Wow Air shutdown shows why “you’re screwed” is passive voice

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Without warning, the Icelandic airline Wow Air has suspended all its flights while seeking additional financing. There is no better illustration of how companies use passive voice to evade blame than its message to passengers. By writing in the passive voice, Wow Air makes it sound as if this is some unfortunate and unforeseen circumstance … Continued

Why NAV.com belongs in the clueless telemarketers hall of fame

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So I got a call last week from an unfamiliar number. I answer these because sometimes they are leads from my site. But then . . . well, we’ve all developed the instinct — my spidey-sense started tingling immediately. Ring. Josh: [Waits a few seconds, then] Hello. Caller: [Three second pause, click]. Hello. Is this … Continued

Irony is dead at Trump for President, Inc.

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Tim Murtaugh, Director of Communications for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, sent a memo to TV producers regarding who they should put on TV. Imagine what would happen if we took this seriously? The text of Murtaugh’s memo to producers at networks like CNN is below. Memorandum To: Television Producers From: Tim Murtaugh Director of Communications, … Continued

What is Robert Kraft apologizing for?

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft just apologized for not doing anything wrong. Why bother? Police in Jupiter, Florida say they have video of Robert Kraft visiting the Orchids of Asia spa and massage parlor, which they say was a front for prostitution. The video almost certainly shows him doing something he’d rather you didn’t … Continued

Write what you know. (But what if all you know is the inside of your own brain?)

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They tell fiction authors to “write what you know.” The same obviously applies to non-fiction. But it’s all too easy to go from that to “Write about yourself” — especially when it comes to self-help books. If you know about marketing strategy, write about marketing strategy. If you know about startups, write about startups. Just … Continued

The ROAM test for business books

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There are four questions you really should answer before setting out on a business book journey. They’ll determine everything from your title to your content to your publishing model. I first created the ROAM test for general business writing. It includes four elements: Readers, Objective, Action, and iMpression. If you’re going to work on something … Continued

Please don’t write a book

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People sometimes come to me with a manuscript of their nonfiction book and ask, “Can you help?” Often, this is the most frustrating conversation I ever have. Please don’t start by writing a book. Start differently. Start first by asking if there is something you know that will change people. It doesn’t have to be … Continued

How I ended up giving 5 speeches at the Content Marketing Conference this April

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I never planned on speaking five times at the Content Marketing Conference. Because that’s just nuts. The conference is in Boston on 16-19 April. This will be my fourth time speaking there; Byron White of WriterAccess curates a great collection of speakers and it’s always a blast. Honestly, I go to a lot of conferences, … Continued