The Flow of Information

The Flow of Information

Obaid Durrani 9 min

The Flow of Information

By: Obaid Durrani


Goldenhour was the first industry event I've ever been to. 


Literally the closest thing I've done to that was a gun show my dad took me to when I was 18 in some town in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. 


And Goldenhour was the first time I've ever spoken on stage in front of a group of people. 


Literally the closest thing I've done to that was act as a pilgrim in a play for my elementary school in some town in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. 


Yet, every one that I've talked to that saw mine and Todd's presentation about mine and Todd's presentation, said they loved it. 


In case you missed it, or want a refresher before we dive into how we made the presentation, our talk was broken down into three parts that covered different concepts, themes, and processes. 


The first part went over something we refer to as a "Universal Strategy," since it helps you build and base departmental goals on your major company goals (fixing inter-departmental silos and silo'd efforts in the process), and covered:


1. Goals, Objectives, & Tactics — this is a process that pushes you to start your marketing strategy with the main 3-4 company goals, then break each of those goals down into the 4-5 things that would need to happen in order for you to accomplish that goal (i.e. objectives), and then break each objective down into the actual tasks or efforts you'll need to carry out to achieve that objective (i.e. tactics). 


2. Audience Segmentation — this is a process that helps you establish the three purposes behind all the content you'll be creating by defining the three groups of people you need to reach with your content and what you hope to accomplish by getting your messages across to them. 


3. Narrative Building — a proposed method of creating a strategic narrative which suggests that you should break your narrative down into three point of views that cover why the current way to do something is no longer the best way (POV 1), what the new best way to do that thing is (POV 2), and what changes/outcomes you can expect by adapting to that change (POV 3). 


The second part of our presentation covered different concepts that we refer to as "Foundational Knowledge," which are the main things you should understand before you can start thinking about building B2B shows that go beyond the traditional podcast or webinar format:


4. A breakdown of the strategy — Before proceeding any further with our presentation, we wanted to paint a picture of the end-goal we're working towards with a strategy like this, which is to "build a collection of shows meant to accomplish different purposes, featuring different in-house and external personalities that communicate your messages to your target market while educating them on your product." The remainder of the presentation is focused on how to actually do this. 


5. The Nature of Content — this theory proposes that there are ultimately only two different types, or natures, of content you can create: Straightforward Content, when you're simply trying to get your message out there through more straightforward content formats such as blog posts and LinkedIn text posts, and Conceptual Content, when you're presenting your substance through more creative formats, such as conceptual shows or skits. 


6. Content Associations - this goes over the two different associations you want to form with your content that we've discovered so far, which are Product Association (associating your product with a specific outcome in the minds of your audience) and Narrative Association (the act of communicating your narrative through different concepts, peoples, and mediums). 


With the Universal Strategy and Foundational Knowledge out of the way, the last part of our presentation covered Building a Collection of Shows, which went over how you can actually build a collection of straightforward and conceptual B2B shows that actually drive pipeline, brand growth (awareness + association + admiration), and ARR growth. 


7. The 9 Elements of a Show — we thought about all the successful B2B shows we've created and considered what the most important variables were and we concluded that Objective, Purpose, Premise, Concept, Sentiment, Format, Structure, Creator, and Branding were the nine most important aspects of a good B2B show. 


8. Level of Effort — this breaks down how your content creation efforts can be either low-effort tasks or high-effort tasks, with neither being better than the other, but going over how you can utilize both to make the most of your efforts, resources, budget, and energy. 


9. 3 Show Buckets — to make it easier to understand what kind of shows you'll need to create, we thought of the three different groups, or buckets, each of your shows will fall under, with them being either product-based shows, brand shows, or ABM shows. 


10. Internal & External Creators — in this part we broke down how you would need to use Internal Creators (others on your marketing team, leaders who don't mind putting themselves out there, and other people from within your company) and External Creators (content creators and subject matter experts you can contract from within your industry) to create your shows.


11. How to Build a Product Show — this covered an 8-step process you can follow to create straightforward and conceptual product-based shows. 


12. How to Build a Brand Show — this covered a 10-step process you can follow to create straightforward and conceptual brand shows. 


13. How to Build an ABM show — this covered a 10-step process you can follow to create straightforward and conceptual ABM shows. 


14. Order of Show Creation — here we suggested that, based on our experience and in hindsight, you should first build one conceptual product show, then three brand shows, then one ABM show, and then create from there as you see fit to create a good balance between these different types of shows (instead of saying "it depends" when you inevitably and naturally ask what kind of show you should create first). 


15. Distribution — instead of covering things like channels and cadence, which are things you can easily figure out, we took this as an opportunity to discuss the importance of having more people internally and externally with credibility communicating your messages/distributing your content, treating your distribution as "regularly scheduled programming," and not having to be reliant on any one individual. 


If you made this far, I love you. 


Now, that's a lot to take in. 


Let's talk about how we put all this together in the 48 hours leading up to the time we had to present it. 


Before we had any of this, there were a few things we knew or wanted to achieve:


1. Our presentation couldn't be The Easy Mode Framework or a rehash of it, it had to be something new, even for the people who have consumed most of our content 


2. It should cover everything someone needs to know (regardless of their previous experience with this approach) about how to build a collection of B2B shows 


3. We need to re-engineer how we made the shows we made at HockeyStack and Lavender and create real steps people can follow to make their own shows 


4. We couldn't bore people to death 


Now, the one thing that helped most with putting this presentation together was, similar to the Easy Mode Framework, this proposed-strategy is a collection of pre-existing concepts and processes, so we didn't have to create it from scratch. 


