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Results-Oriented Digital Training For Individuals and SMEs
Results-Oriented Digital Training For Individuals and SMEs

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Is this the most boring topic in digital marketing?

Here is a whimsical little video I created which makes the case why record keeping is not the most boring topic in digital marketing.

I include bit of history about the 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys – possibly the most famous diarist in the world – and his role in making the UK the 5th or 6th largest world economy in the 21st century.

At the heart of what he did was superb record-keeping and administration.

Here’s the video:

To repeat the the punch-line:

You may think that administration and record keeping is boring, but it’s absolutely essential to long-term success, and can even help define the trajectory of a whole nation.

So, maybe, just maybe, you need to pay serious attention to record keeping for the long-term success of your business.



Even if you have no aspirations to create your own empire.

Do share your ideas and feedback in the comments section below.

To ensure you get notified of these posts, sign up to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive a free gift for doing so!

The post Is this the most boring topic in digital marketing? appeared first on Your Digital Ally.
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A Process For Creating A Blog Post

This post includes my evolving process for creating a blog post.

It continuing my theme of how to get out of the dilemma of being “too busy to stop being too busy”. The story so far is that the solution requires us to make use of ready-made systems and processes.

I’m working on it!

In my previous post – 3 Process Documentation Approaches For Digital Marketing – I focused on the process side rather than the systems side, and mentioned that, for simple processes, I tend to use something like Evernote.

In this post I finally give a specific example of a process. Aptly enough, it’s the process I’m using right now for creating a blog post!

Your initial reaction might be: “Why on earth do you need a process to write a blog post? You just write it and post it into WordPress.”

Not really. Take a look at all the steps I’ve identified.

Process For Creating a Blog Post

Choose Topic:

YDA/BDS-WP: Decide on topic for blog post

Load voice-recognition page

Click Start Recording

Tick “Transfer to clipboard”

Write draft in Evernote (Under “YDA Blog posts”)

Use guidance in SOP: Writing a Blog Post

Copy text into WP Post (use Text mode in the editor when pasting)

Edit the post.

Find/create an image.

Ideally, align with requirement for FB Ad

Size 1200x628px

No more than 20% text

Tools to use

Pixabay

Canva

Checking appearance in Social Media

Put URL in https://buff.ly/RUjTbY to see how it will appear on Facebook

Create relevant tweets in the tweet bank: see  and… (TBD)

Update SocialOomph for tweeting (no – still to decide on how to do this)

If using a Kartra optin form in the post, update Form Usage record

Syndicate the content

IFTTT does some automatically

Use SyndLab for others – when ready click “Syndicate” link for the post on the Posts Page

Review Content Promotion Re-Purposing for anything else (need to formalise that Note and/or transfer some content to here)

Think about measuring performance – update the Business Measurement process?

[BTW – you won’t be able to access many of the links because they go to my own working documents.]

Here’s a video of me talking through the process (and changing it as I go along!)

This documentation of a process for creating a blog post example illustrates a number of interesting points.

Sub-Processes

Three of the links go to other Evernote notes which define how to go about performing specific subtasks. It’s important for any single piece of documentation to not get too large. You want to divide a process into chunks of guidance that are reasonably self-contained and cognitively manageable.

The sub processors that I’ve identified are:

YDA/BDS-WP: Decide on topic for blog post

SOP: Writing a Blog Post

Content Promotion Re-Purposing

You can probably infer from the names that I’m still evolving my naming convention for these processes! Which leads me nicely into my next point, which is:

Constant development

I’m evolving and building my process documentation as a parallel activity to following and applying the documentation. And also as a parallel activity to evolving the processes themselves.

You can see that I’ve included notes to myself about how the documentation needs to be changed. When my goal is to actually write a blog post, I’ll allow myself to get distracted to modify the documentation – but only up to a point.

If the distraction seems that it might stop me getting the blog post completed in time, I’ll just make a note of what I think needs to be done and move on.

Eventually the documentation becomes reasonably stable – but it’s never cast in stone.

