20110927 Modern Communication Chamber Expo

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Modern Communication: Professional Writing for Your Business, and Why it Matters, presented by April Finnen, Frederick Chamber EXPO, September 27, 2011

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20110927 Modern Communication Chamber Expo

  1. 1. MODERN COMMUNICATION:PROFESSIONAL WRITING FOR YOURBUSINESS, AND WHY IT MATTERSSeptember 27, 2011April L. Finnen, MBA @AprilFin
  2. 2. FIRST IMPRESSIONS – THEN 2
  3. 3. FIRST IMPRESSIONS – NOWwww. 3
  4. 4. WHAT’S CHANGED?Then NowReporters decided the news Everyone reports “news”Print/mail/fax press releases One-click publishingPrint anything (brochures, Online everythingnewsletters, memos)Yellow pages GoogleWord-of-mouth (literally) Online reviews DIGITAL IS FOREVER 4
  5. 5. THE NEW MARKETING DOS AND DON’TSDon’t Do Broadcast Interact Spam Opt in Cold call Be helpful Hide your identity Be transparent Take shortcuts Build over time Auto-post / auto-DM Tailor your message = 5
  6. 6. DON’T FORGET THE OBVIOUS Customer service still rules The ways customers expect to reach you are changing In-person and phone interactions still important Spelling and grammar matter Use built-in spelling and grammar tools (Word, Tip: Professional blogging platforms) doesn’t have to sound No: ☺, BRB, L8R, LOL in stuffy. Write like you business writing are talking with your customer. Your writing is your 6 business résumé – no typos!
  7. 7. BEFORE COMMUNICATING ANYTHING Ask the big question, from your audience’s perspective What’s In it for me? 7
  8. 8. BEFORE YOU WRITE:NOT-SO-GENTLE REMINDERS “You” (not “I”) What’s in it for your customer? Don’t be fancy Write like you talk. Cut the long sentences. On the screen, less is more. Kill the jargon Acronyms don’t make you sound smart; they confuse your potential customers. And they look elsewhere. It’s OK to have some fun Show your (business) personality Be human 8 Learn more (source for above): How Better Writing Gets You Better Treatment
  9. 9. REVIEW YOUR OWN WRITING:THE 4 CS Clear Is this precisely what I mean? Is it clear what action my reader should take? Concise Does every single word matter? Coherent Does this make sense? Do I only have to read it once to understand? Consistent Does this match my other materials, messages? 9 Tip: PROOFREAD EVERYTHING!
  10. 10. USE THE RIGHT TOOLWhat Ways to Publicize TipsHappenedNew website Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Don’t issue a press release; – invite comments, votes the newspaper doesn’t care.New business With client’s permission: Think about it from a larger$$$, or client press release, case study, perspective (jobs created,milestone blog post impact, etc.). Be sure it’s really news for press release.Job openings Social media, your website Include how to apply.Charity event Social media, blog Include information on how others can give.Sale/discount Social media 40% of Facebook users follow companies because they want discounts*Any of the Email newsletter (opt-in, of Your newsletter should offerabove course) educational value—not just 10 marketing fluff. Keep that last, and minimal.*Source: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/study-reveals-why-consumers-fan-facebook-pages/
  11. 11. AND THEN THERE’S EMAIL Consider alternatives If you must use email for lists, BCC the addresses Be clear and concise Specific subject line Make it clear what action your reader should take, and by when Proofread! Be responsive Tip: Use an email marketing service to manage your 11 customer mailings. Many have free small business plans. Tools: MailChimp, iContact, ConstantContact
  12. 12. CAN-SPAM ACT OF 2003 Hate spam? So does Congress. Unless they opt in, it’s spam, and it’s ILLEGAL All messages must include a valid postal address You must offer a way to unsubscribe in every message You must honor unsubscribe requests within 10 days Each separate email in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 You are not exempt if someone else is doing your email marketing – you are both liable Learn more: 12 http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/spam/business.htm
  13. 13. Learn more:OTHER LEGAL THINGS http://www.copyright.com/ If it’s on the Internet, assume it’s copyrighted You cannot use Google Images search to find graphics You cannot use photos without permission Creative Commons licenses rarely allow business use Snap your own, hire a photographer, or use stock photos Limited free options: http://office.microsoft.com/en- us/images/ Flickr.com – many photographers allow free use with attribution/link back Affordable stock photo sites: iStockPhoto, Photos.com, Shutterstock (cheaper than a lawsuit) Web accessibility Learn more: 13 Ex: ALT tags http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/
  14. 14. TIME-SAVERS Hire a professional to design your website Add Frequently Asked Questions (and the answers) to your website Write standard responses for common customer inquiries This keeps everyone consistent and on message Add to the list as you answer new questions Use a web-based tool for your email newsletter Auto-responders, opt-in and spam checkers will keep you legal, and remove the hassle of manual unsubscribes Think of a few words/phrases to describe your 14 business “persona” Examples: helpful, efficient, experienced, fun
  15. 15. ADVANCED TIME-SAVERS Filter your email inbox(es) Auto-sort to folders by priority Read the low-priority stuff once a day (newsletters, conferences, etc.) Go digital – do you need paper files? Make an editorial calendar for your social media Blog posts, tweets, etc. Purpose is not to automate, but to ensure your activity supports your strategy Have a social media strategy Why spend the time without a purpose? 15 Resource: Your Social Media Road Map, by Beth Schillaci
  16. 16. FURTHER READING “Both your customers and your employees have started marching in this burgeoning social media multitude, and you’d better get out of their way— or learn to embrace them.” – Forbes Unmarketing, by Scott Stratten - http://www.unmarketing.com/ Mashable.com – basic and advanced how-tos on everything social media Frederick Chamber member directory For web design help, also look in the marketing and graphics/design categories The Business Writer’s Handbook by Gerald J. 16 Alred, et al (now in 9th edition)
  17. 17. QUESTIONS?April Finnen, MBAAssociate Director, Communications, DynPort Vaccine Company LLCEmail: afinnen@csc.com or aprilfinnen@gmail.comLinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aprilfinnenTwitter: @AprilFin and @dynportBlog: OnePersonShop.comOpinions in this presentation and on mypersonal blog and social media profiles aresolely my own, and do not necessarily 17reflect the views of my employer.

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