Your Mailshot Checklist

Mailshots are a great way to communicate and engage with your existing and prospect customers and can be an effective way to promote your business. However getting it right can be tricky as it is important to get the right tone of voice and come up with a message that will appeal to your target audience.

Here at Fingertips Typing we have a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable marketing professionals who know a great deal about Mailshots both email and postal. They have put together a checklist of what to do to ensure your campaigns are successful.

Mailshot Checklist

  1. Know your objective – It is extremely important to clarify the objective of the email or mailshot. What are your goals? Are you collecting leads, driving traffic to your website, making direct sales or providing information?
  2. Know your target audience – Are you communicating with new or existing customers? what do they already know about your business and products, what are their needs, and what objections might they have?
  3. Segmentation – It maybe appropriate to segment your customer base if you have identified different groups of customers. A segmented and targeted approach, whilst time consuming is more likely to boost your results and maximise return on investment.
  4. Personalisation – It may sound simple but by using the customers name in the communication or their businesses name can really help reach out to your customers, but it is important to check that your database is accurate and up to date, I am sure we have all received at some point a letter or email with the wrong name in it!
  5. Data cleanse – Before you hit send make sure that your mail list data is accurate and up to date. This will ensure you are communicating with the correct people.
  6. Grab their attention – Produce a headline and an opening sentence which will encourage the reader to read on.
  7. Back up your claims – If you have a fantastic offer for your product or service then quash those objections immediately by providing facts to back up your claims. Even better include a case study link or customer testimonial, nothing says more than a customer that things your product or service is fantastic!
  8. Keep it short and sharp – Remember to use short sentences as people tend to skim read and keep everything clear, simple and to the point.
  9. Call to action – Know what you want your readers to do next and make it easy.
  10. Proof read – Remember to proof read your mail shot, check spelling and grammar and test out any links that you may have on there (if it’s an email campaign). Get some colleagues to check too as you may become word blind if you have been working on the content for a while.

If you feel that you need help with your mailshot campaigns or would like to do one but haven’t got the time, then we can help. Contact our team at: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

 

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Transcribing Podcasts

The podcast has revolutionised the way we communicate content to the public, it has been perfect for; Schools, colleges, universities, businesses, the travel industry, not to mention more common forms of media such as: radio programmes, magazines, political broadcasts, religious organisations, TV commentary and newspapers.

However to be able to search for podcasts over the internet you need written content, search terms and keywords, otherwise your podcast is effectively invisible, unless you spend time and money advertising.

Providing a transcript of the full podcast or excerpts of it will help with getting good search engine results and ultimately drive more people to listen to your content. By providing a full transcript you also ensure that you do not alienate the deaf or those with slightly impaired hearing. If you can’t hear clearly, then your only option is to read. In fact the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Communications Act 2003 encourages the provision of full accessible content for all broadcasts.

It is also quicker to read than listen to an audio file, you may find that some of your audience will prefer reading your podcast rather than listening.  By providing options you will not be limiting your audience.

Tips for transcribing podcasts:

  • Use Time Markers – Allow listeners to go to the point they want to hear, or they can read the transcript for that section
  • Transcribe in Intelligent Verbatim Transcription – This ensures a full, accurate transcript, removing all the ‘ums’, ‘ahs’, repetitions and other verbal habits people have. Making it easier to read and actually reduces transcription time and cost

How long does a Podcast take to transcribe?

The professional transcription industry standard allows one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of clearly recorded speech. It therefore takes a minimum of four hours to transcribe a one hour recording but this can be more depending on a number of factors including:

  • How clear the recording is
  • The clarity and speed of the voices
  • The number of people speaking
  • Background noise
  • Accents of speakers

The Benefits of Transcribing your Podcast

  • It allows you to create clickable links – Ensuring that you are always driving your listeners back to your website, which is always good etiquette
  • Reinforce the content – Some people like to have the written text in front of their eyes while listen
  • It is professional
  • Makes your content searchable – Which will drive more visitors to your site
  • Great for search engine optimization (SEO) – The transcribed files will allow you to create title, tags and description of the audio file which will be picked up by search engines whereas audio files do not currently have this ability

If you have a podcast and feel you would benefit from transcription services, then Fingertips Typing can help. Visit Fingertips Typing Services.

Written by: Cerri Killworth, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing Services.

Spot the difference?

All transcription services are the same…

Wrong… there are significant differences between different types of transcription services available, this blog explores these differences.

Edited Transcriptions

This is where the transcriber can omit parts of the audio file as long as the meaning of the recording does not change. Like verbatim this type of transcription is quite time-consuming because the transcriber must be able to differentiate between what is important and what is not important.

