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Displaying items by tag: content
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:50

Grading Content for Readability has Limitations

Copy grading services, such as Flesch-Kincaid, attempt to score content according to readability and difficulty. (The last sentence scored high in difficulty and low in reading ease. That’s not good.) Content writers worry about these scores because many clients want content scored at 8 or below. Generally, this means writing short, simple, active sentences. But not always. Like so many rules, this one is meant to be bent. Writers need to mix up the tempo and style of their writing. Let’s take the first few lines of the prologue in Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: “It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna.” That comes up as a 10.5 in grade level (or difficulty) and reading ease of 58.1. Eh, not so good, either. These are a few sentences with Flesch-Kincaid grade level scores and reading ease percentages: “I ran a marathon.” 3.6/75.8% “I ran a marathon and had a good overall time.” 4.8/78.2% “I ran a marathon, had a good overall time and didn’t get too sore.” 5.0/83.8% This one is surprising: “I ran a marathon last week, in the rain and when I wasn’t feeling too well; so, I didn’t run very well but I tried.” 2.9/96% What do you think? The last example sentence seems bulky and too complex to me, but it scored well. My point: Content graders are tools; not rules.

Published in Writing style
Tuesday, 10 May 2011 14:09

Blogging for business

The other day I interviewed Wendy Lewis, president, Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, about the art of blogging for Cosmetic Surgery Times magazine.


While she was talking about how cosmetic and plastic surgeons can best create and use blogs, any person in business can use these simple tips: 


  • Blogging should be about a topic of interest and within your expertise.
  • Remember to use key words in your blogging, but not so much that the content becomes impossible to read and you lose the message.
  • Good fodder for blogs: timely news topics and trends. Remember, blogs should be current.
  • Stress education over promotion in your blog content.
  • Consider writing unique content. Google doesn’t like duplicated content. If your blog post is something you pulled off another website, that’s not going to help you.


Thanks, Wendy!

Published in Writing style
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 15:09

Let's get real (in our writing)

Earning the trust of readers happens in the first few sentences--whether writing an article, content, or blog. I've learned that writing that earns the most positive attention doesn't make flowery claims; educates, rather than sells; and exposes truths or imperfections.

Published in Writing style