Should You Have a Catchphrase?

One of the ways you get noticed online is to be memorable. Are you memorable?

I was recently looking at a page my friend liked on Facebook and I was struck by how the person who manages the page uses the same phrase at the end of all the updates: That makes me smile.

The page is called Unlucky Victor and is about a dog who was attacked, kicked, shot, and ultimately rescued. Today, Victor lives in a loving home and all the Facebook updates are written in his voice. No matter what he says, he ends with that makes me smile. This catchphrase makes this page more memorable than any of the other pages I like. It makes me a fan.  

This kind of tactic is a unique way to brand your efforts and is a really smart idea. Think about it. Could you benefit from a catchphrase that you use on your blog, website, newsletter, or any other form of online outreach? If so, well, that makes me smile.

Why Proofreading is Worth the Investment

Nothing says unprofessional more than sending out emails, newsletters, and sales materials, or producing ebooks or promotional videos with errors or poorly worded language. I always wince when I see an error from a company, especially when they're trying to sell me something. It surprises me, though, that this isn't just a problem that small companies face. Big ones do, too.

Tucked away in my desk drawer, I have a file of things that have mistakes in them. Yes I know it's a weird hobby, but it's better than taxidermy. Anyway, it has materials from big companies like Kodak (pre-bankruptcy) and local businesses, too. From menus to sales collateral, there's errors. Who lets money be spent on producing materials and then drops the ball at the end by letting it go out less than perfect? Unfortunately, way too many of us.

I was recently watching TV and saw a commercial for the film Warm Bodies, produced by Summit Entertainment. Obviously someone on the staff of the film company had the bright idea of putting the hashtag on the commercial. Brilliant! We all use hashtags these days. Hashtag it up, baby! However, whoever did the graphics on this commercial, whoever edited the commercial, whoever signed off on the commercial, and whoever placed the commercial obviously didn't flag the hashtag. Take a look at the video below.

For those who don't use Twitter, let me tell you what the problem is. You can't have a space in a hashtag. Therefore, what the film company listed as #Warm Bodies should actually be #WarmBodies. With the space, the hashtag is just #Warm--and that's wrong. And it's up there the entire time.

So, the lesson here today is let someone (or a bunch of someones) look at your copy before you send it out to the masses. Proofreading is an important part of the marketing, sales, and communications process. When you allow mistakes to go into the world, it's a reflection on you or your company. Do you want to be known for polished and professional materials? Or do you want to end up in my error file?

Surprising Your Customers with Kindness

Don't you love it when you're surprised by something that makes you smile? Most of us do.

As a business, you have lots of opportunities to make your customers happy. Perhaps even surprise them with something they didn't expect. But, do you do it?

Case in point, Send Rover Over Pet Salon in Eugene, Oregon. My friend Kristen Dunder posted this photo to her Facebook page right before Christmas with the following status update:

This is the Christmas card we received from Send Rover Over, Bella's groomers. I love the personal touch...they must have taken the photo when I brought her in last month!

So, here's Kristen taking in her dog for a grooming and completely unaware that the folks at Send Rover Over are secretly taking Bella's photo for a special Christmas card. First off, kudos to SRO for even sending their clients a holiday card. But, to make it so personal as to put a photo of the client's dog on the front of the card? Now, that's the kind of thoughtful gesture that, I'm sure, makes clients want to come back again and again. I know I'd go to Send Rover Over if I lived in Eugene.

If there something your business can do to surprise and delight your customers? Make them feel special? Put a smile of their faces? Think about it. Now do it. 

Blogging or Writing? The Nuances of Words

Ever since I was in grade school, I've enjoyed writing. It's something I've done for a living in one form or another since I graduated college. In my early career, people would ask what I do and I'd say "I'm a writer." People's immediate response would be, "What do you write for? Books? Magazines?" People would essentially ask about the medium for which I wrote. I can't say I noticed that until I became a blogger.

Nowadays, although I write for lots of different projects, I consider myself a blogger first and foremost. And when I say to people "I'm a blogger," their response is always "What do you blog about?" Notice, as a writer they asked about the medium and as a blogger they ask about the content. I find that to be really interesting.

With every word we speak or write, we convey a message. Sometimes people get that message loud and clear and sometimes they come to a completely different conclusion than we intended. Word choice is critical and each statement we make may have nuances we don't fully appreciate. But, we should learn to listen and adjust accordingly.

Think about the words you use and the reactions you get. Are the results what you expected? Does a slight variation yield a different outcome? Don't just send out your message and move on. Pay attention to the aftermath. Perhaps selecting another word will produce a sale or create an enemy. One word can be the difference between black and white.

Do you put thought into your word choice when you speak or write? Could you benefit from more thoughtful communication? Have you had something good turn bad based on a poorly worded phrase? Will you pay more attention to your words and the impact they have next time you communicate?
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