Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Not the brightest coworkers.

My new coworkers are loud, demanding, and obnoxious. They're always hungry and always leaving poop on my doorstep. They interrupt conference calls with their cackling. This one even spies on me.

But they never drink the last of the coffee, and they don't break the printer, steal my pens, or load dishes incorrectly in the dishwasher. I think we'll get along just fine, after all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chill out, already.

Another for the Lessons Learned file.

I got a lead on a healthcare copywriting project via LinkedIn ProFinder and applied; they responded asking me to bid the job. They provided most of the details, but not all; one item stipulated "some" sections to be written, but not how many.

I'd already mentioned that I might have questions, so I sent an email. But I couldn't just ask for clarification around the specific things I needed to know to finish the bid—no, no, that would be too easy. Instead, to show that I had experience in the industry and that I'd given the project a lot of thought (and because I simply wanted to know), I went ahead and fired off seven...SEVEN...additional questions. Including, to my chagrin, "would I have direct access to the client" for even more questions, once I was on the job.

Nice work, dumbass. Followed up today and, of course, they've "already got it taken care of." Because who wants an overeager show-off on their job, let alone asking for access to their client? Pro tip: Don't do that.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Could indenting make subject lines stand out?

I spent part of this morning working on an article about best practices for responsive emails in the pharmaceutical industry, a sort of 101 for pharma marketers. One section dealt with optimizing headlines. Then I saw this in my inbox:

The indented subject line really stood out in the list of emails, and I thought, how clever! But then I clicked on the email and realized that it wasn't a clever indent, it was emojis from which Gmail was apparently saving me. After having "read" the email, the emojis appeared in the subject line.

My spam folder shows me that emails with emoji in the subject line are usually screened, but I must have told Gmail that Ads of the World mail isn't junk. It made me wonder, though, about actually just using spaces in the subject line to indent it and make it stand out. As soon as I get my MailChimp account set up, I'm going to give it a try.

Friday, March 4, 2016

"The flame beneath the pot"

Beautiful language can reach right off the page and startle you into a wide-awake, pleased wonderment, like a sudden kiss from someone you have a huge crush on. I read poetry in the hopes that I'll get that shivery rush.

Yesterday's Writer's Almanac poem, "Lobsters," by Howard Nemerov, did it. Even though the lovely turns of phrase are mostly morbid, I was enchanted with the powerful simplicity of the language.

By GrammarFascist (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These lines in the second stanza made me want to applaud: "Their velvet colors / Mud red, bruise purple, cadaver green." The perfection of the phrase "mud red": it simultaneously brings to mind "blood red" and also that absolutely correct muddy ochre color of lobsters. "Cadaver green" is a horribly delicious (sorry) irony, describing creatures whose bodies won't last long enough to be called cadavers.

The ending of the poem is very Yeats-ian, very "what rough beast," to me, but maybe that's because I just finished reading The Stand for perhaps the tenth time. (King seems to have turned this poem of 22 lines into a novel of over 1,000 pages). I won't spoil it; go read the poem.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The old-fashioned way

I just wrote an inquiry letter to the creative director of a 118-year-old brand on this:

I bought this at an antique store last week. Surprisingly, ribbons are available on Amazon and, apparently, also at Staples. Guess I'm not the only one.

I wanted to say, "This is not just some email I'm dashing off, or InMail, or a tweet...I really thought about this." I didn't want to say "enough to retype it twice," but that may have come through.) For a brand that cares about quality and heritage, I thought this might be a good approach.

I'll keep you posted.