Welcome to episode 476. I want to talk about protecting your assets. I find it’s so, so scary to just sort of drudge through the internet and read about security because it always really freaks me out. And so I wanted to have a really intentional, not fear based conversation around how you can hand over and partner with your marketing people in a way that still takes care of that security thing and that protecting your assets thing and that whole what do I own, what don’t I own thing. That’s what we’re really going to dig into today. I’m actually going to share a lot of how we partner with our clients on Uncommonly More and some of the systems and the structures we’ve put in place to make sure that we have clarity, to make sure that we have simple and easy communication and also so that everybody has what they need, both us as an agency and our clients and each person on my team has what they need.
And so for you, if you’re currently sort of sitting in that project manager role of your marketing, meaning that you’re disseminating and collecting information and pieces from different parts of your team to give to other parts of your team, maybe the structure would help you in syncing up your team more, or if you’re somebody who’s like, “I’m doing this on my own but we’re going to hire somebody soon,” or “I’d like to hire somebody,” I will say that all of the things we’re going to talk about today are easier to start when it’s just you than it is once you have a machine sort of running with your team. And so this is me just sort of swinging open our doors and saying this is how we do.
So one, first caveat asterisk, whatever, these are our best practices, these are our standard operating procedures. That doesn’t mean there’s not exceptions. Every client has their own unique nuance, and so in some cases they’ll use a different tool than what I’m going to mention today. It doesn’t make one better or worse. A lot of it is personal preference. So if any of the tools I mention today, you’re like, “I don’t want to do that,” look for something similar, look for another option or maybe you already have a different tool in place serving that task, that’s fine. It’s not about doing it perfectly, just about doing it at all really.
So we’re going to start with the scary part in my opinion, which is how do you actually give people access and how much access do you need to give them?
Oftentimes, this is a question I get from people because they’re like, “Great, so how do I give you this?” And here’s what we do at Uncommonly More. We actually have a form that after a client sign their contract and pay their first payment, they’ll get a questionnaire, which has on it places for them to go through and give us the link to something as well as their password and username.
Now, this form is secure, as secure as it can be. What is also on this form though, it’s a little checkbox and this is what I always recommend to clients before they get this form. There’s a little checkbox that says “sent through password manager.” That’s what I recommend. When I give our team access to my own stuff or client stuff, they get access to a password manager. So even if a client fills out that form and puts in their username and password, I go through and actually put them in our team password management software, which is LastPass. That way it can be sent to whatever team member on the team actually needs those credentials. So when we send them, we send them very, very easily through that. All of our clients are managed through a password manager. Again, we use LastPass. Some of our clients use 1Password. Some of our clients use Dashlane. This is definitely one of those places where some of our clients have specific tools they want to use and so that’s what we use with them.
This is my first and biggest security thing and here’s the deal. This isn’t even a security thing. It’s a convenience thing. I don’t want to have to remember passwords. I’m lazy, okay. I have a lot of responsibilities in my life. Passwords don’t need to be on that list. And so I remember one password. Well technically I remember two passwords because also the passcode to my phone, although mostly that’s my face. So we’ll say one and a half passwords. We have my password manager and then the passcode to my phone. Also I guess my pin number for my debit card. So three passwords that I have to remember. End of list.
So I want you to think about how much brain space it would save to not have to remember your passwords. And by the way, when I say password manager, I don’t mean one of those books that you get at Barnes and Noble in the gift section that say password log on the front of them and inside is a planner for your passwords. That’s not what I mean. I mean like a LastPass or a 1Password or Dashlane. There’s a gazillion of them. Pick one.
Again, we use LastPass. Highly recommend. What I love about LastPass is I can revoke really, really quickly. I can change really, really quickly. I can also send a password without someone seeing the password. So they have to click the login. They don’t actually have the password type.
