9 essential marketing insights about typography

Typography affects your credibility

Errol Morris carried out an experiment on New York Times readers. Presenting the same information in different fonts, he tested how credible it seemed. Roughly 40,000 people responded to his quiz and it turned out that even small differences between apparently similar fonts had a big impact on believability. (Hat tip: The Week.)

Sample text in Time New Roman, Helvetica, Georgia, Comic Sans, Baskerville

The difference between Baskerville and Georgia was a jump of 1.5 percent. Not huge in itself but considering that it takes one click on the font menu to change from one to the other, you can see how important the choice of font is.

Dress for the occasion

Please don't use Comic Sans, we're not a lemonade stand

You wouldn’t wear a onesie to work, so don’t use Comic Sans in business. In fact, Morris says: ‘The conscious awareness of Comic Sans promotes — at least among some people — contempt and summary dismissal.’ Just check out these hilarious logos of famous brands, redone using Comic Sans.

NASA Logo redone in Comic Sans
With Comic Sans, it’s not rocket science any more. (Source: CreativePool.)

The only exceptions I’ll admit is if you work in the comic book industry (but I bet they don’t use it either) or if you’re a complete genius who discovered the Higgs Boson, in which case you can do whatever you like.

Higgs Bosun announcement in Comic Sans

Don’t use BLOCK CAPITALS

We recognise words largely from the shape they make rather than from the collection of shapes of the individual letters in the words, according to Kevin Larson, a researcher in ‘Advanced Reading Technology’ at Microsoft. (Full disclosure: Microsoft is an Articulate client.)

In other words we see this:

The word 'shape' in lower case with a box around it Just the shape around the the word 'shape'

Not this:

The word 'shape' with boxes around the letters Just the letter boxes from the word 'shape'
We see words. Letters, not so much. (Source: Microsoft)

The ascenders and descenders help us differentiate the words. But using ALL CAPS means that these vital clues are eliminated and the only visual difference between the words is their length. It increases the cognitive load on the reader’s brain, as anyone who has read a contract preamble or an internet rant in all-caps will attest.

How people read

We don’t read in a continuous flow. Our eyes jump along a line of text like a small child hopping on hot sand in a series of saccades intermingled with short stops called fixations.

How much we take in with each eye fixation
How much we take in with each eye fixation. (Source: Wikipedia)

Sometimes we jump back when we miss something or don’t understand it. When this happens, there’s a double risk: you reduce comprehension and your reader may just stop reading altogether. Ouch!

Saccades, fixations and back skips
Saccades, fixations and back skips. (Source: Microsoft)

This means you want to avoid things that slow people down or force them to jump back through incomprehension. Typographical speed bumps include:

  • Foreign words
  • Italic text
  • All-caps text
  • Long quotations
  • Excessive punctuation (one reason why we now write ‘eg’ not ‘e.g.’ etc)
  • Unnecessary capitalisation, which is very common in the tech industry
  • Acronyms and abbreviations

Choose narrower columns

The wider the column of text the harder it is for a reader to keep their eyes on the same line as they skip along it. This is one reason why newspapers and magazines are printed using narrow columns.

You can test this out for yourself by printing the same text across a page in landscape, portrait and then two and three columns per page. Which is easier to read?

The effect of line width on readability
The effect of line width on readability (Source: Fonts.com)

You want your readers to read more of your text? Then use narrower columns! A good guideline is between 9 and 12 words and about 35 characters per line for unjustified text.

Choose serif fonts for legibility

It’s a common understanding that serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) are more readable than sans serif fonts (such as Verdana). This is borne out in a study by Jacob Palme which found Times New Roman increased reading speed by 7.45 percent.

Fonts do graphs too

Today’s fonts are almost like programming languages and they are incredibly flexible. For example Chartwell lets you create different kinds of charts simply by typing stuff like ’5+7+10+4′, selecting the numbers you typed and choosing the Chartwell font. Magically the text turns into graphs.

Example of charts made with the Chartwell font

Stand back

I did a ten week evening course in typography at Central St. Martins. One of the most valuable things I learned was to stand on my chair and look at text from a distance. This is the best way to see the ‘colour’ of the text on a page and the layout and structure of text.

Learn the rules

Check out this free online book about typography. Improving your typography is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your content marketing because as Butterick says, ‘typography can optimize your writing. Typography can create a better first impression. Typography can reinforce your key points. Typography can extend reader attention’.

