic of plans takes shape, you’ll discover valuable ideas, key points, and concepts to employ. A plan literally forces you to think things through ahead of time.

After you’ve used this method to write a few sales letters, you’ll see how getting it all recorded on paper helps you tremendously.

Crafting a sales letter plan does take time -- perhaps this is why so few do it. But the time and effort expended always pays a worthwhile dividend. A plan gives you direction, power, and focus. It puts you on a straight path towards your goal.

 

How To Make Your Sales Letter Effective

People have been writing letters since time immemorial. Originally, letters where meant for exchanging personal notes to and from people of various distance. As time evolved, the letter has accumulated different interesting functions, and perhaps the most interesting function of all is its value in business. The prime example of letters used in business is the sales letter – a viable tool that opens your business to great expanses in ways that are different from other marketi...

copywriting,copywriter,internet copywriting

People have been writing letters since time immemorial. Originally, letters where meant for exchanging personal notes to and from people of various distance. As time evolved, the letter has accumulated different interesting functions, and perhaps the most interesting function of all is its value in business. The prime example of letters used in business is the sales letter – a viable tool that opens your business to great expanses in ways that are different from other marketing channels.

Because sales letters have been observed to be quite effective in a lot of businesses, many entrepreneurs have joined the letter-writing bandwagon and created their own sales letters. However, not all sales letters became as effective as their authors had hoped. These letters were often written haphazardly, without proper thought in place. There are certain things needed so that a sales letter could be effective.

Here are some tips to make your sales letter effective:

1. Maintain a Trustworthy Tone – the first thing you want from your sales letter readers is their trust, because once you win their confidence they will be more willing to transact business with you. A classic way of gaining your readers’ trust is by including testimonials that show that you products or services really work. You may also look for other techniques that would allow your prospects to put confidence in you.

2. Establish Your Credibility – your readers should not only trust you, they should also believe that what you are saying is very much grounded and has a firm basis. You need to till them how sure you are that your offerings do deliver what they promise. Perhaps you can include case studies or success stories regarding the performance of your products and services. You need to show evidence that you are indeed as good as you say so.

3. Make the Letter Unforgettable – people do not really respond to sales letters immediately, it may take days, months, or even years before a prospect actually makes the move in response to your sales letter. People might not need your product or they might not be interested during the time they received your letter. But you have to make sure that they would remember your letter when the times comes that they would need your offerings. Include interesting tidbits that would make people easily recall your letter when the time comes.

4. Make it Catchy – while the old adage says that one should not judge a book by its cover, people do judge things by their appearances and not so much by their contents. A plain and boring letter would not catch the attention of your readers. You want to make your sales letter pleasing to the eye as it is to the mind. Colors, pictures and other interesting things are indispensable in sales letters. Just do not go overboard and make a chaotic abstract painting out of your letter, otherwise people might find it too distracting to read.

5. Make it Easy for Your Readers – you might gain your readers’ trust, make them believe you, catch their attention or ingrain your letter on their minds. But you also have to tell your readers what to do next. You should make it easy for your readers to respond to your sales letter. Give clear instructions on how to contact you using all popular channels whether via email, snail mail, fax, or telephone. Just be sure that all these channels are working well so that you would not lose any prospect and you can easily get back to them.

6. Add Bonuses – people are suckers for freebies and rewards and thus it is usually wise for you to include incentives for responses to your sales letter. Provide special discounts, gifts, or other offers for acting to your sales letter. Better yet, give rewards to the early birds so that people would respond immediately.

7. Personalize – people are very vain and they usually respond well when they are addressed personally. But by all means avoid using automatic mail merging. People are smarter these days.

A good sales letter can bring your business a long, long way. It may not be long until responses from your prospects begin to pour, allowing your business to boom in no time.




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