Deborah Brody Marketing Communications Percolating Creative Ideas * * * August 17, 2016 It's getting hot in here! Hello! As I write this, the Wa

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Deborah Brody Marketing Communications

Percolating Creative Ideas

August 17, 2016
It's getting hot in here!

Capitol on a summers day

U.S. Capitol, summer 2016


As I write this, the Washington area is sweltering through an extended heat wave (three consecutive days when the temperature has hit 100 degrees). This is what they call the dog days of August, right? In any case, it’s really hot, which makes it ideal for staying inside in the air conditioning to write this newsletter!

I don’t know if it’s true in other parts of the country, but in Washington, August seems the slowest (and this year, the hottest) month. Everybody seems to be on vacation, there are few events on the calendar, and there’s less traffic than usual. I find myself with extra time on my hands, and to make the most of it, I have been tackling a long-delayed office organization project, which includes getting rid of lots of old magazines. Read what I found out below.

Over on the Caffeinated Views blog, the monthly On Writing interviews are continuing apace. In June, Karen Addis shared her views on writing, and told us that one of her pet peeves is comma misuse (it's mine too, and inspired the communications tip below). You’ll also want to read Leslie O’Flahavan’s perspectiveas a writing instructor in the July edition. And check out my post on why your content strategy needs sharing buttons.

I hope you enjoy what’s left of summer. As you start planning for fall (and cooler days), be sure to keep me in mind for help with your writing or copy editing needs.

Warmly (quite literally),



A business lesson buried in the clutter

I tend to be a bit of a pack rat when it comes to magazines. If there’s an interesting or useful article, I want to save it. And so I end up with stacks of magazines, which soon become clutter. In an effort to clean up my office, I have been going through and tossing lots of old magazines. Two magazines I’ve saved over the years are O, Oprah Magazine and Washingtonian.

As I went through many issues of these old magazines, I realized that the covers advertise the same stories, year after year. Oprah has variations on how to declutter (your closet, your life), how to make over your life (or your wardrobe), and how to find your purpose. Washingtonian has annual cover stories -- DC’s best workplaces, best doctors, best restaurants, and so on.

You’d think the audience has already read these stories—why do it over and over? Well, for one it’s a formula—a successful one that achieves the following:

1. It provides the audience exactly what it wants and expects.
2. Presents content that clearly reflects the magazine’s mission.
3. It shows a specialization.
4. Creates consistency.
5. Simplifies planning.

To be a successful business or nonprofit organization, you too must know exactly who makes up your audience and what they are looking for. You must know and define your strengths, and then provide them consistently.


Communications tip: Commas matter

Commas are essential punctuation marks, and can make or break your sentences. Yet, commas are much more misunderstood that the sturdy period, and are often misused or wrongly omitted. Most people know to put commas between items in a list, whether they use the Oxford comma or not. But when it comes to other uses, well, there seems to be a problem. I found some resources for easy-to-remember comma usage rules:

Grammar Girl: Where Do I Use Commas? Commas
10 Simple Rules for Using Commas


Let's work together!

Deborah Brody Marketing Communications services:

Writing and copy editing of marketing/communications materials
Communications and social media consulting
Communications and social media audits
Customized blog training and workshops


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