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Best Practices

Musings on Corporate Memos

Brilliant Ink got a nice shout-out last week from friend and colleague Dave Galanis on the Pebble Creek Partners blog. Thanks, Dave!The blog post referenced a topic I tweeted about a few weeks ago - how to write an effective corporate memo. It's surprising that companies still use this seemingly old-school tactic, but the fact is, many still do. If...

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Drowning in gobbledygook

We recently came across a brilliant analysis conducted by blogger David Meerman Scott. He analyzed every press release distributed in the U.S. in 2008 and identified the top 25 most-used corporate cliches, which he calls "gobbledygook." Here are the top 10 words from Scott's analysis: Innovate Pleased to Unique Focused on Leading Provider Commitment Partnership New and Improved Leverage 120 percent I'm...

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A new age of transparency

The Brilliant Blog is not a place for political commentary. We've got lots of opinions about politics, but we try to maintain a rigorous separation between business and state here. That said, I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't write about President-elect Obama's website, www.change.gov, which represents a revolutionary step toward transparency like we've never seen from our government. If you haven't yet perused...

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Fellow haters of bad press releases – unite!

PR is all about generating attention for your product or brand, so you have to hand it to the folks at www.YourPitchSucks.com. They definitely picked a company name that reporters want to write about, as evidenced by the recent coverage they've received in the Wall Street Journal, Brandweek and Inc. At the website, you can submit your pitch for free and a "community...

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How to be a successful blogger

Here's an interesting article about common traits of successful bloggers. Some of these may be difficult for businesses to embrace, but I think the key takeaway is authenticity. A business blog should be true to the author while also reflecting the goals and focus areas of the business. Nine Little Known Traits of Successful Bloggers...

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Comma mistakes

First things first: I have a writing business, but I have no intention of being the grammar/punctuation police. My interest is in helping companies tell compelling stories about their business, not strictly regulating the placement of every period, comma and quotation mark. That said, being a good writer means understanding the basics of both grammar and punctuation, and reviewing the...

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What do you know?

I'm not the only one who hates "at the end of the day." Thanks to Matt for calling my attention to today's Wired blog posting, which lists the 10 most irritating phrases in the English language according to University of Oxford researchers. Topping the list? "At the end of the day!" Check it out:http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/11/oxford-research.html...

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Corporate Speak is Punishable By Death: Part 2

Drum roll, please! Here's the conclusion of the top 10 words and phrases we'd like to eliminate from all business communications materials: 6. Leverage I'm really embarrassed to admit this, but I only recently learned that leverage is a noun, not a verb. I've seen it used almost exclusively as a verb throughout my professional career. Besides the fact that it's completely...

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Corporate Speak is Punishable By Death: Part 1

If you've visited the Brilliant Ink website, you may have seen reference to 10 words and phrases we've pledged never to use when developing communications materials for our clients. "Never" is a strong word, and I don't mean to imply that we're inflexible. Instead, it reflects our belief that words have power and meaning, and relying on trite sayings and...

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“F” is for Fast

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a fascinating article about the way people read web content. Among some of the findings: People tend to read in a pattern similar to a capital letter "F" - they'll read the first couple of lines vertically, but as they continue, they begin to scan vertically, "the lower-right corner of the page largely...

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