icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Corporate and technical communications and content marketing

Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing,
corporate and technical communications, training, and consulting

Here's the part of the website for people who think writing is a good way to make a lot of money (one that doesn't involve writing a bestselling book or movie). If you want to earn a freelance living doing corporate or technical writing or training, or providing e-Learning, you might start with books by a couple of writers who can explain the business end of things: Secrets of a Freelance Writer: How to Make $100,000 a Year or More by Bob Bly (now in its 3rd edition) and The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman. Be realistic about whether you are capable of doing this kind of writing, which ranges from technical writing to marketing copy — that is, whether you have the skills and whether you have the temperament for it. Personally, I am grateful to Bob Bly for letting me know years ago that I was undercharging for my services, but it takes time and experience to learn whether you are good enough to charge and earn the big bucks. Packaging seems to be important. "Independent consultant" may sound more professional than "freelance writer-editor-coach-teacher-whatever." However you get your foot in the door, the best way to succeed as a writing or editing consultant is to do a good job, so that word of mouth brings you new clients while the old ones help you pay the mortgage.

Writers tend to be introverts, happily alone with their computers, but if you are good at working with people you might consider training. If you can write a how-to manual and also play well with others, consider training, which pays well and can be satisfying. There are organizations that train trainers, including ASTD.

If you're good with technology and can think through the learning process (which is at least as important as knowing how to work the technology), you may want to check out Instructional Design and Learning (IDL). If you want to design programs for distance learning (eLearning), swap ideas with others in the field. On the STC's IDL "sig" (special interest group), members swap stories about their experiences with Lectora, FlashForm, Captivate, PowerPoint, ToolBook, and Authorware (for content creation, including simulations) and eLeap, MindFlash, and RapideL (as hosting solutions).

To create names for use in writing training manuals, mosey over to the Fiction department and check out sites that provide fake and random name generators.
[Back to Top]

Content marketing
aka branded content
aka custom publishing

Content marketing  is a buzzword and a growing source of income to journalists who used to do only or mostly journalism. Advertisers have fewer places to market products the old way, so many of them are using the money that would normally have gone to advertising to produce custom content (aka content marketing, "thought leadership," asset development, branded content, branded entertainment, risk management--that is, managing the risk of getting something done, presenting points of view to distinguish one product from all the others on the market). Providing this content calls on many journalism skills but the purpose is clearly generating business or sales.

      Imagine two circles, one representing what X sells and the other representing what customers want; target content marketing to the area where those two overlap. (Some say that great divide between journalism and advertising is coming down; others disagree.) Because you are writing for a business, you may have as many as 20 people reviewing your copy and asking you to revise, and then saying, Let's go back to draft 2. But the money is better by far than in journalism.

      Here's a prime example of what's going on in this area: Coca Cola hired 40 journalists (as in-house staff) to produce Coca Cola Journey, Coke's online magazine (see NY Times story, Coke Revamps Web Site to Tell Its Story (Stuart Elliott, NY Times, 11-11-12). You want to package information effectively and find the best way to distribute it.

The Freelance Content Marketing Writer, a practical book by Jennifer Goforth Gregory. Learn how to find high paying clients and join the ranks of high-earning freelance content marketing writers. Listen to Jennifer's frank and practical advice on Polly Campbell's Simply Write podcast. Learn, for example, that one downside to content marketing work is that it's cyclical. (On the other hand, she makes well over $100,000 a year.) "Figure out what works for your strengths, weaknesses, personality, and goals. You have to have the courage to do it your way for it to work." Find more tips on Jennifer's blog, The Content Marketing Writer.

[Back to Top]

Brilliantly Simple: 50 content marketing statistics to blow your mind (Axonn slideshare). Freelancers: the stats may lead you to new markets in custom content--e.g., for white papers, blog writing for companies, content for their social media platforms. . .
The Unsung Women of the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens (Anne Ewbank, Gastro Obscura, sibling of Atlas Obscura, 3-21-22) 'She was fictional, a marketing tool used to sell Gold Medal Flour, Bisquick, and other American staples. But at a time when women were discouraged from working outside the home, the real women behind the dozens of cookbooks, hundreds of advertisements, and thousands of letters emblazoned with the name “Betty Crocker” turned an illustration and a name into a corporate powerhouse. Despite prevalent gender discrimination, many remembered their time as “Crockettes” with immense fondness.' For many Crockettes, the job was glamorous, fulfilling, and “almost subversive.”
How Joe Pulizzi helped shape the modern content marketing industry (Simon Owens, 5-26-21) Joe Pulizzi was one of the leading figures who convinced thousands of corporate executives--through the Content Marketing Institute's constellation of articles, videos, courses, and conferences--that the frictionless distribution of the internet allowed virtually every company to become a media outlet.
The Pitch podcast  Listen to real entrepreneurs pitch to real investors—for real money.
When to Sell with Facts and Figures, and When to Appeal to Emotions (Michael D. Harris, Harvard Business Review, 1-26-15) "Here’s the short rule of thumb: sell to Mr. Rational for simple sales, and Mr. Intuitive for complex sales."
Writing for Associations: The Best of Both Worlds — Journalism and Content Writing (Sandra Gurvis, ASJA Confidential, 5-19-2020) For members only.
Content Writing Jobs: 10 Upwork Alternatives For Finding Better Paying Jobs (Bamidele Onibalusi, WritersinCharge, undated, incredibly annoying popup ads). Think beyond Upwork, Guru, Freelancer.com and so called “freelance bidding sites,” with their race to the bottom. Onibalusi describes briefly these sites: Cloudpeeps, ClearVoice, Contently, Quietly, E/byline, Skyword, Zerys, Copify, Twago , ASJA Freelance Writer Search, and Scripted.
• In an ASJA president's column, The Future Is Now about a trend toward robotization of content marketing, Sherry Beck Paprocki mentions Contently, IZEA, MediaMobz (which is interested in expanding its writer base beyond its Hollywood origins), Scripted, and others who get the need to tell stories that rise above the clutter. At Content Marketing World (a major trade convention), "One vendor on the trade show floor spoke with me enthusiastically about a platform that takes a company’s content and runs it through a system to give it a consistent voice, tone, and message."
Best Content Marketing Software (G2.com) Ranks software for content analytics, content creation, content distribution.
Kraft Says It Gets Four Times Better ROI from Content Than Ads (Advertising Age) "Food Marketer Offers Best Practices for Content Marketing"
Why Content Marketing Matters (Richard Pattinson, Brafton.com, 2-13-13) "Great content is inherently marketable and tends to work its magic of its own accord."
5 Lessons Content Marketing Can Learn from Journalism (Cameron Conaway, Content Marketing Institute, 12-21-16) "Read & research more than you write & share." See also 9 Lessons(Aaron Agius, CMI, 2-26-15) "1. Create multi-purpose headlines. A 2013 contrastive study from Sage Media shows that most newspaper editors prefer headlines that serve two purposes – capturing attention and conveying information. Many content marketers, on the other hand, create headlines for SEO purposes rather than to engage with their readers, ultimately failing to inspire people to read the articles."

[Back to Top]

Journalists Take Refuge in the World of Branded Content (Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, Observer, 2-5-13)
What Is Native Advertising(Outbrain.com) "Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear....The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive - it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb."for
Can Content Marketing Save Journalism? (Sam Slaughter, Mashable, 3-18-13) 'Even brands that don’t have dedicated editorial teams have begun tapping journalists to create “native ads,” in many ways indistinguishable from the journalistic content along which they appear.'
Why Baseball Needs Storytelling for Long Term Success (KingFishMedia Think Tank, 5-6-14)
Sainsbury's Christmas advert recreates first world war truce (The Guardian, 11-13-14) Supermarket teams up with Royal British Legion to retell story of Christmas Day football match, with all profits from a £1 chocolate bar going to veterans’ charity. What's your reaction to the commercial?
Hey WSJ – Content Marketing Is NOT Native Advertising (Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute) 11-6-14
12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work) (Demian Farnworth, Copyblogger, 4-14-14)
32 Experts Reveal Their Top Content Productivity Tips (Loz James, Content Champion, 3-2-15)
Content Strategist. Insights and Analysis on Brands, Storytelling, and the Future of Content, by Contently. For example,
---Data: Real-Time Super Bowl Marketing Is a Giant Waste of Money (1-29-15). By which they mean inserting ads into people's Twitter feeds.
---This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write (Shane Show, Contently, 1-28-15) Writers like Malcolm Gladwell intentionally write "at 8th grade level in order to bring complex ideas to an audience that wouldn’t hang at a higher level."
---Why ‘Depth Not Breadth’ Will Be the Rallying Cry of Content Marketing in 2015 ( Joe Lazauskas, Contently, 1-28-15) In 2015, There is No God Metric"Engagement. "'Engagement' once meant anything from clicks, visits, and unique visitors to likes, retweets, views, favorites, and a slew of other buzzmetrics. It was a mess, and it largely still is."
--Content, Community, Commerce: Inside Marriott’s Thriving 65-Person Content Studio (Tessa Wegert, Contently, 1-28-15)
Marriott is now a maker of a TV series, a short film, and a web series, and has partnered with millennial YouTube stars. What's next?

