Who are YOUR people? What is THEIR journey? | The Open Lines Marketing Framework

Interview with Lindsay Dayton LaShell, Marketing Activist at Open Lines Marketing. 

Discussion covers social trends on LinkedIn and the Marketing Framework Lindsay has developed:

Adopting the Framework is an eight-step process

1. Who else is on your playing field?

Call it competitive or landscape research if you want, but understanding who else your audience is finding when they should be finding you is an essential first step to understanding your unique opportunity.

2. Who are your people?

You have probably done some amount of audience research already. Maybe you’ve been in business a while so you know your customers well, but this exercise will open your eyes to new ways of understanding them and their needs.

3. What is their journey?

This unique exercise will introduce deep empathy into the buyer’s journey that your customers experience. We use their words, their objections, and their understanding of their situation to get new levels of understanding of our own opportunity to reach them.

4. What are you offering?

Having a great product or service doesn’t guarantee sales. In this step, we look deeply at your brand messages to understand who you are in order to ensure that your content resonates with the people it’s created for.

5. Where does their journey take them?

Like literally, where? Do they look for answers in their email inbox? Do they look on Facebook? Do they look to their friends and family? Wherever they are looking for answers, we will craft a channel strategy to meet them there.

6. Where is your best time spent?

Making your to-do list shorter is one of the promises of the Framework. To do this, we’ll get super strategic in identifying the most powerful opportunities and prioritizing them for greatest impact.

7. What does success look like?

What will your business be one year after you start implementing the Framework? Asking this question allows us to begin seeing the difference between the urgent and the important in the day-to-day work of the business.

8. What will it take to get there?

We know that great marketing requires consistent execution of well-informed tactics. We also know that we prioritize things we think are important. The last step is to literally schedule the work that needs to be done, so that you feel confident that you have the information and the time you need to DO IT.

Rough Transcript: 


[00:00:00] All right. Well, this week we have got someone who reached out to us and caught our attention with the way she has developed thinking around marketing frameworks. Today we have Lindsay Dayton Lashelle. She is a marketing activist and creator of the Open Lines Marketing. Organization, company agency, as well as the opening lines marketing framework.

[00:00:48] How’s it going, Lindsay? Thanks for joining us. Ah, great. Thanks for having me. Well, maybe we just sort of start at the beginning where you tell us, you know, how did it come about creating an agency and what, what got you to that decision? Speaking of from the I perspective. I don’t recommend many people do it, but those that do it, I salute them.

[00:01:12] Indeed. You know, it was I call myself a reluctant entrepreneur. I have always been somebody who was really purpose-driven. I was an elementary school teacher for several years. I’ve always been somebody who wanted to use my powers for good. Lots of like community volunteering, stuff like that. And I, once I got involved working for other marketing agencies, I realized, Kind of how powerful marketing is.

[00:01:38] If you’re good at it, you can move a lot. And it got to the point where I wanted to be able to pick my own clients and make sure that my powers are being used for good and just make sure that, you know, I know I’ll do my best work if I believe in the product. I know I’ll do my best work if I believe in the leadership and I don’t wanna do anything less than my best work.

[00:01:59] So that was, there was a lot of contributing factors, but that was really a lot of, of a big part of it. And so how, how long have you been running the agency? So I started the name of my agency was Diamond and Branch Marketing Group, and I started that in 2015. And we got B Corp certified in 2019.

[00:02:22] And in 2020 the wheels kind of came off. So, this might feel a little familiar to you, but we lost. 80% of our monthly recurring revenue from February to April of 2020. And you know, we had been, we weren’t like a big fancy creative agency. We were just kind of like, good, like grinded out content marketing.

[00:02:45] My background, my, my first jobs in digital were in s e o, so we did a lot of that, like really data-driven content creation, got great results for our clients. But that is not what people needed in the summer of 2020. And so I could not sell enough work to keep the team on. I started having these conversations with with entrepreneurs and smaller businesses then, then most of our clients, and they were saying, we just need a plan.

[00:03:14] If you, we don’t need you to do the work for us, but if you can give us the plan, then we can work with it. I can do it myself, whatever. And so I had developed this framework that was. In the context of the agency, it was used to create proactive consensus between strategist, client and team, right? So that we are all on the same page.

[00:03:38] Not just of like what channels are we active on, but also like. Who are we talking to and how do the channels play together to set up a really nice effective user, user experience. And so we always had an answer when a client came to us and said like, Hey, how come we’re not doing this right? We could look at the framework and be like, you’re not doing it because you have an allocated budget or you’re not doing it ’cause it doesn’t fit your audience strategy and here’s why.

[00:04:03] So we used it, it was a really, really great tool in that context. But in the summer 2020, because of feedback I was getting from my prospect. I converted it into a consulting model. And so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since then is just working with marketing teams leadership teams, entrepreneurs and getting, getting, basically building proactive consensus around what their marketing plan is.

[00:04:29] So it was a move. Based on the market. Yeah. I mean, we were, we were able to survive through the, the pandemic. That was a, it was a winnowing moment, I’d say for the, the sector in general. We also lost a couple clients and it was, uh, mm-hmm. Not not in the category of fun, I would say, but yeah, we lost a lot and we didn’t, and when they came back, I was not there anymore.

