Why You Need a Critical Eye

critical eye

Sometimes, you have to get critical, which is exactly what Peake Media’s editorial and creative teams did last week

We had decided our digital platforms and functions needed a critical eye. So, we spent one day in Lexington, Kentucky, to hash out things we weren’t doing so great.

It can be hard to look at your own work and be honest. It can be hard to hear other people’s issues they’ve been having with stuff you’re doing. However, I can’t even begin to share with you how beneficial it was for everyone involved. We had some serious kinks in our systems and communication that needed to be addressed. Perhaps the thing I am most impressed with after leaving that meeting is the implementation we’ve been able to do in just a weeks time on three of the largest challenges:

1. Lack of Communication

The editorial and creative teams don’t work in the same office. We communicate via a chat app called Slack. But, virtual communication doesn’t always go well. Things can get misconstrued easily. Plus, we aren’t building relationships that way. We’re just connecting when we need something. Realizing this, we implemented a weekly video meeting. Just for 10 minutes, the whole team gets together to chat and address what we’re each working on this week. The idea is to give everyone an idea of where they are workwise, as well as connect on a more human level. Monday was our first go and I think it was successful.

2. Systems, Systems, Systems

We’ve been saying it for years, but this is something we lack. Systems are hard when you’re a small team with everyone doing everything. However, as we’ve grown and gained manpower, we’re at a point where operation processes can be addressed. The one we decided to hit hard was social media. My editor-in-chief dove in head first after the meeting and already drafted a calendar template. We met on Monday as well to begin taking steps to get more organized. Social media is a weak spot for our company and its brands as a whole. We’re hoping to fix that by planning ahead and getting organized. I have a really good feeling about it.

3. Getting Rid of Inefficiencies

On both teams, we had grievances with either how the websites worked or how the editorial team was overstepping creative boundaries. For instance, when we put together eblasts, you have the choice of using the template or working off an email you make last week. However, unbeknownst to the editorial team, the second option – which is the one we often chose – wound up causing the look of the emails to change overtime, no longer being what creative had designed them to be. So, as an editorial team we will be using the templates every time from now on. If it’s one way we can keep our brands looking nice – and helping creative – I’m up for it.

All in all, I’ve been excited about what came out of our meeting. There were several excellent ideas that will help us be better brands and serve our audiences better. We have to continue to grow and learn just like the audiences we cater to, otherwise we are hypocritical. It’s going to be a lot of work, and I’m sure we’ll find more kinks, but we can only go up from here.

How can you evaluate your systems and processes today with a critical eye?

Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at heather@peakemedia.com.

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