Give clients what they want: Show them the copy

a black and white photo of typewriter keys

So you have a new writing client? Great. It’s exciting to get that new project in. Soon, you’ll either meet in person or interview your client over the phone. You’ve got your list of items to cover and begin asking questions. One of two things will usually happen during this process: They’ll either dance around these items with generalities or …

4 ways to make proposal pages readable

A white keyboard, black tablet, and black stylus pen rest on a yellow background

A few years ago at the Association of Proposal Management Professionals’ (APMP) Bid & Proposal Con, I heard one of the best sessions, so I thought I’d share it again. It was given by graphic design consultant Nancy Webb. Nancy spoke on page architecture—the art of constructing layouts for maximum readability. Here’s some of what she had to say. Picture …

No matter where she is, Beth Golden is at home with words

a woman with blond hair and green and gray eyes wearing a white tank-top smiles at the camera while sitting in front of trees

The fact that Dragonfly writer/editor Beth Golden grew up to be a wordsmith was either preordained or a miracle. While her peers were learning to read and write in the elementary schools of 1970s suburbia, Beth was spending the bulk of her early years on what she described as the then “quite rustic” island of Guam, where she and her …

4 reasons proposals fail

a stack of three white binders full of white paper

This is for all you proposal writers out there … Ben Yoskovitz at the InstigatorBlog wrote in 2007 about the top 10 reasons why proposals fail. His reasoning is still relevant in 2019. A few of his most important points: They don’t reference the prospect’s pain. Why did the prospect ask you for a proposal? You better have a crystal …

Dragonfly’s to-do list template

To-do lists are my bread and butter. I love them. But we all know they can become intimidating with each added task. The solution? Make your to-do list manageable by limiting what you put on it. Here’s a template that can help. You can download the PDF file here.                       …

How doodling helped me design for Dragonfly

When I joined Dragonfly full-time three years ago, its brand was due for a makeover. The company had changed a lot since I’d first worked on the design years earlier. With an impressive and growing staff and client list, Dragonfly needed an identity overhaul. I was pretty much starting from scratch. The challenges of building a brand identity are, well, …

Three writing lessons from Jim Croce

A black and white photo of a mustached man sitting on a stool and resting his arm on a guitar

I was driving home from an IABC meeting the other day when Jim Croce’s pop/folk classic “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” came on the radio. Maybe because I was already thinking about communications, or maybe because it was a rainy day and I was feeling reflective, I started listening closely to the lyrics. I smiled when I realized what great use …

It’s not always easy being a word nerd

a blue and green sticker that says "word nerd"

There’s a lot to love about being an editor. A co-worker recently described editing as a big seek-and-find puzzle, with every found typo or syntax error a small, exciting victory. I would agree, though the job, like most, is not without its hazards. My sister, a nurse, is our go-to source for “Does this need stitches?” questions. And my nephew, …

Dragonfly’s guide to proofreading marks

When you’re immersed in a proofread, it’s easy to forget about all of the different kinds of proofreading marks you can use. Here’s a quick guide to what all of them mean. You can download the PDF file here. This post is part of a series featuring Dragonfly field guides, tips, and tricks. You can download the PDF file here. …

What to do when you bite off more than you can chew

You agreed to take the project a month ago. It was delayed, but you consented to the new timeline, even though it pushes into a weekend. When the file arrives, that weekend turns out to be possessed by demons intent on your undoing. Your car has been doing this funny lurching thing for a while now, and it quits on …