Links to speed up the process

Including links to specific resources and my own working documents is one important way that this type of documentation improves my efficiency.

Personalisation

This example shows very clearly the difference between personalised process documentation and standard “how to” guidance. The latter is what you might find on a website as a PDF.

As well as including links to my own working documents, there are steps in here that are very specific to my own operation – such as the step related to the use of Kartra forms.

In the next post I’ll probably include an example of a process documented in Google Sheets.

The example that I’ll use clearly demonstrates why I have to use Google sheets rather than Evernote.

Have YOU created documentation of a process for creating a blog post?

Do you think you’ll be able to make use of this process for creating a blog post – probably in some modified form?

Do share your ideas and feedback in the comments.

To ensure you get notified of these posts, sign up to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive a free gift for doing so!

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This video provides a rapid overview of Kartra features - and explains that Kartra and similar marketing tools are too complex to use without some additional management systems.

To register to get notifications about my blog posts and videos on how I'm using Kartra, go here:

http://yourdigitalally.com/mkmo-gp
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An example of how I'm managing the complexity of the amazing marketing tool Kartra. Get notifications about my blog posts and videos on how I'm using Kartra: http://yourdigitalally.com/mkmo-yt
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3 Process Documentation Approaches For Digital Marketing

This post is about a messy, non-mainstream, but highly practical approach to process documentation for digital marketing – based on the needs of a practitioner.

It continues my theme of how to get over the dilemma of being “too busy to stop being too busy”. The solution I proposed in 7 Reasons Why We Need Systems and Processes is to make use of ready-made systems and process documentation.

Having effective (but flexible) systems and processes is essential to the success of any business – but creating them is far too time-consuming for most small businesses to undertake.

And that is the starting point for my current project – to create a collection of systems and process documentation relating to digital marketing for my OWN use, and also for use by other businesses.

In this post I’m going to focus on

Process Documentation

What I mean by a process is any task, or sequence of tasks, that you perform on a regular basis. I’m being very general about this and including the full spectrum of complexity, from very simple to complex.

And by “documenting a process”, I don’t mean the approaches which are usually described by the process improvement, business process management and process documentation communities. Examples of that (which is what I don’t mean) are here and here.

Specifically, I’m not talking about process mapping. And I also don’t mean creating PDF “how to” guides – although the “how to” aspect is definitely part of it. And I don’t just mean creating a checklist – although sometimes that is sufficient. And I don’t mean creating a handbook of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – although something like might be derivable from what I’m proposing.

My ideas are, sadly, much messier that each of those. But they DO reflect the reality of what’s needed. At least, they reflect the reality of what I need for myself. And I’m pretty sure my process documentation needs are very similar to most other one-person businesses as regards digital marketing.

So, as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all mechanism for process documentation. I think you need to have three methods, with variations, depending on the complexity and need for associated record-keeping.

Here are some examples.

A) Process documentation for very simple tasks

e.g. Sending a canned response to a support request.

A note within Evernote would be a good mechanism for this.

e.g. Performing daily “engagement” activities on your Twitter account.

You could represent this as a simple checklist (again, I would personally use Evernote)

You’re likely to end up with a very large number of this type of process document, so the issue here is having them well-organized. You need to be able to access the exact document you need, at the time you need it, with minimal effort.

These documents would obviously also include links to resources for performing the task – such as a system to help you with your Twitter engagement. And they would also include links to any documents where you might want to store records about the task completion. For example, you may want to record the amount of time you (or an outsourcer) spend on each Twitter engagement activity.

B) Process documentation for moderately complex tasks

e.g. How to upload a video to YouTube and fully optimize it
e.g. Setting up the various Google tools (such as Analytics and Google Tag Manager) for a new WordPress site.

I would say there are three things that characterise a moderately complex task.

First: that before you perform such tasks you need to go through some sort of once-off setup procedure.
An example would be creating and optimising your YouTube channel

Second: that information created during one of the steps, or during the setup phase, is used in other steps.
For example, the keyword you decide to associate with your video is required in several of the optimisation steps.

Third: very often you want to keep a full record of the activities performed during the task.

For all three of those reasons, I would use something like Google sheets. This means:

You can document the process as a “template” in a way which you can easily modify and keep up to date

At any point in the process, you can easily reference information stored at any other point in the process, and

You can copy the template each time you want to run the process and use it to record any data associated with each step

I have a number of prototype processes that use this mechanism, including the two examples I mention above.

I’ll show exactly what I mean in a future blog post.

C) Process documentation for more complex tasks

e.g. Creating a skeleton website

There are not many processes that fall into this category.

You could regard them as being simply bigger examples of moderately complex tasks. However, I think it’s best to manage the extra complexity by breaking the overall process into sub-processes, each of wh…
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3 Process Documentation Approaches For Digital Marketing

This post is about a messy, non-mainstream, but highly practical approach to process documentation for digital marketing – based on the needs of a practitioner.

It continues my theme of how to get over the dilemma of being “too busy to stop being too busy”. The solution I proposed in 7 Reasons Why We Need Systems and Processes is to make use of ready-made systems and process documentation.

Having effective (but flexible) systems and processes is essential to the success of any business – but creating them is far too time-consuming for most small businesses to undertake.

And that is the starting point for my current project – to create a collection of systems and process documentation relating to digital marketing for my OWN use, and also for use by other businesses.

In this post I’m going to focus on

Process Documentation

What I mean by a process is any task, or sequence of tasks, that you perform on a regular basis. I’m being very general about this and including the full spectrum of complexity, from very simple to complex.

And by “documenting a process”, I don’t mean the approaches which are usually described by the process improvement, business process management and process documentation communities. Examples of that (which is what I don’t mean) are here and here.

Specifically, I’m not talking about process mapping. And I also don’t mean creating PDF “how to” guides – although the “how to” aspect is definitely part of it. And I don’t just mean creating a checklist – although sometimes that is sufficient. And I don’t mean creating a handbook of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – although something like might be derivable from what I’m proposing.

My ideas are, sadly, much messier that each of those. But they DO reflect the reality of what’s needed. At least, they reflect the reality of what I need for myself. And I’m pretty sure my process documentation needs are very similar to most other one-person businesses as regards digital marketing.

So, as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all mechanism for process documentation. I think you need to have three methods, with variations, depending on the complexity and need for associated record-keeping.

Here are some examples.

A) Process documentation for very simple tasks

e.g. Sending a canned response to a support request.

A note within Evernote would be a good mechanism for this.

e.g. Performing daily “engagement” activities on your Twitter account.

You could represent this as a simple checklist (again, I would personally use Evernote)

You’re likely to end up with a very large number of this type of process document, so the issue here is having them well-organized. You need to be able to access the exact document you need, at the time you need it, with minimal effort.

These documents would obviously also include links to resources for performing the task – such as a system to help you with your Twitter engagement. And they would also include links to any documents where you might want to store records about the task completion. For example, you may want to record the amount of time you (or an outsourcer) spend on each Twitter engagement activity.

B) Process documentation for moderately complex tasks

e.g. How to upload a video to YouTube and fully optimize it
e.g. Setting up the various Google tools (such as Analytics and Google Tag Manager) for a new WordPress site.

I would say there are three things that characterise a moderately complex task.

First: that before you perform such tasks you need to go through some sort of once-off setup procedure.
An example would be creating and optimising your YouTube channel

Second: that information created during one of the steps, or during the setup phase, is used in other steps.
For example, the keyword you decide to associate with your video is required in several of the optimisation steps.

Third: very often you want to keep a full record of the activities performed during the task.

For all three of those reasons, I would use something like Google sheets. This means:

You can document the process as a “template” in a way which you can easily modify and keep up to date

At any point in the process, you can easily reference information stored at any other point in the process, and

You can copy the template each time you want to run the process and use it to record any data associated with each step

I have a number of prototype processes that use this mechanism, including the two examples I mention above.

