Greg Hammond Part 2 | Content Machine Ep. #58

Kevin

We’re back with the Content Machine podcast. We’re joined again by Greg Hammonds, who’s the Chief of Public Information for the Jackson Madison County School System. Greg, thank you for joining us again.

Greg

Thanks for having me.

Kevin

Tell us about what it’s like doing communications for the school system.

Greg

Some days, I feel like Tom Brady working for Bill Belichick in the heyday of the Patriots.

Kevin

Some days.

Greg

Yeah. Then some days you feel like the West 10 Diamond Jacks. It runs the gamut sometimes. But I’ll quote Dr. Catlett. He loved to say, Our worst day is still better than most people’s best day. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. It is a lot of fun. We mentioned in the first episode, Dr. King coming in, having already worked in two school systems. When you sit down at the table, he’s providing you with some context you hadn’t thought about, whether it’s from the school board level in governance, whether it’s from a personnel standpoint, working with educators, or even a marketing standpoint. I get to learn a lot, and I get to do a lot. That’s what it feels like.

Kevin

Yeah. What have been some of your challenges in this role?

Greg

Yeah. I think the challenges that come to mind… I I think a lot of folks want us to operate like it’s 1990, and it’s not.

Kevin

Internal or external folks?

Greg

External. We can no longer operate like we’re the only show in education in town.

Kevin

Okay. We can’t operate. There’s competition. Right.

Greg

So when you see our billboard downtown, that’s a good thing. We want people to know public education is a viable option in Jackson, Madison County.

Kevin

But a lot of people think there’s not competition. You don’t have to market yourself.

Greg

That’s just not true.

Kevin

Why are they spending money like this?

Greg

Yeah. So on the ride down here, down the bypass here, you pass a billboard and there’s advertising for a local independent or a private school. Parents have choices. Choice is fine. We just want to make sure people know that Jackson, Madison County Schools is a great option, and they should choose us, particularly when you think about… When you think about return on investment, I think the public school system gives the highest return, particularly when you think about in the middle, in high school areas, career and technical education, where you have students earning certificates earning, obviously, diplomas, but credentials to be able to go out. If they choose to not, let’s say they don’t want to go to Jackson State, let’s say they don’t want to go to college. Well, if you’re in the culinary program at Liberty Technology High School and you get your OSHA certification in food service, now you could go to Old Country store or a restaurant and ask for more than the minimum wage because you have training, you have experience. If you’re going to go work at one of the local garages, and you’ve come out of North Side High School or South Side High School, and you have an ASC certification, you can now ask for above minimum wage because you’re in there with experience, with a credential that’s recognized in the industry.

Greg

That’s without any type of post-secondary experience. Right off the bat, there’s their value. Let’s take it up a notch. Let’s say you are very much focused on getting a college degree. Well, you have choices. You could go to JC, Marley College High and finish your associate’s degree before you graduate high school. Literally, those students, after four years, will graduate from Jackson State Community College on a Saturday, and the next week, graduate with their high school diploma. You talk about the financial value and the time savings there, particularly if you already know college is something that you want to shoot for. But then let’s say you want the traditional option. It’s funny. My son, we attend so many games and so many events. Usually, he says, I want to go to South Side because they knew I worked at South Side, I went to school at South Side. They’ve seen my picture on the wall. My daughter, one day she’ll say this school, the next day she’ll say that school. They’re all Jackson, Madison County schools. So knowing the value at all these schools, it’s really interesting. Of course, Madison’s the cream of the crop, public or private, when you think about preparing students for college, particularly at institutions that are specifically known for academic rigor.

Greg

Madison academics are at the top. But many of our traditional options, I’ve heard of students going to a North Side or South Side, and they’ll take CLEP classes and through high school, work on different credits for college. I say that to say, if you play your cards right, JCM, Early College isn’t the only option-For college, yeah. To get those early college opportunities. And of course, Jackson Academic Esteem Academy, our virtual school, has a partnership with Union University. So the students in JASA who are juniors and seniors, they’re already working on work toward a college degree with Union University.

Kevin

So when we were talking about challenges, so you’re talking about return on investment, which is when we went into the schools. But you were talking a little bit like there’s some negative perception. What’s your strategy for overcoming that negative perception?

Greg

Truth. Tell a good story. Provide them with truth and tell a good story. And that’s not just external. We also have to remind our employees about what the school system offers. We also have to remind the employees how important they are. Today is a snow day. The roads are still severe, and so students are at home. But many, many of our teachers since last week, since last week’s snow days, have sent gentle reminders. Hey, guys. Hey, remember, read 20 minutes a day. Hey, jump on Class Dojo. Complete this assignment, read this passage, answer these questions. Hey, guys, let’s make sure we’re staying academically strong. Many, many, many of our teachers do that throughout these snow days. They say, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. A lot of our teachers, Kevin, are staying ready. I know it because my own kids are in the system. But then a lot of my neighbors are teachers, too. I know the different platforms they’re using to communicate with their families. But just sharing a good message, reminding people about the benefits of public education, the fact that when our public school system is strong, our local industry is strong, our community is stronger.

Kevin

All right, so we’ve talked about some of the challenges, but let’s talk about the successes. How are things going? How do you feel like you’re doing? And I think you’ve won some hardware.

Greg

Yeah, I think you think about the best possible way to end 2023 and enter 2024. The Tennessee School Boards Association honored our school board with School Board of the Year recognition. And so that’s just a testament to the advocacy, the training, the board governance that our board’s doing. You know, it’s one thing, Kevin, to be passionate about an issue and running for a position for that issue. Yeah. Okay, but you still have to govern a school system in a number of different areas. And so what our school board members have done a great job of, getting training. The Tennessee School Boards Association offers training, in-service opportunities, and our school board members have taken advantage of this to educate themselves. You talk about lifelong learners. It’s most important in positions of leadership. Our school board has done that. And I think if you’re out in the community at all, the school board chair, Pete Johnson, unless you knew where Pete was from, you wouldn’t know where he’s from. Because Pete Johnson is throughout the school system in the schools, letting our administrators know they’re appreciated. You see them at different, whether it’s a Fine Arts event or athletic events, the school board chairman is out there.

Greg

And when the leader of your school board is doing that, you know you’re in a good situation. You have people in leadership who actually care about the product that they’re governing. When I see that, it makes me excited. I mean, it’s really cool to see because I think for so long, we didn’t have that. But to have leaders invested in the school system. Our superintendent’s son is a student in the school system. And so you just have people who have really bought in. And it’s been exciting to see. So, yeah, School Board of the Year recognition for our school board. So kudos to them. They don’t always agree, but more times than not, they come out unified. They don’t always agree, but they’re going to move forward together. And so I think as a citizen, to sit back and watch that, it’s encouraging because for the most part, they don’t let politics get in the way. And for the Tennessee School Boards Association to recognize that, that’s been really good. Of course, many, many, many of our schools have received individual awards or recognizes. By May, in May, the total number of students at JCM early College High that have graduated with an associate’s degree since 2019 will be 179.

Greg

So 179 students in Jackson, Madison County since 2019 have graduated from high school with that associate’s degree in hand. That’s just a great testament. And again, you know there are certain people you see in front of the cameras, but there are a lot of people back at the central office doing the heavy lifting and the planning to get things going. And in a few days, you’re going to hear an announcement, a major, major, major investment. You guys know about the Melissa STEM Innovation Center? A major, major investment from a private donor for Melissa’s Innovation Center. That’s coming up. I can’t spill the beans now. I’d like to. I probably can’t. I’ll just tease it and tell you that. But when you see outside entities-Investing in the public school system. Investing in the public school system. Say, Wait, wait, wait. We heard about this innovative platform you guys have for middle school students to get them experience. We know exposure is so important. Exposure in these pre-engineering in science. You think about mechatronics, you think about cybersecurity, robotics, And so the Melissa Stem Innovation Center is going to offer that for middle school students. The reason I’m excited, I fully realize not all those kids are going to go into engineering, but they’re going to matriculate to a high school with higher capacity for work in the lab, a higher capacity to complete into a study technology.

Greg

So that’s going to be a better biostem student at North Side. That’s going to be a better construction core student at South Side, a better automotive student, a better bechotronic student at JCM early College High. Those innovative programs at the middle school level is just going to make our high school programs better, and then it’s going to make our graduates that much stronger. So a ton of stuff going on. Those are two that stick out. You think about it at JCM High School this year, this school year, they started a program with Lane College. Of course, on the campus of Lane College is the CVS Innovation Workforce Center. It’s essentially Lane College working with CVS to raise up and train that next generation of pharmacists, of pharmacy techs, of health care professionals, where there are students at JCM High School that get to go to Lane College to take training in pharmacy tech. And so once those students complete that course, when they graduate from high school, they’re also going to have in their hand or certificate a credential that will allow them, allow them right out of high school to be able to work as a pharmacy tech.

Greg

When you talk about options and opportunities, Kevin, this is the tip of the iceberg. A lot of this stuff is located at jmcss.org. It’s really an exciting time to be in our school system, but none of this is possible without the employees who do the heavy lifting every day. We’re certainly appreciative of all of our teachers, all of our support staff. I was at the lift a few days ago.

Kevin

Brag about it.

Greg

I was at the lift a few, a few days ago. Snow day, so we’ve been eating more snacks. I’m just breaking even. But I saw my bus driver. So Frida Oakley was my bus driver when… Actually, I rode the bus kindergarten through high school, and I saw my bus driver, she was at the lift. It’s like seeing a family member. I know the way I feel about the folks who helped raise me. They’re another generation of kids in Madison County, and it takes a partnership. We need strong families. We also need a strong school system. Our support staff is added in that. When I think about what makes us special, truly, yes, the programs, but I think about the people, not just teachers, but also the support staff, because I just remember in my own context how important all those people were to me.

Kevin

Well, Greg, I want to thank you so much for your time in joining us on the Content Machine podcast. If people want to follow you online, where should they find you?

Greg

Well, they can find me on X, but I’m still going to say Twitter, Kevin, because-

Kevin

It’s Twitter.com still. Elon, figure it out.

Greg

@formersportsguy on Twitter. I’m also on Instagram, but I’m only there because I have to be.

Kevin

Twitter guy, though. Yeah. Me too. Solvably. All right. You can find more episodes of the Content Machine podcast on your favorite podcast player. You can find for the district podcast, too.

Greg

For the district podcast, jmcss.org/podcast.

Kevin

There you go. All right. Thanks, Greg.

Greg

Thanks, Kevin.

Book Unprofessional | Content Machine Ep. #57

One really great tip at being unprofessional at work is stealing your colleagues’ food. It’s a great way to endear yourself to your friends and colleagues at work, living up to that TV classic trope of just stealing food out of the fridge. We see it all the time in sitcoms, so let’s bring it to your workplace today. But why would you want to be unprofessional at work? It’s a great question, and generally, you don’t want to be, right? But in the new book from Merry Brown, she takes a twist on workplace etiquette from telling you what you should be doing to be professional in the workplace to what you should be doing to be unprofessional in the workplace. By casting it in the negative, she gives you something that’s more entertaining and potentially more direct to those who maybe miss the general messaging of how to act in a workplace. Merry Brown is a local author up in Martin, Tennessee, and owns third-party workplace conflict restoration services, or, short-hand version, 3P. Merry has been focusing her work on helping people deal with conflict in the workplace in a way that supports everyone in the process. She has a lot of other books that she’s written, and you can see more about Merry at her website, 3pconflictrestoration.com,

She also hosts a podcast called the Conflict-Managed Podcast, which she was kind enough to have me on in 2023, and she has a lot of guests on it to talk about the ways they’ve dealt with conflict in their offices. I think Merry was able to see that these are common issues that people come up with when they’re in the workplace. She put this book together, largely, I would hope, for new professionals in the office. But it would also be beneficial for those who are unable to figure out why they’re causing so much conflict in the workplace, whether that’s because of a blind spot or because of social behavior. This would make a great gift for friends and family entering the workforce or something to have on hand for new hires to help them quickly acclimate to the workplace. It’s also written in a way that’s really fast to read and easy to digest, so it’s really accessible to a lot of people. Let’s look at one of my favorite excerpts from the book, Tip number 39: Don’t read your work emails. If you want to be unprofessional at work, don’t read all the emails that come from your boss or from HR.

It can’t be that important. They’ll tell you in a meeting if it’s really important, or they’ll call you if it’s super important. So don’t worry about reading the entire email or responding to it if you need to do something else, because obviously, you’re not trying to be professional at work. I have interacted with so many people who need this particular chapter read to them or perhaps tattooed on their forehead. So if you work with someone who is a nightmare not knowing how to act at all, be sure to look up How to be Unprofessional at Work by Merry Brown. Maybe have it mailed to them anonymously or just have it show up in their office but be sure to clean your fingerprints off the book so it doesn’t get traced back to you. Do you have any business books to recommend? Any books that have made a difference for the culture in your office? Shoot me an email at kevin@adelsbergermarketing.com. I’m always building my list of future reads. Thanks for listening to the Content Machine podcast. See you on the next episode.

Greg Hammond Part 1 | Content Machine Ep. #56

Kevin
Welcome to the Content Machine podcast. I’m Kevin Adelsberger. This week, we’re joined by Greg Hammond, who is the Chief of Public Information for the Jackson Madison County School System. Greg, thanks for joining us.
Greg

Thanks for having me, Kevin.

Kevin

You’ve got a really interesting career journey, so I’d love to just hear your version of how did you get to where you are now.

