Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Strategically Select Stories for Your Weekly Newsletter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The problem: lack of clarity

Let’s say you have a mailing list with a few thousand subscribers. You send a newsletter every week on Tuesdays at 2 pm. You want to keep your subscribers engaged with some news related to your service and some industry news and opinions from around the world.

You use Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds, medium.com blogs, and your secret source to discover new exciting information from your industry. How would you decide which of the findings to send in the newsletter? You probably don’t want to send randomly selected news, because it matters to you how many subscribers you will have and how many of them will click on your links and buy your products.

You will carefully select your stories by the following criteria:

  • Is it relatable to your target user?
  • Is the news source trustworthy?
  • Are the events described actual?
  • Is the story captivating?
  • Does it create positive vibes?

One of the best ways to make a decision is to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st.

The solution: using 1st things 1st

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out stories (or other things)
  3. Evaluating stories by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Let’s have a look at how to do that!

⚙️ Project setup

Log in to 1st things 1st and create a new project. From the prioritization project templates, choose “Blank”.

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Enter a project title and optionally a description. For example, you can call your project “Stories for the Newsletter”:

Enter project title

2. Decide how to name things. In this case, we will be evaluating Stories by Criteria.

Decide how to name things

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Add criteria

The first step of prioritization is adding criteria. Choose Bulk add criteria and enter these criteria one per line:

Relatable
Trustworthy
Actual
Captivating
Positive

Choose the evaluation type From “definitely not” to “definitely” for them.

Bulk add criteria

You will get five criteria created in your project. Now to set the importance of any of the criteria less than 100%, edit that criterion.

Criteria listed

💡 Step 2. Add stories

In the next step, you will add stories to prioritize. For example, you want to sort three stories about Augmented Reality:

Choose Bulk add stories and enter the titles one per line:

Facebook teases a vision of remote work using augmented and virtual reality

Copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality

This augmented reality eyepiece lets firefighters see through smoke
Bulk add stories

You will get the stories added to the project. There you can edit each of them and, for example, add the links in the descriptions:

Stories listed

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate stories by criteria

Now evaluate all stories by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × stories.

Let’s say, the first two stories are probably relatable, because lots of people work from home and copy-paste, but the story about firefighters are possibly relatable because not so many people extinguish fires. The first two stories are definitely trustworthy, because verge.com has high Alexa site ranking, and the third story is probably trustworthy because the ranking is lower. The story about Facebook’s employees working from home is probably not very captivating, because the video is of poor quality, but the other two stories are pretty captivating. 

Evaluate stories by criteria

📊 Step 4. See priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted stories grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Explore priorities

As a result, all of the chosen stories are pretty strong, but the story about copying and pasting in augmented reality would be the most worth sharing in the newsletter; it got the priority of 90%. The story about firefighters got 85%; maybe you can share it next week. And the last one, the story about using Augmented Reality at the home office of Facebook employees, got 75%.

If the results are entirely unexpected, try to adjust the importance of your criteria or change the criteria to match your values.

Final words

After prioritizing your news stories, create the newsletter, describe the story of high priority or link to the original, send it, and keep the number of subscribers growing.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by My name is Yanick.

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Choose Marketing Tactics for your Service to Achieve Your Goals in Time

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Do you have a product or a service, but you don’t know how to market it effectively? Today I want to show you how you can use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to create the marketing strategy. We are going to evaluate a series of marketing tactics according to our chosen criteria to see on which of the tactics we should focus. To be practical, I will show you an example with the strategic prioritizer itself as a service that I want to promote.

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out tasks (or other things)
  3. Evaluating tasks by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Note, it would be best if you could invite a marketing specialist to guide you through this. 

Ready? Let’s start!

⚙️ Project setup

Add a new project to the organizational account. From the project templates, choose “Marketing Strategies”.

Choose project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Change or keep the project title and description. I will call my project “Marketing Initiatives for 1st things 1st”:

Change project title and description

2. Decide how to name things. The preselected values suggest evaluating Tasks by Criteria. I will leave them this way. Do Initiatives or Tactics sound more reasonable to you than Tasks? Do Values or Aspects seem better than Criteria? You decide.

