Communications Tools

3 Visual Tips to Give that Boring Annual Report Some Pop

Here we are, a new year but likely the same old tried and true annual report. Let me guess, a letter from the CEO, message from the board chair and some market insights from the treasurer. Sandwiched in somewhere is a highlight of community service...

#WordtotheWise: “Lay/Laid” vs. “Lie/Lay”

These are perhaps the most confused set of verbs, but it is really pretty simple. Use an object with the word "lay." You must lay something somewhere. Or if you did it in the past, you laid it there. Lie means to recline. So you do...

#WordtotheWise: Innovate/Create/Develop

Innovation is good, right? It implies leading the way, at the cutting-edge, new! Does a “creation” or a “development” seem more neutral because the result could be viewed either way, from positive to flat, while an innovation has intrinsic value?  Perhaps—but that is no reason...

Crisis Management: Working with Bees

I’m a beekeeper so I’m very comfortable around bees, and I’ve proudly managed to (mostly) avoid getting stung from the two hives in our yard. I attribute this to having a plan and a sense of steadiness around the bees that works the majority of...

#WordtotheWise: Double Trouble

I recently received an official government document about protecting my identity by securing my PIN Number; my personal identification number number. You know, the one I use at the automatic teller machine machine. When I lived in Indonesia I found the repetition of a word...

The Communications Question You’re Not Asking — Why Now?

I was always taught that answering the five W’s was essential when crafting any communication, whether it’s a press release, a media pitch or an internal email. And it’s true. Achieving the response you want from your target audience depends on knowing what, why, when,...

#WordtotheWise: Is ‘Unique’ Unique?

A pessimistic editor once told me to never to use the word “unique,” because advertising has diluted its meaning. I don’t fully agree with her, and I like to think it is because I take a more optimistic approach—some things really are one-of-a kind.  Who...

 #WordtotheWise: e.g. vs. i.e.

Since these abbreviations are both Latin, let’s ensure we are not speaking Greek. The Latin phrase “id est,” means “that is,” and can be abbreviated “i.e.,” (not “t.i.”) to further explain something. The abbreviation of “exempli gratia,” meaning “for example” is useful when you want...

Graphics for the Graphically Challenged

 I've said it before, and I'll probably keep saying it - we are a visual species. For PR pros, this means adding images and graphics to enhance our storytelling. But how do a bunch of wordsmiths transition from AP style to a world of pixels and vectors? Luckily,...

April Fools + Marketing: Good Idea or Bad?

If there was ever a paring that could go amazingly well or tragically awful it’s April Fools Day and marketing. Today, is when you find out who your gullible friends are *and* who takes pranking too far. As a joke, I shared this with my Facebook...