[Back to Top]

Everything You Need To Know About Sponsored Content (Chad Pollitt, The Moz Blog, 1-20-15)
NYT Readers Spend Same Amount of Time on Paid Posts as News Stories (Nathalie Tadena, WSJ, 5-14-14)
How To Hire Effective Content Marketing Writers and Editors (Grant Butler, Content Marketing Institute, 1-8-14)
Journalists Take Refuge in the World of Branded Content ( Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, New York Observer, 2-13) "...many journalists departing the desert of traditional media for the greener—but also grayer—pastures of branded content....While writing gigs at magazines and newspapers continue to dry up, there are abundant opportunities to write or consult for blogs owned directly by brands." "“Instead of paying money to rent an audience, they can own their own audience,” said John Hazard, director of community for Contently, a company closely tethered to the branded content explosion." "Contently became a matchmaking vehicle for brands and writers—an unlikely marriage until recently."
Advertising that doesn't look like advertising (John Reinan, Minn Post, 8-18-08) "As old-line media hemorrhage staff and ad revenue, Hopkins-based ARAnet is moving in with free print and Web content that carries client messages wrapped in consumer lifestyle articles....ARAcontent articles are free. Clients pay fees starting at $4,500 for creation, tracking and results reporting. Staff writers at ARAnet produce the articles and post them on a proprietary Web site; newspaper editors download the stories of their choice. Other clients include Home Depot, Microsoft, Best Buy and UPS....Where the online articles typically are identified as sponsored content, the print articles merely carry an "ARA" designation, similar to the "AP" identifier that runs with Associated Press articles.
HBO’s John Oliver: Native advertising is ‘repurposed bovine waste’ (Erik Wemple, Wash Post, 8-4-14) “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver’s acclaimed HBO show...took viewers on a quick history lesson through the innovation of blurring the lines between editorial content and advertising content...Oliver jumped in: “Exactly, it’s not trickery. It’s sharing storytelling tools. And that’s not bull—-. It’s repurposed bovine waste.” Which brought the host to his verdict on native advertising: “In news, that is seemingly the model now. Ads are baked into content like chocolate chips into a cookie. Except, it’s actually more like raisins into a cookie because no one [expletive] wants them there.”
Three Solutions to John Oliver's Rant on Native Advertising (Joe Pulizzi, Pulse, LinkedIn, 8-8-14). @JoePulizzi is founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which runs the industry's largest content marketing event, Content Marketing World. He is author of Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less

[Back to Top]

Should journalism worry about content marketing? (Michael Meyer, CJR cover story, 10-29-14) "...boundaries between editorial and advertising in journalism newsrooms aren’t what they used to be....Everyone I talked to for this piece seems to agree that some essential distinction between journalism and content marketing needs to be preserved, but no one agrees on exactly what that distinction should be." Shareability' is "particularly important for brands that want to endear themselves to a community."
Brands as publishers: Inside the content marketing trend. (Curves, Getty) ‘Content that is too product- or brand-focused does not travel well digitally, whereas content that stands on its own merits as entertainment, storytelling, education will be shared and passed along.’ '...businesses must move from interruption marketing to permission marketing. Brands have become the new publishers, and what they publish has to be searchable, shareable – and actually worth looking at on its own merits.'
The Content Marketing Issue (Getty Images). LOTS of stuff here.
The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014 (Jayson DeMers, Forbes, 10-8-13). See also How to Build a Kickass Content Strategy (DeMers, AudienceBloom, 4-17-13); How to Grow Your Personal Brand with Your Content Strategy (Demers, AudienceBloom 4-18-13); and Ten Reasons Your Content Strategy Is More Important than Link Building (James Parsons, AudienceBloom, 12-12-13)
The eBook Is the Stud in Your Content Marketing Stable (Marisa Wong, Slideshare Blog 11-12-12)
Why the eBook Is the Cornerstone of Your Content Marketing Strategy (Chris Horton, Synecore 9-29-12)
No More Cookie Cutter Custom Content (Joanne Cleaver, ASJA Monthly, June 2013) Without content, you’re not on the Internet. Without content, people can search for you, but they won’t find you. Content anchors presence, message, reputation, and relevance. And that’s all good news for freelancers, the ultimate content experts.
Custom Publishing vs. Content Marketing (Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute). Check out CMI's eight how-to guides.

[Back to Top]

5 Myths of Content Marketing Debunked (Matt Creamer, kbs, Fast Company 6-16-14). Using examples from Red Bull ("maximalist approach") to GE, BMW, Intel, Goldman Sachs, and Gawker Studios, uses client stories to dispel myths such as Brands doing content can't tell their own stories; CM is province of 24-year-olds; short-form is only form in our attention-deficit culture (but here long-form is a 4-minute video); content is just another name for advertising.
• Content providers and distributors at the high-functioning and $$ end: Taboola and
Outbrain.. See How Two Israeli Companies Are Leading The Pack In The AdSense For Content Space (Alexander Taub, Forbes, 3-28-13). They can show "that linking people to good content will make them more money than a standard ad banner. That’s where this becomes dangerous and a real threat to Google AdSense."
• See also 7 Things You Need to Know From My Content Amplification Test (pushing Cision)
What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does It Work? (Dan Shewan, B2C, 5-11-14) Shewan means articles 1,200 words or longer. Here's one example of the long-form content they say readers want (it's free): The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking by Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor.
Content Marketing Institute's magazine, its white papers, and booklets like this: Content Marketing for Nonprofits
Yes, It’s OK to Go to the Dark Side: How to Find Agencies that Need Content Marketing Writers (Jennifer Gregory, The Content Marketing Writer, 11-13-13)
How to Find 100 (Or More) Potential Content Marketing Writing Clients (Jennifer Goforth Gregory, The Content Marketing Writer, 2-19-14).
How to Find (and Win) Healthcare Content Marketing Clients (Beth, RN-Writer, 6-2-15) With LOI templates. (An LOI is a letter of introduction.)
Fortune Writes Articles Exclusively for Advertisers (Lucia Moses, CMO.com, 3-6-13)."While brand-created content has gotten better, it often falls short of quality editorial product. By creating the TOC edit, Fortune ostensibly will avoid that pitfall. Will they avoid compromising editorial integrity?"
What Writers are Getting Paid (Sonia Simone, Copyblogger) Message: Most freelance writing sucks as a source of $$, except for Content Marketing, commercial writing that’s worth reading, despite serving a business service.
Straddling the Line: Ethical Issues of Writing both Journalism and Content Marketing (Jennifer Gregory, Content Marketing Writer, 11-15-13)
The 10 commandments of content marketing (Eric Anderson, iMedia Connection, 7-21-10) Content shall be shareable, collaborative, fearless, online forever, and sponsored and shall invite comment, among other things.

[Back to Top]

What Is Content Marketing? (Content Marketing Institute) "Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it."
Can Content Marketing Save Journalism? (Sam Slaughter, VP of Content at Contently, on Mashable, 3-18-13) Even brands that don’t have dedicated editorial teams have begun tapping journalists to create “native ads,” in many ways indistinguishable from the journalistic content along which they appear.
Will Content Marketing Kill Journalism or Save it? (Alex Baker, Social Media Today 5-1-13)
Why I like being a "content provider" (Minda Zetlin, ASJA Monthly, Nov 2013)
8 Steps to Make Money as a Content Marketing Writer (Jennifer Gregory, Content Marketing Writer, 11-11-13). You'll find many more pieces on content marketing on Jennifer's site, including this one: What Is the Typical Rate for Content Marketing Writing? (6-9-13)
Content Marketing (free ebooks from Copyblogger)
Content Marketing Lures Journalists Away From Media, Into Business (Michael LoPresti, EContent, 3-22-13) "Journalists are the only people, in my mind, who put the needs of the audience first. Paradoxically, that serves a company's needs far better-because the content they create is customer-driven rather than corporate-driven," says MarketingProfs Ann Handley.
Why Content Marketing Matters (infographic, Viral Blog)


Content curation
Content management systems
Content marketing, native advertising, sponsored posts, etc.
Content curators and content aggregators (pro and con)
The difference between publicity, advertising, marketing, sales, and promotion

[Back to Top]

Advertorials with something to say
Toward the Circular Economy (PDF). "The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report on the Economics of a Circular Economy invites readers to imagine an economy in which today’s goods are tomorrow’s resources, forming a virtuous cycle that fosters prosperity in a world of finite resources. Traditional linear consumption patterns (‘take-make-dispose’) are coming up against constraints on the availability of resources. The challenges on the resource side are compounded by rising demand from the world’s growing and increasingly affluent population. As a result, we are observing unsustainable overuse of resources, higher price levels, and more volatility in many markets."

Content curation

Everyone is on news overload. Become valuable to your audience by becoming a content curator.
Content Curation Primer (Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog). "Content curation is a three-part process: Seek, Sense, and Share." "Content curation is not about collecting links or being an information pack rat, it is more about putting them into a context with organization, annotation, and presentation. Content curators provide a customized, vetted selection of the best and most relevant resources on a very specific topic or theme." (Beth's blog made me aware of "content curation" as a process and led me to many of the following links.)
Why Content Curation Is Here to Stay (Steven Rosenbaum, FastCompany.com, posted 5-3-10 on Mashable) Curation is " the act of human editors adding their work to the machines that gather, organize and filter content." Quoting Clay Shirky: "Curation comes up when search stops working…[and] when people realize that it isn't just about information seeking, it's also about synchronizing a community."
Grazing on Curated Lists Is Like Sipping A Fine Wine (Beth Kanter with links to curating tools and excellent curators) Clearly she's the place to start.
Content Curation: Why Is The Content Curator The Key Emerging Online Editorial Role Of The Future? (Robin Good)
Become a Content Curation King (Sean Carton, ClickZ, 8-29-11) "It's the 'community' part that's at the heart of the whole curation movement and the most powerful element when it comes to curating content as a way of drawing traffic and attention in your marketing efforts."
8 Ways to Find Great Social Media Content (Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner, 2-8-11). Tools to find good social media content are linked to: Google Alerts, Google Reader, Facebook Friends Lists for Better Facebook News Feeds, Twitter Lists, HootSuite, Paper.li, Alltop, Mobile. "What's hot on Alltop, for example, links to these curators: Mashable, TechCrunch, NYT>Home Page, Entrepreneur, ChrisBrogan.com, Readwrite, Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider, Strobist, MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors - iOS Blog, Holy Kaw!, Fast Company, Seth Godin's Blog on marketing, tribes and respect, Wired Top Stories, Lifehacker, Copyblogger, Smashing Magazine Feed, News: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com), CNN Travel, @ProBlogger, Macworld, CNN.com - Top Stories, UAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Lightroom Killer Tips.
Content Curation for Nonprofits – Notes from #13ntccur8 (Beth Kanter on The Unexpected Benefits of Content Curation)
Scoop.it – Curate the Web Your Own Way (review, TechnologyCafe.com)
Why Scoopit Is Becoming An Indispensable Learning Tool (Leanna Johnson, TeachThought.com)
[Back to Top]

Corporate and organizational storytelling

"Say it so it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." ~ Maya Angelou

Reflections on Storytelling and the Development of the “Company Soul” (Ricardo Mejía, FFI Practitioner, 3-13-24) "Given that family businesses represent a significant portion of the global economy (it’s generally accepted that family-owned businesses constitute anywhere between 50% and 90% of the world’s GDP) the soul of these companies will largely depend on the culture of the family owners and the owners’ ability to transmit that culture to the heirs and into the business."
The Four Stories You Need To Lead Deep Organizational Change (Steve Denning, Forbes, 7-25-11) Denning explains the new business model story (the new way of operating), the burning platform story ("explains why the way of operating in the past that was so successful is no longer successful and is leading to disaster"), the springboard story, the story of the past. See also Denning's book The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
•  This Will Be the Top Business Skill of the Next 5 Years (Shane Snow, The Content Strategist, Contently, 2-3-14) Amanda Palmer changed the game for independent musicians with her campaign on Kickstarter. And she did it, not by simply asking for money, but by telling her story. Listen to her TED talk about how through good storytelling she financed producing her first record.
'The Moth' Teaches a Thing or Two About Storytelling: Setting Up the Stakes (Forbes, 11-25-13) Ashoka recently teamed up with The Moth for a storytelling workshop as part of the Ashoka Future Forum, which brought together 400 leading social innovators, business entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and journalists to “plumb the world’s biggest problems and strengthen emerging innovations in a world defined by change. It's important to establish at the top of the story the “why”—the reason the story’s events meant so much to the storyteller. When we learn what’s important to the storyteller, we understand why we should care, too. This is called “setting up the stakes” of the story. (Watch video of Sasha Chanoff at the Forum.)
Tactical Thursdays Episode Library The place you come for tactical and practical fundraising help. Every Thursday, a member of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference Speaker Family opens up their bag of fundraising tricks to give you tactical and practical advice... so you can tell better stories and raise more money for your organization.

