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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


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Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion or idea. Although the word copy may be applied to any content intended for printing (as in the body of a newspaper article or book), the term copywriter is generally limited to such promotional situations, regardless of media (as advertisements for print, television, radio or other media). The author of newspaper or magazine copy, for example, is generally called a reporter or writer, not a copywriter.
(Although the word copywriting is correctly and regularly used as a noun or gerund, and copywrite is sometimes used as a verb by professionals, copywrite is not listed by major dictionaries.[1] Copywrite as a noun is always incorrect.)
Thus, the purpose of marketing copy, or promotional text, is to persuade the reader, listener or viewer to act — for example, to buy a product or subscribe to a certain viewpoint. Alternatively, copy might also be intended to dissuade a reader. Copywriting is "getting across the perfect message, with the perfect words." [2]
Copywriting can appear in direct mail pieces, taglines, jingle lyrics, web page content (although if the purpose is not ultimately promotional, its author might prefer to be called a content writer.), online ads, e-mail and other Internet content, television or radio commercial scripts, press releases, white papers, catalogs, billboards, brochures, postcards, sales letters, and other marketing communications media.
On websites, copywriting may also refer to content writing for the purpose of achieving higher rankings in search engines. This practice includes the strategic placement and repetition of keywords and keyword phrases on webpages. Known as "organic" search engine optimization (SEO), it is best done in a way that does not distract, bore or confuse the human reader.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What To Wear When You Work From Home

What To Wear When You Work From Home

Diana Pemberton-Sikes |

December 26, 2008

But the instant you come into contact with others, you influence their opinion of you. Even if you’re just dropping off or picking up something or you conduct all of your business at your front door, how you’re dressed can influence your bottom line. If you want your business to grow and prosper, you’ll dress to meet your customer’s expectations. If you want your business to remain small and expand at a snail’s pace, you can dress to please yourself.

Here are some basic guidelines:

● If you’re a professional, such as a lawyer, doctor, accountant, business consultant, financial planner, etc., you need to dress the same as your commuting counterparts dress in your community. Why? Because people expect professionals to dress professionally, whether they engage them at the local office park or at the big yellow house that faces the park.

You and I both know that your skills don’t improve by simply putting on a suit jacket. But try to negotiate a big money deal wearing a t-shirt and jeans with your client in the room, and see how far you get. If the deal falls through, you’ll be blamed for your lack of professionalism. Why set yourself up like that? Dress like others in your profession dress-at least when you’re meeting with clients—and save yourself the headache.

● If you’re in a service-oriented business, like hairdressing, catering, tailoring, personal shopping, etc., dress in business casual. This includes long pants and collared shirt, if you’re a man, and a skirt, slacks, or dress, if you’re a woman. Business casual denotes the seriousness of the work environment yet offers you something comfortable to wear.

● If you’re in a labor-intensive business, like housekeeping, auto repair, yard maintenance, or handy man, consider wearing an easy-to-clean uniform. You can buy them at the local uniform supply company in your town, or you can create your own by simply pairing work pants (jeans, khakis) or shorts with a polo shirt or t-shirt. You could even add a logo to the shirt, if you like, and insist that everyone in your employ wear them. It’s an inexpensive way to add instant credibility.

So, do you still doubt the importance of dressing appropriately when you work from home? Stop for a moment and think of all the home-based businesses you’ve dealt with over the years. Who got your business more than once? Who sent you running in the other direction? Why?

The biggest offenders on my list have two things in common: a filthy workspace, and a complete disregard for personal appearance. Is my criticism based solely on the fact that I’m an image consultant? No. It’s because as a home-based entrepreneur myself, I’ve always taken the time and effort to make my office and myself presentable before conducting business. At the very least, I expect others to do the same for me.

