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Kick off the new year with the right attitude, here are 6 things you can do for a better 2011.

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Happy New Year everybody!

So how was your 2010? Was it good? Did you meet all your goals? Are you at the target income you said you’d be at on New Years Eve last year? What about that target weight?

See, I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan, and our motto for the longest time was, Wait Till Next Year. And that’s the great thing about New Years Day. It IS next year, so no matter if you strayed a little, the optimism is back and you can get your goals on track once more.

Just like anything in life, you need a good foundation. While the items on my list might not be groundbreaking, lets take the first episode of the new year to make sure we return to basics, then we’ll build on specific marketing trends and activities all year. Ready?

Here are some of the things I talk about in the podcast:

Also, see the bottom of the post for SURVEY RESULTS.

1) Maintain good health
I really found out this year that the saying “You’re nothing without your health” holds true.

From my broken arm to a pulled back muscle to end the last few days of the year (ironically the day BEFORE all the snow fell, which got me out of a lot shoveling), it was a huge shock to go from being a perpetually super-healthy individual walking several miles around NYC, scrambling up and down subway steps, and running nearly every day to hospital stays and losing use of a major limb for weeks on end.

Millions will pledge that this is the year to “get in shape,” and with good reason. Not only will you feel better and live longer, but working out gives you an amazing energy level that forms a foundation for everything else on this list.

Book recommendation: The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.

2) Network
I’ve extolled the benefits of networking many times, and there’s a reason. You may not need it now, you may not need it this month, but keeping an active, engaged network now is going to pay off at some point down the line.

And really, with today’s technology, there’s no excuse not to. Tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, and a nation that is never without a mobile phone on their hip make it easier than ever to maintain connections.

Networking is not only good for your current job and builds a basis for future jobs, but everything from finding a new apartment, building relationships, or even looking for a good movie to see. So I’m ordering you… Go to lunch! Get some coffee!

3) Challenge yourself at work
Now is the perfect time to set goals for 2011 and go over them with your boss. One of the things I encourage you to do is take risks. I give you:

The third base coach analogy

The third base coach’s role is to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the batter as he is rounding the bases. This allows the runner to put his head down and run as fast as he can, and only glance up at the coach and see if he is telling him to stop at third, or waving him home. Thus, he doesn’t have to watch the ball, keep track of the outfielder, worry about how hard the ball was hit, etc.

The natural inclination is to think you would want a third base coach with a perfect record of waving runners home and allowing them to score. If every single runner that he waves in goes on to score, what’s the problem, right?

The problem is a lack of risk.

If every runner scores, that could mean that the coach is over conservative, only sending a runner home when he is absolutely sure that he will definitely score the run. Otherwise he stops him at third and hopes that the next batter will get a hit to bring him in. The problem is, that hit may never come. By being TOO conservative and not making ANY mistakes, the team loses out on a lot of POTENTIAL runs.

By taking taking into account the speed of the runner, the arm strength of the outfielder, the score of the game, and a host of other factors, sometimes the coach should wave the runner home, even if he thinks there’s a good chance he will be thrown out. Why? No risk, no reward. There’s a very good chance that the outfielder will hurry his thrown and miss the target when he sees the runner going home. There’s a chance the catcher will bobble the throw. And even if the catcher does receive a perfect throw and have the runner ‘dead to rights,’ the last chance scenario is that the runner plows into the catcher and dislodges the ball for a score.

The change in momentum can swing an entire game, or be a highlight for years to come. Watch a young Ken Griffrey, JR and the the Mariners defeating the Yankees in 1995 and tell me you do NOT get the chills. What if the coach had held him at third base?

In the podcast I also discuss tips from the book Bit Literacy (free download in the Apple iBookstore) on how to reduce the clutter and dig out under email.

4) Moderate your social media
Just like you might choose to step away from the dinner table and go on a diet, maybe it’s time to step away from the internet and go on a digital diet. What if you decided that Facebook and Twitter are the ONLY social media programs you’ll use in 2011. Is that smart? Or hampering learning?

I think you need to go with the 80/20 rule. For most companies, yes, maintaining a robust Facebook and Twitter presence probably IS going to get you the most bang for your buck. But make sure to also spend 20% of your time on new projects, from geolocation to cloud computing.

Because I can tell you for sure that the new big thing for 2011 is…

well, I don’t KNOW what it is, and maybe no one does. But one thing is for sure, if you don’t spend at least SOME time learning, you might be too late when it emerges.

5) Start a revenue-producing passion project
What? More work? It’s all you can do to put in 40 hours a week and then go home, play with the kid, eat dinner and go to bed. But are you saying you can’t find just a few hours a week to put toward a side project? A side project doing something you love that might eventually bring in some money?

