Posted by rachelwriter on January 27, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Greg-ography
Embarrassing, but true: a few days ago, I spotted at least one glaring grammatical error on each of the Web sites of two well-known business schools here in Georgia.
The first was a subject-verb disagreement: “Each are….” instead of “Each is….”
The second was an embarrassing typo-turned-malapropism: “Perquisite” instead of “Prerequisite.”
And, I’m not talking about a hastily-scribed blog post, either. I’m talking about the universities’ primary marketing copy. The meat of the schools’ Web content. The stuff that’s supposed to make prospective students salivate at the mere thought of enrolling.
Now, I don’t know about other people, but I wasn’t salivating much after stumbling upon these errors. Blushing in embarrassment, perhaps. Wide-eyed and flabbergasted, maybe. But definitely not salivating.
Because, to me, these errors not only represented a flagrant carelessness concerning the schools’ brands and academic reputations, but they also suggested a rather low-quality education and academic environments that celebrate mediocrity over excellence.
Not true? Perhaps. But by now, that’s irrelevant. Sloppy copy on the schools’ most important marketing tool—their Web sites—overshadowed everything else I read and, unfortunately, created a perception that these schools are not quality academic institutions.
Anyway, the lesson, folks, is this: perception is everything. If your marketing copy isn’t crystal clear and error-free, you’re sending a message to your prospects that you’re careless, unprofessional, and inexperienced. Oh, yeah—and totally not worth the money.
Is that really the reputation you want to create for yourself and your business? Just some food for thought.
Posted in grammar, marketing, The Basics | Tagged: brand reputation, branding, copywriting, grammar, malapropism, reputation, spelling, typo | Leave a Comment »
Posted by rachelwriter on January 13, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/zen
As a language lover, there are few things that I consider more painful than witnessing someone unintentionally misapply a word or phrase. Sure, it’s cute when a toddler refers to the library as a lie-berry or insists on seeing the polo bears (instead of polar bears) at the Zoo.
But as literate grown-ups, there’s simply no excuse for making such egregious errors in our speech and writing.
Here are six gaffes that make me cringe:
The word is SUPPOSEDLY, people. Yes, -EDLY. You may want to repeat that once or twice and jot it down for future reference.
2. “Must of”
No, no, no, and no. It’s HAVE, people. You must HAVE. Should HAVE. Could HAVE. Would HAVE.
Um, I’m pretty sure you mean REGARDLESS or IRRESPECTIVE, ‘cause what you just said is not a real word.
4. “For all intensive purposes.”
Surprise! It’s actually “for all INTENTS AND purposes”!
If you’re referring to something in particular (yes, even if it’s on the West Coast), then what you mean is SPECIFICALLY.
What other language blunders can you think of that rub you the wrong way?
Posted in grammar | Tagged: grammar, malapropisms, speaking, spelling, writing | 4 Comments »
Posted by rachelwriter on January 6, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Unitopia
I have a motto for strategic communication. I describe it as “part science, part art; part brain, part heart.”
What I mean is that purposeful and meaningful communication—whether it’s in the form of marketing, advertising, or public relations—must be at once quantitative and qualitative; objective and subjective; proven and experimental; logical and emotional.
Say, what, you ask?
We all know there are certain time-tested “rules” of effective communication (know your target audience; avoid jargon and clichés; use fewer words; use shorter words; use proper grammar; etc.). There are also ways to measure communicative efforts (micro-conversion rates; conversion rates; ROI; number of PR hits; etc.). As you might have guessed, this is the science/brain part of strategic communications.
But there’s a spate of other factors that also influence the efficacy of your campaign—factors that are more intuitive and affecting than tried-and-true methodologies; factors that are measurable only anecdotally. I’m talking about the humanization of communication. The cultivation of real and trusting relationships with your target audience. The engagement and interaction with not only your prospects, but also your current customers. The sharing of relevant ideas and helpful information with like-minded groups and individuals. The sincere display of interest in the lives of those whom your product or service benefits. The positioning of your company as more than just a cold, corporate brand—but as a group of real-life, empathetic human beings who are just like everyone else.
You see, communication is all about building and maintaining relationships. (The word “relations” in “public relations,” for example, underscores my point.) And this is where art and heart come into play.
Social media (note, by the way, the term “social”) tools like Twitter are the perfect avenue for this, in my opinion: there’s simply no better or more immediate forum for engaging and interacting with your prospects and current clients than online. And, even better? You can take those online relationships and turn them into real-life connections.
Sure, the science and the brain behind strategic communication are critical. But following your heart—that is, being genuine, human, and approachable—is an art that should never, ever be omitted from your strategic communications plan.
Posted in marketing, Public Relations, The Basics | Tagged: marketing, Public Relations, strategic communication | 3 Comments »
Posted by rachelwriter on January 5, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/chefranden
I’ve been fortunate enough over the last few weeks to have met and spent some time with a few very talented and experienced professionals in the Media/Communications/Public Relations and Sales/Marketing/Advertising industries. We’ve had some wonderfully insightful and thought-provoking conversations.
Our discussions got me to thinking:
While copywriting may seem, on the surface, to be a horse of a different color, it actually plays an integral role in both Media/Public Relations and Marketing. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that an effective PR and/or Marketing pro needs to have, at minimum, a solid understanding of the mechanics of good copywriting.
Why? Because PR and Marketing are rooted in creating and implementing strategic messages that sway the opinions of a target audience and elicit a desired action. And that’s precisely what copywriting is all about.
What’s more, many PR and Marketing tactics are carried out through written communication. Press releases. Media pitches. Brochures. Web site content. E-mail blasts. Scripts.
You get the idea.
So, while each profession demands unique skill sets (media savvy in PR, for example), each also shares a common thread: in order to be successful, professionals in Public Relations, Marketing, and Copywriting must be able to articulate a message clearly and persuasively and, consequently, achieve measurable results.
No matter one’s level of media or business savvy, a PR and Marketing professional without exceptional communication skills—that is, without the ability to write cogent, compelling copy— is pretty much doomed.
Posted in marketing, Public Relations, The Basics | Tagged: content, copywriting, Media relations, Public Relations, strategic communication | 1 Comment »