Summer Streamline: Deleting The Deadwood

Summer Streamline: Deleting The Deadwood

dead·wood
ˈdedwo͝od/

noun

  1. people or things that are no longer useful or productive
  2. useless personnel or material
  3. (in writing) unnecessary words, phrases, or exposition; expendable verbiage.

These definitions were pulled from a variety of sources, after this Google search.

As part of my summer streamline initiative, I’m determined to clear the clutter. I’m also determined to delete some of the deadwood that’s clogging up my creative flow.

Ditching Deadwood Clients

This, for many, is the scariest part of a business audit, summer streamline or deletion of deadwood in your business. Many of us still work for what I call legacy clients. Those clients we took on when we were first starting out.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all legacy clients are deadwood in need of deletion. I still have one or two clients who’ve been with me since the beginning. But, from time to time we find ourselves clinging to a client who no longer fits our brand, our business, our core message.

Often these clients still expect the same low, sometimes too low, rates that you put in place when you first started your business. Sometimes these clients fail to appreciate that your business has grown, as has your expertise, necessitating a rate increase. Sometimes these clients no longer fit in with the niche direction your brand and business have taken as it continues to evolve.

And sometimes, sadly, clients simply don’t appreciate you. Period.

In any of these instances, it’s okay to clear out when the contract is completed. No contract? Give proper notice, just like you would with a 9-5 job.

Your brand and business can’t shine if you’re still hanging on to clients that hold you back. Think I’m crazy? I’m not the only marketer/designer/freelancer with this topic at top of mind!

Deleting The Fluff And Fairweather From Your Feeds

We all have a few folks in our feeds that never interact, never engage, never acknowledge, never appreciate it if you share their fair to middling content.

My question to you, and myself, why are they filling a valuable spot in our feeds?

Clear ’em out and make room for some new ideas, reads and potential for sharing.

I’ve pretty much stopped sharing from the “by rote” generic sites. You know the ones, they regurgitate the same content they’ve been spewing for years and, even though the content’s not fresh, they’re a “big name” so they get thousands of shares.

You know what, if it works for them – and it obviously does, good for them. But, it doesn’t work for me, nor for my audience. So, I don’t follow those sites, I don’t fill my feeds with content that can only be deemed feed fodder, and I don’t add my single share to their thousands.

The same goes for the fairweather “friends” (and the quotation marks are used advisedly) in my feed.

There is, of course, a reciprocal nature to social sharing. But reciprocity, like anything else in business, has to maintain a balance. Sharing that one article that made me take notice of you, that prompted a connection, isn’t enough. When you go silent and pull a runner shortly after a connection, you’re of little value to me.

I’m looking for the reciprocity of shared ideas, conversation, discussion, even a little discriminating dissent.

When I hear nothing but crickets? Time for a connection to cease.

Do Something With Deadwood Content! But, Don’t Delete It.

We all hope that our content, so carefully crafted, will stand the test of time.

But let’s face it. Evergreen isn’t a description we can attach to everything we write. Some content simply becomes clutter. Or worse, if we continue to share stories that are not longer relevant.

It’s time to undertake a content audit, especially if you use a plug-in like Tweet Old Post. Stop automating the sharing of sucky and sadly outdated information!

Repurpose what you can. Consider retooling reads for use on Medium or Linkedin. Archive or even remove (with the proper set-up of a redirect) anything that no longer adds value or, worse, might do a client harm.

Sharing outdated information isn’t just lazy or vain. It’s dangerous. What if a prospect or a client follows your outdated advice and it works against them? You’ve lost a lead or a client. And you can bet your sweet bippy someone else, down the line, will find out and pass judgment about your value as a business and brand.

Yes, content audits are time consuming. But they’re necessary when you need your entire site, home page to contact page, to provide value.

Wondering If I Practice What I Preach?

I’ve fired three clients over the past two months. I’ve been clearing out my feeds, both content and connections, for the last week. Heck, I’m writing a whole series about the process!

I’m intent upon seriously streamlining by business in order to better represent my brand. It’s not easy. Letting go never is. Especially when it comes to dollars in the bank. But sometimes you must sacrifice in order to set yourself on the path for future success.

I’m willing to do so. How about you?

 

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