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DPM Podcast

How To Make Content Creation A Mandatory Part Of Everyone’s Job (with Alexa Alfonso from The Nerdery)

By 03/08/2021 August 25th, 2021 No Comments

Galen Low is joined by Alexa Alfonso, DPM Expert and Manager of Client Engagement at The Nerdery. In her previous role as Director of Growth at Crema, Alexa made content creation a mandatory part of everyone’s job. Listen to how she did it, what challenges she faced, and what impact it’s had on the team.

Interview Highlights:

  • Alexa Alfonso is a digital project manager turned marketer who is deeply passionate about pushing the envelope on the kind of knowledge and impact a small talented group of people can put out into the world. In her former role as the Director of Growth at Crema, she combined her emotional intelligence and organization skills to quarterback her team’s mission to share Crema’s expertise and expand its presence. [1:07]
  • Outside of work, you can find Alexa cooking up a tasty dish, pumping iron at the gym, hiking the hills around Phoenix or poolside with her husband and her rescue pit bull, Spike. [1:28]
  • Alexa is one of the original DPM Experts and she has dozens of podcasts and articles with The Digital Project Manager, and she also plays a leading role in the Mastering Digital Project Management course. [2:10]
  • Alexa had babysat for a family back in college, who the husband ran an advertising agency. Back then, she decided not to go to law school and she worked at an animal shelter. The man reached out and asked her if she wanted to join his company doing account management and project management for his advertising company. So, she said ‘Yes’. [4:50]
  • Back in 2015, Alexa had a meeting with the boss from Crema and she was hired as the second project manager. It was a turning point in her life. She was given a ton of support and helped her grow in that realm and that domain of project management for digital, app, and software development. [6:39]
  • Over the course of time, Alexa started to get really into account management and account growth, and there was an opportunity for her to move into a business development and sales position. So, she transitioned onto that side of the business in 2018. [7:10]
  • In 2018, Crema started to invest in building out a marketing team. They brought in a marketing specialist, a multimedia specialist, and they started to claim the idea that a small company can have an overhead department of marketing to help drive new leads and grow their business. [8:09]
  • Recently, Alexa accepted a position at a new company where she’ll be running with a team down in Phoenix. [9:01]
  • The team at Crema had the opportunity to connect to another agency called Atomic Object in Michigan. They shared that they had a company wide blogging program where everyone had to blog as a requirement to their job. That inspired the team to adapt it after thinking it over on how it could work for Crema. [12:43]
  • Probably in six months of 2020, Crema shaped a whole new program and they branded it as the Craft Content System. [13:53]
  • In November 2020, they rolled out a lunch alert where they introduced the Craft Content System and that went really well. [14:42]

“We wanted to create a process so people could feel empowered to share their expertise.” — Alexa Alfonso

  • Crema has an internal innovation program called Venture Lab. [19:08]
  • Crema had built up a really good working relationship with their craft teams. They have a very collaborative culture and that’s how they delivered the Lunch and Learn. [22:01]

“We manage everything internally inside of Asana for the growth team.” — Alexa Alfonso

  • To be able to make content creation a mandatory part of everyone’s job, they have this idea that as long as an employee has been at Crema for more than six months, they’re going to create two pieces of content per year. And they didn’t require anything to be due by a certain point. [23:27]
  • At Crema, they have these general content marketing goals that they want to educate and inform their audience. They want to illustrate the benefits of working with their team. [26:44]
  • Alexa mentioned a book that they were interested to read as a team. It’s called “They Ask You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan. [27:42]

“We don’t just want to be creating content for content’s sake. It needs to serve a purpose and help support the business’s growth.” — Alexa Alfonso

  • Crema has really invested in video. Their idea is, if they can create a video first and have it scripted or outlined, they can pretty easily turn that into a blog post or cut it up for social media. [37:45]
  • Crema has a weekly podcast called People of Product. People on their team can be guests interviewed for that as well. [38:18]
  • The team at Crema is growing and when new hires come on board, Alexa sits down with them and she talks about the growth team and what they’re trying to do. A part of that is the Craft Content System. [42:09]
  • One of the most effective ways they’ve found to empower folks to create great content is to sit down with them over Zoom. Even before the Craft Content System, they already had people writing blog posts long before it was a requirement. [45:26]

“Sitting down and just recording the conversation, having people talk and process out loud, oftentimes takes the pressure off.” — Alexa Alfonso

  • One of the things that they’re trying to do at Crema is just be better at reporting back to the team and get tighter with their metrics. They’re also trying to work on responding to audience requests and their prospect’s questions. [52:25]

“There’s no shortage of ideas and there’s no shortage of topics to discuss when you’re building a product.” — Alexa Alfonso

  • Alexa’s advice if there are organizations who are contemplating ways to get their people to share their knowledge is to be patient and give yourself time. [55:22]

Guest Bio:

Alexa Alfonso is a digital project manager turned marketer who is deeply passionate about pushing the envelope on the kind of knowledge and impact a small talented group of people can put out into the world.

In her former role as the Director of Growth at Crema, she combined her emotional intelligence and organization skills to quarterback her team’s mission to share Crema’s expertise and expand its presence. Today she is a Client Engagement Manager at The Nerdery.

Outside of work, you can find her cooking up a tasty dish, pumping iron at the gym, hiking the hills around Phoenix or poolside with her husband and her rescue pit bull, Spike.

Photo Of Alexa Alfonso

“We want our content to build trust and bolster our expertise. We want the content to talk the talk for us, and then continue to help build that relationship.”

— Alexa Alfonso

Resources from this episode:

Related articles and podcasts:

We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.

Read the Transcript:

Galen Low

You’ve seen it before. Those corporate blogs have all used the same stock images and read like they might’ve been written by an early prototype AI. It’s a valiant effort, but also a great example of what not to do. So what about the folks who are doing it right? How do they manage to capture the authentic ideas and expertise of their specialists? How do they manage to attract such a highly engaged following of advocates and supporters?

If you’ve been contemplating how to level up your organization’s blogging and social media presence, but aren’t sure how to start, keep listening. We’re going to be taking a deep dive into the inner workings of an agency that has made content creation a mandatory part of everyone’s job.

In this no-holds-barred conversation, we’ll explore the vision, the systems, the struggles, and the results of their mission to empower their teams to create high-impact content.

Thanks for tuning in. My name is Galen Low with the Digital Project Manager. We are a community of digital professionals on a mission to help each other get skilled, get confident, and get connected so that we can deliver products better. If you want to hear more about that, head over to TheDigitalProjectManager.com.

Hey everyone. Thanks for hanging out with us on the DPM podcast. My guest today is a digital project manager turned a marketer who is deeply passionate about pushing the envelope on the kind of knowledge and impact a small talented group of people can put out into the world. In her role as the Director of Growth at Crema, she combined her emotional intelligence and organization skills to quarterback her team’s mission to share Crema’s expertise and expand its presence. Outside of work, you can find her cooking up a tasty dish, pumping iron at the gym, hiking the hills around Phoenix or poolside with her husband and her rescue pit bull, Spike.