[00:04:52] I was like, I don’t have any employees left. We’re not, those services are not available. Sorry. You know? Yeah. Certainly brutal, but So is it the, you just rebranded the company, are you still a B Corp certified with open lines? Yeah, I just got my recertification actually, so, uh, like 30 point bump. I’m super excited about that.

[00:05:13] We’re officially a designed to give business model, which is rad. I’m really, really proud. So yeah, it’s, it’s a rebrand, but it’s also. A new offering. I don’t, I don’t do agency services anymore. All I do is make introductions to organizations like if my clients don’t have the internal resources, then I set them up with freelancers or agencies or other vendors that they might need.

[00:05:35] It’s interesting that you saw this shift from a world where, you know, the agency serves as an extension of the execution say of the organization versus, look, we need a dentist. We have. Not always the need for a dentist, but we’ve got some, uh, some dental work to be done. Mm-hmm. We need you to come in mm-hmm.

[00:05:55] And, and solve for X and make sure we’re, we’re going in the right direction, you know? And that seems like that is the trend that you have seen overall. Absolutely. It’s, I mean, it’s funny because I am also just starting to offer fractional C M O services. And it’s exactly that same thing. It’s like, you know, when I started to talk about it, it was like, well, I’ll help you with the strategy and then if you need to bring me in to stand up the strategy, I can do that too.

[00:06:23] Right? Hire the vendors, train the staff, set up the programs, whatever. But in the end, it does seem to me like there’s really a big trend towards wanting to manage more in-house and, and sort of take, take those pieces, especially for, for nonprofits. I’m not sure. I’m not sure why that is, but, I find that the organizations that really get the most benefit from my, from my stra, from my strategy consulting is like they’re in transition.

[00:06:52] There’s like a new ED coming in and they wanna make sure mm-hmm. That they’ve got everybody on the same page. Right? You can see that like, or they’re an entrepreneur that is like just about to get a whole bunch of investment and wanna make sure that it’s pointed in the right direction or, you know, whatever, however that works.

[00:07:07] So it takes on lots of, lots of different forms, but. Yeah, I think there’s lots of reasons why, why capacity building is often, which is really fundamentally what I do. Right? The whole team levels up into the marketing strategy that they’ve got. So I think there’s a lot of reasons why that’s looking really attractive these days.

[00:07:25] I feel like I hear the term C m O a lot. Mm-hmm. I, I understand to be chief marketing officer. Yes. It seems like a cool, fun. Oh my gosh, I could just play around with marketing. Oh, great. Dollars go here. Attention. Come there. Look at these numbers. Can you explain stuff like what A C M O is in like just practical terms?

[00:07:47] Yes. So the way that I understand every C-Suite position and marketing is not really that different is they, their job fundamentally is to make decisions. It’s fundamentally, it’s not to write an email. It’s not even necessarily to craft the strategy, although it might be depending on the size of the organization.

[00:08:10] Really what it is, is the person who directs all of the people who are executing and helps to prioritize, right? Helps to see the bigger picture of where these things fit into product strategy or. Program strategy or whatever we’re talking about, right. And so I think it’s really, like I said that in, when I’m doing the C M O, the, the fractional C M O, it’s about identifying and onboarding the right vendors.

[00:08:37] It’s about mentoring and training up the team. It’s about setting up all the systems that are gonna run, you know, that are going to show us when we are doing the right thing and, and give us direction on optimization. It’s so funny. I feel like there’s this view of this ideal, you know, um, I, I joke to my team a lot of, a lot of times I’d, I’d rather not be the, the c e o uh, I call myself the chief whaler.

[00:09:03] I, I’d much rather like be working in the corner on a fun project. Mm-hmm. Like, you know, developing and integrating like an AI automation for marketing. But actually when you go into that C-level deal, most of your day is taken up by. Decision making strategy and fires. That’s right. That’s right. You don’t actually get to do that work.

[00:09:20] That’s right. And I feel like it’s a dirty little secret of the, the C-suite. It’s really true. I mean, I have a mentor that I learned from a lot, and as a founder, he has actually kept the role, he’s like a VP of product or VP of services or something because he wants to stay on that practice side. He’s not the c e o of the company that he founded because he doesn’t.

[00:09:44] That’s not the best use of him and he knows that. So yeah, I, I mean, I think there’s lots of ways in which, as founders I’ll, and I’ll say this too, when I was running the agency, I really, really, really didn’t understand that the c e o was not the role that I wanted. I had to get there. I had to, you know what I mean?

[00:10:01] Like I had to, I built the agency. We like maxed out at like 10, 10 people. I was super proud of what I built, but also saying goodbye to it was really easy because it turns out that wasn’t the job I wanted. So it’s such a brutal truth to, to sort of come around. But, you know, the, the inevitable piece is just like, oh, we’re such ladder climbers.

[00:10:23] Like, oh, I want to go like all the way up the ladder. And you get up there like, Ooh, whoops. I missed the, I missed the rung where I was like having a lot of fun. Yeah. Or just, you know, whatever. Like, I’m a big believer in the zone of genius, right. What is the best use of me? I have really specific skills. I have a really specific way of thinking and so, you know, there’s, there’s things I am really much, much better at and I wanna keep, stick to those as much as I can.

[00:10:48] You know, I have this bias and it’s totally unfair, I think sometimes, but I sometimes have a distrust of people that have high titles but never did the work. Yeah. Of who they manage and where they’re like, You know, I get that know where they survey. Maybe that’s unfair though. I I get that. I, I, I will say, I remember saying to one of my young employees who was working for me at the agency, they, they, I.

[00:11:18] Wanted a director level, they wanted a director title, and they had about like eight months of, of experience coming into my agency. Okay. Yeah, exactly. Okay. And I, and I, I was like, okay, I, I see, I see what you see. We are a young, small organization. And so if it looks to you like that’s a role that needs to be filled, I understand why it looks like that to you, but where are you gonna go from there?

[00:11:45] Like if I give you a director level title, then your next job is gonna be a a VP or a or a C-suite or something, and you’re in no world going to be qualified for that. So you’re actually like doing yourself a disservice by going after a title that’s actually beyond your reach. You know? I mean, it kind of speaks to this other thing, which I think hopefully we’re all getting better at, is B Corp.

[00:12:09] We certainly are being held to a higher standard when it comes to like pay quality and pay transparency. Right. There’s a reason why the, the years of experience, the titles and the paychecks are all connected, and once we can be, be open and, and transparent about that with our entire team, then we can make sure that everybody’s getting understands why they are where they are in that, in that model.

[00:12:32] Yeah, that transparency matters. I’m just laughing to myself because, you know, we’ve been in operation for, for over a decade and from the very beginning I was like, I could give you whatever title. We feel like we’re just making things up here, but. I also don’t think it’s going to help you in the same way that grade inflation doesn’t help you understand where you are into the context of the market.

[00:12:50] And my goal is anybody joining this company is doing something amazing in five years. Is prepared for that real world market. And I, I know I’ve seen the other side, I’ve seen organizations that are just like, yeah, sure, everyone here’s a vp. And you’re like, okay, um, that doesn’t help. Great. I did it. I reached the peak.

[00:13:06] Like, heck, you wanna be the c e o, everyone’s the c e o. Like, fine. Um, but I, you know, I’ve kind of, in my early career I was like, why can’t I go faster? And I was like, I get it. And the, the reminder of doing that work is preparing you for when you can see, manage, and understand and develop. I mean, you don’t develop a, an excellent sort of strategy that can, can match.

[00:13:26] Maybe we can get into your framework a bit by mm-hmm. Glancing around and being like, I don’t know, go forward, make number, go up. Yeah. Buzzword insert here. That’s really true. Do you know I actually. Somebody has a framework, I’m not gonna be able to do it justice. But somebody has a framework for how experienced people develop their frameworks.

[00:13:49] And it was actually like the, I know this is like super meta, but like really it was like a framework of A framework. Yeah. Like it, I mean, it was, what it was was like to develop a framework, the steps that you have to take. And it’s literally like step number one. Do the same thing over and over and over again with lots of other people’s inputs.

[00:14:09] Mm-hmm. Step two, start to develop your own ideas about how those inputs should be managed. Step three, start to codify those inputs. Step four, test and refine and iterate your framework over and over and over until you die. Right? And it was like, you cannot, until you die, just wake up one day, be 24 and have done all of those things.

[00:14:31] You just, you can’t do it. Like, unless your framework is like, Sorry, 24 year olds, but like washing dishes or doing laundry, like anything that’s really like sufficiently complex to be valuable takes a lot of time to refine and test. And so, and that’s one of the reasons why I got super lucky. ’cause I had refined and tested this framework over and over again with my own agency client and teaching it as.

[00:14:56] Nonprofit. I called it the the cause marketing bootcamp, right? Like the nonprofit workshops. So it had been tested already on like dozens, maybe a hundred organizations before I started to stand it up as its own framework, as its own consulting model. And I think that’s so important. I think that’s why it’s so effective, because I had, I’m like natural born iterator.

[00:15:15] I can’t help myself. Like everything I do, I’m looking for the better way to do it. And uh, and this is what I’ve landed on. It’s super simple and it’s incredibly like powerful from that angle because it’s centered your audience first and foremost. Not just like who are they and what do they care about, but like how does, how do their priorities change as they walk through their buyer’s journey?

[00:15:39] Like whatever that journey is. If you’re asking them to donate or volunteer, whatever, like it doesn’t matter what your offer is, but it does matter that we understand that when they are just learning that you exist. They have different questions and concerns than when they are thinking about partnering with you than they are thinking about after they have already done the thing.

[00:15:59] Right? Everybody, it changes, and so we can set up our marketing specifically to address them on that journey, and we’ll find it’s way more efficient if we do that. We can be aware of the fact that these channels serve audiences primarily within a certain part of their journey. And so I think there’s lots of ways to just like.

