Do Less Better – Building A 2018 Digital Strategy
What better time than the New Year, with the resolutions and “New Year New Me” posts to lean into the cliché and make some meaningful improvements of our own. After all, this is the time of year when our calendars are the most clear, our inboxes are closest to 0, and we have space to reflect. So, we put ourselves to work on the project that too often seems to get the lowest priority: ourselves.
What we did was pull out the tried and true strategy process that we use to help our clients to build, to learn, and to grow, and simply applied it to ourselves. One of the lessons that we found in there smacked me in the face: If you’re proud of it, talk about it.
That’s how we help our clients who are just starting out to build something worth telling their friends about, and the ones who are floundering to focus on a plan that they’re so proud of that they can’t wait to share it. But, when I looked at our own content, I saw very little of us talking about what we’re proud of.
Advice? Opinions? A healthy dose of sarcasm? We’ve got those boxes checked, but the biggest opportunity that came up for us was to hold up our own work, to create and to share what we’re most proud of with all of you. One of the ways that we’re going to fix that will be a new (well-overdue) website refresh that’s launching very soon. And the very first step is this post, where I’m exposing what our strategy and planning uncovered, and how you might apply those same lessons to your own strategy:
Do Less Better
That’s the mantra that we preach to our clients. Every time someone comes to us with a dilemma about their Twitter/Instagram/Blog/Facebook/Snapchat strategy, my immediate reaction is to question: Why? What purpose does each of those channels serve, and how do they serve you?
We did that at the beginning of 2017, and we arrived at the conclusion that we exist to make a meaningful impact on brands’ digital communications, and the best way to deliver that at scale is through email (in case you haven’t been reading, sign up here).
That meant focus and clarity, but it also meant that we left a ton of opportunity on the table. I’m proud of the 91 emails that we’ve produced, and even more proud of the relationships that they’ve built when our community would reply and strike up conversations, but there are just so many more ways that we can be communicating and building. So, we took our own medicine:
Prioritize, Build a Plan, Be Accountable
Social media is fun, and free, and flexible, and that’s great, but what’s even more fun is executing on a killer strategy that delivers results.
We put ourselves through the same learning process that we do for our clients and we uncovered that, by far, our most underutilized asset is our team. Sure, you see me rant on here, Twitter and a few other places, but what about the team who’s in this every day, working with clients and helping them to develop? They have opinions, and insights, and creativity to share. Why don’t we hear from them? You will, and I can’t wait to share what they come up with.
Knowing clearly why we exist and what we exist to achieve allowed us to then prioritize our channels by: What will have the greatest impact? What do we have the capacity to do excellently? What will provide the most value?
This is the channel priority that we landed on:
- Paid social
- Outbound collaborations (guest posting, podcasting, etc.)
From that list, creating a calendar and accountability became straightforward. We simply laid out the ideal publishing schedule for each, then mapped our own capacity, and assigned resources based on the priorities that we had defined.
We’re also going to take what’s already working and build on it. There’s no need to throw out what you’ve built just because you want to make progress, so what you’re going to see is a weekly post, email, and series of content across all of our channels that works together to provide insight, opinion, and actionable advice around one topic per week. All that we’re doing is taking what we love about the Social Brief, expanding, elaborating, and creating space for more voices, opinions, and conversation.
2 thoughts to consider in the middle of a stressful holiday season:
1. The happiest people are the most grateful – David Steindl-Rast
2. It’s not possible to feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time – @TonyRobbins
How could your work benefit from gratitude?
— Junction (@JunctionYVR) December 14, 2017
Measure Twice, Post Once
Especially for our more creative clients, measurement and metrics can often be the toughest part. Why worry about spreadsheets when you’re busy creating something that you’re proud of, right? We’re fans of the adage: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring. However, that doesn’t mean that the numbers have to suck all of the life out of the work. In our case, the metrics will simply let us know if we are achieving what we’ve set out to do, which is impact brands at scale.
Some of you more entrepreneurial folks may have just scoffed at that last line because, as we all know, businesses exist to make money and grow, right? No doubt. In our case, not only do we believe that we can make a meaningful impact, but we know that when we do, it creates business opportunities for us. Nearly every one of our best client relationships has either come directly from — or been aided by — a post, an email, a whitepaper, a talk, or a podcast that allowed us to start a conversation.
So, when we set the intention to impact brands at scale, we know that when we do that we’re achieving both our mission, and our business goals.
Simple, right? One of the smartest people I know often reminds me that “Complex is easy, simple is hard”.
I’ve seen that in action repeatedly over the years, and when I look back on the most successful plans that we’ve helped to implement, they are inevitably the ones that were also the most simple.
This is an opportunity for me to achieve that double bottom-line:
- By exposing our process this way, I’m sure that I can spark some ideas about your own digital plan, assisting you in your 2018 planning and positively impacting your conversations.
- Perhaps it also plants a seed for those of you who have been considering bringing in some outside help on your digital strategy or training – I’d love to start a conversation about how we may be able to work together.
My call to action for you is to set aside a bit of time this week to run your digital plan through the simple process that I’ve just described.
Want to hold us accountable and/or watch the plan turn into reality? Here’s where you can follow along: