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This year I will…

Happy New Year!

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? Eat more healthily? Take more exercise? Be kind to animals? How about professional resolutions? Here are my top ten tips for a more prosperous, successful and enjoyable 2004:

This year, I will…

1          …talk to my customers face-to-face as often as I can. I will ask them to talk about themselves and their responsibilities. I will find out what they think of our products. And I will never again address even one of them as “a valued client”.

2          …buy, and read, at least one book on good writing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about creative writing, copywriting or general English usage. I will keep it on or near my desk and I will come to regard it as a friend, not a pedantic schoolteacher.

3          …try doing things differently. Even if it means risking failure. And I will go into bat for my good ideas no matter who stands in front of me and says ‘it won’t work”.

4          …learn a new skill. It might be a new software package that will help me write or design better documents. It could be a relaxation technique to help me over those inevitable humps in the day. I will make time to practise it regularly and enjoy the results.

5          …raise my profile within the business. I will apply to myself some of the basic marketing techniques I know and use for my products. I will create a buzz about projects I am involved in so that other people will want to work on them too.

6          …subscribe to a professional or business journal and read at least one article from it every issue. I will pay attention not just to the content, but also to the style.

7          …buy, use or consume my own product and experience it from the outside as my customers do. I will judge it against their expectations not my own. And I will find things that could be better and make those changes.

8          …write plans for my documents rather than jumping onto my keyboard. I will have clear, simple and specific business goals for every document and herd my reader gently, but firmly, towards them.

9          …not take my job too seriously. Yes, it pays the mortgage. Yes, I am committed to continuing professional development. Yes, I have to keep moving forward. But I have a life outside work – family, friends, sport, hobbies, voluntary work – and it needs time too.

10        …commission at least one piece of copywriting from Andy Maslen to see just how good he really is and free up some of my time to do some marketing.

This month’s message

Whether you’re new to your job or firmly embedded in the business, take some time out to look at what you really want to achieve in 2004. Set yourself a few rules for living and stick to them. Not necessarily all of them; not necessarily all the time; but as many as you can manage as often as you can.

[Readability statistics]

Sentences per paragraph       3.0
Words per sentence               12.3
Characters per word               4.2
Passive sentences                  0%
Flesch Readability Score       69.2/100
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level   6.5

Categories: Freelance life and Maslen on Marketing.

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