Each week, Evan Peterson rounds up stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out.
If your family members can write, consider listening to their advice. Also, don't fall back on familiar terms to avoid other familiar terms, and we’ll look at the growth in content marketing—or whatever we're calling it these days.
Do you have close relatives who are also writers? Are you routinely letting them rip up your copy with red or blue tracked changes? If not, maybe you should start.
Philosophy professor and writing instructor John Kaag writes about how his mother, also a writer, taught him to perfect his writing through what sounds like some very strict editorial standards. But it taught him something important about what it takes to become a better writer:
Her red pen had made something painfully clear. To become a better writer, I first had to become a better person.
Writing Mother’s Day cards:
After Mom reviews your latest manuscript or blog post, don’t forget to write something nice just for her on Sunday for Mother’s Day. If you can’t think of what to say, Hallmark might be able to help.
In a post for Businessweek
, the greeting card leader shared secrets to how its creative teams pen the perfect Mother’ Day card, also explaining what makes a Mother’s Day card sell and why the company slowly moved away from the pink spectrum this year.
So, what’s the first rule? Here’s what one of Hallmarks writers shared:
The first rule of Mother’s Day is don’t make fun of your mom. “On Father’s Day, you can say, ‘Dad, all you want is a sandwich!’ or ‘Dad, you nap a lot,’ ” says Tina Neidlein, a Hallmark greeting card writer. “But if you make fun of your mother, she’s going to cry. And you can’t even make fun of that.”
Phrases to avoid:
Every once in a while it's nice to check in with The New York Times
' After Deadline
blog to remind yourself that the Times
makes mistakes, and has a blog dedicated to those mistakes.
This week, it looked at phrases to avoid that started as fresh alternatives but have suffered from such overuse that they gobble up the word they're intended to replace, i.e. "deep pocketed" to mean wealthy and "watering hole" to mean bar. It's probably best we all stop using these.
Have you ever written something accidentally popular? New York Post
editor Mackenzie Dawson did this week after she wrote a piece criticizing Gwyeth Paltrow for saying something very Gwyneth Paltrow-y about working folks.
Dawson saw what was meant to be a trivial post take off with over 600,000 social media shares. She talked to the Columbia Journalism Review
about why her piece struck a chord with readers, and why sometimes our best, most time-consuming articles don't.
In a world where public relations is increasingly conducted through brand journalism, content marketing, digital magazines and other such terms, Coke has one of the best and most active sites there is.
This look behind the scenes reveals how it’s expanding its site, called Journey, to teams in several other countries. This kind of undertaking requires a lot of editorial planning and studying of metrics. To make it go, it takes a large team of writers.
eBay's new newsroom:
eBay is maybe a little late to the content marketing scene, but it’s heading into at full force, with an experienced editor and a team of writers to head a new online magazine. For them, the possibilities are so ripe for data-based content you wonder how this didn't happen sooner:
eBay plans to publish the same kind of content that a news organization might want to publish about the company—data-driven stories about the items people are most searching for, infographics depicting surprising top sellers, and so on. ... Just as online communities flourish around ultra-specific sets of interests, eBay will tailor its articles to the niche users who are already the driving force behind eBay.
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.