How much is brevity worth? If you’re Axios, $525 million.


Online news provider Axios just accepted Cox Enterprises’ acquisition offer worth $525 million. Where did the value in Axios come from? Brevity. Axios articles are short and pointed Below is a screen capture of a typical Axios article. The word count, including the headline, the byline, and the photo caption, is 247 words. What is … Continued

5 ways to fix a book that is too long


Most nonfiction authors write too much. Let’s talk about what’s probably wrong and how to fix it. How long should your book be? While there is no single correct answer to that question for every book, business books these days tend to come in at around 50,000 to 60,000 words, which generates a book of … Continued

Insights from ABC’s pitch-perfect slap-down of Roseanne Barr — plus commentary by Melissa Agnes


On Twitter, Roseanne Barr described Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett as the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. After this profoundly offensive and racist statement, ABC cancelled the very popular reboot of Barr’s sitcom “Roseanne.” ABC’s statement was the epitome of brevity, clarity, and punch: Statement by Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment Roseanne’s … Continued

The world’s best agency contract, by Segura

The Chicago design and communications firm Segura created my all-time favorite agency contract. Here it is:   This is even better than my “consulting contract without bullshit.” It sets expectations, which is the key to a good relationship. Heard through David Stengle and BoingBoing.

What business writers can learn from journalists — and what they can’t


Should business writers write like journalists? Some journalist habits — like never burying the lede — make perfect sense. But if you imagine you’re Woodward and Bernstein, you’re deluded. Learn which journalistic conventions will make your writing better, and which will ruin it. Journalist habits that business writers should adopt Journalists and business writers share … Continued

Your writing problems are not what you think (Survey Data)


What’s wrong with your writing? If you think it’s too long, you’re probably right. While you may not realize you have organization and clarity problems, your readers do. Early this year, I surveyed 547 business writers (details below*). This is my first post about the data from that survey. One question I asked was this: In … Continued

10 tips on how to write shorter


Use fewer words. If there is one thing you learn from me, learn that. I’ll show you how. If you’re in business, people read what you write on a screen. Their inbox is filled with crap. You’ve got to get them hooked quickly, deliver your message, and then let them get on with their day. … Continued