Every corner of the internet is filled with content. And in the small business world, it can feel really overwhelming to try to “keep up” with others. (Where are you going to find the time!?)
The truth is, you already have the time (if you use the right tools to help). Oh, and you don’t actually have to “keep up” with anyone. You do content your own way.
Today on the podcast, guest Melissa Morris is sharing her expertise as a project manager and operations consultant. We talk about why workflows are so important, why befriending the inbox search bar may not be the best idea, which CRM is best for your business size, why batching doesn’t work for everyone (including Melissa!), and so much more. We also discuss why Melissa’s favorite CRM is not mine at all. It was a friendly disagreement.
If you’ve been struggling with time around your content, be sure to tune in!
Mentioned in This Episode
- Save time creating content! Grab Melissa’s Automation Roadmap
- Episode 129: Mapping Out Your Unpredictable Content
- Episode 73: Repurposing Content for Maximum ROI with Amy Woods
- Free Batching Guide
About Melissa Morris
Melissa Morris is a project manager and operations consultant for digital marketing and social media agencies. Using her 10 years of agency experience, Melissa helps agencies maximize their team, increase their productivity and increase profits.
Her T.A.P.P. Framework takes agency owners from disorganized and chaotic to streamlined and efficient so they can spend less time stressing about details and more time on agency growth.
Melissa’s been seen in publications such as INC Magazine, Keap Business Success Blog and CEO Blog Nation and heard on podcasts such as My Biz Bestie, Productivity Straight Talk and BizChix. Visit her website and follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to Episode 147 of the Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it All right all of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you.
Abby Herman 0:39
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and, frankly, your values and belief systems, you get to do business in a way that works for you.
Abby Herman 1:03
Today, we’re talking about all things behind the scenes content, because I know so many of you feel like you don’t have the time to create content consistently. So you opt out of creating content deciding that it doesn’t really matter. And it does. Or you decide to just create content when you can. And then you stress out about writing today’s email today, or writing tomorrow’s blog posts in the wee hours of the night tonight instead of having a strategy and planning ahead.
Abby Herman 1:36
So I’m talking to Melissa Morris today, a project manager and operations consultant, about tools and processes for not feeling so overwhelmed, and for getting some time back in your day. One of the things that we touch on during the episode is batching content. And Melissa mentions that batching doesn’t work for her at all. And I appreciate that everyone is a bit different. And I love how she shares how some parts of batching can work for her but not all parts.
Abby Herman 2:08
If you’re new to batching as a tool in your business, you are invited to download my free batching guide. You can get it at thecontentexperiment.com/BatchIt, all one word, and it will walk you through how to begin to create a system for creating content in a way that feels easier and more streamlined. And then like anything you learn and anything I talked about here, or anywhere for that matter. You can take what you learned and make it work for you and figure out how you can make it work in your own business. So again, that’s thecontentexperiment.com/BatchIt.
Abby Herman 2:50
Okay, back to our guests, so I’m chatting today with Melissa Morris. Melissa is a project manager and operations consultant for digital marketing and social media agencies. Using her 10 years of agency experience, Melissa helps agencies maximize their team, increase their productivity and increase profits. Her tap framework takes agency owners from disorganized and chaotic to streamlined and efficient so they can spend less time stressing about details and more time on growth. Melissa has been seen in publications such as ink magazine, keep business success blog and CEO blog nation. And she has been heard on podcasts such as my business bestie productivity, straight talk and biz checks.
Abby Herman 3:40
And I know that as I read her bio, there was a lot of talk about agencies there. The information and expertise she shares today will benefit any service based business owner who is working online who has an online team or virtual team or just anyone who really just needs some support, and getting back to creating content with more ease. Alright, here is our conversation.
Abby Herman 4:10
Hi, Melissa, thank you so much for joining me today.
Melissa Morris 4:13
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Abby Herman 4:16
Yes, I’m so excited to chat. Um, before we get started, I would love for you to let listeners know what you do and who you do it for.
Melissa Morris 4:26
Absolutely. So I am a project manager and operations consultant for agencies, and I help them maximize their team, increase productivity and increase profits.
Abby Herman 4:36
Awesome. And how- can you talk a little bit about how you work with clients and how the way you’ve structured that client work helps you to live the lifestyle that you want?
Melissa Morris 4:47
Sure. So I do have a couple of main service offerings in ways I work with clients. One is project base, so I love to come in and maybe set up a project management tool or it gets some odd permitted workflows set up and then train the business owners so that they can take that and run with it on their own.
Melissa Morris 5:06
And then I also work with agencies and businesses and an ongoing capacity, where I am a part of the team. And we’re working on the back end on their operations and project management. And I love the way that this has been set up. Because being the project manager, I don’t necessarily have to be on a lot of calls at specific times or right in an office at a certain time.
Melissa Morris 5:34
And you know, and the same thing goes with the projects, I can set them up in such a way that over the summer, when I want to be home with my kids more, I just take less projects. And when I’m feeling like, Yeah, let’s go for this. And I know they’re going to be busy at school and extracurriculars. And I take on extra projects.
Melissa Morris 5:51
So it’s worked out really well to give me a lot of flexibility and have you know, the space and family time that I want and desire but still allow me to ramp up some client work when I want to and cool it down a little bit. So I have this base of retainer clients that keep things going. And then I can layer on projects as it makes sense.