Folks, please welcome Alexa Alfonso. Hello, Alexa.

Alexa Alfonso

Hi Galen. How are you?

Galen Low

I’m doing well. How are you doing?

Alexa Alfonso

Can’t complain. Beautiful Tuesday morning here, so, and very excited for this conversation.

Galen Low

Always very jealous of the weather that you have down there, and…

Alexa Alfonso

Always sunny in Phoenix.

Galen Low

I love it. And I’m so jealous. We’re starting to get some sun here, so I’m like not that envious right now, but generally speaking during the winters, I am.

It’s great to have you on the show. I’m super excited to be collaborating with you. You are one of our original DPM Experts and just for our listeners, Alexa has dozens of podcasts and articles with The Digital Project Manager, and she also plays a leading role in our Mastering Digital Project Management course. So if she sounds or looks familiar, that’s probably why.

Now, you are in a new location. You recently moved house and I wanted to ask you, was it to improve your work from home situation or was it just because you needed a pool?

Alexa Alfonso

Great question. Probably a little bit of both. My old office was underneath a staircase, so it had its little quirks about that. But, no we wanted to plant some roots in Phoenix. We moved down here in 2018. We knew we would like it, but we didn’t know who would love it. And so we rented for the first year and a half, two years, and we decided to go house hunting around March of 2020, which was an interesting time to start that process.

And it took us a full-blown year to find this house, and not get outbid by California cash buyers. If you’re out there, I know who you are. No, it’s just a really competitive market. And so it, we toured a lot of homes, put in a lot of offers, got outbid time and time again. And then this house came our way and we just, we hopped on it and it’s been great.

And we do have a pool. So I spend my weekends poolside and yeah, really, really, really thankful. Feeling very lucky.

Galen Low

Very cool. That must be a great feeling. And also, you also added to your family recently. Can you tell us a bit about Spike?

Alexa Alfonso

Yes. Spike. We had talked about getting a dog for a long time.

I had talked about it. I was trying to pitch it for years. My husband loves dogs, but was, he kept giving me the ‘we traveled too much’ card. And so when COVID happened, no one was traveling. It was my perfect chance to bring that argument back up. Anyway, at the end of the year, last year, 2020, we shopped around, we knew we wanted to rescue and we found the most amazing dog in the world.

His name is Spike. He’s about four years old, straight pit bull, sweet as can be. We really love him and he just adds a ton of joy to our family and a lot of laughs.

Galen Low

All right. I wonder, let’s just get into it. Let’s talk about the pros and cons, the merits and shortcomings of encouraging, or maybe forcing specialists to create content and share their knowledge with the world.

But first of all, before we get into that, I wondered if maybe you could just tell us a bit about the professional version of you and how you’ve arrived where you are today.

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah, I would love to. So I, like many others fell into project management. I had a babysat for a family back in college, who the husband ran an advertising agency.

And, back then I had just decided not to go to law school, kind of lost and figuring out my way around the world. I was working at an animal shelter and he reached out, asked me if I wanted to join his company doing account management and project management for his advertising company. So, I said ‘Yes’. I thought it’d be a lot like mad men. Turned out it wasn’t like that at all.

Around that time, I met my now husband and he had it, opportunity to do a pharmacy rotation in Maui, Hawaii.

So, I quit my job and I posted about it. And someone I went to college with reached out and said, Hey, I just started at this company. We build custom software. We need a project manager. Would you be willing to interview? Like what’s next, basically, what’s next for you? And I said, Honestly, don’t bother me getting.

I was like, that’s a future new problem. I said, I’m going to go to Hawaii. I’m going to do some yoga on the beach, try to figure it out. And he’s like, Okay, awesome. Love that for you. But you should meet my boss before you head out. So, we set up a coffee dates back in 2015 and had an awesome conversation.

They, at the time were a much smaller company, about 12, 13 people. And coming alongside their clients, primarily startups and small businesses to build out MVPs and mostly web and mobile apps. And keep in mind, I had no background in software development. I had a couple of web projects that I was trying to use as, you know, examples of my experience.

But, needless to say, they took a chance on me and I got hired on at Crema as their second project manager. And that was just like a turning point in my life, to be honest. They gave me a ton of support even as a small company and just helping me grow in that realm and that domain of project management for digital, for app development, for software development. It was a crash course and I learned a lot throughout, especially those first couple of years, you know. Kind of trial by fire.

Over the course of that time, I had started to get really into account management and account growth, and there was an opportunity for me to move more into like a business development and sales position. So, I transitioned onto that side of the business in about 2018. Around that same time, I moved to Phoenix, and was able to stay on board for, in a distributed fashion.

And we were also, at that point in time, around 2018, starting to invest more and more in content. And a little bit of backstory, my co-founders received advice from an advisor back in the day saying, ‘As your company grows, take pictures, like document, the company’s evolution and the people that are there and what it was like, because you’re going to forget it.’

And my co-founder George did it one better and was like, ‘I’m going to vlog it. I’m going to start vlogging and putting it on YouTube.’ And he’s always recognized the value of content and has always been very interested in content creation. So again, on this 2018 timeframe we had finally started to invest in building out a marketing team.

So we brought on a marketing specialist, a multimedia specialist, and we had started to like actually stake claim and this idea that a small company can have, you know, an overhead department of marketing to help drive new leads and grow our business. Because up until that point, it had been primarily referrals and word of mouth, and that’s great.

Like it helped us grow, but it’s not really a complete strategy. And so, again, at this time I was working on business development and sales and they asked if I would tap back into my project management toolkit and run the marketing team as a growth team lead. And that has led me over the last, you know, two and a half years to where I’m now the Director of Growth, which has been very exciting and very humbled by that experience.

In fact, it’s taken me now to a new role. I’ve actually, recently accepted a position at a new company where I’ll be running with a team down in Phoenix. You know, having a local presence, a local team for me to collaborate closely with. It’s very important to me. So, I’m beyond grateful for my last six years of, you know, a lot of opportunities and challenges being thrown my way.

It’s really paved the way for me to accept this new role. And one of the things I’m most proud of is an initiative we’ll talk about today called the Craft Content System, which we’ll get into soon. I’m going to cue you up Galen. So that’s been something that I’m really proud of and have, we’ve seen some success.

We’ve seen some challenges with that. And so we’ll dig into the details today, but that’s one of the things that was a big initiative for us in 2021.

Galen Low

Awesome. Well, first of all, congratulations on the new role. That’s super exciting. It’s going to be great to have that in-person team. I know that where you are at, like people are going back into the office being safe about it, but it’s like back to that core located feel.

