Monthly Archives: September 2012

The when of press releases

It’s pretty simple. When you need to send out a press release you should send it out three weeks before your scheduled event. Really, it’s that simple.

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That’s a capital idea

All capital letters is not always the best idea. It isn’t necessarily a bad one either. It is, however, a terrible idea to use script in all caps. Chancery seems to be the favorite typeface to commit this travesty. Terrible, terrible idea, don’t even entertain it.

See?

CSS, CMS what with all the s?

Both terms have to with web sites and their content. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. It acts very much like a template might in word. It contains formatting that can be used page after page and all the elements will look the same and in the same place on a web page. But a web page is not a sheet of paper. A sheet of paper is static it doesn’t change size. A web page, however, flexes it size depending on the size of the window width. A style sheet will flex with the size of the window.
CMS is short for Content Management System. It is software that helps non-techy people manage the content on their web sites. Some CMS software can do lots of things. Some are fairly simple and can only do basic tasks. CMS can be a double edged sword. Like all software, it can have a steep learning curve for really complicated tasks. But it can also allow your web site to be always current by allowing fresh content to be added by various staff on the fly. Your best bet is to keep K.I.S.S. principle in mind (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

This above all: be interesting

Be charming. Be compelling. Be enthralling. Be thought provoking. Be on good terms with your thesaurus. Because what that all means is have good content. Resist filler don’t pad pages on web sites, reports, and newsletter items, presentation slides, even email. Be straight to the point, exponential filler is for Tolstoy, not you. Most of what follows refers to web content but it applies to all communication.
Images-we are visual beings. Color printers are faster, cheaper and better than ever. Take advantage of that. No longer must you have formal printed letterhead. But man, don’t use low-resolution images from the web, especially for your logo. If you have good photos use them, if they are not so good, crop and adjust and see if you can make them better. (Don’t start filling your emails with pictures, however.) Use good photos for your presentations or handouts. Please, please, if you are printing san color make your images black and white. Don’t just print color images as black and white, they will not translate well and the piece will lack professional polish.
Ideas-present one idea at a time. That sounds so obvious but it isn’t. It is more important that ever when you think about all the information that is available about everything. Stating an idea and then wending your way to that idea with a bunch of other ideas isn’t going to fly in this day and age of instant information. Think about when you google questions, I click on the hit that appears to be answering my question with the least amount of build-up.
How-as in how is the information received? Consider how the information is consumed; is it on a smart phone, desktop computer, or an iPad? These are things to think about even when sending an email. Sometimes it can be frustrating. Sometimes you have to send a long email. That long email will likely be read on a smart phone if it is sent to more than one person. Not much you can do about it under those circumstances but when you can, be aware of how and what kind of device it is being read on.
Know whom you are creating for. Consider your audience, are they new to your information or are they knowledgeable and looking for more insight. Does that mean you divide up the information in to small digestible parts, A leading to B, to C and so forth? Learn what your target group knows and use the words they use (what will, if on the web become search terms).
Most importantly, whether it be print, slide, web or email, make sure your content is easy to read and the content your audience is looking for easy to find.
Happy Labor Day.