What does a project manager do?

Heck what all am I supposed to do she said. When do I do actual work versus do this project management bit. Project management can seem like a mountain as high as the Himalayas for the uninitiated.  So I thought I’d give her the 5 minute visual explanation, and the sigh of relief I heard once she saw it visualized prompted me to blog about this.

Project management is about managing two primary things

Project Management - Product-Service-People-Resources

Managing people and resources and delivering a product or service under various constraints – people, time, tools, money, etc.

Product/Service Management Constraints

Product ManagementThere are various constraints when managing a project :

  • Objectives
  • Time
  • Quality
  • Money

 

 

 

Any product or service needs to meet certain objectives. It needs to be delivered in a certain time, meeting quality parameters and meeting the projected costs.

People and Resource Management

The other aspect of project management is the management of people and resources.

People and Resource ManagementThis involves:

  1. Planning
  2. Managing and Monitoring
  3. Communication – With Client and with team
  4. Mentoring the team – Trouble shooting

 

All the above is all important, however I believe that more than all the above, project managers are often questioned about…

Value Addition

Value Addition-Innovation Value Addition/ Innovation beyond the stated objectives. This is irrespective of whether it’s a product or service. When you’re delivering a product it could be ensuring ease of use beyond the original requirements e.g. Dominos delivering a pizza and going beyond expectation in delivering it within half an hour or refunding your money. When delivering a service it could be going beyond the expected value as well.

Project Management Cycle

The increasing challenge with project management is however what is called the project management cycle. Innovation or value addition is never static, similarly often the product grows beyond the original brief. This means that project management is not a linear but rather a continuous process of managing the product/service and the people.

Project Management Cycle

 

There you have it the 360 degree 5 minute visual introduction to project management. Let me know what you think.

3 core concepts for a successful content strategy

Have you ever sat on a chair with 2 legs, it’s going to be a quick crash boom landing if anything. Three legs is a minimum and ideal is four.

Your successful content strategy similarly depends on 3 crucial concepts, four if you consider the business objective.

Concept 1: The Customer Journey

Customers go through three different journeys with you. Attraction, Conversion and Consumption. And your content needs to address the customers needed in these stages.

Customer Journey v2.1

Attraction

In the attraction stage the content helps to get them know a little about your product or service.

Conversion

In conversion they either purchase or sign up to a list or subscribe for more information, the content enables them to undertake some kind of transaction not necessarily monetary with you.

Consumption

The consumption content on the other hand is designed to help them consume your product or service better.

Each of these 3 kinds of content is very different and serves a very definite purpose. One to enable awareness, the other to aid a transaction and the last to aid consumption.

You need to make sure that your content enables the customer journey.

Content StickinessConcept 2: Content Stickiness

We’re faced with a deluge of content each day. Most of it is boring, exhaustive and and at times difficult to consume and remember. We typically forget 80% of a presentation in less that 24 hours.

Making content stick, memorable is critical. Without this even though your content might be good, it’s not really going to stick around in peoples minds. Creating sticky content is a planned activity.

Content stickiness can be achieved in a number of ways. One of the common ways is by creating a unique mascot which provides a distinct voice to your content and enables it to stick in people’s minds. The other is to provide content which directly address people’s problems. There are 7 different ways in which content can be presented to make it more effective. By far visual content is the most effective in terms of making it easy to consume and remember.

Concept 3: Network Effect

The challenge with content production is that everyone is doing it, and standing out in the midst of all that content with your content is difficult. Moreso customers belief in corporate content tends to be low compared to recommendations by colleagues, co-workers and others customers.

Moreover, you can’t do it alone, not all businesses are designed to content production factories, and you’re never going to have enough budgets to produce the kind and volume of content.

Leverage Influencer and Partner Networks

Leveraging Social Media Networks the right way – Brand Advocates, Partners (and their networks) User Generated Content.

You need to leverage your brand advocates(your most vocal customers) and partners to not only create content for your but leverage their networks to promote your content. User Generated content is by far the most powerful content. You truly leverage social networks when you leverage content created by corporate teams, employees, partners and brand advocates. This also means repurposing content across different formats (text, audio, images) and across different social networks.

