How To Champion The Small Things That Make The Big Thing
You don’t always need the grand reveal for people to take notice of you, the small things have merit too.
This article is about acknowledging that ideas are fantastic, but it’s what you do with them that counts before they become the final piece of communication, to share and distribute.
This is about the space you enter that is before the final publish, print, view or send. This is the space that rarely gets a mention but can be so important in your content creation efforts and the audience that will come to your side of the fence.
If you stop looking for perfection and the anticipated big world gains, but make the most of the little victories, this is how you build momentum.
Look at it this way, rather than accept that the knitted jumper is the final outcome that deserves credit, there is also merit in the wool, stitching and the knitting needles that make the jumper. The pieces that go into making the end result rightly deserve their moment in the sun too. Why not do this and be continuously present, when everybody else is hiding away working on what they consider to be a masterpiece.
Wherever we all look, the answers are in front of us. The best time to publish, how to be seen by millions, how to do the minimal amount for the greatest return. You can even get the immediate answer for what topic to write about from a blog content generator. There is always the race for the perfect answer within our marketplaces. Lets flip things and reward the progress, not the outcome.
Lets share with you how this can work for you.
Rather than throwing out the biggest net, people enjoy real interactions between real people.
It matters that your work is considered and has thought behind it with you own stamp of authority. However, it also matters that even if you do something smaller (away from the blog article, the video or the podcast) and it ties back to what you believe in, this is still meaningful work.
There is strength in being steady and finding a rhythm, that doesn’t have to be the 10,000 word ebook, or the company video that looks so immaculate it should be on Netflix next week. It is time to encourage the courageous acts that aren’t quite the finished piece but where you should feel rewarded for it.
Here are ways to celebrate and make the most of the small pieces that make up the jigsaw puzzle.
Sharing The Seed Of An Idea
I have been using LinkedIn as my social canvas since October 2017.
Before I write my article each week (what you are reading now), it starts over on LinkedIn on a Sunday evening. I use LinkedIn as a testing ground for articles. Imagine it as one of those evenings where a comedy performer shares new material with an audience. If people laugh, it’s in. If there is silence, it’s out.
It all ties back to a You Are The Media Podcast with Trevor Young where our topic was micro-stories (click here to have a listen).
This is what I do:
I highlight the main points of what I am thinking about exploring a bit more
Effectively write the synopsis for the next article (published on a Thursday)
Judging by the feedback from others, this is either binned, shaped and elaborated into a blog article
The participation from others is key. If we are encouraged to build an audience around what we believe, their input is important. You can’t just rock up and create what you think people want
Creating this on LinkedIn is my wool, the final blog article is the jumper. It is the small piece that is just important as the final output. You start small, you get big(ger).
To read the original idea for this story that was on LinkedIn, click here.
You Document & Observe, Not Point & Promote
Rather than think that you have to present the finished polished article, there is opportunity when you document in the build up to a release.
What they did in the build up to showing the film was sharing the whole process that went into making the film. Their production diary was documenting how everything worked (and was published on their website and YouTube). It became an education from all aspects from writing to visual effects.
As executive producer, Paul Hamblin, said, “We wanted to stop telling people and actually show them. This way when we talk about pre-production, or VFX, or story creation people will be able to see beneath the hood and realise we have nothing to hide.”
“There is nothing like showing people your process to prove you really do know what you are doing and you’re not hiding behind overly structured marketing materials.”
By mentioning ‘we have nothing to hide,’ is all about opening up a bit and documenting the world in front of you, rather than pointing at yourself where the only objective is to self promote.
What Treehouse did was maximise the distribution potential for how they work, not just sitting in isolation whilst they produce a film to reveal for Halloweeen. The team have recently been commissioned to produce three new short films from horror channel, Crypt TV.
So, rather than being campaign led, why not highlight different aspects of your own journey that can help a marketplace? From a case study of how a client has developed over a six month period if you are a gym instructor, through to the steps a law firm helped a client sell their business, it all supports the focus on the journey rather than the finishing line.
Make One Idea Work In More Than One Space
One idea doesn’t just have to manifest in one space, it can still be relevant in other shapes, channels and sizes.
With the You Are The Media Conference on the horizon (May 24th), an idea with Rebecca Perl (from MessageLab) started as a way to list facts around the conference ie. the theatre was opened in 1870, seven miles of sand to walk on, 750k ice creams consumed every year.
The progression of this idea is to now create an infographic that we can use to promote the conference online and offline. Moving to the next stage, the imagery that is created can then become a short animation where the graphics come to life. Maybe the infographic becomes a jigsaw puzzle (or maybe I have been spending too much time with my children doing craft recently?).
In the words of Robert Rose from the Content Marketing Institute, “Our goal is to create the least amount of content with the maximum amount of impact.” Rather than thinking about the grand picture, it is about breaking things down and the continual small wins. The original format ie. in my case a list of facts, can take on a many guises away from the original source and in a number of places. What it means is that you are not continually starting from scratch.
The Part Not To Forget…Reward The Progress
If you are creating something new, what’s wrong with standing back once in a while and rewarding the process?
My two daughters brush their teeth every night and morning with an app that rewards them with Frozen stickers after they brush their teeth for two minutes. The more they regularly they brush their teeth, their sticker album (on the phone) looks more colourful. It has now got to a point where there isn’t a fight to get at least one of them to brush their teeth, they are both seeing the process of brushing their teeth with a reward at the end.
This sense of progress being acknowledged is something that can be carried over to your content efforts. I’m not talking about a day off, but the chance to recognise and acknowledge the small achievements.
It could be the fifth blog post you have produced, it may be the year mark where you have recorded a podcast, what it deserves is a small moment to acknowledge the small wins of getting things done and being able to trace the lines back to where you started. This is where you get more satisfaction. For instance, every year for the past three years, Ian Rhodes and myself have recorded a Christmas podcast, either for Marketing Homebrew or The You Are The Media Podcast, to me it represents a ‘made it through the year’ moment, where we sit back and have a few beers whilst recording.
From brushing teeth, to just your own nod to yourself, rewarding persistence is something very personal.
What Are The Outcomes?
Showing the progress of an idea can create a win where it’s not about ignoring the build up and the time it takes to produce a final piece.
By making the most of the small wins, not the big reveal is a way to:
Interact with the audience you are building and the friends you make along the way
Encourage organic growth
Be present with a defined message on a consistent basis
Continue relevant themes from an overall message to people who care
Grow and develop your own web of connection (that resonates)
Prove to others that you always show up
You can plan ahead easier
Support goals from SEO to increase subscribers
Cater for how people prefer to consume your content (not everyone wants to read)
You put your message at the centre of someone else world, again and again
Encourage people to come closer to you and want to find out more
Lets Round Up
In the book, Princess Smartypants Breaks The Rules, a page says ‘learn to govern your own kingdom,’ this is exactly what the small wins are all about.
What you are doing is creating a platform for yourself and you utilise the channels that are around you to tease, share and bring out an array of messages.
The small wins may represent a moment, but they form a much bigger and clearer picture. It is a way for you to continually stick things together with a piece of tape that may not be perfect, share ideas, encourage feedback, process the feedback and truly understand that what you are doing means something to someone else. It is better to have continual meaning within your marketplace, rather than a moment in time when the campaign was released.
The weekly progress of the ideas that tie back to what you believe in and aligns with what you do, shows a willingness to step forwards, whilst others stay in the corners waiting for something to look perfect for them to take the short lived credit.