So I think that’s super cool. And then also, I just love that trajectory. I love that like contemplating law school, maybe go do yoga in Maui. Get pulled slurped back into the digital world. That’s what digital is good at just slurping people back in from the beach. And then just this arc of, you know, not just project management, but like you said, leveraging your project management skills into account management, into marketing and sort of following that trajectory of how this organization was growing with you, how Crema was growing with you and creating these teams to help grow.

And you were able to leverage that skillset and then propel yourself into new opportunities. So I think that’s really exciting.

Let’s talk about this Craft Content System. All right. So, just to level set for our listeners, Alexa rolled out a first of its kind program at Crema that makes content creation an organization-wide mandate.

So in other words, she went and told an organization of 49 specialists that writing blog posts, creating YouTube videos, recording podcasts, and speaking at the conference is now a mandatory part of their job. So, I imagined that this was a huge undertaking and it’s definitely something that a lot of teams and organizations have been just toying with or fantasizing about for some time now.

This notion of like recognized thought leadership, this like authentic marketing and demonstrative expertise usually it’s to expand the business, right? Like business development, but maybe is it more than that? I mean, when you were rolling this out, like how are you framing it? Why should specialists bother creating content? Shouldn’t they just kind of focus on what they do best?

Alexa Alfonso

Great question. Yes and yes. And to give you a little bit of background and the listeners, I’ve been lucky, I will say. Crema is always invested in content. I, you might’ve heard earlier, I talked about our co-founder taking that advice from his advisor and kind of running with it.

So we already had this sort of culture of content being important to the business, but there was no expectation set. And we really saw a shift in 2020 as we all did with our strategy because when we were doing our planning in 2019, we had set out the next year to be really focused on in-person events.

We had just expanded, we had this beautiful space. We were thinking about all the different ways we can bring people in and really drive those organic connections. And that was taken away from us. And so we looked around and we were like, okay, we actually have quite a bit of participation voluntarily from folks in our team who were like, yeah, I’ll write a blog post or, yeah, I’ll be in this video.

Again, we had a pretty healthy YouTube channel that we were trying to feed like development related videos to design related videos. And so people were just raising their hand, but we felt like there needed to be a better way to sort of spread the load across the organization and give people a chance to contribute who might otherwise not feel comfortable.

We actually had heard about this other agency Atomic Object there up in Michigan. They, we got connected. I can’t recall how, but we just hit it off with their marketing team and had these maybe quarterly check-ins. And where we would kind of throw over the fence like, Hey, we’re thinking about this tactic, like, have you tried this out and vice versa to us?

And they had told us they had a company wide blogging program where everyone had to blog as a requirement to their job. And that got us thinking, because we had a health, we had a blog, you know, on our website, but it wasn’t really running on any sort of regularity. And we also had an emphasized video content and some other channels as well.

So, that sort of inspired us. And over the next six months, this is again like mid 20, mid 2020. We had asked ourselves, how could this work for Crema? And how could we operationalize this and empower people to contribute while they’re doing client work. And that’s something we’ll get into later because that’s been the tension, right?

It’s like, if we’re doing our jobs well, people are busy on client work. So how can we make sure that they can stay focused on that and also contribute content? So, we’ll get into that in a little bit. But we spent a good chunk again, probably six months of 2020, sort of shaping this whole program. We branded it as the Craft Content System, trying to emphasize, you know, define what it is and systematize it.

We didn’t want people to feel like it’s in a way, adding more to their plates, even though it might be like, we try to bring it into the whole system of marketing. And what does that mean from a thought leadership perspective and how can we grow our footprint to attract new opportunities? And we had a lot of case studies from previously published content that have drawn in leads.

So that was really key for us, right? We also had a couple of case studies of community building and forging connections with people that were now on staff. So how does that content map back to recruitment efforts and bringing in the right talent and retaining that talent? So we put a lot of effort into that.

And in November we rolled out a lunch alert where we were introducing the system and that went really well. We tried to make it as interactive as possible. So we actually, we used a Miro board and we had a couple of elements of the presentation where people were collaborating with us and like dropping in sticky notes and kind of moving things around on the board with us.

Cause again, we were all distributed and I feel like that, yeah, I felt like that helped to just integrate in this, in their minds. Like this is in marketing initiative, but it’s a team sport. And so we wanted them to feel like they had expectations set for what that would look like. So I’m sure you’ll have more specific questions, but that’s kind of like the history of it is us just trying to create a repository of proof. It’s really what we’re trying to do. So once leads are in our funnel, or even before that, maybe when they’re researching, we want our content to build trust and sort of bolster our expertise. We want the content to talk the talk for us and then continue to help build that relationship. As people are going through our sales system.

Galen Low

A hundred percent. I love that. I love that you’ve done such a good job of branding it. Like, what is it? It’s a Craft Content System. It’s about their craft. It’s content about their craft and we’ve systematized it, so it’s not super intimidating. It’s not loosey goosey. And you already, we’re building on this foundation where like content was part of the culture.

And it was accessible in a way, right? Because grandma’s founder was like, okay, we’re going to, we’re going to vlog. And it’s pretty casual. It’s not this like, upper echelon thing that we’re doing, where it has to go through many layers of, you know, through the legal team and through like all the editors and the leadership team is going to be like, no, we can’t say this.

And like all this red tape, but actually it’s, it seems quite free and structured at the same time to enable folks to create content. But I wanted to swing back on something because I guess in my head I’m like, okay, well what motivates people to create content? Cause it’s a lift and it does take them away from, you know, like their other work, their project work.

Did you find that a lot of folks were like motivated and felt passionately about growing the business? Did you find that some folks just wanted to kind of have their name out there? Or did you find that like a lot of folks just kind of liked the idea of sharing their craft? Cause they don’t really get a chance to do that other than in their work products, they don’t get to serve, maybe interact with their peers and share their knowledge with peers outside of their agency.

Like what are some of the motivations that you found really helps people, you know, want to get involved with this?

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah, great question. I think you hit on three big ones and we recognize people are motivated by different things. We wanted to create a process so people could feel empowered to share their expertise. And we named two is we call ourselves the growth team. We named two, we aren’t the experts in development or designer or product management or testing. And we really wanted to call on those experts to share their learnings with the world and do it in a way where it, yeah, some people did want, you know, they’re trying to create a personal brand.

Okay. Let’s help you do that. Let’s build up, you know, sort of a content library with you on the byline. Tell, do that. Some people have a little bit more fun with it. Not that part isn’t fun, but some people, you know, maybe are less serious about having a personal brand and just want to talk about a library that they’re really passionate about that help them on a project.

And so, we did a little bit of retrospection and looked at the content we had created in the last 12 to 18 months and we put those numbers out there. We said, okay, in this timeframe, we had X amount of blog posts written by Y amount of people. And we had A amount of videos published with B amount of people participating in those videos.