[00:16:19] Just really get more empathetic and thoughtful about who they are and what we’re offering in order to be able to get better impact with fewer outputs, fewer marketing contacts. Right. That’s the goal. Yeah. And so I, I feel comfortable saying this because it is technically on your site open lines.co in your about marketing framework, and I assume that’s the marketing framework we’re talking about, where you’ve got these Absolutely.

[00:16:44] Eight step process for adopting it. And maybe you can talk through some of the summary elements of this framework. Yeah, well, I think so. Like I said, obviously we like figure out who you are, what the context of where you’re operating. Um, I’ll say like, especially in non-profit land, one thing that I think is super important is like a little bit of a mind shift away from, um, we’re asking people and more into a pose of making an offer.

[00:17:12] Right. If you are a nonprofit and you’re making something, you’re running important programs, you’re solving important problems, you are offering people the opportunity to get involved. You are offering people the opportunity to solve problems that they care about. You’re not asking them for anything. And so I think understanding that context, like who else is doing what you’re doing, who else is doing, who’s serving your audience, whether even if they’re serving them a different way, like that, background research, I think is really important.

[00:17:39] Because then it makes sure that we understand how unique and important our offer is, so then we can be a little bit more bold and direct with delivering it. So there’s like context setting. Then we do that audience stuff that I sort of already talked about, just like understanding really deeply what their journey is.

[00:17:55] We do some brand, uh, brand work to make sure that we have really authentic, consistent and um, simple. Like really, really bite-sized elements of who your organization is. What do you stand for? It’s like, the thing I always say is like, we all know, I call them brand pillars. They’re these stories that you tell over and over and over again.

[00:18:22] It’s the subtext for everything. So like McDonald’s brand stories are. It’s cheap, it’s consistent, it’s fun to share with friends and family. Right? It’s in your neighborhood. Like those are basically every ad that they put out into the world says one of those things. And maybe more of those things, but, but they don’t say any of them directly.

[00:18:43] Right? And so that’s what we find the brand pillars that are, those like essential themes, those essential stories that work across your audience, across their journeys in order to. Reinforce who you are to them in order to like get that emotional resonance that they need to have in order to trust you, to move forward with whatever your offer is.

[00:19:03] So from there, then it turns into this very tactical approach of like, we look at the channel strategy and calls to action, and how will we measure it. I am a huge, huge, huge advocate for data-driven marketing because I think we have a lot of information that we’re not using, and so I like to know. What does success look like on any given channel?

[00:19:26] What does success look like with any given audience? And hold ourselves accountable to doing that because the truth is only bad marketing is overhead. Like that’s really a thing. Like I wanna shake nonprofit leaders who are afraid to open up their marketing budgets or who like under-resourced their marketing departments, or give, you know, assign it to people who are under qualified if it feels like overhead.

[00:19:50] ’cause it’s not good. Sorry. Yeah, there’s the elements in here. It’s just real. Yeah. There are elements in here. I really like, sort of identifying the way the user sees the world as opposed to the way you see the world and the words that you use is, is unique in here. And then, yeah, I’m, I’m very much on the team.

[00:20:14] Uh, if you don’t measure it, Uh, you can’t make an impact. Um, mm-hmm. I have this sort of, uh, slide I usually throw into various presentations, but ultimately it’s the, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound and in effect, no. Sound only exists with the human present.

[00:20:35] Impact only exists if you have their attention for a measurable period of time. Otherwise, all you have done. Is drop a tree in a forest with no one around. Okay. And so that happens with that level of, of measurement, I think. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and also like I, I also see one of the, like most ubiquitous examples of this in my experience of nonprofit marketing is like the executive director says we have to be on Facebook.

[00:21:01] And so how do you measure that for output? I’m sorry, isn’t it, it’s meta now, right? We have to go with, uh, And well mad as instance, right? But that’s, this is the thing is like you can’t measure because the ED told me. So you have to have more thought than that. It has to be like we are on Facebook in order to meet the audience’s needs in this way, and we will know that we have done it because these metrics will be available to us.

[00:21:30] And if you think it through that well, and hold yourself accountable for results, things get so much better, so much quickly or so much faster, and or you get to stop doing it because it’s not actually a well-informed strategic part of what you, your marketing should be, right. Either way, like that’s the.

[00:21:48] That’s the, the random acts of marketing that I see a lot of organizations doing. I was so hoping, I was so hoping. Can you define what random acts of marketing you are doing here? Fi, finish my sentence. You are doing random acts of marketing if, if you are looking at other organizations, marketing and copying what they’re doing, if you are inconsistently showing up on channels or for specific audiences.

[00:22:19] Right, if you are grinding some stuff out, but not getting any measurable results like these are, these are the things that make random and random acts of marketing are expensive because everything is better when it’s all linked together, when you’ve got, that’s why the, the diamond and branch brand, that branch was symbolic of being fruitful and connected.

[00:22:45] And everybody’s marketing is more fruitful. If it is connected, that is an essential piece of it. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I feel like you could fill in that blank. You know, if it’s not being properly measured, if it’s using vanity metrics, if you know you’re turning it on and off. Like a light switch.

