Author archives: Jenna Kefauver

The Copy Corner Presents: 6-Point Plan on Integrating Keywords into Your Content the Right Way

If you’re lucky, keywords will occur organically throughout your content, but when they don’t, you’re left with the burdensome task of making them sound natural, as though you would use each word in a conversation with a friend. This job can be a writer or editor’s worst nightmare. Still, using keywords in your web content is necessary. They have the ability to attract valuable readers to your website, but they also have the power to turn them off and kill your message if you ignore the following six-point plan. First – and Always – Consider the Searcher’s Intent Don’t overthink it. Why is the searcher looking for your content? And what do they expect when they land on your page? Let that guide your writing. Winning Point #1 – Remember and Embrace Semantic Search Before Google adopted semantic search, content writers felt hampered by trying to use keywords and key phrases exactly without variation. This led to some awkward and clunky writing. Now, Google considers the searcher’s intent rather than trying to match content to the user’s search phrase exactly. That is, your content does not have to explicitly include the phrase back pain car accident to rank for that Read more…

Infographic: Happy Be Kind to Lawyers Day 2017!

April 11, 2017 is Be Kind to Lawyers Day! If you know a lawyer, work with lawyers, or if you hired a lawyer to represent you, take a moment today to thank them. Moreover, if you’re a lawyer yourself, we hope you’ll take a moment today to reflect on the journey you took to get where you are and all the rewards that the legal field can bring. This year, members of the We Do Web Content team are sharing their favorite fictional lawyers from television, books, movies, and even comic books. See what went into our choices and which admirable qualities each lawyer represents — in their own unique way. Check out the infographic to see if we chose your favorite fictional lawyer! Self-described “non-lawyer” Steve Hughes created Be Kind to Lawyers Day as a way to honor and celebrate lawyers. His thinking was that if we have holidays to celebrate things like ice cream and bubble wrap, why not take a day to recognize lawyers too? We agree. Lawyers work hard and help us through major moments in our lives. They deserve recognition from their friends, family, co-workers, and clients. Check out www.bekindtolawyers.com for more of Steve’s story. If you Read more…

The Copy Corner: When do you hyphenate two or more words?

Generally, you hyphenate a phrase when it’s modifying another word and appears before the word it is modifying. These hyphenated phrases are called compound modifiers. For example, if you are referencing two people who are in a relationship but live on different sides of the country, you would call that a long-distance relationship. Long-distance is hyphenated because it is modifying relationship. Consider another example: The thirty-minute class ended early. Thirty-minute modifies class and comes before the word so you hyphenate it. However, if you say, “The class, which usually lasted thirty minutes, ended early,” you wouldn’t hyphenate anything because the phrase modifying the class comes after the word. When do I use more than one hyphen? The examples above combine only two words and use a single hyphen. Pretty simple. Where some people trip up is when hyphenating more than two words. Essentially, just like with two-word phrases, you use multiple hyphens when an entire phrase is modifying another word and appears before the word being modified. The table below illustrates when words and phrases need multiple hyphens and when these words can stand on their own. Phrases When a Phrase Become a Compound Modifier When Words in a Phrase Read more…

The Copy Corner: How to Give Your Readers What They Want

Giving your readers what they want comes down to asking two simple questions: Did you answer the question or address the topic right away? Did you anticipate follow-up questions? If you can answer “yes” to both questions, you’re well on your way to delivering content that meets your readers’ expectations. Did you answer the question or address the topic right away? Some writers and other content creators ease into the topic with needless banter, tangibly-related facts, or tertiary information rather than simply answering the question or directly addressing the topic. Aim to answer the question within the first 100 words or your readers might leave. If your content is answering a question, I suggest forgoing a lengthy introduction and simply answering the question. For example, imagine your topic is: Can I sue the other driver in a no-fault state? You don’t need to start your content with, “One thousand people are injured in accidents each year…” Instead, you can simply say, “Yes, depending on the circumstances, you can sue the other driver after an accident in a no-fault state.” Answering the question first and putting the most important information at the top of your content is called the inverted pyramid. Read more…

The Copy Corner: How can you keep your writing professional & approachable?