Abby Herman 6:11
I yeah, I love that. I do something similar, too, so it’s nice to have that flexibility to have that, you know, recurring revenue that you know is going to be there and then be able to say yes or no to other projects as they come out, depending on where your life is at that point. So yeah.
Melissa Morris 6:29
yeah, it’s been a game changer. And my husband will often sometimes have these busy travel periods, too. So that’s been really nice. If I know he’s going to be traveling and it’s going to be a lot of solo parenting happening, then same thing. I’m like, No, I’m not taking a project right now. But we you know, when things are going good, and we’re all on cruise control, it’s to bring them on. And so it’s fun.
Abby Herman 6:51
Yeah, love that. Awesome. Okay, so we are. I love it, the whole project management piece is so important. Just in business in general shoot, I mean, like in life, right, like, all of the things in life. But it’s so important in business. Can you share the benefits of having some sort of eight system project management system? Not necessarily. Or maybe it is the technology piece, but just like management of projects in general. Can you share a little bit about like, what that is, what it looks like, and the value that that brings to a business in general?
Melissa Morris 7:36
I think one of the best ways to describe the value, and the time savings that it really brings, is to paint the picture that I know we’ve all had, you’re lying in bed at three o’clock in the morning. And you’re thinking about all the clients and all the things you were supposed to do. And Oh, I forgot to send that. Oops, I forgot I still need that. I can’t remember when I emailed them, oops, that was supposed to be a proposal.
Melissa Morris 8:03
all those things that just swirl around in our brain and the things we write down in a notebook and write down in a post it note, and then write down again in a notebook because we couldn’t find the other notebook and it just popped up in our head. This is not only like that energy suck, but is a major, major time suck.
Melissa Morris 8:19
And more than I think sometimes even people realize how much time they spend shuffling through post it notes, writing things down circling back, because then you’re living your whole business in a very reactive mode, versus really being in charge of your own schedule, and being in charge of the tasks and choosing when to do them putting priorities and deadlines in place.
Melissa Morris 8:42
So when you have a project management tool set up and you’re effectively using it to manage all of these tasks, and your workflows are within there, the amount of time it will save is literally hours per week.
Abby Herman 8:57
Yes. And I cannot count how many times I have wondered, where are we on that project? And then I go in and because you know me, the business owner here is the one who is guilty of not using the project management tool.
Abby Herman 9:14
So I’m constantly going in and trying to figure out where are we with projects. And it’s something that like, it’s one of my projects that I’m heading up and I don’t know where we are with something because you know, a ball was dropped someplace or we’re waiting for a client or whatever. And then I have to try to remember where we are.
Abby Herman 9:34
So yeah, I can totally see how much time because what’s funny is every time it happens, I kick myself and I think why did I do this to myself? Why have I done this? Why am I not doing-? so, Yes, totally hear ya. 100%.
Abby Herman 9:50
So speaking of time, one of the reasons that I hear from business owners often about why they’re not creating content and why they’re not marketing themselves, is because they say that they don’t have time. And I get it, we’re busy, we have a lot of stuff going on, we are really focused on client work and making sure we’re delivering for our clients.
Abby Herman 10:18
At the same time, I know that a lot of us get stuck in time suck for different things that are tight, the time suck that is causing us to not create the content or to not do that behind the scenes backend work in our businesses that we know needs to get done. Can you share, where you see business owners most often getting stuck in that whole time sock and you call it? You call it the hamster wheel like, we’re on this hamster wheel? Can you share a little bit about that, and where you see people getting stuck?
Melissa Morris 10:53
Yes. And I think it ties in so beautifully with that conversation of not being in charge of your schedule. And your time like these, these things work together, just in such a big way. So a lot of it is very administrative type tasks, it’s sending emails, because you don’t know where you’re at on the project, right?
Melissa Morris 11:16
Like we talked about, if you don’t have a workflow created, you don’t have a project management tool, you don’t know where it’s at, if you’re spending a lot of time in your inbox, looking for old emails, whether it’s to copy and paste that language, because you’re going to send that email again, or because you cannot remember what the client said they wanted or you cannot find what it is that they were supposed to send you or if they send it to you.
Melissa Morris 11:38
And then if you’re like a lot of the business owners I work with, you have to check your personal Gmail, Google Drive, and then your business Google Drive, and then maybe they put it in the Dropbox,
Abby Herman 11:48
Have you been spying on me? Seriously, I feel very attacked right now.
Melissa Morris 11:54
You just feel very seen. you feel very seen. Yeah, as I say, if your inbox search bar is your best friend, that is a major major red flag that you are in desperate need of better workflows and a proper project management tool, and that you are likely wasting a significant amount of time, like a significant amount of time.
Melissa Morris 12:21
So first steps towards remedying that are getting some canned emails in place. Again, thinking about a workflow is getting thinking about a project management tool. One of the first processes I recommend that business owners start looking at to save time is client onboarding. If you’re a done for you, service provider, getting client onboarding, handled, and tightened up and buttoned up will be a massive game changer for you.
Melissa Morris 12:49
Because the savings just compound when you properly onboard a client and you’ve got all their logins and you’ve got all their information. And you have the deliverables outlined and everybody knows what the scope is. And when the timeline is all of that good stuff that’s supposed to happen in onboarding. When you do that, the savings from that just trickles on. And you can get that really streamlined and automated.