For lazy readers, there’s even a great section titled ‘Typography in ten minutes’.

Cover of Butterick's Practical Typography

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7 heartfelt lessons from the art of job sharing

lessons from job sharing

Following my fascinating conversations with Sue Harker and Emma Jeffs about job sharing, I realised there were several universal lessons to be learned from the way they made their job share work.

Their approach is particularly helpful for remote workers and writers, but really they could apply to anyone who has to collaborate or communicate in their job.

  1. Trust. You have to trust the people you work with, even if they do things a little differently from you. You can’t check up on every decision, especially when you work remotely, so have a little faith and remember that different doesn’t mean wrong.
  2. Two heads are better than one. No one is perfect; everyone has their weaknesses. The benefit of a job share is that you can complement each others’ skill sets so that the role is inhabited by as close to a perfect person as possible. This can apply to projects too, and especially writing projects: there is no writer, no matter how talented, that can’t benefit from an equally talented editor.
  3. Excellence before ego. When it comes to work it’s results that matter, not how it was done or who did it. Providing an excellent service, delivering outstanding copy or simply making a client happy should always take precedence over any sense of ownership over a project or attention to personal advancement.
  4. Set the ground rules. Of course this applies most when working with others, but there’s no reason you can’t set ground rules with yourself either. Make sure everyone knows where they stand and what they are accountable for right from the outset to avoid arguments later on.
  5. Honesty and openness. It is perhaps counterintuitive for us Brits, but it’s better for everyone if you can speak up loud and clear as soon as you spot a problem. Even if it’s a small thing, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
  6. Equal accountability. Emma and Sue would be equally accountable for any feedback, praise or mistakes in their job share. It was therefore vital that they kept accurate notes and made no assumptions about their work. Everything had to be logged, visible and tracked so that any question could be answered by either person. Assuming equal accountability in any collaboration is an effective way of ensuring no one cuts corners and that communication is clear and traceable, making for better results in the long run.
  7. Getting to know you. Whether you are remote workers, or you have regularly changing clients, the importance of a face-to-face meeting shouldn’t be underestimated. Making sure everyone is familiar and comfortable with the people they are working with can make things run a lot more smoothly.

Personally, these lessons served as an apt reminder about the need for maturity and humility in writing. It’s all too easy to let your writer’s ego get the better of you and balk at editorial suggestions or client feedback, but ultimately what matters is creating the best content, irrespective of the fingerprints on the piece.

When it comes to writing, and perhaps work of any kind since very few jobs exist in isolation, it’s worth remembering: it’s not all about you.

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When two become one: How to make a job share work

two pieces of a job share

The idea of job sharing, or splitting one role between two part-time employees, has gradually been gaining credibility. It allows parents and carers the flexibility to continue their careers and gives companies a cost-neutral way of retaining and attracting talent that doesn’t want to sign up to the traditional 9-5 grind.

Carving out a more rewarding life-balance is something many top business minds are starting to focus on. And it’s not just for the sake of caring for young children, but also for learning, creativity and the pursuit of hobbies. Despite the obvious benefits to both businesses and individuals, however, job sharing is still seen as the exception rather than the rule in most industries.

Bucking the trend

I recently spoke with Sue Harker and Emma Jeffs who have demonstrated just how successful a job share can be, and did so in a leading-blue chip company that hadn’t previously shown much appetite for the concept.

Emma was due to return to work after the birth of her second child, but didn’t want to return full time. Sue had twice provided cover for Emma’s PR role and was keen to continue in the role as a complement to her other freelance work.

Together they decided that a job share would be perfect, and so set about figuring out how to best make it work for both them and their employer and just what practicalities were involved in two people inhabiting one role.

Putting the work before the worker

The ‘96 Spice Girls hit, 2 Become 1, may not have been a musical triumph, but its title does rather neatly encapsulate what Emma and Sue both agree was the core of what made their job share work: the ability to put the work ahead of any precious feelings of personal ownership or advancement.

We were interchangeable,’ says Emma; to the outside world there was simply one, highly effective, seamless PR contact that just got the job done.

‘We would often get emails addressed to each other. People couldn’t differentiate between us,’ says Sue. ‘It was like they were talking to one person, and that’s when we knew we were on the right track.’

