Connect with us


How To Write Video and Audio Scripts



How To Write Video and Audio Scripts


I read advice on a LinkedIn post last week that worried me.

He counseled that you should never write word for word in a script or on a teleprompter what you or your subject will say in a video, audio, or any other business presentation.

Great content performers, he suggested, just outline things and let the language come naturally. Scripts make people sound stiff. He argued they read the words rather than talking about the ideas. He said, “Reading scripts from a teleprompter or from a document are the sign of an amateur.”

That just isn’t true.

Now, I don’t mean to say people never sound stiff when they read a script during a video or a presentation. But just because something is true if done poorly doesn’t mean it’s still true if done well.

It all depends on the script and how it’s used as a performance tool.

Scriptwriting is a format

My first job in Los Angeles was writing and editing market research reports for local car dealerships. While I did that, I also immersed myself in writing plays and screenplays. I read as many books as I could on the craft. I took classes. I read hundreds of scripts. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t work out. I got into marketing instead.

But all that work taught me how to recognize the unique patterns, structure, and language of dialogue. Scripts are unique in the writing world because they generally are not the final art form (though, for many, I’d certainly beg to differ).

Scripts are created to be interpreted through other mediums like audio, stage, film, television, etc. In many ways, scripts serve as instructions for how to tell the story, capturing the movement, speech, and even technical directions.

The critical part is understanding that integral need for interpretation. Your script is a blueprint to help ensure that you – or those performing it – don’t lose important bits of the story and stay true to the structure, emphasis, tone, timing, and overall point of view.

As podcasting, video, and live events become an enormously important part of content strategy, scripts are a core content type. When I ask people why they don’t script their presentations, videos, etc., I often get a response similar to what I read in that LinkedIn post. They are uncomfortable with the format. They are afraid if they write out their speech, it will sound stale and unnatural.

But that doesn’t have to be true. Plenty of amazing entertainers, teachers, thought leaders, and others use scripts. They print them or use teleprompters. They use the script as a key tool in their storytelling.

Let’s look at three secrets I’ve found helpful in thinking about scripting a performance.

Secret 1: Great grammar doesn’t get extra points

Only you (or the presenter) need to see your script. Writing for speaking versus writing for reading is different. Because of my background as a screenwriter, I am more comfortable with the former. Ask any of the amazing editors at Content Marketing Institute who have had the misfortune of having to edit my prose. They will tell you that my sentence structure and my punctuation are, well, “creative.” But, if you read my raw writing out loud, it tends to sound OK.

But that differentiation is why people have challenges performing their scripts. They believe writing down the words for their speaking locks them into a style that sounds overly formal and stilted (and it certainly can).

A critical difference exists between how you speak dialogue naturally and create text that people will read. As speakers, you repeat yourself. You speak in run-on and fragmented sentences. You use pause and filler words that have no place in good writing but add emotional context – and all of these can make a great script funny or dramatic or emphasize a point.

Pay attention to the two examples below from former President Barack Obama. In both, he uses a script. In one, he uses the paper on the podium. In the other, he uses a teleprompter. However, the scenarios are not the same. While both are written for him to speak, differences exist based on the context.

The first video is from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – known for its humorous speeches – where President Obama uses notes.

In the second video, he uses a teleprompter to deliver the final speech of his presidential tenure.

Pay attention in the second video to his use of the phrase, “If I’d told you …” He uses it to set up a list of nine accomplishments in his administration. But he also uses it to set up the end of the speech.

If this text was written for publication, it might be read like this: “If I had informed you that,” followed by nine bullets listing the accomplishments.

But the script uses the casual phrase, “If I’d told you.” It repeats it four times to set up the punch line: “If I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high. But we did it.”

Great scripts help the speaker – the interpreter of the story – use words, emphasis, and pauses to amplify important elements in the performance.

Does that mean you should write out the verbal pauses or “ums” in your script? Maybe. It all depends on who you’re writing it for. If it helps the speaker amplify an element you created as part of the experience, then absolutely include them.

