What Do You Write? What Is Your Passion?

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“If I don’t dance one day, I notice it. If I don’t dance two days in a row, my audience notices it. If I don’t dance three days in a row, I should get another job.”

Famous dancer Fred Astaire lived by that motto. Now replace where you see dance with write. And by no means do I equate myself with Mr. Astaire’s singular achievements in his chosen profession, but that is something I have tried to live by. Writing something every day.

Problem is, of late, I’ve been writing for my clients but not me, or you.

I was in my favorite breakfast place this morning (Brothers Taverna, nicely spaced out seating and the breakfast arrives mad fast!!!). My waitress Tara asked if I was going to use my computer (they have WiFi) and when I said yes, she directed me to a corner booth. Then I opened my bag to find I had left my tablet at home.

But I told her that I do most of my work on the cell anyway. She asked what I did. I said social media. And then Tara asked the leading question:

Oh, what do you write?”

I started giving her a list of my clients but she said “no what do you write, what is your passion?” It was then and there that I realized that the recent, modest success I have had writing blogs, tweets and Facebook posts for clients had edged out my own writing. I hadn’t written anything here for quite awhile. Even though I was sticking to the motto of writing every day, I wasn’t writing for me, or for you. I wasn’t covering the news I wanted to share.

So Tara, I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, thanks and let’s see what the week ahead brings for topics.

Why Your Small Business Needs Blogs— And Me

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BlogsB2C companies which feature blogs on their websites generate 88% more leads per month than those that do not. This is according to HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform. Let that settle in. Businesses which generate blogs about interesting things (along with their services or products) generate 88% more leads per month than competitors that don’t.

Well-thought-out, well-written blogs work because storytelling is a powerful way to attract readers, share information, open the lines of communication to foster engagement, build understanding of potential customer needs and convert these followers into loyal brand ambassadors.

More people looking at your store shelves. More people walking into your restaurant or bar. More potential income.

When I saw that 88% statistic I had a flashback to this line from Independence Day:

10 Years Social(Copyright © 1996 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Over the years, I’ve worked in print & broadcast media. People do not buy newspapers for the ads. They buy for the news. People do not listen to radio for the ads. They listen for the music.

In other words, people seek out something that will emotionally engage them.

And I have been saying for years that people are not on social media for the ads. They are there to share and engage, because they want to be emotionally connected. Repeatedly telling them what special you have for today is a disconnect— they may come in, but they are just as likely not to come back. You may have made a sale, but you didn’t convert them into loyal customers and certainly not created an emotional connection to recruit them as ambassadors for your business.

Granted, you want to keep using Twitter as a way of driving people to your website and Facebook pages. Equally so, you need to keep pace with competitors in the Facebook auction space for ads.

But, once you have funneled prospects to your website, then what? A few seconds of looking at ads or a contest. Maybe you hook them, maybe you don’t.

Consider generating two or three blogs a week to balance out your Facebook and Twitter self promotions. Give followers a reason to check back to your website several times a week. Provide some insight on how you do something. Recall a funny incident. Promote a survey. Give some free tips. Comment about something going on in the community.

Convinced, but you don’t have the time to write blogs? You don’t have the editorial skills to cultivate content? That’s where writers (such as myself— full disclosure) can assist you. Prices being charged on various websites range from as little as $5 for a simple blog up to and beyond $1000 for a complex blog.

As a veteran community writer, I’m on the more affordable side of that price bar. If you’re interested let’s talk. Let me help you SHARE information, so you can ENGAGE your readers, UNDERSTAND their needs and CONVERT them into customers.

It’s not about you anymore. It’s about them.

(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Reporter’s Notebook: If The Job Offer Letter Is Poorly Written…

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Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhoto.com

Recently I moved and needed to update my resume on LinkedIn, About.me, and all the job boards. Shortly afterwards, this item of questionable origin barged its way into my email.

Submitted for your edification, observe how you feel as you go through the email; gauge how the typos and grammatical errors make you neither trust nor want to work for this business— whatever it is.

By no means is my writing perfect, but I do respect my readers enough to attempt a quality effort. Consider how other people might feel reading your work when you don’t take the time to edit after writing.

