I get attached to my work. It’s a defect in my character. I like what I do and I can’t help but put my heart into it. So when I create a strategy it’s a piece of me, of my brain that I’m offering to a client. That can’t not be a personal transaction. So it’s understandable that I’m a bit put out by a couple things over the last several months.
I still follow some former clients on Twitter, including those who ended a contract before I was let go from Voce. They moved on to another agency often because of costs, finding another agency that would do what we were doing, or some facsimile thereof, for less money. But as the months have gone on I’ve noticed…nothing really changed. Sure, some of the details might be a little different. Overall, though, I see the same kinds of Tweets going out on the same channels at the same time as I programmed in an editorial calendar four years ago. It was obvious no new strategy had been applied.
In another instance, when I was let go from a position I had to make sure someone else was prepared to take over my duties. I was taken aback, though, when the person I was talking to admitted they had no idea Facebook applied any sort of algorithmic filter to the News Feed that impacts what people see. This person didn’t know the technical details of the social networks being managed, much less have the strategy in mind to optimize them.
At what point are you ready to sacrifice strategy at the altar of costs? There’s a time and place to bring in someone to be just a button pusher, I get that. But how long does that go on before the program starts to stagnate?
I’ve been involved in stagnating programs. They develop an odor that’s noticeable not only to those who are running it behind the scenes and the audience the program is trying to reach. Engagement drops. Clicks drop. Followers start to leave or at least become disinterested in what you have to say. Things start to go badly.
You need innovation to keep things fresh, but that takes strategic thinking. If you’re making decisions based solely on costs, you’re often sacrificing that strategic thinking in favor of someone who’s just keeping the lights on. Without strategy a program is aimless. The strategy is literally the map that needs to be followed toward success. But strategies shift all the time and you need a team that is thinking ahead and plotting those changes. Without it you sail into the void and you wind up with a listless, valueless content program.