This is from a post on Seth Godin's blog – an inner dialog on improving signage for a coffee brand, which reads "Unlike Any Coffee You've Ever Tasted Before.":
Wait. Why the capitals?
"Unlike any coffee you've ever tasted before."
"Before" is redundant.
"Unlike any coffee you've ever tasted."
Too negative. And why is "unlike" a positive trait? I mean, boiled leech guts is also unlike any coffee I've ever tasted, that doesn't mean I want to drink it. How about:
"The best coffee you've ever tasted."
Well, the thing is, the only coffee that matters is coffee I've tasted, right, so we could get shorter still:
"The best coffee."
The problem with that is that it's nothing but bragging. Of course you think it's the best coffee. So what? You're lying. And even if you're not lying, how do you know it's the best? Compared to what?
This is where the smart copywriter becomes a marketer.
"Better than Starbucks."
Well, it's still bragging. This is the moment where the marketer becomes a smart marketer and realizes that changing the offer or the product is more important than changing the hype.
"FREE TASTE TEST
Are we better than Starbucks?"
Back when I was in university, between my second and third years, I got myself a summer job working for a small theatre company. I can't remember my job title, but I did some administrative work and lots of marketing-type tasks, like compiling media lists and writing press releases. It was a great experience, and one I wouldn't have had without the help of the government. You see, the theatre received money from the government as part of a youth work program to cover a portion of my salary, meaning they were actually able to afford to hire someone.
I always wondered whether there was a similar program that publishers could take advantage of so they could offer paid magazine internships, and now I know that there is. As reported on the Canadian Magazines blog, the Cultural Human Resources Council runs a Youth Internship Program, and will pay up to $10,000 towards the salary for an internship running from four to 12 months.
With the prevalence of layoffs and hiring freezes, you may be wondering what's the likelihood that magazines are going to start paying their interns. But what if we look at it this way: With fewer people doing more work, interns are going to start taking on more duties of entry-level positions (if they're not already doing tasks that most editorial assistants would do). If you can't afford to hire the EA you so desperately need, why not pay half as much for an intern? When the economy begins to pick up and you can afford to hire more staff, you'll already have that cost on your books, which you can continue pay out as a half-decent stipend for an intern even if you're no longer a participant in the government program.
At his retirement party back in October, Vice President for Design of public broadcaster WGBH Boston Chris Pullman shared a few thoughts on what he's learned over the years, from Design Observer.
"Work on things that matter. ... Given all the ways you could use your skills and your valuable time, pick something that serves the greater good."
"Work with people you like and respect. ... Since April, when I first announced my intention to leave WGBH, the private expression of these feelings has been so gratifying, both personally and professionally, that I recently suggested that maybe we should institute the policy of encouraging individuals to make periodic “mock retirement” announcements, with the goal of releasing more regularly the flow of kind remarks for the nourishment of the individual, since we are otherwise so reticent to praise or encourage others in our busy, self-centered daily lives."
"Be nice. And be positive. And be respectful of the work of others. Strive to understand each others professional contributions and then respect them (as you would want them to respect you) with your actions and your comments. Remember: we are all applying our own particular skills towards a shared objective."
"Have high standards. Don’t settle for “whatever.” The corrosive Dilbert mind-set is depressing and demeaning. Wherever you choose to work, don’t give it a foothold. I prefer the “see you and raise you one” escalation of good ideas, even crazy ideas."
I'm sure you've heard someone somewhere along the line say that making mistakes is all part of the learning process. It's definitely true, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier to own up to them. Perhaps you can let the little ones slip by or quickly correct them without notice, but I say the bigger the mistake, the more important it is to take responsibility. Confess quickly and do it right by turning it into a learning experience for everyone. From an article on the Guardian website:
Chartered occupational psychologist Dr Peter Honey thinks the key is to try and shift the focus from blaming people to blaming processes.
Honey says that mistakes are often the fault of processes rather than people involved, and offers a three-point plan for making sure you learn from them. Firstly, there needs to be an honest assessment of the whole situation. Next, you need to tease out some lessons – could you improve any processes so that this cannot happen again? Lastly, work out how, specifically, you would implement the lessons learned, so they're not just left as good intentions, says Honey.
Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.