So, how’s your proofreading?

Proofread or GTFO

Check your copy before you wreck your copy.

If you’ve followed my #HireACopywriter tagging on Twitter, you know I have Strong Feelings™ about getting content right. The various steps involved — research, concepting, writing, editing — are all important. But your content can be bangin’ and still bite it hard if it is riddled with typos.

Enter the magic of proofreading!

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So, here’s Thought Experiment #12

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

In previous Thought Experiments, I’ve asked you about everything from coffee to evil. But as a card-carrying nerd (No, really — I have a S.H.I.E.L.D Agent ID I got from the Marvel Experience, and if that isn’t a nerd card I don’t know what is), I think it’s time we got down to the good stuff.

Comic books.

Oh, comics. How I love you. From the goofiness of the Golden Age to the grittier-than-thou late 80s and 90s, that four-color art form warms my heart. Cliche monthly titles or sprawling graphic novels that challenge the form. Sophisticated storytelling like Neil Gaiman’s epic Sandman. Insightful coming-of-age work like Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin. Inspiring brilliance like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel. And I can’t forget artists and inkers…

I’m going to stop before I start babbling.

Comics are having a serious pop culture moment, and they owe a lot of that success to the idea of the superhero. There are all sorts of other stories, of course, but when we think of comic books, we think of fluttering capes and quips made under pressure and feats of superhuman coolness.

So here’s the experiment: If your brand was a superhero, who would s/he be? What sort of costume, powers, and backstory would set him or her apart from the others? Maybe your brand is a driven anti-hero detective. Or a conflicted beacon of righteousness. Or a compassionate, regal visitor to the world of men.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, ought to be thinking about what makes your brand unique.

Go ahead. Give it a think. See what you get.

So, does your biz have a social media policy?

 

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Even though we now shop online, bank online, and even find our spouses online, there are still folks out there meeting news of vicious social media attacks with, “It’s just the internet. Grow a thicker skin.”

But let an employee be candid about work disappointments online, and some of those same folks are ready to grab the torches and pitchforks.

We can’t have it both ways. But you know what we can have? Solid social media policies.

And your company needs one.

Need proof? Let’s look at a couple of problems you might encounter, starting with a case that’s been in the news recently.

Y’all have heard of Curt Schilling, I’d imagine. If not, here’s a recap. Let me warn you, though, it ain’t pretty. I usually keep it light around here. The issue I’m about to address is anything but.  Continue reading

So, what do Andy Beal and Wil Wheaton have in common?

 

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The folks at DFWSEM, who are professional but refreshingly un-phony, have a meeting the second Wednesday of each month. And said meetings aren’t just fluff and filler. They bring in some heavy hitters to speak on a wide range of online marketing and social media topics, cats like Bill Hartzer and Roger Dooley and Dallas Search Engine Academy superheroine Beth Kahlich.

Last week, they snagged Andy Beal, who’s more entertaining than a dachshund in a cardigan, to speak on what not to do online under any circumstances and then how to fix it when you do it anyway.

I blogged about it for Argent Media over at the [Ag] Search Blog, but here at Stately Studer Manor, I wanted to concentrate on one point he made. One, because it neatly dovetails with my personal philosophy of Don’t Be Creepy. Also because it was a profoundly weird story. And because sometimes, hey, we all need to be reminded of certain rules. A particular rule often called Wheaton’s Law in the nerdier sectors of the intarwebz. Y’know, Wil Wheaton? Ensign Crusher of the Enterprise? Nemesis of Sheldon Cooper? Yep, he’s got a Law. Which is this: Continue reading

So, ready to get your graphics on?

 

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As anyone who’s ever seen me try to decorate a cake will tell you, I am not a graphic designer. At all. And if you’re wearing a lot of hats in your small- or medium-sized biz, I’m guessing you’re not a designer either (unless you run a design firm, in which case you don’t need this post). But not being a graphic guru is bad news for both of us, buddy, and I’ll tell you why.

Gmail grid view.

Now, I’m not saying that those three words should cause you a bowelquake of panic. But I am saying you should check it out.  Continue reading

So, what do you do when you really screw up?

 

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In my last couple of pieces, I’ve pointed out some examples of what not to do. Like, ever. Under any circumstances. There was a key and creepy difference between these two examples, though.

Both started out as honest, if incredibly short-sighted, mistakes. But one screw up was followed by a sincere apology. The other? Not so much.

It might be instructive to talk about how to say you’re sorry. Like all forms of communication, that’s storytelling. And because it deals with emotions and disappointment, it’s important that it be respectful storytelling.   Continue reading

So, again with the creepy, Facebook?

 

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Facebook. Sweetie. Boychik. Come here. We have to have another chat. About the creepy.

You’re doing it again.

I know that you want to be all things to all people, and that now you have stockholders to earn for. And hey, new features build buzz and keep folks in the app, rather than zipping over to Yelp to find restaurants and reviews.

But you could maybe be not so stalker-y?  Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #11

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

You don’t have to be Lamont Cranston, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, in order to see if something’s wrong at work. If you have a business, or run a department, or supervise anyone or anything at all, you know that one of your responsibilities is to shore up the weak and make best use of the strong. That could mean people. That could mean processes. That could even mean weird directives handed down from the home office/upper levels that make no real-world sense. So here’s my question to you. Do you know what the weak parts are?

In other words, if you were the bad guy, all nefarious and mustache-twirling, how would your take down your own biz?

Maybe you’d approach a dissatisfied employee who’s vital but feels under appreciated and has been more negative than usual recently. Maybe you’d exploit a manufacturing inefficiency. Maybe you’d develop a social media strategy for your competing company that whupped the pants off what you’re currently rocking.

What’s really important is that you take stock. New year, new start, right? Like Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Why would I ask this?

Because as you let your inner evil genius out to play, it ought to occur to you, buddy, “Hey, now I know what parts of my sky-writing firm/jelly bean factory/envelope licking service need to be fixed!”

Go on. Take a look around. See what you find.