Author: Chris

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The Oxford Comma Argument Rages On

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 by Chris

“Nothing, but nothing—profanity, transgender pronouns, apostrophe abuse—excites the passion of grammar geeks more than the serial, or Oxford, comma,” according to The New Yorker. Much like asking creative types if they put one space or two after a period, demanding they pick a side in the serial-comma debate can spark fistfights, especially now that we’ve […]

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Ask the Grammar Queen, The Business of Copywriting

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Why the Best Bylined Articles Are a Team Effort

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Chris

I’ve never liked pure “ghostwriting”—that is, writing all of the words under someone else’s name without any input from the person who’s actually taking the credit. I’m not annoyed that I don’t share the spotlight. I just think that writing falls flat when there’s no authentic input from the “author.” This is especially true when […]

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Beyond the Style Guide, The Business of Copywriting

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He, She, or They? Making Marketing Content Gender-Neutral

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 by Chris

The public transition of Caitlyn Jenner and the popularity of the Amazon show “Transparent” have given words like “transgender” and “cisgender” a higher profile. At the same time, journalists and other content developers struggle with gender sensitivity in their writing—including dodging the “he or she” construction, using the “they” pronoun to represent a single individual, […]

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Beyond the Style Guide

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Love Ya Bae, But You’re Trying Too Hard to Be on Fleek

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 by Chris

Marketers want to “speak” to their target audiences with relevant messaging, of course. But as this post explains, trying to be edgy and fresh can sometimes lead to awkward brand moments (or, shall we say, appearing not so “on fleek”?).

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Beyond the Style Guide

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This Is Your Final Warning: Only One Space After a Period

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 by Chris

One space or two after a period? We hope this post will set the record straight once for all!

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Lessons on Coaching: Why “Punch It Up” Isn’t Constructive Criticism

Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Chris

Constructive feedback ensures better results when marketing collateral needs refinement. Consider these lessons on coaching the next time you feel the urge to tell a colleague to “Punch it up!”

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Just Because It’s in the Dictionary Doesn’t Mean It’s a Word

Thursday, September 12th, 2013 by Chris

Blame it on Miley Cyrus: Now even completely unhip people who aren’t tuned into urban culture know what “twerking” means, and this is probably not a good thing. (If you’re reading this and still don’t know about twerking, trust me, stay ignorant. Don’t look it up on Google. You’re welcome.) Mainstream media are discussing twerking, […]

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The Anti-Dan Brown Primer: How Not to Write Like the Popular Author

Friday, May 17th, 2013 by Chris

The reviews are in for Inferno, the new thriller from The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, and everyone pretty much agrees that it’s a terribly written book, which is nevertheless a page-turner and will make bucketloads of cash. Rest assured that if you borrow ideas from Dan Brown’s writing for your own communications and […]

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Le “Hashtag” Controversy: Why Legislating Language Doesn’t Work

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 by Chris

Pity the poor civil-servant writer in France, who is supposed to follow the dictates of the learned men and women of the Académie Française when it comes to choosing words to describe the Internet and online activities. The Académie is charged with maintaining the purity of the French language, and in recent years, keeping English […]

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Lessons Learned from Obama’s Fundraising Emails

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 by Chris

Email marketing campaigns live or die based on their ability to lure recipients into reading beyond the subject line—instead of hitting the delete key. In the wake of the election, President Obama’s digital analytics and email fundraising teams have revealed the tactics they used to convince fatigued campaign supporters not only to open emails, but […]

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