Does this mean you have two versions of whatever you’re working on?  Yes. 

Consider the opening lines of the CMI news video from last week. Here’s my script:

Soooo last week McKinsey – you know – the global consultancy firm – released the results of a new survey of about 100 people in C level growth roles – from CMO’s to Chief Growth Officers, Chief Customer Officers etcetera, and also a whole 21 CEOs from B2b and B2c companies of all sizes and across industries.

Now uh if that sounds like too small a sample size to really make quantitative decisions about – well … anything …  Yeah, you’d be right …

That is decidedly different than the article that accompanies the video – which you can check out here.

Does your CEO understand marketing?

They probably think they do, but they probably don’t, according to your CMO.

Who’s right?

New McKinsey research finds despite their agreement that strong marketing equals business growth, their understanding of marketing stands as divided as ever.

And that brings me to my second secret.

Secret 2: Find the stories within the story

Dramatic script writing involves two monologue types: active and narrative.

In an active monologue, the performer speaks with the intention to achieve a goal. It might be to change someone’s mind, convince them of something, or communicate a point of view.

This technique works best to reveal the character in the story – to drive the story forward in some way.  Think about the Obama “accomplishments” speech in the earlier video. He reveals his thoughts directly and seeks to drive home a point. 

In a narrative monologue, the performer tells a story within the story, often referring to something that happened. These monologues often make an analogy or bring relevant context to a point.

In the movie Jaws, shark hunter Sam Quint tells the story of his experience on the USS Indianapolis and the resulting shark attack. While it does nothing to drive the plot forward, it beautifully places an element of the story, demonstrating Quint’s experience and elevating the danger the three heroes face.

In your scripts, you will no doubt use both active and narrative monologues. But remember to make sure to balance where and how long you pull the focus.

At Content Marketing World 2019, my pal Joe Pulizzi had a 20-minute time slot. He needed to hit that mark because timing at an event like that is precise.  So, Joe scripted his keynote presentation. 

His keynote came in at 18 minutes and two seconds. He hit his mark perfectly. But, more importantly, note how Joe shifts gears after just 20 seconds with a narrative monologue. It’s four minutes. That’s right, 20% of his talk is a story that doesn’t drive his point.

Did he bury the lead?

He did not.

Two things are important. First, the “story within the story” is relevant on its own; it’s entertaining and puts the audience on equal footing with Joe – they’ve all “been there.” Second, the narrative monologue feeds a contextual purpose to the larger story. It gives the audience a better understanding of the remaining 80% of the talk. The monologue elevates the importance of his laws and reinforces their practicality.  It’s a brilliant use of the narrative monologue.

That brings me to my third – and probably most important – secret of great scripts.

Secret 3: Tell your story; don’t read your story

After all that talk about writing as you speak and focusing on structure, you might think the advice for performing a great script is to simply read it as it’s written.


Once you write a script, work with it and practice it. Over time, especially if it’s a presentation, pitch, or other stump speech, you will get to the point of knowing – not memorizing – so it feels like you know it word for word.

Now, often, you (or the performer) may not have enough time or reason for memorizing the script. It might be a guest introduction, a one-time presentation, or weekly videos. You might not get the time or the availability to convert something written into a script. You might have to perform it just the way it is.

Whatever the case, wanting or needing a script is NOT a bad thing, despite what anybody on social media says.

The key to success lies in knowing the script as best as you can so you can tell the story rather than read the words. That is why – when you can – write like you speak. You’ll know it faster and recognize the pattern more easily. Over time and practice, you’ll develop a skill reading cold read scripts or teleprompters as well as any newscaster or award show host would.

How much time will it take you to get there? Well, as much as you have or need.

When I write my weekly newscast, I spend about 30 minutes working through the script. (I script about every word of every episode.) I read it a few times, then I load it into a teleprompter app next to my camera, and away I go.