In other words, these are all things that Todd and I have learned or thought of over the past year that we've already turned into different concepts or processes you can learn and follow.


By themselves, they're pretty easy to understand. 


But the difficult thing about creating a collection of pre-existing concepts and processes is doing the mental gymnastics to figure out the order they should go in to make it all easy to consume, comprehend, and act on. 


And the hardest part about this presentation was that we had dozens of different concepts and processes in our head that we've created or discovered since the last time we created a collection of our existing concepts and made The Easy Mode Framework.


So there was no order, no rhyme, or reason. Just a boat load of different concepts in our heads that we knew worked well together, but hadn't explained before as parts of a whole, so didn't know how to communicate them without confusing or losing people. 


But as you've probably noticed by now, we love breaking things down into different parts, types, or groups (so much so that we needed another synonym for those words and that's where "buckets" came in, lol). 


So, that's what we did. We considered all the different concepts, like a mental picture of a kanban board with every concept or process listed out (I don't know how Todd pictures it), then thought of the three different groups we could throw each concept in. 


This helps us begin to establish *the flow of information* (which is extremely important, whether you're writing a presentation, a framework, a landing page, a strategic narrative, or whatever). 


How are we communicating each piece of information in a way where everything builds off the last and allows you to effortlessly understand something from beginning to end? 


This is your flow of information. 


It's the difference between reading a book from the first page to the last and being able to follow along as the story develops, characters grow, the world building becomes more complex, the storylines start adding up, etc. vs. starting halfway through the book and then jumping around from chapter to chapter trying to make sense of the story. 


Depending on how thought out your flow of information is, it could be the difference between a seamlessly unraveling story vs. a jumbled up mess of different ideas. 


The better you are at considering and establishing the flow of information, the easier it will be to follow and understand, regardless of its complexity or nature. 


So, instead of jumping straight into how to build a collection of B2B shows, which was the title of our presentation and also what it was marketed as, we considered the flow of information and broke our presentation down into five parts. 


The first part would be an agenda, simply listing out the different things we'd be covering in our presentation. 


The second part of our presentation was a quick recap of how we got here, as in, the issues with traditional content marketing that led us here, why we're on stage talking about things like shows and influencer marketing, etc. 


This was to set the stage for everyone in attendance, regardless of whether or not they had been aware of these things happening over the past almost-two years. 


The third part (which was the beginning of our actual talk) would cover propose a strategy that anyone could use to build their departmental goals (the Universal Strategy), since we had just covered how traditional content marketing leads to siloed activities minutes prior during our recap. 


The fourth part would cover the main things people would need to know before they could even consider building different kinds of B2B shows (Foundational Knowledge). 


By this point of the presentation: 


• we know how we got here as an industry,

• we've pointed out the issues with traditional content marketing, 

• we've acknowledged that things like episodic shows and influencer marketing are working in B2B, 

• we've understood that we should start with company goals, break them down into objectives, then break those down into tactics

• we know the three purposes behind all the content we'll create and how to segment our audience 

• we know how to build a strategic narrative in the form of a story broken down into three POVs 

• we have a clear vision of what we're working towards in terms of seeing how influencers, internal creators, shows, streaming platforms, demand creation, etc. all work together 

• we learned how to distinguish between straightforward and conceptual content and that our content needs to create mental associations 


This....... is a lot of information we've communicated by this point of the presentation and we're not even at the main part of the show yet (how to build a collection of shows). 


However, there's no way we could've gone over how to build a collection of shows if we didn't first cover all this information. 


Doing this is super risky though, because if not done correctly, then we're purposely making it harder on ourselves by increasing the chances of people losing focus, not being able to keep up, getting overwhelmed, losing interest, etc. 


But only one person had walked out by this point of the presentation, so I knew we were good (thankfully, no one else walked out after that one person 😅). 


From there, we finally went over the main stuff. 


We covered the 9 elements of a show, different levels of effort, the 3 different types of shows you should make, using internal & external creators, how to build product shows, how to build brand shows, how to build ABM shows, the order you should start making shows in, and how to distribute it all. 


We covered alllllllllllllll this sh*t in like 45 minutes and everyone understood it. 


And, as always, we wanted to use humor to balance out the abundance of info (but also as a way to shuffle between me and Todd as speakers), so we just made lame jokes and stuff. 


I know we probably had content creator gurus everywhere clenching their fists at the fact that we're covering literally 70 different subtopics in one content asset instead of sticking to "one message" or whatever, but I say nothing beats the power of the flow. 


Every great piece of work (whether it's literature, movies, or content) has a seamless flow. You could cover entire worlds of information into one piece of content and make it a piece of cake to follow if you can make all the millions of little parts of it unravel seamlessly.


Everything from a 15-page kid's books with huge text on its pages to an 11-part fantasy book series with sprawling universes within its lore is conveying information. Comprehending that information, regardless of how simple or complex it is, comes down to how the creator of that thing made the information flow from beginning to end.


So, anyways, I said all that to say, ignore people that say you should stick to one idea or one thing in any given content asset—you can go over as much related stuff as you like if you can make it flow well 🤓

Obaid Durrani 9 min

The Flow of Information

In this article, Obaid Durrani discusses the breakdown of building a collection of B2B shows. He covers setting goals, audience segmentation, and strategic narrative building, followed by understanding content types and associations. He then shows you how to operationalize those things into building successful B2B shows. He also covers the elements of successful show, levels of effort, types of shows, and effective distribution strategies. Learn how you can do this all in just 48 hours and create your own B2B shows to build a successful brand!

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