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Archive for August 14th, 2008

With my steady corporate newsletter gig, I was hired not only to ghost-write, but to sort of ghost-publish, as well. So I tried to set standards, not to be Mr. Big Boss, but to help them actually get the thing done week to week.

We talked about producing a minimum number of stories per week. We also discussed having an average number of stories. Anything above that number, and we would hold back any “evergreens” (stories that will stay fresh forever) in reserve for the slow weeks.  I was trying to avoid having one (or zero) stories one week, and ten the next. Even out the workflow, in the best Japanese tradition.

To which the journalism gods said  “Foolish mortals!”

The simple fact is there’s only so much news. And it doesn’t happen in nice uniform chunks. And it doesn’t happen evenly across your contributors’ various areas of responsibility.  And your contributors are not all equally adept at (or committed to) digging deeper for news on slow weeks.  And here’s the simplest fact of all: no matter how I try to “lead” I am still just a vendor.

The solution is communication, as usual. I nag gently prod as the weekly deadline approaches. I nag gently remind a contributor that he has not contributed in a while. And I nag gently offer assistance to help determine if a lead has potential.

The point is to keep the big wheel turning at all costs.  I have done my best to “institutionalize” this newsletter. It makes terrific sense as an information channel and as a team-builder for a sales force that is widely spread across the continent. And, I am not ashamed to admit that it’s a steady paycheck.

But it’s WORK. And as soon the gang figures out how much easier their lives would be without this little newsletter, then it’s back to Kost Kutter brand cat food for me…and I don’t have a cat!

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