Examples of where this type of transcription is used: Speeches, conferences, seminars, tutorials.

Intelligent Transcription

This is where the transcriber does not need to include emotions, half sentences or mumbled words.  This type of transcription often takes longer as it involves the transcriber having a complete understanding of what the speaker is trying to convey.

Verbatim Transcription

This is probably the most difficult and time consuming of all types of transcription services., this is because it involves transcribing each word, laugh, emotion, background noise or mumbles.

The transcriber must pay very close attention to all of the sounds on the audio file, including understanding emotions or making out mumbled noises.

Examples of where this type of transcription is used: Legal proceedings, movies, films,  and commercials.

Summary

Each type of transcription requires a highly skilled transcriber to be able to decipher and convey the correct message in written format.

How technology has impacted on the way we communicate

Technology has advanced considerably over the last century, the birth of the internet sped up our advancement and indeed desire for new and improved communication services, but just how much has changed?

Early forms of communication

Early forms of communication mainly centred on the use of imagery rather than words, using these methods to communicate a story or historical event.
These communication methods included:

  • The Petroglyphs – Early man used stone engravings and drawings to communicate with each other, way before even spoken word appeared.
  • The pictograph – Engraved or painted drawings were used to communicate a story or an event and were very popular around 6000 – 5000 BC.
  • The Ideogram – Pictograms evolved into ideograms which were graphical symbols that represented an idea, the Egyptians and Aztecs were particularly fond of these early forms of communication.
  • Smoke Signals – 150BC – Chinese soldiers were able to transmit messages in just a few hours with smoke signals along the Great Wall of China.
  • The First Handwritten Manuscript – 301 – 800AD

Getting more sophisticated

In the early 1400’s communication methods began to get more advanced with the Gutenberg printing press leading the way allowing for communications over long distances and languages.
Followed by:

  • Semaphore Lines – Invented in 1792 in France by Claude Chappe, were the precursor of the electrical telegraph. The Semaphore telegraph was a system of conveying information by the method of visual signs using towers and shutters.
  • Morse Code – In 1837 the Morse code was developed and patented by Samuel Morse
  • Typewriter – 1800’s – The typewriters first publication was the Adventure of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. It wasn’t until 19140 that the mechanical typewriter became standardised and indeed electric, gaining widespread popularity and an office essential! By the 1980’s the humble typewriter had made way to personal computers and desktop publishing.
  • The Telegraph – Patented in May 1837 by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone the telegraph was created initially to communicate between train stations. In 1845 the Electric Telegraph company was established, followed by rapid expansion and the era of mass communication. Before  the Telegraph a letter by post from London took 12 days to reach New York and 73 days to reach Sydney, Australia
  • The Telephone – 1848, invented by Alexander Graham Bell and was the first device in history that enabled people to talk directly to each other over long distances. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when telephones evolved digitally.
  • The Radio – The use of the radio picked up during World War I with the development for military communications, but it wasn’t until the 1920’s that commercial mass broadcasting began.

Video Killed the Radio Star

  • The television –Developed in 1927 the television didn’t become common place until after World War II. The colour TV was introduced in the mid 1960’s, from there we have seen the television progress into Smart TV’s with 3D capability.
  • The Internet – Started in 1969 as a US military project and was the foundation for the modern internet, but it wasn’t commercialised until 1990 when English scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web. The internet has grown phenomenally since the 90’s and is now a tool that business and the general public alike struggle to live without.
  • Search Engines – The first major commercial search engine went live in 1994 and was called Lycos, soon after many search engines appeared including: AltaVista and Yahoo, but it wasn’t until 2000 Google’s search engine rose to prominence. Search engines are one of the most useful communication tools out there.
  • Wikis – Believe it or not the first Wiki was created in 1994 in Portland Oregan. Wikipedia is the most well-known wiki site and contains useful information about pretty much any subject known to man.

Let’s get digital

  • The Pager – Originally developed as a professional tool, allowing business people to keep connected to the office this device quickly became a social tool. A precursor to the modern mobile phone this communication had a brief window of time until eventually the mobile phone took over and replaced it. I still miss getting the lottery results on a Saturday evening!
  • Instant Messaging – Or online chat as it was historically known was developed in 1996 and allowed online users to communicate with each other in chat rooms, online bulletin boards . This has since progressed to applications such as Facebook messenger and Blackberry Messenger which also enable video calling and web conferencing services such as Skype and Facetime.
  • Electronic mail (eMail) – Has been around as we know it since 1993, however the first hosted mail systems were introduced as early as the 1960’s. Email has revolutionised the way we communicate with each other, in fact it is hard to imagine how long things would take to get done if we had to rely on other forms of communication.
  • The mobile phone – Amazingly the first mobile phone was demonstrated by Motorola in 1973, but it wasn’t until 1983 that the first 1G phone went to market with talk time of just 35 minutes and a 10 hour charge life! It is a far cry from where this technology is today.
  • The Smart Phone – Mass adoption of Smart phones took place in 1999. Initially with BlackBerry dominating the market as the go-to communication tool of the 00’s. However this was quickly over taken by Apple who introduced the very first iPhone in 2007. Since then Smart Phone technology has grown rapidly, integrating our work, social and family life together in one singular device.

It is clear to see that technology has hurtled forward, but there are no signs of stopping. The internet of things is revolutionising our working and personal lives and I strongly believe that we will soon tools such as 3D virtual conferencing emerging into the business world.
It is inevitable that communication will get even faster, smarter, easier and more often, but I feel that it will take time for context and understanding to catch-up. How many times have you sent an email, a text message or Facebook message that has been misunderstood by the recipient, I expect the answer is often. This is one area that our communication tools need to get better at and to do so it will require sophisticated systems to learn things like sarcasm and sense of humour.
One thing for sure though, we are living in very exciting and fast paced times and communication will continue to evolve as we do.

Transcription and Typing

First Typewriter

first typewriter

The first typewriter recognised as being “commercially successful” is one invented in 1868 by Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [1]

The patent was sold for $12,000 to a company called Densmore and Yost, who tried to manufacture the machine. The company made an agreement with E. Remington and Sons to produce the machine.  In 1874,  the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer went on sale. It had a QWERTY keyboard, and was a blind writer, as the keys struck upwards. It meant that the typist couldn’t see the characters as they were being typed. [2]

Learning to Type

Children these days learn the keyboard very quickly without ever having a typing lesson. Because they navigate the keyboard using one hand or just two fingers, does that make it wrong because they are not using the tried and tested methods?

Learning to type, in the traditional way, is about learning which fingers type which letters, lots of repetition, and then the development of typing by touch or touch typing, by muscle memory. It was believed that this was the most efficient way of typing. Once the individual has mastered touch typing, the development of speed is crucial.

Children today can learn to type by games that teach them whilst having fun. It becomes second nature very quickly as they are using mobile devices with keyboards from a very young age.

Typing speeds used to be the benchmark, along with accuracy, for administrative jobs. The job adverts used to state how many words per minute the individual needed to be able to type in order to be considered for the job. A typing test, at interview, was standard to check speed. Check your typing speed here.

edu_seating
Image courtesy of  ratatype.com/learn

 

Here are some best practice pointers for safe and efficient typing. You can view the web page here for full details.

Posture – sit straight, elbows at right angles, face the screen with head tilted slightly forward

Home keys – ensure you always return your fingers to the home keys between typing bouts

Take a break – ensure you take regular breaks, to rest your eyes and your hands, wrists and shoulders

 

Evolution of the Typewriter

Since the invention of the typewriter, the keyboard, as it has become known, has evolved hugely.

mytype-timeline-full
Click on the Timeline to learn more

The concept of the modern keyboard has also changed, with the invention of mobile technology.

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Typing Then and Now

When I learned to type, it was on the old fashioned manual keyboards, in a cold hut, whilst at sixth form college. Having mastered the basics, I then progressed to an electronic word processor that took on another learning journey. The keyboard was more reactive and faster, the keys required less pressure and what had been manual calculations before for tabs or centering were now a more automated process.

USB typwriter
USB Typewriter?

Typewriters and word processors gave way to computers, with small screens, small memory capacity and large keyboards. As technology progressed, screens got larger and so did the memory, and keyboards became more streamlined.

Eventually, the computers got smaller in physical size, massive in capacity and screen and keyboard condensed into one device. Typing can still be done manually on touchscreen with fingers or a stylus. But you can now dictate to your device and it is clever enough to recognise what it is you want to say.
The documentation produced has also changed. Letters used to be the only

hawking
Stephen Hawking

way to communicate, and these were typewritten or handwritten. Emails became another way to stay in touch, followed by text messaging.

Social media followed, allowing words to reach their recipient in a flash.

Technology exists to allow a user with a disability to type by having their eye movements tracked on a keyboard… Stephen Hawking.

The future is here – you can now buy a virtual keyboard, which a small bluetooth device projects on to a flat surface, offering the user a full keyboard experience. [3]

Virtual Keyboard.jpg
Virtual Keyboard

Whatever next?