Here are some ideas:
– Write a book
– Make a film
– Launch a podcast
– Make an app
– Consult
– Sell crafts on Etsy

No it won’t be easy, but I find people really are more vibrant and interesting when they have a small side project stoking their fires on the side, with the hope of one day getting a big payoff, or just a little extra cash to pay the bills or take that weekend vacation.

6) Make time for a pleasure-producing passion project
But it’s not always about the money. Where are you going on vacation this year? Not sure yet? Why not lock it down on the calendar now. Things get busy, and if you don’t carve out time for the fun things in life, you may look up this time next year with regrets. Whether it’s travel or gardening or stamp collecting, finding something you simply LOVE to do, and carve out time to do it. Now.

To some things up:
– Maintain your health
– Build your network
– Challenge yourself at work
– Moderate your social media
– Start a revenue-producing passion project
– Pursue a pleasure-producing passion project

Thanks so much to everyone that took the survey. Here are some results:

1. How did you first find out about The Hopkinson Report?
– Heard from a friend 45%
– Web search led to the blog/podcast 9%
– Searching podcasts on iTunes 32%
– From somewhere on Wired.com 14%

Takeaway: Number of people searching on iTunes was way up, but word of mouth is still king.

2. How do you usually read/listen to The Hopkinson Report?
– Download from iTunes, sync to a device (iPod, iPhone, etc) and listen to it on the go. 59%
– Download from iTunes and listen to it right from there. 10%
– Go to the blog and listen to it from there. 24%
– I only read the blog post (don’t listen) 7%

Takeaway: 6 of 10 people now listen to the podcast on the go.

3. What actions have you taken as a result of listening/reading The Hopkinson Report?
– Followed @HopkinsonReport on Twitter 62%
– Visited the website of an interview guest 77%
– Visited the website of a topic Jim has talked about 54%
– Purchased a product or service of an interview guest 15%
– Purchased a product or service that Jim has talked about 12%
– Subscribed to Wired Magazine 20%

Takeaway: These are really great engagement numbers from my readers and listeners, although note the sample size for the respondents is somewhat small. If you want to get your website talked about, ask me to interview you!

4. Of the CONTENT MATTER AND TOPICS that I most commonly cover, what would you like to see more or less of?
– Apple (iPhone/iPad/Mac)
– Branding / Advertising
– Facebook
– Job Search / Career Development
– Marketing Case Studies
– Pop Culture / Entertainment / NYC
– Twitter
— Jim ranting by himself on a topic —
— Jim interviewing guests – –

Takeaway: The strongest respondents were people wanting more Branding/Advertising and Marketing Case Studies. People also wanted a bit more interviewing vs me ranting.

5. What specific topics would you like me to talk about in 2011?

Takeaway: Some responses:
– Small businesses and their use of online marketing. In my regional area so many small businesses scoff at online (yes still), scoff at social media. Some key business strategies to convince them that their customers of tomorrow are there today.
– Community management, mobile trends
– I like hearing comparisons between how 2 competing companies take different approaches to branding themselves

6. The emergence of eReaders, tablets, apps, and the disruption of the publishing industry was a huge story in 2010.
How interested would you be in a “Digital Publishing How-to Series”?

Take away: 82% were somewhat or very interested in a Digital Publishing How-to Series, with more interest around things like developing an iPad app (52% very interested) than finding a book agent (50% not interested).

7. Who was your favorite guest of the year on a podcast interview?

Takeaway: In a bit of an upset, Jason Wilk & Sherwin Kim of Whiteyboard.com [view] were named guests of the year.

8. What is the BEST thing about the blog/podcast?

Takeaway: Some responses:
– Mix of topics
– Short and focused episodes on topics I am interested in
– Topics you speak on – I listen to 9 out of every 10 i.e. I don’t listen to career stuff. I like to hear about marketing, tech and culture
– Topical subject matter, fast pace
– Case studies and genuine marketing insight – the auto show review of the car makers’ online/social media presence was great, for example
– Marketing case studies (I started with the Japan/toilet blog post and listened to every podcasts because of that post)

9. What is the WORST thing about the blog/podcast (what can I improve)?

– Too much NYC 🙂
– Jim, I love your podcasts, but you often do this strange thing when listing things, where your voice gets really sing-song and repetitive. [I actually took this one to heart and think I understand what they meant, and tried to change it in this episode]
– Interviews are fine, but some are so loooooooong; why not edit together just the best bits?

10. What is your overall satisfaction with The Hopkinson Report?
Rank this on a scale of 1-10

Average rating was 7.73, which I’ll round up to 8, meaning most of you think I’m doing a “fantastic” job. But I’ll try even harder this year!

Congrats to user Luke Bornheimer for winning a Hopkinson Report t-shirt!

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