3 Techniques For Better Reporting

Hello Fellow Advertisers!

Communication is the most important element of running a successful business. Whether you’re reporting to your boss, a co-worker, or a client, poor communication is simply unacceptable in the professional world. Today I want to review a few tools I use to enhance my communication in my reports to bosses and clients. Hopefully you will try these out, and they will be as effective for you as they have been for me.

Let’s start with an example. Which of these two reports would you rather read?

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Walls of text are not the most effective form of communication. Most people reading Example Report #2 will lose most of the information in translation. Reports like this are boring, ineffective, and unprofessional.

Sure, sometimes you need to spend time explaining something, but you should always follow the main points in your reports with pictures to back them up. It makes the reports look more professional and it keeps your readers engaged. Many people are visual learners, and pictures are a great way to help keep their attention.

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The following programs are great for cutting, pasting, and editing screenshots. I will show you how to incorporate them into your e-mails to other clients and co-workers. These tools will help you work more efficiently and also boost the quality of your reports.

Skitch

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This program was recently introduced to me by Ben Childs. This program is one of the best ways to improve upon the professionalism of your screenshots. Here’s an example of the difference between a couple screenshots using this program:

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This isn’t a real report, and using too many graphics like this can be considered overwhelming and spammy. That being said, this screenshot demonstrates some of the features of this program. Once you download this program, all you have to do is hit ctrl + shift + 5 and you can draw a box around whatever portion of your screen you’d like to capture. That image is imported into the Skitch editor where you can easily draw arrows, outlines, text boxes, and other cute graphics. Once you’ve finished highlighting your screenshot, you can save the image and use it however you want (e-mails, Google docs, PowerPoint, etc). This program is user friendly, easy to set up, and the graphics are professional and clean.

Puush

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I love Puush! You won’t find a program that’s faster at sharing screenshots than Puush. This program operates very similarly to Skitch in terms of how you generate your screenshots, but the end result is slightly different.

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With Puush you simply press ctrl + shift + 4, and you will be prompted to draw a box around the area that you’d like to screenshot. As soon as you draw your box, it will immediately import the screenshot into your web browser. You can copy and paste the link and send it instantly to anyone. This program is great because it dodges having to save, edit, and import your screenshots. You can quickly take pictures and communicate what you’re seeing on your end with clients.

Paint

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Yes! Paint. This program is highly underused. It takes a lot of flak for being a somewhat elementary tool, but that’s one of my favorite parts about it. The interface is usable by a child, and you can easily copy and paste things in and out of paint. There are also tons of options for cutting, coloring, highlighting, inserting text boxes, and anything else you’d find in basic programs like Microsoft Word.  I love Paint because it’s fast, versatile, and best of all, it’s already installed by default on everyone’s computer (so you have no excuse not to use it!). I take hundreds of screenshots a day and copy/paste them into Paint before I start editing them. Once I get a rough draft of what I’m looking for, then I’ll generally import my Paint document into either Skitch or Puush for further detailing and/or importing. Most people already know the basics of paint, so I won’t delve too far into the mechanics of this program. You’d be amazed by the difference a couple highlights can make in any given screenshot from Google Analytics, AdWords, Bing Ads, etc.

I highly recommend using programs like Paint or Skitch to detail your screenshots further. Using them in conjunction with one another will enhance the professionalism of your reports, and clients will have more confidence in your ability when you’re able to help them understand the work you’re doing.

Happy Advertising!

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