Rupert Murdoch

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

My friends in the expensive business of premium content have an economic bone to pick with a certain social network. The story goes that Facebook gets mundane content from its users for free, and then uses that content to draw its audience of more than a billion people, most of them spending hours on end at the site. And somehow, without spending a dime on content, Facebook rakes in the advertising dollars. It's not right, is it? The world's most creative professionals painstakingly toil to create outstanding—and undeniably expensive—content, all while banal photo snapshots of breakfast make billions for

Big company CEOs are virtually invisible on social media sites. They’re not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not on Google+, not on Pinterest—they’re barely even on LinkedIn. These findings are just crazy to me on so many levels. More than half the U.S. population has eagerly embraced sites like Facebook and more than a third are using Twitter, yet only 7.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have bothered to jump on Facebook, and just 4 percent have opened Twitter accounts. All in, 70 percent of big company CEOs have no presence on social networks. I know this thanks …

In June 2005, I started writing this e-newsletter.

My wife, Peggy, who is the publisher, came up with the idea of having takeaway points―a short collection of bulleted one- and two-liners or short paragraphs at the end of each piece―that summarize why a particular column might be worth reading.

I assume readers are very busy. I have no interest in wasting anybody’s time.

For example, many blogs start off with the writer clearing throat, rolling up sleeves, rubbing hands together, by which time the reader is on Page 2 with nothing to show for the time spent. That is why my private definition of the typical blog is “a cross between a blob and a bog.”

Put another way: It is imperative to remember that on the Internet a writer is one click away from oblivion. If I don’t ruthlessly self-edit, the reader is gone in a twentieth of a second.

Readers of Business Common Sense can scan the lede, and if they have no interest in today’s subject, can be out of here in less than 20 seconds, maybe with a useful takeaway or two, maybe not.

Every now and then a reader would write me and ask if I ever were planning to publish a collection of the takeaways. I said thanks for the suggestion (I personally answer all e-mail correspondence), and put the idea on the back burner.

In 2010, I moved the idea to the front burner and what turned up is:

CAREER-CHANGING TAKEAWAYS!
Quotations, Rules, Aphorisms, Pithy Tips, Quips,

Sage Advice, Secrets, Dictums and Truisms in
99 Categories of Marketing, Business and Life

If you like what follows, you’ll find more information and how to order at www.dennyhatch.com

I persuaded the publisher (my wife, Peggy) to offer readers a fat pre-publication discount.

Enjoy!

As I get older—and my time on this planet gets shorter—I go berserk when people promise one thing in writing, deliver something else and waste my time.

At right "IN THE NEWS" is the lede of Howard Shapiro's review of "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller at the University of Delaware, roughly an hour's drive from my house in center city Philadelphia.  

I wanted to know one thing quickly: was this production worth the trip?

Of the 403-word review, the first 88 words are devoted to the excruciatingly dull details of how Shapiro got stuck in stop-and-go 8 mph traffic that caused him to miss Act I.

Shapiro spends the next 94 words dumping all over Arthur Miller's first act—which he has not seen:

Ah, yes, the babbling, daydreaming Willy Loman, aging badly from a hard life of sales on the road, is in his Brooklyn house, frightening his wife with his erratic behavior. He's also yelling at his grown boysparticularly Biff, who had been Willy's great hope and now is his constant disappointment.

In all, 182 words—or 45 percent of this supposed review—are expended (1) highlighting Howard Shapiro's self-described inability to keep an appointment and (2) wasting my time.

Shapiro and his editor—if such an animal exists in the bankrupt Philadelphia Inquirer—should be fired for letting this irrelevant drivel see print.

My message to Howard Shapiro—and to everyone that writes for public consumption (as opposed to private diaries or journals):

  • Consider the readers needs and wants before your own
  • Ruthlessly self-edit, because most businesses do not have professional editors.

As a freelance copywriter, I cut my teeth in the magazine circulation world, creating direct mail packages as well as renewal and billing series. When my wife, Peggy, and I started the newsletter, WHO'S MAILING WHAT!, I did for myself what I did for clients.

I wish PR agencies would not have women with little valley girl voices call me up, read a script about a client whose business model is extremely complicated and ask me to interview the CEO or marketing manager. First off, I am a reader and writer. I am not a listener and talker. For example, I have had a cell phone for 10 years and have never answered a call on it and do not know the number. I am not comfortable with phones. When I start hearing techy terms and buzzwords over the phone, my ears glaze over and I insist on an

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