If you’ve listened to my Leverage Your Spark podcast, you know I love shortcuts, hacks, tips, and tricks. In this episode, I’m sharing an extremely effective shortcut, but it’s probably the least sexy one on the planet. Embracing this will change almost everything for your team. Don’t be afraid. I promise it’ll be less painful than you think.
Listen to Season 3: Episode 8
The Most Effective Shortcut Revealed
Okay, here’s the word that is the shortcut, but if you’re anything like me, I know you’re not going to like it. That’s okay. It’s called documentation.
I know, I know! It’s awful. It sounds oppressive. Who even has time for that? But hear me out. There is a way to embrace this that doesn’t feel like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill. It can free you to do things more easily in your team.
I had probably the biggest hang-up about documentation, because in one of my corporate jobs, I was put in charge of the document control team that handled the bill of materials for manufacturing, and it was so tedious. I hated it. It was, of course, necessary but also incredibly minuscule, repetitive, dry, and awful. Oh, I couldn’t even.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Here’s where the concept of minimum viable product comes into play in a big way. And when I could embrace that and new ways of doing “documentation,” it changed everything.
How to Embrace Documentation
Here’s the “mind hack” for getting on board with documentation. Documentation is simply capturing what we are doing. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to have screenshots. It doesn’t have to be 11-page documents. It just has to be basic and have the information in one place. A checklist is documentation. Because when you do that, you can more easily delegate. You can more easily grant access, you can more easily—wait for it—engage with external experts and marketing operations team to take stuff off your plate that you don’t want to have to do anymore.
One of the most revolutionary things that happened to me in my own business was when we were working through something, and my integrator was trying desperately to get me to just get the information out of my head. When she finally said to me, “Hey, Brandy, if you create this video, you won’t ever have to do this task again,” a light bulb went off. Holy crap. I was going to have to do this task anyhow. And if I put in just 8% more effort, I would have to expend 0% effort in the future to do this task because it could be done by someone else. That’s a pretty effective shortcut!
Thinking of documentation not as a big onerous task, but as a small, less than 10% increment in this next time completing it will reduce the effort you have to put into it forever. That’s a pretty good ROI, right?
A Simple Process to Employ This Effective Shortcut
By now, maybe you’re a little bit on board with using this effective shortcut. Good; let’s talk about how to do this. First, getting a template or seeing how someone else has done it is always a good starting point for me. In fact, we’ve started creating templates for our clients to capture just these things. You can download one from us to capture your website and domain information. Why did I start with this template?
It’s a pain point every time we go to help clients with their marketing operations, which typically will start with email or their domain or website. Having just these simple things in one spot allows us to get to work faster and causes a lower resource expenditure from the organization because no one has to go around and figure out where these things are and give us access.
Revolutionary documentation can be as simple as a template. The other game changer for documentation in my company was using screen capture. Screen capture is simply a video capturing the computer screen and sound, usually a human explaining what is happening on the screen. There are a ton of great tools out there. Our favorite is Loom, but use the one you like best as long as, when you’re done, you have a link to a video that serves as documentation. And more than that, that video link can then be handed to someone else to create checklists, or additional written documentation if that’s what is ultimately needed. But even just a video and a checklist result in fewer wasted resources, including time, attention, money, or all of the above.
The Real Benefits of Documentation
When clients have their information together and organized using this effective shortcut (cough, documented, cough), we can get to work faster. We spend less time and effort trying to gather the information we need to go do something impactful. The payoff here is that with less than 10% additional work one time, you can have massive gains in effectiveness and efficiency for your internal team and external vendors.
If you’re like me, you dread the thought of documentation, feel like it’s a drag, no one wants to do it, and it will never get used. I invite you to think again. With simple checklists, Loom videos, and templates to organize the information, you can see an exponential increase in efficiency and effectiveness and experience more time and space to do the things that marketing organizations are best at, which is strategic thinking and creative innovation.
Need Help with Documentation?
Not sure where to start with improved efficiency for your marketing team? It can be as simple as assembling information so tasks can be delegated and completed faster. I’ve created the Website Quick Reference template to help teams like yours pull together the technical details for your website to avoid delays and whoopsies when dealing with the website. Grab your free template today.
And look for our next episode, where you’ll learn about who needs marketing operations. Is it you?