What Is It Like to Work With a Clarity Coach?

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I happily rent my home now, but in a past life, I was both a homeowner and landlord. In those roles, my motto used to be, “If it’s broken, get a professional to fix it.”

I’m a writer and a teacher by trade, not a dry-waller or a plumber, and I don’t enjoy any task you might put into the category of “home repair.” So I don’t see why I should spend my precious time learning skills others have already developed and are delighted to put to lucrative use.

As an entrepreneur, I try to apply this sam…

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Three Powerful Ways to Simplify Complexity Without “Dumbing It Down”

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We live in a world where sound bites rule the airwaves and tweeting contests among political candidates have replaced intelligent public debate. In business, the one-pager rules. Strategic plans are now compressed into placemats and funding requests into short pitch decks.

At the same time, the huge challenges we face as a planet—and the solutions needed to address them—defy easy simplification. If it were truly possible to boil climate change issues down into an infographic or blog post, we wo…

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Five Surprising Best Practices to Make Your Web Copy Sing

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Too many home pages read like damp doormats. Instead of inviting web visitors into the site, they push them away by using a writing style that’s impersonal and indistinct.

Your website should attract your audience to you with a unique, powerful voice. The words shouldn’t just lie on the page—they should sing out with the personality and strengths that define your brand.

Why do so many websites, especially those of science-based or tech-based companies, fall flat? 

The reasons might surprise y…

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Is Your Writing Giving Off Negative Body Language?

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Since social psychologist Amy Cuddy became a TED talk star, many of us have become aware of the nuanced ways in which our body language shapes not only our social interactions but also our self-concept.

If you’ve watched Cuddy’s TED talk, then you may already be practicing some of the “high-power poses” she claims boost your assertiveness and confidence. (My favorite is the “Wonder Woman” pose: legs shoulder-width apart, hands on the hips, chest out.)

By the same token, you may also consciousl…

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Five Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Writer

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No two writing projects are alike, and the differences don’t always show up in the statement of work.

Much of what determines a writing project’s success comes from the chemistry between writer and client. Differences in personality and working style make each project unique.

You might think, then, that the most important questions to ask before hiring a writer would relate to the writer’s character, experience, and approach. While those questions are important, even more critical are the ques…

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My Eureka Moment About How (Not) to “Niche Down”

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Earlier this week, I had the privilege of delivering a workshop for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Our topic was writing web copy, so of course, our first order of business was to discuss the challenge of zeroing in on your target audience.

Through our conversation about that, I came to recognize something I’d long felt in my bones but had never really articulated: the whole notion of “niching down,” defining the target market as a narrow segment, has always felt wrong to me. And now…

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Why Click-to-Sell Web Copy May Not Produce the Results You’re Hoping For

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Hope, we know, is not a strategy. And yet too many startups anchor their marketing efforts in web copy that’s based on mere hope. They hope that mimicking content they admire on someone else’s website will produce jaw-dropping results. 

But there’s more to crafting compelling web copy than trying to keep up the Jones’s. Just because a site features content that reaches out and grabs you by the collar doesn’t mean that copying it will work for your company or your audience. 

Some of the most en…

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Which comes first—web developer or web copywriter?

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This is the chicken-and-egg dilemma faced by many startups. With limited resources at hand, where should you invest your few marketing dollars? If you don’t have the in-house capacity to produce your own website, whom should you call first—a web developer who can design and build the site, or a web copywriter who can flesh out the copy?

The answer is neither. Before you start to create your startup website, your first step should be to find a conceptual thinker who can help you envision your si…

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How to win an argument in writing

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When I was young and naive, I foolishly thought that a career in academia would be the ideal place for someone who disliked conflict. My plan was to tuck myself away in the library for most of my days, curl up with my stack of books, and crank out lectures and articles. What could be more tranquil than a working life spent reading, writing, and teaching?

Boy, did I get that scenario wrong. Not only does teaching late adolescents require high-level conflict negotiation skills, but scholarship it…

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What "the end of average" means for your startup’s messaging

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Let’s play a game of Truth or Lie. I’ll share three statements about myself, and you try to guess which one is the lie:

  • I am a woman of below-average height.
  • As a child, I scored above average on IQ tests.
  • My weight falls within the average range.

A few weeks ago, I believed all three of these statements to be accurate. I’m 5’2”, the public school system (which loves labels) tagged me as “gifted,” and I exercise just enough to balance out my intake of brownies and ice cream.

Now, after …

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