Business Training

In 1994, I was dabbling in professional freelance writing, making a few bucks here and there and generally working horrendous hours for little return. I knew how to write – I simply didn’t understand how to make money at it.

Then in 1994, I was accepted into a self-employment program run by Women and Rural Economic Development (WRED). Once I opened my mind to the left brain side of running a business, I was amazed at how my career took off. To this day, I make more money than most writers in Canada, and I strongly suggest other writers start to look at their articles, stories, books, poems, ads and whatever as products and consider pursuing entrepreneurial training. I spent several years as a Rural Organization Specialist with the Central Ontario Region of WRED. I offer my heartfelt thanks to WRED for helping to change my life and help me launch my lifelong dream.
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Editing Tips

Benefits Of Editing For Efficiency:

  • it is helpful in meeting word number maximums and space requirements
  • it is a critical factor in humor writing
  • it eliminates redundant words and sentences
  • it eliminates unnecessary words
  • the piece reads more fluidly
  • it inspires the writer to be even more creative
  • you learn to become more objective about the work being edited
  • it can make the difference between effective and ineffective ad copywriting
  • you increase your vocabulary by experimenting with different wording
  • it helps a writer to place his/her ego into perspective
  • it tailors a piece to the targeted market or readership

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Jane Hawtin

Jane HawtinOn the air, she’s intelligent, passionate, gutsy, caring and unpredictable. At home, she’s… intelligent, passionate, gutsy, caring and unpredictable. “I’m the same off the air as on,” admits Jane Hawtin, popular host of WTN’s Jane Hawtin Live! There’s no pretension about the charismatic talk show host who has been educating and entertaining Canadians since 1976, when she landed her first on-air radio job in Kingston. She hosted Q107’s public affairs and entertainment show, Barometer, until 1987, when CFRB’s The Jane Hawtin Show, was born and matured to Canada’s highest-rated noon hour talk show.
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George Fox

George Fox Trail“Oh, just tell the folks I’ve got about 65 pounds of awards,” he says modestly, when asked why the walls in his rustic country home aren’t lined with gold records and Junos. It’s a typical interview answer from Canada’s fastest-rising country star, George Fox, who considers chopping firewood as much an integral part of his life as writing and performing music. To George, the “country” lifestyle is more than fodder for song lyrics: “It’s in your blood, like cholesterol.”
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Ronnie Hawkins

by Dorothea Helms
Photos by Celia Bronkhorst

ronniehawkins4.jpgAfter 48 years in show business, he’s slowing down a bit so he can stop and smell the roses more often – but Ronnie Hawkins is still rockin’ and rollin’ to please the crowds. Long known for his generosity in helping dozens of young music artists get started in the ‘biz, rock and roll superstar Ronnie also lends his celebrity status to help raise funds for numerous charities.
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How to Interview Celebrities

Dorothea and JaneInterviewing is a skill every non-fiction writer should nurture. Although it can be difficult, there are effective ways to approach people who can help you with the information you need for an article or book. The number one obstacle to your getting an honest and interesting interview is the person’s nervousness about the unknown. You may ask questions they don’t want to answer, and worse yet, you may print the answers inaccurately.
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Tips for Writing a Website

People go to websites for CONTENT

  • If they see a glorified ad or brochure, they’ll most likely leave. If you want the visitors to call or show up at your place of business, you have to earn the right by providing information.
  • Internet users want details. They can browse websites in their pajamas in the middle of the night, and linger for hours longer than they would in a store or office. Give them a reason to linger on your website.
  • Deliver content quickly and accurately; otherwise users will leave your site. Fancy graphics that take a long time to download will lose you business.
  • There are two schools of thought on how much content to include on a site. Some people feel they want to limit content so that consumers will have to go into the store or office, because they feel the customers can be sold “up” more effectively in person. Others believe that putting everything, including prices, on a site totally targets purchasers, so that when and if they do come in in person, they are already sold on the product or service, and can still be sold “up.” We believe that putting everything onto a well-kept-up site is much more effective for targeting.
  • Keep your content up to date. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to purchase something and finding out the prices or info on the website is “old.”

Think about how people get to your website

  • They either obtain your web address from an ad or business card, or they find you through Google. To reach people who search on a topic in Google, make sure your site contains all the words you can think of that the person might search on. For example, if you sell writing services, make sure that somewhere in the site the words author, writer, books, etc. are somewhere in the text.
  • Advertising is great for getting attention, but once you get them to your site, give them something – a reason to trust you and come back.

Make it easy to do business with you

  • This cardinal rule of business applies to the Internet. Arrange your content in a logical, easy-to-find manner.
  • Do not bombard users with tremendous amounts of text and graphics on the index page. Provide links instead.
  • On the linked pages, provide substantial content so you don’t have people getting lost in “layers” of information.
  • Remember, Internet text and graphics are governed by Canadian Copyright Law. You do not have permission to use other people’s words, photos or graphics without permission.
  • Place yourself in your clients’ or customers’ shoes. When they click into your site, how might they best like to access information? Cluster your information and links accordingly.

Websites need effective visual AND text

  • In creating web content, make sure the graphics and writing are high quality.
  • If you don’t write well, hire a writer. If you don’t do graphics well, hire a designer. Visuals and graphics go hand in hand. Most people take in information visually more quickly, but if all that’s there are pretty pictures, they’ll be gone in a flash.
  • Use words on your site that appeal to all kinds of learners. Most people respond primarily to visual cues, but much of the population needs auditory or kinesthetic (textural) type words.

Consider including value-added information.

  • A tailor may do well to have a link to a page on how to get stains out of fine items of clothing. A business writer might offer tips on writing an effective memo. A garden centre could provide a seasonal gardening tips page. The website visitor might think that if you can give away that much information, there must be a lot more to gain from actually doing business with you.
  • Consider links to pages with complimentary information. If you sell food items, how about a page of recipes? If you sell writing services, how about a page listing the types of documents that can help market a business (newsletters, brochures, etc.)? If you sell fabric, why not link to pages with how-to information on making seasonal pillows?
  • Consider establishing links (with permission) to complimentary websites and arrange for them to point to your site.