I’m kind of against the trend of calling everything a “hack” these days. (It’s almost on par with, “Dermatologists hate her because of this ONE WEIRD TRICK,” in terms of clickbait phrases that have lost all meaning.) But I really am going to talk about a simple trick/hack that’s proven to help you remember stuff and make your brain work better.
I took a lot of psychology classes in college and in almost all of them, the professor would make the same suggestion at the beginning of each semester: “Writing notes engages more areas of your brain and makes you remember the material better than typing notes. If I were you, I’d skip bringing my laptop to class.” You can read more about the research behind this here.
If that’s true for taking notes in an academic setting, you can probably apply that same insight to professional reminders and to-dos right?
I love plugging all my upcoming tasks into my phone. It’s convenient and efficient. But this week I decided to physically write things down in addition to putting them in my phone.
This article from Mashable goes over 7 ways physical writing is supposed to help your brain. I outline my observations on trying this below:
I think I’ll keep with the habit of physically writing stuff down. It makes me feel like I have a better handle on everything that’s going on, and it gives me an excuse to actually use my marbled white board that I’ve only used as a photo backdrop until now.
Email newsletters are an excellent way to stay top of mind for your customers and share promotions and announcements. But it can be difficult to know what to share and how much.
BREAK IT UP
Just like maintaining a blog, with newsletters, you always need new content to share. It can be difficult to consistently come up with news that will be worthwhile to your audience, but it gets easier when you start thinking of your newsletter like a mini magazine.
Brainstorm ideas for interesting recurring features and break up your info into installments.
The above example is from the first newsletter I put together for new client, 70 Proof Skin Care. Instead of telling my audience about every ingredient all at once, I decided to split the information up across multiple editions.
Rather than overwhelm subscribers with lots of text, I’m giving them a bite-sized bit of info in a featured I called “Ingredient Spotlight.”
I cannot tell you how many emails I delete every day, all from companies I’ve signed up with at one point or another. Stand out among all these corporate emails by getting personal.
Connect with subscribers by communicating your enthusiasm or relaying a charming anecdote (only the highlights, almost like a Christmas card!).
As I say time and again, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Would they be more likely to open an email addressed from you or from your company? If you’re a small business with a lot of subscribers you personally know, probably the former! MailChimp lets you edit the From field however you like, so you might consider making your communications look and sound less corporate.
Your newsletters don’t have to be self-congratulatory all the time. Acknowledge the people or companies that have helped you recently. Give thanks for recent features in publications. Put in a shout out to a fellow local company you really like. Maybe they’ll return the favor, maybe not!
Your audience will take notice of your friendliness and authenticity. Plus, it’s just good karma.
The newsletter from which the above examples are pulled went through many iterations and design tweaks. Now that you know how to write a good newsletter, look out for a future entry about how to design a good newsletter.
Good luck! Be useful and be nice!
Once you've drawn people in with a good header image and/or profile photo, the next thing people will usually see on any of your social media profiles is your bio.
Though YouTube allows up to 5,000 characters (!) in channel descriptions, most platforms only allow short bios of about 160 characters or less. I understand! You contain multitudes that cannot possibly be captured in less than 200 characters. But you must try your best.
Perhaps the short character limit is the reason a lot of people seem to opt for what I call "The List" in their bios. "Mother, teacher, yogi, lover of life!" It's an effective way to deliver information about you or your business, but it's so common. People have started subverting this trend in some cool and funny ways though, almost like concept of The List is its own meme.
Good List bios do exist! But they can come across as unimaginative. Aim for something a little different. Even bios consisting entirely of emojis, although still kind of common, can add some fun personality if they are easily understood.
BE YOU (DUH)
Write your bio in the same tone you would anything else. Don’t force jokes or try to be clever just for the sake of it. But if that’s how you normally speak and write, go for it!
You might also feel awkward writing about yourself or your business in a context where you’re expected to be a little braggy. Is this too much? Is this not enough? Run your description by a friend to see how it comes across. Ask them if it seems authentic.
While your bio should be tailored to the audience on a given platform, there should be some consistency across your profiles. It will help people remember you if they see you on, say, Twitter and then again on Instagram. Think of it almost like a slogan. Use the same memorable phrase/couple of words across all your bios, so you'll hopefully stick in people's minds. For example, I use the phrase "cultivate a voice" in most of my professional bios.
As is the case with everything, always spellcheck and proofread your work. Run your bio past a second set of eyes, or through Grammarly (<- affiliate link) which checks for common English grammar errors. Nothing makes you look more unprofessional than misspellings, misplaced punctuation, and typos.
Some individuals and companies use their bios to announce news and events. It is one of the first things people see, after all. This can be useful, especially if you already have a lot of brand recognition, but be wary of stuffing your bio with too many links, @s, or hashtags. It makes things visually unpleasant and hard to read.
Others use their bios to provide resources they want their followers to easily find, like Patreon links and YouTube channels. Luckily, most platforms include a separate field to enter your website, but if you have other links you want to give your followers, it can be smart to include them in your bio, especially if you reference these resources often in your posts.
Stay tuned for a future post about the visual side of social media profiles, picking profile and header images.
Aspiring Dog Parent