… sent my taxes to my accountant.


She’s been my accountant for 19 years.

Is she a fantastic accountant?

I really have no idea. I’ve never been jailed and she seems capable.

But I have no way to determine (nor do I really care) where she falls in the pantheon of accountants (worst museum exhibit ever).

The same is true of nearly every professional you hire – your attorney, your doctor, your financial planner, your therapist … and you.

Even after you’ve sampled what they offer, you can’t really measure it.

Which is why, when it comes to your marketing, capability is not the area on which to focus. Prospects and clients can’t tell.

Instead, focus on the things they can (and do) assess: relationship, visibility, likeability, and an understanding of what you actually do.

That’s how people decide who to hire, and these are all things you can improve upon.


… got a call from an old client.


Five years ago, I did a small writing project for him.

He has since sold the business, is starting a new one, and needs some help.

During this time, I’ve done nothing to stay in touch with him other than sending my twice-monthly newsletter. 

He hasn’t either: Never emailed, never commented on my web site, zero contact.

But here he is, five years later, coming back.

Total incremental cost to me in terms of time, money and effort in landing a new project: Zero. All I did was answer the phone.

Half the benefit of a newsletter is that you show up, over and over again, in the in-boxes of your subscribers. Whether you interact with them or not, they see you.

Which means that if you’re measuring the value of your newsletter on clicks and opens alone, you may be missing the bigger picture.

P.S. And if you don’t even have a newsletter, you’re breaking my heart.


… read that YouTube has updated its community guidelines.

Going forward, content publishers will get a one-time warning before YouTube starts issuing punishments for rule violations.

That’s nice of them.

But why would you want to build your marketing machine on a platform that has the power to punish you in the first place?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and all the rest have rules – rules that they can modify however and whenever they like. Break them at your own risk.

You know which medium doesn’t have any of this? Email.

Because nobody’s in charge.

There’s no central email provider; nobody owns email.

It’s a democratized, distributed system – the recipients of your email are the only ones who get to decide whether your messages keep coming.

I dabble in social media, but my business runs on email.


… read a story in someone’s newsletter.

It was well written: No jargon, conversational, lots of detail.

All the bases covered in terms of what makes for a good newsletter story.

Except one: It was boring.

It didn’t pass a critical test: “Would I tell somebody this story in this way if we were just sitting together chatting?”

In other words, are you telling this story in your newsletter, blog, presentation, podcast or whatever, because you “need” a story to tell, or because you’ve got something worth telling?

It can be the difference between grabbing my attention and putting me to sleep.


… spent way more time than necessary.


I was doing research, trying to identify and get in touch with certain types of associations and companies.

In some cases it was easy – there was either a “contact us” button in the navigation or an obvious link in the footer (the two “standard” locations).

In others, though, it was a scavenger hunt without any clues. A couple of times I just gave up.

Simple rule of thumb: If you want people to hire you, there’s a good chance they may want to get in touch first.