[Back to Top]

Your Brain on Story (Kendall Haven, posted on YouTube 3-3-15; From the mediaX Seminar, Science Storytelling & the Power of Participation; 28 minutes) Story is the mechanism for organizing your content. The mechanism of story: engagement (emotionally-laden attention--the gateway to influence); participation, transportation (a precursor of empathy and trust--if audience immerse themselves in the story they treat it as if it were their own), relevance (what does this story mean to me?), and meaning. You either make sense of incoming information, or you ignore it. Haven explains 8 essential elements of a story that control engagement and feed information to neural story net -- and determine how you influence audience. "From repositioning a big corporate brand, to crafting a persuasive narrative that explains groundbreaking science research, Haven contends that if a story does not engage the audience quickly, it is unlikely to exert influence in the long run."
Your Brain on Story: Why Narratives Win Our Hearts and Minds (Michele Wheldon, Pacific-Standard, 4-22-14) "Our craving and connection to story is so much more than a haphazard preference."

[Back to Top]

A Defense of Story (Thaler Pekar, Organizational Development, Stanford SOCIAL INNOVATION Review, 2-19-16) Stories can be overly simple, even deceptive. But more often than not, they help surface and illuminate truth. Stories are efficient structures for delivering both complex and emotional information. The danger lies in over-simplicity and in insisting that everything can be reduced to a single story.
Why Story Matters ( Thaler Pekar, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 12-28-11) When you share a story, you will spark a story....speak about story sharing, rather than storytelling....effective communication is about engagement...achieving resonance.
Storytelling: Creating the 21st century John Seely Brown on the scientist's perspective, Steve Denning on The art of the springboard story, Katalina Groh on Video: The filmmaker as storyteller, Larry Prusak on Knowledge management: Storytelling in organizations , and a good bibliography on narrative and storytelling
The Power of Story ( Elizabeth Svoboda, Aeon, 1-12-15). How stories change hearts and brains. "When story is at its best – as yarn-spinners like Hale can testify – its effect is expansive rather than nakedly persuasive. Narratives that tell us point-blank who we should be, how we should behave, are better described as dictates or propaganda. The most enduring stories, by contrast, broaden our mental and moral outlook without demanding that we hew to a certain standard."

[Back to Top]

11 Ways Remarkable Storytellers Create New Worlds (Michael Simmons, Time, 6-10-15) "To understand how to develop this storytelling superpower and use it for good, I interviewed 11 top online storytellers who collectively generate hundreds of millions of page views every month and asked them to share the secrets of how they craft stories."
• Three brief and snappy histories of BRAND EVOLUTION:
---BRAND EVOLUTION OF HERSHEY: From The Kiss To A Great American Chocolate Empire: A History of Hershey's See how Hershey's evolved from small-town caramel maker to one of the largest candy companies in the world.
---The History Of Levi's Advertising In Three Minutes Memorable moments from the world's most famous jeans, from the controversial crotch rivet to Michel Gondry's award-winning (and banned) ad.
---Peace, Love, And Branding: The History Of Ben & Jerry’s In 3 Minutes How the chilled-out ice cream kings started in a small Vermont gas station and ended up in everyone’s fridge.
The Power to Persuade --- The Magic of Story (Doug Stevenson talk about Story, YouTube). What people respond to in a speech is a well-told story with an emotional charge--story theater, the universal language, showing and telling the story in a way that engages audiences, so you can monetize your story. "Hearing and understanding" something doesn't get people to write a check. Act your story, make it visual, move, create a space, put your audience there with you. Choose one simple point you want to make with this story; don't put them into a "content coma." L0ok for the iceberg moment (a crisis, an obstacle, or a challenge). Make it memorable enough that they will later act.

[Back to Top]

Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling (Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review, 10-28-14)
Your Company's History as a Leadership Tool (John T. Seaman Jr. and George David Smith, Harvard Business Review magazine, Dec. 2012)
How to Tell a Great Story (Carolyn O'Hara, Harvard Business Review, 7-30-14) "...don’t make yourself the star of your own story. ... You can be a central figure, but the ultimate focus should be on people you know, lessons you’ve learned, or events you’ve witnessed. And whenever possible, you should endeavor to 'make the audience or employees the hero,' says Morgan. It increases their engagement and willingness to buy in to your message."
The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool (Harrison Monarth, Harvard Business Review 3-11-14) "“Especially in the Super Bowl, those 30-second ads are almost like mini movies"...
This [Storytelling] Will Be The #1 Business Skill Of The Next 5 Years (Shane Snow, LinkedIn, 8-2-13)
Your Company's History as a Leadership Tool (by John T. Seaman Jr. and George David Smith, Harvard Business Review, Dec. 2012)
The Secret to a Better Reputation Isn't Better Adjectives—It's Better Storytelling (Ryan Clancy, Fast Company 4-28-14)
Storytelling, worldviews and powerplants (Seth Godin, Squidoo). An interesting case history that illustrates this: "The story matters, and it must align with the worldview of the viewer."
How to tell a story: Make it small (Brad Phillips, Mr. Media Training, 12-3-10).

[Back to Top]

One on One: Jerry Weissman, Silicon Valley’s Storyteller (Bits, NY Times, 3-29-13, on pitching IPOs).
Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story by Kendall Haven (reports on research about the effectiveness of stories and/or storytelling for specific applications (education, organizational management, knowledge management, medical and narrative therapy, etc.) and anecdotes from many performing storytellers and story practitioners (mainly teachers).
Death of a Family Farm (Kristina Johnson, story produced by the Food and Environment Reporting Network, Fast Company, 11-24-14). Family businesses remain one of the most popular forms of ownership in America. But when things go wrong, they go really wrong.
Beyond Comprehension: We know that genocide and famine are greater tragedies than a lost dog. At least, we think we do. (Shankar Vedantam, Wash Post, 1-17-10). A fuller, easier to read version appears here: 'The Little Dog Lost at Sea' (The Week, 2-12-10) Author Shankar Vedantam explains why the saga of a shipwrecked pet tugs our hearts more than a distressed nation of millions. (I post both versions because they show how annoying the ad-filled version is -- plus the story gets cut off in the Post) For more from Shankar Vedantam, check out How 'The Hidden Brain' Does The Thinking For Us (NPR, 1-25-10)
Better User Experience with Storytelling (Part 1, Francisco Inchauste, Smashing Magazine). How user experience professionals and designers are using storytelling to create compelling experiences that build human connections.
Anecdote (Australia, "Putting stories to work") offers a free download of Ultimate Guide to Anecdote Circles (PDF, a practical guide to facilitating storytelling and story listening). A blog entry criticizing a Steve Denning video about radical management for not telling stories also offers a Storytest to see if you can spot a story. Good site for insights into storytelling for businesses.
Worldwide Story Network (occasionally interesting Facebook page)
Quantum Narrative, Take 2 (Mike Bonifer, GameChangers, 5-30-11).
Storyhood (research on neighborhood stories and citizenship in the digital age)
How to Become Your Company's Storyteller (Jennifer Wang, Entrepreneur, 1-10-12)

[Back to Top]

Why Storytelling Is the Ultimate Weapon (Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, on Fast Company
How to use humour in business stories (Gabrielle Dolan, LeadingCompany 1-22-13)
Storytelling Techniques: Ten Things Story Won’t Do for Your Nonprofit or Business (Sean Buvala, 10-25-10)
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Your Fans Want to Know Exactly How You Did It by Chris Abraham (B2C, 2-26-13) (as discovered on Just Story It
The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative by Stephen Denning

[Back to Top]

Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire by Paul Smith
Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke
What's Your Story? Storytelling to Move Markets, Audiences, People, and Brands by Ryan D. Mathews and Watts Wacker
Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact by Annette Simmons, expanding on her earlier book, The Story Factor
Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber
Storytelling: Branding in Practice by Klaus Fog, Christian Budtz, and Baris Yakaboylu ("how to turn raw stories into core business stories")
Improving Your Storytelling: Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories in Work and Play by Doug Lipman
From inboxing to thought showers: how business bullshit took over (André Spicer, The Guardian, UK, 11-23-17) A Guardian long read. Vacuous management-speak is easily laughed off – but is there a real cost to talking rubbish?
The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster & Win More Business by Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman.

See a separate full section on Writing Corporate and Organizational Histories (Writers & Editors site).

•  By Design: The Story of Crown Equipment Corporation (an early project of mine) is a good example of the new approach to corporate history -- using stories and profiles of people to make a company history come alive and packaging a very human story in a beautifully designed book. Available on Amazon.com.
CorporateHistory.net "What is written is remembered." Marian Calabro's company site has useful FAQs and downloads about commissioning a corporate history, and the CorporateHistory.net blog has invaluable analyses of (and grades for) various corporate websites, among other things. "Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?)"

