Series Posts: Beyond

“The life-changing magic of tidying up”: Tidying your content strategy

“The life-changing magic of tidying up”: Tidying your content strategy

Beyond • May 17, 2016

As a veteran content strategist, it’s always refreshing to come across new content inspiration that can get you thinking differently about content. When shuffling through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I was surprised to find my newest source of content inspiration: tidying up. While I love things to be organized, I really take zero joy in domestic spring cleaning. I see it as a necessary annual burden that has to be suffered through. Reading through the pages on tidying up your closet, I immediately started thinking of content. When it comes to clothing, the book pitches a principle that serves as sort of a bottom line litmus test for every piece of clothing. The idea is that your clothing should inspire joy. Most of my clothing would fail that test. Clothing is just clothing to me. Content, now that’s a different ball game. When looking at my content game, I’m thinking, “Which of these pieces inspired joy.” Which piece, even after years of it sitting around after I was first excited about it, still inspires joy. So while obviously you might not delete old content like you would discard an item of clothing, the pieces of content that gave you joy are points on a map that guide you to what you’re really passionate about. Is there a running theme in what speaks to you the most? What did the process for putting that piece together look like? What made it so enjoyable and how would you love to revisit that? You might find that the act of collaborating sparked the most joy. Or perhaps you prefer creative or more technical pieces. Just like with clothing, it’s up to the individual, but either way you should start seeing a pattern in where you’re finding joy On the other hand, as you’re going through content, you could very well delete old content. There’s a very good reason why you might want to do that. As your content game has grown, you’ll find that your voice has changed along with your caliber as a writer or a content team. Some pieces just might not fit anymore. So you can either discard them and move on with the content that does appeal to you and reflect who are you as a brand. A third option is updating pieces. You may hate a jacket but might love to see that jacket turned into a vest; so you alter it. Same goes for your content. You might have been on the right track with a piece of content, but the work you put into it isn’t up to par with who are now. Instead of just deleting it, you could edit it. If you do take that route, be sure to indicate that the item has been edited.  I would say that you’ve already put so much time and effort into a piece and at some point that mattered to you – and it will still matter to someone else. Rather than just deleting it, just breath some new life into it so that it’s still reflective of you and your brand, and still repurposed enough for someone else to benefit from it. With the average content piece taking about 4-6 hours, it would be a shame to just throw it away as if it didn’t have any more value.


Read More
“The life-changing magic of tidying up”: 3 Rules you should ditch

“The life-changing magic of tidying up”: 3 Rules you should ditch

Beyond • May 17, 2016

When I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I read it with the intent of sorting out my personal space. I have pleasantly surprised that plenty of the tips could be something that I could take to my business space as well. Something else was even more noteworthy: some rules were great for a business application and some rules were just the polar opposite. So if you have read my other post on how to apply these rules, then this one follows next; this post is on what not to do. Previously we had a chat about what rules to follow, and they included visualizing where you wanted to end up and also getting comfortable with discarded what doesn’t work. Now here are two rules from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up that you definitely should not apply to your business. The first rule is to avoid being dead set on is “visualizing your destination.” You might be a bit confused. How can this rule be included here when it was included in a rule to follow in the prior post? It’s simple. The idea of a destination is troublesome for some people. Some of us can imagine a rough framework of where we want to go, and we can bend and be flexible as we move forward. Then there’s the rest of us. While some of us are flexible, others are dead set on a path and it’s hard for them to find flexibility. Say you’re sorting out your space, either spatially or digitally, and you find that something just doesn’t work anymore. You may have a plan, a set visualized destination, but as you’re going through old files and thinking about your work, you realize there might be a new idea. It would be a new way of doing something simple or it can be a side pet project that you want to explore. Whatever it is, being flexible gives you the chance to explore it. A fixed mindset is definitely not something you want; you want a growth mindset. This is typically true in business and personal development, and it’s no less true in our scenario here. This brings us to our second point: aim for perfection. You definitely do not want to aim for perfection. The fact is, perfection doesn’t exist. When you’re aiming for perfection, try instead to aim for quality control that sets some standards versus the business equivalent of a Mona Lisa. The third piece of advice you should ditch is, “don’t change the method to suit your personality.” You should absolutely change the method to suit you. After all, your business is about you. If in the last year something hasn’t worked for you, why would you stick with it? Whatever didn’t fit you last year in business, needs to go so you can make room for new inspirations, new processes, and new ways of exploring your business. If you’ve read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is there any other tip you thought would work great for your work environment? We’re curious to hear your thoughts!