Melissa Morris 13:13
So where it’s happening really in like the click of a couple of buttons. So not only are you saving that time on the front end of rewriting the contract, delivery email and crafting a brand new proposal and tweaking the contract in word and getting it to hellosign and a different email, right, like I call it the MacGyver onboarding, right? Like it’s attached to this. And then I come over here, that takes a really a lot of time versus a really nice automated workflow in a CRM that just happens with the click of a button.
Melissa Morris 13:43
But then now, because you have all the information, you need to get your job done. you’ve clearly outlined communication with your client, those expectations, the scope. you’re gonna just continue to save time, because they’re not coming to you with questions. They know when things need to be done. They’re not asking you to do things that are out of scope, because you’ve already told them what’s in scope, and what’s out of scope cost extra.
Melissa Morris 14:07
And so from there, getting things into a project management tool, and managing those tasks just gets even easier.
Abby Herman 14:15
Yeah, okay, so let’s talk about that CRM and the project management tool. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Because client onboarding is so important, because that’s where you’re going to really show your true colors, right. What to this brand new client who hasn’t worked with you before and don’t you want to work with them, you know, so let’s talk about the CRM the tool because you get you and I are in. We don’t agree.
Melissa Morris 14:46
We don’t agree.
Abby Herman 14:49
Dun dun dun. Yes. So, share with me what you like to use and and if you wouldn’t mind sharing why and then I’ll share my Really kind of lame reason for not liking this tool.
Melissa Morris 15:06
Okay, so I really think the CRM Dubsado is a great CRM for a lot of business owners. The reason being is it just fills this sweet spot. So you have these CRMs, like 17 hats, and honeybook. And they do well enough. And it’s a very entry level CRM and a lot of people who are just starting a business, that’s, that’s what they end up in is something like this. But then you have these much larger CRM, like Active Campaign or even something like HubSpot. These are very large CRMs. And the capabilities are, are intense, right.
Melissa Morris 15:47
And that’s really useful for bigger businesses and people who have a sales team where they’re trying to really get projections on the sales that 10 different sales representatives are going to be bringing to the table. You need a CRM like HubSpot to manage all of that, because it’s a lot of moving parts. Active Campaign is… it’s a twofer. You get the CRM and the email service provider, which can trip people up a lot of times too, because then they start to get confused on which do I need, which do I have, and you can end up with some redundancy there.
Melissa Morris 16:20
But Active Campaign is nice if you really want to do a lot of more sophisticated marketing funnels. Active Campaign is going to do things like lead scoring, if I click this, I get assigned a score. And then I click this link as a reader and then I get my score gets increased, and then you can start to cultivate.
Melissa Morris 16:38
So this, this is a tool for somebody who’s going to be doing a lot of selling through email, this is going to people who have those courses, membership, membership creators, big email list cranking the sales to that now done for your service providers. That’s not really how they typically work.
Melissa Morris 16:56
Because I mean, even agencies can only handle so many clients at a time. And you’re often just as myself, I’m a done for you service provider. There’s only so many retainer clients that I can really serve at one moment, even with the help of some team members.
Melissa Morris 17:13
So this idea of this massive email sales funnel in this big machine working for me, it just doesn’t really make sense. So then what happens is, you start paying for all these extra bells and whistles. And because there’s so many bells and whistles, people start to get confused, and they get overwhelmed, and then they get frustrated.
Melissa Morris 17:32
So dubsado I think comes in right at this perfect spot where it’s more sophisticated than your honeybook or your 17 has. It has more advanced workflows, more options, triggers that sort of thing. But without bringing in all the intensity of one of these bigger CRMs.
Abby Herman 17:52
Mm hmm. Yes. Yeah, I totally, I totally get it. I have a client who uses HubSpot. And they have a big, he has a decent sized sales team and coaches who are in the funnel with the clients and sales people who are in the funnel and all of that and buy in the funnel. I mean, they have their own personalized automated emails that go out. And it’s a very complicated system. We are in their HubSpot like a fraction, like I’ve only seen a fraction of what it can do. And it drives me insane. So it’s the only way I can ever use to describe those as intense. It’s very intense.
Abby Herman 18:33
I was actually revising a sequence. I can’t remember what they’re called in HubSpot, but I was revising the emails. And it was I felt like a hot mess trying to go in there and make sure I found all of the emails. Active Campaign, I love Active Campaign, I actually have the CRM tool on it. I don’t actually use it, but I have the CRM tool on it. I do plan to start using it.
Abby Herman 18:57
But the thing- I respect your opinion about dubsado. I know that it works for so many people where I am and to be totally honest, as we’re recording this, I’m still using dubsado and I’ve been I feel like I feel like I talked about dubsado like I talked about my teaching job.
Abby Herman 19:17
When I was teaching I kept saying I swear this year I’m gonna leave. I’m leaving this year. It’s my last year I’m quitting. But I’ve got 19 days from the time of this recording to finish getting everything off of dubsado and into what I’m moving toward, which is panda Doc. which I’m using that for my it’s because all I’m using dubsado for right now is my proposals. I have removed all of the recurring invoices from there and those were coming out through QuickBooks. Panda doc allows me to do exactly what I do and dubsado which is create the proposal, and I’m attaching it to a payment system to QuickBooks. They can sign the proposal, they can sign the contract, all of that in panda doc. So I’m moving away from it.
