That’s how the subject line of one of my favorite e-newsletters read yesterday. I thought I’d pass the question forward to you.
What can you do to accomplish the unthinkable: To build your communications skills every day this year?
My advice is to start small. Break down your big goals so they become feasible rather than frightening).
Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is a great model. Parks wrote a play a day in 2002. She did it by focusing on quality, not quantity, and let each play find its natural lengths (some were just a page long). Now those plays are set for production in 2007.
Set some unthinkably big task for yourself that, when completed at the end of the year, will have made you a much stronger marketer. What’s a specific marketing objective similar to writing a daily play?
The obvious answer is to craft and create a marketing communication a day:
1. Get on the mailing lists (snail mail and Internet) of eight to ten nonprofit organizations you admire for their communications finesse.
2. Build a "swipe file" (that is, a borrower’s library) of communications from these nonprofits.
3. Every day, before you do any other work, study one of the promotions from your swipe file. Spend 15 minutes figuring out the marketing strategy and how well it’s executed, and identifying other approaches that might work equally well or even better.
4. Pick one of those alternate approaches and make that your daily assignment.
5. Spend the next 15 minutes writing and editing a small-scale communication (a postcard or direct mail letter) based on your strongest alternate approach.
Don’t spend any more than 30 minutes a day completing this task. And it’s fine if you get to it only three days a week.
By the end of the year, you’ll have picked up hundreds of tips from the models you review, and improved on them. I guarantee you that you’ll be a stronger marketer by the end of 2007.
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