And the idea with that was, we’re trying to just remind folks that it is a team sport and that we want to make it, like you said, more democratized. And so people can understand like what’s expected of them versus, you know, if there’s no clear guidelines, it’s the same people might keep raising their hand or hearing from the same folks.

And we really wanted a chance for the people in these roles, doing great work for our clients to have their expertise out there. Another thing I’ll call out cause people might be curious. And again, there’s a lot of good things at Crema that helped like, they created the ecosystem for this to work. We operate on a 42 hour workweek.

And the idea is for client projects, if you’re like a billable craftsperson, you would bill 35 hours a week on client work, which leaves seven hours per week for overhead tasks. So that could mean like all company meetings. We have a whole sort of internal innovation program called Venture Lab that they can contribute to.

And so we, I recognize that we have that luxury of time theoretically built into their week for them to contribute content. So we really had that going in our favor. And when we rolled out the system to the team last November, we called on and we had prepped them beforehand, but we called in a couple of people that had contributed or had participated with us before, collaborated with us. And ask them to share their experience on this is what it felt like to work with the growth team.

And let me give you an overview of that process. And we try to do a good job of creating this big resource library where people could explore like, okay, if I want to create a blog post, this is generally the process that I have to follow. This is what I can expect if I’m going to do a live stream on LinkedIn, this is what that process looks like.

So we tried to give them as much context as possible so they can opt in a way that made sense for their schedule and leaving room for their authenticity and their personalities. We didn’t, we don’t want to like edit anyone out. We want people’s true, authentic voices to come through. So that’s been also a really fun challenge to be honest, like how do you match someone’s like, personal writing style with a brand’s writing style. So we’ve had good conversations on that and collaborated closely with people to make sure that we don’t edit anyone out, but it still fits in line with our brand and our voice and our tone.

Galen Low

A hundred percent. There’s two really rich veins there that I just want to swing back on one.

Yeah, I think that’s a huge point that you have to build in the time for it. It has to be deliberate as an organization. You need to give, it’s going to take time. You need to give people that time, which also means you need buy-in from leadership to not be like, oh, why is this person not fully utilized?

And you’re like, well, they’re creating a YouTube video, you know, and not have them scoff at that. So it has to start at that top layer as well, or at least have buy-in at that top layer. And then the second thing that I really want to think back on is just the internal marketing, right?

Like, and I say that I use the word Intel marketing, but what I mean is your team took the time to make everyone feel comfortable and informed with the process. Talked about how it was going to roll out, like being very transparent about what it is and what it’s for. Talking about how it’s going to work and really establishing that comfort, not just like plunking it down on somebody’s desk and being like, okay, now you have to use a couple of hours a week and you’ve got to write this blog post and it better be as good as James is over here.

Because otherwise you’re fired. You know, it’s not like. It’s very much you brought them along you know, you really motivated them. You kept them informed and yeah, it wasn’t something that was, it didn’t, it doesn’t sound like it was, you know, something that was so forced.

It was something that was kind of, you know, it came through the culture, came from, you know, the sort of expertise and the desire to have an authentic voice both from the top and from the specialists, and really just kind of creating this program around them. Not necessarily just like solely for growing the business, which I really do.

Alexa Alfonso

Right. And we felt like we, we had some equity to spend, if you will. Like, we had built up a really good working relationship with our craft teams. We have this, a very collaborative culture. And so we’ve, we wanted people to feel like they understood, we were still going to be very hands-on. So I’ll add a couple tactical things we did to, for folks listening in that same mirror board.

I mentioned, that’s how we like, delivered the lunch and learn. We have this whole resource library at the bottom. I kind of mentioned where you can see, our team can see like every different type of content. Cause this isn’t just blogs or videos. We were all, we also accept things like an Instagram takeover or an ebook or, you know, again, a live stream.

So we try to detail all the different options and left the door open to say, Hey, this hasn’t happened yet. But if you’re really interested in like, TikTok and you want to go down that route, like, let’s talk about that. You know what I mean? And there is some challenges there. We don’t want to get to like shiny object syndrome.

We want to talk to our prospects and our audiences where they are. But I mentioned that because this isn’t, we didn’t want this to be too prescriptive. But we want people to know what the process will look and feel like. So there’s a little bit of a balance there. We also have a whole section on FAQ’s.

We’ve got like a copywriting guideline doc that’s in there. We manage everything internally inside of Asana for the growth team. So that’s where we’re tracking the work that gets done and we’re kind of managing due dates and things like that. That’s another thing we didn’t require anything to be due by a certain point. It’s kind of self-serve.

So the idea is as long as you’ve been at Crema for more than six months, you’re doing two pieces of content per year. And whenever you want to get those done is when you want to get those done. We didn’t want to be too, you know, hard nosed about it and saying, you need to get done.

You know, in January and November, we talked a lot about due dates and how we wanted to manage those. But ultimately we landed on the idea that people can self-select based on their capacity, and when they’ve got the time and bandwidth to do that, we can work with them. So, we are managing all the nitty-gritty details and Asana for the team.

All they have to do is go into a little form. If they want to pitch an idea, they type it in. Give a little bit of a detail on it, including you know, who they’re trying to reach, what, like what’s the elevator pitch basically. And then that gets out into our system where we’re reviewing and we go directly to that content creator and start to ideate with them.

We really want to make sure people felt like we weren’t, we are adding more to their plates, but the growth team is still adding the value of like SEO relevancy and keyword research and editing. And you know, all the things that go into creating good content. So they might have the original idea, but we’re coming alongside them to help execute on that, in general.

And then we have a dedicated Slack channel where people are added everyone in the company’s in there. And we had started out the year with these biweekly updates where we were giving sort of wins and general housekeeping notes on the Craft Content System. And then also pitching some content clusters.

So for example, in February, we wanted to create content around product teams. Just generally capturing, you know, that keyword and kind of, creating things around that. And so we were, we use that Slack channel to help deliver that message and answer questions and kind of get the ball rolling. We found that participation is higher when we’re not adding a lot of red tape.

Like people tend to want to participate when they’re writing or creating content on something that they’re passionate about, not sort of an assignment. And so there, that has been a kind of an interesting balance over the last six months of like how much do we suggest versus how much do people just want to like create content on what they’re passionate about?

So we’re still trying to find that rhythm. And we do filter everything through our team and make sure like no one gets started on something before we’ve had a chance to review, because we want to make sure that we’re protecting people’s pain as much as possible.

Galen Low

For some reason it jumped into my head, like the metaphor of recycling, right?

Like if it’s too hard for people, they won’t do it, but there’s like a threshold. So you can like sort your organics and your recyclables and whatever, every city is different. And then like for the rest of it, there’s other facilities to do it. But if you make it too hard right at that baseline, no one’s going to do it.

