Bloggers and a kid who annoyed me

Words

Monetize

I see it all over lately, as in Monetize your Blog. But for the sake of clear communication, why not simply say make money? Monetize means to establish as legal tender. I don’t mind stretching a traditional definition if we need to describe something new. But making money? That’s been around since cave people  monetized whatever they were trading.

No

Wait

Punctuation

Unnecessary quotation marks

Check out this web site, http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com.  Lots of funny examples. I plan to contribute.

It’s versus its

I may well start a similar blog to embarrass people who confuse it’s, the contraction of it is, with its, the possessive of it. It’s the most common mistakes I see, even with normally articulate writers. Bloggers are the biggest offenders, I think.

It’s understandable. We normally use apostrophes with possessives, but this is one of the many exceptions that makes English so challenging. There’s no excuse if English is your first language, especially if you want to look professional. The rule provides an important distinction that help us communicate clearly.

So if you want to be understood and look  good, never use an apostrophe with it, unless you mean it is. Got it?

The kid

Last night my 13-year-old son pried off the keys on my keyboard and rearranged them to spell April Fool. This morning, I was very annoyed, as I delayed the start of my work day to rearrange them. Then I laughed.

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Feed blogs, newsletters fresh content

To keep up with the need to regular update their blogs and newsletters, many writers opt for canned content. But this make your content look like a can of generic vegetable soup instead of a melange of garden-fresh ingredients.

Most businesses insist their brand is unique. Yet, they go with generic content.  Worse still, some want to can a year’s supply.

But if you’re telling the world what’s special about you, generic content makes no sense. Neither does too much canning.

Your brand is all about you and the people who are important to you. It talks about your area of expertise and your perspective.

Your brand breathes. It responds to external issues as they arise and converses about bright ideas that have popped into your mind.

Can you imagine if you’d automatically sent out material you’d written before the economy tanked?

Can you imagine missing that opportunity to share your latest epiphany? Or failing to answer the same questions that have recently kept you tied to the phone and email?

Sure, I understand why people want to prepare in advance. I even advise people to can a few newsletters, blogs or other articles for when they are too busy.

But lose the spontaneity that enables you to reflect your world and respond to your people? No way.

Besides, there’s little point in generic content when almost anyone can google on any topic. People will read your content for your individual expertise and opinion.

Although many experts understand the importance of staying in touch, some simply don’t have the time or comfort level to write. But canned content isn’t the solution to their dilemma. Professional support  is.

Few of the people I’ve talked to who want to use canned content are lacking in expertise and opinion. They just need someone to pull it out of their brain and package it. That starts with a telephone conversation with a writer.

What could be simpler — and more delicious?

Jumbo shrimp… military intelligence… internet marketing

Internet marketing is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence, a contradiction in terms.

Traditional marketing tells the whole audience how the product or service meets needs or brings subconscious desires to the surface.

Internet marketing is different. Through the magic of search engines, individuals track down what they have already decided they need. Or their friends make suggestions. Making that easy is what smart e-marketers do.

Unfortunately, many e-marketers simply apply old direct marketing tactics. Case in point: I love to read, but I’m a bit of a snob. Yet my online book seller continues to send me mass hype about the latest Danielle Steele or John Grisham novel.

I even joined its social media site, putting books I’ve read recently on my electronic shelf, hoping this would incite them to send me information on publications I might actually buy. But it turns out I need to devote time to finding other members with similar interests and seeing what they recommend.

It’s a promising idea, but I haven’t found the time. It’s easier for me to read the expert reviews in those old-fashioned newspapers, listen for recommendations from speakers, experts, colleagues and friends and search for specific titles.

There’s a great cartoon from Noise to Signal with a dog on a computer telling the other dog: “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog. But they can smell a marketer from a mile away.” So true.

Direct marketers who have shifted their old tactics from phone calls and junk mail to the internet are still annoying. Like the telemarketers who call at dinner-time, they are either ignored or threatened with late-night return calls.

I work with email newsletters. Many people in the business call this email marketing, but my experience is that the more sales-oriented they are, the less likely people are to read them.

Like blogs and other social media, the newsletters we produce are intended to build relationships and establish clients’ expert reputations. They are all about knowledge: sharing your expertise so people will think of you when they or their friends are in the market for your product or service.

No, they don’t usually produce immediate sales. But people do open, read and respond to them. Though I still haven’t figured out how to reach that smart dog.

www.stickycommunication.ca

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