Witwithwords Blog

Archive for the ‘On the Job Learning’ Category

As a food demonstrator at a local grocery, I can assure you consumers really want to know MORE about what they are buying. This is why the nutrition information on the package is so important. In my unofficial capacity, I can tell you, four out of five consumers want to know exactly what you put into their food.

Those on diets want to know the calories per serving. Please provide what an actual serving size is! Many want to check if you used trans fats (the bad kind) and the percentage of saturated fat (the good kind) per package. Next, how much sodium was used? Those with high blood pressure, watching their cholesterol or total salt intake, really need this information. Another important feature is the total number of Carbs (grams) in the package or per serving. They also want to know where those sugars are coming from. Finally, please list all of the ingredients on the package and whether the food contains wheat, milk, soy, sugar substitutes or nuts.
Food manufacturers, if you make this nutrition and ingredient information easy for them to find, they’ll like you even more!


Right after Thanksgiving, I took a part-time demonstrator position at a membership grocery to get me away from the computer.

What I’ve learned: I know more about food handling safety, calibrating a food thermometer and how to stand on my feet for six plus hours, without regretting it.

The biggest surprise: how people act when you offer a product sample for FREE. Many grazers never go more than hours without sustenance and yet, they will forget every manner they were taught when it comes to FREE food samples. They often grab the plates right from my tray, don’t wait their turn in line and some even take several samples at once. Their children follow suit, copying their parents. We need to re-invent Emily Post today! PLEASE!

What I’ve learned on the job could fill volumes, but here are some highlights:

As a senior web copywriter for an online marketing agency – how to write compelling Web content with blogs, SEO, PPC ad copy, flash, DM emails; how the best results came from collaborating with the graphics designers and programmers; how the value of social networks and web technologies continually evolve. (I really appreciated the energy and antics of the young techies!)

As a senior copywriter for an ad agency – how the best taglines, logos and ad copy came from industry knowledge, plenty of re-writes and relaxing after-hours inspiration. (When the flash of genius occurred, I would call my cell and leave a message!)

As a PR/Marketing consultant – how to immerse myself in different industries; how to write for different audiences; that an entrepreneur never sleeps. (The great satisfaction I got from client “wins”!)

When I switched from journalism to public relations/marketing manager – how to write the best pitches; how to really serve clients; and how to train top financial gurus (who thought they knew everything) to become the “Go-To” experts when industry news broke. (My mentor, Bill Blase, was one of the best in the business and a former journalist himself!)

As a business reporter, roving reporter and then bureau chief at a large daily – how adapting to changes made me stretch my wings; how important in-depth stories could advocate a change in outmoded laws; and how to balance the daily rewards and pressures of being in charge. (How just when I thought I had seen it all, someone or some issue would surprise me!)

As a managing editor – the value of a great editor, like Mills Korte, who only made my writing better; and how to motivate a staff to uncover business stories the large national dailies ignored. (I’ll never forget the great staff, who all pitched in to get that paper out the door!)

On my first job as a police/fire/court reporter – how to build a network of important sources; how to write in a crunch; and how to trust my gut instinct. (Although the paper no longer exists, we had a reunion four years ago and I fondly recall the camaraderie of that group!)

What have you learned? Are you still learning? I sure hope so!