While change is exciting it can also come with skepticism from people who aren’t in the trenches of content.

Last month I presented my Q2 planning with exciting changes for the future of content at VEED. While the butterflies in my stomach will always be there for as long as I care about my work, learning what I can do to better present my ideas has given me a scoop of confidence.

Today I’ll share the key things that helped me most with my last presentation so you can try them out too.

Quick Summary:

  1. Prep your virtual stage for engagement + healthy debate
  2. Share your results and takeaways
  3. Priming your viewership with context to educate before pitching the big things
  4. Ask how instead of immediately shutting down what you assume is a bad idea
  5. Be realistically ambitious

1. Set expectations for how long you’ll be presenting + Q&A time

You’re overflowing with ideas. Before you know it, you’ve spent 80% of the call talking with only 5 or 10 minutes left for discussion. The department head with a 12-hour time difference is feeling brainfried and might even have dropped off early.

Before you start presenting you’ll need to prime your viewer’s attention with what to expect:

  • The presentation duration: How long will you take to get through your presentation? Ideally your presenting time should be no longer than 15 or 20 minutes max.
  • Time for discussion: How much time will be left for discussion?
  • The core idea: What’s the reason you gathered everyone there?

2. Show evidence of what worked and what didn’t

This is where you’ll set the stage by surfacing facts that’ll help people understand why you’re keen on pursuing ideas you’ll introduce later in your presentation.

Whether you exceeded, met, or underperformed on your KPIs—put it all out there. Share how your outcomes supported the company’s business KPIs (or failed to).Make sure to include key takeaways.

For Reference: In my case I wanted to make a point on why I’m deprioritizing traffic as the north star of our blog. I’m looking to better support how blog content helps get people to engage with our product. I will be making references to things I did in my presentation to help make my case

3. Prime people to see eye-to-eye with strategic context

As a content marketer you can’t assume your leadership knows all the same stuff you do. This bit of the presentation gives them a high level strategic context that’ll (ideally) help your audience understand and get on board with your plan and KPIs.

For example, you could surface things such as…

Observations of the digital landscape:

  • What are people talking about?
  • Where are they hanging out online?
  • In which formats do they seem to prefer consuming content in?
  • What are some trends that might be here to stay that are relevant to us?

Audience sentiments:

  • How are people feeling?
  • What do they seem to want or need?
  • How are they reacting to content?

New insights about content performance:

  • Have you been measuring something that better exemplifies which content gets people deeper into engaging with your brand and product?

New (or overlooked) insights about customers and product usage:

  • What have you learned about customers and how they use your product that content could better speak to?

After this segment you can begin to share your plans and any changes to your KPIs.

What kind of things did I share here? I surfaced data to show how people that engage with blog create 4X more video content with VEED, new ICP research, critical gaps/opportunities in our content and content strategy and what that means for the company, etc

4. Ask how instead of immediately shutting down what you assume is a bad idea

There’s a chance someone’s idea is actually…crap. But if you let your ego and emotions get the best of you you’ll miss out on the beauty of one of two amazing things happening:

  1. Realizing you might be entirely (or partially) wrong and someone might just have a great point
  2. Helping someone see and embrace your suggestions by allowing them to share their POV

Rather than immediately shut an idea idea down give people a chance to explain by asking more how questions like this:

  • How do you suggest we do X in order to achieve Y?
  • How would doing X support A, B, and C?

By asking these questions you make people feel heard and you make yourself more of a “safe space” of sorts who people can be candid with.

Even better is how getting into the habit of this helps you understand other people’s reasoning style so next time around you address potential objections before they even happen by becoming a better educator.

5. Be ambitious and realistic

It can feel like you’re dying to blurt out how you want to do 20X more of this and 10X more of that. Maybe you can…someday.

But what can you do now in the next 3 months with the resources you have available?

I’m not saying to stop shooting for the stars. I’m saying shoot for the stars you are most likely to accurately shoot at to deliver the most impact (and therefore help you scale your efforts later on).

Get clear on…

Metrics that matter

  • Company north star(s)
  • Marketing KPIs
  • Content KPIs

Resources (and their limitations)

  • Budget
  • Tools
  • People available to support
    • How will they support?
    • Any limits to how or how often they can support? (e.g. designer who can help with 5 blogs per month)

Your personal capacity

  • What are the key activities you need to focus on to drive results?
  • How much time will you be able to split to dedicate to these things?
Quick Tip: Do you know how much time you spend doing “quick” things like checking Slack, publishing content, wrapping up an edit, etc. If not, time yourself this week and thank me later when you realize how much time you spend on the not-so-little stuff.

And that's a wrap! I can't believe this is already the fourth edition of my newsletter. Thank you so much for being here and reading this. I really enjoy carving out time to write these.

P.S. I didn't realize some of you were responding to my emails! Oh gosh I'm so sorry 🥲 If you replied and I haven't gotten back to you it's because it got trapped in my spam folder. I'm trying to find and reply to every message before I leave.

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