I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know by Kate White

Thank you Kate White.Kate-White

Thank you for writing a book that I wished I picked up years and years ago when I first graduated and set about trying to make a go of this ‘career thing’.

I believe your book is essential reading for anyone wanting a career – rather than just a job.

What your book delivers is that knowledge that the basics on how to ‘do your job’ are not enough, you need that extra something, those people skills, the boldness to ask, the willingness to take that idea that wee bit further than anyone else.

I must confess that I hadn’t heard of you before I picked up the book. And I wondered if a niche area like magazine editing would be relevant to a wider profession like marketing?

It was. And I now sit firmly and snugly corrected and in my fan-of-kate-white corner!

As a new manager I loved your section on being a great boss and a devoured the sections on finding the right job – and even better advice on negotiating! I love the idea that you took your accountant in to negotiate – what a ballsy move!

I could go on and on, but I’d rather read again my favourite quotes from the book…

14 pieces of fabulous advice from Kate White (I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This)

1. Be Bold
“From what I’ve seen again and again, success is most often the result of doing the bold extra something that no one else has thought of or dared to try.”

2. Don’t wait for your calling, go out and find it
“If you haven’t found your calling yet, the best thing to do is get your butt off your chair, fill your life with a wide array of unusual experiences, and allow yourself to bump into what will exhilarate you.”

3. Your new job should not = easy
“Your new job should always be a stretch, but not such a stretch that you’re destined to bomb at it.”

4. Job interviews – tell them you want the job
“Come right out and say you want it: ‘It’s been great hearing you talk about the position. I’d love to work here, and I think I could do a terrific job for you.’

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This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR by Ed Zitron

In summary:

  1. Quick read
  2. Practical advice
  3. Heavily focused on email pitching.

A good read on pitching the medHowYouPitchia, I found it interesting that Ed focused so heavily on email pitching – I’ve read many, many blogs on the subject of email vs phone pitching and I think it’s safe to say that at least in NZ the verdict is still out.

As a slight digression this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read on the subject of pitching: Why bad PR is killing all the fluffy kittens. 

Back to Ed’s book: no nonsense and some good ideas in there if your looking for the basics on pitching. Also for a fascinating insight into how this world of media relations can go horribly askew – check out Ryan Hoilday’s Confessions of Media Manipulator over here.

Six pitching tips from This Is How You Pitch

(all quotes directly from the book, headings = mine)

1. It’s about people
“Pitching is simply learning how words relate to people — what makes sense in a particular moment, what connects to a person and their own personal story versus what makes somebody walk away and wish you were dead.”

2. Be polite
“Use your manners. Treat others the way that you want to be treated. Count to ten before you respond to jerks.”

3. Keep it short and personal
“It must be direct and free of jargon or fluff. It’s written, not copy-pasted. Write each pitch individually, for each person, each time.”

4. Put done the phone
“I’d encourage you to avoid making phone calls. Emails can be annoying, but an unscheduled phone call is invasive and always a bad idea from that standpoint.”

5. Follow up
“After You Email Just because you’ve sent the email pitch doesn’t mean your work is done. Even when you do email a reporter a really specific pitch, they may not respond. Don’t harass them. Give them a few days between replies — follow up once, maybe twice — then just let it go.”

6. Say thank you
“I have a killer secret I use when I really want to go the extra mile for somebody. When I want them to know just how much I appreciate them, I…wait for it…handwrite them a note.”

Pick up the book here.

Happy reading,

C x

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

A great wee book, would be perfect for anyone interested in creativity or working for yourself. show-your-work

I’d recommend getting it in paperback as it’s much cooler. And the same goes for Austin’s other book ‘Steal Like An Artist’ which I must confess is still my favourite other this one!

I digress. For me, this book was about getting your work out there (surprise, surprise) and overcoming fears that you might have (it’s not good enough, I’m just an amateur etc etc).

I love Austin’s simple, common sense way that we outlines steps to take – he’s super practical and of course his books always have these marvelous drawings through them – check out his blog for examples.

Surprisingly my favourite quotes don’t seem to really relate to the above summary, they are a little more generalised. If you want to know more, then you’ll just have to grab the book (on paper, I dare you).

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I’d Rather Be in Charge: A Legendary Business Leader’s Roadmap for Achieving Pride, Power, and Joy at Work by Charlotte Beers

Okay I’m the first to admit that I love a good career, ‘improve yourself’ type book…. so I was surprised to find that I rebelled against this one a little.

Some good general advice and obviously from a woman who knows her shit! For me, it was a little too psychologist-couch style… look into yourself, what did your mother used to tell you, past self, future self that sort of thing. (eek I yelled)

I’m much more of a ‘here’s where I’m at now – let’s go’ kind of girl. (And I would highly recommend Kate White’s book if this sounds like you).

Once I got past the ‘create a self portrait’ stuff I found some really useful advice. From a marketing perspective I also loved that Charlotte’s experience as in the advertising world as this made for some interesting stories about clients and branding strategy.

Here’s six career improving tips from I’d Rather Be in Charge

(I do love that title!)
(headings = mine, quotes directly from the book) Id-Rather-Be-In-Charge

1. Be yourself.
” I want to show you how to lead, inspire, and influence others—maybe only one or two others, maybe hundreds or thousands or even millions. You can’t accomplish this without knowing deeply the authentic you at work.”

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Duct Tape Marketing Revised & Updated: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch

Slight exaggeration in the title? Me thinks not! A quick review of my 102 kindle notes (yes 102) shows that this guide is by far one of the most practical I’ve come across! Duct_Tape_Marketing

If you like John’s book then also check out his website for loads of useful videos and ebooks.

I think my favourite concept of John’s is the marketing funnel concept he uses: 7 phrases of the hourglass. The funnel addresses these stages: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer. If you’ve ever struggled with marketing then I can tell you with absolute confidence that if you start thinking of it as a funnel like this (or an hourglass if you prefer) then you’ll find it 10x easier.

For example – consider this question

What shall we do for our marketing this year?

For a start, most people with this question will jump straight to promotion. E.g. some more ads in the paper, we need a Facebook page! and so on….

Now consider this… 

How do we move people through the marketing funnel and how can we improve this? > Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer.

Now we’re getting somewhere! Perhaps you’re being let down at the ‘try’ stage so you decide to implement a free 30 day trial and evaluate.

Anyway, I slightly digress from the great book!

Here’s 10 marvelous takeaways from Duct Tape Marketing

(headings = my own interpretation, quotes are authors)

1. The web is everything
“The Web and digital interactivity now represent the center of the marketing universe.”

2. The changing role of advertising
“While advertising was once used primarily to create a sale or enhance an image, it must now be used to create awareness about Web content.”

3. Strategy before tactics
“…before you decide on direct mail or a Facebook page, you must adopt and commit to a marketing strategy.”

4. Start content marketing and start now
“Consistent production of content that builds awareness and trust, such as client success stories, testimonials, and educational material in the form of blog posts, e-books, and online seminars is a major component of the new marketing system.” Read More

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan

Me reading this book = pausing every few seconds to nod head, highlight and secret fist pump that this book exists. hey-whipple

And in a grand show of crazy-kindle-highlighting, I ended up with 146 pieces of much loved content!

Suffice to say it has now become my absolute favourite (to date) book on advertising and creativity. It’s definitely going on the highly recommended list! I’ve read it twice. Yes, it’s that good!

3 things to love about this treasure

  1. It’s written like a chat with a friend (a v funny one), with none of that corporate speak that makes you feel like a naughty five year old.
  2. Did I mention the guy is v funny?
  3. Full, brimming, busting, with a serious amount of AMAZING advice.
Alright, onto my top 5, top 8 takeaways (I swear I tried to cut down this post, but there’s just too many magic phrases).

Top 8 fav quotes from Hey Whipple, Squeeze this

(headings = mine, quotes = directly from the book)

1. How the creative process works
1. You gather as much information on the problem as you can. You read, you underline stuff, you ask questions, you visit the factory. 2. You sit down and actively attack the problem. 3. You drop the whole thing and go do something else while your subconscious mind works on the problem. 4. “Eureka!

2. Creativity = washing a pig
“I’m serious. Creativity is exactly like washing a pig. It’s messy. It has no rules. No clear beginning, middle, or end. It’s kind of a pain in the ass,”

3. Online is the first place consumers look
“Online is where the clients are spending more of their marketing dollars, and there’s a dirt-simple reason for it: it’s the first place we look, people. It’s the first place everybody looks…”

4. Content is king, queen and princess
“How can a brand get any attention at all?” The answer: Have better content than everyone else.
“Quit interrupting the interesting things people want to look at and start being the interesting thing to look at. Quality content trumps all.”

5. Storytellers (plus a cool way to explain what you do if you’re in the biz)
“We are storytellers in service of brands.”

6. Don’t talk constantly about yourself (or your brand) on social
“Conversation strategy is just as important here as it is on Facebook, and I read again and again of either the 80/20 rule (promote others 80 percent of the time and your own agenda 20 percent) or the thirds rule (one-third industry-related stuff, one-third about your field or company, and one-third about your fine self).”

7. All art/creativity is theft (for more on this read: Steal Like An Artist)
It’s been said there are no new ideas, only rearrangements. Picasso himself said, “All art is theft.” Historian Will Durant wrote, “Nothing is new except arrangement.”

8. Stop trying to make every message/product fit into one spot
“Smart companies know this. Coca-Cola owns nearly 80 brands of soft drinks, but they’ve never run an ad for all of them with some catchall claim like, ‘Bubbly, sugar-based liquids in a variety of vastly different tastes for all your thirst needs.’

Grab the book, hell grab 10 copies and give them out to your workmates.

Oh one more thing – Luke Sullivan is a genius (just in case he is reading) 🙂
Happy reading,
C x