Articles about writing, editing and improving content

  • How to write in the active voice

    By Dan Kaufman on July 18, 2016
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    Writing in the active voice is key to making your copy sharper and easier to read. Yet while many people have heard about it, there’s a lot of confusion about what it means.

    Some think it’s about tone or style, others think it’s about tense.

    Instead, active voice is about having the subject perform the action of the verb – rather than being acted on by it …

  • 5 media law issues you ought to know in Australia

    By Dan Kaufman on May 23, 2016
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    An editor once told me you’re not a real journalist until you get your first lawsuit. That was 20 years ago and although he was (probably) joking, I perversely liked the sentiment. After all, great journalism is all about keeping the bastards honest – and it’s hard to do that without ruffling feathers. The fact that a defamation suit turns your life to hell was a detail that escaped me in my youth.

    These days I’m older, possibly wiser, and certainly more wary. After all …

  • The perils of content marketing

    By Dan Kaufman on February 19, 2016
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    “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

    Truman Capote famously dismissed Jack Kerouac’s writing by saying this, and I’m inclined to agree. As much as I love the wide-eyed wonder and glimpses of poetry that run through Kerouac’s work, large tracts of it are barely readable.

    The same applies to a lot of what passes as content marketing …

  • The beauty of short sentences

    By Dan Kaufman on January 23, 2016
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    Short sentences are easy to read.

    They grab our attention, increase the reading pace, and make it more likely that we’ll move from one sentence to the next.

    They’re also easier to understand.

    Research by the American Press Institute (API), for example, found that …

  • Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little – book review

    By Dan Kaufman on September 12, 2015
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    If you need to say something in just a few words – which is what happens when you coin a company name, slogan or domain name – it’s a mistake to try and cram as much literal meaning as possible into the message.

    According to Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson, “a message isn’t a treasure chest full of meaning. It’s more like a key that opens doors.” …