[Back to Top]

Writing case studies

Compelling Cases (Casey Hibbard, the success story specialist) Make $1000-$1500 per project.A customer case study is simply a story of a happy customer's experience. Businesses need these customer stories more than ever… but they can't always find writers adequately skilled in interviewing, writing and managing case studies.
---Stories That Sell blog (How Much Can You Edit Customer Quotes?, How to Extend the Reach of Live Customer Presentations, How to Cut Case Study Approval Times by 75%, etc.) Short of word of mouth, there's no better way to communicate value to buyers! 
---6 Traits of Case Studies that Compel and Sell: How Writers Can Deliver Stories that Sell» (Casey's free on-demand video course )
---The Case Study Copywriter's Crash Course Casey's popular long-running video course on the ins and outs of crafting customer case studies
---9 Insider Tips from 10 Years Crafting Customer Stories (free on-demand mp3 audio course, 30 minutes)
--Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset)
---Another Idea for Getting No-Go Customers off the Fence (Casey Hibbard, 6-16-15)


---8 Tips For Creating a Great Case Study (Kristi Hines, KissMetrics, 12-10-11)
---The Risk of Stripping Down Customer Case Studies (Casey Hibbard, Stories That Sell, `12-17-13). "The challenge with abbreviating our customer success stories is this: We may be leaving out what buyers need to make decisions."
---How Experts Write Case Studies that Convert, Not Bore (Danny Schreiber, Zapier blog, 5-6-14)

[Back to Top]

Copywriting and copywriters

In an essay I can no longer find online, copywriter Paul Lima explains, "Advertising is one component in the 4P marketing wheel, which consists of Product (is it something your target market wants), Price (are you competitively priced), Place (can people find and get to your product) and Promotion (advertising and public relations)," any one of which, if missing, could impede sales, as could factors (economic, political, legal, social/cultural, technological) in the external business environment. Paul's site is one of several online primers on commercial writing.
How to design a metaphor (Michael Erard, Aeon, 6-9-15) The metaphor designer isn’t trying to make something beautiful. She wants to change your view on things. Here’s how.
Bob Bly newsletter archives (Bob is a top gun on copywriting). See also his free free how-to articles and his blog on copywriting.
Bob Bly Interviewed by Michael Senoff (fascinating -- on HardToFind Seminars.com). Even if you can't find that interview you will find other helpful pieces and interviews.
Method Acting Approach to Copywriting (Visual Thesaurus, 8-8-07) Sarah Williams of Wordsmith explains how she gets the voice and culture of an organization; why sometimes its better to use Anglo-Saxon English, the language of action ("do, take, grasp") and sometimes French Norman Latinate language ("execute, acquire, apprehend"); and how to organize the material onscreen to get a buy: "If you haven't got your message in the top left hand corner, more or less, you might as well not bother." Plus, imagine the reader/potential customer asking, "What's in it for me?" and you'll be able to get rid of some copy. (Focus on what public wants to hear, not what you want to say.)
Portfolio, Peter Bowerman
Portfolio, KNCreative (Ken Norkin's website is a great example of how to display a portfolio). I also like his rate sheet.
The Copywriter Survival Guide (Danny Thompson's blog).
the writer underground (formerly Copywriter Underground -- Tom Chandler's excellent blog on copywriting and more; get a quick education by reading his pieces)
4 Reasons why being a freelance copywriter is one of the best and safest jobs in today’s new world. (Excess Voice, Nick Usborne's guide to online copywriting)
The Well-Fed Writer. Income-boosting resources for commercial writers (copywriters, business writers, corporate writers or marketing writers) by Peter Bowerman. Check out The Well-Fed Writer Blog (income-boosting resources for commercial writers), his free e-newsletter cum e-zine (subscribe and catch up on back issues), and his books--see Well-Fed Writer, below). He answers FAQs in his Well-Fed Knowledge Base
Excess Voice (articles, tips and resources for online copywriters and web site content writers)

Copywriting That Works: Bright ideas to Help You Inform, Persuade, Motivate and Sell! by Paul Lima
The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells by Robert Bly (3rd edition)
Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas by Richard Bayan
[Back to Top]

Government work

National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) (publishes a Trends and Salary Survey available free to members, $20 to others)
GovLoop (social and knowledge networking for government). Check out its blog.
International City/County Management Association, (ICMA)
Washington Speechwriters Roundtable (DC). Action is on Facebook page.
Tips for Finding Government Writing Jobs in the U.S. (Lesley Vos, Spinsucks, Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros, 2-7-18) Positions focusing on writing for government agencies include both general writers and technical writers. Writers/editors (GS-1082) and Technical writers/editors (GS-1083) call for different duties. Explains how to register for government writing jobs and how to be visible to those hiring.
How to Register as a Government Contractor (Robert Longley, ThoughtCo., 3-7-17) 1. Get a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number. 2. Register your business in the SAM database. 3. Find your company's NAICS code. 4. Get your past performance evaluations. 5. Know your federal tax identification number, your Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, your Product Service codes (optional), and your Federal Supply Classification codess (optional). Good information and links.
What It’s Really Like to Work for Government by Pam Broviak, on GovLoop (a social network for the government community to connect and share information)
What's it really like being a government speechwriter? (James Doughty, Civil Service World, 1-27-17) Words don’t come easily to everyone, but speechwriters have a head start. Department for Work and Pensions wordsmith James Doughty shares some trade secrets
The pros of working in government (Go Government)
Why Consider a Career in Local Government? (International City/County Management Association, ICMA)
Government Contracting: The Basics (PDF, Dept of Defense Office of Small Business Programs)
Government Contracting 101 (PDFs, U.S. Small Business Administration aka SBA.gov)
Per Diem Calculator (GovLoop)
Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy (edited by Fitzhugh Mullan, Ellen Ficken, and Kyna Rubin--an anthology of 46 pieces by patients, physicians, policy makers, and others, drawn from the popular "Narrative Matters" column in the journal Health Affairs-- epitomizing the policy narrative, a genre that explores health policy through the expression of personal experiences. Topics include AIDS, assisted suicide, marketing drugs, genetic engineering, organ transplants, the hard financial realities of medical insurance,and ethnic and racial disparities in the health care system.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
HUBZone Program . The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2012
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business concerns. If you are certified, you may have an advantage in procurement in some federal contract work.
Set-Aside Alert (federal market intelligence for small business)
Small Business Programs: DBEs, MBEs, and WBEs (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises, Women’s Business Enterprises), categories that mean something to the EPA, among other government entities
System for Award Management (SAM) . SAM is the official U.S. federal government system and site for registering to do federal contract work, consolidating the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS.
13 Common Mistakes about Communicating Policies & Procedures Information …and How to Avoid Them by Raymond E. Urgo, a a key source of guidance on policies and procedures (emphasizing the systems thinking aspect of communications). Raymond E. Urgo & Associates' articles, white papers, and presentations may be helpful, as well as Urgo's quarterly e-newsletter: The Policy & Procedures Authority . Past issues are available on the website.
Writing for the Web (video, Federal Aviation Administration). See FAA quick reference, A-Z.
U.S. Government Style Manual
GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys)
Templates for Directives U.S. Dept of Energy
Veteran’s guide to starting a business (Best Accounting Software) and guides to other business resources.
Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program Certification (SBA.gov)

Plain Language

What Is Plain Language?
A Plain English Handbook: How to Create Clear SEC Disclosure Documents (PDF file, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
Plain Language Handbook (PDF file of Richard Lauchman's handbook for federal U.S. writing)
Plain Language: It's the law (PlainLanguage.gov). Here are plain language experts and pages for various federal U.S. agencies
Model website language (PlainLanguage.gov)
Using Readability Formulas: A Cautionary Note (Part 7 of the Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). The toolkit clearly addresses in inadequacies of readability formulas.

[Back to Top]

Usability and the user experience (UX)

Quick: What's a "Norman door"?

Publishing Accessible Content (Nina Amato, ScienceEditor, Council of Science Editors, 3-21-22) Equal access to web content is long overdue. Publishers can begin to address the needs of all users with coding conventions that make websites more accessible.
UX Toolbox (Artem Komarov) UI editor and prototypers, Mock-up prototypers, Mobile app prototypers,design tools, color palettes, color pickers, customer journey map tools, etc. And links to articles, including

The 22 Rules of UX (Valeria Spirovski, ThoughtWorks, 5-19-15)

   #4: Tell the story of your user. "Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___ so that ___. One day ___. Because of that ___. Because of that ___. Until finally ___.
    #9: When you're stuck, make a list of what WOULDN'T work. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.


Smashing Magazine articles on Usability, listing only a few examples here:
---What makes a great toggle button (Eduard Kuric,8-24-22, Part 1) and Part 2
---How Our Organization Improved Web Accessibility (Case Study) (Catherine Houle and Ilknur Eren, 8-8-22) How their organization “Understood” removes barriers for people who learn and think differently by combining accessibility and usability in their processes. They also cover basic steps on how to fix common accessibility issues.
---Designing A Perfect Pricing Page UX (Eric Bailey, 6-24-22) Pricing pages can be complex and confusing. Explores some design patterns, guidelines, real-life examples and best practices on how to design a better pricing page.
---Adding Search To Your Site In 15 Minutes (Leonardo Losoviz, 6-15-22)
Video from Smashing conferences