Summary

In summary, in today’s landscape it’s necessary to create content which targets the different stages, is sticky and at the same time leverages user generated content along with partners and employees. These 3 legs are necessary for a successful content strategy.

Resources:

The weak link in most content communication strategies

What is the ROI of Social Media?

She literally screamed out, it’s all bullshit! What the hell is the ROI of social media? You tell me, is there any ROI? I was quite taken aback, considering that she made a living selling customers on social media, and more so as we were on a dinner table, with kids and friends. My initial surprise at the outburst from a professional in the field, turned to a realization, that there are many others who have the same question. Too many people are not clear about the ROI of Social Media.

First, What is ROI?

Before diving into explain the ROI of social media, let me look at the word ROI, I know it sounds silly, but bear with me. ROI – Return on Investment is a number which tells you how much you stand to make on your investment.

ROI Bank examplee.g. ROI of a Fixed Deposit (Certificate of Deposit). You put in $100, and based on the interest rate the bank offers you get your $100+x, where x is the amount of money you earn, i.e. the return on your investment. ROI is a financial term. It is money which you’re making, by investing in some asset, or some kind of activity.

 

What is the ROI of social media? Hmm something is not quite right about that question.

ROI of Social MediaSocial media is not an investment vehicle, you invest in a particular social network, e.g. Facebook or Twitter by performing certain activities there. When you think of ROI of anything you need to think of what have I invested and what is the return I’m getting. However, sometimes calculating the return of an investment can be difficult.

 

What is the ROI of your business card?

That would be a little difficult to know. However, it’s quite situational. For instance if you gave your card to a few people and because of that one of them called you and gave you a business opportunity, You’d be then able to calculate the value of handing the cards out to people. Yeah I know I’m making it sound a bit too simplistic, but you get the idea right?

 

What is the ROI of your phone?

Similarly, what if I asked you the ROI of your phone? Ok, here again, if you’re lets say an outbound sales person and making calls all day, then the ROI would be based on the business you got by making those calls.

There is obviously in both of these examples the unknowns, i.e. lets say your business card got passed on, and two people copied your number and called you, and so on and so forth.

 

What is the ROI of your website?

One more example, What about the ROI of your website? Is that more tangible? – So for example you might measure it based on the number of people who connected to you via your website and gave you some business, or bought a product from you online via your site. It’s a little easier and direct. Though ROI calculation can get complicated here if you have a multi-channel strategy (Check the reference section below if you want to get in depth information.)

How to think about Social Media ROI?

When trying to figure out the ROI of activity on social media, you’re going to calculate it based on how much money you’re putting in via resources – people, hard cash, advertising on social networks, costs of content creation, daily posts and other activity, which you do on a particular social media network, and then you’re going to evaluate the amount of business, the amount of sales this has generated for you . So in essence it is the value you derive from the social media marketing or networking activity or whatever type of activity you do on a particular social media network.

Types of activity you could do via Social Media Networks

  • Marketing
  • Selling Products and Services
  • Networking
  • Prospecting (could be as part of marketing and selling)
  • Competitive Intelligence gathering
  • Understanding gaps, issues and opportunities in the market space by listening to and analysing customer interactions.
  • Customer Service (Answering customer queries online versus the traditional call centre)

The number one mistake people make while measuring Social Media ROI

Continue reading What is the ROI of Social Media?

The weak link in most content communication strategies

FRAMEWORKS FOR THINKING ABOUT COMMUNICATION

I was in the middle of a discussion with a friend about self evaluation, and the discussion veered around how most companies go about designing a corporate website or a brochure.

Here’s how the discussion was:

Corporate Brochure or Website

We see a corporate brochure or website and the typical discussion which happens is around how it should look and what content it needs to contain.

 

It’s like we’re seeing the trees but missing the forest, we’re missing the main purpose of the website or brochure.

What is the purpose?

However, when you think of a brochure or a website, in fact any kind of corporate communication medium, you need to think of three things.

Corporate Brochure or Website framework

1. What do we want people to Know

2.  What will people Remember

3. What do we want people to Do

 

 

Know Remember and Do

When people are viewing your content, what is it that you want to communicate to them, what is it that you want them to Know.

What is it that they will remember, most people forget 90% of a communication after less than a day.  So you need to design your communication in a way that people remember your key message.

What do you want people to do (action) as a result of the communication? Do you want them to sign up to an email list, connect with your consultant, or buy?

 

Content specialists are focused in the wrong direction

Content Specialist ProblemContent specialists are focused on the orange circled part.  What sections need to be there, how many sections will there be? How many pages of content do we need to write? Blah blah blah and more blah. Now I’m not saying that one should not talk about or not consider these things, they are important however, they are secondary. What is important is to focus on what we want our reader, viewer to know, remember and ultimately do.

Find Purpose and the means will follow

Purpose of content communication typically might be a desired action or transaction, however, depending on what stage people are at, getting to that point of action might be different for different people.

Awareness StageSo for example a person completely new to your concept (product) at the awareness stage might want to mull over the information and get further information.

 

More Information - FAQ or Newsletter or BlogYou might want to hence lead him to more information, which you might provide via a frequently asked questions (F.A.Q) list, or via a blog, or via a newsletter, or your website if the information is being viewed in a brochure. The point being you’re making sure that a person who is just beginning to get aware has an opportunity to engage with you further and move on to the transaction stage where he exchanges something with you. This could be in the form of a potential  customers email id in exchange for subscription to your report on the “10 ways to save tax legally – Report”  or your newsletter which provides “Tips on how to create a parallel source of income” or your blog etc.. Essentially in the transaction stage some thing gets exchanged between both parties.

MeetingThis transaction can also be a physical meeting with your representatives to get personal queries answered, or via an online forum, where further queries could be answered. Here again the potential customer shares their personal information, in exchange for more information.

The purpose of your content strategy

Purpose of Content Strategy

The objective of your brochure or website is to get the reader to know, remember and then do some action. Depending on which stage of the customer journey that person is  in they may seek further information , want answers to questions or a person who is convinced might be ready for a purchase. Your content needs to help the person move from the initial awareness stage (knowing and remembering), to doing something, a transaction and finally consumption.

(Note: Consumption is getting the customer to fully use your product, more on this in another article. Additionally, despite your best efforts the person may not move to the transaction stage, however, that’s the objective, the purpose of your content communication strategy.).

The people challenge

Brand Content and FunctionHere is another look at our Know, Remember and Do framework. This time with the terms Brand, Content and Function against each of the three pillars of our framework.

Do you notice the challenge?

Brand Content and Function TeamWhen you look at the people involved in pulling this off, you’d realize that three different kind of people (inner orange circle) are required,  a designer, writer and an engineer. Especially when we’re creating an online presence. All three of them need to work in tandem to create and execute a comprehensive communication strategy, which will clearly communicate to the client what the client needs to know, remember and do.

Even though I’ve put names against a specific part of our framework, that doesn’t mean that branding is only the designers forte, copy plays a huge role here too. Similar in terms of what functionality or what action we want to influence.

Know, Remember and Do Framework (KReD)
So having the KReD framework is the first crucial part of a communication strategy, which one needs to consider.  Thinking about what you want the potential customer to Know, Remember and ultimately Do is key, in ensuring that you deliver value to your clients. Understanding this ensures that we capture the basic essentials of the client objective. However, this is just the first step. We need to design communication which captures these three essentials and communicates it effectively to the end consumer.

How can we design content communication effectively?

How to get people pay attention to your content? Even if you use the basic KRED (Know, REmember and Do) framework, and decide what needs to be communicated to your customers.  Effectively communicating your ideas to your clients and their end customers is a challenge . Frameworks come in handy here as well to address your content to both your clients and their customers.

Seven frameworks for effective content communication

Continue reading The weak link in most content communication strategies

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