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Follow the Search for Better Answers [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending May 1, 2020

This week I’m searching for better answers. I offer my take on the new trend of retail brands cooperating on content. I talk with Kate Volman about content strategy and leadership. And I point you to an article about crushing your content goals with a team built on talents rather than tasks.

Listen to the Weekly Wrap

The theme this week is better answers. (If there are no right answers, you better look at what’s left.)

Let’s wrap it up.

One deep thought: What’s the better answer? (3:20)

Decisions. The higher you go, the more difficult the decisions become. President Barack Obama once said “… by the time something reaches my desk, that means it’s really hard. Because if it were easy, somebody else would have made the decision and somebody else would have solved it.”

Often there are no right or wrong answers. There are only better or less worse answers. Leaders might face choices that require bad things to happen to achieve a common good. Or they may be pressed to make a decision even though they lack accurate or tested information.

One way to approach these situations is to use integrative thinking, an idea explored in the book The Opposable Mind by Roger L. Martin, a former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Integrative thinking is the ability to take two (or more) opposing ideas and, instead of choosing one over the other, create a new idea that contains elements of the others.

Instead of choosing 1 idea over another, integrative thinking creates a new idea with elements of the others, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

In content marketing, I see leaders faced with tough choices – and choosing better answers. I’m working with a director of content strategy at a large B2C furniture and accessories company with product brands suffering market-share decline. She faces demands to refocus editorial on “low-cost” and “economic-driven” decisions about furniture and accessories from one corner of the company and simultaneous demands to focus on how the product materials are innovative, green, and longer lasting.

Both strategies were right. Both were wrong. And the director of content strategy chose neither. She chose a better answer. I explain her approach – and how integrative thinking can help other content leaders facing divergent pressures make decisions that aspire to more than a compromise.

A fresh take on brand content partnerships (11:12)

A recent article in Modern Retail reminded me (and Bethany Johnson, who sent the article to me) of the House Beautiful-Business of Home cooperation I talked about at the end of March.

The article – DTC Brands Are Partnering up to Create Communities (and Save on Customer Acquisition Costs) – mentions several brands using content consolidation and curation as a way to conserve cash and attract new visitors during a slow retail period.

Brands are using #content consolidation & #curation to conserve cash in a slow retail period, says @ModernRetail via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

Content initiatives mentioned include Staycation by direct-to-consumer brand Maude and Elliot’s Virtual Mall with sellers-focused Take Care Market.

“Staycation by Maude, spearheaded by the sexual wellness brand, is being described as an online publication of brands ‘brought together to do good and help you de-stress – at home,’” according to the article.

For me, the point is from a senior manager of marketing and content at Maude who described the benefit this way: “after years of retail startups investing in their own in-house blogs, a site like Staycation can bring their individual audiences together for the crossover discovery and variety.”

The article goes on to say that some of these projects claim they haven’t spent money on advertising because they rely on the existing social reach – the joint large followings – of the brands involved.

I explain what I love about this approach and what an interesting approach like this could be for brands.

This week’s person making a difference in content: Kate Volman (17:06)

This week I had a wonderful chat with Kate Volman, CEO of Floyd Consulting. Kate and her team are dedicated to helping individuals and organizations become the best version of themselves by providing training, coaching, and consulting services, including Floyd’s cornerstone Dream Manager program based on Matthew Kelly’s bestselling book. With over 15 years of consulting experience with businesses and executives (and having been a business owner herself), Kate understands the professional challenges her clients face. She’s worked with both large and small businesses, including brands such as GoDaddy,, and

Kate and I talked about what it’s like to transition from a consultant into a leadership position in an organization that helps build leaders.

Here’s a snippet:

I really believe that we are all one idea or connection away from completely changing the trajectory of our life…. One of my favorite things to do is to introduce people to new ideas and new people. Ideas that can really help shift their mindset in their business and in their life.

Listen in to our conversation and learn more from Kate:

One content marketing idea you can use (32:40)

The post on CMI’s site I’d love for you to take another look at is an article from Chief Content Officer written by my good friend Carla Johnson: Crush Your Content Goals With a Team Built on Talents, Not Tasks.

Build a #content team on talents, not tasks, says @CarlaJohnson via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

Carla introduces the concept of citizen innovators and other archetypes that make up a team, including the strategist, the culture shaper, the psychologist, the orchestrator, the collaborator, and the provocateur. Then she walks you through how to get all of these different types working well together. It’s a fantastic way to make better decisions about getting content teams to work better.

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The wrap-up

Tune in next week when I’ll have one deep thought about decisions – put it on your whiteboard because you’ll find it remarkable. I’ll share a news item that’ll make you feel like it came from rubber paper (it’s not tearable). And I’ll point you to a content marketing tip from a while ago that’ll have you feeling like camping (it’s past tents). And it’ll all be delivered in a little less time than it takes to realize … I really need a haircut.

If you have ideas for what you’d like to hear more of on our weekly play on words, let us know in the comments. And if you love the show, we’d sure love for you to review it or share it. Hashtag us up on Twitter: #WeeklyWrap.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute