Over the past several years, I’ve been monitoring a once-fabled monster. A very real, destructive force. And the scary thing is that this treacherous beast is invisible to the naked eye. It lurks in Zoom calls and meeting rooms, feeding off your time and energy.
All jokes aside, what I’m trying to say is that this “thing” is the sole cause of everyone from personal brands to Fortune 500 companies throwing thousands, if not millions of dollars out the door.
I’m going to expose this monster. Here’s how it works, and what to do about it.
Here’s an example:
The beast comes to life any time you are making creative decisions, without having first identified the specific “drivers” for your content’s success. Drivers are the elements that are going to make or break the piece. They are the things that can get your project to break through and end up viral, or conversely if they’re missing, can cause your post to get lost in the noise and tank.
I see it so often. A person, or even a room full of people, will spend hours discussing which shade of pastels communicate with the appropriate amount of softness. They’ll spend time talking about how close or far the messaging is to their core brand value. They’ll hear everyone’s input and vote on a decision…
But in the meantime, Average Jane, your valued potential audience member, does not give a ****.
She doesn’t know or care about salmon vs. coral. She doesn’t care how clean your brand messaging reads. She just wants v a l u e. She wants to consume great content, and enjoy her time doing it.
That’s how big money is lost. Money spent designing, money spent on salaries during meetings, money spent putting out ads based on making decisions with no meaningful outcome, all while Jane doesn’t care.
INSTEAD – Here’s what you should be doing.
Spend that same time identifying the drivers to your success. Look at references outside of what you’re making, so you know what you’re working against. Identify how those things are working, when you see them working.
For example, is it critical that you start your video with a teaser of the best 5-second moment out of the 3 minute clip? Probably. Spend time identifying that clip. No one will get to 10 seconds in if you can’t hook them up front, so all the time spent producing the video will go to waste otherwise.
Is it going to give you 33% better open rates on your emails if you use conversational language instead of “titling” the content? Quite possibly. Focus on that. Find references. Lock down that headline, if it takes you a couple hours. Don’t worry about the precision of your language 3 paragraphs in until you’ve got industry-leading open rates, because no one will see it otherwise.
Look, it’s very easy to get caught up in the creative process. It happens to everyone. Try to build a habit of checking yourself (and your team) constantly, to keep your thought process and creative process on track. Identify and solve the drivers for your success before you even think about tackling the nuanced details.
That’s how you take down a monster.
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