On any given day, we end up writing in some manner or another—more than likely and at the very least, it’s in an email format.

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[We want a to give a quick shoutout and thanks to our friends at PR News, where this article originally ran (May 2, 2016 newsletter). You can also find it in the PR News Writer’s Guidebook, vol. 2 (200 pages of invaluable PR professional advice). Want a copy? Get $50 off with coupon code Friendwriters16.]


Keyword-based SEO is a trap.

Most of us know that keyword stuffing is a bad idea, but many aren’t aware that most of the effort put into keywords is of low consequence. Keywords shouldn’t be viewed as a primary metric but rather as a natural result of effective content that brings value to the target reader. Algorithms are smarter these days, and effective conversion comes from truly understanding the voice needed to reach the ideal target market.

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Marketing firms follow emerging demographics, so as Millennials transition from the spotlight to the steering wheel, the focus of the advertising industry will begin turning to upcoming generations.

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While the technology is still in the early stages of widespread social acceptance, some would say the future of advertising and marketing is an augmented one. In our digitally fueled business landscape, consumer immersion is shaping B2C creativity now more than ever, and it’s easy to see marketers taking advantage of the latest and quickest evolving platforms in immersive media: augmented and virtual reality.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking.

How much did Trader Joe’s pay him to write this?

Don’t worry—the advertisers haven’t bought me yet. This has nothing to do with advertising and everything to do with me stumbling across a great example of copywriting done right.

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Welcome to the first Language Ninja article of what is sure to be a blazing hot summer!

Ninja’s beat the heat tip: Switch out your heat-absorbing black shinobi shōzoku for a light-reflecting bodysuit made of mirrors. She’s pretty sure you can find one on Etsy.

Now that the practical advice is out of the way, let’s get started on the questions!

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There is almost nothing as metaphorically, if not physically, painful as watching two people who don’t know what they’re talking about try to explain something to each other.

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To put broad strokes on the canvas of writing and editing merely for over-simplification, there are two overarching types of writers and editors: the brats and the angels. How they behave is distinctly different due to their different roles. The good news is, once a writer or an editor recognizes he or she behaves in one of these ways, it’s easy to change—though one way is obviously (at least to us) a better way to go about things.

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If you lived through the peak years of Irish rock band U2, you may remember Bono as the band’s charismatic front-runner, creative genius, and global philanthropist extraordinaire. Alternatively, you may remember him as “that guy who spent most of a decade loudly repeating ‘yeah’ over melodramatic guitar riffs.”

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If I were

OR

If I was?

Which is correct?

Most of us might vaguely recall a high school English teacher discussing mood, but few of us remember what it means.

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