Is your email font ruining your life?

You spend hours a day staring at your computer screen—with a good portion of that time writing and reading emails—but have you ever given any thought to your email font? In all likelihood, probably not—but you should. Because it could be ruining your life.


According to this Bloomberg article, many email clients default to Helvetica or Arial—two serif fonts that are incredibly difficult to read because their letters are just too close together. While they may work in glossy magazine advertisements due to their simplicity, they’re not great for reading on itsy bitsy computer screens—or mobile devices.


So what fonts should you change your email client to? Fonts like Georgia, Calibri or Verdana are apparently much more legible and professional at the same time. Whichever font you choose, however, make sure you’re comfortable with it—and enjoy it on an emotional level. After all, given the amount of time the two of you will be spending together, you want to find one that makes you happy.


Here at AR Communications, we quite enjoy Calibri. What email font do you prefer?



Finding your writing soulmate

Finding the right external writer to handle your b2b writing needs is a lot like dating—you have to know yourself first before you’ll even have a chance at finding your perfect partner.


To help you out, here is a list of questions you may want to consider before beginning your search for your business writing soulmate:


Question #1: Why am I looking for a writer?

Am I searching for a better writer than I have on staff—perhaps to take the reins on our organization’s major content marketing efforts—or do I want someone to take over the smaller tasks that my internal team doesn’t have time for, such as churning out blog posts?


Question #2: How big will the writer’s role be?

Will I need someone to offer advice and perhaps additional planning—for things such as content marketing campaigns, blogging calendars or social media strategies—or will they simply be hired to write?


Question #3: How do I want the writing process to work?

Will I (or my team) be writing the bulk of the content, and simply need a writer to polish it, or will I need the writer to generate content from scratch—and potentially come up with ideas too?


It may also help to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your existing internal team, so as to better determine the holes that need to be filled. Knowing what you need in a writer will make it easier to find one that offers the right level of experience and service offerings.


Eager to hear more? Check out the new AR Communications Inc. ebook, The Right Fit: How to Outsource Great Writing.

The secret to getting the writing you want

Contrary to popular belief, writers aren’t mind readers. Even if you were to hire the absolute best writer in the world, they could potentially deliver content that fails to meet your expectations. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure your expectations are as clear as possible—and well-communicated to your writer.


The best way to do this is through a creative brief—a template that clearly explains what the purpose of the project is, what you want it to look like and where the writer can find the necessary information to write it.


The template should leave room to address information about:


  • The audience (who is this project for?)
  • The tone (will it be informative, informal, enthusiastic?)
  • Additional resources (to fill in missing information, offer examples or illustrate a preferred format/style)
  • The deadline
  • Additional notes of interest


Getting into the habit of filling out a creative brief before every assignment will not only help your writer produce better content, but it will allow you and your team to better think through your content on a piece-by-piece basis,  ensuring it fits into your overall content marketing strategy.


Want more tips on working effectively with external writers? Download the new AR Communications Inc. ebook, The Right Fit: How To Outsource Great Writing.

Why would you ever pay someone to write?

Writing is a skill most of us learned in the early days of grade school—and one that we practice every day writing emails, notes and LinkedIn status updates. So why would you ever pay someone to do it for you?


Well, if you’re writing to a b2b audience, there are plenty of reasons. Today, an increasing number of clients are finding their next vendor online. This means your web content is making your first impressions for you, before you even have a chance to say two words to a potential lead. For this reason, it not only has to be informative—and answer the questions they need answered—but it needs to establish your company as the best in its field. You can’t do that with typos, grammatical errors or language that puts your audience to sleep.


When you hire a professional writer, you’re not only getting higher quality writing in a quicker timeframe. You’re also gaining access to that writer’s experience—which can translate into valuable insight and innovative ideas that can drastically improve your content marketing strategy. They’ll also be able to introduce you to current content marketing trends—and find ways to help you adapt these trends to your marketing needs.


If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of hiring a professional writer—and how to find a good one—download our ebook, The Right Fit: How to Outsource Great Writing.


The Loyalty Effect

Back in the day, Fred Reichheld, a strategy consultant at Bain & Co., wrote a seminal book on retaining customer loyalty called The Loyalty Effect. In it, he explains how most corporations lose 50 percent of their customer base every five years—a fact that severely stunts business growth. Reichheld determined that to acquire customer loyalty, you have to follow eight steps:


  1. Build a superior customer value proposition (think better quality service at each touchpoint of customer contact).
  2. Find the right customers.
  3. Earn customer loyalty (sounds simple, right?).
  4. Find the right employees.
  5. Earn employee loyalty.
  6. Gain cost advantage through superiour productivity.
  7. Find the right investors.
  8. Earn investor loyalty.


