Elements of Style: The Movie!

I’ve recently become obsessed with the TED talks. And if you don’t know what TED is, you’re in for a treat. Like the most delicious treat, ever. These 20-minute “genius lectures” (TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”) take place at the invitation-only annual TED conference and are rebroadcast online at TED.com. To date, there are […]

The Lack of Super “Super Bowl” Ads? I Blame the Economy.

I’ll begin by saying that I am not a big sports fan. Or even a small sports fan. But I do genuinely look forward to the Super Bowl for two reasons: 1) Hot spinach dip, and 2) seeing the best ads of the year — or at least the most expensive. Well, this year there […]

An Old Friend, On His Way Out

Being a newspaper subscriber is kind of like owning a 15-year-old dog. You don’t know exactly when the experience is going to end, but you might want to hold off on buying another bag of kibble. I am by no means a Luddite. I’m an avid Internet enthusiast and, in fact, earn much of my […]

Burger King gets it right … but I still don’t want to eat there.

I’m not trying to be all high and mighty here, but I don’t eat fast food. Even if it didn’t give me searing stomach pains, everything about it just depresses me. The mindless trading of quality for quantity, the dull-eyed shuffle to the counter, the … oh, you know! I could go on, and as […]

Just because you have someone’s email address doesn’t mean you have the right to email them

My friend, colleague and strategist to the stars (okay, strategist to regular businesses) Rich Nadworny of Digalicious sent me this Seth Godin post, which seems very worth reposting. It’s 14 good rules about email marketing. I particularly like #14: “Just because you have someone’s email address doesn’t mean you have the right to email them.” […]

The Laziest Ad Copy Ever Written

Well, maybe it’s the spirit of the New Year, but today I actually bypassed the article on bad celebrity drivers for something that’s relevant to what we do here at The Hired Pens.  I felt an immediate kinship with the writer of “I Hate You, Blue-Tux-Wearing Viagra Guy!” Like Farhad Manjoo, I don’t have cable TV. […]

Annual List of Banned Words

We all have words and phrases we hate; in fact, our Dec. 1 post about it generated more comments than any other post we’ve written.  Well, as I was reading the Boston Globe recently (yes, I still read a real newspaper, delivered to my porch each morning by a real paper boy), I came across […]

Content Is the New Customer Service

  Here’s what it takes to keep people coming back. A few weeks ago, I was at a conference on new media and heard this quote: “Content is the new customer service.” At which point I jumped up on my chair and shouted, “YES!” You know, since we provide content. Then I was like, “Wait, what […]

Anna interviews hot new eco-designer

… And we mean “hot” as in up-and-coming, but Shana also happens to be quite lovely.  So how did we happen to do this interview? It’s part of our ongoing effort to help spread the word about Down:2:Earth, Boston’s first sustainable living expo. (Go! Go!) And why are we helping out? Well, it’s a great show, and […]

Networking for Beginners

Navigate a Roomful of Strangers in Five Easy Steps Whether success for you means leaving a networking event with several new business contacts — or just leaving with your dignity intact — here are a few basic steps to get you started. And while these steps are geared toward networking, feel free to use them at any awkward social […]