[00:23:03] Yeah. If you’re doing it. ’cause the ed said so. Right? Or your board told you to. Yeah. That is not, oh gosh, audience based strategy. Gosh, speaking of which, raise your hand right now if you’re listening and your board has said, are you on threads? We’ve gotta be on threads. What is your hot take on, uh, threads right now?

[00:23:21] What’s the, I it’s unfair to do a, how long’s a piece of string, but how long’s a piece of string, Lindsay? Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, I will say the, my answer to threads is the same as my answer to TikTok. It’s the same as my answer to everything else, which is, it completely depends on your audience. If it is a place where your audience is present and also thinking about the problem that you solve, then the answer is yes, you should be there and don’t mess it up.

[00:23:50] But if you can’t say for sure that either one of those things are true, save yourself the time. Set up a landing page. Configure your social media, like go own, get, you know, get your handle, own the page. Put a thoughtful call to action and a real nice image, maybe a pinned post, right? Whatever you need to do to make sure that they know that you didn’t neglect them there, and then move on and spend your time on channels that are better informed for your audience.

[00:24:20] Yeah, I feel like that is as safe a, an accurate answer as possible. The only way you lose is if you lose time, because that is what all of these platforms are trying to get. Yeah. They’re trying to get you to invest your time. Invest your time to create content for them to keep audiences entertained on their platform, in their ways.

[00:24:40] Exactly. Yeah. And it’s time consuming and they will dinging you if they don’t. This is another thing, you didn’t ask me this question, but like I am incredibly skeptical of third party posting platforms in general because, Algorithms are skeptical of them, like mm-hmm. They want you on the platform. So you’re talking like the Hoot Suites s and the Sprout socials and the fill the blank.

[00:25:01] We auto post on Tuesday for you. Yeah. LinkedIn is where I live and I know for sure it’s true on LinkedIn when you post, but from a third party platform, it does not get the same organic reach, which by the way is like shrinking massively every day. Organic reach is throttle. Because you didn’t show up and consume advertising and pay your dues when you posted the content.

[00:25:25] And so they’re not going to give you the reach. They’re going to incentivize you to come onto the site to post natively ’cause they get paid for that. Yeah. So let’s share some here. Here’s some LinkedIn things that I’ve come across. I wanna see if you, um, have, have heard different, um, frankly, this is just me being selfish.

[00:25:43] All right. So here, here’s some elements totally with you. I’ve run that test. I like tracked my annual analytics and like, yeah, when I was doing the auto posting, I’ve like schedule it out. It really, it took a hit. Um, there are also. Reasons why I believe that when I directly link out of the site that it’s getting a download as opposed to, uh, removing that definitely auto link, but putting an image on page.

[00:26:06] But the link is still on the post. Yep. Yep. And then on like parties, like LinkedIn, uh, you know, groups or like posting groups, posting parties. And they’ve kind of gotten wise to that. However, I thought and have seen that if you have threaded conversations, so reply in the comment, reply in the comment, reply in a comment.

[00:26:23] That actually gets you back to a little bit of the good old days. I’ve seen battles between, and I have thus far seen my own personal page do far superior than my company page. Also true, and I’ve seen that consistently, but some people have a counter to that, but I’m like, no, they’re they. They try to charge you to post and it’s a pay to play more likely in boosting a post on the company page.

[00:26:43] So, yeah, that’s like my current knowledge. Where, what, where are my blind spots? No, I’m a hundred percent with you. I tell people, like I, I personally will put an outbound link in, I don’t know, maybe one in every 10, one in every 20. Oh wow. LinkedIn posts. And then they only go in the comments. Mostly my content on LinkedIn is to engage people on LinkedIn.

[00:27:07] Um, and I’ll, and I’ll give you another little, one of my favorite little tactics around this is I. Because I’m like an old school, s e o, I have a thing about owning my own content, right? So when I write an article, even if it’s written for LinkedIn, I will write it and publish it on the blog at Open lines, and then I will copy it and paste it as an article and put at the top this content originally published at Open Lines Co.

[00:27:34] It’s not a link, it’s just text, right? Mm-hmm. And then I put the article there, and then I post and share and engage with the article on LinkedIn. So that there’s no question who owns that content is never going to be at, uh, it’s never, never gonna be up for grabs, right? It’s mine. Um, but also I know there’s absolutely no benefit to putting a link to my blog in LinkedIn.

[00:27:57] That’s not gonna get me anything. ’cause it’ll just, they’ll just, they’ll just bury that link. They’ll just bury that post. So, and a lot of these things, by the way, a lot of these things vary based on the size of your audience. Like, if you’re Seth Godin, you can do whatever you want. They don’t care. They know the whole world wants to listen to you.

[00:28:12] I’m sorry. Rules don’t apply to Seth. No. And so, but, so, like, honestly, like he doesn’t, he, he, his mileage is gonna be really different than, than the rest of us down here, right? Um, you know, or whatever. There’s Gary B or some people like that, right? Like, they’re just gonna, they’re gonna have a huge audience.