Greg

Well, you’d have to go back to… No. Well, coming out of South Side High School in 1998, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I did know I needed to go to college. My uncle is a physical therapist, and so being a teenager and watching him operate, he didn’t appear to be living paycheck to paycheck. He seemed like he had a pretty good career. So not really knowing what I wanted to do and just knowing I needed to move forward, I enrolled at Jackson State Community College, and I had a great time there. There was an elective I don’t remember if it was called TV production or broadcasting. But the second semester I was there, I took this class. The first day, Dr. Cooper, I believe, was an instructor. He told us about an entry-level position at channel 7. And I’m coming right out of high school football in this competitive mindset. So as soon as he said that, I thought, I’m going to apply for that job. As soon as this class lets out, I’m going to go apply for that job. And so that’s what I did. It was an entry-level position, but I just knew if you work hard, you can go places.

Greg

So I told the sports director, I mean, that first week, Hey, let me know what help you need. I’ll help you. And so I’ll carry a camera. I’ll edit video. And so that’s how the journey started. And so I worked at channel 7, even through going to school at UT Martin. And so I was a junior in college the first time I was on TV here in Jackson. So it was fun working with Brad Douglas and Tom Brett and Gary Pickens. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. And so like most young people, you want to move away from home. And I didn’t move away for college. So leaving channel 7 and finding another TV station in a bigger market was a goal. When that goal opened up, I went to Lexington, Kentucky. I was there four years. I say I got a degree in Wildcat Basketball. It was a lot of fun. I learned about horse racing there.

Kevin

Horses are a thing there.

Greg

I didn’t know anything about horse racing. Also getting to cover another professional football team. When I was in Jackson, we went to a few Titans games. We’re working in Lexington, Kentucky. You cover the Cincinnati Bingles. Got you. And so that was a fun experience. The Cincinnati Reds from time to time. But then again, a horse racing at Keeneland. It was just a really cool experience. It was a learning experience that took place outside of the classroom. So from there, I called some of my mentors, and I was actually looking to, again, after four years, move another station. But it was really the time during the recession. And just to give you some context.

Kevin

’08-ish?

Greg

Yes, that’s it. I had interned at channel 5 in Memphis. When I was an intern there in 2002, there were four people in the sports department in Memphis. Okay. By the time ’08 rolled around, even in a market like Memphis, I think there was just two. Just the shrinking of the staffs and just not a lot of the right opportunity out there. I certainly could have stayed where I was, but I just felt the Lord lead me in a different direction. I do have a cool story. And so when I realized I was just going to get out of TV, I guess education was always my plan B, my backup plan. I contacted one of my former coaches, Kerry Craig. He was Humboldt at the time. And so my brothers and I really looked up to Coach Craig. I thought, hey, I’m going to go. I’ll go back to Jackson, work on another degree. And while I’m doing that, I’m going to be a volunteer football coach. That sounds like fun. Yeah. And so he said, Yes, come on. And so during this time, he had told me, a few weeks had passed, maybe, he said, Contact Mr.

Greg

Arnold, who was my high school principal.

Kevin

Yeah, at South Side, right?

Greg

Yeah. So lo and behold, Kevin, there was a broadcasting class at South Side High School, which, of course, wasn’t there when I was a student. Sure. But Mr. Arnold had added it a semester prior. And so I I had the opportunity to step off the TV desk on a Saturday, and I was teaching in the classroom that Monday because I had a degree. Because I had a degree in broadcasting. There was some additional education I had to pick up to add that teaching credential. But just that experience, when I think back on it-So that’s a jarring transition. Yeah, but I like people. Having gone through school and to college, and I’ve had a lot of teachers in my life, so I had people I could emulate until I figured out what I was doing. And so South Side also being, South Jackson’s where I grew up. And so being able to teach at my alma mater was a very cool experience. If I was having a hard day, I could just go down the hall and talk to the guy who was my freshman football coach when I was in school, or I could go talk to the teacher who was my English teacher.

Greg

It was an embedded support system. I was very fortunate in that manner.

Kevin

Was it awkward finding out that those people were real people and not just teachers?

Greg

I won’t say awkward. It was interesting. But it’s like when you’re in high school or an elementary school and you see your teacher in the grocery store.

Kevin

You exist out of those four walls.

Greg

So that was a cool dynamic, coaching beside the guys who coached me and then teaching with many other people who knew me when I was a kid. And so it’s a different dynamic, but it was a good experience overall.

Kevin

So how long were you teaching broadcasting at South Side?

Greg

Twelve years.

Kevin

Twelve years? Yeah. And that’s where we met.

Greg

That’s right.

Kevin

And so you had needed some help from media people on some classes, and that’s how we got to know each other a little bit. But then you moved out of the classroom.

Greg

Yeah. And so in 2016, I started my own business. And the reason I did that, folks knew I was teaching broadcasting at South Side. So they would Hey, could you film or could you edit this for us? Technically, it was the school’s equipment. The students and I could do it. It was a great experience for the kids, but I’m putting my professional touch on this. It’s like, I should probably be getting compensated for this. I bought my own equipment, started my own LLC. And at this time, it was, I guess, 2016, 2017. I was contacting high schools, community colleges, universities. I picked up some clients that way. And you know how business is. If you contact 50 people, 10 people might call you back.

Kevin

Yeah. And then one might do business with it.

Greg

Right. Dr. Marlin King was in Fayette County at the time. He didn’t call back. I had some other clients, but what I later found out is, he still, at the time, they didn’t want to do that type of marketing at the time or promotions at the time. While… So I would teach during the school year, and in the summers, I would hit it hard and heavy with my LLC.

Kevin

I remember that face. Because it’s like every year or every two years, I’m like, great, here’s new competitors. Now Greg Hammond is out here doing video work.

Greg

So it was funny because this was February, actually. So when Jackson State did their new rollout for their new mascot- Green Jay. A few years ago, they contracted me to produce that video. Kehoma Community College, which is in Mississippi. It was a client I had just picked up and produced a series of videos for them. Then COVID happened. So we went on spring break with the school system, and we never went back in. So I’m on my back porch, and it’s January from March, April, maybe April. And I get a message from the superintendent, our new superintendent, which my coworkers had asked me because I ran for county commission, and they knew I was interested in politics and things of that nature. They asked me if I had been keeping up with the superintendent search, and at the time, I wasn’t.

Kevin

What did time mean that year?

Greg

Well, and this was… Yeah, so that was, I guess the search started the end of ’19, going into 2020, and it was like, I’m not keeping up with politics. I’m teaching, and I’m making money on the side with SBL Media. That was my… That was very tunnel focus in that manner. But I got a message from the new superintendent said, Hey, glad to hear you’re working in the district. I’d like to meet with you sometime, et cetera. My mind thought, Oh, okay. It’d be cool to help the system. I’m not leaving South Side. Why would I leave South Side? It’s a great role. But the more we talked, it was evident that what he was looking for, I wasn’t going to be able to have my feet in two different places. That opportunity to move to the district office. Everything prior to June 2020, everything prior to that, it was for South Side High School. But when he called me, my mindset had switched. It was for the district at that point. It’s just that’s been a really cool dynamic meeting educators and administrators throughout the city. Because if you’re from South Jackson, you know South Jackson is a special place.

Greg

But getting outside of that bubble and meeting the administrators at Northside, at early College High, at the different elementary schools and middle schools. That’s been a cool experience.

Kevin

Yeah. You get to have a relation with those because you were a teacher. It’s not just like you’re not some guy who has a marketing degree and does this. You were in their shoes to some extent. So what does the Chief of Public Information for the school system do? What is your practical…

Greg

If I’m going to explain it to a fifth grader, I’m the main storyteller for the school system. In order to be a storyteller, you have to have a story to tell. Because I’m a product of the school system and I worked in the school system, I know much of the story, but there’s a large chunk of the story I didn’t know. Interacting with the different administrators, being on the different campuses, spending some time with the Bio-STEM students at Northside. Didn’t know what that offered until I went and spent time with those students and that teacher and just learning the story and sharing that story with the school system. I’ll tell you, Kevin, when I moved back to Jackson, I got married in 2004. We moved back to Jackson in 2008. It was interesting. At this time, we were 28 years old-ish. So people would ask, Hey, you got kids? No. So then the education… At that time, education really wasn’t a conversation. We didn’t have kids at the time. But just as soon as we had our first child, Hey, what are you guys going to do for school? What are you guys going to do for school?

Greg

It was a weird dynamic because, again, I’m a product of the school system. So it was almost like, What do you mean? Yeah, obviously. We’re going to go to our local school. That’s what I wanted to say, but you listen. There’s a perception, right or wrong, that people have about public school. Unfortunately, a lot of that perception is simply painted from political talking points at the national level that have seeped down into local education. To quote the superintendent, I’ll say, We’re not perfect, but we have a good product, and we have good people. We’re constantly working to get better. Being able to open up a portfolio and say, Hey, look at our schools, look at the options we have. We have such a diverse range of options. Even before we started rolling, talking about Jackson Academic Steem Academy, it’s essentially a Homeschool under the public school umbrella that has all the flexibility of a homeschool, but all the supports of what you would expect from a large school system. Just a wide range of options. Just helping the schools tell their stories and then also telling a story. But the superintendent, he tells his principals all the time.

Greg

The principal is really the chief storyteller at every campus. And so learning how to tell your own story has been, I think, a learning process for all of us, even myself. And so it’s been fun. Dr. King had already been a superintendent in two school systems by the time he came to Jackson. So he’s providing a context, not only for me, but for other peers around the district that we don’t have because you don’t really know what it is to run a school system if you’ve never been in charge of running one. But he brings that context.

Kevin

You don’t get training bills on that thing. You just do it.

Greg

He brings that context. It’s It’s been a really cool learning experience to learn under Dr. King and, of course, the Deputy Superintendents, Ricky Catlett and Dr. Vivian Williams, and, of course, our fellow chiefs. It’s just been a really cool experience.

Kevin

When we were emailing about this, you made a comment about communications versus marketing. Okay.

Greg

Do I need to grab my phone to see exactly what I’m saying?

Kevin

I don’t remember exactly what the quote was, but it seemed like you drew a delineation between the two. I would, too, but I’d be interested to hear what you’re…

Greg

Well, the way I recall it, Kevin, you drew a delineation. It’s something like this. I think… What was it? Communications and marketing are cousins. They’re under the same umbrella, but they look a little differently. I think you asked me a question about marketing, and I just look at it as communications or public relations in marketing, they’re like cousins. They’re both in the business of storytelling. How you go about doing that in both of the fields is slightly different.

Kevin

You moved from being a teacher of this to doing it. Did teaching, broadcasting at Southside for all those years help you be ready for this or not related?

Greg

Well, I would say my experience in television at WBBJ in Jackson and WTVQ in Lexington, Kentucky, those experiences helped me in this. But then also teaching, knowing what teachers go through, knowing the pattern of a typical school day, it just was a perfect combination. I would say. Some days I really lean on that broadcasting background. In some days, in a lot of my conversations, I really lean on my background as a former educator. Yeah.

Kevin

All right. Well, we’ll take a break here, and we’ll come back and talk a little bit about the work that you’re doing for the school system. So this is the Content Machine. We’ll be back with episode 2 soon with Greg Hammond..

Working On Vs In Biz | Content Machine Ep. #55

A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a customer that it was good to see them working on their business, and they replied, “How do you define that? What is working on your business versus working in your business?” And this is a key thing to think through if you’re in leadership of your organization. Lots of people fail to work on their business because they are stuck working in their business. I define working in the business as anything that is direct sales or direct client service. Only the largest businesses allow leadership to be completely removed from working in the business. You have to have a really large infrastructure in place to prevent you from doing any real client work. These businesses get into the professional managerial world. While there are strengths to this type of work, it does leave a disconnection between the work that the organization does to survive and the leadership. On the other hand, if the organization is too small or the infrastructure has not been built up, leaders can get stuck in the daily grind, the whirlwind of doing business, and find themselves unable to lead ahead of where the company currently is.

Leaders in that situation are working in the business. Anything that involves direct client work or direct sales. In our business, building website, making social posts, and shooting video are all things that I participate in, but I classify them as working in the business. In the financial industry, that might include making a financial plan, moving clients’ investments around, or writing a new policy. Looking at it another way, it might be that you can’t get out of direct sales for your organization or have so many fires to put out every day as a leader that you can’t find time to work ahead of the company. It’s not a bad thing to work in the business. If the business isn’t successful doing the work that makes it run, leading ahead of the company is not valuable. But where people fail is not making working on the business a priority. So what is working on the business? Working on the business, broadly defined, is anything that improves the business or increases its capacity. Working on the business is working ahead of the current state of things happening in the daily grind of work. I think about working on the business in a few categories: marketing, culture, systems, people, infrastructure, strategy.

Each of these categories, when done correctly, increases the capacity of the business to do more work, to do better work, or to have more work come in in the future. Working on marketing is working on a business because you are setting up for future sales for the work. Working on culture allows you to build more resilient businesses with retention and happier employees. Systems help you build out processes that work towards allowing a leader to delegate work and free it more time in the long run. Infrastructure allows a business to handle more work and do so in a way that is beneficial to the company. People are the lifeblood of a business, and working to develop people into the right seats on the bus allows a business to crush its day-to-day work. And strategy allows you to set a course for all of these things to improve continuously. Working on any one of these things during the course of a week should pay great dividends in the days and weeks to come. If you’re in leadership of your organization, specifically if you’re at the top of the company, you have a responsibility to work on the business, not just in the business.

Your job is to improve the company and lead it. And it is really difficult to lead the business if you’re only doing the day-to-day work of the business. But how can you do this? One thing, and this is the biggest thing, just make time for it. I encourage people to time block things on their calendar to make them a priority. For example, I have each Monday blocked on my calendar for all internal work. This podcast, and almost all of our podcasts, are recorded on Mondays because that’s when I’m working on capacity building for the business. Tuesday mornings are blocked for business development for me, so I spend a few hours every Tuesday morning, or most Tuesday mornings, if I’m honest, on building business development because that’s something I have to focus on as well. The rest of the week is free for client meetings and client work. But what do you with that time once you have it set aside? I have two suggestions. One, work with a framework like EOS or the four disciplines of execution to work on a list of things to do to improve the company. Number two, consider working with an outside group like a strategic planner, a fractional chief marketing officer, or a fractional chief financial officer to help shine light on priorities to take the next step.