Two Tips for Better UX Storytelling (Mayya Azarova, NN Group, 5-15-22) Improve your user stories by taking advantage of the concept of story triangle and of the story-mountain template. 9 UX Secrets I Stole From People Smarter Than Me (Spencer Lanoue, Fast Company, 1-13-16) UX advice from experts at Ideo, Polar, CapitalOne, and more. How to display threaded discussions on the web (Elezea, 9-15)
Interface and Interaction Design (Jennifer Fleming, Chapter 5 of Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience) "The happy marriage of architecture and interface--of logical structure and visual meaning--creates a cohesive user experience." By analogy with subway system: "Architecture (the system's logical structure) and interface (visual cues and guidance) work together to help the subway's riders make decisions and plan routes....Visual hierarchies show relationships between elements on a page."
Why UX is pivotal to the future of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  (David Freeman, Search Engine Land, 2-22-17) "A lack of consideration for the user experience at different entry points can cause consumers to leave the site and look elsewhere." Two examples of poor UX:
     "Tabbed content, in which consumers land on the page relevant to their search, but the information they sought is hidden within a tab.
      "Infinite scroll pages, in which multiple subtopics reside on a single URL, with no method to land the consumer on the section relevant to their search."
• Norman Doors: You should not open a door and see someone pooping (Adam Mastroianni, Experimental History, 3-8-22) Bad design is everywhere. Norman Doors––the kind that fool you into pulling when you should push or pushing when you should pull––are still common nearly thirty years after a bestselling book pointed out their stupidity. See also Intro to UX: the Norman door (Jesse Russell Morgan, UX Collective, 12-28-18) How do you know something is poorly designed? You have a hard time using it.
Society for Technical Communications (STC). Major organization with many local chapters and helpful online special interest groups, or SIGs, on instructional design, usability, technical editing, and other topics). You may work toward or apply to be a Certified Professional in Technical Communication (CPTC).
User Experience Professionals Association. Formerly the Usability Professionals' Association (UPA)
UX Magazine
Help Authoring Tools. Overview of "recommendable" tools for creating software documentation, especially for the creation of user manuals and online help files, by Marc Achtelig of Indoition. (I am not knowledgeable enough to evaluate this, but it looks useful. Search for "help authoring tools" to fine more up-to-date resources on the topic.)
The PDF Association thinks the Mueller report sucks (Adi Robertson, The Verge, 4-19-19) Many people "noticed two things: you couldn’t search for any text on the pages, and the whole file was really, really large. If you were annoyed by either of those things, you probably weren’t nearly as ticked off as the PDF Association, which published a long explanation of just why the Mueller report PDF file was so bad."
Potential Costs of Poor or Missing Documentation (Joseph Devney, handout for meeting of Berkeley STC, 10-12).
30 Usability Issues To Be Aware Of (Vitaly Friedman, Smashing, 10-9-07) Why companies should pay for good user manuals.
Read more about the UX Storytellers Project here. Then you will probably want to buy the book: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks (foreword by Ginny Redish), about the power of storytelling to improve the user experience. Check it out a bit through Frequently Asked Questions.
Modern web design trends that are making web use easier (UX magazine, 10-9-13)
User experience definitions (All About UX)
User Experience White Paper
Internet of things (IoT, Wikipedia entry) The network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enables these things to connect, collect and exchange data. This Wikipedia entry is worth reading and bookmarking.
     See also Search engine optimization (SEO)

[Back to Top]

Letting Go of the Words, Writing Web Content that Works by Janice (Ginny) Redish
Undercover User Experience Design by Cennydd Bowles and James Box
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks (foreword by Ginny Redish), about the power of storytelling to improve the user experience.
A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster


[Back to Top]

Writing for corporate or organizational clients

Admittedly, this is a catch-all

Alternative Income Sources for Writers, Norman Bauman's summary of an ASJA meeting (2002), helpful on technical writing. See also Catherine E. Oliver on what's required for technical writing; How to find and price medical writing jobs (1999); a piece on text retrieval and search engines, all on Bauman's website, Medical Writing in New York.
Author-It (a content management system and single-source authoring tool, which allows documents to be stored in a single database and re-used for various purposes--e.g., user guides, manuals, help content)
Cartoons about consultants (CartoonStock)

The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual (Chapter 1 from the book The Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, Jake McKee, J. P. Rangaswami, and Dan Gillmor. This was first posted to the web in 1999 as a set of 95 theses and was published as a book in 2000 with the theses extended by seven essays--which examine the impact of the Internet on marketing, claiming that conventional marketing techniques are rendered obsolete by the online "conversations" consumers have, which companies need to join.

[Back to Top]

Direct Marketing archive (Dean Rieck, Direct Marketing) His collected links to articles on various DM topics.
11 Things You MUST Know Before Hiring a Copywriter! (Alexandria K. Brown, EMailUniverse)
FAQs have to be clear, free of hype, and reflect questions users have in real life (one of several old chestnuts from archive of Ease of Writing, Full Circle Communications) along with Writing for mobile devices (secretly Paula Whitacre??)
FCN Voice (blog of Federal Communicators Network, for federal, state, regional, and local communicators)
How to work with Micro-Influencers to boost your B2B marketing plan (Articulate)
Meeting Notes: What Would You Include? (Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Business Writing, 2-25-16)

How Much to Charge (Writers and Editors, Pricing Strategies, How to Set Rates and Fees, and Other Survival Basics---trends and rates for many types of work, in various fields)

How to Write a Case Study (Jennifer Mattern, Directory Journal 7-12-11)

I'd Rather Be Writing, Tom Johnson's blog about the latest trends in technical communication, and his WordPress Tips Newsletter, for blogging in WordPress.

Importance of good writing to business success
Writing: A Ticket to Work . . . Or a Ticket Out (National Writing Project 9-04, you can download the report). The National Commission on Writing, which published the landmark report The Neglected "R," focuses on the American workplace in its second report. According to this report, as technology's role continues to grow, good writing skills are increasingly valued by big business. (you can download PDF file of full report). "In today's workplace writing is a "threshold skill" for hiring and promotion among salaried (i.e., professional) employees. Survey results indicate that writing is a ticket to professional opportunity, while poorly written job applications are a figurative kiss of death." -- from Writing: A Ticket to Work . . . Or a Ticket Out
Writing: A Powerful Message from State Government (download the report). The National Commission on Writing reports that state governments place a high value on the writing skills of their employees, often providing training for professional employees deficient in writing skills.

Freelancing Basics: Finding Freelance Work that Pays Well (Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, STC's Notebook, 3-29-13, geared especially to technical communicators)
Marketing Profs (marketing resources for marketing professionals-- excellent resources for those who join, $295)
Marketing Sherpa. Many excellent articles, including New Eyetracking Heatmap: 6 Ways to Get More Webinar Sign-Ups by Anne Holland.

Plucked From Their Web Writing to Promote a Vaseline Brand (Tanzina Vega, NYTimes, 11-8-10). Vaseline uses crowdsourcing to find product spokeswomen.

Secrets of a Freelance Writer:How to Make $100,000 a Year or More by Robert Bly (third edition), how to make the big bucks writing ads, annual reports, brochures, catalogs, newsletters, direct mail, Web pages, CD-ROMs, press releases, and other projects for corporations, small businesses, associations, nonprofit organizations, the government, and other commercial clients.

Seven Simple Steps to Persuasive Writing (Elizabeth Evans Fryer, Intercom, March 2004)

True long-term career success depends on this most underrated aspect of talent (Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Fast Company, 10-7-19) Indispensable individuals have three major traits that set them apart. They tend to be smart and curious, which means they learn faster and better than others. They tend to have better people skills, so they are more effective in their interpersonal relations. But one critical dimension of talent appears to have been mostly forgotten and is surprisingly absent from companies’ competency frameworks and high-potential models: Self-control.
12 Breeds of Clients and How to Work with Them (Jack Knight,Freelance Switch). Very helpful; do you recognize the types? (Note to headline writer: "disinterested" doesn't mean "uninterested.")
Two-way comm's blog (Dom Crincoli's blog on stirring the status quo in corporate communication and social media)

The Well-Fed Writer. Income-boosting resources for commercial writers (copywriters, business writers, corporate writers or marketing writers) by Peter Bowerman. Check out The Well-Fed Writer Blog (income-boosting resources for commercial writers), his free e-newsletter cum e-zine (subscribe and catch up on back issues), and his books:
The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less
The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living
The Well-Fed Writer: Back For Seconds A Second Helping Of "How-To" For Any Writer Dreaming of Great Bucks and Exceptional Quality of Life (mostly new content includes case histories)
FAQs answered by Peter Bowerman
The Deluxe Well-Fed Tool Box and The Well-Fed Writer Time Line (automatic download after purchase).

[Back to Top]

White papers

("Grey Literature")

For business-to-business purposes, white papers tend to be research papers with an underlying marketing goal (minus the direct pitch). For government, especially in Washington, DC, most often they are neutral, laying out positions both pro and con and options for courses of action. No matter what, remember that most readers don't read past the first paragraph (for years I earned money writing summaries of executive summaries, for that very reason). Also, as Debra Gordon recommends, use callouts, boxes, bulleted lists, and figures to provide a snapshot of important messages. And have the executive summary link to relevant sections of the white paper, for readers who may want to go deeper. Listen to Debra's webinar: The Awesome Power of White Papers: Bringing Customers to You: Video On Demand ($149).
White papers, working papers, preprints, journal articles: What’s the difference? (Denise-Marie Ordway with Matthew Baum, Journalist's Resource, 2-25-22, updated from 2018) The strengths and weaknesses of the most common forms of research papers journalists will encounter.
How to tell good research from flawed research: 13 questions journalists should ask (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 3-21-17)
A cautionary tale about relying on white papers as research (Liz Seegert, Covering Health, Association of Health Care Journalists, 8-14-15) "When two pharmaceutical giants with direct financial interest in a research report’s recommendations support the development of the report, which is then released under the auspices of a nonprofit, alarm bells should sound....It’s quite possible to use some of the information in the research report. Independent verification and clearly pointing out the funding source and bias better serves the audience and journalism as a whole."
Why a white paper (Debra Gordon). A writer's pitch, but a good explanation: "White papers are well-written, referenced, informational reports on topics that are specific to your business....What white papers are not are overt sales pieces. In fact, they shouldn’t even mention your company. Instead, they serve as bread crumbs to lead curious potential customers to your website. You scatter these “crumbs” throughout the Internet..." In a description of her White Paper workshop, Gordon writes: "Considered a 'subtle' marketing tool, a white paper is an informative summary of a key business-related topic that describes a problem and then offers a solution in the form of a product or service (e.g., clinical trial enrollment, using social media in pharma, physician engagement)."
White Paper (Purdue OWL explanation). OWL gives a good example of a B-to-B white paper: "Not: This white paper introduces ABC company's new freight service.
Instead: This white paper discusses how to choose a freight service company that best fits your needs."
Wikipedia on white papers "A white paper is an authoritative report or guide helping readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. White papers are used in two main spheres: government and business-to-business marketing. They may be considered as grey literature."
What’s the Future of White Papers? (Jonathan Kantor, White Paper Pundit, 1-24-13). "White papers may transition from paper-based or PDF-format to online and iPads, but their low cost and fast development cycle ensures that they will be around for some time to come."
White Paper Source
The White Paper FAQ, answers to frequently asked questions, by Gordon Graham ("The White Paper Guy"). Including:
---What is a white paper?
---White papers vs. case studies (chart listing differences)
---How much does a white paper cost?
---White papers and case studies: What’s the difference?
---Who reads white papers?
---What kind of companies need white papers? ("Remember, a white paper is a pre-sales document intended to attract prospects or explain an offering.")
---How hard is it to write a white paper? And how long does it take to write a white paper?
White Paper Source
Three Reasons to Stop Using Numbers in Your Titles (Jonathan Kantor, White Paper Pundit, 9-14-09)
How to Write a White Paper (Jennifer Mattern, Directory Journal 9-1-09)
How to Write a White Paper, By the Numbers (Gordon Graham, Whitepapersource.com 4-3-10)
Do the Flip: How to Turn Product/Service Features Into White Paper Topics (Jonathan Kranz, Whitepapersource 3-9-10)
White Papers & Product Launches: The Push-to-Talk Story (Michael A. Stelzner, Writing White Papers blog, 12-4-06) See archive of stories about white papers, including Before You Start Your White Paper Project, Ask These Questions by John White. Part 1 of 4: What message do we want to convey?. Part 2:Who is the ideal reader for this white paper? Get ready to dissect the persona. What's your paper's call to action? Part 4: Who is going to write the white paper?.
As one experienced editor adds: Find out "upfront the politics behind the project." A white paper is a persuasive document, not an unbiased "journalism" piece. And, in this era of social media, include tweetable sentences.
GreyNet (the Grey Literature Network Service, dedicated to research, publication, open access, and education in the field of grey literature). See What is Grey Literature? (Grey Literature Report, New York Academy of Medicine): "That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers....At The New York Academy of Medicine, there has been a push by public health and health policy researchers for the Academy Library to obtain this type of material and to add it to the catalog "
Grey literature (Wikipedia) "Examples of grey literature include patents, technical reports from government agencies or scientific research groups, working papers from research groups or committees, white papers, and preprints. The term 'grey literature' is used in library and information science."
Green paper. "In the European Union, the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, Hong Kong and the United States, a green paper is a tentative government report and consultation document of policy proposals for debate and discussion, without any commitment to action; the first step in changing the law. Green papers may result in the production of a white paper."

