Weber's Writing & PR Tips

2 side of cottage

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Writing Simple but Effective Blog Content

Today’s tip: Keep most of your blog entries and posts short and sweet!

Sometimes you want to deliver a singular thought to your audience, and all that is required is a “short and sweet” message. Short and sweet is the way to go with most posts and blogs because social media writers know they only have a few seconds to capture and hold someone’s attention. To increase your impact, add photos and short videos.

Click HERE for a simple blog entry I wrote for Good Morning Gloucester about the destruction of a small cottage. The cottage delivered its own message of “smallness” and simplicity which is reflected upon in the comments of readers. Be sure to peek at their comments while you are there, and you’ll see the proof that “short and sweet” and “small and simple” can have profound impact on readers.

In the spirit of short posts, I will finish here! :)

2 side of cottage


Why Good Writing & Editing Matter

A visual guide…

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Check back in for an article about how poor writing skills are sometimes not so funny. More and more courts across the country are complaining that legal documents are unclear and full of writing errors. These errors can lead to more case dismissals, delays in proceedings, and reprimands of lawyers and their teams.  Do you have an example of how a legal case took a wrong turn based on writing errors? Send it to me, for possible future publication.

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“It’s” vs. “Its”…Quickie Tip for Today

Not all of us have time to read long posts, and not all of us have time to write them :) so let’s keep today’s tip quick and easy: What is the difference between “It’s” and “Its”?

  • “It’s” is the contraction of “it is.”
  • “Its” (no apostrophe) is the possessive form of “it.”  They are easy to mix up and a common error.

Examples of “it’s”… 

The sentence “It is snowing outside…” is the same as saying “It’s snowing outside…”

The sentence “It is Thursday today…” is the same as saying “It’s Thursday today…”

Example of “its”

My car needs repairs. It’s bumper is about to fall off. (The car possesses a bumper that is about to fall off!)

The neighbor’s dog keeps me up all night. It’s loud barking is startling at 2 AM. (The dog possesses a loud bark.)

So, is this sign correct below?

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Stationary vs. Stationery, and does it matter?

While editing a client’s work I noticed a reference about how to order “stationary” or letterhead. The word was spelled incorrectly and the correct way to spell it in this context is: stationery.

When the client saw my correction he laughed and said, “Does it really matter?”

I suppose in a world full of big issues like the recent Ebola outbreak, poverty and global warming, the way we spell a word seems insignificant. But, for reasons unknown to me, I am fascinated by language. I like its quirky rules, its evolution, and its creativity.

So, for me, if I am going to call myself a writer or an editor, it does matter. Rules of language help us communicate effectively with each other. Respect for language and its rules are part of what keeps us civilized. And without all of its rules, a “language geek” like me would find it less challenging and entertaining.

Your tip for today? Learn the difference between stationary and stationery. It will be one less error on your website or in your brochure.

Stationary: standing still or in a fixed position; also, not changing in quantity or condition

Example: The ice cream truck originally traveled throughout the neighborhood selling cones and slush, but now it is stationary on the corner of Pleasant Street and Main. That must be a good location for sales!

Stationery: writing paper, especially letterhead and matching envelopes

Example: I bought some stationery for my grandmother, as she still likes to write long letters by hand. God bless her!

What’s wrong with this sign?  :)

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Scrod, cod and smart husbands

When I was younger and worked in a restaurant, “scrod” was always on the menu. It looked to be a plain and mushy piece of white fish with a few breadcrumbs on top. I tasted it, and yes, this particular scrod was a bland and feeble piece of fish.

Fast forward to now… during a conversation about food writing with my husband, I told him I did not like scrod. He said, “Hmm. Well, do you like cod?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Do you like haddock?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Then you like scrod!”

Naturally an ‘argument’ ensued, and I vehemently stuck to my position. I did not like scrod! Just to prove him wrong, I researched the issue online, and lo and behold, my husband was right. He is only right once a year so I am marking this special occasion by writing about it now.

In New England, scrod (sometimes spelled schrod) is not a specific type of fish. Scrod refers to any young white-fleshed fish. Some say the term was invented to describe the freshest catch of the day, or Secured Catch Received On Dock. It is believed restaurant owners who did not want to change menus everyday coined the term to describe whatever white fish was available. Although the origin of the word scrod has been debated for years, this much we do know: In New England scrod can mean any young white fish that is available, normally cod or haddock.

Looking back, perhaps I did not like the way the scrod was prepared in the particular restaurant I worked in. It’s bland, feeble taste kept me way forever. I plan to visit another restaurant and order it, to hopefully change my perception of this dish. With my new  knowledge, I can taste and write about scrod with an open and informed mind.

YOUR TIP: When writing about food, especially regional or ethnic dishes that you think you are familiar with, it doesn’t hurt to look up the dish online and verify what the “facts” are.  Verify the origins of the food or recipe, and how its name came about. You might learn something new in the process.

Now, I must reluctantly thank my husband for this insight on this topic. He is scheduled to be correct about something next year around this time. He has been eating more fish lately, which is said to make you smarter. So, check back often just in case he surprises us with more wisdom! :)

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Today’s Publicity Tip: Publicity Begins at Home

At a networking event last year, I was talking publicity to a musician who complained that his own parents never attended his gigs. I asked, “Did you invite them?” and he paused and said, “I guess I thought my publicity person would notify them.”

Perhaps there was more to his story about why he didn’t directly invite his parents, but in any case, when a performer or artist wants an audience, Rule #1 is: publicity begins at home. You must tell your family and close friends about your events. People like to be invited and want to know their presence is wanted. In the case of older people, who may not use email or the internet, direct invitations are best. You can also print a calendar of your upcoming performances and post them right on Mom and Pop’s refrigerator.

If you want your publicity agent to notify your family and close friends, provide a list of names, email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information so the names can be added to your publicity list. A good publicity list often has categories including “VIP” or “Family” so key people are never left uninvited. Family and friends are the foundation for many things–and should be your biggest fans.

Performers who hesitate to become involved in their own publicity and marketing can still pack a performance hall, but when an important person like Mom or Dad are not in the audience, something feels amiss.


Look for more publicity tips on this blog, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me here or post a comment. 


Today’s Writing Tip: To Serve or to Service, that is the question!

Once when reviewing a client’s resume, I noticed that he wrote, “I service people across the North Shore.” He must have been a busy man. Just a slight change in word choice makes it more professional: “I serve people across the North Shore.”

Used as slang, “to service” means “to interact with someone sexually”.  If you want the more crude definition, look the word “service” in the Urban Dictionary.  For better or worse, slang makes it way into common use, and its best to be aware of any questionable words especially when you’re looking for a job.

Right now check out your resume or website and search for the word “service”. Make sure it does not imply that you are sleeping your way across the state. :)

Call or email me if you want me to scan your resume for awkward or inappropriate words and phrases.  It’s free and you’ll be one step closer to finding the job of your dreams!

eric's resume


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