Posts Tagged "freelance writing"

Learning AP Style

By on Feb 4, 2015 in News | 0 comments

When writing a press release, style is important. Press releases are typically written in the Associated Press (AP) style format based on the most updated AP Style Guide. (Take a look here for the most updated version.) One small mistake won’t cost you but it’s important to try to stay as close to AP style as possible when writing. And it’s important to take a look at updates as AP style can change over time. The following are some AP Style rules you should follow: State Names Spell out state names in the body of stories. You will still use abbreviations in datelines, photo captions, lists, etc. Months & Dates Only abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. when using it with a specific date. (Feb. 5, 2015) Spell out the months when they stand alone or are combined with a year. February 2015 Numbers Write out the numbers one through nine and use numerals for numbers 10 and higher. Professional Titles Do not capitalize job titles unless they immediately precede someone’s name. (Mayor Sam Smith vs. Sam Smith, mayor of Austin, Texas) Titles Newspapers and magazines are capitalized, not italicized. Books, movies, TV shows, works of art, etc., use quotation marks around them. Academic Degrees There is an apostrophe in the word “bachelor’s” and in “master’s,” (the proper names are Bachelor of Arts/Science and Master of Arts/Science) and an AA is called an “associate degree.” Percent Write out the word “percent” instead of using the “%” sign. Farther vs. Further When referring to a physical distance, use “farther”. When referring to an extension of time or degree, use...

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Hiring a Grant Writer

By on Nov 12, 2014 in News | 0 comments

I write grants for many nonprofit clients. Big federal grants to small family foundation grants and everything in between. The truth is for me the writing part of the grant is a very small part of what I do related to grant writing. Many grant writers work differently, and I encourage current and potential clients to make sure you have a good rapport with whomever you choose to write your grants. It is important that the grant writer is working effectively for your organization. Here are some tips when selecting a grant writer: Experience – Grant writing can be challenging. Each funder often has a specific formula for how they want to receive the information. Make sure that the grant writer you chose has some familiarity with the type of grant you are seeking. Large federal grants often seek additional information like logic models. Check to make sure your grant writer can fulfill these requirements ahead of time. Persuasive Argument Skills – A grant is basically your opportunity to convince a grant funder to invest in your organization and your program. A great grant writer will be able to help your organization lay out the need for funding backed up by data, explain your proposed funding need compellingly and convincingly and then lay out the impact funds will have for your organization. Your grant writer needs to make a strong case for investment for you to be funded. Understanding of Nonprofit & Program Development – One of the things I do most often when writing a grant is to ensure that my client and their proposed funding need is a match for both the grant funder and the grant application. There are times when it’s just not a fit. It’s my job as a grant writer to make sure my client isn’t wasting their time and money by hiring me. It’s been necessary at times to help the client tweak their program, if possible, to better fit the grant specifications. A grant writer not familiar with nonprofits and program development will not be able to assist with this. Contract Clarity – This is important. There are many pieces to a grant application. Many times an organization cannot just hand...

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Run Out of Blog Content? Never.

By on Oct 29, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Through my work, I help my business clients develop their editorial calendars for their blog posts. Inevitably everyone hits the wall and runs out of ideas at one time or another. Here are just some quick ideas on how to generate new content for your blog. Remember though, it’s important that your content has a purpose. That it in some way connects back to your business and reinforces your brand. Not every blog post should be written as a sales piece – that’s probably one of the quickest ways to turn off your readership. However, it should at least educate and inform on your industry or connect why your business matters. Interviews with Staff – Give your staff people a voice. Help your readers to know the names, faces and personalities of those who help support your clients and grow your business. Include why they work for you and what impact they have for your clients. Client Stories – Let’s hear from your clients. Don’t just provide us a great quote. That’s important but tell us about the project or what the client does and the overall impact you had for them. Response to Latest News – This is two-fold. It requires you to pay attention to news from your industry and gives you a platform on how it connects to your business specifically. Do you agree or disagree with a written piece? Do you have additional information or a local angle to a national story? Share it. Inform & Educate – What’s a question most people in your field won’t answer? What should your clients know most about your industry? Forget about making a sale and become the go-to resource in your industry. Give us a little history – Don’t be boring but tell us something really interesting about your business success. Did something unexpected happen where you learned a great business lesson? Let us know. Bottom line, most people love to learn from others from their triumphs and their lessons...

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Becoming Business Minded

By on Oct 1, 2014 in News | 0 comments

This is a continuation of the presentation I gave for aspiring freelance writers. Let’s be real. Sometimes in the very beginning you have to take lower paying jobs to build your portfolio but some freelance writers stay at this beginner place and never ask for more money. It’s okay to be paid what you are worth. Any freelance writer who makes their living as a writer will tell you that. You have to make sure though you are worth what you ask – consider your experience, your performance and your ability to be a business professional. Here are some tips that I have stuck with as I developed my own thriving business. Limited Subcontractor Jobs – The reality is we as writers will always be in competition with bidding sites and large content conglomerations who pay writers pennies to the dollar or outsource to other countries. Trust me, I’ve had clients use those places only to come back to me later because their content was not written by someone who had a command of the English language. For a short period of time starting out, I also worked for one of the large content companies that hire freelancers. I was top-rated and not only did I provide client work, I also wrote for the company itself. But I realized over time the quality of my own worked suffered because of their process. These companies, although they say are focused on quality, really aren’t or they would pay writers a real wage. They are all about quantity and so are the customers that seek their services. I left when I added up the time I was spending including bidding or accepting assignments, sorting out what needed to be written, actually doing the writing and then any revisions. What I was being paid many times was less than minimum wage. I stopped and started working smarter not harder. These sites only exist because writers are willing to work for almost nothing. I don’t worry about them. My focus is on relationship building with business professionals that care about quality. That has and always will be my focus. No Free Work – There are places that I check each day for potential...

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