I See Fire: Getting online marketing projects completed in one day.

If you haven’t seen the new installment of the Hobbit films (“The Desolation of Smaug”), I highly recommend it.  The first one didn’t overly impress me – I felt it dragged things out and wasn’t compelling – but this one was excellent.

But before I even saw the film, I fell in love with the song written for the closing credits – “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran.  On its own, the song impresses – in song quality, lyrics, and overall sense of the music.  But perhaps more impressive to me was the fact that it was written and recorded in one day.

Here’s what Peter Jackson (director of the Hobbit and LOTR films) says on his Facebook page:

“I wrote to [Ed] on a Sunday morning, and asked if he was interested. He would need to fly down to NZ to see the movie, because it was critical he write from the perspective of the audience.

Within 48hrs he was in Wellington, having immediately jumped on a plane from London with his manager Stuart Camp, who was instantly supportive and helpful.

Ed watched the movie at Park Road Post, immediately went into a room, and started writing and singing. Much of what you will hear on this song was recorded that same day, with a few overdubs and tweaks the following day.

Despite having never played the violin in his life, Ed thought he might try overdubbing one himself, and Katie raced out to borrow a rather battered one from a school friend.”

I was blown away.  Here is a powerful, beautiful song, appropriate to the film: you would expect it would take days, if not perhaps months to get it right.  Ed would be sitting in a corner, on a plane, at home, in various locations scratching at his lyrics, getting this word right and changing that one.  He would watch the film multiple times to make sure he got the feel, and also ensure he wasn’t missing anything out.  This is big-project stuff.

Instead, Ed hops on a plane, watches the new Hobbit film once, and then goes into a room to start pounding out lyrics and music.  He even borrows an old violin and plays it himself, having never played the violin before.

This is such a beautiful example of Getting Things Done.  And of course (as you knew it would) it applies to your online marketing.

Marketing is in the creative category.  (And online marketing almost more so!) There aren’t rules or regulations to follow. You don’t have to check in with the HMRC and fill in an online form and pay a fee and wait for confirmation before you set up a Twitter feed.  You don’t need to hire a ten-person marketing team to craft your email newsletter.  Creative tasks can be “off the cuff” – just fire out something to the best of your ability (which is probably very good), and let it go.  Let it happen.

Note that Ed didn’t work alone.  He had a team of people giving him the bits and pieces he needed (setting him up to watch the film, putting him in a recording studio, racing out to borrow a violin).  But Peter Jackson surrounded him with the right people and tools, and then just told him to go for it, and he did.

You too could achieve some amazing online marketing successes in a single day.  Here are a few I’d suggest:

Create a new website structure.

Granted, the full process of building a new website from scratch is more than a day. Not because of the work involved as much as the need to ensure you know who your target market is and what your message will be.  That’s the bit that often takes the longest. But if you’ve got that in place, you could still do the bulk of the work in a day.  We could come out to your firm and do the questionnaire, overview, and site structure, so that we’re agreed on the big picture and just need to fill in some content and imagery.

Set up an email marketing system.

Many accountancy firms don’t even have an email system (other than Outlook, or the tax newsletters that get sent out on their behalf by their existing website providers).  The reason this could take a full day is that you’ve got to get your database in place, organised, and consistent.  Yes, you’ll continually update it; but again the bulk of the work could be finished and your new email marketing system up and running in a day.

Write a blog post for each month of the 2014 year.

It takes me about 20-30 minutes to write each marketing tip. Some take longer, some less.  We recommend that you write and share at least one blog post a month – more is of course better, but this is a great start.  So, even if you only had 8 hours to work with, you could spend the first hour brainstorming topics, the second hour noting bullet points for each, and then 6 hours writing out the 12 articles.  Job done – an entire year’s worth of content which can get spread out every month while you’re working on other things.

Record a video for each month of the 2014 year.

Following along the same lines as that of blogging, you could also record a variety of videos (or even just audio) on topics that are key to your firm.  Brainstorm your topics (or just use the topics we’ve provided in your content marketing action plan), get a team member or amateur photographer/videographer to set up a simple SLR camera, and start recording.  You don’t need a full script for each – the best videos are those that are recorded live, where you just talk to the camera from your head (or from your heart).  Use a few bullet points, keep each video under 2 minutes, and you should be done in a day easy.  You might even have time for your IT or marketing person to upload them all to YouTube and schedule them for posting or sharing throughout the year.

Get good photographs taken for your firm.

One of the best things you can do to assist your online marketing is to have good, high-quality, professional photographs taken of you, your partners and team members, your offices, and even a few clients (if they’re willing).  One of our clients hired a local photographer at an extremely reasonable rate, and his new website has a lot more impact because every image on it reflects real people from a real firm, not stock images of fake people.  (Visit his site and check it out.) If you hire someone who does both photography and videography (or hire one of each), you could probably shoot a few videos on the day as well.

Write a song.

Okay, I’m only slightly joking…but look at the Dancing Accountant! You could be the singing accountant.  Or the violin-playing accountant.  Or the skiing accountant.  The point is, there are so many ways you can choose to stand out, or be noticed, and they don’t necessarily have to be dyed-in-the-wool accountancy items, either.  So if you have some skills in songwriting and want to give it a bash, go ahead.  Perhaps you’re an excellent writer and you’d like to write a book.  Or you’re experimenting with videography yourself and you want to shoot your own firm’s video. It could add in a big way to your online marketing.

How will you use your one day?