One thing I highly recommend looking for when you’re looking for a password manager is something that’s going to work on all of your devices. So another thing I really love about LastPass and what I mean when I say I only have to remember a couple of passwords, is whenever I access anything on my phone, I also use LastPass. When I go to hit a little password box to a login to something, up at the top of my keyboard it says password, I click on that. It might say LastPass. It’s either password or LastPass, I’m almost sure it says password. You click on that and LastPass opens up, I select the thing and it fills, it populates that form and I’m done.
So yes, look for something that works on your computer, but it’s just as critical for me that I can pull it up on my iPad, my phone, whatever. And we use this both as a family and I use it inside the company. So the agency we have LastPass, everybody gets sent stuff through LastPass. But even in our house we have the family shared LastPass account, not one account, because I share only some passwords with the rest of my family. But this is really great for my child because it’s not like, “Hey mom, I need to remember blah blah blah. Hey mom, I can’t get into” … it’s in the flipping password manager. I don’t have to remember it.
So password managers, guys, I cannot stress this enough. This is the only way you should be giving access to people ever really on your team, outside, whatever … password managers.
Here’s the other part of that that I want to touch on is in many cases you don’t actually need to give them access to the actual site. For example, Facebook, shouldn’t be sending anyone your Facebook log-ins. They can be made admins of your page. They can be made admins or moderators of your groups. They don’t need to be actually given access to your Facebook account.
Now, the thing I want to stress here is when you make someone an admin on a page, they do not need to have full administrative rights. In most case, you’re going to make them an editor. They’re just running ads for you. You can bring them in as an advertiser. If you have somebody coming in to do an audit, you can bring them in just to stats level. Generally I tend to just make everyone an editor, just has access to all things, but they can’t do anything catastrophic. I’ve never had anyone on my team that needed anything above that as far as access to a page. So 100% you don’t need to give them access to the whole show; you just need to give them access to what their role is going to be.
The same is true of YouTube. I see this a ton where clients want to send their Google credentials, but if you think about all of the things your Google credentials will give a person access to, you don’t want to be handing that over in most cases. Now all of this, you should be trusting absolutely the people you’re hiring, if you don’t trust them, don’t hire them. But trust, but verify, that’s what I say. So be giving them access. You can make them an admin of the YouTube channel. They don’t actually need to have your Google credentials. You can share with them docs from Dropbox or Google Drive. They don’t actually need to have your login credentials to get into that space.
Twitter and Instagram, you do actually have to give them the credentials. One thing I will say is if you just have someone scheduling for you, they don’t need access to your Twitter or to your Instagram. They just need access to your scheduling tool. I recommend if you just need someone to schedule, they’re not doing any comment moderation, they’re not doing any DM management, then there’s no reason for them to be given the password to the account. Just give them access to your scheduler.
And here’s the deal. This isn’t about trusting, this isn’t about, oh, they’re all out to get you, this isn’t about fear; this is about making their job and your process as simple and as streamlined as possible. That’s really what you want to look for. So often we want to be okay, here’s everything, when the teammate doesn’t actually need that. The contractor, the freelancer, the whoever you have helping you out with this project, doesn’t need all the things. They just need a couple of pieces. They just need a couple of access points. So give them only what they need.
And this is a great red flag for someone who is not super professional. If don’t know what they need or … For example, if you have someone who you’re thinking about hiring to help you with your Facebook group management, and they say, “Yeah, you have to give me access to your Facebook account,” no you don’t. I made you a moderator in the group that’s all you need. And if you can’t do your job with that amount of access, then it’s not a good fit. Because I’m telling you right now, love, they don’t need access to your Facebook account.
So think about those access points. That’s the most, I think important from a security perspective that you need to consider is where possible just give them direct admin access. It makes it a whole lot easier to shut it down if necessary, and then be using a password manager to actually share those passwords. That’s the biggest sort of security red flags to think about.
Next I want to get to really some of the protecting your brand identity.
Protecting your voice and the systems and the structures we put in place to make sure that we are protecting our clients as we move through that learning phase. Because here’s the deal, there’s always going to be that learning phase and so if we don’t want something going out that’s completely left of the mark, left of center, off the mark, you know what I’m trying to say here, then put it in a review process.
