Deconstruct your content, SEO and social media regularly

I don’t always agree with everything entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss writes, but I definitely agree with his approach to challenges. In The 4-Hour Body, he frequently refers to the ‘Minimum Effective Dose’ which is what allows you to achieve big changes in short periods of time by focussing on the minimum you need to achieve results.

And you find out what that is either by reading his books, or by doing the work of deconstruction yourself. Here’s a TED talk from 2008 where he covers his approach to swimming, learning languages and ballroom dancing.

Why deconstruct your content and marketing?

It’s easy to spend a lot of time and money on the seemingly endless churn of creating content, improving your SEO or connecting to new people on Social Media. And if you can cope with that workload, you’ll certainly learn to create content quickly, and benefit from the sum of your connections (with reference to Stowe Boyd).

But what is actually working? What’s the Minimum Effective Dose for publishing content? How long should you spend on optimising your headline or link building to improve your search rankings, and how much of your social media promotion is actually worthwhile?

It all comes back to how you generate revenue, and learning how to track everything back to that end goal with your analytics software.

I don’t propose that every tweet needs to show a positive ROI, or that you shouldn’t try new things. But you’ll be better placed to enjoy the experimentation and fun of connecting and chatting if you know you’ve already covered the foundations of your digital business by doing the effective dose for the day/week/month, and any additional work is a bonus on top of that.

If you can combine the Minimum Effective Content and Marketing Dose with the three layers of asking ‘So What?’ when you’re measuring/tracking something (with credit to Avinash Kaushik), then you’re well on the way to making yourself and your business more efficient in the basics, and giving yourself more time to either devote to fun projects or relaxing in front of the TV.

ipod deconstruction - 5

A useful skill for everyday life and business:

The ability to look at models and mechanisms and deconstruct them isn’t just handy for digital marketing. It’s a lifehacking skill which applies to most areas of your profession – how long does it really take to fill out your tax form? How about your bookeeping? And what it you apply it not only to the gym, but to housework, or or areas of life? How much time could you free up for other things?

And I don’t believe you have to be naturally analytical to achieve it. I spent the years between school and working explicitly in SEO doing a number of very creative roles, mainly as a journalist and writer. In that time I’d forgotten basic math, let alone what I’d learnt in statistics classes, and viewed Excel as an instrument of torture. But since I began working for myself, it’s been utterly essential to figure out what needs to be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and how to achieve it as efficiently and effectively as possible, or the workload would be completely overwhelming, and I’d never be able to spend any time working on my own websites (Another one of which, Rescogs, has just launched by the way).

I’m still at an early stage in learning the art of deconstruction, but both the 4-Hour Work Week and the 4-Hour Body provide some valuable insight into how it can be achieved, even if you don’t intend to work out even for that long each month.

And if you need any help, there are people you can turn to. Find your nearest talented software developer/programmer or master criminal, and watch them deal with their professional problems with analysis and deconstruction, even if their personal lives might still be a shambles. In fact, combine the two professions and you’ve pretty much found a typical hacker from my experience, who will happily deconstruct a lock, a software program, or Western society over a beer or two.