Emojis Here, Emojis There, Emojis Everywhere … Even in Business?

I was recently working from home when my six-year-old wandered over to the computer to see what I was doing (and to see if she could worm her way into the chair to play games).

“Are you writing an email?” she asked me.

I told her I was posting to our company Facebook page. She doesn’t understand what that means yet, but I knew what her next question would be (and I was right): “Are you going to put an emoji on it?”

I tried to explain what “professional setting” meant. She got bored and walked away.

She knows little of the internet and social media, but she knows email and she knows emojis. And who can blame her? Emojis are fun to use in text messages and emails to your family and friends.

Ironically, a few hours later this article from Forbes caught my eye, “How Emojis Have Made Their Way Into Business :-)”.

Read the full article for a bit of emoji history, but this section was what stuck with me:

Ad technology companies like Emogi and Snaps are at the forefront of using emoji marketing to prove measurable ROI. When IKEA wanted to be top of mind as people discussed shopping for college, they worked with Emogi to create and send custom IKEA stickers to consumers who expressed interest for the brand, talked about going back to school, or used positive emojis.

The campaign was a success: People actively engaged with IKEA’s custom stickers more than 25,000 times and included the custom stickers in college conversations more often than traditional school-related emojis.

Messaging marketing platform Snaps also helps brands manage and measure their emoji and sticker ad campaigns by tracking how emoji usage increases campaign shares and views. “We can show it drives scale and real ROI and that the media buy has been effective,” Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps told Digiday, “A low six-figure investment can deliver millions in media value.”

Emoji ROI? I wouldn’t personally put a lot of stock in using emojis in your everyday business correspondence, but as a social media manager I have indeed used emojis on sporadic, appropriate occasions (mostly on Instagram). I’ll have to keep an eye out for emoji ROI in the future.

(Insert winky face here.)

Winky face emoji businessman

Take a Writing Lesson from Spiderman

Has anyone seen the new Spiderman: Homecoming movie?

No? You’re all Marvel’d out?

(Just kidding; we’ll never escape the Marvel juggernaut.)

Anyway, back to Spiderman. You know what the writers did to the beginning of the movie? They skipped the back story. Completely skipped it! Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) was already living with his widowed Aunt May.

At this point, everyone knows Spiderman’s back story. You don’t need to rehash it for every single remake.

Why am I ranting about Spiderman? Because I hope this weird example sticks with you to help you improve your writing in the future. Ragan Communications wrote a post recently that linked to an infographic of 20 tips to spice up your writing – skipping right to the point is one of the main takeaways. Other suggestions: brevity, clarity, humor.

As Ragan Executive Editor Rob Reinalda advises, don’t waste precious writing real estate rehashing old information or a non-essential backstory. That’s the quickest way to put readers on a path to Tedium Town, the dreariest village in all of Writing Land. Tell your readers right away why they should read on. Save your 2004 client-crisis heroics for later.

In a similar vein, the infographic dedicates several points to brevity. Shoot for short sentences, delete extraneous words, and get straight to the meat of your story. Simple, direct writing is more forceful and effective. Make it easy for people to glide through your prose.

The infographic offers more tips to steer clear of boredom, such as going easy on the hard sell, varying sentence structure, writing with a playful tone and avoiding unreadable fonts. Also, to increase comprehension, you should complement your words with compelling images, tell interesting stories and “bring unexpected gifts.” Who doesn’t like a handy cheat sheet or a useful checklist for free?

The last point is to “Create something enjoyable” – for your audience, that is. Who cares if you think something’s fascinating? Is it enjoyable, interesting and relevant for your readers? That’s what matters.

Even if you’re not in a communications role, you probably write emails, letters or proposals, etc. Sticking to these tips (just like Spiderman sticks to buildings) can help improve your writing. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the infographic for more tips!

Spiderman

5 Important Skills Job Seekers Should Master

Ragan takes a look at a few key skills that recent grads, interns and anyone searching for a job should focus one if he/she hopes to be employable:

1. Hone your telephone etiquette.

Thanks to the texting takeover, phone manners have become exceptionally rare. “Hey, girl” may be appropriate for your personal calls (actually, it still probably isn’t), but if you answer the phone like that at work, prepare to be embarrassed and/or chewed out.

Listen to the way your co-workers answer the phone. Do they provide their name? (“This is Meredith.”) Or do they use a more generic greeting? (“Ragan Communications—how may I help you?”) Have a pen and paper next to your phone at all times so you can take messages. Make sure you know your office phone number so you know what to say when someone asks for your contact information. Learn how to transfer, dial out of the building, etc. This may sound ridiculous, and that’s exactly why this is so important. Do you really want to be known as “The Intern Who Can’t Answer The Phone?”

2. Learn to multitask.

Maybe you’re a whiz at juggling research papers, midterms, and group projects, but multitasking at work is a different beast. You might like to spend three hours perfecting an article, but you also need to answer emails, schedule interviews, meet with co-workers and research potential story ideas—all before noon.

Before you start work each day, make a “to-do” list. What’s the first thing you need to do when you arrive at 9 a.m.? What’s the second (and so forth)? If you aren’t given a deadline for a particular story, ask your boss when they’d like to see your first draft. You may be hesitant to seek help (we’re all vying for the Omniscient Intern award), but better you should ask than drop the ball and cause everyone to fall behind.

3. Wordiness is not rewarded.

You might’ve gotten brownie points for using “panjandrum” in your college essay, but you can be sure it won’t make it past the first round of revisions. When writing for the Web, flowery language is not your friend. Concise, simple, and clear writing is. When writing copy, ask yourself, “Would the average reader have to look this up?” If the answer is yes, pick a different word or phrase. You’re not going to sound stupid if you swap “barmecidal” with “fake”; on the contrary, you’ll avoid the risk of sounding like a snob.

4. Bye-bye, body paragraph.

Your English professor might have encouraged (or demanded) a carefully crafted argument of five to seven sentences, but that technique is no good when writing for the Web. Eye Tracking Studies have shown that readers not only avoid long paragraphs, they’ll even skip the end of the article if you don’t keep them engaged.

Be concise. Get to the point.

5. Thought your grammar school days were behind you? You’re dead wrong.

Still not sure when to use “your” versus “you’re”? Stop what you’re doing, and take out your notebook (hint, hint). Including these mistakes in your writing samples (or worse, on your résumé) practically begs an editor not to hire you.

Learn when to use ellipses, semicolons, and em dashes. Know the difference between “affect” and “effect.” Editors know what they’re looking for, and their expectations are high. (See what I did there?) Your AP Style book should be within reach at all times. Not only will it help you become a grammar guru, it will guarantee instant admiration from your editor.