For presentations, I almost always script everything word for word and then build my slides. I read the script aloud many, many times while editing and tweaking. Then, I do it without the script in my hand but handy so I can refer to it. Finally, I know it well enough that I can do it without the script nearby. But, if I’m giving it virtually, where a teleprompter is allowed, you can bet I avail myself of it.

So you might ask, “Why script it if you ultimately don’t read from it?” At times, you want to be precise (like in my virtual presentations), and you want to be exacting in the story. If you write a script, you not only know the words but the way to deliver those words. When I have a script, I can spend more time on being poetic in my delivery.

Going back to the Obama video at the White House Correspondents’ dinner. Watch it again. I can almost guarantee you a word-for-word script sits on the lectern. You can see him glance at it almost instinctively after every joke.

However, it’s clear he’s rehearsed it, and he knows the material. He’s comfortable ad-libbing a few things. And he knows exactly where the punch lines are. 

Practice. Practice. Practice.

I promise the more you write scripts and perform scripts, the better you will get. Watch this video. You can see the woman in red struggle with the teleprompter. It’s not a disaster, but she clearly is seeing the information for the first time or does not know the material. At the three-minute mark, she goes off of the teleprompter and responds to a question for which she knows the material.  She relaxes, her smile is much more genuine, and she tells the story more effectively. 

In the end, great scripts capture the way you want to communicate your ideas. The best script tells the story clearly but allows for a great performance to elevate it. As the classic Hollywood film director Howard Hawks said, “You can’t fix a bad script after you start shooting. The problems on the page only get bigger as they move to the big screen.”

Take the time and use scripts for the great tool that they are, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that they are a crutch for those who struggle to tell stories.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]



How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]

It’s no wonder that responsive search ads have steadily grown in popularity in recent years. Through Google’s machine learning capabilities, RSAs provide a powerful way to automate the testing of multiple headlines and descriptions to ensure a closer match to user intent. The benefits are clear: RSAs mean broader reach, better engagement, and improved performance metrics.

However, all these benefits come at a significant (but reasonable) cost – they can be extremely difficult to manage, especially when it comes to updating ad copy to promote limited time offers.

I know this firsthand – I work with several ecommerce clients with promotions that constantly change. Not too long ago, I found myself going through the consistently tedious process of updating a client’s RSA headlines and copy. As I was making the changes, I thought to myself: “There must be a better way to update this ad copy. I shouldn’t have to use find and replace so many times while pausing and enabling my ad campaigns.”

After expressing this to my colleague, Jordan Stambaugh, the two of us agreed there must be a better way. But we’d have to make it happen. A few weeks later, we put that idea into action and created a more efficient process for updating RSA ad copy on a scheduled basis. If you want to try this process for yourself, just keep reading.

Responsive Search Ad Customizers 101: Basic Options & Execution

Before diving into the process of scheduling automatic updates for your RSA customizers, it’s essential to understand some key Responsive Search Ad fundamentals.

First, you can customize three main options within RSAs: the Attribute Name, the Data Type, and the Account Value. Each of these plays a vital role in personalizing your ads:

  • Attribute Name: This is essentially the identifier for the customizer. It is how you’ll reference the specific piece of information you’re customizing within the ad. For instance, if you’re running a promotion, you might name an attribute “Promotion.”
  • Data Type: This indicates the kind of data the attribute represents and it determines how the information can be formatted and used within the ad. Common data types include Text (for plain, non-numeric text), Percent (to represent percentage discounts), Price (to denote monetary values), and Number (for any numerical value).
  • Account Value: This is the default value for the attribute that you set at the account level. It acts as a fallback if more specific values aren’t provided at the campaign or ad group level.

For example, if you wanted to promote a 10% off discount using RSAs, you’d use the “Discount” attribute, a data type of “Percent,” and an account value of “10% off.” Then, when someone is searching for products, Google would test automatically inserting a copy regarding a 10% off promotion into your ad.

Once you’ve set up the right customization options, you can start to format your RSAs with customizers.