Picking your perfect partner

Finding the right person to job share with isn’t easy. On the one hand you need someone who thinks similarly to you and has a similar attitude and work ethic, but on the other they need to be able to bring something additional to the role and complement your existing skill set. ‘You need two people who are equal but different,’ says Emma.

You also have to respect and trust how your other half works. If you don’t you’ll always be worrying on your days off, ‘the job share won’t work and you’ll be miserable,’ says Sue.

It takes some getting used to, and of course initially both women would occasionally review each other’s work just for a ‘sanity check’, but as Sue explains, when you have that trust it’s amazing how quickly that urge goes.

Learning to let go

Both women also emphasised the need for maturity and humility in anyone looking to undertake a job share. You have to accept that any feedback from colleagues or clients applies equally to both of you.

That trust extends beyond relinquishing personal ownership of projects, and means accepting that on the occasions the other person takes a decision you wouldn’t have made, it’s not wrong, it’s simply different. As long as the outcome is the same: a happy stakeholder, the ego behind the work shouldn’t matter.

One valuable lesson they quickly learned was that if there was ever any friction it had to be addressed before it had a chance to fester. ‘We set ground rules, just between us,’ explains Emma, ‘and I said if anything I do irritates you, you have to tell me immediately, and the same the other way around.’

The practicalities of a perfect partnership

‘It’s like a marriage, you have to address things straight away and be entirely open and honest,’ says Sue. This explains why the most important technical tools Emma and Sue used to make their job share work were focused on one thing: communication.

They gave each other access to their inboxes, which was simpler than setting up a shared inbox, and had a Word document that was updated daily and served as a handover memo with red flag issues and updates on all campaigns and projects. And that was it, ‘just normal office software used effectively,’ says Sue.

All the other tools they used were pre-existing documents and processes of the PR department, that anyone can tap into at any stage.

Crucially, that detailed level of communication also meant that they could fully respect each other’s time off. There were only one or two occasions in the year when one had to contact the other about a pressing issue, but on the whole, ‘whoever was on duty, it was their decision to make,’ says Sue.

No one cares about you in a job share

Of course, while these were important lessons from Emma and Sue’s perspective, when it came to convincing the boss, they knew they had to build a serious business case that ensured minimal business impact and maximum return. ‘We created a job description of how it would work and focused on the benefits,’ explains Sue.

Quite rightly, the women focused on that fact that the business would be getting around 35 years of combined PR experience without spending any more money. It’s important to remind the employer that in any job share they’re ‘getting two minds for the price of one,’ says Sue.

The main priority for the company in agreeing to the job share was that there be no impact for the stakeholders so ‘we worked through all the touch points’ to ensure that communication would be seamless and if ‘one of us was asked a question, either of us could answer it,’ says Emma.

Getting to know you

Luckily for Emma and Sue, clients and colleagues alike already knew and trusted both of them, but, as Sue explains, if you were to bring in someone new to start a job share you would need a couple of weeks, or a month, if possible with both of you working full time to get everyone acquainted and comfortable; ‘we made ourselves very visible beforehand’.

Some education had to go on internally,’ says Emma, and they had brief but detailed out-of-office replies so that people could understand the new setup, and thankfully the PR agency was very supportive and understood how it was working.

Ultimately, once everyone knew the practical implications, and realised the work was still getting done, and done well, the whole thing ran extremely smoothly. The only reason the setup didn’t continue was due to a wider reorganisation and downsizing within the company.

‘If other people came to the company again asking to job share, looking back, the experience would be seen as positive,’ says Emma.

The way forward

And it wasn’t just a success for the business. Both women felt it was a rewarding and extremely successful experience for them personally and are keen to do it again. ‘I think it’s the way forward,’ says Sue.

These women have proven that job sharing can work in a high-performing, time-sensitive company, and that it’s ideal for both parents returning to work and those seeking to explore other pursuits. ‘The opportunity is a fantastic thing and more people should be encouraged to give it as an option,’ says Emma. ‘It’s not promoted, and it should be.’

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Kickstarter success story: Good and Proper Tea

Good and Proper Tea's Watson van at Kings Cross funded by Kickstarter

Tea is an essential tool for good writing. People who disagree may not have tried ‘good and proper’ tea. Or they are coffee addicts like my colleague Clare.

Real leaf tea is as different from builders tea as, say, a cup of instant coffee is different from a cup of sublime Monmouth coffee.

So, this is why I am so excited by the arrival of Good and Proper Tea’s tea van outside Kings Cross Station.

A tea oasis

I first encountered the 1974 Citroen H van, also known as Watson, in the late summer of 2013 when I was doing a course in information design at Central St. Martins. The van only sells teas and cakes – no coffee – and only uses fine leaf tea, brewed at the right temperature for the right amount of time.

Although I drink good tea at home, there are relatively few places that serve it commercially. There are ten coffee shops here in Chiswick and not a single tea shop. Why?

During my course, I bought one or two cups a day, plus crumpets, and got talking to owner Emilie Holmes.

Kickstarter

She raised £14,682 in a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the conversion of Watson into a mobile tea emporium and brewing station. But that’s not the beginning of the story.

Emilie wanted to do something with tea – perhaps a tea shop – while studying languages at university but felt that ‘I needed to take job first’ and so the idea brewed and steeped for three years while she worked at Ogilvy, an ad agency.

She grew more and more determined to start her own business. After several months of ‘sitting in meetings and thinking about tea’ the agency let her switch to three days a week, leaving her time to track down tasty teas and create a business plan.

She quit Ogilvy altogether in August 2012, completed her fundraising in November and served her first cuppa on 3 December 2012.

A nice cup of tea and a sit down

When I met her to discuss the business at the end of 2013, Emilie enthused about tea but was more nuanced about the business. Her approach is a combination of rational planning and burn-your-bridges entrepreneurialism. She explains: ‘I didn’t have a backup plan. It had to happen.’ She offers some lessons based on her experiences:

  • Bank finance was a non-starter. The only bank that would lend wanted to charge 19 percent interest and demanded a guarantee.
  • Embrace new technology. Kickstarter emailed Emilie to say they were launching in the UK and it was perfect timing for her. She had committed to the van conversion but didn’t know where the money was going to come from to pay for it. When the email arrived, ‘I felt silently spiritual about it.’
  • Being first is good. Emilie was one of the first campaigns on Kickstarter in the UK and, as a result, she got a lot of PR, including a spot on Radio 4’s Today programme.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Looking back, says Emilie, ‘some decisions seem ridiculously over thought-through.’
  • Think hard then relax. One of the things she obsessed about was the branding but she couldn’t find the right look. Then, one night, ‘I saw the whole thing in a dream. Problems sort themselves out if you let them,’ she says.
  • Just do it. According to Emilie, ‘sitting behind a computer, everything seems bigger and scarier. But the truth is that everyone else is making it up too.’ She says ‘don’t be nervous of not knowing.’

It’s tea time

Tea’s time has come, claims Emilie. She’s a passionate advocate. ‘It’s healthier and lower fat,’ than coffee. While we might have a ‘cultural obsession’ with coffee and smug coffee drinkers say that ‘coffee is sex and tea is just a cuddle’, the thing is that coffee gives you bad breath but tea brings enlightenment.

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Jabra Pro 9450: The ultimate headset for writers?

Jabra Pro 9450 Headset

I’ve always said that interviews are essential to good writing. (Yes, that’s five different pages of stuff about why you should do more interviews and how to do them better!)

For years, I’ve been using a Plantronics headset so that I could do telephone interviews and have both hands free to take a real-time verbatim transcript of the interview: a major productivity booster.

Last year, Articulate did some work for Jabra, a headset company. They took pity on me and my ancient headset and sent me a shiny new Jabra Pro 9450 to test.

Softphone and desk phone

I have set it up so that it is connected to my PC via a USB cable and to my Snom 821 desk phone via a headset cable. This lets me use the same headset to make Skype, Google Hangout and Bria VOIP calls on my PC as well as regular phone calls on my phone, switching between the two with big friendly buttons on the Jabra base station.

As an aside, I use Spitfire hosted PBX for my phone system and it works brilliantly. Articulate is a virtual organisation and we all work in different places but Spitfire gives us a big company phone system with conference calls, transfers and so on, just as if we were in the same office. I can even use it with Bria on my iPhone.

Configuration

Initially, the connection to the PC worked fine but the phone connection was very noisy. It turned out that this was RF leakage from the home-made, badly shielded Cat5 cable that was plugged into the phone. Changing the cable completely removed the noise.

It took a bit of playing around to get everything set up right but the system works seamlessly now and the challenge was mostly to do with making it work on my applications in the way that I wanted. Installing the free Jabra PC Suite software made it easier to configure the headset and I recommend installing it.