[Back to Top]

ACM Special Interest Group for Design of Communications (SIGDOC,, Association for Computing Machinery)
Associations for translators and interpreters (Writers and Editors)
American Business Media (ABM, an association of business information companies)
American Grant Writers' Association (AGWA)
American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)
Arthur W. Page Society (a professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives who seek to enrich and strengthen their profession)
*** Association for Talent Development (ASTD) (formerly American Society for Training & Development)
Association for Business Communication (ABC)
The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
Association for Women in Communications (AWC)
Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
Association of Independent Information Professionals (aiip, an industry association for owners of independent information businesses)
Association of Professional Communication Consultants (APCC, teaching businesses how to communicate)
Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW)
Copyediting (formerly Copy Editing, excellent publication and webinars) and Copyediting job board(formerly Copy Editor, excellent newsletter, free job board for which you can set up profile to get alerts when gigs are available)
Copyediting-L Community (a free listserv-based discussion list for CE-l subscribers only, to prevent spammers, but readable by the public). "Stalking Danglers Around the World" (with a freelancers directory, and frequent exchanges of macros that make copyediting easier, etc.). Copyediting-L Always Provides Lively Discussion writes Mark Allen, on the Copyediting blog.
eLearning Guild(an online community for the design, development, and management of web-based educational or instructional content — e-Learning)
FrameWorks Institute (Changing the public conversation about social problems)
Freelance (discussion list for publishing industry freelancers, moderated by Chuck Brandstater, available as e-mail only or as archives)
*** GovLoop (social networking for government)
Grant Professionals Association (GPA) (formerly American Grant Writers Association)
HTML Writers Group (IWA-HWG, merged with the International Webmasters Association), writing for the Web
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
*** International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
International Communication Association (ICA)
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI)
International Society of Logistics (SOLE)
International Webmasters Association (IWA, merged with HTML Writers Guild as IWA-HWG)
Media Communications Association--International (MCA-I)
*** National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) (publishes a Trends and Salary Survey available free to members, $20 to others)
National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE)
*** National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
National Council on Public History (NCPH)
National Education Technology Writers Association (NETWA)
National Resume Writers Association (NRWA)
New York Speechwriter's Roundtable
North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA)
Organizations for Editors, Proofreaders, and Indexers (Writers and Editors)
Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC)
Professional Speechwriters Association (a conference is convened by Vital Speeches in October)
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG, bringing together government professionals, academics, consultants, students, and citizens interested in understanding federal history work and the historical development of the federal government)
*** Society for Technical Communications (STC). Major organization with many local chapters and helpful online special interest groups, or SIGs, on instructional design, usability, technical editing, and other topics). You may work toward or apply to be a Certified Professional in Technical Communication (CPTC).
Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)
Techwhirl (resources for technical writers, including Technical Writer (TechWhirl) listserv
User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA--formerly Usability Professionals' Association, or UPA)
Washington Speechwriters Roundtable (DC)
Worldwide Story Network (a community of story practitioners focused on applying story-based techniques in organizational settings)
WritersUA (WinWriters), training, info, and good resource lists for user assistance professionals (Help systems)
[Back to Top]

Speechwriting, public speaking, and presentations (tips, organizations, resources)

and below that (We have met the enemy and he is PowerPoint?)

The Skill Involved in Zelensky's Congressional Address (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 12-23-22) The words of the speech were ‘left brain,’ with careful writerly eloquence. The in-person performance was ‘right brain,’ with emotional power beyond the words. The combination (moment, message, and messenger) was remarkable. Do read this article.
In Video, a Defiant Zelensky Says, ‘We Are Here’ (Valerie Hopkins, NY Times, 2-25-22) The 44-year-old president of Ukraine videotaped himself in Kyiv as Russian forces closed in on the capital, vowing to fight them to the end.
Tips for Giving Clear Talks (IvyPanda) Helpful for students, particularly in distinguishing between types of public speaking (ceremonial, demonstrative, informative, persuasive) and different skill areas (articulation, timing & pacing, body language, research, authenticity). With key tips for coming across effectively.
Why Biden’s SOTU Worked. (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 2-7-23) Simple principles, simply applied. 1. It’s about the speaker, not the speech. 2. It’s also about the scenes. 3. Up beats down. 4. Big tent beats niche. 5. People care about specifics. 6. Being ‘authentic’ matters more than being ‘smooth.’ 7. When in doubt, include an ‘idea.’
American Rhetoric (terrific database of great speeches, text and audio, from politics, from movies, from history -- from Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" to Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech)
'The Nation I Know,' by George W. Bush (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 9-11-21) What we learned today from a consciously "written" address, and about a president redeeming himself. The third in a series of Fallows' posts about speechmaking: 
---Eloquence Is Overrated (9-3-21) Don't remember lines from a speech? That could be a sign of its success. For most speakers, formal rhetoric is most effective when least noticeable. Just make your point. As President Truman did.
---2 programs, 1 speech, 1 question Item 3, is about Joe Biden's speech: Get Vaccinated."What is remarkable about the language is that it is unremarkable. This is not how Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy or Barack Obama might have sounded. But it is how Harry Truman would have."

[Go Top]

Lessons from past presidents Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's moving talk about what we can learn from American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. She also shares a moving memory of her own father, and of their shared love of baseball. Clearly this talk was written, but how compelling she is in presenting it. Notice how fast she talks, and doesn't she hold your attention?
bell hooks: Moving from Pain to Power (the late bell hooks in talk/conversation at the New School) How many times does she make you smile? think?
Growing a Language, by Guy L. Steele Jr (YouTube, Sun Microsystems, Oct. 1998). [Text here.]A brilliant presentation--see if you can figure out what his "rule" for the presentation for computer programmers is, on your own. "This is the nub of what I want to say. A language design can no longer be a thing. It must be a pattern -- a pattern for growth -- a pattern for growing the pattern for defining the patterns that programmers can use for their real work and their main goal."
10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert (TED asked Aaron Weyenberg to bottle his Keynote mojo in this presentation)
Once the ‘intellectual blood banks’ of the rich and powerful, can speechwriters be replaced with ChatGPT? (David Murray, Fortune, 2-2-23) "If the Coursera CEO has ever employed a fine speechwriter, he didn’t make good use of that person. Such leaders don’t provide the facetime and candor a speechwriter would need to authentically and meaningfully connect the CEO’s life story and personal outlook with their professional drive and the corporate mission... Speechwriter or not: Any good communicator understands that good writing demands good thinking. And everything that’s worth reading has evolved from an unformed interstellar cloud that was in the writer’s mind into something else altogether."
Former Carter Speechwriter Reflects On How Presidents Used To Speak Overseas (Robert Siegel interviews James Fallows (All Things Considered, 7-7-17) on President Trump's speech in Poland. Fallows was speechwriter for Jimmy Carter. " Jimmy Carter said or Ronald Reagan in Germany or John F. Kennedy in Germany or almost any other American president when speaking overseas, is that previous presidents spoke mainly in universal terms, talking about the idea of the United States, its commitment to liberty and how this was something that was shared around the world. Donald Trump I thought was speaking in much more tribal terms.... like a campaign rally in the United States..."

[Go Top]

Revenge of the ghostwriters (Lili Loofbourow, The Week,8-1-16) Typically silent and unacknowledged, ghostwriters for speeches in the 2016 election are coming out from the shadows and revealing the flaws they learn about in their unrestricted access to those they write speeches for--in particular, Donald Trump.
What's it really like being a government speechwriter? (James Doughty, Civil Service World, 1-27-17) Words don’t come easily to everyone, but speechwriters have a head start. Department for Work and Pensions wordsmith James Doughty shares some trade secrets
The best political speech ever: Mouseland by Tommy Douglas (Daily Kos, 2-27-11, posted by yuriwho). A really effective speech against fat cats.
The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever (NPR's hand-picked 300 speeches). Listen, for example, to Lisa Kudrow's commencement address at Vassar College, 2010
Best Public Speaking Blogs (Six Minutes)
Billy Eichner Wants You to Know He’s Mainstream (Ana Marie Cox, NY Times Magazine, 9-6-17). Cox interviews the "Billy on the Street" comedian about what works best for his interviews and about his time as a speechwriter in the Obama White House.
Carly Fiorina’s Speaking Dos and Don’ts (Michael Barbaro, First Draft, NY Times 10-26-15) Font size and spacing in a speech: “1st draft was usually 12 pt., single space...Final format – 14 pt Arial double-space.”
How to treat stage fright (Consumer Reports product review, July 2011) Some "people sometimes use beta-blockers, most commonly propranolol (Inderal and generic), as well as pindolol (Visken and generic); acebutolol (Sectral and generic); and atenolol (Tenormin and generic)...to blunt the symptoms of performance anxiety. ...Beta-blockers might prevent some of the effects of adrenaline, the body's "fight-or-flight" hormone." One of my favorite public speakers said she overcame fear of public speaking by using Inderal...which, after a few months, she didn't need anymore.
Carter's Speech Therapy (Gordon Stewart's op-ed piece in NY Times -- story of the speechwriting process for Jimmy Carter's famed 1979 speech on the energy crisis)
Cicero Speechwriting Awards (Vital Speeches of the Day)
Cody Keenan Speechwriter: Chicago Native Rose From Unpaid Intern to Presidential Wordsmith (Darlene Superville, Huffpost, 5-25-13). How doing well in an unpaid internship can pay off bigtime!
Figures of Speech Served Fresh
For a speechwriter, research is crucial (Mike Long, director of the White House Writer's Group, on MyRaganTV.com video)
For today’s CEOs, lessons from master speaker Lee Iacocca (Jeff Porro, Ragan.com, 12-20-10). “A good speech is a story,” says Mike Morrison, one of Iacocca's speechwriters. And "Iacocca knew that everything having to do with communication was a story." Also, speeches are to motivate, not inform.

