Do you know why YouTube videos — whether of someone playing a video game or showing us new makeup products — are so popular? It’s because people love to learn from each other’s experiences.
Humans are a fearful bunch. We want to see and hear all the good, bad and truly terrible moments everyone else has lived through before we try something ourselves. Seeing others’ strategies, hearing their challenges and understanding their results gives us some assurance.
This mentality seems especially true for marketers. We’re hungry for real-life examples so we can replicate success and avoid major pitfalls.
Unfortunately, modern U.S. work culture doesn’t do a great job of sharing experiences and collective knowledge.
We’re a country of stressed out, multitasking, over-connected workers who finish a project and immediately move to the next one (or two or 10) without a moment of reflection or sharing the outcome with others.
We need to change that.
We need to create a culture of sharing that helps employees learn, grow and be inspired.
Keep it old school with case studies
Case study is such a boring term that it’s no wonder nobody wants to write them. But these one-page project recaps are a goldmine of information and insights for other team members who want to learn about your challenges, solutions and the results you achieved.
Make a template. Keep it simple. Assign each team to write at least one case study a year about their best (or maybe their worst) project. Distribute them widely. Obviously, a good case study serves other needs, too. For example, you can use them to generate new business or for recruiting or investor relations purposes.
Create video project recaps
Hate writing case studies? Join the club. Make a video instead. Share one or two blockbuster projects that everybody wants to hear more about and see the results of all those long hours of work. Interview some key players, highlight design work, retell the story of how the project came to be and make it fun to watch. Celebrate your success while educating other teams about the strategies, tactics and outcomes.
Host lunch and learns
Often the best way for a marketer to learn is to ask questions. No need to get formal.
You can host casual lunch-and-learns with a few key experts to share a project story. Show off the final work. Discuss the process of completing the project. Share budgets and timelines. Give people access to your documents and templates. Get into the nitty gritty details of the project so other teams can learn and repurpose your smart thinking.
Create a digital project sharing space
Marketers create thousands of documents every year — project proposals, content calendar templates, digital marketing presentations, social media trends reports and more. But it might be difficult to find an example of these when someone asks for it.
Instead of losing track of your best work somewhere in the cloud, create a digital sharing system for your team to store and organize these documents. Extra points if you name an editor to keep it organized or find a system that automatically alerts people when new projects are added.
Designate a sharing month
Establish a month-long sharing extravaganza to highlight outstanding projects, tools, ideas and experts so your teams are armed with the latest and greatest information for end-of-year planning work.
Designating an entire month to sharing projects forces teams to take time to evaluate, recap and share results with each other. It not only provides the opportunity to discuss challenges and results, but also a chance to talk about new tools and software.
You can use this time to distribute document templates, applaud good efforts, bring new life to awesome ideas, learn from unexpected mishaps and gain a better understanding of time and budgets. In short, it gives everyone a chance to take pride in projects you’ve poured your hearts into.
Become the sharing champion at your company and commit to creating a sharing culture. Pick an idea and find a team or project to spotlight. (Hint: Most people love to talk about their success.)