But to start simple, maybe take an hour or two a week and start making a list of things that you can do to improve your business from where you are right now. Then start taking action. How do you work on your business? Let me know via email at kevin@adelsbergermarketing.com. I would love to know what others are doing to make this a priority. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Content Machine podcast, and we’ll see you on the next one.

90 Day Content Webinar | Content Machine Ep. #54

Thank you all for coming to the last webinar in our fall webinar series on the 90-day content plan. Just an overview of what we’re going to go through here is we’re going to go through a little bit of a content strategy, content thought process on how to develop some different types of content. We generate a lot of content at Adelsberger Marketing, and we know it can be a challenge to keep the ideas flowing sometimes. We’re going to walk through some ways, some formats, and then there’ll be a nice PDF that you can download at the end that will have a lot of this information on it. Then at some point, I may even ask if someone wants to come and share an idea that they generate throughout the process. We’ll keep that in mind. If you have a question as we go, I believe the chat is set up properly this time for chats to come through to everybody. There’s also that question and answer tab I have in here. So whichever tool that you want to use to ask a question along the way, feel free to do that. So let’s dive in. So when we think about content, we need to think about what can we talk about?

So that’s the first thing that we want to start with. So what can we talk about? What are things we could talk about? And this is just going to go through a long list of things that will hopefully give you a place to jump off of when you are starting to build your content plan. We’ll start with who we are. As a company or as an organization or as an individual, who are you as a company? Is it the people? Is it what you care about as a company? It could be featuring staff. Is there a way that we can feature staff? One thing that we do here is every staff member’s birthday, we do a highlight about them on social media. Some people do that with anniversaries. There’s different things you can do. Mission and vision as a company is a valuable thing. What do we care about beyond work? I think this is a really good one to shape some content around. If you are a company or an individual that is really invested in a cause, being able to align yourself with that cause through content is a really powerful tool. Things that are core to our mission.

If your mission is to do something outside of the company, or if it’s part of our mission is to grow our clients’ businesses or to give our team members a great quality of life. If we can find ways to feature those in content, that’s a great concept to work with. The second thing is, what do we want to promote? The first thing is talking about things about our company and about the people involved. The next part is, what do we want to promote? We might be wanting to promote our products. You might have different things, different product lines that you want to promote, different services that you might want to promote. But really here is like specialties. Is there something that you do in your marketplace that only you do in your marketplace or that you’re better at than everybody else in your marketplace? Are there specialties that we can promote? Now, on top of that, and more important is, what does our audience care about? As a company, you’re going to do some of those things that are promotionally, whether people want to hear it or not. But you need to be thinking about what does your audience care about?

There’s a book by Gary Vandertruck that’s a really classic work in content marketing at this point called It’s called jab, jab, jab, right hook. The jabs in boxing are you wear down your opponent and you get them not paying attention to the big right hook that’s coming, which is the big haymaker, the finishing shot. So jab, jab, jab is like, what are things that we can share that they’re really interested in so that they’re paying attention when we drop the right hook of the call to action we need them to take? For us, it’s like, Well, what can we get them to pay attention to so that when I do a webinar, for example, the webinar is the right hook. The jab, jab, jab is our team sharing what we’re working on or featuring work that we’ve done with our clients or things of that nature. Another thing that we think about is, do we want to document what was going on? Do we want to create create some specific content? Document, are we showing the things that we are doing as a company? Are we taking pictures of meetings that we’re having or that we’ve got a new shipment in that was really exciting or some behind-the-scenes opportunities?

Or are we creating things like writing a webinar or writing a book? Those are two different thought processes, and the document is really easy to accomplish, but the trick is you have to remember to do it. The create is a lot more work, but usually they have a longer life cycle. For example, and we’ll talk about reutilizing content across platforms here in a few minutes, but this webinar will live on in different ways. It’ll be in our podcast in January. The document that we created to download for people to guide people through this process is going to become the new lead generator on our website. We’re getting as much out of this process as we can as a company. When you create content, there’s more of an opportunity to reuse that in multiple places. Builders and drivers is a similar thing, but really going back to, are there competitive advantages that we can take and showcase in our content that only we can do or we do better than anybody else, or we’re the only game in town for this thing? Most of you have something like that. You just may not be able to communicate it very well.

Spending time to refine that and to communicate that is a critical piece to making good content. Then I would also say cool or exclusive access things. So behind the scenes content. I’ve done a lot of work with factories throughout different components of my career, and being able to see what happens behind the scenes at a factory is really interesting to me. Not to everybody, obviously, but to me, it’s very interesting. But you don’t just You can’t just Google what’s happening at [insert factory name here] down the road. Or I have an advantage that we do a lot of video production show, showing behind the scenes on the set of what we’re working on is cool and exclusive access. You don’t get to see that unless you’re there. There’s probably opportunities for you to find things that are only you get to see that aren’t sensitive enough that you can’t share it, but people aren’t going to get there to be able to see it in real life. Then things like time-sensitive things. I remember a couple of, maybe two years ago, Fleetfeet in Jackson or Performance Running. I don’t remember which one it was at the time.

I think it was Fleetfeet at the time. They put up on Facebook, they’re like, Hey, we have a limited number of shoes. They’re on super sale. They’re out front. Well, people descend it upon Fleetfeet because of the cheap running shoes. Let’s go check it out. And so time-sensitive things are another thing to look at. What I want you to do is this list of things is something that you can go back to and back to over time to say, Okay, maybe we just work our way down this list as we go through things. We’re going to talk a little bit more about how to use that as we go forward here. We like to brainstorm at our company. The last webinar that we did was all about brainstorming. There’ll be a link to watch that here in a minute that you can scan a QR code for. We like to use Post-it notes when we do that. When you write Post-it notes, you don’t put all the ideas or phrases on one Post-it note. You put one idea phrase per Post-it note. So your Post-it notes look like these. Then you can go through maybe with your team or with yourself or with some friends that are helping you think through how to do this for your team, for your business, for your organization.

Just start, go back to this list, what we can talk about, and take 60 seconds each one of these, and as a post-it note, generate as staff. Okay, should we talk about birthdays or anniversaries or career accomplishments or community involvement type of things? Spend some time and brainstorm through all those components, and then we did a webinar on brainstorming in this series, so feel free to scan that QR code. I’ll leave it up here for a second. That will help us. That will give some more framework around our brainstorming strategy. So check that out. But the next thing we need to think about is our customer awareness levels. Now, this next slide is a preview of all the content in this webinar, and it’s also in the downloadable PDF that we’re going to share here in a minute. We’re going to start with customer awareness levels. When we talk about what can we talk about, we’ve got that list of things that we think are these are things that we could share. We also need to think about how much the customer is aware of us. In a difficult situation, customers don’t know who you are, and they don’t know that they need your product.

We’re working with a new company right now who is going to have to educate the market on their new service. That is a very difficult and costly proposition, but it also gives you the opportunity to be the leader in the market. But most likely, you are going to be in the customers who are aware of your product and they have a need, or customers who don’t know your product exists but know that they have a need for your product. Going back to working with us, they might be aware that they have a need for marketing, and they might have heard of us, but they’re not ready to sign up yet. Or it could be customers who might not know that websites exist, but they know that they have a need to market their business. When you think about that content, you take that list of things that we could talk about, we got to map it occasionally against this awareness levels because you’re going to approach that content in very different ways. If you’re talking to people who are ready to sign up, but they have not bought your product yet. For example, I’m not going to do a mailer that has “Purchase this video service for 25% off today.”

That’s not the type of customers we work with, for one. But with fast food and things of that nature, customers who are ready to sign it but haven’t bought from you yet, that top corner, that’s where a lot of people are with things like fast food or fast casual dining. Coupons can help push you across that level. And your business will be different based on your situation. We’re more in that middle two levels that customers who are aware of your product and that they have a need, and customers who don’t know that your product… But they know they have a need for your product. We’re somewhere in those two realms. But that is going to shape the way your content is communicated, because if you’re talking to people who already know who you are and things like that. You can leave a lot of details out. But occasionally, you need to have some introductory content or frame things in a way that people don’t know who you are to help communicate that a little better. The next component is content structures. What are ways that we can take that? What do we want to talk about when we shape it through how much people know about us?

What are some formats that we can stick that into? This is a list that we work with internally when we’re brainstorming content. Is it an announcement? That’s pretty plain and not clear. People know what an announcement is. Is there some community aspect that we can use? Maybe that’s helping people generate content for us or crowdsourcing information. Is there an expert opinion component to it where because we know what we’re talking about, we can give an insight on something that maybe others do not have, get to know you It’s like, here, introduce you to this person and what their skillset is or maybe their background or where they’re from or what they care about. Printing a guide or having a guide that can be downloaded, much like this webinar guide that you’re going to be shared I’ll talk to you here in a few minutes. Then with our holidays. There’s so many holidays that you could talk about, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute, but there’s different things there. How to, so step by step on What do you need to do to be successful with X thing that we know about?

Listical. List plus article. Listical. These were made famous by buzz feed back in the day. Can you create a list of things that are relevant to your customers based on that what can we talk about feature and then create a article that’s a list, a list article out of that? Can you use a meme to communicate these things or to make a customer laugh or to engage someone? Sometimes there’s a poll like, what color do we want to bring in this season type of thing. There’s an opportunity there. Asking a question of the community, get them to submit questions is a great way for engagement. Maybe a quiz that’s like, Hey, do you need cybersecurity support. That could be a quiz option. A special is like, we have something on sale today, and testimonial is like hearing from a community member or a customer that talks about how good you are doing. What we’re going to do as we work through here, eventually we’re going to map all these things together and be able to generate some frameworks for generating content. Once we’ve got the content structure, we have an opportunity to pick some mediums to accomplish these things.

This is another thing that we use internally when we’re thinking about how we build a piece of content. You can start with animation. We’ve got a great animator on our team, Ricky Santos. Or maybe it’s an audio file, so maybe you should start a podcast or it could be an episode for your podcast. Maybe it’s a PDF document, a short form, like here’s a guide, like this is going to turn into. Maybe it’s an e-book or a print book that you could have as a giveaway to people. Graphic, is it something that could be communicated quickly in a graphic, maybe an infographic, or maybe just like icons or shapes or like an illustrated type thing? Interactive, like that poll or quiz could be or a web page experience is a way to share something. Live video, so is this something that we could go live about? This is really great for things like the documentation of things? Is it something that could be communicated in a photo? Stories is a combination of several of these, but it’s really a content-specific placement. But it’s something that you should be thinking about on how to create content that’s shaped to stories and being active on those on a regular basis.

Is it something that we need to write? Is it a blog? Is it an article that we submit somewhere? There’s a text there. And Lorem Ipsum, for those of you who don’t know, is like, if you’re building a website or building a print document and you don’t have the actual text in there, there’s something called Lorem Ipsum. It’s filler text. So that’s why that’s used there. And then lastly, it’s like video. Is it something that we should make a video about to help explain it? And maybe that’s filmed with your phone, or maybe you go to a studio and record a really professional version of that. Related to that is thinking about what platforms is that content going to show up on? Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, or X. Is it going to be email marketing? Is it a podcast? Is it a YouTube video? Thinking through where that’s going to go or all the places that it’s going to go is going to affect the way you create the content. Keeping that in mind as you plan the content out is really important. We also like to think about what emotions do we want to elicit in the content?

Let me walk through these real quick. Obviously, happy. Do we want to make someone happy with the content we’re reading or creating? Do we want to make them sad? There could be good reasons to make someone sad about content. Do we make them angry about content? We need to be really careful about doing this. There are some things like politics that abuse this. Do we want to make someone feel cool? Like they know about something that nobody else knows about or they are excited about that for us. This is embarrassing. Did I write this down? I can’t remember what that face is. Curious or a shock. I’m sorry, it’s shocked. Do we want them to be shocked about the content? Sometimes, yeah, there could be a reason that an expert opinion could be shocking to someone. Do we want to funnel it that way? Because thinking about that emotion is going to help how you shape all the other parts of the content. Question, do we want them to make them curious about what’s happening? There’s a way that a video can make someone curious about the content that you’ve generated. Then the The last one is an internal joke here at Adelsberger Marketing.

It’s called pirate. The pirate emotion is honestly, when we made this list the first time, we needed one to round it out for the space that was in, and I just wrote pirate. It’s been a running joke in our company ever since. If you can make someone feel like a pirate, it’s never a bad idea. Then we want to think about holiday cultural events. We keep a running list for our brainstorming sessions for our content generation that we look at national holidays that are coming up in that quarter. Are there theme days like National Barbecue Day that we can utilize or manipulate, honestly? Then are there local holidays in our area, in my area in Jackson, Tennessee, which most of you are in, we have 731 day, Memphis has 901 day. Are there local holidays that we want to make sure that we capitalize on? I’ve talked really quickly through those. We’re going to walk through them a little bit slower here. We want to put it together in a Mad Lib type format. We’re going to take one category from each thing and then build a cohesive piece of content. Let’s walk through that again.

What can we talk about? We’ve made a list. We’re going to pick one out of there. Customer awareness level, which one of those four are we talking to? The content structure, what is the form of the content? The medium for the content, how are we producing that content? The platforms that it’s going to go on, and then what is the emotion that we want to trigger when we’re watching that? For example, a couple of years ago, we got a new camera. I really wanted to share about the new camera because it was super cool. It’s still super cool. But most people don’t care. But people that know us, people that are aware of us and are close to us, their customer level four, they’d be interested to know that we’ve got a camera that’s going to make our lives better and make the product that we make for them better. Content structure, it was an announcement that we had this new camera, and it was a video. We recorded a video that was funny, but ultimately, it wanted to be people to feel cool We used our smoke machines and our cool lights and made it interesting.