[Go Top]

Free Speech of the week from Vital Speeches of the Day
• Hillary Clinton's speaking fees. The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen. (Daily Kos, 6-11-16). Section 3 is about how common a $200,000 speaking fee is for that top speakers agency's clients.
Former presidential speechwriters spanning from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama talk about the experience of communicating the President's message and how the media landscape has changed over the years, with the rise of social media (and how Trumps' tweeting has shifted and shaped his presidency. (C-SPAN, 10-17-17). Fascinating.
What A Speech Coach Told Me About “Speaking Like A Woman” (And Why It’s BS) (Jessica Bennett, Fast Company, 3-8-17) Women are often coached to speak differently in order to command authority. One writer asks how come.
Speech Topics Help
Public Speaking Speech Topics and Ideas (My Speech Class: Public Speaking Tips & Speech Topics)
How Bill Gates Radically Transformed His Public Speaking And Communication Skills (Carmine Gallo, Forbes). And here's a noted speech: Mosquitoes, malaria, and education Bill Gates, TED, 2/09, with speech and transcript) Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world's biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them. (And see the Q&A on the TED Blog. Question 2: How do we make a teacher great?)

How to get started as a freelance speechwriter (speechwriting master Mike Long)
How To Speak (YouTube, Patrick Winston, MIT OpenCourseWare) Winston's wonderful one-hour talk on how to give a talk, with props, humor, and sound advice.
How to Write and Give a Speech by Joan Detz, doyenne of speechwriting. Author also of It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It: Ready-to-Use Advice for Presentations, Speeches, and Other Speaking Occasions, Large and Small
How to write a 'sticky' speech (Liz Mitchell, MyRaganTV.com video)
How Writers Can Overcome Their Fear of Public Speaking (Betsy Graziani Fasbinder on Jane Friedman's blog, 9-5-18) by the author of From Page to Stage: Inspiration, Tools, and Simple Public Speaking Tips for Writers

[Go Top]

Humor in speechwriting. Cynthia J. Starks, "Mushroom walks into a bar" (3-15-11). "A speaker’s humor should be self-deprecating and/or play off contemporary issues and popular culture – the zeitgeist of the day."
Idea Bank (for quotations, anecdotes, humor, historical tidbits and other material to jazz up speeches)
"I Have a Dream" speech . Rita Manno (PhillyBurbs.com, 8-24-13) on the speechwriting story and how Martin Luther King Jr. departed from a group-prepared speech after paragraph 7 -- and ad libbed the part everyone remembers. "I have a dream" was NOT in the script. More on that: Why MLK's 'I Have a Dream' Speech Has Such Historic Impact (talk given by David Rubenstein at the Aspen Institute, posted on Learn Out Loud). Long--51 minutes--but interesting.
Jeb Bush did something new: He commanded the room (Eli Stokols, Politico, 11-18-15) The cash-rich, poll-poor contender made an investment in a speech coach, and it’s paying off.
Michelle Obama's speech about Hillary at DNC Convention, 2016. She hit one out of the park with this one, as Emily Paulsen put it. Here's a story about her speechwriter, Sarah Hurwitz, and about how Michelle works on speeches: What’s on Michelle Obama’s mind? Meet the speechwriter who puts it into words. (Krissah Thompson, WaPo, 6-13-16).
Jeff Poro's blog
Mix of Hope and Fear: What It's Like to Write President Obama's Speeches -- Meet Cody Keenan/a> (John Schuppe and Peter Alexander, U.S. News, 1-12-16)
What being a speechwriter for Barack Obama was really like (Sopan Deb, The Independent, UK, 9-5-17) David Litt’s book about his time in the White House is different than most books by political operatives: he writes about his lack of influence. The book: Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt

[Go Top]


New York Speechwriter's Roundtable (sic). Also on Facebook
Nick Morgan's blog (public speaking advice)
Paul Lima's blog (the six-figure freelancer)
Podium Pundits
The Political Speechwriter's Life (Robert Lehrman, Opinionator, NY Times, 11-3-12)
Prepare Your Speaker's Toolbox (Angela DeFinis)
Public Speaking Blogs: The Definitive List (Six Minutes) and here's where they twitter
Professional Speaker Associations (Andrew Dlugan, Six Minutes)
Presentation Tips (slideshare, Graduate School of Education, University of Buffalo)
Presentation Tips (Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen)
Presentation Zen (Garr Reynolds' blog on professional presentation design)
Professionally Speaking (Ian Griffin's blog on communications, presentations, speechwriting, with links to other speechwriters)
Public Speaking Training (81 brief tutorials, on video, from Howcast)
PunditWire ("Where Political Speechwriters Comment on the News") Interesting pieces and a solid "Sites We Read" list)
The 'Quote...Unquote' Newsletter , which focuses on misattributed quotations. (Click here for afree subscription
Rhetoric Resources (OEDB)
Scared Speechless? Join Toastmasters (by Pat McNees, an article that ran eons ago in the Washington Post)
Scudder Media blog
Six Minutes. Check out speeches and speech critiques and other resources
Speech Analysis: How to Study and Critique a Speech (Six Minutes blog)
Speechwriting 2.0 (Fletcher Dean)
Statistics on the Professional Speaking Industry (Dan Poynter, ParaPublishing.com)
Steinbeck's Nobel Speech (J.F. McKenna, Steinbeck Now, 11-2-14). After 20 rewrites to make it suave, he started over and made it sound like himself.
StoryU Online Do you have a simple and effective way to talk about that complex, world-changing, disruptive idea, product, solution, program, or vision? Get Storied invites you to download their free manifesto about humanizing business through the art of storytelling ("Change your story. Change your world.")
The 20 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time
Using Sound as a Presentation Storytelling Tool (Gabrielle Reed, Ethos3, 7-18-16)
Vital Speeches of the Day blog , including this one on helping a client by tweaking THEIR work
Vital Speeches of the Day
Washington Speechwriters Roundtable
What to do with your hands when speaking in public (Jena McGregor and Shelly Tan, Washington Post, 11-17-15) When really charismatic leaders use hand gestures, the brain is super happy," she said. "Because it’s getting two explanations in one, and the brain loves that." The problem for most people, of course, is figuring out how to use the right gestures that reinforce their verbal message—all while anxiously trying to remember what to say.
Winston Churchill's Way With Words (Tom Vitale, NPR, 7-14-12). Churchill wrote every word of his many speeches. An exhibit in New York celebrates his oratory.
'We Can't Walk Away From This Truth' (Mitch Landrieu, The Atlantic, 5-23-17) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu explains to his city why four monuments commemorating the Lost Cause and the Confederacy had to come down.

"Political language--and with variations this is true of all parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists--is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." ~George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language"

[Go Top]

Present! A Techie's Guide to Public Speaking by Poornima Vijayashanker and Karen Catlin
From Page to Stage: Inspiration, Tools, and Public Speaking Tips for Writers by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder
Championing Science: Communicating Your Ideas to Decision Makers by Roger D. Aines and Amy L. Aines
White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters by Robert Schlesinger
Speechwright: An Insider's Take on Political Rhetoric by William F. Gavin
Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter by Craig Smith

[Go Top]

Practical details about speaking engagements

Tired Of Speaking For Free? Here’s How To Get Paid To Speak (Dana Brownlee, Forbes, 12-4-19)
How to Land Your First Paid Speaking Gig(Dorie Clark, Harvard Business Review, 11-17)
How to Find Speaking Opportunities (Dane Cobain, SpeakerHub, 12-13-21)
Speaking Engagements: How to Find & Book Speaking Gigs (Chandler Bolt, Self-Publishing School, 2-5-23)
Speaker Match How to find a speaker. How, if you're a speaker, to get speaking engagements.
How to Locate Speaking Engagements–Free and Paid (Stephanie Chandler, Nonfiction Authors Association, 5-1-18)
11 Types of Speaking Engagements for Business Prospecting (Indeed, 7-21-21) A speaking engagement is any public or private event that hosts a single speaker or panel of speakers. In business prospecting, these events help professionals network with others in the same industry and display technical knowledge and skills. Types of speaking engagements discussed: Leadership seminars, training seminars, motivational speaker events,community or university classes, religious institution seminars, webinars, launch events for new services or products, expert interviews, industry round table events, networking seminars, Q&A sessions.
Writing Speaker Contracts: Everything You Need To Know (Cece Payne, SpeakerFlow)

• If you are a speaker or a podcast guest anywhere, be sure your media engagement contracts specify that the recording of your speech or interview cannot be turned into a book and sold. Podcast interviewers may see this as their 'right' because of the type of standard contract they use, which says they can do anything they want with the interview to make money. Insist that if they don't change this part of the contract, you won't do the interview.
Professional Speaking Engagement Agreement (Speaker Match)
Speaking Engagement Agreement (Wonder Legal)

[Back to Top]

We have met the enemy and he is PowerPoint?

Take Your Presentation to the Next Level with MS PowerPoint (IvyPanda, 7-21-22) An excellent how-to article, with recommendations for 7 templates and links to additional resources.

