What I learned creating ads on Facebook (plus a tutorial roundup)

Image by Jen Mayfield. Copy by Jessica Cross. TDC's Facebook ad preview.

Image by Jen Mayfield. Copy by Jessica Cross. TDC’s Facebook ad preview.

I’m not naturally a leap-before-you-look kind of gal. And creating my first Facebook ad for The Design Consortium, where I write copy and analyze websites, was no exception.

I knew I could write the copy according to Facebook’s character length specifications for our particular ad objective. What unnerved me was the process of setting up the ad. Fortunately, I had TDC team depending on me to get it done–that’s the cure!

I learned that the process of creating a Facebook ad, though detailed, is easy.

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Five things to consider before crafting your next email subject line

You’ve written your best email yet. And you can’t wait to share it with readers. But before you email your audience, consider your first impression–the subject line. Consider these five things as you write your next subject line–


According to one marketing guru on LinkedIn, subject lines ranging from six to 10 words in length correlate with higher email open rates. Continue reading “Five things to consider before crafting your next email subject line”

The trouble with affect and effect

Shakespeare uses "effect"My lesson on the words, affect and effect began on a Friday over coffee and Shakespeare.

I circled it in blue ink. There was effect used as a verb! Surely it had been a misprint. Or at least I had unearthed some archaic use of the term. Effect is surely never used as a verb, I thought. Continue reading “The trouble with affect and effect”

Best times to post on social media in 2016

HubSpot released in January new recommendations for the best times to post updates on the top social media platforms in 2016. It’s a valuable reference for anyone seeking to maximize followers and page views using social media.

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Writer, laugh at yourself, not with yourself

Instructions to a young writer full of raillery

mischievous laugh

Me, laughing at something I probably shouldn’t laugh at

You may find yourself regularly poking fun at lines regurgitated from news segments across several channels. Stumbling upon awkward pauses on special news broadcasts is fun. Catching grammatical errors in the local daily makes you giggle a sanctimonious giggle.

You delight in printed mistakes by others.

And pride comes before a fall.

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Death on the highway, and badly worded road signs

What happened to the man who ordered H2O too?

Image Source–Meme Generator

Clarity is paramount when trying to get a point across. Numerous grammatical oversights can confuse a reader and lead to chaos.

You’re probably familiar with the endless supply of online grammar humor pointing out the importance of a well-placed comma. I don’t see the need to live and die by the Oxford comma. But I admit adding a comma to this sentence could prevent a misunderstanding–

“I give all the credit to my parents, the president and Sam.”

Continue reading “Death on the highway, and badly worded road signs”

Your five favorite posts of 2015 revisited

As we close the books on this year, I rounded up a few of your favorite posts according to a combination of likes, comments, social networking shares and page views. See the countdown below to revisit your favorite tips and stories of 2015.

5) Four tips to build credibility in your writing

Carry these four tips into the new year to help you perfect your blog and business writing.

Congaree River flooding

The water level recedes from under the Blossom St. bridge after SCE&G releases water from the Lake Murray Dam on Sunday.

4) Diary from a 1,000-year flood—after the rain

Continue reading “Your five favorite posts of 2015 revisited”

Three reasons journalists make the best copywriters

box of newspapers

A box of some of my published stories

I occasionally run across a marketing guru shepherding his followers away from the dangers of employing someone with a journalism background or (gasp) an English major. Copywriting is more about marketing than writing, they warn.

And I laugh a little each time I read this warning because good writing is about marketing. It’s about knowing what information to share and when. Good writing offers something good marketing should–it’s designed to get you to hear what it has to say.

If you’re looking for a copywriter or editor for your next project, here are three benefits to working with a journalist–

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Putting the worldwide refugee crisis in context

Somalian family adapts to two worlds

My story about a Somali family’s journey

I pulled a box full of newspapers out of our guest room closet last night to find a 2009 story I wrote about a family of Somali refugees living in Columbia.

This was the second family I had interviewed for two stories I wrote for The Columbia Star.

Continue reading “Putting the worldwide refugee crisis in context”

How to get email signups without annoying your readers

File_000 (13)Gathering email signups can be tricky because of the Internet’s competitive nature. Many bloggers, publishers and marketers need to use (and increase) email signups in order to grow. And while there’s no one right way to collect signups, beating readers over the head with your signup form doesn’t help anyone.

Can we start by nixing the popups?

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