Online social networking is built on written correspondance. To some degree, every time you appear online, you are partaking in social networking – or even more true – you are engaging in online PR. Every blog post, all web copy, each left comment, any contact requests, all correspondence – these are all expressions of yourself and your business. They leave an impression, set a tone, present a brand. If you use online networking to grow your business, you need to think about this every time you open your ‘mouth’ online.
Now, you may not believe this, but it’s true. Just like not all people are funny and not everyone has a good sense of style, not everyone can write well. If you can talk up a storm, but can’t put together a few coherent, well-written sentences (let alone a whole website or post), get help. That’s why copywriters were created.
I think that because we are all capable of physically writing the alphabet and typing on a keyboard, people think they should be able to write. Designers have it a bit easier – because Photoshop isn’t taught in elementary school.
So, whether you’re on myspace or facebook, talking to an old friend, making a new business connection, conversing with one of your online groups, writing your site, blogging, commenting…wherever you are! Think about these things:
1. spelling and punctuation (write it in Word or Pages first and spell check!)
2. proofreading/readability (read everything OUTLOUD before you send or publish)
3. tone (be respectful, be nice, do unto others)
4. brand (are your logo and contact info, including the link to your site, clearly visible and positioned attractively?)
5. message (is that really what you want to say? how will you feel about that in 3 years? depending on the situation – do your research)
6. value and information (whenever possible offer value and information to whoever it is you’re talking to – it’s what people crave)
7. forgive your mistakes (we all make them, try your best and keep moving forward)