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!
Yes. Next question.
Oh, wait…do you mean, do characters count? Count your characters? Y’all, that is seriously muy importante in your email subject lines. And I have the best of all possible examples to prove it.
Names have been omitted to protect the guilty-as-hell. Continue reading
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.
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.
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
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
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
My hiatus is about to come to an end. But before I return to serious social media-ing and bloggonating (Blogg O’Nating, by the way, is the worst leprechaun name ever), I thought I’d muse at you a little. Inspired by NASA.
Because seriously, this is beyond fantastic.
“But Steph,” you protest. “What does that disarmingly catchy parody have to do with my business? I’m not an astronaut!” You don’t have to be. You have content for days. Just gotta use what you’ve got. Continue reading
I know, pumpkin. I know. You don’t want to think about those big meanies. Or hey, maybe you work in one of those cool market segments where friendly competition is the norm, and you don’t need to dwell on those folks. But on the off chance you have competitors, and you want to make sure you’re meeting or exceeding their efforts, how do you do that voodoo you need to do so well?
I think it is time, padawan. I think you are ready. This is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. This…is close reading. Continue reading
Have you done something different with your hair? It looks nice. Touchable. And that color really brings out your eyes. Here, let me top off your drink, darlin’. Time to talk about mood again.
Mood happens. Whether you are conscious of it or not. So it makes sense to be aware of it, mm? So you don’t, say, write a really chipper blog post about cremation, or melancholy web copy for a party planner. And we establish mood with setting, diction, and now tone.
Setting was pretty straightforward, diction a little less so, and tone is the most elusive. We’ve sort of been building up to the biggie.
“But Steph,” you say, because you are a smart little tomato, “Isn’t tone the same thing as mood?” Kinda. But no. But yeah. But not really. Continue reading