It comes with different ways of attaching it to your ear. I used to have an over-the-ear loop on the old Plantronics but it pinched a bit so I’m using an over-the-head band on the Jabra and that’s very comfortable but the earloop is also an option.

Headset benefits for writers

Now, callers tell me that they get very good sound quality and the audio quality on the headset is very good. Here are some of the benefits of using a high-quality headset for writers:

  • Efficient. Hands free to take notes. I used to have to write everything down long hand and then retype it into the computer later. Now I just talk and type.
  • Flexible. Easy to switch between phone and PC depending.
  • Comfortable. Very comfortable to wear – eight interviews in one day was fine
  • Easy listening. I could hear what people were saying and *how* they said it. So much better than using a webcam microphone and desktop speakers.
  • Good ergonomics. Cradling a handset is not good for the neck and shoulders. Being hands-free, it also lets me stand up and walk about during phone calls, which is good exercise.

Overall, if you don’t have a headset and you’re a writer, get one. If you want the best, I recommend the Jabra Pro 9450.

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Who is the intellectual revolution for?

Intellectual revolution dystopia

Hat tip to Enokson for the photo

Matthew wrote recently about what he sees as the exciting and impending future that is the intellectual revolution. As I read the post, however, I was filled with horror at the prospect, and rather than an augmented and improved utopia, all I could see was a restrictive and inhuman dystopia.

So it got me to thinking – who is the intellectual revolution really for?

What freaked me out

Of course, not everything Matthew imagines is bad: always-on ubiquitous data sounds super handy. And recommending local coffee shops or events that would be of interest to me based on all my big data would be lovely. But knowing when I want my coffee? That’s where things get disconcerting.

There are some days (despite my well-documented addiction) that I simply don’t fancy coffee. Algorithms can’t map personal whim, and if they can, that leaves me pretty depressed about the concept of serendipity. And the future goes downhill from there:

  • Research assistant on every desk. Pre-collated and pre-formatted information suggests selection. It means what I am shown has been filtered, and the world will just get gradually smaller as I sink into my self-referential bubble. We’re already seeing it with Amazon recommends and the loss of bookshop browsing.
  • 70 senses. A sensor that detects the smile of a loved one? What use is that without the human emotion and relationship behind it to enjoy that smile? I’m not saying there aren’t use cases, such as for the blind. But on a day-to-day basis I’d rather gather and interpret my own input.
  • The inference engine. ‘These systems will act as gatekeepers and filters on information telling you what you want and need.’ No, no and no. If I don’t know what I need, how can a machine? I want to be able to explore and make connections between disparate data that I had no idea were related in the first place.
  • Digital things, physical data. No matter how much you love technology, there always needs to be a place where you can escape. The day you say, no phone, no emails, no sensors or algorithms. Otherwise the line between human and passive consumer becomes worryingly blurred.

It’s nothing to do with being a geek

Reading all that, you might assume that I’m just not a big fan of technology. Wrong. I love technology, gadgets and general geeky wizardry. But only when it’s in its place and I can choose how it helps me, not vice versa. And maybe, just maybe, that’s because I’m a woman.

This might be all about how and why we gather information. According to research in the Harvard Business Review, there is a distinct difference between how men and women approach purchasing decisions, both in a B2C environment, and B2B. The article quotes a study from 1984, entitled, ‘Gender differences in information strategies for a Christmas gift’:

It found that “females appeared to comprehensively acquire in-store information, whereas males appeared to heuristically limit their search to a smaller subset of in-store information.”

Taking this as their starting point, the authors began to examine how female buyers in large enterprises reacted to sales pitches and presentations, and concluded that,

Women tend to treat proposal presentations as opportunities for exploring possibilities, while men work to narrow down options and close in on a decision.

Now, importantly, the article was not suggesting that one method was better than another, nor were they assuming this difference was down to nature or nurture. But whatever the origin, this difference seems to exist, and that brings me back to the question of who is this intellectual revolution for?

Designing for your own desires

A lot of what Matthew saw as the amazing possibilities of the intellectual revolution were precisely about the collation, filtration and prioritisation of information. All mechanisms for narrowing down on a decision, and restricting searches to subsets of criteria.

And I wonder. It’s well documented that the IT industry is still heavily dominated by men. Are they in fact designing a future purely for themselves? I mean, take the recent story of Microsoft’s stress-busting bra.