Abby Herman 20:05
And, and I also understand that as I’m doing that, I am also going to need more tools to connect everything. So I won’t have that all in one system like dubsado is, but I just, I just could never get dubsado to work the way I wanted it to. It’s, um, I don’t know, but I get that it’s a really great tool for a lot of people. And I love what you said about 17 hats and honeybook also, because I do totally agree that dubsado was definitely a step above that.
Abby Herman 20:35
And it’s a tool that the thing I really like about dubsado is that it’s owned by a husband and wife team who listened to their customers, they have bootstrapped the whole thing. I don’t think they’ve ever had investors that I’m aware of. And so I love that, that it’s been like they listen to their customers, and what do you need next. And they add on different features and things like that, that people are asking for.
Abby Herman 21:01
So that’s definitely a huge plus that you don’t see with Active Campaign or HubSpot or other big name type companies. So totally respect your opinions. Yeah.
Melissa Morris 21:14
And I mean, I think it’s really great for a lot of people. But there are, I mean, there have certainly been times where I’ve told somebody, actually, I don’t think you need it yet. Or maybe you’ve grown out of it. And you actually need to move into something that’s a little bit more robust.
Melissa Morris 21:29
So I think you’re bringing up a great point, too, is there’s often times where we just need to take a step back and look at the tools we’re using. Are they still serving us? Have we grown out of them? Do we need something bigger? Do we need to step down? Have we gotten ourselves, like, did we fall for the marketing bait and get ourselves signed into some massive software that we really aren’t utilizing?
Melissa Morris 21:52
And so I think with a lot of things, your workflows and your tools, there’s always opportunities to take a step back and look at it, especially if you find like, I’m just really hitting a roadblock. This feels frustrating, this feels cumbersome, it’s time to take a look and evaluate.
Abby Herman 22:07
Yes, and I think talking to other people who run a business similar to yours are complementary to yours, talking to people who are in a similar stage of business that you’re in and finding out what they use, and what they like and what they don’t like, I see people post and not so much anymore. But I used to see all the time, people posting in random Facebook groups, I’m looking for CRM, what do you recommend, and people will just like spout off their favorites or post to their affiliate links.
Abby Herman 22:39
But you need to ask why, like, what are the things that it does that you love? And what are the things that it doesn’t do that you wished it would do? And I think by asking those questions and other questions as well, like, you’ll be able to figure out the right tool for you, or at least be able to, like, you know, feel confident about doing the two week free trial to test it out or something like that. We’re asking people like you who, like you’re an expert in that field in that area, you know, what works,
Melissa Morris 23:09
I cannot give you big enough praise hands right now. First, I like all the praise and emojis right now. Because that just pushes me over the edge when someone just flies into a Facebook group, because you’re gonna get all these answers. And it may not, it may not make sense for your size of business, the size of your team, your industry, and then you’re trying to fit into a tool that was never meant for you anyway.
Melissa Morris 23:23
And the second piece of that is I always encourage people to look at your workflows first. Because so many times I see people bounce from tool to tool to tool because they think the tool is broken. Like I just don’t understand this tool, this tool is broken. And then they jump in a Facebook group and say what tool is everybody using? And everybody says, This is the tool I’m using, and they say that’s gonna save the day. And then they try and stick their broken workflow into the new shiny tool. And then they’re still frustrated.
Melissa Morris 24:06
And so yeah, like, be way more thoughtful about it than just dive into a Facebook group. And then it almost sometimes, too, feels like social media, like the hype, because we know how powerful tools can be and how much time they can save us and our business.
Melissa Morris 24:21
And then when we’re not examining the workflow or asking those important questions or looking to other people in our industry on what they’re using, we can get the shiny bottle just like with social media. It’s like oh, everybody’s on clubhouse. Let’s go to clubhouse. Oh, everybody’s great. Everyone’s doing reel. Oh my god, we’re gonna go on reel.
Melissa Morris 24:37
I feel like sometimes that happens with tools. Right? And I, there was a brief period where I loathed clickup. I loved it because that is what everybody did. They were like, clickup was gonna solve it. Click up- How about click ups, and I use click up. I love click up.
Melissa Morris 24:55
Because everybody came to me and they’re like, click up sucks. It’s broken. I’m like, No, your workflow is broken. So I just love that you said that don’t just jump to whatever ad pops up or jump into a Facebook group, because that is not the way to find the best tool for your business.
Abby Herman 25:15
Yeah, it’s like posting on your Facebook, your personal Facebook profile, I’m looking for a pediatrician for my child. And that’s all you say.
Melissa Morris 25:24
That’s it. Right?
Abby Herman 25:25
And that’s it. Well, okay. And geography plays a part in this. So does your child, if your child has special needs, that’s gonna play a part if your-
Melissa Morris 25:34
Age could make a big difference. age, flexibility of hours, like,
Abby Herman 25:39
Melissa Morris 25:41
Yeah, like this is not the solution people.
Abby Herman 25:44
Yes, exactly. Yeah. So everybody can have their favorite. And that’s great. But it’s only going to work for you if you ask the right questions and find the right tool. So.