I’ll show exactly what I mean in a future blog post.

C) Process documentation for more complex tasks

e.g. Creating a skeleton website

There are not many processes that fall into this category.

You could regard them as being simply bigger examples of moderately complex tasks. However, I think it’s best to manage the extra complexity by breaking the overall process into sub-processes, each of wh…
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7 Reasons Why We Need Systems And Processes

This post is about the importance of having effective business management systems and processes. If follows on from my previous post “Being too busy to stop being too busy“.

What I pointed out in that post was that, as single person business owners, we have far too much to do than can actually be achieved by a single person. Unless we can find a way to get more done in the time available, success is going to keep getting postponed. This can seriously effect our motivation and ability to stick to a particular path. Often, it means we never achieve success.

I stated that the only solution to this is to create business management systems and processes to help us become super efficient. But, of course, we simply don’t have the time required to create those systems.

The dire consequence of this is that it’s incredibly hard to succeed without a great deal of luck.

This follow-up post explains what I’m doing to help alleviate that problem – both for myself and other small business owners.

And it’s simply this…

I AM taking the time to create the business management systems and processes required to run the digital marketing elements of a business.

I’m doing this party because I simply can’t help it! I have this compulsion to systematize and organise, so to some extent I’m just going with the flow!

The Case For Creating Business Management Systems and Processes

I’m also doing it because it’s eminently clear that online marketing is getting more and more competitive. That means that every task we perform online is getting more involved. In order to survive, let alone thrive, we need to be more strategic, more complex, more consistent, more scalable and to constantly learn, test and adapt.

And those are the 7 reasons why it’s essential we have good business management systems and processes, because:

Reason # 1: Without them we can’t operationalize our strategy

Reason # 2: Without them we can’t incorporate the complexity into our operations

Reason # 3: Without them we cannot ensure consistency

Reason # 4: Without them we cannot scale (this is HUGELY important!)

Reason # 5: Without them we don’t have anywhere to record and incorporate our learning to make sure it gets used

Reason # 6: Without them we don’t have a way of systematically testing and recording the results of those tests

Reason # 7: Without them we don’t have a way of adapting our operations based on our learning and testing

So to my mind, I HAVE to do this for my own success.

I know this is a massive undertaking, although I’ve got a lot done already. However, I’m very happy to put the effort in, not only because it’s essential to my own business success, but also because many other marketers will be able to benefit from this as well.

In the video below, I explain these reasons in more detail.

The point is this:

The way I can help other people overcome the “too busy to stop being too busy” syndrome is by providing them with ready-made business management systems and processes – as far as this is possible.

It’s true that the details of systems and processes are generally unique to each business, but I will be restricting what I do to one area of business – online marketing. By doing this, I can go quite a long way towards providing systems and processes that can be re-used with only minimal changes and configuration.

I’ll also be providing training and guidance for you to create your own systems and processes from scratch.

The Components Of Business Management Systems And Processes

Up to know I’ve been vague about what I mean by business management systems and processes. Here is some clarification. Primarily, I mean

Documented business processes

This is a mixture of checklists, detailed business-specific how-tos, standard operating procedures and activity records.

I’ve developed different methods of documenting processes to serve different purposes

&

Structured business records

This is about using spreadsheets to keep track of everything that needs to be recorded.

I’ve created an effective way of using spreadsheets in a consistent way that provides many of the benefits of a relational database approach

 

Those are the two main areas, but in addition, it includes

Organized business assets and knowledge

In part, this includes my old-but-still-very-useful IMI Organizer

Managed tasks and priorities

In essence, this is my Max Productivity Management product

 

Over the course of the next blog posts, I’ll explain in more detail what I mean by each of those topics.

 

Let me know in the comments below whether this makes sense to you. Have I missed out any important area of business management systems and processes?

 

To ensure you get notified of these posts, sign up to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive a free gift for doing so!

The post 7 Reasons Why We Need Systems And Processes appeared first on Your Digital Ally.
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7 Reasons why it's critical to have systems and processes at the core of your business.
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