danniewriter

Writer at work

pencup

I get it. You are a busy small-business owner who is marketing on a shoestring. Or perhaps you lead a community non-profit that relies almost exclusively on volunteer labor. It would take a walk-in closet to store all the hats you wear. It’s laughable to think of taking a class or even attending a seminar to improve your writing skills. English class was a long time ago, and sometimes you aren’t sure about a verb tense or word choice. You know you could get more views and click-throughs on your social media posts if you could punch up your copy, but there’s never any time.

The next time you are in a doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room, find yourself a few minutes early to pick up the kids, or every open checkout at the grocery store is stacked four deep, take a few minutes to learn, or more likely, re-learn a little something about good writing with these resources:

How Not to Confuse These Commonly Confused Words from Writer’s Relief

12 Twitter Accounts That Will Make You a Better Writer from HootSuite

Be a Better Writer in 15 Minutes: 4 TED-Ed Lessons on Grammar and Word Choice

30 Power Words that Convert on Social Media by Chelsea Alves on Classy.org

Still stuck? A professional wordsmith isn’t as pricey as you think. Give me a call. The initial consultation is free.

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Some habits aren’t tough to break

Woman is getting bored on date while her boyfriend is typing sms

I ran across a wonderful article from HootSuite recently. As a rule, I try, often without success, to avoid writing and using negative headlines, but in this case, the content of the piece is too valuable to write off simply because it is written in a negative voice. The author, Sam Milbrath, knows her stuff.

Were I a betting woman, I’d wager the most frequent reason that businesses/organizations repeat themselves, often ad nauseam, on Facebook, Twitter, etc., is that they’re fresh out of anything new to say. As someone who struggles with this myself, I err on the side of deafening silence rather than the drone of repetition. The former is bad news, but the latter will get you unfollowed much more quickly.

In Milbrath’s first point, she mentions a previous post about the social media “rule of thirds,” that’s also worth your time. Here’s the breakdown:

  • One-third social content that promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.
  • One-third social content that surfaces ideas and shares stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.
  • One-third social content based on personal interactions and building your brand.

Regarding bullet point two, a great place to find those ideas and stories is from your own Twitter and Facebook feeds. Every business or organization has its own trade publications, online communities, accrediting/oversight boards, and industry big hitters you should be following.

When you share content from other sources, be sure you give them appropriate credit. Often you will find a blog post or article that is framed around another article, such as the one you are reading right now. If there are no fresh insights and it essentially just links to another article, make sure you use the original piece in your blog. There’s no need to separate the content with another “generation” of social media unless it provides some unique, helpful insights, something I hope my posts provide.

Every few months, I review who I’m following on Facebook and Twitter. I drop those whose content I’m not reading or sharing, for whatever reason, and find a new source to follow for a while. It’s worth your time to do the same.

I can’t encourage you enough to take to heart the author’s suggestion to develop contests, giveaways and other ideas for user-generated content. Not only does it give you original material, it broadens your base of followers, and thus, customers and donors.

Take stock of your social media habits as you read point five. If you are new to social media, it’s possible you are creating spam and don’t even know it!

Finally, don’t forget, every reader/customer/donor interaction is an opportunity. Always put your best face forward. Be polite. Own up to mistakes. Accept constructive criticism, and even rude complaints, with grace. Social media is here to stay. Develop tactics for the long haul.

Need assistance or ideas for getting started or moving to the next level? Give me a call. Initial consultations are free of charge.

 

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Light bulbs

thinker1

Marketing Monday came and went without a post yesterday because I’ve been impressed recently by several articles on this mammoth subject and its infinite number of ancillary topics. In short: I couldn’t decide what to write about yesterday.

So I gave it some more thought and decided to share the best of the brightest I’d run across the past few days.

There’s a lot of pontificating (often I refer to this as “balloon juice”) out there intended to make authors/presenters look really smart. Inevitably they end up complicating, and then renaming, things that are essentially fairly simple to understand. One of my favorite examples is the term “signage,” which is now firmly embedded in our lexicon, but let’s face it, folks, “signs,” works just fine too.

But I digress.

In addition to the balloon juice is a great deal of informative, illustrative and no-nonsense articles and observations about marketing, public relations, social media, etc.

Here’s some info and links on the ones that really caught my eye. I ran across the first two on LinkedIn.

Last week I blogged about print not being dead. This week I ran across a post from Yvonne Parkinson that references data to back that up. Yes, as director of a printing firm she has a big dog in the fight, but the figures come from Direct Marketing Association in the UK so I think the figures are pretty solid no matter which side of the pond you are on.

Some might consider the next one as approaching clickbait status (more on that below), but after reading it, I disagree. Yes, it was the mention of the movie, The Breakfast Club (one of my all-time faves), that caught my eye, but this brief observation from Rex Weaver, a mover and shaker in the automotive industry, provides insight on how you can approach your audience with a fresh perspective. He defines three terms of customer “segmentation” that are not in the least snooty-sounding: User Based, Benefit Based and Occasion Based.

The last two come from HootSuite, the platform that enables users to post to multiple social media accounts simultaneously. They offer other stuff too.

HootSuite has just released its 2015 Social Media Glossary, enabling dabblers to figure out what those pretentious pundits are talking about, or perhaps empowering dabblers to sound like pretentious pundits themselves. Seriously, this is good info. Read this and you’ll understand why Rex Weaver’s Breakfast Club post is not┬áin the least clickbait … among other helpful things.

This last one is so insightful for business owners who are on social media. It illustrates why it is impossible for shops large and small (and non-profits, too) to “do” social media halfway. If you have started a Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest board and simply abandoned it, you may be leaving a billboard of customer/donor dissatisfaction on the InterWebz for all the world to see … forever. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

 

 

 

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