[00:28:28] It doesn’t matter how many links they put in their posts. But for the rest of us, this stuff is really, really precious, especially if we don’t wanna spend ad dollars to support it. So, Uh, I had one more hot tip on LinkedIn. I forgot it though. No, we’re de, we’re definitely getting to a place where 10, 10, 5, 10 words in the comments is the minimum for it to be counted as a comment.

[00:28:52] Um, so we can’t, can’t get away with like, Hey, thanks for posting anymore that doesn’t do the job. Um, yeah, I started just doing call to action, so I started posting a bunch of short videos. I’m in the, a series of, um, Um, uh, delegation for feminists because delegation is really hard and it’s all about power and communication and says feminism in my opinion.

[00:29:15] So, um, and I just have, at the end of my videos, I have these little calls to action where it’s like, you know, a little animation that’ll say, you know, go to Google and search for open lines or whatever, and that just, you know, just a little, a little nudge instead of a link. It’s cute, it engages. Yeah, with video, I’ve, I’ve played putting it on LinkedIn.

[00:29:36] I’ve been less impressed with the analytics I get on it, as opposed to the ones that I’ve been going long on. Uh, YouTube shorts actually has been fairly fruitful for us. Um, that’s a thing. And then posting it there though, it’s, it’s less of the, like, uplift on YouTube, but I get mm-hmm. I feel like a better, uh, analytic off of it.

[00:29:56] Well, the SEO is better. Yeah. Better. Yeah. And the SEO is better for the link that’s. That’s on my list for the share is to start moving my video content all just also hosting it on on you. That’s what it is. And there’s no downside. And YouTube is the powerhouse. There’s no downside, the right thing to do.

[00:30:11] Yeah. Um, the other thing is, and I’m just sort of pivoting, knowing your, your ss e o background, I have become increasingly concerned about the rise of chat first search, and that is the binging and that is the bard, and that is the summary and summarization of our content, which. You own but you don’t own because these LLMs large language models have effectively trained on all of our content and will now summarize an answer.

[00:30:37] And I have many now, screenshots of examples of where whole whale would show up. Number one for a search result and then none. Or as a footnote and others, where is your head on this coming potential challenge? Wow. I really thought you were gonna ask me about content creation. I got opinions about that one.

[00:30:55] I mean, I had so, so here’s the thing. I think it’s starting to be well understood that the biggest problem with where we are right now in this AI journey mm-hmm. Is all of the training data that was used without permission, without consent, and without compensation. Right. Like there’s lawsuits going on all over the place.

[00:31:26] Uh, Sarah Silverman notably is like suing because they trained on her all of her content. And now you can go into Chad g p t and be like, write me a standup routine that sounds like Sarah Silverman and it’ll do that. And it’s like, but she wasn’t compensated for the training data. And that’s basically what you’re talking about.

[00:31:41] It’s like you’re not being compensated for the training data that was your agency’s content and benefit, right. Or your agency’s contribution. So, um, I, I don’t know. We don’t live in a country where these things get regulated very proactively or very effectively. I, I like,

[00:32:02] I don’t know what is the answer? I don’t know what is the answer. I mean, it’s funny because like, it makes me wanna go back to like the good old days where word of mouth was the way that we, like, if we are really, really thoughtful in our customer lifecycle marketing. Um, whatever that means, or donor lifecycle marketing, whoever we’re talking to, like getting, getting the yes is not when we win, getting them to create more of them in our organization.

[00:32:30] That’s how we, that’s how we win. That’s how we grow and sustain. So I’m a big believer. The framework looks like a, it looks like a grid, but I teach my clients it’s actually a flywheel, right? If we’re very, very, very thoughtful. Not just about who they are on their journey coming to decide to work with us, but then their onboarding experience, their offboarding experience, like whatever those things are.

[00:32:53] If we think of them as marketing touchpoints and we think about them as how do we turn them, not into donors, but like ambassadors, how do we turn them into like really committed members of our community? It that chat, G p t, like that, that can solve a little bit for those types of missed opportunities at the top of the funnel.

[00:33:14] Yeah. Question mark. Yeah, that’s what I got. Yeah. It should be seen, like part of my, uh, my hedge on this is around video content and the fact mm-hmm. I, I do think people will still want, you know, verifiable information coming from what they can discern as a human and more so a brand. Right? Absolutely. Um, and you know, that, you know, gets back to your, your core essence previously of like diamond.

[00:33:37] And in that metaphor, like is the quality of what you put out there such that. People would ask for you by name, we’ll trust and be willing to, you know, get onto your email list, get onto your, uh, whatever next step inside of your ecosystem. Uh, but I think the overall attention market is about to take a hit.

[00:33:58] Yeah, absolutely. And it just means, it just means that empathetic, human centered marketing is going to be our advantage. Right. That’s always the, the transparency. The, the presence, the connection, the relevance, like those are the things we’re always gonna have. We’ll always have that on the computers for a very long time.

[00:34:20] We’ll have that on computers. Yeah. But the form in which it takes, I don’t think will look as it did in our past decade. No, I’m just trying to figure out, just trying to get a head start on like, what, what is that next thing? I got a couple, I got a couple thoughts, but yeah. Are you guys already doing AI for content creation?

