Effective Messaging
No. 85
April, 2013

7th Birthday Believe it or not, this Web Words marks the seventh anniversary of the inaugural publication.

Please help me celebrate by passing this issue on to someone you know who might like to be a subscriber
. That would mean more than singing a round of happy birthday.

One of my many annual spring rituals is the change of photo. You'll notice I'm dressed in pink for the summer season.

Last month's issue was very popular. Some loyal readers even said it was "the best yet." One piece of advice from Web Tips was called into question, however. Jeremy Dunn pointed out that some websites are not configured to work without "www." Still, most are, so it's worth a try. But understand that it might not work.

We're following up on both articles from the March issue. Writing for the Web - Part 2 includes a link to the video of my workshop on the topic along with some of the most important information I shared at the session.

The second article is about the funny things Siri says. It's the piece I started to write last month until I realized I needed to tell Siri's back story first. It's a three-part series. Next month I'll talk about the significance of Siri. Have anything to contribute? Please pass it along.  

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In This Issue
Writing for the Web - Part 2
Laughing with Siri - Very Entertaining
Web Tips - Facebook
Organize for Mobile
Writing for the Web - Part 2

I'm a local TV star. Well, OK, not a star really. But two people actually saw me on CTSB, our local community television station.

Husband Will videoed my session at the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. You can see it here, which is not a link to the station because they don't have that capability yet.

Here are some tidbits from Writing for the Web.

Keep a List

If you're writing a newsletter or blog or have any possible interest in doing so in the future, here's the most important thing I told my attendees:

Write down your ideas when they come to you.

Keep that list on your computer or phone or where ever you are likely to be when inspiration hits. Be sure to flesh out the story fully enough so you'll understand what you had in mind when you look back at your notes a few weeks or months later.

Here are some places to look for inspiration:
  • Customer interactions
  • Personal happenings
  • Books and articles
  • Current events
  • FAQs
  • Comments and feedback from previous articles
  • Case studies
No matter what your area of interest, you have enough material to last--well, forever. I've written 170 articles since I started Web Words seven years ago, and I've never struggled for a topic.

Success Factors

There are four criteria for a successful online communication, I told my audience.
  1. It must be distinctive. Write in your unique voice. The weird creature shown above was the graphic to illustrate that point.
  2. Provide value to your readers. Whatever your topic, your writing can't be a sales pitch for what you do. It should be a sharing of your wisdom.
  3. Write tight. Get rid of words and content that aren't key to your message.
  4. Make your communication attractive. Use graphics and white space.
If you want more, here's that link again.

Laughing with Siri

(This is the second in the series of three articles about Apple's Siri. Last month we covered her history.)

Me: "Make me laugh."
Siri: "I can't. I always forget the punch line."

In spite of her protestations, Siri is definitely entertaining.

Me: "Beam me up."
Siri: "Please remove your belt, shoes and jacket, and empty your pockets."

Me: "What is the meaning of life?"
Siri: "I don't know, but I think there's an app for that."

Me: "Take me to your leader."
Siri: "I have no leader other than you, Susanna."

Me: "What are you wearing?"
Siri: "I can't answer that, but it doesn't come off."

Me: "Where did I put my meds."
Siri: "Didn't you just have them?"

Me: "Delete reminders."
Siri:  "I'm not allowed to delete reminders, Susanna."
Me: "Why not?"
Siri: "You see things, and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were, and I say, 'Why not?'"

Yes, she really does quote George Bernard Shaw.

Try these questions with your Siri and she might come up with other answers.  I found a repertoire of up to three answers for some questions.

And so you don't need to do it yourself, say the "F" word and she'll respond with "I'd blush if I could." For the "S" word, she responds "Now, now."

And finally,

Me: "I'm tired."
Siri: "That's fine. I just hope you're not doing anything dangerous."

And for the last laugh.

Me: "Good morning."
Siri: "Good morning? It's 6 PM!"
Web Tips

Tips2I'm not a big Facebook fan, but here's something you should know if you have a Facebook account.

Some people enjoy getting best wishes on their birthday, but you don't need to tell the world how old you are. In fact, it's better not to. Click on your name top right, then "Update Info." Under "Basic Information," click edit. Under "Birthday," open the drop down and check "Show only month & day on my timeline."

Years ago, I used to manage internal communications for major corporations. I always told my colleagues, "Don't publish anything internally that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of The New York Times." The same goes for Facebook. Even if you're comfortable with your privacy settings, don't post anything you don't want the world to see.  

And Finally . . .

Shawenon Communications collaborates with small businesses, solopreneurs, professionals and not-for-profits to get their messages across in the written word.

We specialize in electronic communications, including e-zines and other forms of email marketing, Web sites and social media.  We also ghostwrite articles and other business communications. As a solution provider, we resell Constant Contact's email marketing service.


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First name
Susanna Opper
Shawenon Communications

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
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