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Do You Know Who's Creating Your Content?

It's a fair question. Why do I ask?

Well, if you're outsourcing your content creation, you need to understand their background. What skills do they bring to the table? Can they think past linear executions and show you real strategy? Or are they simply mailing it in and doing whatever automated software is cool this month is telling them to do.

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As I have said before, you can create and develop content sitting behind a desk. Sure, I'm writing this article. Sitting in my office, watching my 12-year-old lab stretch across the floor. However, I'm usually out talking to and getting to know my clients' audiences. 

Once you do that, you can then begin to understand what is they want from your brand AND THEN what you can start creating. It's very organic. Not in it'll-happen-when-it-happens sorta way, but in a sense that you actually give a damn as a brand. Now you're actually listening.

Smart content can be developed, curated and diced up in different ways to not only work harder but be more efficient. For instance, look at Garden&Gun. Living in Charleston, SC, for 13 years before moving to the Asheville area, I am a big fan. They write great articles, and they know how to use them. Every so often I'll see a social post and I know exactly what issue it came from. The article was written a year ago, possibly, but it's still relevant and people probably forgot about it. 

That's smart. They're using their own content efficiently. 

So, think to yourself. (I can hear the wheels turning right now)

Who's doing my content? Do they know my brand? Do they know my audiences? Are they making it work as hard as it should? 

Why I'm Not A Big Fan of the Open Office Plan

I'll be honest. It sucks. 

When I was the Creative Director at my last post, we moved to a new building. It was a big deal. After 30+ years in downtown Charleston, SC, we moved to a really cool area up Charleston's peninsula. 

Not my former office space.*

Not my former office space.*

The office was an old 1960s office building, several stories high with polished concrete floors. A blank canvas. And then it happened. Someone mentioned having an open office plan. Sounded like a good idea. We had a good group of folks. They still do.

However, after a few months, I could tell it wasn't quite working. 

Now, I'm not against collaboration, but I feel everyone needs their space to work on their discipline and do their jobs. And while a random idea has been known to start a brand revolution, they are rare and even further between. Plus, not everyone is schooled in the discipline of creating campaigns that have the legs to run for a year or two. 

As stated recently by an article in the Harvard Business Review, the open floor actually did the opposite of what it was heralded to do.

Funny how that works out. 

Instead of fostering an open idea forum where people freely shared ideas, it made people more dependent on private messaging and email. Sure, you can say, "well, work from home." While you can, it's not conducive to face-to-face interaction, not unless you want your living room table to double as your boardroom during the day. 

Within the right environment, I'm sure the open space works. Libraries do it. Of course, they also make sure it's kept quiet. Hard to do in an office where you have different people from different departments with different personalities doing different things. 

So, if you're thinking about doing an open office just to save money, think again. It's better to pay for the extra floor space than it is to waste time engaging and re-engaging on projects. Especially when we're billing by the hour.