Here’s how:

  • Start by typing in {
  • Click on Ad Customizer then select your attribute
  • Google will populate your attributes that are already uploaded
  • For a simple offer, use the “Default text” attribute as a catch-all. This will ensure your ads run smoothly if Google can’t pull the right messaging from your RSA feed



How to Schedule Your Ad Customizers with a Feed

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover how to schedule your ad customizers.

Just follow this three step process:

1. Create the feed

Start by creating two sheets: The Parent sheet, and the Child sheet. The “Parent” sheet will act as the primary data source, while the child sheet will pull data from the parent sheet.

We’ll start by building the parent sheet. After opening the sheet, start by renaming the active tab to “Promotions.” Don’t skip this step, it’s crucial for referencing this range in formulas later on.

In your “Promotions” tab, head to the top row and label columns A, B, and C with the headers of your ad customizer attributes. For example, you might have “BrandSaleHeadline” as your attribute in column A, “text” as the Data Type in column B, and “Shop the Collection” as the Account Value in column C.

Once your headers are in place, move to cell C2. Here, you’ll input the expression =lookup(today(),F:G,E:E). This formula will play a key role in dynamically updating your RSA customizer based on the current date.

Next, go to columns E, F, and G, which will be used to manage your scheduling. In these columns, you’ll list out the different values your chosen attribute might take, alongside their corresponding start and end dates. For example, under the “BrandSaleHeadline” attribute, you might schedule various promotional headlines to appear during different sale periods throughout the year.

Here’s how your sheet might look:

Now look back at the first 3 columns on your sheet. They should look like this:

Now create a second sheet. We’ll call this sheet the Child sheet. It’s going to automatically pull in data from the parent sheet you just created, and will be the one you link to Google Ads later on.

Columns A, B and C will be almost identical to the child sheet, but we will be using a special formula later so we can automatically populate this. So, start by labeling Row 1 Column A “Attribute,” then the next column as “Data type,” then column C as “Account value.” 

Then go to C2 and use this expression to populate the right account value from the parent document: =importrange(“[PARENT DOCUMENT URL HERE]”,”Promotions!C2″)

Your sheet should now look like this:

We recommend adding a date range with default text for any days you’re  not running a promotion. In the example above, we have “Shop Our Collection” appearing as default text.

2. Input attributes

Once you have your feed created, the next step involves inputting your attributes into the Google Ads platform. This can be done either manually or through a bulk upload.

For the manual approach, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in your Google Ads interface, then go to ‘Setup’ followed by “Business Data.” Here, you’ll find an option for “Ad Customizer Attributes.” Click the plus sign to add your attributes. It’s crucial to use the same attribute names that you’ve established in your Parent Google Sheet template to ensure consistency and proper data synchronization.



Alternatively, if you prefer the bulk upload method, again head to “Tools & Settings.” This time, select “Bulk Actions” and then “Uploads.” For this process, you only need to upload columns A to C from your template. 

Be aware that it might take some time for your uploaded attributes to be reflected in the business data section of Google Ads.

3. Set up an automatic schedule

At this point, you’ve almost finished scheduling your ad customizers. Navigate to Tools & Settings, then Bulk Actions, then Uploads, then click the Schedules tab at the top. Select your Child Google Sheet as the data source, and share your Google Sheet with the appropriate email.



And there you have it – Google will automatically pull in the data you populated in the sheets into your RSAs.

Common Challenges When Scheduling RSA Ad Customizers

When we test these sheets with our clients in the wild, we’ve uncovered five common challenges. Be on the lookout for these issues – solving them before they happen can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Not scheduling your upload when the site changes 

The first and most significant hurdle is the mismatch between the scheduled data upload and website content updates. For instance, if the Google Sheet is set to upload at 11 am, but the website changes occur at 3 pm, there’s going to be a discrepancy where the wrong message could be displayed for several hours, or new messaging could appear prematurely. Conversely, if the website updates happen before the scheduled sheet upload, outdated promotions might linger until the new data is imported. Synchronizing these schedules is crucial; it’s best to align them so updates occur simultaneously.

