how I think about what I do
I believe that to do good work, we have to focus on doing it simply and openly. I believe that so strongly that I wrote 40,000 or so words on the subject and published it as a book: good.simple.open.
I want my content to be:
The first obligation of all content is its accuracy.
I respect my audience’s time.
Useful content creates understanding with the fewest words.
I speak to my audience as fellow humans who deserve kindness.
how I achieve this
1. Do no harm
When I start a job, given the time, I perform a complete content audit and evaluate analytics to establish an accurate baseline. The rule then is not to make any changes that harm that baseline.
2. Optimize incrementally
Major updates to content, code, or design carry major risks and multiplying points of failure. To do no harm, I optimize incrementally and constantly.
3. Test the subjective
Too often, and especially among creative individuals, egos get in the way of good work. Testing every facet allows us to remove our egos and instead rely on objective data. From email subject lines, to UX, to calls-to-action, constant optimization requires constant testing.
4. Measure results
To show growth from our baseline and the success or failure of our efforts, we must agree upon tools to measure our results. While we hypothesize about trends and make guesses about the reasoning of our audience, measurable results help us reduce subjectivity.
Digital content is never done. After content is published and measured, I return to Step 1 and apply what I’ve learned from the last iteration.
I’ve written hundreds of stories for clients and myself. You can find a lot of them in two portfolios of mine.