Grammar, a Marketing Idea, Helvetica Now, and Pitching Junk

by | Apr 22, 2019

A bit of miscellany today:

Get the “Out” Out

When did the word “out” invade the rest of our verbs? It’s everywhere, and deserves to be eliminated. Some examples:

Tweet out
Report out

When did this sneak in? “Out” in these contexts adds nothing, since the idea of “sending it out” is inherent in both Tweet and Report and most of the other verbs to which “Out” is being added.

So just don’t do it. Grammarians in the audience, anyone notice this?

Mail Your Opens

Authors who market with email programs like Mail Chimp, Convert Kit, AWeber, and so on, can track what happens after they push the “Publish” button.

For instance, your mail program can report exactly who opened the email, and who didn’t, and will report the “Open Rate” after the mailing is done.

This open rate, by the way, is the best way I know to judge whether your headline was effective. In the inbox, that’s all you’ll see when you make the decision to either click on the email or not.

It’s a common practice to generate a list of everyone who didn’t open your email, then re-mail the initial email to those folks.

This is a great practice because you will always generate more interest in whatever it is you’re mailing about. And let’s face it, not everyone is waiting with bated breath for our next email, so it just makes sense to give people more than one opportunity to respond.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with a different idea, which I call “mailing the opens.”

Here’s how it works.

I might mail to my list an invitation to attend a webinar. I’ll make sure the topic of the webinar is in the subject line of the email invitation.

If I mail 10,000 people this invitation, 1,000 might open it, and perhaps 200 might click the link to go look at the registration page.

In a typical promotion, the people who register for the webinar become a temporary “launch list” that can be used throughout the promotion that the webinar kicks off.

But I realized that every person who opened the emails showed at least some interest in the topic. If the webinar is about audiobooks, opening the email implies that you have at least a bit of interest in the topic.

Combining the lists of all the folks who opened these emails gives me a much larger list I can market to. Although not all will have the same level of engagement, it looks like this approach is really paying off.

It’s almost always a good idea to “segment” your lists this way based on reader interests, it will make your marketing more effective and your readers will receive fewer off-topic emails.

Helvetica Gets a Makeover for “Now”

Helvetica is the most widely used typeface in the world. I love it and have used Helvetica many times over the years.

Originally we had Helvetica, then we had Helvetica Neue.

Now, Monotype has completely redrawn and reissued Helvetica as “Helvetica Now.” I particularly like the versions of the face designed for use at very small sizes.

Here are links were you can check out this new Helvetica:

Monotype: This is Helvetica Now

“Helvetica® Now is a new chapter in the story of perhaps the best-known typeface of all time. Available in three optical sizes—Micro, Text, and Display—every character in Helvetica Now has been redrawn and refit; with a variety of useful alternates added. It has everything we love about Helvetica and everything we need for typography today. This is not a revival. This is not a restoration.

This is a statement.

This is Helvetica Now: for everyone, everywhere, for everything.”

Wired: Helvetica, the World’s Most Popular Font, Gets a Face-Lift

“Now, Monotype has given Helvetica a face-lift, in the hopes that it can restore some of the magic to the iconic typeface. The new version, Helvetica Now, updates each of Helvetica’s 40,000 characters to reflect the demands of the 21st century. It’s designed to be more legible in miniature, like on the tiny screen of an Apple Watch, and hold its own in large-scale applications like gigantic billboards.”

Gizmodo: After 36 Years, Helvetica Gets a Much-Needed Facelift

Pitching Junk

Over the years I’ve collected pieces of some of the pitches that arrive, unbidden, in my inbox every day.

And there are a lot of them.

But the ones I collect belong to a special class. The ones that are so hopeless, so off-target, so mistaken that they veer over into unintentional comedy.

Maybe someday I’ll publish that article, but I couldn’t resist this one that came in this week.

Keep in mind this is a pitch from someone offering their copyediting and proofreading services:

I am offering my services at a competitive rate for fulltim/partime copyedding,proofreaing with accuary and speed 1000/1500wph….three in one, isn’t it attrative.Here is brief about me.

Even with the realization that English is not native to this writer, it really brings home the absolute necessity of knowing who you are pitching and what their needs are.

Think about that before you hit “Send” on your next marketing email.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

2 Comments

  1. Kathy Carter

    I started noticing the unnecessary “out” a few years ago on home improvement TV shows. It was no longer enough to “paint” the cabinets—you had to “paint out” the cabinets.

    Reply
  2. Jana

    A few years ago I noticed the unnecessary addition of “on”. People don’t love other people, they “love on” them. At the same time, we no longer graduate FROM school, we simply “graduate school”. And don’t forget “up” – we don’t hire lawyers; instead, we “lawyer up”.

    Editors are guardians of language, but popular culture seems to be winning in several areas.

    Reply

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