Plagiarism? Come on, You’re Better Than That.

What do Joe Biden, Melania Trump, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and countless disgraced journalists have in common? They’ve all been accused of plagiarism. With the Internet at our disposal, stealing someone else’s words has never been easier. If you don’t have any moral qualms about doing that, I can’t help you. But plenty of people […]

Anna Gives Copywriting Workshop to Startups, Changes Lives

Last month, I gave a copywriting workshop to the eight startups selected for this year’s  Accelerate NH program. In case you’re wondering, Accelerate NH was created to support “the next generation of innovative, growth-oriented companies in New Hampshire” (i.e. tax-paying businesses). Through Alpha Loft accelerator program these fledgling startups get free coaching, work space and, […]

Want to Write Better in Less Time? Answer These Five Questions.

Writing is hard work — even for professional writers. You know what makes it a lot easier? Putting it off. No, not indefinitely, but until you first answer these five “prewriting” questions. 1. Who is going to be reading what I’m writing? No one! Haven’t you heard? People don’t read anymore. Let’s be optimistic, however, […]

How to Sell Technology to Old People

The last three calls I’ve gotten for new projects all went something like this: “We want to reposition our product/service because we’ve realized after doing some/absolutely zero research that our website/marketing collateral/packaging is not resonating with … [wait for it] … MILLENNIALS!” Quick, but important rant here: Companies really need to stop grouping Millennials all […]

Ten Tips for Coming Up with Great Blog Ideas

The toughest thing about blogging? For many of us, it’s coming up with worthwhile blog ideas. Once you have the right topic, it’s all downhill from there. (At least, that’s how it usually goes for me.) But, yeah, it’s the ideas that can be a killer. A good starting point is to put yourself in […]

The Second Question to Ask When Writing for the Web

Any good writer knows the first question to ask when creating marketing materials: Who’s your audience? Everything you do flows from the answer. When writing for the Web in particular, what’s the second question to ask? I’d advocate for this: What action do you ultimately want site visitors to take? Let’s look at two examples […]

The Grammar Cop Weighs in on Presidents’ Day

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Grammar Cop — a forum for tips and reminders about the frequently confusing and often-illogical communications platform known as English. It’s our job at The Hired Pens to pay attention to this stuff. (Truth be told, we’re kind of obsessive-compulsive about it, so this is actually fun for […]

Writing Ads to Promote a New App: What Works, What Doesn’t

“I’m designing a new app” is the new “I’m writing a screenplay” for creative types who want to get rich quick — or just impress attractive women at cocktail parties. Yes, a rare few do actually manage to create a killer app with potential. The next step (at least for the marketing team) is breaking […]

C’mon, Evil Phishing Guy, You’re Better Than This!

I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t blogged for about four months. I’d like to claim I have a good excuse, like I was writing wildly successful emails for the Obama campaign or fomenting revolution somewhere in South America (does anyone ever foment anything but revolution?). Sadly, those would be lies. I was just lazy. But […]

Sexing Up Wheat Germ

The request came in from Cam Brown at  King Fish Media: “We need you to make wheat germ sexy.” He went on to say that they had just landed the Kretschmer Wheat Germ account and the brand — which had been languishing in relative obscurity since 1936 — was ready to get some attention. I […]