“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.” — William Bernbach
Best is a judgment call.
Who’s the best writer? Depends who you ask.
What’s the best way to get a promotion? Depends who you ask.
Where’s the best place to invest your money? Depends who you ask.
There’s no definitive “best” anything.
Keep that in mind the next time somebody tells you the best way to do something.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. IF YOU DON’T ENJOY THE PROCESS OF CREATING SOMETHING, IT’S UNLIKELY OTHERS WILL ENJOY CONSUMING IT
“We’re wired to appreciate craft and true craftsmanship can only be practiced by those in love with the act of creation.”
This newsletter is successful because I love creating it each week. My love of the work itself — not just the results it generates — adds something to it that an audience connects with on a deeper level.
In this post I explain why you have to enjoy the process of creating something if you want others to enjoy consuming it and suggest the first and most important step in building an audience for something is to fall in love with the act of creating it.
RELATED: A manifesto for creative people.
“The trick is to create resolutions that are focused more on holistic improvement and progress, rather than on achieving a specific result. Think of your resolution as an intention, or a conscious daily, weekly or monthly choice that will help you improve an area of your life.”
If you’ve been slow to choose or implement a New Year’s resolution this year, this will help you get on track.
Paige Smith interviewed therapists to compile a list of the seven best resolutions you can make including to say no more often, prioritize sleep, and set a daily intention.
“Follow people who engage with their followers. It’s easy to figure this out. Go to someone’s Twitter page and click on ‘Tweets & replies’ and see if they are talking to people.”
“I can’t promise this framework will help reveal the meaning of life or solve your biggest problems. Here’s what I do promise: you’ll end the year with greater perspective and a compass for what you want to achieve next year.”
It’s one thing to spend time thinking about how your life is going and where you’d like to take it next, but it’s another to employ an actual framework to review your life.
The blueprint includes to plot your milestones, reflect and examine, and use a Life Assessment Board to assess the current state of your life.
“Strangers are a blessing. Be they plane seat neighbors, people behind you in line at the bank, even wrong numbers. Ask these randos questions about their lives, their jobs, their kids.”
There’s no shortage of amazing stories out there waiting to be told, but the trick is figuring out how to uncover them.
Latif Nasser, director of research for WNYC’s Radiolab, shares 10 ways to find a great story including to set up a lot of Google alerts, rummage around in oral histories and personal papers, and turn the consumption of boring material into a game.
RELATED: The story of Rodney Dangerfield.
“In 2019, consider narrowing your focus on the audience that is active and eager to engage instead of focusing on a volume play. How can we strategically make our most passionate fans advocates and active participants?”
Social media evolves quickly and it’s important to take a moment to consider what’s actually happening on all these platforms.
The observations include the importance of owning your fan relationships, to focus on brand over everything else, and to recognize distribution strategy is as important as creative strategy.
“It took me a long time to accept the fact that just because something can be improved in my life, does not mean that it should be improved in my life.”
With an infinite amount of self-improvement advice available at your fingertips (including from this newsletter), it’s easy to feel like you’re never doing enough — this post can help counter those feelings.
RELATED: Stop trying to change yourself.
“Interviewing customers is way more than simply talking to them. Interviews add a level of rigor to gathering information.”
Conventional wisdom suggests talking to your customers is a great way to gain insights that can improve your products and marketing. That may be true, but it’s even more valuable to interview your customers.
His tips include to be rigorous, relevant, and rapid in your approach.
“Ogilvy viewed advertising not as an art form, but as a medium of information designed to SELL. When Aeschines spoke they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said ‘Let us march against Philip.’ We advertise to elicit action, not the praise of peers.”
The book Ogilvy on Advertising is one of the most famous books ever written about marketing, but I’ve never actually read it.
Thanks to this tweet thread from The Charlieton, I now feel like I have.
It’s a great summary of the book’s concepts, touching on everything from Ogilvy’s thoughts on what it takes to create a great ad to how to get clients.
“Improvement doesn’t just come from repetition — it comes from the analysis of both success and failure.”
No matter what you want to get better at, this post can help you do it.
I break down 10 ways to improve your work including to know what’s come before you, why some things work and others don’t, and what your non-customers didn’t want.
WANT ME TO SEND YOU MY SOCIAL MEDIA SECRETS?
I’ve been sending “secret” daily emails featuring social media tips that aren’t featured in this newsletter. If you’d like to start receiving them, email me and let me know.
WHERE I FOUND THIS STUFF
Image via Clark Little.