Monday, June 14, 2010

Nobody likes to read anymore

At least that's what I said in my post as featured creative firm in the June 2010 edition of Philly Creative Guide. But, as a friend quickly emailed: "Saw your article. Was going to read it, but I don't read anymore. Can you podcast it to me?"

Well for those of you who still read, here's the story:

"Nobody likes to read anymore."

That’s often one of the first things potential clients tell me. Then they hire me to write a clear, concise, effective message to their employees, their shareholders, their customers, or their potential “all of the above.”

Whether one likes to read or not is a moot point. The reality is: reading happens. The constant challenge is to present content in a way that engages the reader. So let me amend my opening statement: “Nobody likes to read boring material.”

That’s why my first objective in starting AMY INK, back in 2000, was to bring fresh thinking and effective writing to the table. I had been in the corporate world for many years, working my way through the various disciplines and levels of the communications function. Eventually, I became vice president of corporate communications for two global corporations—and then I jumped to the freelance side of the fence.

As a corporate staffer, I had never dreamed of outsourcing the writing of annual reports, executive speeches, employee publications, marketing materials, Web sites. How could someone else quickly come up to speed on my company?

Now, I know. It’s how I make my living.

I still do many of the same kinds of projects I did while in the corporate world—but now I write for clients big and small, for global concerns and local players, and on everything from complicated science to the simplicity of choosing wallpaper. The common thread running though my work is a focus on communicating key messages with clarity and purpose.

I understand the stresses and demands on the people who have the corporate jobs I once held. I can anticipate their needs, fill the information gaps, and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. I see my job as making my clients look good —be they corporate communicators, design firms, or business owners—and to make their lives just a little bit easier. Maybe that’s the reason I have so much repeat business with long-time clients. They have come to rely on me, and they delegate projects with full confidence I will deliver.

I’ve had clients call me about new projects the day before Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve. Apparently, it’s never too late to call a freelancer. The bad news is I work from home and can always be reached. The good news is I work from home and can always be reached.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cleaning up

I recently attended a bridal shower where guests were requested to bring cleaning products for the Wishing Well. At first I thought that seemed quite sexist.

Then I remembered all the amazing products I've come to rely on -- ones I knew nothing about when I got married. So with the perspective of sharing some great finds, I assembled a few must-haves:
  • Magic Eraser This product truly lives up to its name. It works like magic -- and it erases dirt from all kinds of surfaces. I was hooked after using it on white kitchen chairs I was preparing to paint. With a little water and virtually no elbow grease, those chairs came out so well, I put away the paint brush. Similarly, a go-round on my outdoor furniture saved it from the landfill. 
  • Bar Keepers Friend You have to go to your friendly neighborhood hardware store for this one, but it's well worth the trip. Start in the kitchen with the powdered cleanser and you'll throw out all the other half-used and forgotten products under the sink. This stuff shines up everything from stainless steel, chrome, and copper to china, ceramic tile, and composition sinks.
  • IKEA dish brushes OK, so you have to scrub a little with these brushes, but they're just so cute, cheap, and colorful you almost don't mind. And the rubber suction cup on the end allows them to stick upright and air dry. 
BTW: The shower was a lot of fun, and the bride-to-be got tons of wonderful stuff. In fact, she cleaned up.