Sending a note of thanks

Is there anyone who doesn’t appreciate a “Thank you for a job well done?” or “Thank you for your time.”

Hearing those words can make the completion of a tough project all the more rewarding. The words can mean the difference between getting a job or getting passed over.

But spoken words are fleeting. Why not take a few moments and write a thank you to a colleague who did an exceptional job? Have you considered writing and sending a thank you note to a conference organizer or a speaker to thank them for their time and efforts?

Thank you notes are a simple way to express your appreciation.

During this season of Thanksgiving why not take a few moments and make a list of individuals whom you should thank. And then write them a short note. If that’s too much, send an email or even a tweet.

It’s the thanks that counts.

Who will you thank? I hope you will share in the comments section.

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Talking EOP

Jon Newman was known as the media relations guy. Today he is a partner in The Hodges Partnership, a public relations agency in Richmond, Va.

He told a group of communicators that with today’s media landscape he would be challenged to have the success that he did when he was working in media relations. With fewer traditional media outlets and reporters, and with a fragmented audience, media relations has become more difficult, leading to fewer opportunities and placements.

The game changer, though, is content. “We can produce it in our own way,” Newman said. “There is potential for much greater reach.”

(Jon Newman slide)

(Jon Newman slide)

Today when Newman talks about media placements it’s about EOP. Earned media is the media relations piece, while the owned and paid pieces are the content marketing. Companies create content they “own” and place it on a platform they “own” (like a website, blog email newsletter) and amplify it using advertising, Newman said.

Organizations control the message, location, type of platform, frequency and even the measurement. “We can educate, talk about our point of view and share our messages,” Newman said.

“All of the social channels give us opportunities,” he added. “Social platforms are now content platforms.”

This means that you can target specific audiences with content because the demographics are robust enough. “It’s no longer post and pray,” he said.

On LinkedIn, for example, when you advertise you can target by industry and skill set. If you promote a Facebook page for a blog, Newman said it would cost about $5/day, and a person could see more than 100 views per post.

With all the platforms and content in existence, the key to setting yourself apart, Newman said, is quality content. “It all starts with messaging and strategy.”

Some things never change.

Take a break, increase your creativity

Adult coloring books are a great way to take a break and increase your productivity (photo by Cynthia Price).

Adult coloring books are a great way to take a break and increase your productivity (photo by Cynthia Price).

In this highly connected, highly wired world, we sometimes need to give ourselves a break.

Aliza Sherman, a speaker, author and web pioneer who has championed women in tech since the 1990s, says it is important to “revisit the places in your brain that help you become more creative.”

By giving yourself a break, you are more likely to be more creative.

Her suggestions to increase creativity include:

  • Put pen to paper. Write a letter to someone. Share your thoughts in a journal.
  • Coloring books are popular with adults. Feel free to color outside the lines.
  • Paint.
  • Take a walk.
  • Work with your hands. Garden or play with Play-Doh.
  • Revisit the places in your brain that help you become more creative. I spent a year taking a photo a day. It helped me to not only see more creatively, but to be more creative.

It’s important, Sherman said, to give ourselves permission to disconnect.

How do you disconnect? Post your suggestion in the comment box. You may just help another reader.

Exploring the importance of story

Ben Horowitz, bestselling author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things, said, “Your story is your strategy.”

Figuring out the story and how to tell it is the challenge for today’s communicators.

With brand growth, more than 100 communication channels and more than 250,000 new products each year, brand loyalty, brand trust and brand quality have decreased.

Jordan Clark and Michelle Taylor of Spawn Ideas emphasized how important stories are to brands. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Jordan Clark and Michelle Taylor of Spawn Ideas emphasized how important stories are to brands. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

“Story should not be an afterthought,” said Michelle Taylor of Spawn Ideas of Anchorage, AK, who spoke at the recent NFPW conference. “It should be at the center of everything.”

A well-defined brand story is one way for a company to differentiate.

Jordan Clark, also of Spawn Ideas, referred to co.collective’s term, “StoryDoing,” in which companies consciously convey their story through direct action.

Stories are important, he said, for several reasons:

  1. Stories provide understanding. “They give us context and an understanding of our place in the world,” Clark said.
  2. Stories provide meaning.
  3. Stories are how we remember. “They start to define us,” Clark noted.
  4. Stories distinguish you. Clark said, “Our personal stories become part of our identity and how people view us.”
  5. Stories create trust.

Trust is key because 90 percent of people trust their friend’s recommendations and 70 percent trust anonymous reviews on the internet. Only 50 percent of people trust ads, he said.

“It comes down to the experience that people have with your brand or product,” Clark said.

According to co.collective, StoryDoing companies include Target, Starbucks, Walt Disney, American Express, Apple, Jet Blue and IBM. Because They outperform their storytelling peers in a number of ways, including growing revenues faster, spending less on paid media and having a more positive social media presence.