Yep. The following reminders are, in fact, basic. But there’s a good reason to read the list - the “basics” are foundational.
Even the most accomplished musicians warm up by playing scales. Even the best hitters in the Major Leagues take batting practice before each game.
Likewise, reviewing and applying these basic thoughts can help you maintain your strong foundation.
Here we go…
1) On your business cards, résumé and email signature, use the name you want people to call you. If you prefer Bob, don’t refer to yourself as Robert on your LinkedIn page and other public profiles.
2) Make your emails easier to scan and read by using bullet points. Change important ideas from black to red. And highlight any requests that require action.
3) Include all your company’s contact information on your website. Don’t just make potential customers enter their personal info, submit it and then wait for your response.
4) Writing a blog post or a longer email? Start with an outline. Jot down the main points you’d like to make in a column. Add basic details under each point. Then, build your content around those points. Move your blocks of content as necessary to create the most logical flow for your audience.
Also, when writing website and email copy, apply this journalism principle: don’t bury the lede. Position the most important information near the top of your content.
5) In a meeting? Keep your phone or other device out of sight. Turning it over isn’t good enough. The presence of your phone or tablet suggests to others in the room that, at any second, you could be attending to an email or call that's “more important."
6) Never lie - or even exaggerate - with your marketing. Making outrageous claims about your product is an obvious type of lying, but there are more subtle misrepresentations, too. For example, the marketing emails that include this type of copy:
“I’ve been reviewing your website, MadAveGroup.com. I really like it, and I’ve been thinking about ways that we could help you generate even more traffic.”
The person who sent that email didn’t review our site. He didn’t form an opinion of our site. And, on a whim, he didn’t start pondering ways to improve our site. Lies have no place in any type of relationship. Make sure your marketing messages are accurate and honest.
7) Edit your business writing so it’s as concise, yet as effective as possible. Cut the fluff and repetition to show respect for your audience’s time. Whether you’re crafting emails, reports or blog posts, it’s your job as the writer to make your content easy to navigate, digest and retain.
8) Always say “thank you.” For a client’s time or trust. For a customer’s purchase. For a colleague’s insight. Thank people when they hold the door, when they pick up the tab, when they do good work. Look people in the eyes, say thank you as often as you can and mean it. There’s neither an easier expression of gratitude nor one that’s more meaningful.
Thank you for reading.