[00:34:39] Very much so. Yes. Yeah. Cool. But I think I was recently at events. There’s a quality way of doing it and an un quality way. And the, the, the, the short of it is in the same way that if I were to show you two images right now, one taken from my phone and one from Shutterstock, you’d tell within 0.5 seconds we’re building up the pattern recognition of poorly prompted content.

[00:35:03] Yeah, at an alarming rate. And so if you put in generic, you’re gonna get generic, and that’s gonna be detectable shockingly fast by the human pattern recognition, brilliance of our brain. There’s things that it does very poorly, but pattern recognition. Yeah, that’s right. That’s, that’s absolutely, that’s a hundred percent been my experience so far.

[00:35:23] Yeah. Yeah. So there, there’s ways to design around that, and we’re trying to do that in a, in a, an intelligent way. But I, I really don’t wanna see nonprofits sit on the sidelines again through another technological revolution. No, I agree. And it’s, it, it, you know what I was saying earlier about being, um, really especially passionate, like this is where the marketing activist comes in, right?

[00:35:45] It’s like if you’re an organization whose success is trying to make the world a better place, Or, or an entrepreneur whose success makes the world more just, or whatever we’re talking about. Then my solutions are actually about how to get more benefit from less investment in your marketing. And so that’s, that’s why AI generated content is so fascinating to me because if you’re smart about it, you can stand up a fully fledged, I mean, Fully fledged.

[00:36:16] There’s some, there’s some caveats here, but like a whole legit content marketing program in like a few hours a week. If you know what you’re doing, it’s bonkers compared to what, what one can do. If that becomes your strategy, you know, if that’s your strategy and what an amazing way to level the playing field nonprofits and like early stage under, under-resourced entrepreneurs.

[00:36:40] It’s a huge opportunity. It’s amazing. Yeah. Um, alright. I definitely could just, I could keep pressing recording. I know. And going on, on various topics. I just get all fired off about, we’ll have to probably have you back at some point to, to do an update. I do wanna get into some rapid fire. Sure. And, uh, and roll through this.

[00:37:01] All righty. So what is one tech tool or website at u. Have started using it in the last year. Uh, this is crazy. I just switched. I have been a WordPress user for over 15 years, and I just searched, switched to Webflow. Oh, wow. So yeah, my new site is, is Webflow. And it’s, I mean, learning the admin on the backend is always, you know, a, a new tool is a new tool.

[00:37:26] But, um, but there’s a lot that I really like about it for my needs for, for a big, big content site. I still am. Definitely pro WordPress, but it’s a, it was a big move, so I wanted talk about that. Yeah. I grew up on, I grew up on Drupal and then moved to WordPress, but frankly, you know, uh, every form of c m s is worse than the next.

[00:37:47] So, you know, pick your, pick your poison, solve for the right size. That’s, uh, that’s right. Congrats though on learning something now. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, what tech issues are you currently battling with? So I don’t fight a lot of battles in tech because I’m really like, here’s the thing, my platform is audience agnostic.

[00:38:05] Okay? It’s business model agnostic. It’s channel agnostic. Like, I don’t care, like we’re gonna figure out what you need and get it to you. And I’m very practical about these things. So like, I’m worried about this E U L A update, uh, the Zoom’s, uh, licensing update that says that they own. And can repurpose our content that they’ve, that we’ve recorded on their platform, that’s troubling for me.

[00:38:31] Um, and I don’t, I’m waiting for them to respond and kind of fix it. But that’s, I would say, like, that’s the, that’s my little red flag. That’s, that’s a pretty big issue. Yeah, that is a pretty big issue. Um, getting back to the regulation and the lacking therein, like it’s pretty shocking. It’s really, it’s impressive.

[00:38:51] It’s quite shocking and I’ve, I’ve been a happy Zoom user since way before the pandemic and I still got real issues with this, so we’ll see what happens. Can you talk about a mistake that you made earlier in your career that shapes the way you do things now? Yes. I, in the early days of my agency, Okay. I worked really hard to empower my sales prospects to decide whether or not I was a good fit for them.

[00:39:24] Proposals and meetings and over and over again and, and I spent tons of hours, unbuild hours. Answering questions and you look, you’re nodding. I know you learned this lesson too, right? And, and when I realized that I could qualify them, it changed everything. And so I started with the agency. I had started, I actually had a client qualification checklist where I would, because one of the things that I’ve experienced over and over again in my career is like, I can give the best advice, but if I’m, if I’m giving it to like a room full of white men, it may or may not be taken, and I, and I don’t like, I’m not good hench woman.

[00:40:09] I’m not good at doing other people’s ideas if I don’t agree with them. And I’m, and I’m really not good at being paid to give ideas and then have them not grow into anything. So I, I saw that happen a lot. So I started to qualify my clients and now if you go look at my website, you’ll see I pre-qualify them with my marketing.

