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Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries 

What's In An Image?

January 18, 2017

Images have the ability to create impressions of all kinds. Seeing is believing, couldn't be more true. Without saying a word, an image builds a story or general impression in our mind. In our wonderful digital age, we are more in control of this than ever before. This is an extremely valuable tool.

With high-resolution digital cameras combined with traditional controls and filters, we can create high-quality imagery right from the camera. Compound this capability with the manipulations photo editing programs, and the capabilities are truly endless.

Photographs and graphics have shaped the way we perceive things, take in information, and evoke strong feelings to what we are seeing. This is why imagery is an integral part of representing ourselves in business. With images, we can shape the very first impression that potential clients get.  

Darrell D Lingle

The Write Connection LLC

Write or to Type? 

January 8, 2017

This morning I had to get my oil changed. I had been brainstorming possible writing materials while sitting in the mechanic's waiting room. After making a page of notes with things that might make a good article eureka a truly novel thought came to mind. Something I would have normally considered myself completely unprepared to do which was to write an entire article while waiting for my vehicle to be serviced. The article needed to be highly relevant so I capitalized on the situation I found myself in being no word processor heck no computer.

See about the time I was transitioning from elementary school to middle school the computer and the internet had spread from the classroom and office into the home. Which gave me a second to reflect on everything of substance I have ever written. With the exception of my childhood pen pal, everything I had ever written academically and professionally has taken place in front of a computer screen with a keyboard. I had never written anything out by hand in its entire length and then transcribed it using the computer. The thought kind of blew my mind for a moment and I wondered what it must have been like before computers. People had to handwrite their first draft then use the typewriter to finish the job because they couldn't just press the delete key.

So there I was like the typewriting forefathers sitting in the mechanic's waiting room more determined than ever to handwrite this article to completion before even thinking about sitting down at the computer. Then I would come back transcribe and improve upon this written draft but only after I had completed the entire article.

I instantly felt like the computer had been limiting or at the very least intimidating me into feeling like I had to be productive. This need to be productive while sitting at the desk in front of the computer may have even been causing me to over-think my writing. I began to feel completely uninhibited as I scratched out line after line. With immediacy, my thoughts became transcribed. Not exactly the stream of conscious writing of Woolf or Faulkner but this was certainly a liberating experience.

How can using paper and pen for our formal writing needs before typing them out in our day to day work be beneficial? To answer that I thought about what kinds of writing stationery is on my desk and is probably typical of most offices. I use a legal pad for taking notes during meetings and a shrunken version for making to-do lists or notes from phone calls. The occasional post it notes dangling off the side of the side of the computer screen. Even these though have been replaced by applications for the computer and phone, but I still find checking things off a to-do list gratifying in a way that an application can't seem to replace.

Handwriting vs. typing is not a new concept entirely Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles did a study to determine something of this nature. What they did was divide test subjects' half with computers and half with pen and paper and presented a lecture for the students to take notes. What resulted is that the half that used the computer took way more notes than those who were handwriting. 

Presumably, this is because typing is faster than handwriting which I can attest to while writing this article. Interestingly though the group with computers even though they took way more notes performed far worse than those who had handwritten their notes when asked to recall facts from the presentation.*

That's nice if we are only taking notes, but professionals are responsible for being productive and original. So back to how writing formal correspondence and other reports out by hand before typing them can improve productivity and efficiency. Well if we can derive from this study that we learn better by handwriting things maybe we also write better by hand than when we type. This maybe a bit speculative but computers and technology itself does interrupt our writing process. Options that improve our writing like spell check or worse auto correct that often needs to be corrected interrupts our train of thought while we are writing. Incoming emails, reminders, calendar invites, music apps, and social media steal our attention while using the computer.

My suggestion is to take writing tasks especially the most important ones with looming deadlines and hand write the first draft with the computer asleep. I'm certainly not advocating for and completely unwilling to give up using my computer for the bulk of my writing tasks. However, I have learned that by reducing distractions that the computer creates my thoughts become clearer and the quality of my writing was more focused.

The overall benefits were increased focus on the writing task which boosted my originality. Also, I did find that the efficiency also increased because there were fewer mistakes in my writing. Mistakes are an inevitability in our writing we are only human and as such are far from perfect. By handwriting important projects, I'm speeding up the time it takes to put thoughts immediately to paper and by typing them later I'm giving my work an extra proofreading. This proofreading is the point where you can crank the music app and welcome spell check. In short, you can up the quality of your writing and improve efficiency even if you lose a bit of time by typing the work second.

Darrell D Lingle

The Write Connection LLC

*Mueller, A. Pam, and Oppenheimer, M. Daniel. “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.” Association For Psychological Science, (January 2014): https://sites.udel.edu/victorp/files/2010/11/Psychological-Science-2014-Mueller-0956797614524581-1u0h0yu.pdf (accessed December 30, 2016). 

 Power Of Persuasion

January 19, 2017

Persuasive writing is the primary style that writers default to when we are promoting products, businesses, and ideas. We get comfortable with persuasive writing in college when we are responsible for producing academic writing. Academic writing and marketing both have persuasion at their core. In fact, the jump from formulating arguments that support a thesis to promoting a product or an idea is somewhat natural.

Persuasive writing is valuable for traditional marketing. The type of marketing where you pitch a product, business, or idea. Persuasion, however, is only half the equation in today's markets. Consumers are getting ever more savvy with their spending and where they choose to patronage is more than convenience. Ask any retail clerk or service technician, and they can give you a story where they assisted a would-be customer spent all sorts of time getting their service. Instead of making the purchase after being catered to the potential customer whips out a cell phone scans the UPC and walks out or searches the classifieds for your competitor.

Persuasion and customer service together are no longer the complete package. Today's consumers are no longer satisfied with a great product or service alone. What are they looking for? The answer is something for nothing. Giving consumers the feeling and connection that comes from an added bonus that something for nothing aspect rounds out a great sales strategy. You know that thing that sweetens the deal.

How to give consumers something for nothing is easy. The feeling is what they are after because even the customer that scans the UPC symbol probably knows they aren't saving any money. The reality is they make the purchase online feeling like they are getting a deal of 15% off, but they are more than likely purchasing last year's model and their savings is going to be lost in the cost of shipping.

What can I give consumers for free since most manufactures won't allow you to discount this year's products? The answer is information. Hosting a blog that features relatable content with your business, products, and community not only increases web traffic and brand recognition it provides the consumer with something for nothing. Don't just sell a pair of hiking boots show them the local trail. Why limit yourself to installing a new HVAC system? Provide clients with knowledge and understanding that gives them confidence in your capabilities.

Darrell D Lingle

The Write Connection LLC

What Type Of Marketing Strategy Should I Have?

February 9, 2017

Probably the most confusing and perhaps misunderstood aspect of marketing is where to begin and how much is enough. This is because there's no one size fits all marketing solution. Even similar business models cannot rely on the same types of marketing techniques. The reason for this is that marketing is about the company's size, current business climate, and of course the companies mission.

The reality is with few exceptions there should always be an effort to market your business. Marketing is a never-ending task that is constantly in need of fresh ideas and creative influences. Aside from providing excellent customer service and quality products establishing your brand and that brand's recognition is paramount.

The size of the company is a great way of determining the scale of marketing. This, in turn, helps determine the cost or budget allocation for the purpose of marketing. Having the money or a budget is essential to determining how much you can accomplish with your marketing and what things you should prioritize.

Business climate varies dramatically and is probably what makes marketing strategies so diverse. Being open with your marketing partner about the status of your business climate is essential in the development of a successful marketing strategy. When sales are great marketing strategies should seek out growing to larger markets and attracting new clients. When sales are in a slump not only should marketing be aimed at capturing new clients solidifying the existing client base is equally important.

The company's mission or industry is also a big factor in determining the marketing strategy that best fits a company. There is going to be some crossover in the options a company is presented, but the marketing target for donors at a non-profit is certainly different than securing customers for a plumbing business.

The main thing you should feel when you sit down with a marketing firm is that they are asking questions that make you feel that they are getting to know your individual business needs. Secondary to that, you should get the general impression that their proposals are a unique custom approach to your business.

Darrell D Lingle

The Write Connection LLC

Is A Logo Essential?

February 9, 2017

This is a question that people in marketing regularly hear from both current and prospective clients. Is a logo essential to my business and its marketing plan? The answer is ABSOLUTELY! Marketing firms are not simply trying to sell you their latest graphic design. Having an image associated with your company is a cornerstone priority for establishing and maintaining brand recognition.

Most people are familiar with the idea that some people learn better through reading information and others are visual and spatial learners. The reality, however, is that somewhere around 90% of information reception in the human brain is derived from the visual world. Because of this, we process information much faster when we see it rather than hear or read it.

I like to think of the logo as being the jingle of the visual marketing world. When you hear an advertisement on the radio, the promotion and company name seem to get lost without that catchy jingle or tune that goes along with the message. This is true with print marketing without the catchy logo's and imagery the content including the business name can quickly become a short and distant memory.

Darrell D Lingle

The Write Connection LLC

Why Have A Marketing Firm?

February 15, 2017

Content creation and management are where marketing firms shine. It's the artistic side of a business and one of the most challenging aspects of creating and promoting your brand. Your marketing partner should be eager to relieve you of this burden. They should understand that you already are losing sleep over managing your company and the associated risks of owning your own business.

On top of the difficulties and challenges of running your own business, the reality of trying to create innovative content for your marketing needs doesn't come naturally to everyone. Writing, Designing, and maintaining a complete portfolio for your business isn't just about hard work. Something no business owner lacks familiarity with is long hours and the effort to succeed. The key is also in the art of creating art which is just as much talent as it is hard work.

Having a great marketing partner includes the exceptional talent for creating excellent content but should also be intuitive and convenient. This is the while package for optimal return on investment. Talented work, intuitive information, and convenience will ultimately expand a business brand recognition, and hopefully, it's a market share but should also be convenient to the client.

Convenience is more than just doing the job its managing a company's image not just creating the company's image. The Write Connection LLC stores its designs for its clients allowing quick modification and redistribution. Your business adapts, changes, and shifts to bests meet the needs of the customer. As your business evolves so should the content and mission of your marketing partner.

Darrell D Lingle

The Write Connection LLC