Managing to keep your writing professional while appealing to a large audience is one of the most difficult feats in content writing. Here are a few tips: Consider Your Target Audience Once you determine your target audience, think about casting a wider net. Casting a wider net can allow you to reach an entirely new group of customers. Consider your audience and then any related groups that could benefit from the information you’re sharing. Pro-tip: Consider what words you’d use if you were having a face-to-face conversation with a member of your target audience. Talk in the manner you would in a conversation with one of your audience members. Avoid Slang Nothing will manage to make your writing less professional and less relatable than using slang. You might get lucky and only scare off one group (people who don’t use slang); if you’re unlucky, you’ll scare off both those who don’t use slang and those who do. Slang is ever-changing and chances are it’ll be outdated by the time your content publishes, which can date you and your content.   Pro-tip: Also be sure to avoid industry jargon. While it’s professional, you’ll likely end up alienating anyone who isn’t in Read more…

The Copy Corner: Keep Your Content Concise

There’s nothing worse than spending precious time writing content only to lose readers because you’re long-winded. So don’t let that happen. Keep your content concise and keep your readers coming back for more. How can I keep my content concise? Remove Run-on Sentences A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about run-on sentences and how to fix them. Just removing those sentences will make your content flow better. Pro-tip: Read your sentences aloud. Are you out of breath by the end? If so, rewrite it. If I find myself pausing too many times for commas or semicolons, I always rewrite my sentences. Eliminate Unnecessary Words Using unnecessary words is a bad habit many of us picked up in high school or college. You need an extra 50 words to meet the word count for your essay so you change to to in order to. Or you say something like, The reason is because… Most people don’t realize it, but, The reason is because is redundant. The reason is and because mean the same thing. In order to is the same thing as to. Eliminating that can make your content more concise too. You might not realize it, but it Read more…

The Copy Corner: Guide to Using Acronyms

Acronyms make your sentences easier to read and increase the flow of your sentences. After all, who wants to read “the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration” 10 times? Instead, you can simply write “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)” on first reference and then refer to it as the FMCSA from then on. Here are a few tricks to ensure acronyms are working for your content not against it. Always Write the Full Name First This is important. Even if it’s an acronym that you think everyone knows (e.g., CIA, FBI) write out the name first. And remember to place the acronym in parenthesis after the first reference, e.g., Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Without the acronym in parentheses directly after the word, your readers may know what you’re referring to later. This is especially true when you might be referring to various things. For example, lawyers often discuss the Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, and Social Security Disability Insurance together. Now if I said SSA, you could probably figure out that I meant the Social Security Administration, but what if I said SSD? Am I referring to Social Security Disability or Social Security Disability Insurance? Again, Read more…

The Copy Corner: Identifying Run-on Sentences and How to Fix Them

Much of the time, we write how we speak. Sometimes, that can make your content more accessible. Other times, especially when writing this way leads to run-on sentences, it can interrupt the flow of your content and confuse readers. Run-on sentences can be difficult to identify, but your content depends on it. What is a run-on sentence? You create a run-on sentence when you join two or more independent clauses without proper punctuation. It can occur when a writer misuses punctuation or neglects it entirely. For example: Last night I went to the grocery store I got milk, eggs, bread, and cinnamon. It’s pretty obvious that what I’ve written is two different sentences. But what if the run-on sentence is less obvious? Consider the following: Last night, I went to the grocery store to get milk, eggs, bread, and cinnamon to make French toast Sunday for my friends who are staying over Saturday night. This one isn’t as obvious although you can tell that it goes on for too long. The best way to determine whether your sentence is too long is to read it aloud. If you’re out of breath by the time you’ve finished speaking, your sentence is Read more…

The Copy Corner: Mind Your Puns and Quips

In the right context, puns may make your content more relatable (we all have that friend who drops bad puns) and attention-grabbing (for better or worse, some puns stick out). However, make sure you aren’t making a pun — intentional or not — that could offend (and lose) readers. What puns could offend readers? It’s just a harmless pun. I didn’t even mean to make it. No one will be offended, right? Think again. Consider the following: No one would give a second thought to reading the phrase “beating charges” on a page about criminal defense. Except you need to consider the context. Saying “beating drug charges” isn’t offensive, but consider when the context is child abuse or spousal violence. Here’s another example: “When a family member is severely injured, surviving family members are often left to pick up the pieces.” Nothing wrong with saying that, right? Well consider if the family member’s injury was an amputation. Always consider how your words go together. Is there anything else I should keep an eye out for? You might also want to consider how you portray certain people (e.g., gender, national origin, etc.). For example, if you write about car accidents and Read more…

The Copy Corner: What are fragments and why are they so bad?

A full sentence consists of both a subject and a verb. It must also convey a complete thought: “I went to the store because we needed milk,” is a full sentence. I is the subject and went is the verb. It also expresses a complete thought. You likely use fragments dozens of times a day. For example, when you send a text or leave a note on the fridge, do you write, “I went to the store,” or do you write, “Went to the store, needed milk”? Unless you’re a stickler for grammar, you probably leave off a subject. And even if you are a stickler for grammar, you still might. I’m a definite stickler for grammar and I use fragments all day in casual conversations, text messages, and when taking notes. Sentences Without Subjects While the notes and texts I send are often fragments because there is no subject, it is possible to write a complete sentence without a visible subject (as long as it has a verb). Consider the shortest sentence in the English language: Go. Even though it’s one word with no visible subject, it’s a full sentence. How can this be? Well, the verb is go Read more…