So what should you wear when you work from home? Clothes that instantly convey your professionalism and establish your credibility. Your client is already leery of doing business with you—don’t give her another reason to go elsewhere. Dress appropriately!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Networking for the Shy

Networking for the Shy

By Barbara Reinhold, Monster Contributing Writer 

For many, the mention of the word networking conjures up unsettling images of hundreds of men and women exchanging business cards, making small talk and angling for a chance to ask that all-important question: "So, who do you know in my field?"
Even the most extroverted people may not get excited about this process, but it's especially painful for shy individuals, who prefer to talk to people one-on-one and are more sensitive about personal boundaries. But the good news is it's possible to network in a more comfortable, structured way that's respectful of people.
Do I Have To?
Yes. Networking is crucial for your career, but it doesn't have to mean cold calls or awkward conversations with strangers. Here are some tips that will come in handy, whether you're testing a new field's waters, researching an organization or looking for references:
Start with Friends and Family: Make a long list of friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, your daughter's basketball coach, etc. Assess the list, and prioritize whom you'll contact.
Try Setting Up Informational Interviews with Friends of Friends: The friend in common will be a good topic for an icebreaker when you meet or speak on the phone.
Do Your Research: Interviews and screening conversations are less stressful if you're prepared. Make sure you do your homework on a company before you meet with one of its executives to find out about the business or opportunities. You will not be at a loss for what to say, you will feel more confident, and the more prepared you are, the more likely the meeting will be productive.
Use the Contacts You Didn't Realize You Already Had: Perhaps you already belong to a group, whether it's a volunteer organization or a book club, and you can start to build contacts there. You never know what contacts may be just a conversation away from you already.
Explore Social Networking: It can be easier to talk to people through a computer. Check out the major social networking sites and let your contacts know you're looking for work.
Use Your College Connections: Contact your school's alumni office to find mentors or contacts. These mentors have to give their permission to be listed, so you already know they'll be open to communicating with you. And you'll have your common college experience to relate to. Make sure you do your research for these contacts too.
Take Advantage of Local Networking Events: Some organizations, like local Chamber of Commerce groups, offer breakfast meetings or other structured networking events that provide a more relaxing and comfortable environment in which to connect. It's easier to enter a room for the purpose of networking when you know everyone else is doing the same thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

5 Things New Leaders Can Learn from Conan O'Brien

5 Things New Leaders Can Learn from Conan O’Brien
June 2, 2009
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No, really… After scanning some of the reviews from last night’s premiere of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” while waiting for my morning coffee to kick in, I started thinking about how Conan’s transition into his new role as “Tonight Show” host isn’t unlike that of someone taking on the role of a new manager…
Take, for instance, the media speculation over how and to what degree “The Tonight Show” would change with a new host. Don’t we all wonder how the workplace will be affected with there’s a change in management?
Then there’s the manager who’s challenged with honoring the expectations his or her predecessor set in place while simultaneously trying to establish his or her own. Likewise, Conan is charged with maintaining the long-running show’s large fan base while introducing them to a comedic style unlike the one they’ve grown accustomed to with Jay Leno as host.
So, taking into consideration these factors - and Conan’s preparation for his new job - here are 5 things new managers can learn from the new host:
Expect to Have Critics. Quite a few of the reviews today weren’t exactly glowing for Conan’s “Tonight Show” debut, but even Conan anticipated “uneasiness” from audiences and viewers over seeing someone else take over as host. “People inherently don’t love change,” he said himself earlier this year - something that anyone making a career transition should remember as they move into their new roles. Especially as a manager, you’re not going to be able to please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to; otherwise, you might drive yourself - and your new employees - crazy. The best you can do is…
Find a Happy Medium. The toughest challenge Conan faces as the new host of “Late Night” may be striking a balance between honoring the “Late Night” name with everything that made it an American institution (including its huge viewership), without letting go of the unique, off-beat humor (”Pale Force,” anyone?) that differentiated him from every other late night host. New managers face a similar challenge as they attempt to set forth their own leadership style, but without alienating the employees who are used to a different management technique. To try to placate both sides, new managers need to figure out what their own leadership style is and try to fall somewhere in between. To do that, they first need to…
Test the Waters. The many Leno-style jokes and noticeably tamer sketches peppering Conan’s show last night indicate that he’s feeling out the longtime “Tonight Show” fans while he gradually incorporates the trademark “silliness” that dominated “Late Night” episodes. New managers would be wise to take a cue from Conan. As this Wall Street Journal online article, new managers shouldn’t try to change too much too quickly. Instead, they should apply a “listen and learn” approach in the first few weeks of their new position, in order to get used to their new employees - and let their employees get used to them. At the same time…
Stick to What Makes You You. “Johnny Carson, when I met him years ago, told me, ‘Just be yourself,’” Conan said in a recent interview. “That is basically all anyone who knows anything about these shows can tell you: You’ve got to do it your way.” Just as Conan got to where he is by being his endearingly awkward and self-deprecating self, new managers should have the confidence to adopt a management style that may be a departure from their predecessors - after all, your work earned you the promotion, so you must be doing something right. Just be sure you…
Make Your Expectations Clear at the Beginning. Pre-”Tonight Show” magazine interviews, TV appearances, and online promos provided for Conan what staff meetings and one-on-one’s provide for new supervisors: The opportunity to establish goals, expectations, and policies as clearly as possible. As explained in this Associated Content article, new leaders who state their expectations “early in the game” will avoid misunderstandings (or, in Conan’s case, baffled viewers) later.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Office Attire