Skipping QA during a message change

Another pitfall is neglecting quality assurance (QA) during message updates. It’s vital to regularly check the business data section to verify that the correct values are in place post-update.

Issues with the IMPORTRANGE function

Then there’s the technical aspect of setting up the IMPORTRANGE function correctly in the Google Sheets template. The ‘child’ template must reliably pull data from the ‘parent’ sheet. If this function isn’t configured correctly, data won’t be imported as needed.

Not sharing access of the Google template for automatic uploads

Pay attention to your access permissions for the Google Sheets template. Google will prompt you with the email address that needs permission to access the ‘child’ sheet for automatic uploads. Overlooking the sharing of your sheet with this address will prevent the system from working.

Having date range gaps in your parent sheet

Lastly, a common oversight is leaving date range gaps in the ‘parent’ sheet. Every single date must be accounted for without overlaps. A practical tip is to have an ‘evergreen’ backup message ready, scheduled to run continuously, ideally through the end of the year, to cover any potential gaps.


Leveraging Google Sheets in conjunction with Google Ads to schedule RSA ad customizers is a game-changer for managing dynamic promotional content. This process not only streamlines your workflows but also ensures that your ads remain relevant and up-to-date, reflecting current promotions without the need for constant manual intervention. 

By adopting this method, you’ll save significant time and effort, allowing you to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae of ad copy updates. Give it a try and experience a more efficient way to manage your RSAs, keeping your campaigns fresh and engaging with minimal hassle.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies



10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

In 2023, there are a total of 4.89 billion social media users worldwide. One of the many reasons you should build your brand’s presence on social media is to capture a slice of this pie.

So, if you’re a marketer wanting to crush it online — this is your time to take action. The social presence of billions of users shows great potential to connect, engage, and build lasting relationships with your target audience.

The real power lies not just in being active on social media networks but in planning social media goals in advance and crafting engaging social media content strategies that make a meaningful impact.

And creating one isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a thoughtful approach that goes beyond the basics.

To help you accomplish your social media goals, we’ll cover ten advanced tips that you can use to craft an engaging social media content strategy.

1. Conduct A/B Testing

A/B testing allows you to optimize your social media marketing strategy based on insights and social media metrics.

Experiment with different content formats, headlines, captions, and visuals to see which format performs better.

You can also try different content styles and focus on visual content, which is 40x more likely to be shared on social media.

Example: Test two different headlines for a product announcement social post and use the one that users engaged with and shared more. You’ll need to track social metrics like reactions, shares, and new followers during your test.

2. Personalize your content

Before creating a social media marketing plan or content calendar, segment your audience based on demographics, behaviors, and interests.

Craft tailored messages for each segment and find social media content ideas for that target audience.

And to encourage them to engage with you, publish funny content. 80% of marketers say that funny content is the most effective form of social media posts.

Example: Tap into Instagram retargeting ads to promote personalized product recommendations to customers based on their past purchase history.

3. Embrace User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is a powerful way to build trust, gather a sense of community, and increase engagement rates.

Encourage users to share their experiences and stories about your brand.

Plan a posting schedule using social media tools, highlight, and feature UGC in your content, and give credit to the creators to showcase the authenticity.

Then, create a dedicated UGC marketing campaign.

Example: Invite customers to share photos of themselves using your product with a branded hashtag. Comment on and share these photos on your company’s social media (with permission, of course), thanking the participants for joining in on the fun.

4. Incorporate influencer collaboration

Partner with influencers in your industry who have high engagement rates. 67% of marketers agree they prefer working with micro-influencers with 10k-100k followers or subscribers.

Collaborating with influencers allows you to tap into their social networks and leverage their credibility to boost engagement.

Use social media management tools to co-create content, host giveaways, or collaborate on campaigns aligning with your brand and the influencers’ style to extend your reach and gain engagement.

