We have decades of cumulative experience writing, editing, and managing projects for education departments, business districts, and state transportation agencies, including social media campaigns, newsletters, press packets, and proposals.
Whatever the project, though, our government and nonprofit clients typically come to us with a few key challenges:
- They need to produce written content that connects to their intended audience – whether that audience is made up of taxpayers, business owners, or other government and nonprofit organizations.
- They don’t have the time to take on a large-scale, writing-intensive project – but they also don’t have time to micromanage an inexperienced, fresh-from-college freelancer.
- They need a second set of eyes to review large amounts of written material and offer line edits or suggestions for improvement.
- They need an experienced project manager to oversee all aspects of a major writing project – from research and organization to writing, editing, and proofreading – and they’re often working under time constraints.
An Experienced, Deadline-Driven Writing Team
When you work with us, you get much more than a freelancer – you get a proactive team of smart, experienced writers ready to produce your content by (or before!) your specified due date. We handle every aspect of your next big project, from planning and project management to writing, editing, and proofreading. We’re obsessed with accuracy, and we’re accustomed to working on projects with extremely tight turnaround times.
What type of work have we done for the government and nonprofit sectors?
We held a contract for four consecutive years that included project managing, beat reporting, interviewing, writing, and editing for a newly revitalized Houston-area business district.
We conducted press outreach to promote the award-winning expansion of a light-rail bridge in California.
We created a social media package for a Texas education district, including Facebook, blogs, case studies, event reporting, social post scheduling, content management, and collaboration with stakeholders re: editing and approvals.
Websites, Wikipedia, and More
We offered complete website planning and content for a world hunger movement. We crafted the Wikipedia entry for an international charity organization. We wrote commercial scripts for products and donations. And we’ve done so much more!
By Victoria Cayce
Linda was feeling bad. Really bad. She had been overly tired for a week, but since her kids had just gotten over a bug they picked up at school she assumed that the nausea and fatigue were related and went back to plowing through her busy day. Then her upper back began to ache. The dull pain in her chest was making it hard to breathe and she was sweating. She ignored it and kept on going. Three hours later, Linda was dead at the age of 45.
Remember back in high school when your teacher was telling you that knowing how to diagram a sentence would be important later in life? While a dangling participle is not a likely cause of death, she may have been on to something. Good communication, or the lack of it, is directly linked to the outcomes of cardiac patient care. And that is a matter of life and death.
In the story above, the hypothetical Linda ignores her symptoms because she simply doesn’t know that heart attacks often present differently in females than they do in males. If she had been aware, she would have been more likely to seek emergency treatment that might have saved her life. Sadly, the story of Linda plays out in real life every day.
Leading Cause of Death in Women
While more and more people have become aware of the dangers of breast cancer and the need for self-examination, many more women are completely uninformed about their heart health. The case for informing women of the dangers of breast cancer is laudable; however, these same women are at greater risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. According to the Center for Disease Control 1 in 31 women die from some form of cancer each year while one in every four women die from heart disease. The key to improving these numbers is at the local level; healthcare professionals are on the front lines and must do a better job of educating their patients about the risks and symptoms of heart disease in women.
Perceptions are Everything
Studies have shown that the public has a perception that heart attacks happen more frequently in men. The great disconnect for women is not helped by the media, which tends to portray the dramatic “Hollywood heart attack” of someone (often a male) who is gripping their chest before they collapse. In reality, many women experience either no symptoms or a dull pain or discomfort that may radiate to the throat, arm, or jaw.
Medical providers can do a lot to break this myth by simply talking to their patients about the differences and making information more accessible for them. For example, doctors could start by adding a few questions to the forms that new patients fill out regarding their family history of heart disease. They would follow up by briefly explaining the warning signs for female patients. The questionnaire might include targeted keywords related to the symptoms such as:
- Have you been feeling excessively tired in the last few weeks?
- Have you experienced pain in your neck, back or jaw?
- Have you been having stomach pain?
- Have you been having chest discomfort or pain?
When patients leave, a nurse, technician, or a member of the office staff could hand them a packet that contains small laminated poster with a magnetized back that can hang on a refrigerator door. Medical offices can also display colorful informational posters that clearly explain things that female patients and their families should know including:
- How minutes count when someone is having a heart attack
- How they should give someone with the symptoms of a heart attack an aspirin
- The differences in male and female heart symptoms
Another reason that female patients tend to press on and ignore heart related symptoms is that they do not feel emotionally comfortable seeking medical care. They may also regard their own symptoms as trivial. Doctors and nurses need to create an environment in which female patients especially feel comfortable reporting their symptoms. To address this issue, medical providers must create an atmosphere of trust.
Open Doors Save Lives
For instance, when discussing issues related to cardiac care, physicians and their staff need to stress the fact that they have an open door policy, and that symptoms should never, ever be ignored. Explaining that it is OK to seek medical care (and that they will not be dismissed out of hand) will go a long way in removing the emotional barriers to care and alleviating fears of being dismissed or labeled a hypochondriac.
Unfortunately, the fear of being labeled may not be that far off of the mark as a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine involving more than 10,000 cardiac patients (48% were women) demonstrated that females under the age of 55 were seven times more likely to be turned away than male patients while they were actually experiencing a heart attack. The most common misdiagnosis assigned was listed as “anxiety.”
Women Say it Differently
In part, this problem may be related to the fact that women often use different verbal clues to express their symptoms. For instance, female patients are much more likely to complain of “discomfort” while male patients use the word “pain.” When combined with the more subtle symptoms of heart attacks in women, this tendency can easily lead to a misdiagnosis.
Furthermore, in an American Medical Association study that included more than one million patients, females were found to be twice as likely to die while hospitalized when their symptoms (including changes in an EKG) were not expressed in the classic way that males do when experiencing in a heart attack.
Communication is therefore even more critical to providing appropriate care to female patients. Medical providers must go beyond the basics and employ active listening that allow for the inherent differences of male versus female speech patterns and word usage. They must then apply more aggressive treatment strategies when a heart attack is suspected. In other words, they must be willing to dig deeper when females present with less specific and immediate heart related symptoms.
Communicating in a Social World
Marketing campaigns have had a significant impact on breast cancer awareness. The Susan G Komen Foundation, for instance, uses social media, blogs, touching real-life stories and marathons to help raise funds and awareness. Doctors and nurses can use the same approaches to educate women about heart attack symptoms. They can get their message on social media. They can write engaging blog posts with relatable stories and critical information about heart attack symptoms in men and women. Their posts can include valuable resources, too, including tools for heart health such as the Heart Attack Risk Calculator.
Local health care providers also can incorporate national awareness campaigns into their grassroots efforts. The American Heart Association has created a short film to educate women called Just a Little Heart Attack that is very sharable and could be embedded in social media. Additionally, medical personnel can spread information by holding heart health awareness events that offer free cholesterol checks and heart health screenings. Volunteers could hand out:
- Red bracelets ( The American Heart Association has designated red as the color for heart awareness)
- T-shirts with heart health slogans and information
- Red balloons
- Memorabilia such as cups, magnets and bumper stickers aimed at increasing awareness
Doctors and hospitals also can team up with professional writers and marketers to create slogans and messages that the public can understand and respond to. They can connect with local news stations to get the word out about events.
Anyone working in a busy practice understands that time is extremely limited. But bolstering medical practice’s heart attack awareness efforts with a social medial campaign, as well as a blog aimed at a lay audience, gives you the ability to get your critical message across to far more people. The point is to get the word out as often and as clearly as possible, and ultimately, to save lives.
I’ve been seeing this term more and more often – “The Millennials,” the new generation that’s replacing Gen X-ers. It seems a lot of companies are trying to rope in the support of this generation – desperately.
What’s the big deal about the Millennials? Well, they’re the second largest generation group, over 70 million of them born between 1980 and 2000; the Baby Boomers are the only ones to beat them out with 77 million. And they’re representing a huge shift in the job market, the economy, and the American philosophical climate. What’s more: They’ve got ample spending money.
So getting the attention of Millennials has become important to a lot of companies, and those companies are doing a little re-branding in the process. I’ve condensed a few marketing strategies here: it’s a little bit about who the Millennials are, what they want, and how to get the new golden generation to buy your product.
Here we go:
They’re Connected. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest – Millennials are the kings of social media. If you’re going to compete, you need to get your brand up and running on one of these sites. But don’t get too in-your-face: Millennials will shut you out if your marketing campaigns are too insistent or resemble spam. Be sure to read some of our other posts about effective blogging techniques and social media marketing plans.
They’re selfish. Well, not exactly selfish, but they’ve been groomed to believe they’re the best. They’re awesome. This is the generation that grew up with self-esteem boosting curriculum in the classroom, multiculturalism, and very attentive parents. This means that your copy needs to be highly-targeted, outlining benefits and features that relate specifically to them and make them feel, well … special.
They’re selfless. Again, not exactly. But they don’t always need personal incentives to support or buy something: social incentives count. That’s how American Apparel – which is known for paying their garment workers a living wage, well above the industry norm, and has branded themselves as “Sweatshop Free” – is able to sell plain-colored T-shirts for $20+. If your product is environmentally friendly, makes donations to a charitable cause, or is somehow productive beyond the product’s actual value, Millennials will eat it all up, so be sure to highlight any of these attributes in your copy.
They’re fun-loving. They are, in fact, one of the busiest generations ever, having grown up with action-packed schedules that continue into their adult lives. But they look for things that are fun, funny, out of the ordinary, and eye catching when they want to take a break from the daily grind. So don’t be afraid to break the mold and grab their attention. Even nostalgia counts when it comes to Millennials: for example, see Canadian Club’s “Damn Right Your Dad Drank It” campaign.
Aesthetics count. Think about the sleek design that made the iPhone so popular. No more cluttered, messy, mismatched, or boring marketing materials for these guys – they want a high-quality product that looks cool, too. Make sure that your copy is well-integrated with design in order to really get their tails wagging.
Want a little more reading to get to know the Millennials? Try starting here:
Forbes: “6 Things to Know About Marketing to Millennials”
MR Report: “Marketing to Millennials”
Lots of copywriters love fluff. They gravitate toward it instinctively because it sounds good.
Check out this sentence:
“At Acme Pet Supplies, we offer superior customer service to match our outstanding products.”
You might be thinking, “Oooh – that sounds so good! Everyone wants to see that a company has ‘superior customer service.’ Anyone who reads that Acme has ‘outstanding products’ will be persuaded to shop at Acme Pet Supplies, right?” Wrong.
Though it sounds appealing on the surface, that statement is weak. First of all, that sentence could be describing almost any business in any industry. It’s a fluffy generality that could be describing an auto repair shop or a deli.
Secondly, “superior customer service” and “outstanding products” are unsubstantiated claims. Consumers are bombarded by statements like these all the time and tune them out. Instead of padding your copy with fluffy phrases, use solid details to sell your products.
Take another stab at that first sentence:
“Recognized for outstanding customer service by the American Pet Supply Organization, Acme Pet Supply stocks everything pet owners need – from canary food to chew toys.”
No more fluff. Readers are left with a verifiable fact about Acme Pet Supply that proves Acme excels in customer service. Plus, this new version tells readers the most important thing they need to know: they can get all their pet supplies at Acme.
The next time you’re tempted to use an empty phrase, remember that your copy will be stronger if you shave away the fluff and leave only the facts.