Abby Herman 25:55
So speaking of tools, then so it sounds like clickup Is the management tool that you that you opt for? Can you talk a little bit about what like, what kind of business would clickup be good for? I use clickup In my own business. I don’t use it Well. The rest of my team does a really good job of using it. So I like it. Can you share a little bit about clickup as a let’s talk about it as a tool for like content workflows, and what that might look like?
Melissa Morris 26:30
Yeah, I really love click up for I use it for my content workflow. I think it does a really nice job of tracking the different pieces of it, there’s a lot of different views that you can use. So just a real quick, let’s just quickly go over some of the big project management tools we hear about.
Melissa Morris 26:49
So Trello is a very popular one. And quite honestly, one I don’t think most business owners should be in. If you’re starting to get a team with you, if you’re starting to get moving parts to your business, if you’re getting past those early stages and beyond solopreneur, you’re probably going to start to get frustrated by it, because it’s probably not going to bring to the table what you need it to.
Melissa Morris 27:11
Asana is another very popular one. And I really like Asana, and I think it’s a great starter project management tool. But what happens is, it doesn’t have enough of the nice features that a team really needs until you start paying. And then it gets very expensive, because you’re paying per team per month.
Melissa Morris 27:31
And before you know it, you’re like, Oh, I’m paying like 100 bucks for this project management tool, which is why I love click up. So this other one click ups kind of like it’s often referred to as like Asana on steroids, which I think is a really great example. And because it has so many of these really useful features on the free version, it makes a lot of sense for a team and a person looking to grow a team.
Melissa Morris 27:59
So in my opinion, if you have more than probably like three or four people on your team, you probably would be better served to get out of Asana because you’re probably going to have to start paying for things like custom fields. Some of the permission sharing is more restricted in Asana than it is in clickup, which comes into do I want this contractor to be able to make all these changes over here, see these other projects that they’re not involved in? maybe not.
Melissa Morris 28:25
if you’re getting to a point where you potentially want to bring a client into the project management tool, being able to really safeguard what should be seen and what should not be seen. clickup offers way more options. And at the free level.
Melissa Morris 28:38
The other thing I really like about clickup that I think it does a much better job of than Asana is offering different views. So you can do the list view, you can use the Trello view with the cards, but they also have Gantt charts, workload view, they have a dark section where you can just type notes in and create tasks from in there. So it’s a really powerful tool.
Melissa Morris 29:02
I will say though, it can overwhelm people, especially if they’ve never worked in a project management tool before and they’re still early on, it can feel like a lot. So that’s just where I caution. I think if you’re very new to using a project management tool, and still getting used to using it with a team, and you’re getting overwhelmed in clickup, then maybe start in Asana and getting that very foundational framework. Let’s just get used to working in a project management tool.
Melissa Morris 29:33
And then as you get more comfortable with the different features and how it works, because the son is a little more intuitive, too, I think, especially for someone who hasn’t worked in a project management tool before, then click up.
Melissa Morris 29:43
So clickup has a little bit more of a learning curve. But that’s what I like because there’s so much in it. That’s why I think it’s really great, especially as you’re starting to get a team and you’re going to be looking at how do I create really consistent, really good content, how do I have a good plan in place and track that.
Melissa Morris 30:01
So I love what I’ve done. It’s like for my content workflow that I’ve incorporated some of these custom fields. I have a specific column setup that tells me whether it’s an email, whether it’s social posts, whether it’s a video, and I built it from the beautiful framework Abby put together For me, by the way.
Melissa Morris 30:25
And so, like I had this content plan, and that’s exactly what I did. I said, what’s, what are posts? And now there’s a drop down that shows me it’s a post, it shows me it’s an email, and then I’ve added a different column that shows me what week of the month it’s supposed to run? Is it gonna run the first week? Is it gonna run the second week? Who needs to work on it? Do I need the designer on it? Do I need, if it’s a video, I’m running it through transcription, right?
Melissa Morris 30:50
So I’ve added, like little tags and little dropdowns to account for a lot of that without getting buried in subtasks. And in descriptions. And that’s where I think people will start to feel stuck and feel like their project management tool is getting clunky. because if it’s not robust enough to handle these different columns in these different fields, so you can just look at it and see all of that on the base screen, when you’re having to click into everything and read the description and drop down in these subtasks.
Melissa Morris 31:18
It feels like a lot of work. And it’s hard to get a holistic view of what you’ve got going on. And clickup just does a beautiful job of allowing you to see a lot of data in that one line, that one task, whereas a lot of the other project management tools just aren’t as good at that.
Abby Herman 31:36
So you are using a view where that looks similar to like the boards and Trello, where you’re literally taking a project and you’re moving it from task to task. Is that what you’re describing? Or is it something else entirely?
Melissa Morris 31:52
No, I actually do use the list view, okay. But what I use are the statuses. So you know, a lot of times people use these, and it says to do pending, done, I’ve changed those up. So they’ll say outline, right? edit, schedule. So that’s how I move that topic, like the topic is the task. So the topic, the name of the blog, or the posts, or whatever that is my topic. And that is my task.
Melissa Morris 32:21
So I’m going to move that topic through all of these different phases from outline, to write, to edit, to design, and then I can see it visually moving down through the different lists, like through these different statuses.
Melissa Morris 32:36
And then within that same line, that same topic, without clicking into the task, or like the name of the topic, I can see just by looking at it, is it an email? Is it a social post? What week is it going to go out? I’m also adding tags where it tells me is it talking about tools? Is it talking about systems? Is it talking about client operation, you know, clients operations? So then I can also like group them all together, and you get a snapshot of all of that information just by looking at it without actually digging into the task, which is one of the things I love about clickup.
