Go Math Newsletter

I wrote this newsletter for a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sales team when a product called Go Math! was launched. The goal was to educate the team about the product in a way that they would be fun and memorable, so that they could then sell the product. The challenge of the job was that there were many different aspects of the products that needed to be explained in a simple but compelling way. They also requested that the project be written in a tone that “tabloid-y”.

I approached the project by doing extensive research about the program and its elements by culling through dozens of studies and documents that the client provided. Since the sales team was selling the product to teachers and administrators, from this mass of information, I looked for anything that could explain how the program helped teachers and administrators do their jobs more easily and more effectively. Then, I came up with a list of about 10 topics that could be written about that would be the sales team’s talking points.

I also researched what Common Core was and why they would want to incorporate it into their curriculum, since at the time, Common Core wasn’t widely known or understood. That way, I could include information about why it was important that the new program met Common Core standards.I then read a number of tabloid stories online and wrote down words and phrases that were used, which helped me to set the tone when I started writing. I wrote separate stories on each topic, which were then transformed into three newsletters for the sales team at a series of sales presentations.

Afterward, the client told me that it was “a smash success” and they were so happy with it that they wrote me into their marketing plan the following year.

Faculty Matters Cover Story

For this cover story, my editor asked me to explore the question: In a world where everyone strives to be succeed, encouraging, and positive, has it become taboo to fail? I was also asked to cover both the philosophies and the science of failure; how people cope with failure; the consequences of fearing failure; what we learn from failing; and success and failure in education.

The most challenging –but also fun part — was figuring out how to include all of the requirements, while giving some focus to the article and making it come out as a cohesive story that took the reader through a journey. Another interesting aspect of the assignment was that I needed to make it all tie back to the target audience of faculty members (the article was for Faculty Matters Magazine).

I started tackling this story with research, lots of research! I was already interested in some research by Carol Dwek on the concept of mindset and how it helps people succeed, so I started with that. I then went on to read more articles in the field of positive psychology. Then I found professors across the country who have done research in both education and positive psychology. I spoke to four of them and read dozens of articles. Next, I went to work creating an interesting hook—I used The Tiger mom as a lead in anecdote because it was a timely topic. Finally, I tackled writing the story, incorporating all of the information I had gathered. To do so, I broke the story into manageable subtopics.

The result was that the article was received incredibly well, generated a lot of discussion, and even won the top award for article writing given by the Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition for creative professionals.

IDW press releases

I wrote dozens of stories for Scholastic Inc., both for their online news site and for magazines that went to classrooms. This story was one I wrote for Scholastic Scope, which has a goal of providing non-fiction stories that will fascinate, inspire, and challenge students.

After an editor at Scholastic interviewed Whoopi Goldberg, I was given the transcript. It was then my job to gather interesting tidbits that would demonstrate how Whoopi Goldberg had overcome difficult times, and to write it into a story and sidebar with a separate focus that would get children thinking.

The biggest challenge when writing for children is that it takes great skill to say a lot in very few words. You continually need to cut down the words without cutting down the content–a practice that made me a better writer overall.  

Earth Fair Flyer

St. Paul’s has an active environmental group at the church and every year we set up a booth at Earth Fair. However,there was little to no connection to the church and why we were present at the event. And there was no invitation to visit the church. After working with the leadership of the environmental group, I created messaging for the booth, as well as a flyer. My goal was to reach people who might be looking for a faith home that holds the same value of protecting the earth. At the same time, I ran an ad on our local public radio station about environmental classes we also had going on at the church.

 

Our web traffic more than tripled over a period of two weeks, and we had a number of newcomers tell us they had visited the church because they saw us at Earth Fair or heard the ad or on the radio.

Direct Mail Series

I wrote dozens of stories for Scholastic Inc., both for their online news site and for magazines that went to classrooms. This story was one I wrote for Scholastic Scope, which has a goal of providing non-fiction stories that will fascinate, inspire, and challenge students.

After an editor at Scholastic interviewed Whoopi Goldberg, I was given the transcript. It was then my job to gather interesting tidbits that would demonstrate how Whoopi Goldberg had overcome difficult times, and to write it into a story and sidebar with a separate focus that would get children thinking.

The biggest challenge when writing for children is that it takes great skill to say a lot in very few words. You continually need to cut down the words without cutting down the content–a practice that made me a better writer overall.  

Scholastic Cover Story

I wrote dozens of stories for Scholastic Inc., both for their online news site and for magazines that went to classrooms. This story was one I wrote for Scholastic Scope, which has a goal of providing non-fiction stories that will fascinate, inspire, and challenge students.

After an editor at Scholastic interviewed Whoopi Goldberg, I was given the transcript. It was then my job to gather interesting tidbits that would demonstrate how Whoopi Goldberg had overcome difficult times, and to write it into a story and sidebar with a separate focus that would get children thinking.

The biggest challenge when writing for children is that it takes great skill to say a lot in very few words. You continually need to cut down the words without cutting down the content–a practice that made me a better writer overall.  

San Diego Dining Scene Article

As the special projects editor at San Diego Magazine, I was in charge of the advertorial section of the magazine. This meant I came up with the editorial lineup for the advertorial section of each issue; I reported and wrote stories; and I edited stories written by other writers.

This story, on the changing dining scene, ran during the month of San Diego’s Restaurant Week. I approached it like I would with any other story, researching trends, interviewing people in the know, and then writing and editing it. The only thing that made it an “advertorial” story is that I made sure to include at least one advertiser as a source.