You have to get all your ducks in a row before you start publishing.
Yesterday I talked about capability winning the day — capability and values. I said that values was a story for another day. That day is today.
What do your business values mean to you?
Are they things like:
- High-quality service
… and other boring, bland things that could apply to any business? I hope not.
For some reason people separate business values from their own values. You wouldn’t work for a business that didn’t resonate with your own values. You couldn’t put up with it.
If your value is about honesty and your business lies consistently to everyone it interacts with, you’d get out quick, right? (I hope so.)
But how do we do this with publications?
Just as with anything else in your business, you leverage your values to make decisions. You do that for your publication.
The difference is that you decide what it will and won’t contain, and why.
In other words, you construct boundaries.
- Your business’s mission is to be held in high regard, its paired value is honesty at all costs. Decide that your blog won’t mince words.
- Your business’s mission is to deliver the highest quality in the market; its paired value is something about quality. Decide that you will never release a podcast episode unless it sounds exceptionally well produced.
- Your business’s mission is to help 50,000 homeless a year. Its paired value is accessibility no matter what. Decide that you hand-deliver photocopied newsletters in simplified English to teenagers sleeping rough.
Get it? See how this works?
Alignment all the way through your business is critical. It’s a core factor of smart content operations and tight content strategy.
Making an exception when it comes to your boundaries is not feasible. Ever. Just as you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t be a little bit ethical. You are, or you aren’t. Your value boundaries are the same. They exist or they don’t.
If you aren’t capable of being strong enough to do that (or you feel like it sounds like a total wank), don’t be a publisher. Put your energy elsewhere, like your sales team.
You’ll just short-change your audience otherwise, and that reflects badly on you and your business.