Destination NOW: When “content” planning steals the magic

I’m a big planner, my lists have lists.  I like to know what I’m doing and the warm feeling of predictability.  I frequently speak and coach on the power of storytelling and encourage my clients to think forward.  Recently, I have discovered how damn wrong I’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, you can plan around events, happenings and themes (like Holidays), but pre-writing social posts for a month (as some clients ask agencies to do) steals the authentic communication between you and consumers.  Social Media experts may have guidelines to promote a product, but you can’t predict brand banter, fan shares or – God forbid – crisis communication.

The power of NOW is the key to engagement.

The Internet moves as fast as the Internet.  If your content planner can accurately predict a month out what’s hot online; please have them call me – I’d like lotto numbers.

You need hyper-reactive master communicators to really glean the best interaction with your followers/fans/friends.  A bit of a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either.

WHAT YOU CAN PLAN:  Blog posts, press releases, events, special deals and offers, campaign themes

WHAT YOU CAN’T PLAN:  trending hashtags, news stories, daily banter, fan shares, anything that needs authenticity

Getting into the Now of communication is the key to dating your audience.

And, that’s what you need – someone excellent at dating:  listening, flirting and closing the deal.  A measure of trust is required, because you aren’t 100% sure what’s going to post next.

Down the line of dating, think back (if you’re my age) – you know where you are going and how you are going to dress – but I know you haven’t planned out the conversation like a script.  If you have, please get help.

“Content”, which is such  boring word, should be natural, curious and respond to your audience.  Think Journalism vs novels.  Journalists respond and listen, novels are a one-way communicator.

So, before you buy a “pack of 50 social posts” from a vendor, ask yourself what you are really paying for?  Stop buying yesterday and invest in now.  Let your fan base guide your process.  Stay curious, keep listening, joke, play and respond until they let you put a ring on it – aka – convert to buyers.

Motivation reality check.


Should is the antithesis of motivation.   How many times have you tried to get motivated by telling yourself you “should” do something?  I should rebuild my sales strategy.  I should develop an exit plan.  I should adopt new strategies to compete in a crowded marketplace.

Should is intrinsically linked to failure.  No one is motivated by what they “should” do.  It’s akin to eating vegetables.

No life, no motivation…just a big pile of shame.

You know what you need to do, what the next step needs to be.  How do you turn this around before the “should” hits the fan??

You change your dialogue from should to must.  You re-identify your standards to include this “thing” in your self-identification. Some examples:

“I am the kind of person who takes the risk for the bigger payoff”

“I always have a leg up on the competition.”

“I am the first to market on every value-add available to my clients”

“I don’t settle for status quo”

These self-identifying mantras shift from should to must, because it defines how you see yourself.  If we raise our standards, things stop being “optional”.  It’s who we are, it becomes part of our DNA.

To get unstuck in whatever your business challenges are, you have to eliminate the excuses and self-imposed limitations.  “I don’t  have the resources.” is an excuse.  Resourcefulness is the ultimate resource.

If you think self-talk has nothing to do with business success, then you are gullible, lazy and prone to losing.  Real talk.

Make a list of the things you have been saying “should” be done.  Go through the list and identify what impact there would be if these came to fruition.  I bet the results of this exercise help redefine your leadership style.  Try this:  just own the first three.  Those three “shoulds” become the story that defines you, your company and your sales strategy.  When you identify your own standards, turning “shoulds” into musts; you no longer accept excuses.

“Should never could and can’t never can.”

If you find that your “should” list isn’t imperative to success, then congratulations on mastering business improvement.  But, I bet you dollars to donuts, there’s growth opportunity.  Your 20% ROI could be 70%.  Your 70% occupancy could be 90%.  Your company could be the market leader.  You could have more leisure time.  You could sell your company for 10x valuation.

How you self-identify dictates your business success.  You know it, I know it.  I am just the little “goal digger” on your shoulder reminding  you that you want more, and you are making excuses.

Have a wonderful and prosperous week!!