Change how you name the things

3. Define your mission and vision. This step is not mandatory, but it helps you get into the correct mindset.

The mission of 1st things 1st is “Assist people in defining and following their direction.” 

And the vision is “1000 self-contented people and 100 successful teams in 3 years.”

Set mission and vision of your product

4. Define the timeframe for your project. This step is also not mandatory, but when you have the start and end in mind, you can better choose the tactics for that timeframe.

As you can guess from the vision, the timeframe for 1st things 1st will be from the January 1, 2020 till December 31, 2022. After that, the strategies might need to get revisited.

Define the timeframe

5. Choose up to 5 criteria. Check what resonates with you mostly.

6. Choose some tasks that seem reasonable to you or that you would like to try. You’ll be able to enter some more tasks as free text later too.

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

Now you can edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them is 100%, and the evaluation type is the percentage from 0 to 100% (you will see them in step 3).

For example, this is how I set the criteria for the marketing tactics that I would like to use for 1st things 1st:

  • Develops awareness because people need to learn how to use it.
  • Aims at a target market because it’s not merely for everyone like food, air, water, and wifi.
  • Maintains audience focus because people need to get reminded about best practices if they want to live progressively.
  • Ethical because of GDPR and being fair with the customers.
  • Value for money because marketing tactics need to bring profit to the business.

All of those criteria matter to me, so I set the 100% importance to all of them.

Adjust parameters for criteria

Your criteria and their importance will depend on your attitude and perspectives.

💡 Step 2. Review and edit tasks

In the next step, you will see the list of our chosen tasks where you can change their titles and descriptions.

For example, at the setup, I chose these things:

  • Add compelling design elements, because that’s what attracts my attention when I see that on other websites.
  • Respond to questions on Quora, because that’s a place where intellectual people gather.
  • Design cover images for social profiles, because it’s a proper place to strengthen your brand.
  • Guest write for industry blogs, because that’s a way to reach your target audiences.
  • Interact with consumers via social media, because that’s how you create a dialogue with your users.
  • Develop contests to promote a service or a product, because it would be interesting to try that.
  • Do competitor keyword analysis, because that’s how you can attract more visitors to your site.
  • Develop demonstrations or tutorials, because people need to get informed on how to use the tool.
  • Do networking in person. because word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing techniques.
  • Write tips & how-to articles to share with prospects or customers, because that’s one more way to spread the knowledge about the usage examples of the tool.
  • Research affiliate programs, because that’s one of the ways to get more viral spread.
  • Send newsletters, because this builds the audience and allows us to do A/B testing of your marketing campaigns.
  • Publish videos on Youtube, because videos are the most attractive and viral media type at the moment.
  • Comment on articles and blog posts online, because that allows you to keep the customers happy with your product.
  • Send out product samples, because positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations can attract more customers.
  • Regularly publish blog posts, because people need to know your intentions and progress.
  • Send thank you notes or emails to customers, because they are who keep your business running.
  • Develop keyword lists for SEO, because we want to get higher rankings in the search engines.

Also, I added a couple of new tasks:

  • Regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, because that’s where my target audience spends time.
  • Run ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, because that’s where I can find more people interested in this strategic prioritizer.
Add more tasks

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate tasks by criteria

Now evaluate all tasks by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × tasks.

Let’s say, answering questions on Quora builds awareness at 100%, but doing competitor keyword analysis builds awareness probably at 60%. Doing networking in person is 100% ethical, but commenting on articles and blog posts online with the intention to advertise is maybe 75% ethical. Developing demonstrations and tutorials brings 100% of value for money, but running ad campaigns of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, brings only 40% value for money. Most of those evaluations are based on my previous experiences and gut feeling. But a marketing expert could have more precise evaluations.


📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted tasks grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Analyze your priorities and take action

As the result, my most essential tactics are guest-writing for industry blogs, developing demonstrations or tutorials, writing tips and how-to articles to share with prospects and customers, regularly publishing blog posts, interacting with consumers on social media, publishing videos on Youtube, and sending thank-you notes. So, content, content, and more content. That’s what you can expect from this blog in the upcoming future.

Final words

After prioritizing your marketing tactics, it’s time to print the PDF version of the results, create user personas, the story you want to tell your customers, and start marketing your service or product.

Check out the organizational strategic prioritizer at our 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Austin Chan.