I was angry about this concept for a number of reasons. Largely the fact that it’s based on the idea that women don’t know when they are emotionally eating and need external interference to control their own bodies. But now I wonder if it was just a general consensus that having that information analysed and controlled for you is automatically preferable to those who were behind its design?

We’ve had enough decisions made for us, thanks

The problem is, not only do women make decisions differently (if research is to believed) but there is also a vast difference in experience between the genders in who has been making the decisions up to now.

Women are still fighting to get control over their minds, bodies, lifestyles and careers. We have had centuries of people (and I mean people of both genders acting under the patriarchy) deciding what we need to know and when.

Basically, we’ve had enough decisions made for us, and to have technology step in and add another barrier to freedom of thought and expression is simply not helpful. It’s time for technologists to step out of their nerdy-boy bubble, and realise – we don’t all think alike, and we certainly aren’t all on board with being thought for.

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Every time you make a typo, the errorists win

keep_calm_and_check_for_typos

Just for fun, here are some classic funny typos that prove you need to do a final round of proofreading. (And yes, I know I’m sitting in a glass house throwing rocks.)

Sandles in Texas colour scheme that say 'taxes' instead

Newspaper ad for history channel with typo - 'more then' not  'more than'

Newspaper headline 'woman marries man she accuses of assault' above picture of some stupid royals who got married recently, I think

'Win a dream holiday' ad above picture of sinking cruise ship on newspaper cover

Tea Party sign 'Read the consitution' (sic)

Adweek Typo on sign

And because I’m a historian, I particularly liked this one for lack of basic fact-checking.

Tea party sign saying ' no marxist czars'

Hat tips: The Poke, AdWeek, Zazzle, Infinite Monkeys, Zombietime

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PR firms: please add an ‘unsubscribe’ button to your emails

The word spam crossed out on a blackboard

I get a lot of unsolicited emails from PR firms. Perhaps because of my Forbes column or perhaps because of Bad Language or perhaps I got on some spam email list of mug journalists.

Here are some examples of subject lines from PR-spam emails I have received. I write about technology, marketing, writing and aviation. Why would I be interested in any of them?

  • Interview Op – How-to Burglar Proof Homes and Businesses:   Valuable Advice from Security Expert Alan Young
  • There’s A Reason Your Cat Doesn’t Bark – How To Find The Perfect Partner The Right Way
  • RELEASE: ENTERPRISES GET FAILING GRADES IN CMO COUNCIL SCORECARD OF CUSTOMER SALES INTELLIGENCE
  • Highlights from The Nation Blogs: Twice Betrayed, Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma Face Discrimination at the VA.
  • Thomas Allen – Winner of SEAWARD Award – Press release
  • Justified: The Complete Fourth Season arrives on Blu-ray & DVD December 17th
  • AOL On Original Series – Acting Disruptive – Features Felicity Huffman and WhatTheFlicka [featuring ‘fun and easy tips on life, children, family, cooking, beauty, fashion, books and urban mom survival tips’]

Based on my experience at the receiving end, here are a few tips for PR firms:

  • Add an unsubscribe button to every email so people can stop the flow of unwanted messages. This is actually in your own interests because if we can’t unsubscribe, we’re going to use spam filtering and your emails will get a bad reputation and become increasingly undeliverable. (If you have one, make sure it works. I’ve unsubscribed from several PR firms’ lists only to keep getting emails.)
  • Don’t use block capitals in your subject line. Jeez, didn’t you get the memo about this in 1996?
  • Use sentence case for headlines. Headlines where you only capitalise the first word and proper nouns are easier to read than headlines where you capitalise every word. So do that. Why would you make it harder for journalists to read your story?
  • Keep the emails short. One paragraph and a link is all you need. A long squeeze email just confirms you’re spamming me. Yes, you get to bill the client for all those words. No, I’m not going to read them.
  • Get to the point. Don’t waste the first sentence telling me you have exciting news or that your client is a good company. Tell me the thing.
  • Actually read the blog or magazine. If it’s about flying, don’t send stuff about kids’ toys.
  • Don’t buy bulk email lists. Try to build real relationships with real people about real shared interests. This works better for you and your clients in the long run. A PR that actually delivers relevant stories is a rare treasure. Be that person.
  • Never call me to ask if I got the press release. Luckily this doesn’t happen so much any more but, good grief, it’s annoying.

(PS – PR people, if you’ve got something cool about gadgets, flying, writing, marketing or technology, then I’m listening.)

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