Read More
“The life-changing magic of tidying up”: 2 Rules you should follow

“The life-changing magic of tidying up”: 2 Rules you should follow

Beyond • May 17, 2016

On any given day, I’m working on at least three different projects from my home office – and I’m also often working remotely. Spring cleaning your work space takes on a whole new meaning for me. Recently, I heard about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book that takes the Japanese principles of reductionism and applies it to your life. Of course, the scenario is a little different since I’m not trying to sort out my day to day home life; but the rules still applied to my business life. Before You Start, Visualize Your Destination One of the pieces of advice shared in the book was to visualize your destination. When you spring clean your home – as just about everyone has – you know you imagine how you want it to look. The same goes for your workspace, but it should be about more than how you want it to look. It should be about emotion and aesthetic. Ask yourself how you want to feel when you’re in your office? What do you want to be able to do better? It a change in the space going to be about how something looks, feels, or how it can be used – and maybe all of the above? Personally, when I’m sorting through my space, it’s always about function too in a digital space. For me, it’s going to mean adding on some new organizational tools to help my day to day process flow better. Or maybe I need more digital storage space so I can archive and digitally access everything I need? Discard First Visualizing your destination can also involve how you do business. Perhaps you’re trying to improve productivity or efficiency? If that’s the case, then policies and processes that don’t work for you need to be discarded. This is easier for start-ups and harder as start-ups move into enterprises. Yet even at an enterprise level, you should still be flexible enough to experiment with new ways of doing things. Throw out what doesn’t work so you have room to try something new. One of the key principles in the book was to give yourself greater joy in life. The same should hold true for your work space. And if that’s the case, get rid of what doesn’t give you joy. If for some reason, that joyless aspect of business is an imperative, then find a way to make it a bit more fun and personal. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up mentions that you can’t tidy up if you never learned how. If that’s your case, start somewhere and start small. If that isn’t the case for you, then know that keeping the process of discarding as a regular activity in your business is something that will help you stay flexible. When it comes to tidying up your business, do what works for you – and enjoy the process. This is about you and what you want in the year ahead and it a process that should be enjoyed.


Read More
Checklist: how to filter your entire marketing department through how conversion heuristics

Checklist: how to filter your entire marketing department through how conversion heuristics

Beyond • May 17, 2016

Conversion Heuristics – the new formula in marketing – typically looks at your marketing experience with the goal being to drive conversion. But if you’re in marketing, you know that there’s a much bigger picture. Your day to day isn’t about the single point of conversion. 
Your day to day is about wrangling the beast that is your marketing department. So the question is how do you do apply the genius that is conversion heuristics to your entire marketing department? Contrary to how we’ve been talking about Conversion Heuristics so far, when it comes to your marketing department, you’re not going to be looking at the whole formula, but rather parts of the formula, with “a” and “f” being divided by the other variables in order to get c. So there’s a little bit of algebra and reshuffling of values, but the values are still the same. So now we have anxiety and friction as the first figures we tackle. The question is how do you tackle that in your department? In the consumer sense, “anxiety is defined as any psychological discomfort that a user experiences when they are visiting a website at any stage of the buy cycle. Anxiety results in no conversion action taken.” Your department can still be seen as a consumer, in the sense that your team members are consuming the back end of your brand – and that brand is defined by the day to day running of the business. I’ve worked in at least 3 different marketing agencies and I’d say that psychological discomfort is a pretty big player in any dysfunctional marketing department. That’s not to say that the feeling reflects your brand, company, values or even capacity. It means that if your marketing team is suffering psychologically – through stress, uncertainty, misdirection, etc. – then you’ve got an anxiety problem. Anxiety is still the symptom of a greater problem, and that great problem is friction. If your marketing department suffers from friction, then you’re going to have more than just anxiety to deal with. Other results of friction in this integral department include reduced sales, unhappy clients, and lowered productivity. Marketing departments are the mitochondria of any business; if it suffers so does the entire cell. So what exactly causes friction in a marketing department? Luckily, the answer to this is quite simple: processes. Processes, a necessary structure in even the most creative environments, allow for seamless communication between different parts. People know what to expect, how to behave, who to turn to. A process is a guide or a template of behavior that really takes the guess work and frantic communication – and subsequent errors – out of the equation. You know where you can be creative in marketing, and that’s in actually doing the work and coming up with the ideas. But a bulk of marketing work isn’t about being creative – it’s about managing creativity and expectations, and that’s where processes come in. Having a process in place reduces a lot of the anxiety among team members in a marketing department. They’re not being drained by what’s essentially unreasonable and unnecessary worry. Chances are you have a highly talented team, but anxiety in your department is going to hold back potential. Tackle the friction and you’ve tackled the anxiety.


Read More
How conversion heuristics applies to email marketing content 



How conversion heuristics applies to email marketing content 



Beyond • May 17, 2016

Earlier this month, we introduced a new marketing formula introduced at the 2016 MarketingSherpa Summit. It’s called Conversion Heuristics, and it’s defined by the end goal: conversion. C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a The best way to understand the formula though isn’t by the “C” for conversion – it’s at the opposite end; 2a is where the formula starts and the “a” stands for anxiety. So what does anxiety mean exactly? 

When it comes to email marketing, you can’t sell products in an email; you can only sell a click. So when a consumer is at your email campaign, it needs to make sense. All efforts need to get toward the conversion point. And in email marketing, that big “C” looks a little different than it does, say, on your web page. When your reader is in their email, looking at your message, the goal isn’t to get them to buy the product. Buying the product would mean they’re on your website, they’ve put things in the cart and are about to check out, or they’re ready to pick up the phone or contact you via email. On your website, that conversion is about the final point of contact before that consumer is now a customer and invested in your brand. In an email marketing campaign, you’re not selling the final point of conversation. In an email marketing campaign, you’re selling that click to the landing page. That landing page can be your website, it can be a further page in the funnel to get them to convert. Whatever it is, you’re selling the click. Our next question is, what does anxiety look like in an email campaign? In an email marketing setting, anxiety comes in the form of a click. The term “heuristic” in “conversion heuristic” is defined as enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves, and guiding them through a process to achieve that end. In that vein of thought, each symbol in the equation guides marketers to consider all elements of decision making before conversion is secured. Not having this means your reader is reaching (or has reached) a point of anxiety – in other words, uncertainty. The anxiety can be driven by a number of factors. The most common points of anxiety in an email marketing campaign is content. People think it’s design or brand, but no it’s content. First and foremost your content shouldn’t need Sherlock Holmes to figure out what you’re saying. Your content should be clear and concise, answering the questions of what, why, and who. While some companies answer this question, they lose all imagination when it comes to this. Email marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing when it comes to delivery – which means people still want to be courted. You should dump the info on a plate and push that slush up to your reader, either through a tone that evokes laziness or hurried panic. Neither is appealing, but both do trigger anxiety. Keep your message short and sweet and let the template, graphics and overall design tell someone about the “who.” All you need to worry about is what and why. If your content is longer than the usual email, then give the person the courtesy of providing a direct URL above so they can visit the page or save it for future reading. Offer a list of bullet points at the top or a summary that defines key points in the piece. The idea is that just because you have your reader’s attention, doesn’t mean you don’t owe them the courtesy of treating them like a guest in your digital space. Value their presence and their time to reduce any friction in their experience with your brand.


Read More
1 35 36 37 38