Then we were going to use it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and YouTube. We used it in a lot of different places. This is another way to think about it. If that’s not driving with your brain, it’s like, We’ve been needing to reach our customers who care about X, so it’s time for some content about X, and we’ll share it. We’ll share a blank, which is your medium on blank, which is your platform, to bring customers a sense of the emotion there. What I’d like to do now is I’m going to go back to that opening slide that has all that information on it. What I’d love for you to do is to take a minute and generate two or three ideas. Then when someone’s got one that they’re willing to share, I’d like you to raise your hand in the participants panel, and I’ll bring you up, and we’ll talk through it, and we’ll see if I have any feedback, or if you just do a great job, then you get to flex on everybody else in the audience. Take a moment and think about that, and then if someone raise their hand when they’ve got one following this methodology here.

Oh, I knew it would be. All right, Ginger Williams is allowed to talk. Ginger. I don’t know if I did this right, so I was scared. Can you hear me? I can hear you. Yeah. Okay. I don’t know if I did this right. I put down, We need to reach people who want to list their house for sale. I’m a realtor, and they don’t know who I am. So we need to do a get to know video so they feel like they know an expert they can trust. Is that what you were looking for? Yeah. I think that’s a really good… Because a lot of times you may assume that everybody knows you already. That’s right. I think that’s how I usually make my content. Just thinking about those four categories, I was like, I don’t know if I ever make content for people who don’t know me. Yeah, I do the same thing. It’s really easy to avoid that. That’s something I need to work on, too. Ginger, thank you so much for sharing. I’m going to disable talking, I guess. Anybody else want to share since Ginger was brave and broke the ice for everybody else?

All right. While you think about that, we’re going to make a really quick promotional stop since I’m doing this for free. Adelsberger Marketing, just three things I want you to know. One is we’ve got a podcast that we do every week, and you can get that for free on any of your podcast platforms or watch it on YouTube. We do our best to make really interesting content that is helpful for people who are in leadership or marketing or interested in company culture. The second thing is office hours at the Co. If you are intrigued by anything I have to say, I do a free office hours visit with the Co every second Tuesday. You can sign up for a 30-minute virtual meeting with ask me whatever you want about marketing. Let’s clarify that. Anything you want about marketing. I will do my best to answer that. Then the third thing is my team is available for brainstorming sessions for content. Those are $3,000 and they last about half a day. If you are in a place where you’re like, I need someone to help me generate lots of content ideas and work on an implementation plan, we’re the people to contact.

We would love to work with you on that. How do we ensure success? Let’s take this. Let’s say Ginger has come up with that idea like she did, or I’d come up with the video idea for us. How do we make sure that this happens? Well, the first thing is you can download this planner that I would recommend. You can scan that QR code. I’m also going to put it in the chat here, a link to download that 90 day resources. In that Google Drive folder, you’ll see two things. You’ll see the big PDF that has all the things that I just talked about and the Madlib set up, and then one that’s just the Madlib set up. If printing it out and filling it out is helpful to you, you can use that. First, you need to think about what’s a reasonable goal for content generation. Are you going to go crazy and do 10 pieces of content a week when you first start? Likely not. You’re setting yourself up for failure if that’s your goal. So what can we do to ensure success? We want to make sure we start by calendaring it out.

Let’s try for 2-3 pieces a week. Let’s get in the habit of doing it. Let’s make baby steps towards success. Let’s generate two pieces per week using this formula to try to get us there. Then we need to think about who’s responsible for making that happen. I know some of the people on this channel that I’m seeing are independent people and they work by themselves. Some of you are in large organizations. It might just be you that’s responsible. But if it’s not, who else needs to be involved? If you want to post it at a certain date and time, which I would recommend to do that, plan that ahead of time. When does it need to be ready to be approved or reviewed by whoever needs to approve or review it? What’s the timeline to create it? We’re working backwards from if we want to post something at 6:00 PM on Thursday, December seventh, how far in advance do we need to be working on that to get that done? A failure to plan is a plan to fail. Can we work on a timeline? I know this all of a sudden sounds like a lot more work than it does, but if anybody here is in the business of producing content on a regular basis, it is a lot of work.

How can we make sure that we’re breaking this down in a way that will help us be successful? Think about the timeline to create it and plan out the steps to do it. If that is every Monday, I’m taking an hour and I’m generating ideas using a framework to help me create a list of things, that’s one of the steps to be successful. Plan out all those steps to building that calendar out. I would recommend doing that calendar 2-3-4 weeks out at least so that you are, for me anyway, the mental load between starting an idea from scratch and then having to execute that idea are two very different loads on my brain. I like to separate those two activities as much as I can. For example, with our podcast, I generate ideas on that on a quarterly basis. Sometimes the team is involved, and I will write out a couple episodes ahead of time, and then I record them at a different time because the workload is different, and I need to separate those two things for me to be successful. Then is there accountability involved? Is there someone in your organization or is there someone that you can partner with to make sure that you’re doing the things that you say you’re going to do.

Accountability changes a lot of things. If you have to respond to someone who said, Hey, did you do that thing that you said you were going to do? And you have to say no, that is a motivating factor for a lot of people. And so can we motivate ourselves with accountability? And then this is a big one. I try to offload as many things from my physical brain as possible onto a digital brain. And so there was a time when I was producing a little video about my day every single day, and you’d think I’d remember to do that because I was doing it every day for almost a year. No, it didn’t help me remember it. I would forget it. And so I literally set reminders on my phone throughout the day and said, Hey, do you need to record anything? Have you recorded anything? In this instance, set reminders in your phone. If you’re going to try to do documentary content from behind-the-scene stuff, set reminders to remind you. It’s like, Have you posted anything behind-the-scenes today? Or set calendar events to say, Hey, this is what I’m working on content, or this content is due here.

Treat it like a work assignment and make a timeline to make it possible. I always am trying to figure out more ways to make my brain have to remember less things because that makes me successful. The second thing you want to think about is how do you maximize that content? If you are spending the time to generate content, how do we use it in as many places as possible to make us successful? So one, can you use it on multiple channels? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Now, you should think about, are there reasons for me to customize this by channel? Or can I remix this in several ways? So for example, with our podcast, I write the podcast, we record the podcast, then we turn it into a blog article, we turn it into a YouTube video, a audio podcast, and then we cut out clips of it that we put on social media. We put those in a lot of different places so that we feel like we’re maximizing the use of my time on content generation. Can you use it in multiple places? The next thing is tracking and analytics. Now, one thing I will caution you here is your initial analytics might not be encouraging.

That doesn’t mean that you should stop. It may mean that you need to rethink about what you’re doing. But my encouragement is to push through the first little bit, regardless of how the analytics show, so that you give yourself a chance to be successful over time. But what are ways that we can track that as well? Social media has built-in tracking tools, so you can see what’s happening. If you are working with something that ultimately people need to go to a website to learn more about, there is Google Analytics can track traffic coming from your social media channels. I know a lot of people don’t look at their Google Analytics on a regular basis, and you should. Then finally, you can use things like bitly links, which is bitly. The 90-day resource link that I dropped in the chat a minute ago is a bitly link. Essentially, what that is, it takes a longer link and shortens it with a title, and then allows you to see how many people clicked on that. Our church is currently hiring a new staff member. When I had the church administrator send out a Facebook social media post about it.

I made sure I got a bitly link so that I could just see quickly without having to go to Google Analytics or anything, how many people clicked on that. And so very quickly, I can look, just refresh a page every day and be like, Oh, yeah, 152 people or whatever we’ve clicked on this. Bitly links are great for quick tracking of things. And then, UTM parameters are something in Google that allows you to get a little bit more detailed on what that content came from or where that content was going. The other thing that you want to think about is sponsored posts. Do you have a budget that you can use? I mean, social media really requires some buy-in at this point of paid content. You shouldn’t necessarily boost everything that you do, but you should look for home runs to spend things on. If you have a piece of content that’s doing really, really well, I would drop 50 or $100 on it to promote it to more people. Then sometimes you need to design content just to be promoted. Using Ginger as an example, because she spoke up a minute ago, when she creates that About Me video and wants to show it to people who don’t know who she is, spending a couple of hundred dollars on that over a couple of months to just be latently out there introducing her to people on sponsored content would be a strategy that I think would be probably worth pursuing.

Investing some on sponsored posts is a great way to maximize our value on the content that we’re generating. Once again, this is the bitly, this is the QR code to scan to download this guide. What do you do now? Generate ideas. Spend some time generating ideas using that methodology. Spend some time sorting through the best ones, plot them out on the graphic on the last page of this guide. There’s a calendar that you can write dates in and put pieces of content on them. Then go to that, be accountable, Who’s going to help you make it happen? And then go to work. Put the work into progress, start making some content, and track it and see if you’re successful or not over time. Right now, I can check this bitly link and see that nine link clicks or nine scans have happened. So that’s the great advantage of bitly links. Ginger asked a question in the chat. Would love to hear more about how to decide which post to spend money on. When do you decide money on that? Only after it does well. There’s two thought processes I would generally bring to the table with this.

One is if I’ve got a piece of content that I wasn’t necessarily planning on sponsoring but that it’s crushing it and it’s helpful to my business, there’s two things there, then I would consider spending money on it. You might have a post that crushes it that doesn’t help your business. Our April Fool’s video every year for our company, we love April Fool’s videos at Adelsberger Marketing, especially making fun of things that are going on the community. This year, we made fun of the Bicentennial, and I got 200-year coins made for Adelsberger Marketing. We did a video about that each year type of thing. I love that people see that and get excited about that. It’s really difficult to run ads on a video for one day, and so we don’t typically spend money on that, even though it usually does very well because people are engaging with it. But there could be a post like when we release our demo reel video for the year and we review the things that we’ve done in the past. If it does really well, we usually put some money on it to help promote it. The third category that I think about is, are there things that we are doing that we want people to see?

The webinar sign up was something that I was like, We’re going to spend money on this because if nobody shows up, this was a waste of time, and I’ve wasted my time and the time of my team to design the slides and the graphics that Katie was doing for the webinar download and things of that nature. That’s something I want to promote. I have a set budget that we will use for things that I know that we need to promote. We also promoted it organically and natively, and we found partners to promote it, too. The CO was always really nice to share our webinars that were coming up. But we did spend money on that so that we either think of organic content that’s going to help our business do well, that’s doing really well, or things that we know we want to promote and make people see. The stuff that we know What we want to promote that we’re going to make people see is really more of that right hook stuff, generally. It’s the things that are going to make a really difference in the set up for the business. I hope that answers that question.

If there’s any other questions, now it’s a great time to ask it, or I’m going to shut it down in just a minute. Chris Anne asked about the link. I put another one in the chat, but I will also email you one after this call to get a link for the PDF if you don’t have it now. All right. Well, thank you all so much for your time in coming to the webinar, and I hope you’ll have a wonderful day. If we can ever be of help, check out that 90 day. I’m sorry. Check out that Office Hours with the Co. We’ll be taking questions from people in about a week. Hope you have a great day. Thank you so much.

Brainstorming Webinar | Content Machine Ep. #53

Yeah. So let’s dive into brainstorming. We love brainstorming at Adelsberger Marketing. It’s one of the things that we do with all of our clients to make sure that we’ve got fresh content and good ideas moving forward. And so we’re going to walk through our framework for it and then some details on the actual exercise and then some practical how-tos on the back-end. Once again, feel free to put your questions in the chat section, and we’ll just dive on it then with the framework. When we think about the framework, we’re thinking about the who, what, when, why, and where for something like that. We’re going to start with the who. This is actually a picture of us doing a brainstorming engagement with a small bakery here in Jackson. When we start with the who of a brainstorming session, we need to make sure the right people are at the table. What does that mean? There’s really three groups of people that I think need to be represented at a brainstorming session. Sometimes these groups of people cover multiple categories. But when we do a brainstorming session, the first thing is, are the right stakeholders at the table?

Or in this case, the insiders? These are people who care about the organization. These are people who understand how things work on a day-to-day level in the organization. And they’re people who have a vision for where the organization can go. You want to have people at the table that care about the place, that understand some of the details, because as an outsider, like I am to most of these situations, my concept of how things might work might be a little bit less connected to reality than it actually is. Then frequently, the best people at a brainstorming session are insiders or stakeholders who also think about the organization as a whole and maybe not just about their job and think about vision for the organization. The second group of people on the who is who are outsiders. Outsiders that are involved in the strategy session can bring a lot of value to the table. Why is that? Well, when we’re talking with just insiders, sometimes we’re talking about things from a five-foot view, like we’re looking at the grass. As a consultant or an outsider, you can get further perspective from the problem. We’re maybe not caught up in the politics of the organization or some of the issues that are currently existing in the organization.

While you might be looking at blades of grass from a five-foot perspective, a consultant can come in and see the entire map. And so that gives an outsider consultants or outsiders as in team members that aren’t in that department, or maybe that are on the board of an organization can help give better framework for who needs to be involved. And then finally, leadership from that organization needs to be involved. People who can make the decisions that are going to implement these things can be really helpful to have in these situations. They might not always contribute a lot, and sometimes they contribute too much, but we need people to be bought into the process so that when they are ready to start implementing these things, they have an advocate in the company. The second thing when we think about the who, what, when, why, and where, is we want to make sure that people have the permission to think. Do people in your culture have permission to speak and share ideas? I don’t really love the phrase safe space, but this is kind of an applicable concept here. It’s like, are people enabled and encouraged to have permission to, frankly, be able to say, Hey, I don’t think this is working really well, or, These are things that are going well.

And occasionally, I’ve seen organizations where there’s people who care and they’re not able to speak freely, and that’s a bad recipe for a brainstorming session. So does the culture of your organization allow for ideas, or do leadership just shut people down? This is something that I have to work on a lot as a business owner, is making sure that I’m encouraging my people to share. One of the helpful tools in that comes from the world of improv. Instead of saying but to a question, so we’ve got our team will come up with ideas for things in our brainstorming sessions. And my first instinct is to say, Well, but this won’t work because… And so in the improv world, the rule is yes, and. So instead of saying, But I have a problem with that, you can say yes and and help pivot that idea or add to that idea. It can be really dampening to a session when a leadership team is crushing ideas in a phase that they’re not supposed to be crushing ideas. I’m guilty of this as well. Something I have got to work on this on a regular basis is making sure that I’m saying yes and…

We’ll talk about this more in a second. We’re not here to talk about detailed implementation things because there’s going to be lots of issues and sticking points in detailed implementation. But we want to somehow… We’ll merge that gap in a little bit, but at the early phase, we want to make sure that people have the freedom to put ideas out there to get things going. Another thing that is helpful to setting people up is inspiration. Inspiration. And so inspiration is a component that allows us to just get the brain flowing a little bit. We love watching fun, creative YouTube videos at the beginning of a brainstorming session or after a break at a brainstorming session. It gives us an opportunity to just think about the world a little bit differently. And so we always start with an interesting video. And then the other thing is, as we think about permission to think, we also love prompts at our company. So instead Instead of just saying, Here, brainstorm about this, most of our brainstorming is around marketing and messaging and content ideas. We have some prompts here that we use. This is actually a slide that we use in our strategy sessions where these are four prompts that we use to help people think about ideas that will be helpful.

Because sometimes we did a competition at a company baby shower yesterday where it’s like, name the whomever can list the largest number of songs that involve the word baby. And that’s all well and good, but it’s difficult to do not in context. And so later, I wish I had just thought I should just focus on nativity songs and just go through every Christmas song that I could think of because that would have been a prompt for me. That would have been more successful. I did lose that game. These are four questions that we love. My favorite one is if I had a million dollars. This works in a lot of brainstorming sessions. It’s like, Okay, if you had a million dollars to do this, to solve this problem, what would you do? The great thing about the million dollars is it really opens people’s brain. Then you can scale it back or think of creative ways to execute those things. My team laughs because in every brainstorming session, my answer to if I had a million dollars is I would buy a blimp. I would buy a marketing blimp, and I would fly it in front of my customers’ offices to promote their businesses because it would be hard to ignore, and it would be a lot of fun to do.

The next part of that format is when. When should you do a brainstorming session? Well, I think two or three answers here. One, if you don’t have a specific goal in mind, but you’re wanting to make plans for the future, a regular basis is a good thing. We do one every quarter for all of our clients that we have reoccurring marketing for. But if you’ve got something coming up that you need to brainstorm about, so it’s like, let’s say you have a big event or you’re getting ready for your annual planning for the next year, what are things you need to think about? Well, let’s do it far enough in advance that we can put these plans into place. A couple of months in advance But sometimes you’re going to have urgent ASAP things, and so then it’s like you get it on the calendar as soon as possible. But my advice there is that you have a very targeted approach for what you’re brainstorming about. Brainstorm about a thing and be practical in that brainstorming session, and you’ll be setting that table. We’ll talk about that more in a second. Then where? Where should you do a brainstorming session?

You can literally do a brainstorming session anywhere, but the best ones are going to be a place where you can focus. Off-site is great because off-site brings less distractions for people, and it could help just make your brain feel a little bit more creative being in a different environment. Then you want to cut out distractions because, and as I like to say, distractions are death. And so can you be in a place that you’re going to not have distractions? Can you ask everybody to turn their phones off? Can you make sure that their laptops, if they’re using laptops, are not pinging every time they get an Outlook message in or you turn off Slack? Being able to cut out the distractions and stay in the moment and stay alert and focused on what you’re brainstorming on is going to pay benefits. Along with that is making sure where you’re at has coffee and snacks or caffeine and snacks. Potentially, some background music is good. We love like, Lo-Fi playlists, Lo-Fi beat playlists on Spotify and things of that nature. And then another component is you want to have walls, and we’ll talk more about Post-it notes in a minute.

We like using walls, and whiteboards are a lot of fun as well. So if you have a place that you can be quiet, it can be quiet around you, you can cut out distractions, and you can have coffee and snacks and walls and whiteboards, you’re You’re set up for a good time. And then the final part of that format is why. When we think about what makes a good subject, we want to make sure that we’re setting people up to be successful in these brainstorming sessions. How do we do that? Well, one, we have a clear point of focus. Now, it may be content that you want to generate. It could be marketing strategies. It could be new customer recruitment. It could be what are ways that we can facilitate referrals from one business to another. So a clear point of focus is very helpful for people. I believe strongly that everybody is creative. And the best people who are creative paint to all the corners of the box that they’re working in. Because if you don’t have a box to work in, you’re going to paint on all sorts of things that don’t affect what you’re trying to do.

And so we need to make sure that we communicate what that box is for the brainstorming. And so if we’re talking about new customer recruitment and you’re focused on brainstorming about safety methods at your office building or in your driving for your company, you’re going to be a little off base and not super productive for that. So having a clear point of focus and helping paint the box that people are going to be looking at is important. And then from there is clearly communicating the subject or the problem. You’re laying helpful groundwork so that people can approach it and understand what’s happening. If you are talking about that customer referral problem, you need to make sure that people understand where you’re at, how you’ve gotten here, things you’ve tried already, and people that you’ve worked with. Helping them ask any questions ahead of the time before the brainstorming starts can help them focus and have a clear thought. Then you want to understand the goals of the session. Is the goal to come up with a bunch of ideas? Is the goal to create a proposal to bring to a new set of people?

That will help some of the next components when we talk about what we do with all these ideas. But being able to communicate all that ahead of time is super helpful for people. All right, moving right along here. The main exercise. So now we’re going to walk through the actual mechanical parts of how we do a brainstorming session. So these sessions to do them well, it’s like working out a new muscle. It takes time to strengthen that. I agree with you, Mark. I think everyone is creative. I work with a lot of accountants. They tend to say they’re not creative, and I think that’s a lie. But in my business, in our marketing business, we’re very incentivized to use our creative muscles on a regular basis. Other businesses, not so much. We’ve worked that muscle out, we flex it, and we have tools in place to help us do it better. We love to use post-it notes in our brainstorming session. If any of you have been a part of a brainstorming session, you’re likely have used post-it notes. How do we use post-it notes? Well, one, we put one idea or phrase per post-it note, and we use Sharpies.

Why do we use Sharpies? This came from William Donnell. Let me give him credit for that. If you have a Sharpie, you’re less likely to write a novel on your post-it note than you are with a pen. And so sharpies help us write less and write larger, but also make it more visible from a distance. So if you’re in a conference room and all the ideas are on the wall, like behind me, being able to see those from a distance is very helpful. So how do we put one idea or phrase on a Post-it note? Let’s talk about if we were to be using pizza toppings, for example. If I was to ask you to write one idea or phrase for post-it note, let’s start with your favorite pizza toppings. This would be the wrong way to do it. In some people, there’s inevitably almost one person in every session who does this. But you want to not list them all on one post-it note. Listing them all on one post-it note is problematic for a few reasons, which we’ll go to in a second. The proper way to do it is to say, Okay, I’ve got pepperoni.

I like pepperoni, I like cheese, I like mushrooms, I like tomato sauce. Just to be clear, this is not actually my list because I don’t like mushrooms on my pizza. But then what you end up with is you’ll have four different post-it notes that you can use with the team, and we’re going to talk about how we use that in a minute. That’s an important structure component on using your Post-it notes correctly so that you’re able to get your ideas out and be seen by people. Now we’re back to the post-it notes. Why do we do that? One, They’re easy come, easy go. We can throw Post-it notes away. If you get stuck, you can draw a picture while you wait, or if you misspell something, you can throw a Post-it away. Not a big deal. It gets everybody’s ideas out on the table. In some organizations where there’s a heavy leadership perspective that can be hindering to other people participating. And some people, I’m a very loud person. For those of you that you’ve been in meetings with me, I’m not afraid to have my voice heard, whether I’m right or wrong. And some people are less willing to speak up.

Having a set up with this Post-it Notes allows everybody an equal playing field to getting their ideas out. It also allows us to do some group sorting so that we can see groups of ideas and sort things to see if there’s themes that are coming up in different areas. And then it also helps us to be able to have individualized ideas in a tactile way that people can engage with on the wall. And so if we were to do the structure and timeline, here’s what we like to do. So we’ve gone through what our concept is. We’ve gone through the box we’re coloring in. We’ve gone through some of the background, and everybody has Post-it notes and Sharpies. And we like to say, Here’s two minutes, here’s some prompts. Go through that. And it gives everybody a chance to put out Post-it notes. Maybe it’s pizza toppings, or maybe it’s like, Who are your biggest competitors in this space? Sometimes everybody answers the same thing, but usually one or two people speak up in a way that wasn’t featured previously. We then sort those ideas. In our instance, when we give our team time to come with a big scope of ideas, they’ll come up sometimes with three, sometimes they’ll come up with 15.

We actually limit what we submit to the group so that we can maximize our time together, and we have people sort them into their top three, two or three ideas to share But then we also, if we’re in a group situation where we’re hearing from the customer, we’ll put all the ideas up on the wall, and then we’ll help group those by theme, if there’s a theme. And then also that could give us an opportunity to vote on those, and we’ll talk about those more in a second. We’ll discuss them as we go up, especially if it’s a concept that is new. If we’re talking about a new content idea, we would have someone like, Hey, you wrote X on this card. We don’t really know what that means. Can you help elaborate a little bit as we put it up on the wall? That helps us all get a little grasp of what they’re talking about. Then if we’ve hit on a theme that we need to expand upon or we see by the ideas that someone missed the concept, or we want to drill in on one idea that was like, Everybody talked about introducing a video for this customer, but we didn’t get into what type of video it is, we’ll then have a second brainstorming component under for two minutes or whatever, talking about concepts for that video.

Everybody then is submitting, Okay, these are ideas for the video. We all want to do a video. These are ideas on what the video should be. Now, there’s two exercises I’ll recommend here if you’re thinking about doing a brainstorming session. One is broad context. When I say broad context, I mean like, Hey, let’s all write down what we think are ideas that we need to work on improvement with, or what are things that are biggest issues? I want everybody to list what our biggest issues as a company are, which could be a really dangerous question. Or it could be like, Okay, we want to do marketing this year. What are some ideas for marketing? Very broad. Another activity that we What we really like is our sailboat activity. It’s not necessarily our sailboat activity, but it’s a pretty common brainstorming exercise. In a second, I’m going to put a QR code up and you can download a PDF with this graphic so you don’t have to try to steal the screenshot or anything. Katie Hauerton on our team did this art. It’s really good. But when we look at the sailboat exercise, we look at four different things.

One, what is the wind in our sails? What are the things that are going really, really great right now? How What is this pushing us forward? Is it like a referral business? Is it our team that’s really crushing it? Is it like the mission of organization? Everybody aligned on that. What are the things that are helping push us forward? Two, what are the anchors? What are the things that are internal factors that are slowing our company down. We were working with a group recently, and it turns out that there was a HR structure issue that was really hurting the hiring process. We had a really robust discussion about it that we felt like was a helpful thing for the other organization. Not directly marketing-related, but a lot of times we find in these conversations, there’s things that come out of these that aren’t marketing-related that can really help the company thrive. Anchors are internal issues that are slowing down the company. Then we go to Rocks. Rocks are external factors that are dangerous to the company. That may be competition, that could be legislation, that could be a lot of different things. We want to get those out on the table so we have an idea of what those might be.

Then finally, the island is like, What is our ideal? That’s where we’re wanting to go. What’s our ideal situation? We’re trying to get there. This activity, I’ll put this QR code up on the screen if you want to download the sailboat PDF. The great thing about the sailboat activity is as an outsider, it helps us get some better grasp of things that are going on inside. But then also between the people in the company, depending on who’s in the room, it can also create an to share something that maybe people didn’t know about in the past. They might not have understood that the rock, the anchor, was something that people viewed as an anchor, and they’re like, Well, we can change that. So it creates a good opportunity for speaking. We’re going to talk about what to do with these ideas in just a second. I’m going to take a second just to promo us just a little bit. Most of you on this know who we are. But even if you know who we are, I want you to know we have a podcast that we put out on a regular basis that has helpful content for marketing and leadership and culture development at a company.

Every month on the second Tuesday of the month or second Wednesday of the month, I do an Office Hours with the Co. You can sign up for that at the Co. What is that It’s a free 30-minute window to get marketing consultation. If you have some questions that you want to talk to me about marketing, you can sign up for that. It’s free. It’s through the Co. It’s awesome. Then we have one more webinar coming up on on December fifth. It’s the 90-day content plan. We’ll touch on a little bit on brainstorming on December fifth, but we’ll be talking about practical steps about focusing that on content generation, and then how do we build a calendar from that. Then also, just so you know that we do marketing. We do design and video and websites and marketing services in general. Since you’re here, you get to hear that pitch. All right, so let’s talk about what do we do with all these ideas. You and your team or you your organization have just done brainstorming, and you’ve got a lot of Post-it notes on the wall. There’s a lot of different ideas. How do we do with those?

Well, first thing that I recommend is that you collect those ideas, reference them, put them all in a Google Doc or Excel note that everybody can access. We love Google Docs because everybody can edit that. And we like to keep them as a list. And I reference those lists very regularly, especially when we do content meetings, I will reference that note before I meet with the customer the next time to go through what was our top ideas and what are some other things that we should be thinking about with them. Keep those there. The second thing would be is to sort those ideas. There might be similar ideas sorted. There might be some themes, like let’s say video or let’s say the sidewalk at our business is broken up and cracked up and everything. And so think about those themes and see if those themes require further brainstorming. When you get within that, you can rank and vote ideas as well. We like to do this a couple of different ways. The biggest way is with our post-it notes on the wall, with them grouped, we I’ll give everybody a sheet with stickers on it.

That sheet with stickers, like the little dots or stars, like metallic stars that we all got as well. I say we all got. I got very few, but hopefully everybody We got some on good behavior charts in school. Then everybody gets a couple of those stars or a couple of those stickers, and they can upvote their ideas a little bit like Reddit. The groups that have the most stickers on them are people indicating that these are valuable or important to them. That can help because depending on how many people you have participating, you might have 50 ideas on the board. Getting the company to buy in on those ideas and knowing that three-fourths of the group are excited about this particular idea is really important. The second component that when we think about what we do with these ideas is working on mapping out effort and impact. This next grid is something I’ve borrowed from a few different places. But this impact and effort grid is a great tool to help focus what your next steps should be. There’s four categories here, two Two good categories, two bad categories. The worst one is filler tasks in my book.

Filler tasks are things that are… Actually, hard slogs are probably the worst, but filler tasks are something that’s easy to do but also has very little impact. Now, sometimes you need filler tasks to help keep people busy or to help produce a little bit of content to keep your social media active. Hard slogs are high effort, low impact. Actually, hard slogs are the worst ones for sure. You want to avoid those. And it’s important to be honest from a group perspective as you put ideas on this grid. We actually use a whiteboard to draw this grid out. Then we put, as people bring their top ideas, we help sort those into these categories. Hard slogs are something that you need to be honest about and you want to avoid if you can. Quick wins are the gold category here. It’s high impact, low effort. These are things that you want to implement right away because you can do it tomorrow and it should have a big impact for the company. Of course, big projects are high impact, high effort. Not to say that they aren’t doable. Starting a new website project is a big impact, big effort, and you can’t do it tomorrow.

It’s going to take some time. But it’s something that we need to understand what the true cost of this is before we pursue it. I would also add that between these four categories, in our sessions, we don’t allow the person to rank their own idea. We have the crowd help rank that because there could be things that you may not understand. For example, let’s go back to video. We do a lot of video production. Someone might say, Hey, let’s do a motion graphics video talking about these things. That person doesn’t make the motion graphics video, so they’re maybe not understanding all the components that move it from a quick win to a big project. Being able to talk about these and help the ideas get into the right spots on the grid is super important. Then the next thing from there, once we’ve got these ideas sorted, is there could be an opportunity for round two to iterate on an idea. We talked about this a minute ago with the video component where people might say, Hey, we want a video, and then we brainstorm on what that video is. But in this category, when we’re looking at the impact and effort grid, we might want to iterate, which is to come up with new versions of things that are in the big project or the quick wins category.

If there is a content idea in the quick wins category, it may be worth talking about as a team. It’s like, Okay, what are different ways that we could do this to make a good execution? Then the last phase of what to do with this idea is the thing that irritates me the most in the world is when I meet with someone or we present ideas to a company and everybody’s like, Yeah, let’s do it, and then they never do anything with it, or we do a consultation, and then they just leave it on the table. I got super excited a few weeks ago. We presented a strategy session to a customer, like the results of it. Since the strategy Some ideas come out in the strategy session, and then we come back and talk about details. Between the time of having the strategy session and going and presenting was about a four-week time period because of schedules. They had already started acting on ideas that we had talked about in the strategy session. That’s my drug of choice is people putting into action what we’ve been talking about in a marketing sense. It was a lot of fun.

The next component is, how do you take detailed implementation steps to make this a reality. If you’ve got your high impact activities, you need to assign those to a person. You need to assign a timeline to those. You need to break down those steps to make it a reality. That can be done as a group as well, depending on how much time you have as a team, is to say, Okay, we’re going to work on these three ideas that everybody voted on, that are the three ideas in the quick wins or the big projects category. What do we need to do to make this reality? The who and the what and the when and the why and the where are super important to turning those ideas into reality. And that’s where the magic hits the road. One thing we’ve been really encouraging people to in last year is look at EOS I know, I see Sabrina is in here. Eos is at Huntsville Coca-Cola. We’ve been recommending it to a lot of people because it’s a great way to take ideas and turn them into action. It’s a 90-day mentality of like, Okay, We’ve got these 10-year goals, which work into one-year goals, and how do we make progress on those in a 90-day window?

That’s an idea that we’ve been really pushing with our customers this year because Because EOS can really work with us as well, working with us. Thinking through the detailed implementation, how to make things a reality, is the last thing that you do with those ideas. Being able to revisit those ideas in the Google Doc or having some follow-up meeting to have accountability on that is super important. That’s the webinar on brainstorming. We talked about the framework and making sure people have permission We’ve talked about the main exercise and how that works out in a practical manner. Then we talk about what to do with these ideas once we’ve generated them. Got a minute for questions here. If anybody has any, you can put those in the chat. But if not, we would invite you back to our next webinar, which is our 90-day content plan. That’s on December fifth at 11:30. There’s no other questions. I’m not seeing anything coming through, but I appreciate all of your time. I’m glad that you all were here, and I hope it was beneficial. If you ever… We do offer a brainstorming service for people, but we can talk about that a later time if you want to.

Thank you all for your time, and I hope you have a great day.

Time Management Webinar | Content Machine Ep. 52

Thank you all for showing up. It looks like we’ve got the chat function figured out. In interest of time, we’re going to jump right into it because today we’re talking about time management. Thank you all for joining. We’re going to talk about three phases in this seminar today. There’s going to be philosophically about time management. There’s going to be talking about calendars specifically. Then we’re going to talk about some really practical implications of things that I’ve learned in the last 10 years of owning my own business about how to maximize my time. Let’s start philosophically. When we think about time management, we want to think about the why on some of those things. Why do we want to manage our time? Why is that important? But the first philosophical thing that I want to talk about is, and this may be a surprise to you, is really rest. And so I’m a big believer in rest, and our goal should not be just to maximize the time that we have to work, but working effectively within that time. And so what does that mean? It’s not just like, can I have more hours to get stuff done?

 

But can I be more effective in those hours that I do have? And I’m a big believer that if you are taking breaks and having rest, you’re going to be more effective during the remaining hours that you’re working. And so I wanted to anchor our conversation in that because I think it’s something that a lot of people overlook when they’re thinking about time management. A couple of other things about rest. One of my favorite authors in a podcast, or I really enjoy, is Blair Enz. He’s the author of The Win Without Pitching Manifesto. And he said, Time off for the entrepreneur is not a reward for hard work. It’s a recharge time required for your creativity and energy needed to do your job. Prioritize it ahead of everything else. Now, That may not work for everybody. You could be under a deadline or something. There could be other issues there. But in general, I find that I’m more ready to work Monday morning if I’ve taken Sunday off. I’m more ready to work every morning if I have the evening off with my family. And ready to work means I have the energy to do it, I have the focus to do it, and I’m not getting close to being burnt out.

 

So rest gives us the energy to work, and we work better rest, and rest gives additional meaning to work. Because I love my work, and many of you probably do it as well, but what are things that add meaning to that work? And things that give us meaning to that are things that happen outside of work. Rest, doing things that we enjoy, like audiobooks or gaming, like Michael mentioned in the chat, is that it helps add value to what you’re doing in your work and helps you stay motivated. Finding time off. There’s some biblical basis for this, but I’m also a big believer in just one full day off a week. For me, that’s Sunday. Very rarely will you find me doing anything Adelsberger marketing related on a Sunday. Occasionally, I have customers who are churches, and so that prevents that. But having a day off that I avoid doing any work allows me to disengage, and I feel ready for Monday morning when it comes because I’ve had to recharge my batteries. Days that that doesn’t happen, some days that I don’t get off or I may be too busy with other things, I can feel that really heavily the next morning.

 

Then I think a similar principle applies through your day for your normal work day. Going nonstop will have diminishing returns at some point. And so whether that be checking out for lunch or having a networking lunch that maybe is a little bit less of an effort or less stressful for you, or using a to take small breaks throughout the day, which is something I’m a big believer in, giving you a couple of opportunities to get throughout the rest of the day, which will help you to do more work in the long run and better work in the long run. The next part of the philosophical component is, why are you managing your time? I’m a big believer in introspection and thinking about why we do things and how we feel about certain things. Why are you managing your time? It can help motivate you to make the changes that you need to make. A couple of reasons that you might be thinking about why to manage your time. Maybe you have too much work to do. There’s too many demands facing you. Maybe you have big projects to work on, so you need times of dedicated, focused focus to ship a product or finish a writing assignment or whatever it may be, and you need to find more time for that.

 

Maybe you’re struggling with work-life balance and you want to be there more for your kids and your family or your friends. And so maybe managing time, that’s maybe your motivator. And maybe you’re trying to build a different future for you and your family. So maybe you’re working before or after work or at lunch breaks to achieve a goal beyond your normal work. And so when we think about why we’re managing our time, it’s an anchor that we can go back to to say, I’m making changes in how I’m doing this, or I’m cutting out distractions when I’m doing this so that I can accomplish and establish these things that are important to me. The next component is a classic time management question: what’s important versus what’s urgent? Now, one thing I want to start with is, who defines that for you? Some people, like myself, I get to largely define that for myself because I’m an entrepreneur and I don’t have anybody telling me what to work on and when. But for example, people on my team, I help define what’s urgent and what’s important for them. And so How do we separate that out?

 

Well, urgent is like it’s on fire and it’s in your front lawn and you need to take care of it before it burns the house down. A decent portion of my day is dealing with urgent things. Important is generally something more important in the long term. In the business world, I compare this to working on a business instead of working in the business. For me, working on the business is the thing that helps deliver long long term value. So in building a network and building connections and helping promote the business or working on the business, this webinar, for me, is working on the business. This webinar for me is working on the business, and I have dedicated Mondays to almost exclusively working on our business. So our staff meetings are on Monday. My one-on-one with my team is on Monday. I wrote most of this webinar on a Monday because that’s time I’ve set aside to just work on the business. The rest of the week, I could be working in the business. That could be writing copy for a website or running a strategy session or writing a strategy report. The big component there is if you’re not making time for the important and you’re only working on the urgent, you’re limiting your long-term potential.

 

That may look different based on what your role is. You might have a role that’s just saying you need to work on what’s urgent. But ideally, and I am in a good workplace, everybody gets an opportunity to work on important things so that over the course of time, they can all improve. And then also, just a little soapbox. I’m really tired of people who say they’re too busy for stuff. I’m as busy as most human beings, if not more so. And when you say yes and then don’t follow up on it, it’s not because you are too busy, it’s generally because you didn’t make it a priority enough. And so when you think about something urgent and important and you think about your commitments, it’s all about what you prioritize enough to keep your word. The next section on the component of philosophy is knowing thyself. Thinking about when you as a person, when do you work best? I work best in the mornings. I can get a lot done before noon, and then I’m more tired in the afternoon. I try to shift meetings to the afternoon so that I can get better work done in the morning for myself and for our business and for our clients.

 

So when do you work best? You might be a late night person and an afternoon person. I have worked on rearranging my life to get me better working hours in the morning so that I can get more done. And I also know that if I don’t go to bed by 9:30, I’m going to be in a bad spot the next day. So I have initially cut out many things in my life to make sure that I can do that. Also, Also knowing yourself, what does rest look like for you? Is that going for a bike ride? Is that going for a hike? Is that watching a movie? Is that cooking a meal? What does rest look like for you? And can you figure out what that is and the most restful things you can do, then work that into your schedule? Another thing about knowing thyself is, what are distractions for you? Now, we’ll talk more about distractions in a moment. But the question is, What are things that are preventing you from optimizing your time? There’s a lot of them in this current culture. Then the power of no and yes. So yes, it’s a classic that every time you say yes to something, it’s a no to something else.

 

When you think about what you are doing and you’re saying yes to everything, you’re going to end up saying no to other things because you are capitalizing on the time that you have. You only have so much time. That’s a classic thing, but a lot of people need some instruction in that. Then finally, when do you need a break? Burnout is a real thing. I’ve dealt with burnout before, and I work a lot. Can you do maintenance on yourself to help the burnout be delayed, or can you examine what is causing that burnout? A lot of times, for me, it usually goes back to, I’ve had too many things required of me that I’m trying to accomplish, or I’ve gone too long without breaks and I’ve pushed too hard. And so trying to examine those opportunities to say, How does that work out for myself? It’s hard to give you a blanket statement on all those things because it’s going to change a little bit for each person. The next thing is we want to know the difference between proactive and reactive on your scheduling and on your time management. Management. Throughout the course of the day, regardless of who you are or what your job is, your schedule is likely to be torn to shreds before too long.

 

And so at that point, you become reactive to what’s happening around you instead of proactive. And my goal each day is to push back that event horizon as far as possible. How can I get as much time where I’m in charge of the schedule, where I’m being proactive and working ahead of things before people start getting a hold of me and changing my priority list. And so I start early in the day. I have a ridiculous schedule. I don’t recommend it for many people. But when you think about how to start The earlier you start, the less likely people are going to bother you. And things like turning your email notifications off and making sure that you block time off on your schedule to get things done. And then I also encourage you to build buffers into your time management zones so that if something does start to go wrong, you can have time to get back on schedule. When I used to work in a real physical building in a company, I was usually the first one in the building. Besides feeling like you’re cooler than everybody else, you also have an opportunity to be proactive on your day and be ahead of everybody else.

 

Then the communication around that can be really helpful as long as you work together with your people. The last component on the philosophical thing is we’ve talked about why we wanted to have management, but we should also think about what our goals for each day are. Sometimes in some of our works, and I know some of the people in the chat in the attendee list, some of our goals, sometimes it’s hard to know if we’ve been successful on any given day. That can be demoralizing for me as I’m sure it can be for you. Each day in my daily planner, which we’ll take a look at in a minute, I set out three goals for that day. I try to remind myself, if I’ve accomplished these three things that I’ve done well for that day, and that same mentality can apply to the entire week, what are some of the things that I have to accomplish this week? Knowing that if I accomplish them, I’ve done good work. Then taking that out, we like to think about things in a 90-day framework. What will make this quarter successful? Last year, we started developing our EOS framework.

 

If you haven’t heard of EOS, it’s a great book for leadership development and for working on your organization instead of just in your organization. Eos wants you to break it down and look at a 10-year goal in 90-day increments, which seems like a lot of craziness and planning, but it’s really not. It gives you an opportunity to get We started there. We have company goals in 90-day increments now. We haven’t hit all of those, but that helps us get to the future that we’re trying to get to. Something you should think about, is this calendar? Is schedule helping me to be more of who I want to be? Then take that information and go back to our reason for managing our time. And then hopefully, you’ll make sense of this. Is this calendar reflective of the fact that I’m going to drink some water? You’re free to put questions in the chat. Chris is going to help us manage those. And then we’ll move on to the next segment, which is the super exciting section of calendaring. Calendering is not fun. I don’t know that anybody gets super jazzed about it, but we’re talking about time management, so we have to do it.

 

I think of calendering in two components. The first one is the calendar versus schedule. Now, I use two things to manage my time every day. One is my digital calendar, which we use Google Calendar within our company. Then I use a written schedule every day to help block out those individual moments of tasks that we need to work on. For our digital calendar, what goes on there? That’s for things like appointments and maybe some regular scheduled block lots of time, things that are super crucial and urgent that if you don’t put on the calendar, you could get disrupted from, so finishing a report on time. But the more things are on that, you might start to miss the value of it. This is actually what my calendar looks like next week. And normally this calendar is a lot more chaotic because it has all of our team members on it and my personal calendar and my wife’s calendar. But as you can see, most things on here are appointments except for a couple of components. Internal Mondays, like I mentioned a little while ago. Internal Mondays is when I put that time on the calendar on repeat every Monday, and we do our very best to not have any client meetings during those times.

 

Very rarely does it happen. If there’s some specific need, we will do that, but it’s very rare. And so we’ll have our staff meeting. I’ll have a one-on-one with some of my team members. I’m recording podcasts that day, and reviewing ads for future webinars because there’s two more of these coming up in this series. But the other time block on there is K-A sales time. And so this is a pretty sensitive period of time, although I’m actually going to be out for part of it for something for my children. But that is time that I have locked in so that I make sure that I’m doing the things that I have to do, which is business development for our company. I’m spending a couple of hours on that every week, and I work on doing that there. But the rest of those things are appointments where we are going to someone’s office, we’re having a Zoom, we are having meetings with outside people. We try to keep all of those things on the calendar. Krista, who is awesome and helps us manage all of our projects in our timeline, when she’s trying to schedule a new strategy session or a new meeting, she can access that and see where our meetings are.

 

So it’s very clear there. I also don’t want to get confused here about what I have to be at and what I need to be doing, if that distinction makes any sense. I have to be doing sales development, but Krista It shows that Mondays and Tuesdays, if we absolutely had to, we could schedule something, but we try not to. But I have to be at that kid’s appointment. I have to be at that industrial strategy session. And so the rest of that time is left open, and I manage that on a time-blocking microschedule. What does that mean? We love time-blocking. If you’ve got a to-do list, which we’ll talk about in a second, you need to be able to take those tasks and put them on time. Because if you don’t have time dedicated for those tasks, nothing is going to happen. For me, each day I use this, it originated in the best self journal, which is a paper journal that I can recommend to people. But I got a remarkable tablet I built a few years ago. I really love it. If you’ve been in any meetings with me, you know that I really love it.

 

I’ve created a PDF version of this document, and there’ll be a link in a second where you can download some of my best self journal files or my knockoff best self journal files. The print book is awesome. I just do everything in this remarkable journal. And so what you see here is there’s an opportunity for gratitude and goals for the year, longer term goals, usually 90 day goals, but then three big targets for the day. And if I’ve done all three of those things, I will know that I’ve done well that day. The thing I really want to focus on is the time blocking. So this was actually my time blocking for today. And so when I got up at 4:15 in the morning, from 4:30 to 5:30, I was working on webinar prep. I was rehearsing this, working on my slides, making sure that everything was good to go. And then I went for a run and did what I call my full English breakfast because I like to name things. And so that’s a list of things that I do for myself in the morning, read my Bible and pray and read a journal or read some education material, and then get ready to go.

 

And then I’ve blocked time throughout my calendar to work on specific projects for specific customers. I know that after this, I’m going to be wiped. I’m going to be pretty exhausted when I’m done with this. I’ve locked in time to go for a walk and get a little bit of rest before I dive back into work for specific customers. Sometimes I get more detailed than this. I would say exactly what it is I’m doing for ATA, but I didn’t want to put that on there because I was sharing this today. Then I use this next to the annual celebration. I had a note about DNS because we have some website going live this week, and so I needed to just make a moment to go check in on those. If you don’t have something booked, if you don’t have time for it booked, are you going to be able to do it? Well, likely not. My encouragement would be to make sure that you are time-blocking. When I switched to this type of time management, it allowed me to really structure things in a better manner. The other thing this allows you to do is to book time in your day for long term strategic important tasks above some of the urgent tasks.

 

And the earlier in the day, the better that’s going to be because you’re still being proactive to your schedule instead of reactive to your schedule. And then one note here at the bottom, I always have time at the end of the day for email and planning. We’ll talk more about this in a second, but I’m a big believer in planning the next day ahead of time. And so I always book time at the end of the day to try to do that. This is a QR code that will take you to copies of some of the files I use on my remarkable PDF. It could be something that you could use and print off or look at as an example. So feel free to take a look at those. Now, the other thing about calendaring is that I also believe in work-life balance and calendaring. When you are working, you can book when you’re not working. There was a time in my life where we were crazy enough that I would book time for each of my kids on a regular basis so I could spend one-on-one time with them because of just how crazy everything else was.

 

Some people think that’s weird or disrespectful because you’re like, Do you really have to book time for your kids? Well, yeah, you book time for things that are important to you. I make time for my family and I make sure that that’s part of my daily schedule in my calendar. If I slide back here, you can’t see. Here. After five, this is booked for the family. We’ve got something we’re doing tonight as a family. I didn’t want to put that on there, but I will book things for my family on my calendar so that I can make sure that I’m taking time for them. Time management also applies to your private life as much as it applies to your work life. It’s because you have a lot of meaningful things in your private life and you want to make them a priority as well. I’m going to head into the last section here, the practical Q&A in the chat. I see one question came in. Michael, I’m not super sure how agile works exactly. I’m familiar with the process a little bit. Eos is not as changing. It’s like setting goals every 90 days and then reporting on them.

 

An accountability structure is probably a better phrase for it. Traction is the name of the book. I’d highly recommend it. While I drink some water, just a couple of promo pieces here. We’ve got a podcast that you might enjoy called the Content Machine Podcast. They’re a lot shorter than what I’m doing today. They’re usually 10 to 15 minutes. If you would like to sign up for free marketing advice from me, the co has office hours and they have a bunch of local experts who do different types of expertise that you can join and ask them questions for free. Every month, I’m usually on the second Tuesday, I think I am. But you can go to the @theCo.com to find that and sign up for those. Then also, my company does marketing. If you are interested in maybe some marketing strategy or a new website or videography or branding or something of that nature. We’d love to talk to you about that. Remember to put questions in the chat, and there’ll be a little bit of time for Q&A, and we’re in the last leg of this here. The last leg of this stool is the practical elements of time management.

 

And one of the big things is task management. And so to manage your time, you have to know what you have to do. Now, some people’s lives may be a little bit more complicated than that, but a lot of times you can get really close to knowing what you have to do. So taking time to plan out all the tasks for a project and putting those on a calendar somewhere is a key component to having successful time management. And I suggest you have a tool for doing SmartTask that we use. I don’t know that I’d recommend it, but Asana or monday. Com or don’tForgetTheMilk, I think it’s what it’s called. But you can also just use the Notes app on your phone to create a checklist. Now, that doesn’t do recurring tasks, but a lot of those tools can have weekly, daily, or weekly, or monthly, or quarterly, or yearly recurring tasks, which can be really helpful for things like, Oh, don’t forget to pay the taxes, or, Hey, it’s the first First week of October, have we started our internship recruitment process? And then remembering that a year from now. Having those tools and having those tasks laid out helps you to keep on top of what you need to be doing and allows you to build a schedule. I found those things.

 

I spend a lot of time with my task manager where I’m saying, Okay, I’m going to be able to get these things done today. I’m going to have to move everything else to the next day, or I’ve got to reprioritize this and say, Okay, these got to move, or I’m going to have to skip lunch. I’m going to have to work on these things. So make lots of notes or schedule them as needed, but keep in mind hard deadlines. But if you don’t have some task management software, you are going to be in trouble. The second thing is to plan the night before. A good morning starts the night before. If you want to have a good day, you have to have a good morning. If it’s a good morning, you have to really start the night before. My successful Thursday started last night at about 8:30. I know that sounds a little weird, but if I watch TV too late, if I stay on my phone too late, if I have caffeine or sugar too late, it’s going to affect my sleep. And if I affect When I sleep, I’m going to have a hard time first thing in the morning, getting up and working and running and doing all those things.

 

And if I don’t work out and run and do work in the morning, the rest of my day is not as optimal as it could be. And so planning your night The night before, you start to make lifestyle decisions that help you have a better set up for the next day. But then also, I plan out my day the next day before the end of the day. It doesn’t take me but 10 minutes to look through my task manager and say, Okay, these are the appointments I have in my calendar. Then I go through and I fill out that journal with time blocks. Tomorrow is going to be great because I have no appointments tomorrow. That just means I’m going to get energy. I’m just going to crack out work all day, which I’m excited about. Occasionally, you get an opportunity to do those. I don’t get them very often. I’m going to get a lot of important work done tomorrow and not so much as essentially urgent work. But if you can plan your day out the night before and then do that, and you did that every day, you could conquer the world.

 

I have days where I fail to do that, and that’s why I haven’t conquered the world yet. Then when you’re thinking about prioritizing that day, we’ve talked about being proactive versus reactive. Mark Twain has a great quote. If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first. Now, it’s a humorous quote, of course, but also a huge amount of wisdom in that. Because we’re able to be proactive when we’re doing things first thing in the morning, also, I like to learn about willpower and how those things work. You have more willpower at the first thing in the morning at the beginning of the day. If you have a really difficult thing that you need to do during the day, maybe it’s like writing a report that you don’t want to write or emailing a customer that you’re mad at or doing something of those natures or something that requires a lot of strategic thinking, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. You’re fresher, you’ve got more willpower, you’re ready to conquer those things.

 

If you’ve got two hard things to do, the sooner you get those big ones done, the better you’re going to feel about your day and have more opportunity to be successful in the long run. Then the second thing is clarity brings power. This is our company theme this year. But if you know what your goals are for the day, if you know, if you’ve set your time blocking what your three goals for the day are, you’re going to know what you’re trying to accomplish. And you’re not going to waste time debating about what should I work on next because you’re going to have a list of things that you need to work on. Clarity is something that’s going to be super helpful in helping you manage your time clearly. But this is the biggest warning. Distractions are death, at least unnecessary ones, anyhow. So when you think about distractions, you need to put your blinders on. Now, this is a little bit funny. For a long time, growing up, I remembered this random beer commercial about a horse of blinders on, and I could never find it, could never figure out what it was.

 

One day, I found it. This is real quick. Let’s see if it’ll play. Here we go. I submit to you Miller’s record. Miller The Great Tasting Beer that’s less filling. Miller Genuine Draft, a beer with genuine flavor that’s cold, filtered, smooth. Clear beer. Well, Miller clearly has a history of progressive decision making, and I would ask the king of beers what he would say to Why won’t my opponent debate this issue? Is it because he’s a horse or is it because he’s got blinders on? No peripheral vision. Look at me. Both sides. Choose taste. I love that commercial because it’s funny. It pokes fun at an existing brand. But also blinders are awesome. You need to put your blinders on if you want to manage your time well. What does that mean? One, I don’t understand how people have a ping on their emails every time they get an email. That’s senseless to me. Why would you want a noise every time you got an email? There’s so many distractions in the inbox that are not things that you have to do. And so think about that process. Do you really? Do you really want to get a buzz on your phone every time you get a Facebook comment?

 

Do you really want to get a text message alert every time you get a text message from everybody that might send you a text message? My answer to that is no. There’s a great book I’d recommend. It’s called The Attention Merchants, and it’s all about the way our attention works and how it’s been so divided in our current culture because of all the forms of technology around us. But being able to remove things that take you out of your work as much as you can is one of the key things you’re going to want to do to be successful. Distractions are death. So can you hide your email inbox? You know what? I have to hide my inbox and my desktop set up here because I know that if I keep seeing my inbox, I’m going to want to respond to every email that comes in. I don’t need to do that the second they come in. I need to be able to manage them and look at them over and over. Over time. The other thing that’s really helpful to me is when I hide my phone from myself. I know this sounds dumb, but if I put my phone outside of my immediate reach when I’m working, as silly as that sounds, it really cuts down the amount of times that I pick up my phone to look to see if I have a notification.

 

And some of that is just a lack of self-control within myself. But I found that if I just put it out of reach, I can be more focused on what I’m doing at the moment. Speaking of phones, one of the nice things that Apple has done in the last couple of iOS updates, and they probably have something similar to this in Android, is called focus modes. I can set my phone to a work mode that only allows my employees, and I can set exactly who I want to be able to reach out to me at any given moment. I get a bunch of junk calls every day, and I refuse to answer them. So if it’s not saving my phone, I don’t answer. And then my team is able to text me and reach out to me because I absolutely need to get to them. And then a couple of other people that may have specific reasons for needing to get out and reach out to have access to me as well. But most people, it won’t buzz or anything. And it allows me to stay focused because I have a lot of people trying to text me and email me and call me.

 

And then I check my phone every hour or every 30 minutes or every couple of hours, and I make sure that I get back to people in a timely manner. But it prevents me from working on a subject and then being torn away from that instantaneously. That’s something that we really need to work on as a culture. Screen time has been introduced in iOS, and they may have something like that on Android, but it’s like a truth-telling statistic. It’s like, How much time did I really spend on this app today? And many of us, it’s going to be disappointing on how much time you’re actually spending on that statistic. So I’d encourage you to turn on screen time. On my computer, there is a great plugin that works with the Pomodoro method called Strict Workflow, and it allows you to block out websites that are distracting to you during your on working cycles. Things like that are… You need to go back to knowing thyself, what are your individual triggers that prevent you from being effective time management-wise? It’s not just like, Oh, I really like this, or it could be a good thing. There could be nice things about texting your friends in the middle of the day.

 

But if it’s preventing you from getting your work done, they can wait a little bit because we have other reasons that we want to get our work done. Maybe we want to be able to get done so we can go home to our families or we’re working on a better future for ourselves. That’s why anchoring it is why it’s so important. Then finally, I like paper and digital, and so our time blocking is done on my remarkable tablet, as I mentioned earlier. Then I use the digital calendar for shared activities and appointments. Using both of those and keeping those both up to date is one of the things that I think is super important and gives you a chance to be successful in the long run. That is the webinar on time management. If you have additional questions, now would be a great time to ask those. If you don’t, we have two more webinars coming up in November and December. Those are on our website. One is on brainstorming and one is on 90 day content planning. We’d love to have you join us for both of those, but I don’t see any additional questions coming in.

 

Here’s a question that’s come in from Timothy. How would you recommend discerning when you work best? I think depending on what your type of work is, maybe how that affects you. You should probably Just over the course of a week, try to do your main work task for, let’s say, writing is really tiring to me. If you want to try to do work tasks, try it at different times throughout the week and see if you can sense any difference in the delivery of that test from you. If it’s design work and you find that afternoons are better because you’ve had coffee and you’ve had lunch and you’ve gotten fully awake, but test it. Make notes on it. Be like, How did this session go? Did I feel like I was successful in this or did I feel like I could have done better? Or more likely, comparatively, this afternoon versus this morning, I did a better job writing. If that’s true over a course of time, I would work on structuring that to optimize for that. Do you ever find that using tools or notes leads to scope creep? I’m not sure if I understand your question.

 

Do I feel like the tools get out of hand and they’re too much to manage? Depending on how frequently I have to use them. I’m in a position where I have come to fully grasp that if I do not offload the information from my brain to my phone or some digital device, it will disappear. I have a pretty good memory, but I have just decided that if I don’t make a reminder on my phone, if I don’t make a note in my notes, I may as well just not even worry about it. The great thing about that is one, it’s written down somewhere and you can stop having to think about it instead of trying to remind yourself every 10 minutes that I have to write that down. I would be careful about the tools that you’re using. The best tool is the one you can use. If you are trying to start up a super fancy task management software and you are not dedicated to it or the friction of using it is too high, you’re going to fail. That’s a great question because it illuminates something that I didn’t really talk about.

 

It’s like, you need to have a tool that you’re going to use. Finding that tool that you’re going to use because it’s easy and it’s accessible and it’s not going to be too much of a distraction is some good rubrics for helping pick that tool. Too fancy of a tool or too complicated or hard to use, you’re not going to use it and it’s going to be unsuccessful. Then you’re going to be like, Kevin told me to do this, and it’s failed. It’s his fault. No, I would encourage you to find something that is useful is easy to use and works with the way you work. We’ve had this issue in our team some, where we’ve instituted tools and not everybody’s been jazzed about using them. We try to work through why that might be. But at some point in our company, it’s like, this is how we do things. If you work for yourself or in a smaller organization or you’re just organizing your own stuff, you have a lot more freedom in that. And there’s a lot of task management softwares. And so maybe even just start with a notes app on your phone and see if you can find out what you like about those things and then try to use them, try to find a tool that does those things better.

 

Thanks for the question. All right. Well, it looks like we’re going to get out of here early. Once again, thank you all for joining, and I hope this is useful. Feel free to shoot me emails if you have questions. And then a great way to keep up with our company is through our Content Machine podcast that’s available on all major podcast platforms. And then feel free to sign up for office hours and get some free consulting or just call us and we can talk about doing business together. So I appreciate all of your time, and I hope you have a great day. Thank you for your attention. I sincerely appreciate it.

State Of The Apps | Content Machine Ep. #51

One of my favorite podcasts, the Cortex Podcast, does an annual State of the Apps episode. And I’ve imitated this on a few occasions because I think it’s interesting to know what other apps people are using for different things. Now, I’ll say my overall app ecosystem has been fairly stable this year, but here are a few of the apps that we use daily at Adelsberger Marketing to keep the work flowing. Of course, all of ours are done through G Suite and the Gmail app. There have been moments when I have thought, is there something better out there? But not really taking any time to investigate it. Google Calendar keeps us all on the same page for scheduling. With our team continuing to grow, I wish I could get Google to make one change to the calendar, and that’s to let us pick how events are stacked, because right now it seems to make the smaller events stack on whatever other events are on top of the calendar, and it gets hard to read. All of our file management is done in Google Drive. The tools set up can be frustrating, but we figured out a way to make it work for us.

 

It’s crucial to all that we do. We not only keep client files in it, but all of our internal documentation as well is in there. File backup is now taking place in two places. One, we have Backblaze set up on everyone’s computer who does creative work. And then Backblaze is a latent backup software that slowly backs up your computer constantly so that everything is eventually online, but it doesn’t drain all of your internet at the same time. This year, we rewrote our storage standards to better help us protect clients’ projects and future proof our operations. We have also started moving our ever growing stack of cold storage hard drives into AWS, which is Amazon Web Services for the uninitiated. This year, we rewrote our storage standards to better help us protect clients’ projects and future proof our operations. One tool that’s been key to our workflow in the last two years is Picter. It’s a review tool that allows us to make sure that we’re getting good comments on creative from staff internally, but then also allowing customers to leave detailed feedback remotely. It’s not a perfect tool, but it has been really helpful for us.

 

And a side note about Picter, Picter came to us through AppSummo, and I have a hard time not buying everything AppSummo has to sell. It regularly has some really interesting software for amazing lifetime prices. This isn’t sponsored, but it’s a great place to find some affordable software to make your life easier. Slack is our internal communication tool of choice. It is the industry standard for internal chats, and truly, it’s just as important to our company as email. Our company works to keep internal communications in Slack so that everything in the inbox is actually from outsiders. And of course, we are using Zoom, but we’ve expanded to using it for webinars this year, and it’s worked really well. We’ve tried different time trackers in the past, but we’ve converted solely to Clockify now. Our passwords are managed in 1Password. We love 1Password. It’s been a great tool for the entire team to use and a great tool for helping us to use really strong passwords on all of our accounts. One small change in the last year is that while I used to be a big Evernote fan, personally, I’ve switched to Notion for a lot of my notes.

 

Notion has become a very popular app in the last couple of years, and it’s obvious why if you use Evernote. It seems that Evernote has stopped investing in features and has become very annoying with marketing. Every time I log in to the app, there’s a “Are you sure you want to skip this once in a lifetime offer?” For something every time I get in the app? It’s the same offer every time and every time I say no. Notion’s flexibility has been really great to play with this year, and the ability to nest information inside other information in different formats is really useful, and I anticipate it becoming a more important part of my daily life. This year, I also got into audiobooks for the first time, and so Audible has been used on my phone a lot. This year, I got The Lord of the Rings by Andy Serkis, and it is top notch. It’s really hard to beat. My weather app of choice is Carat, but I’ve also installed a second weather app because I live in Tornado Alley, and it’s called Radar Omega. It’s a once a year subscription fee, and it gives you professional grade radar and allows you to map storms and track them.

 

Much like the tools that TV weather people use, you can plot a storm by speed, and it will give you times where it will get to towns in its path. Yes, I am a giant nerd, and unfortunately, we’ve already used this several times this year. Then a fun app that I like because I’m, as mentioned, a giant nerd is Flightradar24. So Flightradar24 is a fun app that allows you to see what planes are flying overhead. And so if I’m out for a walk or I’m out playing with the kids, or I hear a jet fly overhead, I like to look up on my phone and see where it’s coming from and how fast it’s going and what model it is, and the kids enjoy it, but I do it for myself. The kids just happen to like it as well. And then finally, one game that I spent too much time on this year is called Retro Bowl. It’s a relatively straightforward football game, but it’s way more complicated than it lets on at the start. It’s a point-and-click football game on your phone. And football on mobile is really hard to do, and Retro Bowl crushes it.

 

So do you have an app that’s made your life better this year? I would love to hear about it. Send me an email at kevin@adelsbergermarketing.com, and thank you for listening to the Content Machine podcast and we hope to catch you on the next one!

 

Our 2024 Theme | Content Machine Ep. #50

Here at Adelsberger Marketing, we believe in themes over resolutions. I’ve done a whole podcast about this. I’ve written about this every year for a long time. Each new year has a new theme, which gives us a focus to cover for the entire year. Two years ago, our theme was, “Faster Alone, Further Together.” It consisted of our team’s capabilities and an admission of my limitations. I’m not able to accomplish all the things we need to do as a company. I am limited by time, but also skills and then the ability to prioritize things. We need a team to accomplish all the things that we have to do and to do them at the level at which we need to accomplish them. And for us to continue to improve our offerings, we need our team members to do that. We need team members that are specialized in different things and focused on those things. If we want to run this marathon called business, we can only do it as a team. Our team has done well and our business continues to grow. And the natural evolution of a growing firm is an increase in complexity. When complexity increases, clarity diminishes.

 

More team members and more clients equal less clarity and less preventative measures are taken. As a result, our theme in 2023 was, clarity brings power. We get everybody on board with a clear vision, and then we align everyone towards the same goal with the right direction. That’s going to increase our clarity and that’s going to allow us to win. So by providing clarity, it helps us to know all that we need to do and how we need to do it and allows us to go and do it. Heath MacMillan, one of my friends, and he works at the TCAT in Jackson, said to me that “Clarity brings power, but power brings action. When the spring is compressed, it has tremendous amounts of power and is ready to act. And if you have power, you are bound to release that in action.”  So our theme this year is to “Chop Wood and Carry Water.” Chopping wood and carrying water are two things that are no longer fundamental to the lives that we live. But in a different time in our society, that was what you needed to do to survive. It was the basics. It was the everyday activities that allowed for survival.

 

You had clarity about what you needed, and you went and got it. My hope is that over the last few years, the alignment of our team and the increasing clarity and the building of infrastructure in our company will be like that spring that has been compressed, now released into motion. Now it’s our time to act. We have been steadily building a head of steam over the last few months with new clients, and now it’s time for the business to run at full speed. We’re going to take the fundamentals that we’ve built into the work and practice them every day. Everyone, because of clarity, will know their job and know that it’s time to do the work. We’ve built the tools to do the things, and now it’s time to use them. I’m going to be working to remove roadblocks for the teams to be successful and increase our sales effort. We’ve been sharpening our acts, and now it’s time to chop down the tree. Chopping wood and carrying water isn’t fancy. It isn’t glamorous, but it’s vital to survival. It’s the building blocks to success. It is the fundamentals of business. We have power, and now it’s time to put it to work.

 

So we’re going to go work to make 2024 the best year in Adelsberger Marketing history!

Internship Diary #11 — Discipline is Harder When Things are Easier

A few weeks ago, I traveled home for Thanksgiving break. Like most college students, I was looking forward to using the time to rest and catch up on a few things that had fallen through the cracks at school while I was busy. A day before making the trek home, I messaged back and forth on Slack with Kevin, just discussing a few upcoming meetings, ways for me to get more experience, and how I could get a couple things done on the road. In truth, my mind was mainly focused on spending a week with no assignments due for any classes. 

Over the course of the break, though, I noticed something. For some reason, despite the fact that my schedule was wide open for the week, it was more difficult for me to execute little tasks for my internship. At school, I juggle a lot of responsibilities and a decently busy schedule. But I get everything done at roughly the same time every day, and usually at the same place. Classes end, lunch is over, I land at my desk in my room to hammer out internship work. Not so at home, away from the busyness. For me, and I suspect for a lot of people, discipline is harder when things are easier. 

I live in south Georgia, near-ish to Savannah, in a tiny little nothing town that no one has ever heard of. From Jackson, the drive home takes about nine hours. I love to drive — always have, ever since I got my learner’s permit. There’s somewhat of a running joke in the family about how I never give up the wheel to let anyone else drive, no matter how long the trip. That’s neither here nor there, except that I again insisted on driving home for break despite having several pressing bits of work to do. So, at a gas station next to a coffee shop somewhere near Murfreesboro, while my brother and sister were getting coffee, I pulled out my laptop in the parked car and posted several clips for the Content Machine. I’d been putting it off, wanting to retain control of the driver’s seat (and the aux). It took me no more than 10 minutes.

That’s how things tend to go for me. I imagine a problem — for instance, I want to drive but I also have a little work to do — and then stew on it until I have no motivation to do the thing I need to do. In truth, getting work or homework or chores or whatever done is usually not that difficult. But, for me, it requires creating discipline during times of ease, breaks, and comfort. It’s easy to have a strong work ethic while I’m busy. After all, I’ve already got a lot to do, what’s one more thing? When I’m on break or have a lull in responsibilities, though, all of my mole hill tasks turn into mountain-sized tasks. 

I’m not saying I’m going to start getting up at 5 a.m. on Saturdays or working through all my breaks. I believe strongly in letting down time be down time. The ebb and flow of days and weeks, though, will naturally include both the hectic and the easy. I just don’t want to get lazy when the easy days come.