There is a concept in lean manufacturing known as the Minimum Viable Product or MVP. The general idea here is that 80% of the value is in 20% of the work and that by building the leanest possible version of your idea you can test if there is value and this is something that people want.
The idea has been used to great success by businesses like Zappos that tested the idea of folks buying shoes online by taking photos of shoes in a local store, posting them online, and then buying and selling them at the same price. Fast forward and Zappos is a billion-dollar business.
The Minimum Viable Blog Post
So it occurred to me that in the last several years whilst running and growing my marketing agency, that I have not blogged as much as I would like. I have exposure to businesses of all shapes and sizes and am constantly working on strategy, teamwork, and productivity, along with all the various tactical platforms we specialise in here (SEO, PPC, Social & Content). As such, I have at least an opinion on many elements of business and marketing.
But I don’t have any spare time. A skim through the Bowler Hat blog made me realise just how little I had put out in the last few years beyond my Search Engine Land posts. Despite putting in a range of productivity hacks, finding the time to sit down and write a really well researched and fleshed out blog post tends to take a day at least and I just don’t have that time.
The ones I do for Search Engine Land can often take a couple of days and to squeeze one of them into a given month is absolutely all I can do. Looking in admin of our WordPress installation shows me over 100% unfinished drafts for posts I have started but never had the time/inclination to finish.
80% of the Value Lies in 20% of the Post
So this all brought me to wonder whether we can take the MVP thinking and apply that to a blog post? After all – 80% of the value likely lies in 20% of the writing. That is as true for most blog posts as it is for many of the marketing books that I read.
And, after all, just who has the time to read all those words? The idea should be that I create the smallest possible post that allows us to cycle through a build/measure/learn loop. The output should be as small as possible whilst still deliver value to our audience.
In my mind, this seems like a win/win: less time for me to write & less time for you to read. If I can deliver the same value or 80% of that value in a fraction of the time then everyone wins. Next up I am going to look at how to measure the results of this experiment with some sensible KPIs (of course in an 80/20 style).
Stay tuned to see if you can reduce your blogging time to a 1/5th of what it would usually take, deliver more, and quickly gather feedback on what is and is not working.