So I, a hundred percent agree with that. I do want to get back into like the nitty gritty of how it works, but before we do, I’m just wondering, I’m wondering what a success look like for you? Like, is it just like how many views it gets or is it just leads or how are you like measuring success and what is, what does it look like when this is really having the effect that you want it to for the business and for the team?

Alexa Alfonso

That’s a great question. And I wish I had a more solid answer for you. We have these general content marketing goals that we set out for the gear like, we want to educate and inform our audience. We want to illustrate the benefits of working with our team. We want to drive leads. So a tactical win is someone did reach out this year based on our content.

And we signed an engagement with them and it was very clearly tied to our efforts going into that piece of content. We also know that community is really important too. And so we are tracking vanity metrics, but we do want to see some channel growth and like higher engagement on pieces.

And so we’re trying to do a better job of measuring, like what’s actually getting comments and, you know, likes and how can we maybe increase that and pull our audience about what they want to see. Again, it goes into like the recycling analogy, which I think is really solid. Like we don’t want to make it too hard for people to participate, but we want to inspire and make sure that we’re serving the audiences that have opted in to follow us.

So there’s a book that we’re interested in reading as a team. I don’t, I will have the chance to do this before my tenure is over, but it’s called ‘They Ask You Answer’ and it’s, the frameworks, I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but as respects and your audience is asking for specific questions, you create content that answers that.

So it’s very elementary in theory, but we’re trying to do a better job of that just to make sure that we’re, again, like investing into the people that have committed to Crema in some way. And so, the success question is good and I feel like I’m dancing around it because we don’t, we didn’t really know what to expect, to be honest. This was kind of a great experiment and something that I’m really excited to leave behind and watch grow.

But it’s definitely something that we want to make sure were keeping a pulse on and celebrating those wins back to the team. Even if they’re, we’ve had some awesome, like YouTube conversations with people that are commenting on our things. And we actually ask the content creators to respond back.

So like making a more one-to-one personal connection is really important to us. And so I look forward to seeing where this goes and how it evolves, because I don’t think we’ve like, we’ve nailed it in some ways, but I don’t think we’ve fully like hit a bull’s eye on it. And so iterating this year has been really important to us in terms of figuring out like how to activate people and how to define what success looks like.

Cause we don’t just want to be creating content for content’s sake. Like it, it needs to serve a purpose and help support the business’s growth.

Galen Low

I love what you said about like engagement from supporters, because I think a lot of organizations might think of supporters as being clients. People who pay us, people who give us money.

But that’s just a small cluster of people. And there may be like champions out there, advocates for your organization that are following and supporting and want to be a part of the conversation. They might not be clients. They might help you get clients. They might just help spread awareness of, you know, the work that Crema does.

And I think that’s one of the things in our sort of prep conversations. That’s one thing that resonated with me is that, you know, some of these agencies, we do so much good work. And yes, some of the end products get to be seen and experienced and ingested by, you know, the general public, but not all of it.

Some of it’s going to be intranet. Some of it’s just like, you know, things that have a really sort of small audience and the people who get to experience the actual creation of that work product is actually like this tiny minority. It’s a tiny sliver of the people who should be aware or might be interested in sort of, how the sausage is made and sharing that expertise in an authentic way, I think is such a good way to like, just bread.

I don’t, this is going to sound cheesy, but spread the love, right? It’s like, listen, we’re going to share our knowledge. There’s no secret sauce necessarily. But even if you’re not our client, we still want to immerse you in how it feels to work with us. And like you said, that might mean, you know, more talent coming your way.

And from a recruiting standpoint, that means it might mean leads or it might just be people engaging in conversations. And I love that sort of notion of, you know, the good YouTube conversations with the actual creator and creating that sense of community. I think that’s huge.

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah. Yeah. I agree. And there’s a balance there that we want to strike.

Because as a marketer, I do want to generate new business, right? I want people to, I want to connect with our prospects, but I do see the value in cultivating that really strong community of advocates we’ve had. We’ve had fans more or less for years who refer us work and who, you know, might not be in a decision-making capacity now, but as they evolve in their career, that could be. And we want them to think of Crema first.

And so it’s a long play. If anyone knows content, they know it’s a long play. It’s not like you like put in a credit and you get a lead. That’s not really how it works, but if you play your cards right, and you continuously show up and offer value, then it can pay off. Which is what we’ve seen slowly, but surely.

Galen Low

A hundred percent. All right. Let’s dive into the juicy stuff. So you talked at a high level about how it works, but we also talked about this sort of balance, right? We talked about things like keyword research. We talked about you ask, they ask you answer but really like listening to like what the audience is saying and what they’re asking for.

And then you talked about some of the specialists, you know, there’s a forum, they pitched their own idea, but how do you find that balance? How does it work to find that balance? Like, there’s someone just kind of submit an idea and you try and work with it, or is it like, what does that editorial process look like to sort of balance it against what the audience needs as well?

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah. Great question. I’m using that example. I will say we just had someone submit a new idea in our form and it was all about remote hackathons. So this was a developer who misses the days of like getting in a big room for 24 hours and eating a bunch of pizza, right? And like hacking away at an issue with building a product.

Well, those obviously looked a lot different for anyone in development with COVID. And so he submitted the idea and what my content specialist typically reaches out. She’s more or less the main point of contact, the main project manager for all CCS submissions. And so she followed right up with him and set up a call and she was like, okay, tell me more about your idea.

Like let’s hash through that. And so they were looking at sort of what’s the, and not that traffic and volume dictates everything, but we wanted to see, like, maybe there’s a way we could spin it that would capture a little bit more of an organic audience, like people looking for remote hackathons. And things of that nature.

And so they just spend about 15, 20 minutes working through that, finding some jams and sort of shaping that content itself. In this case, he chose to write a blog post on it. And so at that point they felt like they had a good thesis more or less, and then set up some milestones for check-in.

So she said, all right. How about in three weeks, I’ll touch base with you. We can look at the rough draft. They might have set up a time where they’re going through that together and she’s kind of like editing live with him, making sure that like his ideas are coming through and it’s still providing like that concise value to the reader.

And then we connect them with our internal brand designer. So we’re making sure that we’re branding everything in a way that even though the content creators are varied, it’s still all coming through Crema and that branding is consistent. So we have some fun like blog headers, and thumbnails and things like that.

But we cannot turn to that process and make sure that if the creator has strong opinions on how it looks, that they can speak into that. So we just published that blog, I think yesterday. And there’s like a little pizza slice on it and a Mountain Dew can because that’s, he really wanted that to be feature.

And so we were like, wow, let’s make sure that’s a part of this design. And hopefully that answers some questions and kind of captures people who are looking for that type of content, right? So that was a very specific use case. I understand, but it just goes to show like once someone does pitch an idea, there’s a very hands-on process where we’re like shaping that together and kind of like sharpening it and then ultimately delivering that and finding ways to share that out on different channels.

So we push it out through our network and then we also have a lot of connections in different, like Slack channels and LinkedIn groups where we’re trying to like see that content as well. And asking people to share it out.

Galen Low

I love that. I love how collaborative it is because I mean, you were talking earlier about, oh yeah, we need to make it kind of sound like Crema, but also have that like authentic voice of the actual creator.

And in my head, I was like, okay, it kind of goes through this filter, like maybe a black box somewhere along the way, but it isn’t. It’s sort of this like collaborative sit down with design and let’s figure out how we can work in the sort of Crema a brand and a piece of pizza, you know, like, and let’s find that balance and that marriage together.

I really like that. That’s super cool.

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah, it’s been great. And I will say that the process looks different. Again we love YouTube. We like video content. And so when someone pitches a YouTube video as an example, that looks a lot different. So we pull in our multimedia specialist, she’s doing a similar thing to our content specialists, but more from like a, you know, audio visual standpoint and making sure that we like have a vision for the shot list and where we want to be.

And again, lucky to be at Crema because this year, as we’ve been anticipating like an emergence from COVID and being able to work like work together in a safe way, we spent a good part of the spring building out a studio in our office space. So it’s going to look different moving forward.

You know, we don’t have assigned desks anymore and we have limited capacity, but we basically took a large section of our office and turned it into this studio space where we’ve got all of our stuff set up. We’ve got backdrops, we’ve got different like backgrounds that we can leverage. And so that’s been huge where we can say, okay, how do you want this to look like? What kind of style inspires this?

And we kind of, again, filter that through other videos we’ve done and kind of marry that with what the creator has in mind. So it is, it’s a case by case basis. I know that it’s a lot of manual work, but I think the end result is something that like the person’s proud of because their name’s attached to it or their face.

If they’re, you know, doing something like this. We want them to feel like they have an active role in it, but they aren’t alone. And so really empowering them, like giving them the confidence that like, this is a great, this is going to be great content, but let’s come alongside you and make sure that people can find it.

And it’s descriptive and valuable enough that it connects with people on the receiving end.

Galen Low

I love that. And so like, it’s not just about, you know, how much traffic it’ll get, but you do want it to be seen and conceivably a creator wants it to be seen. And I think that’s the logical sort of reason to sort of do some keyword research, to like listen to the audience and like ride a trend if you know, if you think that’s the right idea so that it gets some eyeballs on it.

I really like that. You touched on this, but I’m wondering, you know, there’s so many channels out there. How do you choose? And is sometimes something that somebody pitches, you know, like they might pitch a blog post and you’re like, oh, actually that would be a great YouTube video. Or that should go on TikTok.

Like, how are you making those decisions as an organization on like what channel to use for what?

Alexa Alfonso

Definitely. We haven’t nailed this yet, I will say, but we have had scenarios where people do. I think blog posts is where a lot of people go for like, oh, I can just write a blog post. It’s actually a lot of work to get it right.

You know, and I can attest to that. I’ve written for you all for a few years. Like, it seems easy in theory. And then like two months later, like, wow, I really need to like make this better. That’s just me. But I think for us we really have invested in video. And so we, we try to go there first. And the idea is if we can create a video first and have it scripted or outlined, we can pretty easily turn that into a blog post or like cut it up for social.

And so repurposing content is a much bigger discussion now that we want to continue to build out as time goes on is how can we get an easy win and like put out something valuable and then chop it up and maybe spin it out in a new way. Or like if we have people join our podcast, as an example. We have a weekly podcast as well called People of Product.

People on our team can be guests interviewed for that, and that would count towards the Craft Content System. And then we can take that again and kind of parcel it up and share it out on our Instagram stories as well. So it’s almost like they’re checking multiple boxes at once. But that’s, those are things that were again on a case by case basis.

And since our team is around 50 people, we, it’s not, we haven’t hit full capacity yet. Like it hasn’t been a huge volume issue. We definitely had seasons where a lot of people submit at the same time that we’re trying to filter through it and like, you know, be effective and efficient. I think if our team were larger, we would have to get that tighter.

But for now, it’s just when someone submits it or when we put out a call-to-action and someone responds, then we’re just taking it one thing at a time and kind of evaluating our options. And seeing, you know, is with two buddy, as an example, it’s like a keyword researcher for YouTube. Is there like, can we capture some trends there and maybe create some, a piece of content related to what they pitched and, you know, negotiate with that person.

Galen Low

I like that. Do you ever have content hackathons? Like everyone gets together and kind of teases out an idea based on a trend?

Alexa Alfonso

No, that’s a good idea though. I might have to take you up on that Galen.

Galen Low

You know, that’s what we do here at the DPM. Free ideas.

I wonder if we can get into the tougher stuff? Yeah. So, I like that it’s built into the culture, this sort of content creation. It sounds like you’ve made a system that’s very accessible and easy to use, but I’m willing to bet that there’s still some like, naysayers.

And people who are pushing back maybe quietly or maybe loudly being like, no, this shouldn’t be part of my job. I don’t want to do this. And meanwhile, it’s mandatory. They do need to create two pieces of content. You know, the people who are pushing back might even be managers. They might, you know, be leaders in the org within the organization because whenever they know that their team is at capacity, most of the time. What kind of arguments have you had against this and how have you tackled them?

Alexa Alfonso

Great question. It’s mostly a time thing. I think we’re lucky in that people understand the value. Maybe that’s because of our internal marketing efforts or not. But I think people know what content can do. The biggest pushback has been, what am I going to get that done? Even with the seven hours a week, seven hours a week of overhead time, a lot of stuff can eat into that, right?

Including client work. And our Emma has always been like, client work takes responsibility, or it takes priority. Like we don’t want to overstate that. So we’ve tried to sit down with people and as I look at the calendar, we’re a little less than halfway through and not everybody has submitted content yet.

And that’s fine. Again, this was like, this wasn’t an experiment and we didn’t mandate due dates. But if, you know, if I could wave a wand, I would like that everyone in the company has created one piece of content. Yes. That would be…

Galen Low

Yeah.

Alexa Alfonso

Exactly. We’re not quite there yet. And so what we’ve done is tried to incorporate newer, lower lift pieces of content for people to contribute.

So a couple weeks ago we put our heads together and we’re like, oh, what if we could have people just do a little Loom recording of something they are doing throughout the day? Like, a challenge they’re trying to solve or like above they’re trying to fix or a book they’re reading and they sit down for two to three minutes and just like, talk about it.

And then we can take that on the growth team. And again, package that up in a way that we can share it out or speed it somewhere in one of the communities that we’re connected with. So, that’s one option of just like naming it and trying to find easier ways for people to contribute content.

The rest is yet to be seen, to be honest, like, I don’t know how we’re going to, like, I don’t know if we will meet the goal of two pieces of content per person this year. I don’t know. We’re tracking towards like an 80% completion rate. I’d like to see it get to a hundred percent. One thing I’ll call out too is we don’t require it from the start.

So our team is growing and when new hires come on board, I sit down with them and I talk about the growth team and what we try to do. And a part of that is the Craft Content System. So we’re socializing that idea from really early on when they start. And then we asked that they just sit and like lean into their role for the first six months.

And after six months, then we adopt them into the program. And I think that helps ease some of the anxiety. We don’t want people to be like, ah, I’m learning all about this company and my job and my clients. And now I have to do content too. Or like, no, just know that this is a thing that we do. It’s a part of the culture at Crema.

But they have time to sort of get to know us and the culture before we ask them to do anything. So hopefully through that, like early on conversation and socializing the idea, they kind of get used to it. And then by the time that six month adoption time rolls around, they’re like ready to go.

Galen Low

Nice. I like that sort of warmup period.

And yeah, I do think a lot of it is sort of getting over like the intimidation of knowing that you’re going to be sort of ironed into permanence on the internet, I think is actually a thing. Like you actually have to like climb over that hill to actually, you know, be at peace with it. But going back to that two pieces of content a year, and we’re halfway through the year, I was thinking of like, vacation, right?

You know, you have like, it’s never, there’s never a good time. It feels like there’s never a good time to take a vacation at an agency. Cause like client work is always coming in. It’s always that new project, you’re always wrapping something up and then it’s like November and you’re like, oh, I guess I better take the whole month of December off because I have to use all my vacation.

Do you think it could be something like that where there’s a surge of content in like November?

Alexa Alfonso

It’s possible. That’s why we’re trying to encourage these bi-weekly updates. Just like exposing people to the system in case they like, oh yeah, I actually, I have a little bit of time. I could like contribute that, but we’re kind of expecting the day lose of content towards the end of the year.

And that’s okay again, if people, if we want folks to stay focused on the thing that matters most, and that’s serving our clients and doing a great job there. This is secondary to that. And we’ve never made it. I hope we never made it feel like it’s, it takes precedence. But we are trying to find ways like easy wins for people to check the box and conduct can move on from it.

And so it’s a moving target, something we’re still considering. And I think as the team takes this and runs with it do the year, you know, as I had transitioned off the team, I’m fully confident that they’ll find new ways to just make this work for us.

Galen Low

Nice. Nice. I wanted to swing back on one other thing.

So we talked about sort of naysayers and resistance but you touched on it this whole content creation process. Writing a blog post is hard, sort of getting used to the fact that you’re going to be like out there on the internet and people are going to be commenting on your stuff from anywhere is hard.

And just in terms of managing the content creation process, like if somebody’s like really keen, but also really struggling with this notion of creating content, what do you, what can somebody do to sort of bring out that content creators, spirit animal from like a specialist? So like how are you empowering folks to create great content?

I know you touched on a lot of different ways in terms of like the editorial support. But when someone’s just really having a hard time spinning that, you know, great idea into something that’s like a full fledged consumable idea, how do you sort of enable that sort of creative process to happen?

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah. Great question. One of the most effective ways we’ve found is sitting down with someone obviously over Zoom or something similar now. But back in the day, even before the Craft Content System, we would do this because again, we had people writing blog posts long before it was a requirement. I digress the, one of the best ways we’ve seen this work is sitting down and just recording the conversation and having people talk and process out loud, oftentimes takes the pressure off.

And so we’ll come up with some questions beforehand, so they know what they’re walking into. It’s kind of like this, you know, like you and I shared a doc. Surprise. We should talk before this podcast episode about, well, you know, what do we want to cover? What are some general questions we wanted to Q and A? And we found with that, people tend to feel a little less, like it’s disarming.

And they can walk into it. They need a little bit of prep and then we just record the conversation and then we go back and create the content. So that’s also been really effective, especially for blog posts and a little bit for videos where we’re just, it takes the pressure off someone feeling like they need to write.

And it like free flows a little bit easier when someone’s talking out concepts. And then we can go in as a content team and help put that together and there’ll be on the byline, right? We don’t want to take that credit. It’s their thoughts and their feelings and their expertise coming through, but it does lighten the load on their end from that, like, I don’t know, a blank word doc can be really intimidating.

So how can we take that away from people?

Galen Low

I like that. This is really cool. I’m like thinking of like film directors, you know, you hear these like really strange tactics of how a director has like pulled out this character from an actor by like, you know, taking them to some remote location or like, you know, having just like cheese fondue with them.

And like, it’s not necessarily on set like in front of the whole crew. And like, just like now, do good acting now, go. There’s like this process of cultivating, like those ideas in a space that’s comfortable. I really liked that. I talked earlier about trade secrets and then you gave away our trade secret about the doc that we use in the back.

I’m just kidding. But like when it comes to, you know, blogging or, you know, live streams or YouTube videos or TikTok, you know, arguably some organizations would be like, oh, but you can’t share, you know, how to make, you know, the thousand island dressing sauce in a big Mac, please. You can’t, you know, like how do they get the how do they get the the caramel into a into a caramel bar?

Like, are there trade secrets and how are you approaching them in terms of like, oversharing, like, oh, you can’t actually share that strategy that we haven’t rolled out yet. Like, is that a, is that an issue or do you feel like it’s pretty open?

Alexa Alfonso

Again, feel very lucky to say this, but we have extremely generous culture.

So from leadership all throughout the organization, we, in fact generosity is one of our core values. We have always taken the stance of sharing to give and to educate our audience as much as possible, like. I think it’s a really good question, Galen, but I actually don’t think we have trade secrets. Like we want the world to kind of opt into this way of working where it’s truly collaborative and it’s very transparent and results-based.

And so the one exception to that would be, especially for some of our clients, we don’t publish who they are even, or their work. So we try to maintain a lot of discrepancy there. And that’s maybe the only exception to the rule. Other than that, I can’t think of any scenario where we’ve been like, Ooh that’s a little bit of our secret sauce.

Like, we don’t want to give that away because while we do feel really confident in our process and how we work with our clients, and there is a little bit of, you know, pazazz to that. We truly feel like we want to give people a taste of what it’s like to work with us or inspire other teams to work in the same way.

And so our approach and our sort of, mentality has always been give it away. Share it out with the world and that will hopefully spark whether they want to reach out to us to hire us or to work with us, or just kind of come alongside as an advocate. That’s worked really well for us. So again, I recognize that might be a little bit unique.

There might be some companies that are like, no, we’re not, you know, we don’t want to show you how the sausage gets made, but for us, we really feel like there’s a lot of value and in sharing how we work and hopefully in encouraging other teams to do the same.

Galen Low

I love that. I love that approach. And like, arguably like at a certain size in certain geographies, like in certain markets, like you were talking about earlier, you had like collabed with or at least, you know, shared information like quarterly with this agency in Michigan.

And like that alone, I think is like, is really telling of what Crema’s authentic self is. And other agencies sort of have a similar nature or a similar philosophy where it’s like, yeah, let’s just share. Like we might, we might compete for dollars. But not directly maybe or not so much that we can’t have a conversation and talk about what we’re doing and what’s working and what’s not.

And I think that’s huge and, you know, knowledge is so widespread. I think it’s, especially in digital, it’s getting difficult to have secret sauce, even if you wanted it. Just because there’s so much knowledge out there you’re bringing in talent that has great ideas from elsewhere. And you’re weaving that in.

And, you know, to think that you have an original idea, maybe you have a, you know, like a SAS platform product or something that’s, you know, quite proprietary, but in terms of methods, in terms of approaching like a craft, I think it’s hard to have trade secrets. And I think it’s hard to justify having knowledge that you can’t share.

Alexa Alfonso

I would say too, again, if there were a scenario where we needed to hold back from something that would have been set from the very beginning. Like setting those expectations for the team. So maybe, you know, if you’re listening and you want to do something like this, but you know, you couldn’t share X, Y, or Z, make that known, and just set that out for the team.

So they know what to expect. But thankfully for us, we haven’t come across that yet. We again have a very like generous mindset and just like, you know, you’ve described Galen really well. We want to, we want to lift ourselves up and hopefully look at other teams and help clients do the same thing.

We think a rising tide lifts all boats. So let’s just put it out there and see what kind of response we get.

Galen Low

I really love that sort of elevating the conversation. I thought I’d sort of cap off with, you know, like the future horizon. I mean, it sounds like things have been rolled up very successfully.

I love the sort of internal marketing, internal sort of communication, getting people on board with the idea, supporting them all along the way. But you know, no system is perfect, especially right out the get go. So I’m wondering like what are some of the challenges that you’re facing today and what are the next steps for Crema to work through them?

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah. Great question. We needed to find success a little bit better. You asked a great question earlier and I felt, you know, a little ill-equipped and that’s something we knew going into this when we rolled it out to the whole company. And we tried to talk about success in a really broad brush stroke.

Like, oh, well you heard me say, like, we’ll educate our audience. And we’ll illustrate the benefits of working with our team and we’ll grow our engagement, but we need to get more tactical with that and really define what we mean when we say that this is going to be successful program. So one of the things we’re trying to do is just be better at reporting back to the team and get tighter with our metrics and what we’re, what matters to us.

Again, we’re not too worried about the impressions or just, you know, the click-throughs, even though those things matter or maybe perhaps like, you know, audience size. Really it’s like, how are we engaging with our audience? And that leads me to my second thing we need to work on is responding to those audience requests and our prospects questions, and just making a little bit tighter of a loop because there’s no shortage of ideas and there’s no shortage of topics to discuss when you’re building product and you have these like really amazing craft teams. But we want to make sure that we are creating content that truly does matter and connect with people and offer value. And so I think there’s some discussions to be had about how we scope things down and how we report back on those successes.

And then the biggest one is how can we unlock people or maybe unblock them for those of them that are fully utilized on client work? Like how can we make this an easy win for them, something they can feel proud of and confident in putting out to the world and not like it’s just too much on top of what they’re already doing.

So there’s some format, some formats or some maybe types of content that we have yet to discover that I think will be really good for the business.

Galen Low

I love that optimization and like just kind of creating that handshake or closing that loop between, I guess finding that, that marriage of, you know, what audiences are wanting to know and what expertise and ideas are coming from the internal team and sort of, you know, making that pairing happen.

But I really liked that. And then continuing that engagement, I think that’s really cool. Listen Alexa, these insights are all super valuable. I think the one thing that really resonated with me was just this notion of the internal marketing campaign. And I keep calling it that, but really what I mean is it’s a new process and change is intimidating. And you really need, in order to bolster the success of a program like this, you actually need to really bring people along for it. Make them feel comfortable, especially if it’s going to be mandatory, especially if it’s going to go out into the public. It can be really intimidating.

So treating it like something, treating it like, like a new organizational process, which it is and treating it with the gravity of something that is quite intimidating for some people I think is really important for making these kinds of things successful. Cause if you were to just flip the switch, and say, you know, oh, you know, quarterly, quarterly news update by the way, starting on the first of the month, next month, you are all responsible for creating content.

Good luck, bye. I think it would just, it would have fallen flat. So I think that’s a really important takeaway for me. I hope that’s a really insightful thing for folks listening, who are planning on rolling out a program like this. And speaking of, I thought maybe I just close with just one last quick question.

So, if there are organizations who are contemplating ways to get their people to share their knowledge in this way, what advice would you give to them in terms of getting started or things to consider?

Alexa Alfonso

Yeah, be patient and give yourself time. That’s one thing, looking back I’m really proud of us for doing, even though it felt a little painstaking at times is we took about six months of building this out, testing it with a couple of people in the organization and finding those advocates to help pull that through once it was released to the company.

And so, if this is something you’re interested in and hopefully you’ve got some wins you can pull on and some people that you feel like could be kind of come alongside you as those advocates. Give yourself time to think through this and do it well and for what works for your business.

Again, you’ve probably heard me say we had a lot of things going in our favor in terms of a content-oriented culture. One have a lot of generosity and collaboration, but I think it can be done. Regardless of what that looks like. It’s just a matter of finding those people that can activate on this for you and help other people get excited about it or unblock them and empower them to do the same.

So give yourself some time, give yourself some grace, and ultimately. Oh, participate yourself. That’s another thing as a growth team, we’re also contributing content. So we want them to be seeing this as a full company initiative. Not like we’re exempt, even though we’re touching all pieces of the process.

We like this will count towards my contribution, which is great. But that’s just one example, but I think like making sure that you’re fully bought in and you’re also participating goes a long way and always being available for questions. Cause it will come up and you want to make sure people feel like they’ve got a door to knock on to bring you those questions.

Galen Low

A hundred percent. Very cool. Alexa, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. I really enjoyed our conversation. I hope our listeners did too. We’ll love to have you back and again, congratulations on the new role. Very exciting.

Alexa Alfonso

Thank you so much. This has been great Galen and yeah, I hope we can do this again soon.

Galen Low

So what do you think? Do you create content for your company or for yourself? What tips, tactics, hacks, and strategies do you use to balance your content creation with your craft? Tell us a story. Have you ever had a competing deadline with your project and your content? Has your content ever led to new business or maybe a new role? Let us know in the comments.

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Galen Low

Galen Low

I am a Client Services Professional and Agile Delivery Specialist with progressive experience driving human-centered digital transformation in government, healthcare, transit, and retail verticals. I manage large, cross-functional teams and executive-level relationships within boutique agencies and large consultancies to drive tangible business outcomes and strategic growth. A few of my specialties: digital strategy, agile web application development, project management, human-centered design, design thinking, innovation & growth, digital government, career coaching, professional development.

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