Charity Guzman (LatifahGonzalez@hotmail.com) viamailgun.org

Good morning Anthony Scialis,

My name is Charity Guzman, I’m one of managers with the Recruiting Division. I spotted your CV online, and I think that you would be a great candidate for a recently announced job of a Shipping Agent with our Courier Department. Due to the start of a high season our client list has was extended greatly, which is why we’re now looking for more people to work remotely.

We offer a decent remuneration along with convenient part-time hours and other benefits. If you’re interested in this vacancy and are currently located in the United States, please reply to apply for it at your earliest convenience. This is a unique opportunity to start a carrer in a vibrant and growing team as well as obtain extra income working from home.

Yours sincerely,
Your Potential Employer

Charity Guzman (LatifahGonzalez@hotmail.com) First off, why is Charity using Latifah’s hotmail account for a business? For that matter why is a seemingly international import business using a Hotmail account (nothing wrong with Hotmail, but a sizable percentage of businesses would have their own name.com).

I’m one of managers with the Recruiting Division In case you didn’t notice, nowhere does it tell me the name of the company. (Also it should be “I am one of the managers…”)

Due to the start of a high season our client list has was extended greatly... Proper grammar would dictate a comma after “season.” Proper proof reading would have determined as to which verb to use “has or was.” (Actually “has been” or “was”).

If you’re interested in this vacancy and are currently located in the United States, please reply to apply for it at your earliest convenience. Since she indicated spotting my CV, didn’t she read my address as well? Rest of sentence has awkward construction of “reply to apply for it at.”

This is a unique opportunity to start a carrer Typo on “career.” At least I hope it is a typo and not a misspelling.

Yours sincerely,Your Potential Employer No signature or title; yes she mentions early on that she is a manager with the Recruiting Division, but proper business etiquette expects a name, title and personal contact info. And the company name.

Oh, and if you clever readers out there are going to say, but Anthony, it’s an international company that probably used cheap translation software-— well that says something too, doesn’t it?

So, boy & girls, ladies & gentlemen of the jury, would you bother applying, let alone wish to work for— or purchase products/services from— a company that issues something as poorly constructed as this?

The written word is still quite powerful.

(Image courtesy of ningmilo at Free DigitalPhotos.net)

Reporter’s Notebook: Oxford Needs You!

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You may never get to Oxford, but Oxford can come to you!

To commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War (1914–18), the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is revising a set of vocabulary related to or coined during the war. Part of the revision process involves searching for earlier or additional evidence, and for this we need your help,” reports the OED website.

OxfordYes, you, my budding writers of tomorrow, can contribute to the Oxford English Dictionary and the living history of the English language. Drop that into your resume!

Basically the evidence for the sought after words “first use” comes from newspapers and magazine articles, but there may be earlier appearances in letters, diaries, and government records which might be in personal collections.

Here is an excerpt from this list:

camouflage n. earlier than July 1916

The development of aerial warfare and accurate long-range artillery in the First World War meant that weapons, vehicles, and troops needed to be concealed from enemy view; hence the need for camouflage (a word borrowed from French; it had been used in French to mean ‘disguise’ since the 19th century). The earliest evidence we have for camouflage in English is from 1916:

“The shells, which a simple camouflage of white tarpaulins effectually hid from the enemy.”

1916 Cornhill Mag. July, p. 54

Other words needing confirmation include: demob, conchie, trench foot and zeppelins in a cloud.

You are requested to go to the OED Appeals page to submit any evidence.

Reporter’s Notebook: 27,500 Is The Average- Where Do You Fit In?

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“Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words! I get words all day through” sung by Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady

If only she had an accounting of how many words she knew. Do you have any idea as to the extent of your vocabulary? As writers we should be aware of our resources, with words rising to the top of that list.

Now there is an on-line test which, according to its website, functions by means of a quick three-part test: the first part with a handful of words to determine the general vocabulary level, a second part with a larger but narrower selection of words to determine the vocabulary level with greater precision, and a final (optional) survey to collect statistical information.

As of 5/2013 they had tabulated two million completions of their survey:

  • Most adult native test-takers range from 20,000–35,000 words

  • Average native test-takers of age 8 already know 10,000 words

  • Adult native test-takers learn almost 1 new word a day until middle age

  • Adult test-taker vocabulary growth basically stops at middle age

I learned about this test from a blog by Maeve Maddox on the Daily Writing Tips website. Maeve “discovered the site by way of an article in the Economist.” Words lead us to other words. So, how many words do you know?