Thursday, July 27, 2006

What do Word's Readability Statistics mean?

Have you ever looked at Microsoft Word's Readability Statistics? That's the final screen that pops up after you do a Spelling and Grammar check.

That screen gives a Flesch Reading Ease score and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. This website explains those terms and how they're calculated. Basically, the longer your words and your sentences, the harder they are to understand.

The higher the Flesch Reading Ease score, the easier the text is to understand.

That's the opposite of the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, which is exactly what it sounds like. The number 12 refers to twelfth grade.

The site also offers a Writing Sample Analyzer into which you can copy a block of text. Try it and see how you score!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"How to write a sexy article teaser," by Debbie Weil

"How to write a sexy article teaser," by Debbie Weil is worth reading.

She's on target when she says, "Your article has to address a pressing business problem and offer a solution. Back out of that and into your teaser. Now you're dangling a tidbit that leads to something the reader has just gotta know."

Debbie is the author of The Corporate Blogging Book.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound: "How to Create an Online Presskit the Media will Love"

Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound, has made available a recording of "How to Create an Online Presskit the Media will Love." It's a recording of her interview of Drew Gerber on this topic.

Joan is also offering a free, 89-part email course on "89 Ways to Write Powerful Press Releases." You can sign up at


Friday, July 07, 2006

Alan Sharpe: "How to write a direct mail sales letter"

Alan Sharpe gets your priorities straight in "How to write a direct mail sales letter."

Your first goal must be to grab your reader's attention. All of your work will be for naught if you can't do this.

I also agree with his suggestion to identify your prospect's problem. If you can tap your prospect's pain -- and offer a solution -- you've got a good shot at winning a client.

Thanks to Constant Contact's "Writing Compelling Promotional Copy" for directing me to Sharpe's website!

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

H Stimpson: PR pinball—how one placement can lead to another

An article by PR expert Henry Stimpson follows below.

Obtaining media coverage is like planting seeds. Seed the media with ideas and cultivate relationships, and some of the seeds will sprout. And a blossom in one medium can lead to powerful propagation in another.

For financial advisor Frank Congemi, we wrote and pitched a story idea on financial gerontology and what Registered Financial Gerontologists like Frank do to help their clients. It resulted in a feature article in the New York Post.

Where do TV reporters get most of their story ideas from? They read newspapers. The Post article attracted the attention of a reporter at the NBC TV affiliate in New York City. The resulting feature-length story on Channel 4 featured both Frank and two of his clients—an even better placement. Frank posted the video on his Web site, and you can view it at

Here’s another example. We placed a bylined article on equity-indexed annuities in InvestmentNews, a top trade magazine, for Mitchell Maynard, owner of MCP Premium, a software company. A reporter at Dow Jones News Service read the article, interviewed Mitch and put out a national wire story prominently quoting him as an expert.

Cross-fertilization works, and the beauty of it is that is usually happens on its own.


"How to Handle Tough Questions from an Audience," according to Mother Tongue Annoyances

Stumped by a tough question from your audience? Try redirecting it back to the audience.

That's the suggestion from "How to Handle Tough Questions from an Audience" that resonated with me.

I think this is particularly appropriate when the question seeks an opinion rather than a purely factual answer. Getting the audience involved can spark a productive conversation.

This is another tip I was directed to by