Author: Bonnie Harris

[caption id="attachment_3642" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Solar roof...Target or Walmart?"][/caption] I'm not going to argue the merits of Walmart with everyone but comments on last week's post made me wonder how much we really know about Walmart or Target...and how much misinformation has been fed to us by the media based on clever PR? Check out the following questions and then see below for answers. You might be surprised.
  1. Which company created a sustainability consortium between big box retailers, 34 manufacturers and 9 universities to develop "green" label standards?
  2. Which company had no corporate goals for sustainability as of last year?
  3. Which company had 30,000 people apply for jobs at a store opening?
  4. Which company has admitted to keeping part-timers weekly hours below 32 as a policy to avoid paying benefits?
  5. Which company is shown an anti-union video as part of its orientation?
  6. In 2008, which company's health and wage plans were viewed as "more restrictive" by the UCFW?
Okay, here are the answers. If you guessed wrong you're not alone.

In my last post, we looked at some of the different ways of defining original content that you may not have considered when writing your blogs. I introduced the idea of using Copyscape to ensure that there is no duplication within your posts, and this week we’ll look exactly at how you can use that tool to your advantage. Copyscape is designed primarily to prevent plagiarism.  Often, websites use it to ensure that no one else has stolen their original content.  It is also a great tool to use as a writer. When I’ve discussed this with other writers in the past,  I’ve received looks like I’m crazy using Copyscape on my own writing – because it should be pretty clear to me whether or not I’ve plagiarized the content. That may be true, but as we covered last time, there are other definitions of ‘original content’ and if I want to ensure that I meet the criteria for one of those – ensuring there is  ZERO duplication within the content - Copyscape is the best option. Want to know more about using Copyscape to ensure your content is original ?

A program on American Public Media’s Marketplace on Saturday morning caught my attention as APM’s Heidi Moore presented the pros and cons of using the GDP and consumerism as a means of measuring how “well” we’re doing. I’ve always thought it was a bit of a conundrum that as we try to reuse as much as we can (right now to the current obsession with vintage clothing) we’re still measuring ourselves on how much we’re consuming. It’s the same when I hear that unemployment is high, but the number of startups is rapidly increasing. Does anyone not see the correlations between these things? I can’t tell you how many of my friends have started their businesses while on unemployment. (Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with that and I’m happy to pay taxes to fund my friends’ and others’ dreams.) I don’t agree with a lot of what happens in the UK but I was intrigued by the new Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index. It’s an index of how well UK residents are doing in terms of their health and well-being. The reporter went on to talk about “why don’t we have one here” and so I looked it up. We’ve had a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in the US since 2008. (Shame on you, Heidi Moore that was super easy to find.) Basically, here’s what it does:

Beth Hodgson writes so often for the Wax blog we often forget she works for other clients as well, with her problogging service Writesourcing. If you're looking for great, unique content for your blog or site, give Beth a shout on Twitter! We’ve discussed the issue of plagiarism before, on a couple of occasions. (See our post on 'Avoiding Online Plagiarism' last April) But really, the overall realm of original content is the gift that keeps on giving. A major topic of discussion around the Writesourcing water cooler (our virtual one, of course) is if there are other ways to define ‘original content’ that looks beyond the obvious theft, sourcing quoted material and the like. Well, fortunately, a client forced us to explore that further.

What will my life be like in 20 years? I'm laughing at the topic of this week's #letsblogoff because I've been reading all kinds of "surviving 50" and "hiring aging workers" reporter queries. I assume they're all in their thirties or early forties at most...

[caption id="attachment_3499" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Courtesy of Tourism Panama"][/caption] I got an email from a reader last week who was frustrated  the media wasn't responding to her pitch. Believe me, it happens to us all the time at Wax so I feel your pain! Often, it's not because the pitch is bad. Usually it's because a) the market is cluttered   b) it's hard to differentiate between you and your competitor or c) you're pitching too "big" of a publication or show to start.  I have to admit that sometimes it's because it's just not a very compelling pitch. In this post I'm going to give you a short homework assignment to uncover the REAL story behind your business...the one the media might  be looking for. Too often, people try to pitch the features of their product to the media. This only works if your product is one of a kind (think pet rock). You may think no one else makes something quite like yours, but in the eyes of a jaded editor, there are tons of products just like yours. I was pitching a new fitness DVD a few years ago and the editor at Health magazine told me she'd received 400 new fitness DVD's..just that month! So you can't write a pitch that focuses on the greatness of your product. You have to pitch the story behind YOU,  behind the product itself, or how the product relates to current events. Here are some great examples of pitches that sold tons, but focuses on the story not the product: