I want to tell you a story. You might even be the protagonist.
Imagine this. You’re in a small, Australian business. You do fantastic work. You know that you’re one of the best in your state at what you do, and you have the awards, nominations, and testimonials to prove it.
The trouble is, your business is super flexible. It’s always changing. That’s why getting your content right has been so difficult. That, and you don’t want to contribute to the information overwhelm that everyone seems to have.
You kind of know where you’re going, but strategy is only for the big guys.
Wrong. Let me show you why.
The ‘business story’ narrative is often at eye-level
When I talk to clients, I often find that the narrative is at eye-level. What I mean is, they see only the next step.
In explaining what they want to do next, they consider things like:
- What is top of mind for me right now?
- What is selling hard right now?
- What looks like a good opportunity to grab onto?
But you know what that means, right? It means that they’re not thinking about the big picture.
When you’re thinking about what’s immediately in front of you, you can only steer around the next thing you see. It’s much harder to chart a course in its entirety, or to know whether you are on track.
Results therefore don’t really shift the dial
It’s also a really long way to get to where you want to be.
We know that our lives are spent more happily and more productively if we are present, and focused on what we’re doing. But if you spend your entire business life looking only at the next thing immediately in front of you, the result is a culture of reactivity.
Instead of creating the foundations and groundwork to carry you forwards, you start grabbing at vines in the trees as you swing past. Eventually, you’ll run out of vines, and then you’ll be facing a giant tree that is super hard to climb, and you’ll wonder why you bothered.Right? This is th
That’s a short way of saying that it’s a shitty way to try and achieve significant outcomes.
Strategy is overblown, but without it you may as well not execute
This doesn’t mean creating production and management calendars. Any fool can do that.
It means identifying your business’s true north. What are you doing and why? What’s the backstory? Where does it come from? Why does what you’ve done in the past make you the perfect business for doing this in the future?
How do you define the terms? And why?
All of these things contribute to the fabric of a meaningful story. Creating a meaningful story by accident is a nice piece of magic, but it isn’t something that us Pixies recommend. In fact, we recommend exactly the opposite.
But, Pixie, it’s just story! We hate all this logical thinking stuff!
You do, I know you do. And if you’re anything like our client base, you also dislike:
- rules, because they feel restrictive
- money, because you should be able to do good things and make magic in the world anyway
- governance, because it means you have to think about rules
- forward planning, because your ‘business is changing so dramatically’.
And I hate to tell you this, but these stories? Most of them, which you are telling yourself, are untrue.
Rules are what give you freedom; and governance requires rules because it allows you to produce, manage and maintain content consistently. The two together allow you to make smart decisions. And I’m not just talking about S.MA.R.T. decisions here: I’m talking about intelligent decisions.
Money is what you want, because you’re in business — otherwise you’d have a job and create change from the inside. You might also be one of the few who live in a barter system, but that’s pretty unlikely.
The forward planning thing is just you avoiding hard work. Everyone claims that their business is flexible, moves too fast, changes all the time. But it’s only doing that because you have no strategy in place.
In fact, one of our earliest clients — I’m going to call her Judy, but that’s not her real name — came back to us after four years. When she did, Judy told me that they had this new, amazing marketing person.
‘But she can’t write, Leticia,’ Judy said to me. ‘She’s doing all this great stuff and our business has grown and changed, and she’s gotten Michael [also not his real name] making great connections that we need. But we’re still not doing content right.’
Judy also told me that ‘we are going to have to start doing emails’, and ‘you know how much I hate that’.
because all of their earlier pains had been temporarily ameliorated — not solved. They brought in a new marketing person, but they still had no:
There’s a lot going on here.
There’s the first issue that the marketer is not a content person. It’s a different skill-set. She’s fabulous but she’s never been a publisher, is not a professional writer, has no editorial skills.
These are three skills that we bring to you from Pixie Hollow: Deep experience in strategic publishing for the purposes of building a tribe; decades of experience as professional writers; experience in online and offline editorial support in a range of industries.
There’s the second issue: That she is thinking tactically. Yes, they are going to have to do emails (and I tried to persuade them to do this… four years ago). But Judy is thinking that everyone is like her. She hates emails, therefore everyone hates emails.
Well, whether you hate it or not, email really works, and for good reason!
You have to start with the big picture.
This means doing the stuff that feels annoying because it takes time.
I’m talking about:
- Getting your strategic intent clear, so that you know where you’re going to. (Hot tip: Wanting to retire early isn’t a good enough goal, for the purposes of this discussion. It’s fun. But you’ll just get sad when you can’t do it.)
- Getting your over-arching message right, by fighting through the territory with your team, and getting uncomfortable along the way.
- Knowing what role your content plays on the ‘true north’ road to your destination.
- Getting the rules and frameworks in place that allow you the freedom to smash the work out.
The things that turn your content and publishing into an effective business development tool feel like work because they involve rules, frameworks, discipline, and commitment. These are the exact things that are going to turn you from a middling business into a success.
If you’re telling yourself a story that it’s hard, well you are both right and wrong. Getting the pieces into place isn’t hard. But it does take time and effort.
Imagine if your story is one of complete success though. Would you be more committed to achieving your end results?
Get your free topic assessment template
At Brutal Pixie we built a template that will help you assess how well your topics fit your strategic goals. We built it for people just like you. It’s simple (in a spreadsheet), and in the absence of good decision-making frameworks, it’s the perfect way to start.