Author: Marcia Riefer Johnston

Marcia Riefer Johnston is the author of "Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them)" and "You Can Say That Again: 750 Redundant Phrases to Think Twice About." She has run a technical-writing business for… a long time. She taught technical writing in the Engineering School at Cornell University and studied literature and creative writing in the Syracuse University Masters program under Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff. Marcia lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaRJohnston. For more, see http://Writing.Rocks.

Hemingway’s Pebbles and Today’s Business Communicator

I never loved the English language until it was taken away from me. As an exchange student in Austria during my senior year in high school, my ears were suddenly deprived of familiar words and cadences. Speaking in and listening to German took painfully conscious effort. During that year, letters from home quenched more than my thirst for news; they plunged me into English. I was a fish back in water. One day, several months into my stay, I discovered a stash of British and American novels in the school library. I happened to pick up The Hemingway Reader....

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Intelligent Content: The Marketer’s Frontier

A year ago, I started working with the Content Marketing Institute team on stories related to intelligent content. Coming from a technical communication background, I knew about intelligent content from that perspective, but I wasn’t sure how it would apply to marketing. Today, it’s still not clear exactly how intelligent content will eventually connect with what marketers do every day. I have talked with a lot of marketers who are intrigued by the promise of intelligent content. They would love to make their content more findable, more efficient to produce, more scalable, and more personalized. They get that content...

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How Global Is Your English: 8 Ways To Keep It Simple And Save Big

What the *&^! does that mean? We’ve all said it. Well, we’ve all said something like that. In fact, you can’t know what *&^! stands for. It’s ambiguous. If even I don’t know what word should go there, how in the world would a translator know what to do with it? Why make your translator’s job harder—and more expensive—than it has to be? Why not remove ambiguity in the first place? That’s what Global English helps writers do. Along the way, it saves companies big translation bucks. Greg Adams, a managing editor at Cook Medical, gives this example: “After...

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Harness The Power of Performance-Driven Content To Make Your Content More (and More) Successful

By Marcia Riefer Johnston Publish it and forget it. Spray and pray. Have you ever done that with your content? (We all have.) What a shame to go to the trouble of creating and distributing content only to let it disappear from our minds—poof!—as we scurry off to the next thing. There is a better way. You can take a performance-driven approach to your content. That’s what I talk about in this article, drawing from several sources: Kevin P. Nichols’ webinar on the Content Wrangler channel Kevin’s video overview Kevin and Paula Land’s Information Development World workshop What Is...

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“Word Up!” Gets APE’d by Guy Kawasaki (That’s a Good Thing)

  By Marcia Riefer Johnston Many thanks to The Content Wrangler, Scott Abel, for introducing me to Guy Kawasaki’s inspiring work and for encouraging me to tell this story. —Marcia Recently, I had an experience that any writer would give an arm for. I had my book APE’d by Guy Kawasaki. Who’s Guy Kawasaki? When big companies want a speaker to inspire their employees, they call Guy. Guy has four million Google+ followers. Guy has, among other things, a dozen books to his credit, including the New York Times bestseller Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions....

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