#LeanComms 2.0 — The Process

Communications for the way the world is now

Last year I wrote my first post about #LeanComms — an approach to communications aiming to make sense and thrive in a rapidly evolving world of integrated marketing. Since then I’ve continued to develop the process with input from others, to support my work on Lifehack, my new venture Volunteer Impact, and the consulting work I sometimes take on.

Even in the space of 6 months, the communication landscape has continued to shift and move with a plethora of new digital marketing tools, new platforms evolving, and we continue to watch closely as print media evolves in a fight to survive against increasing spend on digital advertising. I remain convinced that a new, more nimble approach to Communications and Marketing is vital to thrive in this world of multi-channel signal and noise. [tweet this]


#LeanComms 2.0 is born

The blurring of the line between Communication Strategy and Planning is an important need in a fast moving marketing landscape, so with #LeanComms 2.0 I have better integrated the Lean Comms Canvas with Content Planning.

“Content is the atomic particle of marketing” — Noah Briar, Percollate

I have also completely updated the Lean Comms Canvas, which you can see here:

The #LeanComms Canvas by Sam Rye

I’ve also laid out the 10 steps that I use to develop a Content Plan in a simple graphic:

The 10 Steps of #LeanComms by Sam Rye

[tweet the ‘10 Steps of #LeanComms’]

Let me take you through these steps quickly which focus on a 6-10 week campaign rhythm or cadence. I like to outline this in visual form — either with pen & paper, or if I want to share with people, I’m a big fan of Mural.ly.

  1. Complete your #LeanComms Canvas as per the instructions. Contact me if you don’t understand anything
  2. Outline the 3 Content Aspirations (such as Educate, Engage, Upskill)
  3. Defining the Voice(s) you will be using is important to avoid shifting around too much and confusing your audience (e.g. Thought Leader, Organisational, or human)
  4. Deciding on the Channels most appropriate to this initiative (e.g. SnapChat for promotions)
  5. Identify the Media Types you will concentrate on
  6. Content Categories are a great way to break down the initiative into bite sized chunks which you can then drill down into further (e.g. Buffer might write about Productivity, Social Media, New Features & Company Culture).
  7. Content Brainstorm — the fun stuff!! Rather than sitting down each day / week and randomly posting whatever you feel like, I’ve found it’s best to take a “60% planned content” approach, which means you have space for the organic content which is the lifeblood of the internet. We get the big pieces of paper and pens out and think of four headlines/stories for each Content Category. Then, you can pick a selection of the best ones (and file the rest for the next brainstorm in case you need some prompts) for the #8…
  8. Breakdown those headlines/stories into a timeline form — for example a weekly cycle, one per week. You can use the context of what your organisation will be up to, to help guide this — so for example creating an “Event Roundup” content piece shortly after you’re scheduled to be running an event.
  9. It’s nitty gritty time — keeping yourself on track with a plan normally requires some kind of reminder system (maybe one on the day, and one before as a reminder to get started). I often hack this with Google Calendar, but you could use something like ContentCloud if you need a bit more functionality, or I’ve heard some people use project management/to do apps like Trello and Asana. If there’s a team of you working on creating content, a collaborative platform like this is great so you can delegate each piece of content.
  10. Finally you need to get out there and start creating! Whether it’s traditional print ads or a twitter #hashtag chat, I found this system is great for keeping me on track. I also subscribe to data-driven learning with an additional layer of intuition and analysis — so I would set up a system to learn what’s working and what’s not. If you’re hacking things together (as so many of us are) you can use the likes of Buffer’s analytics, and/or services like SumAll which give you a great overview snapshot of your digital touchpoints.
  11. Time to do it all again after 6-10 weeks! Sit down to duplicate and quickly update your #LeanComms Canvas with any learnings which change your assumptions, and then head back to Step 1 for your next initiative.

I’ve found the more times I do this, the quicker it gets — I’ve got the whole thing down to about 45 minutes every 6 weeks which puts me on a constant learning path toward better content marketing, community management, and keeps me sane amongst the fast moving world.

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I hope this helps some of you to do the same. Please do get in touch any time if you have questions or comments — I’d love to hear if you have other elements to your workflow which would improve this — #LeanComms is in permanent beta.