Abby Herman 33:12
Yes, yeah, it makes it so much easier to be able to see everything all in one place. Things like I struggle with Asana and all of the subtasks that are usually involved in Asana. And then with Trello, the way it’s set up with the boards is there’s so much scrolling from left to right that you can’t even see what you’re checking. It’s a mess, and there’s no way to adjust it. So.
Melissa Morris 33:38
Trello pushes me over the edge. I just can’t with Trello.
Abby Herman 33:42
Yes, yes. Okay, so let’s talk about- so we’re inside the project management tool. And you talked a little bit about how you’ve kind of organized your content workflow. Let’s talk about creating content with a team with other people touching the content, whether it is an agency that you have hired out to your content to, whether it’s you have in house, people who are helping, you mentioned having a designer and and there’s other you have other tools like the transcription involved.
Abby Herman 34:20
How can a business owner start to systematize their content so that it doesn’t feel so hamster wheel-ish? So it doesn’t feel like we’re doing nothing but creating content? Because, yes, the content is important. And we need to be marketing ourselves, but we also need to be working with clients and making money.
Melissa Morris 34:46
Abby Herman 34:47
So how do we reduce the amount of time we’re spending on creating content through systemising things?
Melissa Morris 34:54
Yeah. So it definitely comes down to a really solid workflow. And I will say a briefest batching Obviously, I’m a pretty big fan of, and I think it’s really useful. But I do think there’s a lot of conversation around batching. And I think, to an extent, batching is good. But I also know that that’s not for everybody, for somebody to sit down and write three blog posts in one day.
Melissa Morris 35:18
I know for myself, I’m not a person who’s going to be able to sit down and say, I’m going to batch and I’m going to write three blog posts, and then give them to my VA, and she’s going to break them into social posts, there’s just not a chance that that’s going to happen, because it’s just, it’s exhausting. For me, even if I had all the time in the world, other people can do that. And they really like to do that.
Melissa Morris 35:39
So batching aside, right, like batch as much as you can, and in a way that feels good for you. But as someone who is not just as much as I’m an efficient person and operations person, I also know when I just don’t excel at sitting down and cranking out three blog posts. It’s not gonna happen.
Abby Herman 35:58
And I’m glad you brought that up, too, because I talked about batching all the time, I loved that. But it doesn’t work out yet. It does not work for everyone. So you have to figure out what works for you. So thank you for bringing that up.
Melissa Morris 36:08
Yeah, because it’s, it’s tricky. And so I batched when I can and the pieces of it, I can and then I just bless and release the rest and say, I’ll just have to plan. So then for someone who maybe doesn’t either have the time to say I’m going to dedicate today to just create content for the next two weeks or months, or whatever that looks like, or the person who just doesn’t have the creative energy or the enthusiasm around content. to dive into that and say, I’m going to spend all day doing that, what I would say is you need to really back plan a lot, because you’re not going to sit down and say I’m going to crank through this today and then pass it off to the respective people, you really need to be planning ahead.
Melissa Morris 36:51
So as I mentioned on my content board, for my content space and click up, I have what week is it going to go live. So then that way, I know I always need to be having it ready at least a couple of weeks before because I’m not going to bat. I’m not gonna sit down on the first and get it done for the month. So I need to, though, be working ahead because I need to anticipate that my designer is going to need, gosh, at least a couple of days, right like give the poor guy a couple of days to get the graphics together.
Melissa Morris 37:22
And then maybe I’m going to want to make a couple tweaks. And then he’s going to need to see it again. And I’m gonna want my VA to proofread it, and then we still need time to schedule it. So I definitely think a great first step is to see how long it actually takes to get a piece of content from out of your brain all the way to post it on the website, made live on the podcast put on the social platforms.
Melissa Morris 37:49
And that timeline could look different, right? To put together some social posts or an email may not take as long as a blog post or video. So really understanding how long it takes you to get each of these tasks from start to finish.
Melissa Morris 38:04
And you need to account for that time. Be realistic. Don’t write like if you needed one day to write, give your designer two or three days to put it together, give yourself a day or two to review it and get back to them. Same thing, can they edit at the same time, and really get a clear idea of how long it takes then, you know when you need to be working on content. So like I know right now, I really should be working on content that’s going to go out like the week of July 12.
Abby Herman 38:36
And we’re recording this June 29. Sorry, it was June 29. Two weeks, so you know, you need to be working about two weeks ahead.
Melissa Morris 38:44
I need to be exactly. I need to be working two weeks ahead if everybody else is gonna have their time to get their things done. And you know, yourself too. Are you the type of person who’s going to get the graphics back and not look at them for two days? Okay, we need to account for that.
Abby Herman 38:58
Yes, yeah, absolutely.
Melissa Morris 39:01
I work with a lot of business owners, and they’re like, Oh, no, my graphics person so fast. They’re gonna get it done in a day. And I’m like, cool. I see graphics in your email from last week that you haven’t looked at. And there’s no shame in that, like, Know yourself, know, when you’re going to get back to them. And know that timeline. And if you’re going to sit on them for a week, then you need to account for that.