If your target audience is Gen Z, you can prefer Instagram Reels for influencer marketing.

For context, look at the stats below:

1701077164 213 10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

Example: Partner with a fitness influencer to promote your health supplements through workout videos.

5. Use interactive elements

To accomplish your social media marketing goals, you can engage people to interact with your brand via polls, quizzes, and surveys. Encourage them to participate and share the results.

Incorporating interactive elements into your social media marketing strategy will spark active participation between your social media team and audience, making them more likely to engage and share opinions.

Example: Host a poll on X (formerly Twitter) to let your audience choose the next product feature you’ll develop or the types of content they’d like to see.

6. Leverage user reviews and testimonials

Showcase user reviews and testimonials as part of your content strategy. Highlight positive feedback and make improvements by taking accountability for negative feedback.

Incorporate these testimonials into your social media strategies to create dedicated reviews or testimonial videos. Sharing this social proof helps build trust and credibility with your audience.

Example: Feature video social proof of a satisfied customer explaining how your software improved their business.

7. Create long-form content

While social media platforms are mostly known for short-form content, they’re switching gears to focus on long-form content.

It’s great, especially if your business receives great engagement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Long-form posts on the microblogging platform are now at 3 billion views per day and rising.”, said Elon Musk, the owner of X.

“This is roughly on par with all newspaper articles views on Earth,” he continued.

1701077165 831 10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

Educational content and case studies tend to work great on LinkedIn. Additionally, blog posts can also help you establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Publishing compelling content is a great way to increase engagement and shares. You can also repurpose educational content on multiple sites and tailor it to each platform for the best results.

Example: Publish content about challenges and opportunities your company faced and how it helped you increase return on investment.

8. Collaborate with other brands

Collaborate with complementary brands or businesses for promotional content.

As part of your digital marketing strategy, come up with mutually beneficial collaboration ideas that can help you both increase reach and tap into ideal customers.

Joint campaigns, cross-promotions, or co-sponsored events are great ways to use the power of collaboration.

Example: Team up with a travel agency to promote your hotel and their vacation packages through a joint social media campaign.

9. Emphasize customer service

Social channels aren’t just a source for publishing content but also for providing excellent customer service.

Marketers these days actively invest in building social media communities to better connect and interact with potential customers.

Respond promptly to inquiries, comments, and feedback from your audience. Show them you genuinely care about them by addressing their concerns and providing helpful solutions.

This level of engagement can build customer loyalty and community building.

Example: Respond to customers’ support requests on social accounts and resolve their issues within a few hours.

10. Monitor trends and stay updated

Stay updated with social media trends, algorithm changes, and content formats. Track performances, content audits, and social media KPIs.

Experiment with new features or types of content introduced by social media channels.

Plan your social media content calendar based on engagement metrics. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and identify strategies that work well in your industry.

Out of all content types, short-form videos are taking the spotlight. Research states that 64% of shoppers ended up making a purchase after seeing branded video content on social platforms.

Example: If video content is becoming popular on social platforms, create your social media content strategy around it.

You might also consider incorporating data storytelling into your strategy. Why? More brands are moving towards storytelling in their social media posts.

This helps reach larger audiences and accomplish business goals. If you haven’t thought about it, give it a thought. The early bird catches the worm.

Final Words

And there you have it — ten advanced tips to level up your social media marketing strategy.

Test the waters with new features on social channels and plan your content marketing strategy accordingly.

With consistency and some creativity, you can increase your brand awareness and establish a strong foothold in the vast sea of social media.

Are you ready to boost your social media presence and accomplish all your business goals? Here’s to your success!

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


3 Questions About AI in Content: What? So What? Now What?



3 Questions About AI in Content: What? So What? Now What?

In the United States, Thanksgiving will give us the needed break to take a collective breath.

I don’t know about you, but getting my bearings around the disruptions of generative AI presents an extreme challenge. Innovations come so quickly that once we think we have our arms around it, something new appears.

