Thursday, October 02, 2014

Training Face Off: Online vs. Traditional

I'm all for taking sides when it makes sense. That said, I usually find debates about online vs. traditional learning kind of pointless. Much like debates between work-at-home and traditional career moms - "best" and "right" are defined situationally, in context; there is no actual "best" or "right." Is eLearning as good as face-to-face instruction? Is it better? Is the learning as sticky? It depends on the situation.

Lorri Freifeld's Training Magazine feature Online vs. In-Class Success is refreshing because Freifeld recognizes the importance of context when designing instruction and writing content. Training isn't an either or proposition; it's a What is the best training solution for this specific constellation of learner characteristics, performance objectives and resources? proposition.

That is the fundamental question instructional design should answer correctly. Every time.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
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Friday, July 18, 2014

How to Create a Portfolio Site That Will Get You Hired

Many thanks to Jacco Blankenspoor for his kind mention and kudos for my website in his article, How to Create a Portfolio Site That Will Get You Hired. He wrote: "It’s great to see how writers say it with words, because that’s exactly what you hire them for. Instead of throwing around pictures, Sally makes sure everything she does is properly described. And she uses two little magic words which gives you an instant sense of quality: Award-winning."
His article is a good read for anyone with a personal brand. In Jacco's own words, "Developers, designers and writers each have different skills and work to display, but they all have one thing in common: they need to sell themselves to potential clients."
Thank you, Jacco!
Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

11 Marketing Words No One Wants to Hear in 2013

Jeff Haden at published his list of 11 Marketing Words No One Wants to Hear in 2013.

They are: 
  • Customer focused
  • Best in class
  • Low-hanging fruit
  • Exceed expectations
  • Unique
  • Value added
  • Expert
  • Seasoned
  • Exceptional ROI
  • Partner 
  • Turn-key
I don't mind someone calling themselves an expert if they can back it up, and I like to think in terms of professional partnerships. 

I'd be happy to not see or hear the rest of the words on Haden's list this year, and I'd add Innovative and Cutting-edge to the list. 

What about you?

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
My Google Profile+

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012

How Do You Know if a Word is Real?

People say to me, ‘How do I know if a word is real?’ You know, anybody who’s read a children’s book knows that love makes things real. If you love a word, use it. That makes it real.” (Erin McKean)
Check out Erin McKean on The joy of lexicography!

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Innovation is Not Innovative

Does the word "innovation" appear anywhere in your marketing? Is "innovate" in your company vision or mission? Well, word on the street is that there is nothing innovative about innovation, at least not the way most companies use the word.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article Leslie Kwoh writes, "Like the once ubiquitous buzzwords 'synergy' and 'optimization,' innovation is in danger of becoming a cliche - if it isn't one already."

How can you write compelling web copy and marketing collateral without using "innovate" or "innovation?" Try using one of these words instead:
  • Change
  • Create
  • Cutting edge
  • Development
  • Different
  • Distinct
  • Evolution
  • Invent
  • Novel or novelty
  • One-of-a-kind
  • Pioneer
  • Unique
  • ...or any variation of the good old-fashioned "New"
Whatever you're writing about, choose your words carefully. Plain honesty beats flowery hyperbole every time.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

How to Write Web Copy That Sells

If you have a website, you’re trying to sell something. Whether you’re promoting a product, a service, a point of view, or a perception, the text on your website can indeed make or break your sale. If you want web readers to invest themselves in your site and your message, you have to give them what they want in the way they want it. If you don’t… click, skip, they’re gone and may never come back.

Here are five tips for writing web copy that sells:

Be relevant
People come to your site looking for information about a specific topic, and all of your website copy should support that topic. Personal anecdotes and tangential thinking are the stuff of blogs and social media. Your web copy should be creative, polished, and always on point.

Use web-friendly formatting
Web copy that is clear and well-organized will help readers connect to your message. Web readers rely on headers and sub-headers to find what they’re looking for. Headers like Freelance Services, Sales Training Workshops, and About, orient readers to my website so they can make the most of their time. Information is chunked in short paragraphs and bulleted lists for easy scanning, and I use intra-site links to direct readers to a deeper exploration of select topics.

Begin at the end
Visitors to your site want to know right away if they have found what they’re looking for, so present your main points at the beginning of a paragraph or page. This makes it easier for readers to assess the value of your site or page relative to their needs. “Welcome to, your single source for professional freelance writing services” pretty well sums up what you’ll find on my website.

Offer direction
Tell your readers what you want them to do. Subscribe to the newsletter. Purchase a book. Schedule a consultation. Request an estimate. Contact us. Use radio buttons and links to highlight a call to action, and make sure they are prominent on the page. If people have to look too hard, some of them will simply go elsewhere.

Proofread first for spelling and grammar. You need to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail in your web copy. Then proofread for writing quality. Strive for precision. Edit to ensure that every word does necessary work and that you have chosen words for their sound and feel as much as their meaning. Finally, readers may access your website from a laptop, desktop, smart phone, or tablet (e.g., iPad), and you need your web copy to look great on any device.

Sally Bacchetta
Onwords™ column
My Google Profile+