Abby Herman 39:20
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I, we, work about a month in advance with most of our clients, a few clients are we have a different kind of rhythm and system going with them. But in general, you know, as of right now, the end of June 2021. Our clients have all of their July content. Some of it is they have looked at it, they’ve reviewed it and now we’re in the process of loading it all to their websites for them into their social media and some of our clients.
Abby Herman 39:50
We have all of July and all of August done because we’ve gotten into such a rhythm and I have a client who’s taking like the next six weeks off so we were to head and To make sure that she didn’t have to think about it, that it was all done and it was ready to load. And that was like just a rhythm that we have set up, you know, in how we create the content. So.
Abby Herman 40:12
So that actually leads me to my next question. So obviously, hiring somebody to create your content for you is a great way to get yourself out of the weeds of content. But I know a lot of listeners are creating their own content . They are, you know, producing their own podcast episodes, their own YouTube videos, they’re writing their own blog posts, they’re writing their own social media, maybe they have administrative help to load everything.
Abby Herman 40:42
But when it comes to, I guess, when it comes to creating your own content, and or working with somebody, as you’re starting to kind of off board that piece and letting somebody else take care of it a little bit for you. What are some ways that CEOs that business owners can get out of the weeds so that they don’t feel like so especially, you know, and you might be the perfect person to ask because you don’t like, too bad? Because it doesn’t batching doesn’t work for you? How do you get to a place where you don’t feel like you’re constantly in content creation mode?
Melissa Morris 41:18
Yeah. So I try to break it up, where I have designated times, right, like, I know, I want to work on Mondays or content, and I really want to just spend some of that time.
Melissa Morris 41:30
So I guess in that aspect, I am pretty consistent about batching. But the length of time I spend in that batching session is smaller. And I think a little bit too, it’s just personal preference. I’d rather do a little bit each week than have to sit down and spend maybe six hours right going through at all. So that’s a little bit of a preference. I think, too.
Melissa Morris 41:53
And you mentioned also how do you start working with the team. And you know, to circle back to that and getting them in the tool? Again, first, I think understanding the timeline, it takes like we talked about knowing who needs what information and when they need it is really important. So having your team aware of the timeline, and when they need to be brought in, I think is a great way to start piecemealing things off and starting slow with them.
Melissa Morris 42:23
And then again, like when it comes to being on the content creation, hamster wheel, finding ways to streamline as much as you can, and finding ways to repurpose, I think that’s something a lot of people tend to neglect. And then when you have things organized, whether it’s in, you know, that project management tool, you’re having them in folders, being able to easily reference content you’ve previously written and getting that pulled out reworking some of that previous content.
Melissa Morris 42:55
That’s why I love, too, the way I’ve set up my content workflow as I have those tags. I know if it’s about tools, or if it’s about clients, if I want to pull up more information about that, like I offer intensives. And a lot of times during this tensive it is a tool conversation, this tool isn’t working, what tool do I need? So if I’m in a space, like we talked about, I want to layer on some projects, I want to do a nice push for intensives. Well, I’m going to start pushing out some content around tools and get people thinking about that and get them talking about that. Right? Yeah. And then I can pitch the intensive.
Melissa Morris 43:27
So how easy for easy is it for me now to go in there and say, Okay, what do I have tools wise? Okay, oh, I’ve done some posts here. Maybe I can kind of have my VA support me and work that into a quick little blog post or a quick little LinkedIn article and kind of work those together. Or the opposite way. Oh, I see I did this video. Let me see if I can pull out a few posts from that real quick. Or here’s an article I did. Let me just put it back out there. I mean, rinse and repeat.
Melissa Morris 43:57
Because now I can even get either I can fill in that content. And I don’t have to create it new because I know it converted last time it’s gonna convert this time, or I can even use it to beef up a push if I, like I said, I’m like, man, I really want to get those discovery calls in and start getting some intensives going. I’ve got the normal content. I’m pushing out about tools, what can I layer in and get that extra visibility right now?
Melissa Morris 44:22
So just getting really smart about how you’re using your content. Getting really organized with your content is a great way to feel like you’re not in the content blackhole.
Abby Herman 44:33
Yes, so yes. Okay, so I want to touch on a couple of things that you mentioned. And I’m frantically pulling up my own content library so I can list out a couple of episodes.
Abby Herman 44:47
So there’s an episode about Episode 129 mapping out your unpredictable content that I’m going to link to in the show notes because That actually addresses exactly what you were talking about and and wanting to do like an extra push for something is. So you have your regular content that you already have planned nine times out of 10, you’ve got space to push out some additional content. And just because you publish something one time does not mean that you can’t read, share it over and over again.
Abby Herman 45:25
And there’s an episode. Gosh, it’s been a while I am trying to find it. So back in Gosh, Episode 73, I had Amy Woods from content 10x. On the podcast, we just talked about all about repurposing content. So there’s so many ways to take the content that you already have, and to reuse it in different ways.
Abby Herman 45:47
And so I will link to Episode 73, as well, because you do not have to constantly recreate the wheel. You can take snippets from what you have put out there and reshare it in different ways you can take a lot of times, especially in the whole online world. We have like things change, like Melissa for you like tools change.
Abby Herman 46:14
So maybe click up comes out, maybe you have an article or a blog post about clickup. And maybe it comes out with this amazing new, you know, feature that you want to spotlight. And so if you have a blog post about clickup Yoga back, you will revise it, you’ll add information to it, and then you can reshare it and you don’t have to write an entirely new blog post. That’s one of the huge benefits of blogs is that it’s so easy to go in and make updates as things change. So yeah,
Melissa Morris 46:45
Yes, I love me some repurposing. And that is why it dies. And that’s why I’m such a fanatic about keeping it organized, tagging it, I keep all of the graphics bundled with the posts, so I don’t have to go and find them or have to go create new ones.
Melissa Morris 47:04
And yeah, as a solopreneur or somebody who doesn’t have a lot of support for creating their own content that will just be a game changer. I did a lot of repurposing early on. a lot of repurposing. and it was great, it was fine. Like I stayed visible. And I didn’t have to Yeah, kill myself trying to get all this content created.
Abby Herman 47:25
Yeah, and you keep your library right there in clickup. Also, so it’s not only your management tool, but it’s also where you keep the library of all of your already published content, right?
Melissa Morris 47:37
I link out. So I link out to Google Drive, because it gets to be a lot of, especially if I’ve got like a video or potentially, you know, a lot of graphics. It’s just a lot to store in there. So I like to store it and Google Drive. But I just link over to there. And so within that task, and that topic is the link to the Google Google folder that has all of the materials needed to support that topic. And task.
Abby Herman 48:06
Ah, interesting. okay. so I use air table for my content library. So I keep everything an air table, links to the original document that’s in Google Drive. But links to the final piece, I have the date that it went live, all of the graphics are right there in air table. So yeah.
Melissa Morris 48:26
AirTable is great for content management like that, and so many podcasters use it too. It’s really, really useful for it, because that’s what it is. It’s a database. That’s exactly what it is, is a fairly sophisticated database. So it works brilliantly for housing content and being able to sort through it and that way.
Abby Herman 48:45
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I went through a rebrand in February and I haven’t. I have not rebranded all of my content, like all the old podcasts, a lot of them, most of them still have the old branding. But it’s so easy for me to just look at AIR table and to scan through to see okay, where have we updated and where have we not? Because it’s actually a project that we’re working on right now that I really don’t have a timeline, because it’s whenever we have time, we’ll update it. But yeah, awesome. All right.
Abby Herman 49:16
So what would you say if somebody only took away like one or two action steps from this conversation? What do you hope people walk away with?
Melissa Morris 49:30
I tell people just start now, when it comes to trying to get organized, or trying to create processes and create workflows. A lot of times people think, oh, now I’ve got to go back. And I’ve got a tag all of my old content and organize all the old folders and I got to get all that together. You won’t do it like it’s too much. It’s way too big of a task. And that’s focused on revenue producing activities. So I just say start now.
Melissa Morris 50:00
So now the next time you go to write that blog, like we talked about, how long does it take? Who needs to put their hands on it? What does it really look like to get it from the topic coming up in your head to getting it published out there on your website, and then build that file structure on how you’re gonna organize it. And just start now and start with that just start by getting yourself organized, and creating some containers for you, for you to work in whether again.
Melissa Morris 50:30
it’s like the file structure, can you even just write down a workflow and on a Word document or a Google Doc, so you know how long it takes see if you’re sticking to that these basic steps will bring to light what your workflow actually looks like, what’s actually happening? Because a lot of times what we think is actually happening is not what’s actually happening.
Abby Herman 50:55
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I love it. And you actually have a downloadable to help us save time with our content. Can you share a little bit about that?
Melissa Morris 51:05
Yep. So I have an automation blueprint. So or an automation roadmap. So the automation roadmap starts to outline some of the things you can do to get yourself ready for automating your business, and therefore saving you time. So most of the business owners I work with, when we move through this and we start getting this onboarding like we talked about automated start getting some of these redundant admin tasks off their plate, they save a minimum of five hours every single week, a minimum. So with five hours per week, there’s tons of opportunity, no more excuses, right for not getting their content.
Melissa Morris 51:43
And Abby’s gonna call mindset issues on you if you can’t get it done in the five hours.
Abby Herman 51:49
Yes. And you know, I mean, five hours, you could probably add a nap or two in there as well.
Melissa Morris 51:57
Absolutely, maybe a margarita?
Abby Herman 52:01
Yes. Awesome. Melissa, thank you so much for being here. Before we wrap up, can you share with listeners where they can find you online?
Melissa Morris 52:12
Yes. So I am on Facebook at follow Melissa V Morris. And then I’m also hanging out on LinkedIn at Melissa V Morris. so it’s v as in victory.
Abby Herman 52:24
Thank you so much. This was such a great conversation.
Melissa Morris 52:28
Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed it.
Abby Herman 52:31
I loved Melissa’s breakdown of the most popular CRMs out there, like we talked about, you really do have to find the one that’s right for where you are in business right now. And if you’re interested in learning more about repurposing your content or finding more flow and publishing content that’s more timely like we talked about in the episode, be sure to go to the show notes for links to episodes 73 and 129, respectively.
Abby Herman 53:01
If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me @thecontentexperiment, and Melissa at Melissa v as in Victor Morris. And you can also grab her downloadable guide to save you time in her content at Melissavmorris.com/contentsave and the number five.
Abby Herman 53:29
Now the more you share this episode, the more you share this podcast, the more we can get it into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Thanks so much for listening. Until next time, take care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai