Category Archives: Writing and Editing TIps

College Marketing: The One Question to Ask When Writing Student and Alumni Profiles

QuestionsThe most common articles Dana’s Creative Services writes for college and university alumni magazines, websites, and blogs are profiles. Some students, faculty, staff, and alumni open up immediately and share tons of details, while others are men and women of few words.

After reading an article on “secrets to stronger feature articles” in a recent Writer’s Digest magazine issue, I came up with an idea for a question to start profile interviews. So far, it’s worked wonders to capture great details about the lives of alumni and for getting great background information on what motivates faculty to research and teach in their chosen field.

The first time I tried asking this question at the start of an interview, I learned about many of the major moments in my interviewee’s life. The student, who was a retired military veteran in his mid-50s enrolled in an online degree program, told me how visiting an orphanage on a community service mission during his military years led to his decision to pursue an online degree in social work. He also told me how an experience at age 11 contributed to his decision to pursue a degree in social work, too. I learned all of this—and more—because of one question.

So, what was this seemingly magic question? I asked him, “How did you get to where you currently are in your life journey?” Try it the next time you write a profile. Or let Dana’s Creative Services interview a student, faculty, or alum from your story idea list and write the profile for you.

Image credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

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Editor’s Perspective: 3 Common and Easily Correctable Writing Mistakes

Editing checklistA large portion of the work that Dana’s Creative Services does involves editing other people’s writing. Through editing work for various clients over the years, Dana has noticed many common mistakes that writers at all organizations make. Whether it’s a book project or a marketing brochure, the same mistakes occur.

A quick proofread of the initial draft is all most clients need to correct these common errors (and possibly reduce editing time and cost). So to help clients improve their first drafts, Dana is sharing the three most common writing mistakes and how to easily look for and correct those errors:

Spelling errors. This may sound like the most obvious mistake—even too obvious—but Dana sees spelling errors all the time. Run a spell check of your document before submitting it to an editor. Because spell check isn’t 100 percent accurate, Dana also recommends quickly scanning the document to catch any glaring spelling errors that spell check doesn’t catch.

Too many spaces. Most editorial styles usually require one or two spaces between sentences, but Dana often sees two or more spaces between sentences or even extra spaces at the beginning of paragraphs. These extra spaces can easily creep in, but it’s simple to remove them, too. Just do a Find and Replace in a Microsoft Word document. In the Edit menu, select Find, then Advanced Find and Replace. Insert spaces into the Find field, and then put the correct number of spaces in the Replace field.

Comma placement. AP style omits the comma before the word “and,” while Chicago Manual of Style retains the comma before “and” in a series. If you know your organization’s style, you can do a Find and Replace for , and if you want to remove it, or a space and the word and ( and) to find instances where it may need to be added.

Of course, any editor (including Dana’s Creative Services) is happy to correct these mistakes for you—and also help you perfect your copy to best speak to your target audience.

Image credit: digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.