[00:40:28] All of my messaging is really direct about who I am for so that everybody who I’m not for can like, figure that out. And that, that saves me a ton of trouble. And I almost never have to qualify somebody out in a sales stage. Yeah, it’s almost like the, the who we serve is not as important as who we don’t serve and can actually be far more powerful and I can’t wait for more nonprofits to get on board with that message.

[00:40:53] Speaking of which, do you believe nonprofits can successfully go out of business? Yes, and they should. And why isn’t that the standard that we hold them to? If I were to put you in a hot tub time machine, going back to the beginning of your work at the agency, what advice would you give yourself? Um, seek out women mentors, seek out women bosses.

[00:41:16] I learned way too much about what not to do and how not to treat people and how opportunities are not always given to the people who earn them. Like, I learned those things the hard way and, uh, I wish I had had some perspective to help me get there a little faster. If you had a magic wand to wave across the industry, uh, what would it do?

[00:41:41] It would make people stop doing what everybody else is doing, like stop doing random acts of marketing. That’s really, that’s really it for me. Like I just want everybody to like, take a beat and think more deeply about their people, because I’ll just like one tiny little area that this, that, I just see this all the time.

[00:42:02] We spend hours and hours and hours negotiating the content of our monthly email newsletter, right? We’ve got our comms team and our ed, and our agency and our copywriter, and there are every, every, probably my experience, every 500 words costs about five, 10 hours of drafting an iteration. Right? Oh my gosh.

[00:42:29] How much time do people spend reading that newsletter? None. They skimm it. They even our most, most, most engaged humans do not read every word, and even the people who read every word do not remember it. So like this idea that everything we touch has to be beautiful and new and unique and thorough. It’s actually a lie.

[00:42:52] It’s actually completely not true. So I would like for us all to be able to think about our marketing audiences a little bit more of objectively from the sense terms of the way that we consume marketing. We all just skimm through our feed. We all just delete everything in our inbox without opening ’em like.

[00:43:11] Why don’t we expect our audiences to behave that way? Why don’t we pro produce marketing as if that is how our audiences will, will behave. Yeah. Work expands to the time allotted. Yeah. All righty. What, um, I have another question here. Uh, what is something you think you should stop doing or your organization should stop doing?

[00:43:30] Ooh, that’s a really good question. What should I stop doing? I don’t know. I’m in a test right now. So I, um, sort of alluded to it, I’m very, very serious about not doing social media if it’s not generating results or not doing specific channels, if it’s not generating results for your organization. So I have, for the last couple of years, I’ve had my Instagram, the open lines.

[00:43:57] Instagram was basically just a landing page. It was like a three by three grid. Literally the most recent post said, find us on LinkedIn. ’cause I was just like, I’m not here, but hi. And so, um, And so right now I’m working with an agency to actually turn my LinkedIn content into Instagram reels and stories and start to like post that stuff.

[00:44:15] So I am maybe going to stop ignoring Instagram or maybe I am going to ignore Instagram. I have to say. I mean, I need more time, more data, but that’s happening. Cool. How did you get started in the social impact sector? Um, I mean, we talked about it a little bit like I teaching. Rolled in teaching, volunteering?

[00:44:39] Yeah, the, when we got our B Corp certification, um, it was, for me, very much like the first B Corp certification was like kind of just jumping through hoops. It was like we just were proving that we were who we said we were. I was already a very ethical, progressive, you know, conservative or concerned employer.

[00:44:58] Um, when I transitioned to the consulting brand, that was when I took on the marketing activist. Title because that’s when it became really fundamental to the business. We worked with a lot of non-value aligned organizations. As long as they weren’t making the world worse, I, I could be happy doing their marketing right.

[00:45:16] But now it’s, it’s a much more precious and specific thing about who I work with and why I work with them. What advice would you give college graduates currently looking to enter the social impact sector? Yeah, it’s interesting like pursuant to our previous conversation about making everybody a vp, right?

[00:45:34] Like for me, I think the best thing you can do is like find the balance between like digging in hard, honing your skills, right? Showing, showing thoughtfulness and commitment in your work. And then also if you’re in a nonprofit especially, or marketing agency, also famous, don’t let ’em take advantage of you.

[00:45:58] Like there, there’s, there’s a good balance there. And if you’re conscious of those two extremes, then you can find the place in the middle, and I think that’s the right spot. All right. Final hardball, how do people find you? How do people help you? Yes, so, um, I have, I’m super excited that I’m gonna be at cause camp in.

[00:46:20] Ohio in September. I’m actually the closing speaker and I’m teaching a, a cause marketing bootcamp there for 12 lucky organizations. So definitely go to cause.camp if that you’re curious about that. Nonprofit marketing. Um, and then I’m on LinkedIn. Find me there or my website, open-lines.co. Um, yeah, you know, I’m on the internet.

[00:46:43] I’m highly go Googleable. I’ve been doing this for a minute. I love the internet. It’s where I keep my stuff. We’re also big fans of, cause camp we’ve been before. It is a great gathering of humans and educational content. And um, maybe we’ll have you have you back in the future to give us updates on, on what’s going on, certainly on what of threads we pulled here.

[00:47:03] I appreciate your time Lindsey, and thank you for the good work. Yeah, thanks a lot George. That was great.