Whenever I read one of those ubiquitous "7 Tips to Improve Your Fill-in-the-blank" articles, I'm left with a mixed sense of return. On the one hand, I'm glad that they were able to sum up a set of key take-away points for me (even if their topic points are inane); on the other hand, they also tend to oversimplify things in such a way that they can seem idiotic.
But worse than reading them is writing them. It's one thing when you have to write them, bending phrases and messages to fit that structure -- it is, after all, a piece with design and specific intent -- but it usually isn't fun or relaxing. Usually, when I am writing these kinds of pieces, it's hard to write them without feeling preachy -- it's not like somebody asked me for "10 Things to Consider When You're Hiring Your Marketing Staff."
Somewhere in the midst of thinking about the constructions for "Tips" posts, I decided that I am not going to write that kind of post -- unless I am responding to a specific comment or question. After all, the "tips" articles should be driven by an objective, and I have "no specific plan in mind" -- that's Marketing to Me.