Almost one year into seeing what generative AI can do for content creation and marketing strategies, OpenAI has introduced custom GPTs for those who pay for access.

You can build custom ChatGPT applications to use the tool’s newest capabilities to do things specifically valuable to you. For example, your company could upload 10 years of blog articles and instruct the custom GPT to use the knowledge gained from the content to formulate answers to questions on the blogs’ topics. In theory, you get the depth and breadth of ChatGPT’s large language learning model focused on your knowledge base and able to take specific actions, such as sending an email or automating a task.

Impressive. But sheesh. What does that do to your plans to integrate tools into your marketing workflow? It seems like one of a hundred things that you’re supposed to pay attention to right now.

Time to reflect

If your time frees up this week either because of the holiday or because the Americans are on holiday, take a moment and reflect on these disruptions to your current marketing and content efforts.

A little more than 20 years ago, a nursing professor at Swansea University published a helpful framework for self-reflection and communication. His exercise has helped me in times of disruption, and perhaps it can be for you as well.

Answer a few questions that fall into three stages – what, so what, and now what?

  • What? Describe what has happened simply and objectively – without judgment or interpretation. Some helpful prompts: What happened? What did you observe? What events occurred? What is the current situation?
  • So what? Answer questions about what you know now that you didn’t know. You can introduce emotions. Some helpful prompts: What did you learn? What difference have the events made? Answer as yourself or within the context of your team or company.

    If it’s just you, potential questions could be: Did what happened clarify an interest? Did you hear or feel anything that surprised you? How is your experience different than what you expected? What do these events mean to you?

    If you answer on behalf of a team or group, you can ask the self-questions along with these prompts: What do these events suggest to you about this group? How might the group work better or worse with these events? How were decisions made or not made based on these events?

  • Now what? Reflect on your future actions based on the first two steps. These broader implications react to what happened. Questions center on defining and looking at the root cause: What would contribute to a successful response? What would be in the way of successfully navigating through this? What learning has now occurred, and how can I/we apply this learning?    

Ask your team to do this same exercise. When you meet back up, create a workshop or team gathering where you discuss the answers and determine where opportunities may exist.

Real reflections aren’t hot takes

If you find yourself thinking that process is basic, well, you’re right. These three questions – and the provocations that come from them – mirror a progression you’ve all tried to work through a problem. However, you don’t often do it for big disruptions in the moment. It’s just too easy to jump to the third step, “now what,” and confuse it with “what’s next.” You get overwhelmed by all the actions you can take.

You can see this challenge happening with the disruption of generative AI.

Check out this article that reflects on the disruption of generative AI in the video game industry. To make the case, it leverages Bain & Company research that “more than half of video game development process will be supported by generative AI within the next five to 10 years.” It uses “what happened” to make a case for “what’s next.” The author didn’t even bother to ask “so what” to reach the conclusion: “Microsoft wants AI to solve problems that game makers say they won’t actually have.”

If you reflect on what the Bain research actually said, you can see it’s almost the opposite of the Microsoft conclusion. The research plainly says few executives believe AI will reduce development costs. They say AI will not significantly impact talent and “do not believe it will replace the creative spark necessary for game development.”

By misinterpreting what happened and not asking, “So what,” the author jumped to predicting what’s next, which is almost useless to make any productive change to address what’s really happening.    

This is why working through this process is helpful.

Now, to be clear, hot takes are fun. I’m not suggesting you do away with predictions or the occasional response. Hot takes are a great way to start the conversation, not to finish them.

Take the time – and the process – to work it out. It’s not perfect. It’s also not meant to be a fail-safe way to predict the future. The three-question stages are meant to help you balance facts and feelings to make more productive and satisfying responses to the disruptions you face.

The process is meant to change your future, not by helping you see it more clearly but by helping you clearly see how you change it.

It’s your story. Have a wonderful, reflective Thanksgiving, and tell it well.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading