Posts tagged with “Business”

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Eat.Sleep.Txt.
By: Catie Moore

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How many texts messages have you sent today? How many of those text messages did you proof read before punching the green send button? How many times did you keep grammar and eloquent composition in mind when crafting your message?

If you're like most people the answers to these questions are: too many to count, zero, and zero. Texting is rampant among young smartphone users. According to a recent, Experian study, U.S. millenials-those texters ages 18-24-send and receive, on average, almost 4,000 texts per month...almost 50,000 texts per year.

SMS is a language filled with 'omgs' 'lols' and lack of punctuation, created to make communication via text more efficient in typing and responding. Along with shorter words, text messages are generally written as short bursts of information, rather than drawn out descriptive messages. Young smartphone users reading and writing nearly 50,000 texts per year are bound to pick up on sloppy writing habits.

The line between what is appropriate to text your BFF and what is appropriate language for an email to a future employer continuously blurs day by day. This leads to instances of informality when formality in communication is a must. Nothing screams "I don't care" more than implementing casual shorthand in a document or email where formal communication is needed to make a professional first impression.

Particular attention should be paid to grammar, spelling, and punctuation when crafting a business email. After all, an email is literally a text message often times created using a larger keyboard and monitor (although many access and utilize the mail function on their smartphones regularly) and is sent to an email address rather than a phone number. As email is often the preferred method of communication when applying for a job or an internship, setting up meetings with professors, or speaking with anyone with whom a personal relationship has not yet been established, it is important to take caution before hastily clicking the send mail button.

When applying for a job or an internship, it is imperative to present yourself with a professional demeanor, showing an employer your ability to reflect professionalism when communicating with clients. A job seeker should show how well spoken, professional, and qualified they are, not how quickly they can slap together and sent out an email. Your first e-mail is your first impression, making it your most important impression. Documents of such importance should be read, read again and read by another set of eyes to proof for short hand, misspelled words, and incorrect punctuation.

In a time when text messages rule the airwaves, be wary of the bad habits you could be developing that affect your formal written and verbal communication skills.

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Using Social Media for B2B Leads


By Tiffany Deluccia

I find most people immediately discount social media as a B2B marketing channel. While on the surface, that may feel intuitive, this philosophy in practice could cause you to miss out on opportunities to build relationships, nurture leads and market successfully. There is a personal component to B2B relationships.

A 2013 Gallup study found only 20% of B2B customers are actively engaged customers. The overall takeaway from the study can be summed up in the headline of the published article:

B2Bs Win by Building Relationships, Not Selling on Price

If that’s the case, social media can work with a strategic approach.

The most important thing before starting any social media campaign is to research which channels you should be on. If you’re a small B2B company, I’d begin that research by talking to current clients about what social media platforms they use and for what purposes. This will be less about the accounts their businesses use for marketing and more about what the decision-makers personally use. Is LinkedIn their first stop for business news and updates in the morning? Are they fanatical about following Twitter trends? Find out how the people you want to reach are using social media.

Second, figure out your content goals. What kinds of messages are you hoping to communicate to decision-makers at the businesses you target? What assets do you already have that you could repurpose online?

Third, plan your content strategy. This marries up the first two points. Once you know the kinds of platforms your target audience uses, plan to communicate your key messages in ways that make sense on those social media sites. If they are mostly using LinkedIn, longer-form blog posts, white papers and infographics could be good tools for communicating your messages. If YouTube, perhaps you could capitalize on the great personality of one of your salespersons and try something like what Moz – a search engine optimization company – does with its Whiteboard Friday series of videos about SEO.

Twitter has also introduced a special kind of tweet through its advertising platform called Lead Generation Cards that can actually help you capture names and email addresses of people who are interested in your offers directly from tweets you send out. I’ve found them to be very simple to use and, astonishingly, they are free!

So, take some time to thoughtfully consider social media as a B2B marketing tool before you write it off. And if you want some examples of B2B companies using social well, check out this Social Media Today article from earlier this year.

Photo Credit: atomicjeep via Compfight cc

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The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do

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By Tiffany Deluccia

My dad tells a story of his high school typing teacher making a statement that he—as a 10th grader—thought was ridiculous. She claimed communicating is the hardest thing you will ever have to do.

He recalls the class arguing with her, he especially, as speaking with clarity and charisma was his natural gift.

But on this side of 30 years, we have talked about the truth of that statement, proven time and again. Communication is more than a well-said word, a factual speech or a clear vision. If the hearers do not understand you, you have not communicated. And for that, the listeners cannot be blamed.

That’s the trouble. You can be a visionary—by your own admission or even by others like you—but if you can’t capture hearts, deliver compelling facts, inspire action or shift an opinion, the vision falls short.

I find the important thing is to complement speaking with listening: You must understand what your audience understands now before you can ever hope to communicate a new idea. Then, speak their language. Seek feedback often. Reinforce your message with as many of the five senses as are appropriate: hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell. Communicating takes work and intentionality. It thrives in creativity.

More than perhaps anything else, communication—or the lack thereof—is what builds our sense of reality. It’s the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do because it’s vital to success in family, in friendships, in faith, in politics and in business.

I’m stopping to evaluate today: How well am I really communicating who I am to my world?

Photo credit: Ernest Duffoo

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Simplicity: The Art of Sophistication

By Matt Lochel

Imagine Tolstoy alive in our sound bite obsessed world. Steeped in Twitterdom and its 140-character limit would he have chosen to convey the message of his flagship work in a Tweet?

Rus’n tundra,$people party,desperation,white dog,freezn,borscht,fires in Moscow,Napl’n Bpte retreat,french lose,awful blizzard,boiled cabbage…

Reducing a literary classic to grammatically incorrect tripe is certainly ridiculous, but it does serve as an important example of what makes a message impact its target audience in 2013.

Spoiler alert: It isn’t word count.

To have impact, you must ensure your audience reads your message, and that’s increasingly difficult.

Attention spans are way down as social media use is way up. Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube are complicit in reducing the time an average adult pays attention from 12 minutes to 5 minutes.

Think about something you’ve read recently that impacted you in some way. Was it a long and laboriously written technical manual, or was it a snappy ad slogan?

• Lee. The jeans that built America.

Tag Heuer: Success. It’s a mind game.

Dow Chemical: The Human Element.

These examples have impact because they don’t seek to rigidly define the company or its products. They leave their mission open to interpretation. Good messages make you think, but the best inspire you to dream of what could be instead of what is.

Using fewer words allows you to have more impact—not less.

According to Dave Kerpen, New York Times Best-Selling Author, clear and succinct writing is an essential skill every professional must embrace. In fact, Kerpen drives home his point by stating that people judge the value of your ideas by the skill in which you communicate them. This is as true for accountants as it is for copywriters.

Here are some simple tips to improve your writing’s quality.

Mark Twain once described a classic as a book that people praise but don’t read. With all the time you’ll save by keeping your writing succinct, perhaps you’ll have a chance to prove him wrong by dusting off the pre-Twitter version of War and Peace so you can savor each of its 587,287 words.

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PR is not a verb

Robert Couse-Baker Creative Commons License

By Jeff Dezen

I heard someone use “PR” as a verb the other day, as in “Let’s PR the devil out of this new product!” I felt the little pea roll around in my head. How, exactly, does one “PR” something? Is the suggestion that we, flamboyantly, inflate something beyond what is honest?

The bane of the PR pro: the image of a guy who is glad-handing in the crowd, bellowing claims about this and that. Not my image of the communications professional who understands the nuances of business and captures succinctly the word-pictures that advance an insightful and motivating strategy.

There’s nothing wrong with a touch of flamboyance, at the proper time, I guess. But, in the Board Rooms where my clients meet, people surely don’t favor it. When charged with expanding into new markets or taking market-share in a declining category of business or managing a critical issue that affects distribution channels and end-use consumers, my clients prefer solid ideas.

A colleague once said that ideas — truly original ideas — are the last legal means of gaining advantage in a world characterized by parity. Coupled with articulate speaking and writing skills, the “idea guy” always wins.

And while one can learn the rules of spoken and written discourse, I don’t know how to teach creative ideation. This fact has plagued me for many years, as I have grown to appreciate the value of analysis and extrapolation. What a joy to listen to a the PR pro who dissects the client’s new product launch into its hyper-local markets, segmented audience-groups and perfect-fitting story angles . . . and, then, wraps it all with a linguistic ‘turn’ that goes viral!

For me, PR is a noun, a career— not a circus barker’s role; rather, a business-analysis and communications function. One that honors ideas and wordsmithing above all else.

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker cc via Flickr