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint by Elisabeth Bumiller (NY Times 4-26-10). U.S. military spending too much time on a program some believe "stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making," creating the illusion of understanding and control.
How Not to Use PowerPoint (clever slide show by Alexei Kapterev)
Life After Death by PowerPoint (video, comedian Don McMillan)
How to avoid death By PowerPoint (YouTube, David JP Phillips, TEDxStockholmSalon, 4-14-14)
How To Prepare Your Speech Like TED Talks (Free PowerPoint Templates)
How to Add More Pep to Your Presentations (Leigh Buchanan, Inc., Oct. 2013) The skinny on PechaKucha, a presentation style imported from Japan that emphasizes speed and graphics. "“It makes people crisp,” says Bass. “It forces them to organize their thinking.” See also Pecha Kucha and the art of liberating constraints (Garr Reynolds' blog, Presentation Zen, 9-28-07) and Daniel Pink: Pecha Kucha: Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides Then Sit the Hell Down (Wired, 8-21-07)
PowerPoint presentations (Jerry Weissman interview)
Winning Strategies for Power Presentations: Jerry Weissman Delivers Lessons from the World's Best Presenters (by Jerry Weissman)
• PowerPoint. Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within ($7), and you can read a sample here of why understanding PowerPoint is particularly important with technical material: PowerPoint Does Rocket Science--and Better Techniques for Technical Reports (Scroll down for this: Tufte analyzes one incident of flawed PowerPoint, in a Boeing analysis of launch damage to the space shuttle Columbia, arguing that poor PowerPoint design led to grave misinterpretations of Columbia's vulnerability and to Columbia blowing up on re-entry). Go here for links to many more Tufte essays by the author of the classic The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (now in its second edition).
PowerPoint (Simon Wardley's smart use of images, concept, humor in presentation on Cloud Computing)
The Problem with PowerPoint (BBC News Magazine 8-19-09, and do check out the slide show)
PowerPoint in the Classroom--Is It Really Necessary? (Cell Biology, 2004)
Designing PowerPoint Slides for a Scientific Presentattion (CLIMB)
Speaking About Presenting: On PowerPoint (links to several articles)

[Back to Top]

See a separate section on Writing Corporate and Organizational Histories (Writers & Editors site).
By Design: The Story of Crown Equipment Corporation (an early project of mine) is a good example of the new approach to corporate history -- using stories and profiles of people to make a company history come alive and packaging a very human story in a beautifully designed book. Available on Amazon.com.
CorporateHistory.net "What is written is remembered." Marian Calabro's company site has useful FAQs and downloads about commissioning a corporate history, and the CorporateHistory.net blog has invaluable analyses of (and grades for) various corporate websites, among other things. "Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?)"

Becoming (or Hiring) a Technical Writer

Society for Technical Communications (STC). The top organization for technical writers, with many local chapters and helpful online special interest groups, or SIGs, on instructional design, usability, technical editing, and other topics. STC members communicate about technical or specialized topics, such as computer applications, medical procedures, or environmental regulations. They communicate by using technology, such as Web pages, help files, or social media sites. And they provide instructions for products and services. You may work toward or apply to be a Certified Professional in Technical Communication (CPTC). .
Median salary for a technical writer (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012): $65,500 per year, $31.49 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,700 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,660. Technical writers may be expected to work evenings and weekends to coordinate with those in other time zones or to meet deadlines. Most work full time. Technical writing jobs are usually concentrated in locations with information technology or scientific and technical research companies, such as California and Texas.
ConveyUX (conference tapes, 2014). Agenda for next conference
IEEE Professional Communication Society
TechWhir-l (listserv for those interested in Content Management and Technical Communications)
Independent Computer Consultant Association (ICCA), professional freelance techies.
Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW)
User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) (formerly Usability Professionals' Association). UX is an approach to product development that incorporates direct user feedback throughout the development cycle (human-centered design) to reduce costs and create products and tools that meet user needs and have are easy to use. See resources, jobs, publications, chapters & SIGs.
The Tech Writer's Assistant.
The Truth about Technical Communication (Mary Colleen Jenkins, Copyediting, 5-29-18) Technical documents include any genre that helps the reader take an action or make a decision. Technical editors look at the big picture and the fine detail. Technical editors don't necessaraily have to be subject matter experts (SMEs).
Q&A on Technical Writing with Chris Clements (STC-DC blog)
Value Added: Mom taught daughter how to pursue success (Thomas Heath, Wash Post, 9-1-13). To get her first technical writing job, Pam Hurley called and called and called. Finally she got a gig teaching employees how to get to the point when they wrote reports. Her fee went from $500 a day to $2000 and then up from there (for teaching critical thinking).
Alternative Income Sources for Writers, Norman Bauman's summary of an ASJA meeting (2002), helpful on technical writing. See also Catherine E. Oliver on what's required for technical writing; How to find and price medical writing jobs (1999); a piece on text retrieval and search engines, all on Bauman's website, Medical Writing in New York.
Becoming a freelance technical writer (Scott, Communications from DMN)
Technical writing (Wikipedia's helpful outline)
I'd Rather Be Writing, Tom Johnson's blog about the latest trends in technical communication, and his WordPress Tips Newsletter, for blogging in WordPress.
Technical Writing Careers — Answering 13 Questions about Technical Writing Jobs (Tom Johnson, I'd Rather Be Writing blog, 2-16-08)
How to Break into Technical Writing (Tom Johnson, I'd Rather Be Writing, 5-27-07)
Top 10 Workspace Configurations for Technical Writers (Tom Johnson, I'd Rather Be Writing)
The Case for “Technical Communicator” (PDF, Maurice Martin, STC, and Richard O'Sullivan, Change Management Solutions)
What makes a good document? The criteria we use (PDF, Rob Waller, Simplification Centre, April 2011)
Hiring a Technical Writer (docsymmetry.com, and pretty interesting!)
Hiring Contract Freelance Technical Writers (Writing Assistance Inc.)
Technical Writing Part One: Process Overview (John Hewitt, Poe War, 12-28-07)
Technical Writing Part Two: What a Technical Writer Writes (John Hewitt, Poe War, 12-29-07)
Technical Writing Part Three: A Technical Writer's Skill Set (John Hewitt, Poe War, 12-30-07)
Technical Writing Part Four: Desktop Publishing Tools (John Hewitt, Poe War, 12-31-07)
Technical Writing Part Five: Education (John Hewitt, Poe War, 1-1-08)
Technical Writing Part Six: How to Find Technical Writing Jobs (John Hewitt, Poe War, 1-3-08)
The Technical Communication Knowledge Portal

[Back to Top]
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." ~Thomas Edison

What's the Difference Between a Technical Writer and a Technical Communicator?

The Society for Technical Communications is trying to get the Department of Labor to update its definition, which so far is here for what a technical communicator does:

"Develop and design instructional and informational tools needed to assure safe, appropriate, and effective use of science and technology, intellectual property, and manufactured products and services. Combine multimedia knowledge and strong communication skills with technical expertise to educate across the entire spectrum of users’ abilities, technical experience,
and visual and auditory capabilities."

According to Maurice Martin and Richard O'Sullivan, who wrote "The Case for 'Technical Communicator,' "Technical writing is static and one-way. Technical communication is dynamic and interactive."

“Technical writers produce content for users," says STC's Larry Kunz. "Technical communicators manage content and relationships with users.”

Why does it matter? Guess who gets paid more!

[Back to Top]

E-learning, distance education, online training

Mere samples of materials available

eLearning Guild (a practice community for the design, development, and management of web-based educational or instructional content).
834 Tips for Successful Online Training (download free PDF of booklet from eLearning Guild)
Programmed Interactions: Spell It Out First (Kevin Wilcoxon, Learning Solutions Magazine, 6-16-14). See other articles, including eLearning Guild Research: How Should We Measure Training's Value? Not ROI. (Patti Shank, 6-17-14)
E-learning conferences worldwide
Rapid E-Learning Blog (see especially Tom Kuhlman's explanation of how to rethink and best use PowerPoint for e-learning)
Articulate ("Create online and mobile courses with the world’s favorite e-learning authoring tools: Articulate Storyline and Articulate Studio 13)
Adding images, sound, story, humor, animation
Converting Classroom Training to Virtual Instruction: Some Tips (Joel Gendelman, Learning Solutions, 1-7-13)
Responsive eLearning with Adobe Captivate 8: Step-by-Step (Pooja Jaisingh, Learning Solutions, 6-12-14)

Books on
E-learning, distance education, online training

The following books may also be helpful—especially the Clark & Meyer.
e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning by Ruth Clark and Richard E. Mayer (a solid research-based primer on how students learn and therefore how best to use technology)
Michael Allen's Guide to E-Learning
E-Learning by Design and Designing Web-Based Training: How to Teach Anyone Anything Anywhere Anytime , both by William Horton
Creating Learning-Centered Courses for the World Wide Web by William B. Sanders (see especially good chapter on JavaScript for enabling student interactivity—e.g., with pop-up windows and brief quizzes)
Instructional and Cognitive Impacts of Web-Based Education by Beverly Abbey
Multimedia for Learning by Stephen Alessi and Stanley Trollip
Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology by Robert Reiser and John V. Dempsey
Learning-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning by Mary E. Huba
The In's and Out's of Online Instruction: Transitioning from Brick and Mortar to Online Teaching by Danan Myers-Wylie
And then, if you are designing the instructional software, you will want to look at workshops and books on tools such as JavaScript and Flash and such authoring tools as LMSand LCMS.

[Go Top]

Getting funded: grant proposal writing

(organizations,workshops, guides

(Check out these websites for workshops on grant proposal writing)
American Grant Writers' Association (AGWA) (offers a grant-writing workshop, review, and exam for certification and online courses)
Associated Grant Makers Common Proposal Form
Common proposal forms (Foundation Center)
Grant Professionals Association (GPA) (formerly American Association of Grant Professionals, AAGP)
Non-profit guides (grant-writing tools for non-profit organizations)
Grant proposal writing and other fundraising resources (Writers and Editors)

Here are a few of the many books available on grant proposal writing:
Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals by Mary S. Hall and Susan Howlett
The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing
Grant Writing For Dummies by Beverly A. Browning\
Grant Writing: Strategies for Developing Winning Government Proposals by Patrick Miller
The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox
Guide to Effective Grant Writing: How to Write a Successful NIH Grant Application by Otto O. Yang
Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits by Joseph Barbato and Danielle Furlich
Writing Successful Science Proposals by Andrew J. Friedland and Carol L. Folt
Resources for Writing and Editing Grant Proposals (Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, Editor-Mom, 1-26-11) An excellent list of resources on the subject.
Five critical mistakes to look for when editing proposals (Joseph Priest, Aces, 11-9-18) One of them: "Proposals are chock-full of bulleted lists. So one error that easily makes the top of the list of things to look for is a lack of parallel structure in these lists." After putting tons of work into writing a proposal, don't sink its chances by failing to have it professionally edited for style and grammar errors.
[Go Top]