The answer is a simple framework wrote about in my book, 10x vs. 10 percent. Focus on opportunities that can exponentially impact results, and forget 10 percent improvements. In principle, it's a form of setting boundaries on what activities you will, and won't, invest energy into.
Tpyos Matter Less Than You Think
One of my favorite examples of this for marketers is the pesky typo.
Last year, speaking at a conference to a crowd of marketers, I made a shocking admission: "I don't make my content team revisit their work to correct typos."
This ruffled some feathers.
I welcome disagreement with my content, but I believe this is an example of focusing on the small, 10-percent things, rather than the big, 10x things.
The 10x vs. 10-percent Framework
A 10x opportunity multiplies your results tenfold. A 10 percent one brings measly results. A perfect example is fixing typos.
In the past five years, we've published roughly 1,000 blog posts on our site, with the average length of our posts being 2,500 words. If our team fixed every typo, here's what the process would actually look like:
- Login to WordPress
- Search for that blog post
- Hunt for the specific paragraph and sentence
- Change a few characters
- Press update
- Refresh and ensure the blog post updated
- Scroll to the specific paragraph and sentence
- Reread everything so it sounds and looks great
Imagine the amount of time (and money) required to do that 1,000 times. Not only is there little business value, there is a tremendous cost.
High growth projects positively impact a huge number of people in your audience while simultaneously producing incredible returns. If plotted on an X-Y chart, a 10x project will always fall high on the upper-right quadrant.
Conversely, 10-percent activities provide just a little bit of value to only a few people. Looking at things in this way works much like a cost-impact analysis.
What You Can Do Instead
If your team isn't busy doing the minutiae, what can they do instead? At CoSchedule, we used our extra time to create a free tool called the Headline Analyzer and got thousands of leads because of it.
In 2014, we realized that our software had more than 1,000,000 article headlines, complete with social share data for each. And since we've always been serious about our headlines as a web traffic hack, we analyzed them to improve our own.
Through serious research, we boiled down the top-performing headlines into formulas our team started using.
Next, because we're software dweebs, we made an algorithm that could score the quality of any headline. It predicted the likelihood for everything from potential clicks to social shares.
Then, we went a step further. We love providing value to our audience we gave this internal tool away -- for free. Thus, the Headline Analyzer was born. And immediately, email addresses poured into our database.
To date, this free tool has helped 2,000,000 marketers analyze over 11,000,000 headlines. And it's been a huge win for CoSchedule, as well, resulting in over 60,000 email subscribers. It's also generated 10x results for us, with little ongoing maintenance required.
Other tools do this as well. The Moz Keyword Explorer is one great example along with The Keyword Explorer which allows users to estimate how many times a term is searched for on search engines like Google. This helps marketers understand what key phrases to target to get maximum traffic. Hubspot's Website Grader functions similarly, allowing anyone to quickly analyze their website's performance. The tool provides actionable feedback on exactly where to improve your site in exchange for your email address.
Obviously, typos are just an example here. But the greater point is if your team focuses on 10-percent things, you can miss out on 10x growth opportunities.
Your Process for Large Projects
Your process for creating 10x projects is simple. We focus on ideas that can generate massive value for a large number of people in our audience. Then, we balance that impact with the time and effort the project will take to complete.
The beauty is that sometimes, you can simply "productize" a process or tool your company uses already.
Grade each idea against the impact it can have, plus the time and effort it will take to create. Then, prioritize those ideas with high-impact potential and low effort to execute.
But, before you do any of this, ask yourself, "What 10-percent distractions are we focused on? And what 10x results are missing out on because of this?"
Now, focus on 10x, forget 10 percent, and get massive results.