This notion of building loyalty from all angles—employees, customers and investors—is still relevant in today’s digital age, and provides a basis for many other loyalty strategies. This article offers up 17 killer strategies for establishing audience loyalty , that are all based around a holistic foundation that prioritizes a company’s reputation, credibility and integrity. Similarly, this Hubspot piece, which addresses the idea that B2B marketers need to focus on customer retention rather than loyalty, suggests prioritizing customer orientation, education (on your product or service) and communication—things that are difficult to do without a strong relationship with your employees.


What success have you seen in generating customer loyalty? In your experience, what works—and what doesn’t?


You made that up!


As writers, we often get attached to the way words work. So the idea of making up new words doesn’t always sit well with us. But should it? According to Erin McKean, who’s a lexicographer, language is meant to evolve—and part of the way it does this is through the invention of new words.

In the past few months alone, Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam-Webster have added a range of new words into the English lexicon, including:
twerk: v. To move (something) with a twitching, twisting or jerking motion.
crowdfund: v. To fund (a project or venture) by raising money from a large number of people, each of whom contributes a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.
selfie: n. a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

And here’s an entertaining list of words that aren’t yet in the dictionary—but maybe should be. Our personal favourite? Nomonym. Definition: A food that tastes like another food.

What do you think about making up words? Do you have any made-up words that make it into your regular rotation?

photo credit: Twenty-eight points via photopin (license)

Combatting MAS: Mindless Accept Syndrome

It’s true that our “day jobs” here at AR Communications are as writers but, in many ways, we’re kind of like hairdressers too. Okay—maybe in just one main way.

People tell us about their challenges. What’s hard about their jobs. What makes their days inefficient. How they struggle to find time to get everything done. And, sometimes, they ask for advice.

I’ve shared a fair number of recommendations on this over the years—everything from how to organize your schedule, how to delegate and how to say no. In this TED Talk, though, David Grady provides some advice that I think is worth a listen: how to save yourself from bad meetings.


In the video, he discusses how Mindless Accept Syndrome (or MAS) has become a global epidemic. People across the world are accepting every meeting request that comes their way—and ending up losing hours of their lives in the process. He also offers one, simple way to free yourself from this vicious syndrome.


Are you suffering from MAS? Do you think you could put Grady’s solution to work to stop the spread of it?


Three simple steps to create a quick-and-easy company video


The thought of integrating video into your company’s marketing strategy can be daunting—and it’s easy to see why. From the creative concept and storyline through to original footage and hiring talent, suffice it to say, they take work. Yet, in today’s age of rapid content consumption—and rapid content creation—not all videos have to be award-winning productions to be successful. Depending on your audience, sometimes quick and easy is all you need.


Nothing is truer than in the B2B space. In most cases, B2B clients aren’t looking to be wowed by high-quality graphics and polished production footage. They’re watching videos from their favourite vendors—or potential vendors—because they crave information. And providing them with what they want can pay off. Consider these stats:


  • 92% of B2B customers watch online video.
  • 75% of execs watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly.
  • By including a video in their emails or e-newsletters, companies can increase their open rates by 5.6% and increase click-through rates by 96%.
  • Businesses enjoy an 80% increase in conversions when video is added to a landing page.
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine—bringing in more than 4 billion views per day.


With this information in mind, it’s clear that B2B clients want to learn more about a product or service before investing in it. They want to see, first-hand, how a new upgrade will work. They want to hear from subject matter experts that can answer their burning questions, or help them troubleshoot a problem.


So how do you use the power of video to satisfy your target audiences’ needs without breaking the bank? Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieve just that:


Step 1: To reach your audiences in the most time- and cost-efficient manner possible, take your existing digital assets—like lower res videos, photographs, voice recordings and audio files—and assemble them into professional videos on the back-end.

Step 2: Supplement this existing framework with elements like storyboarding and scripting. Add some royalty-free images and music, using stock footage and audio files, and then liven things up with some location shooting around the office and embedded interactive elements (like click-through or other calls to action).

Step 3: Distribute it. Upload your video to YouTube, post it on your company blog and send it out in your next e-newsletter.

Wondering what the final product will look like? Check out our corporate video  which we assembled in just this way. If you want to know how we did it, just give us a call!