Summer Office Attire
By Beverly West, Monster Contributing Writer 
Those hazy, lazy days of summer can make a business suit feel as comfortable as a suit of armor. Fortunately, you can make a professional statement and still beat the heat with these tips.
How Casual Is Summer Business-Casual?
Even some of the most formal workplaces -- such as those within the financial and legal industries -- now institute a "casual Friday" policy all summer long. But what does "casual" mean in the workplace?
"You don't want the emphasis placed on the word 'casual' instead of the word 'business,'" says Sherry Maysonave, author of Casual Power. "Casual could be jeans, sneakers, T-shirts and shorts, whereas business-casual is a relaxed version of business dress. It's how you might dress to go out to a nice dinner on the weekend, not how you would go to the grocery store."
Business-casual may include chino trousers, pencil skirts, relaxed button-down shirts and linen, polo or knitted shirts.
Especially Tricky for Women
"Women face a particular challenge in nailing the right look for the workplace," Maysonave says. "That's because it's still a male business world. Fashion bombards women with more social attire than business attire. What a man would wear to a social event or a party, he could also probably wear to the office. That's not true for a woman."
According to Mary Lou Andre, founder and president of Organization by Design, a Needham, Massachusetts-based wardrobe-management consulting firm for corporations and individuals, "For the past few years, there has been a trend toward showing off a little more leg and leaving the hose at home. Many office environments, however, require that you wear hose and closed-toe shoes with skirts, dresses and dress shorts. Hosiery automatically sets a business tone and creates a nice business boundary, as does a closed-toe shoe. But some employers allow you to forgo hose and socks."
Office-Fashion Don'ts
While every workplace has its own rules, Maysonave suggests there are a few fashion statements men and women should avoid in any workplace:
Shorts or capri pants.
Tank tops or sleeveless shirts.
Halter tops.
Overly revealing attire.
Jogging suits.
T-shirts, especially with logos or offensive print.
Look Around
As acceptable forms of summer business-casual attire may vary from industry to industry and office to office, it's important to get to know the fashion sense of your particular workplace. When in doubt, take note of what others are wearing in your office or consult your HR department. Also, consider whether you are behind the scenes (less-formal attire) or interacting with clients or the public (more-formal attire), become familiar with your company's dress code and -- no matter how hot it gets -- don't push it.

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My interest with writing began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also co-wrote a play in my 4th grade class when I lived in New Rochelle, NY. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. I was fortunate to have a lead part. After my high school graduation, I entered the working world. For over 30 years I have been steadily gaining writing, editing and digital publishing skills. I began by composing letters and emails to company clients. I contributed to articles written for The Commuters Register based in Windsor, CT. Since 2009, I have added social media, digital publishing and blogging here in Wilkesboro, NC. Since 2010, I write ad copy for the listing descriptions for each of my 3 Internet shops open at In 2012, I entered a poem about my dog Red in the World Poetry Contest. The poem was chosen for publication. I have written articles for the Winston-Salem Frugal Living Examiner and Hub Pages. In 2012, I acquired The Wilkes Gazette digital newspaper that was renamed the Wilkes County Gazette in 2014. I write under both my own name and my pen name, Jeanne Armonk.

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