Transcription and Typing

Whatever you  need typing, Fingertips Typing Services can help. We have years of experience of typing and transcribing a variety of projects, for example, but not limited to:

  • Interviews/focus groups/seminar/conferences
  • Medical reports
  • Property/lettings/estate agents reports
  • Legal/insurance reports
  • Education/dissertation/theses

Visit the Fingertips Typing website to see how we can help you work effectively, by providing a friendly, professional and personal service.

Written by: Debbie Rowe, typist for Fingertips Typing Services

Resources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typewriter

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholes_and_Glidden_typewriter

[3] http://gandtnews4u.blogspot.com/2012/12/cube-laser-virtual-keyboard-future-of_75.html

May… we help?

Bank Holiday Monday – UK

This weekend sees the May Bank Holiday in the UK, a three day weekend, where historically banks and businesses would close.

Weather

It’s a running joke in the UK that, on the day that we have a day off work due to the bank

Weather Forecast May Bank Holiday
Courtesy of Weather.com

holiday, it rains.

The forecast, for the South East, at least, on Monday 2nd May, says cloudy, but not necessarily any rain.

 

Origins

The May Day holiday is the fourth of eight bank holidays in the UK.

British bank holidays are public holidays and have been recognised since 1871. [1]

The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place. [1]

The first of May was the bank holiday, however, in modern times, it has moved to the first Monday in May, for convenience for schools and businesses, creating a long weekend.

Traditions

There are many traditions that surround the 1st of May, predominantly to do with the warmer weather and the onset of summer, after a long winter. The earliest celebration can be traced back 2000 years, where  Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, was celebrated. [2]

Much of the May Day celebrations derive from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” as well as old Celtic traditions.

“The Old English name for the month of May means Month of Three Milkings.”

May Pole

In the past, people would cut down young trees and put them in the ground on the village green, tie ribbons to the top, and dance around to mark the arrival of the warm weather.

The dancers would weave in and out of each other, in opposite directions, effectively causing a plait-like effect with the ribbons. Maypoles were popular all over the country, and school children would practice for weeks before May Day to ensure they were able to remember the dance on the day.

May Queen

May Queens were, and still are,  human representations of the Roman goddess, Flora. A May Queen might be chosen from a group of young women, aged 13 and above, who had either performed a dance or similar, and would lead the procession.

Another tradition associated with the idea of choosing a May Queen, is the May Lifiting. On the first of May, in the old days, the young men of the village would choose the prettiest girl in the village and carry her around on their shoulders. On the second of May, the girl would choose a boy.

Morris Dancing

Morris dancing may have originated from several different places. The name Morris may be traced, possibly, back to a form of dancing that arrived in England with the arrival of the Moors from North Africa. Alternatively, the name of the dance may be so called because the dancers looked  Moor-ish, with their darker complexions. The dancers sometimes painted their faces black. [1]

Across England, the Morris dancers can be identified by their clothes. They are often dressed in white with coloured baldrics (coloured belts) across their chests. [1]

The formation of the Morris dance consists of either six or eight men, in two lines facing each other or in a circle. Part of their costume is white hankies or sticks, that they wave or shake. Some Morris dancers have bells tied to their knees to add to the music and their calls. [1]

1st May round the World

1297985112_industrial-workers-of-the-world.jpg

Around the world, the 1st of May is widely associated with commemorating the advancing of labour movements. It is known as Labour Day or International Worker’s Day.

In the US, in 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday, to come in effect as of 1 May 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday. [3] Labour Day, despite the auspicious date, is actually celebrated on the first Monday of September.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands also celebrate Labour Day on different dates; though that has to do with how the holiday originated in those countries. [3]

May we help?

Fingertips Typing Services can help with your labours, even if you have to work on any of the UK bank holidays. Visit us to find out more.

 

Written by: Debbie Rowe – Typist for Fingertips Typing

Resources

[1] http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/bankholidays.html

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day#Great_Britain

[3] http://www.officeholidays.com/countries/global/may_day.php

 

 

Transcription and Oral Histories

Is there a tradition or a story that has been handed down the generations in your family? It’s not written down anywhere,  just been told, from one person to another. There must be some truth in it somewhere but it’s been added to and embellished, blurred and reimagined through time.

This telling and retelling is as old as language itself. Since Man began to form words, stories are told to the young as warnings, as lessons, as bedtime tales. Before we could write, things were passed on verbally, and still it happens today. Indigenous tribes across the world have historically passed their knowledge and experiences along the familial lines through verbal accounts and rememberings. Continue reading Transcription and Oral Histories