Help with Reader's Digest article?

Michelle Crouch
Hi all, I'm a writer for Reader's Digest and my editor wants me to talk to car dealers to get your top advice on buying a car, getting a good deal, etc. for a story called "13 things your car dealer won't tell you." (Though obviously you will tell me since that's how I'm getting the info!) Anyway, I'd love to talk to some of you by phone if you're up for it. I can either use your name or it can be anonymous. If you can help, please contact me at michellecrouchwriter(at)gmail(dot)com. To get an idea of what I mean, go to rd.com and search "13 things" and my name. I've done a bunch of these. Thanks so much! -- Michelle Crouch, freelance writer
CHARLIE MCHALE
Why would you call it 13 things your car dealer wont tell you? Dont you think with a title like that you are keeping a bad image for the business? Many of us work very hard to change the perception of buying a vehicle and we have to do it one customer at a time. So what i think is that maybe we can give you helpful tips in purchasing your next vehicle. Just a thought. I havent seen to many people respond to you and maybe because it is kind of rude. You are asking us to give you 13 things we dont want customers to know. I can tell you first hand that, "The educated consumer is my best customer." There is nothing that i dont want them to know! Charlie
CHARLIE MCHALE
Why would you call it 13 things your car dealer wont tell you? Dont you think with a title like that you are keeping a bad image for the business? Many of us work very hard to change the perception of buying a vehicle and we have to do it one customer at a time. So what i think is that maybe we can give you helpful tips in purchasing your next vehicle. Just a thought. I havent seen to many people respond to you and maybe because it is kind of rude. You are asking us to give you 13 things we dont want customers to know. I can tell you first hand that, "The educated consumer is my best customer." There is nothing that i dont want them to know! Charlie
Bart Wilson
Great point Charlie. I think this is just one more example on a consumer's perception of the car business. The best thing to do would be to write an article on how to buy a car and not how dealers trick you into buying a car (we're such silver-tongued devils!).
Eric Miltsch
These articles are simply formula driven for the audience; consider the magazine & the targeted readers of RD. Publishers love them, readers eat them up and its great work for writers like Michelle. They're not meant to hurt the image of an industry - just help consumers avoid the few bad apples in the bunch. - Use a number in the title - odd #'s work better at getting the reader's attention. (Want to really get their attention? Call it the 13.5 things...) - Position the article as uncovering the "secret sauce" within an industry. Doing so builds RD's credibility with the audience. - Provide common sense, helpful logic within the article which makes the reader feel empowered & intelligent. Now they really like how RD "helped" them. Substitute any industry/segment and you have the makings of a helpful article/blog post: 13 things your Doctor won't tell you... 13 things your Dentist won't tell you... 13 things your Life Insurance rep won't tell you...
Dave Erickson
I think you guys are missing a few things. She writes a series called "13 things xyz won't tell you". I don't think she's going to change the title or concept anymore than we should expect to the next Season of Dexter to start but suddenly change its mind, mix things up, change the name to Tilly and a story line that follows the trials and tribulations of a Ross store clerk in Santa Ana. Secondly what title would you rather read? "13 things a Robber won't tell you" or "13 tips to preventing home robbery" It's not like the writer intends to just generate 13 things out of thin air and she's looking to actually talk to people that work in or around the industry so I'm not so sure we should cry foul over violations. Also, wouldn't whatever consumer perception she has at this point be derived from her experience with one of us in the past? Isn't the foley equally as great to assume her experience was negative in any way and that to automatically assume it was that we ourselves are plagued with the same misperception that we claim she and other consumers unfairly have? Many of us are on the same page. We all seem to agree on a better way but many people don't and this article would be an excellent place to help bring an end to the old ways or at least show us how far we've come along or still need to go.

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