So when we work with clients on the marketing side of things where we’re actually acting as their marketing department, which is so fun to get to partner with these people, I’m so excited for our clients, anyways when we do that, we actually build out their content and their social and their everything well in advanced. There’s a review period. So all of our clients get their social updates for the following month, by the 15th of the current month. Meaning right now as you were listening to this, it is the beginning of March and we are preparing April social media so that by the 15th of this month, I think is actually a Saturday so they’ll get it on the 13th because actually the 15th is a Sunday because there’s a Friday the 13th in March and I’m real excited about it. It’s my favorite day. I love Friday the 13th. That’s another podcast episode entirely. But maybe if you DM me I’ll tell you the story.
Anyway, it’s actually not that good of a story. Don’t DM me for that. DM for something way more interesting. Anyway, I don’t want to send those updates out on a Sunday. So they’ll actually get done by the 13th, that Friday, and then they have until the 25th to give those back to us with changes, approvals, additions. Most of our clients layer in a couple of extra posts. Some do it off the cuff right into the platform. Some of them send them to us and we integrate them into the schedule, whatever the process may be. This allows, especially in those first couple of months where everybody’s still kind of learning the voice, it allows there to be a filter so that we make sure whatever is going out is consistent with what we want to see.
This is such an important step in protecting yourself and protecting your brand. And I think too often when we go to hire, sort of relinquish all of it and we’re like, “Okay, so this is just your thing now.” I’m all for giving directive of, this is the end result I want, I don’t care about the process,” that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to put a review step in. And when you run a good amount of time ahead, you have that space to do that. And so add in one of those review cycles.
We have a client who we onboarded just a few months ago and we’re still, when it comes to graphics kind of learning the taste they have, especially because it’s definitely different than my taste. Doesn’t make one better than the other. Doesn’t make one good, it doesn’t make them bad, it’s just a different aesthetic. And so that checkpoint of, “Hey, what do you think of this,” and we make some changes and then we know we’re delivering an end result they’re actually happy with. So this is a critical part of protecting yourself is put in that review period. Give it a once over.
What most of our clients find is that with time they don’t actually make changes. They’re just like, “Yep, this is good,” but it’s still nice to have that touch point, that check-in. I think it’s a really important part of, again, protecting your asset, which is your brand identity, which is the relationship you have with your clients, all of those things. And this doesn’t have to be an incredibly complicated process.
Here’s how we do it and here’s how we make it really manageable. For those clients who do not currently have their own project management software, we actually build them a board inside of our project management software. So we use Monday and they get a board and inside of there they get, here’s what we need from you. Here are your tasks that need to be done. One of those tasks is review XYZ social media. So in this case it would be April social media, and there’ll be a link to the Google Sheet where those social media updates are kept.
Now I’m the first to admit that Google Sheets are not the prettiest way to present this information, but it’s the best way we have found to build a really great library of content that’s very easy to repurpose and reuse and build from. So they’ve got a link to that. Some of our clients have requested a Google Sheet with that month. Sometimes they’ll get that, but it’s right there in their assigned task. “Hey go check these out.” They can then leave comments on the Google Sheet or the Google Doc, depending on which they receive. They can leave comments in Monday right there on the task if they need to. But also all of our clients are in their own individual Slack workplace. Yes, their own individual ones.
So we have an Uncommonly More Slack workplace where just our team lives, just our team hangs out in there. Each of our clients have their own channel. It’s everything. And then when we bring on a client, if they do not already have a Slack environment, one is created for them. The relevant team members are added. Generally it’s just Calie and I at this point. That will change probably by the end of this year, but for right now it’s just Calie and I usually that are in there and that’s where we can communicate with them. So that’s also where they’ll give feedback on social updates. Let us know, “Hey, this is happening.” We can check in on a status. So we’re staying in really, really clear communication with them throughout the process of building, checking, scheduling, everything, the updates.
And I’m talking about the social media perspective, but the same is true with our podcast production clients. They’ve got a drive folder they’re given access to you. They’re put in Monday so that we can assign recording to them. They are given a Slack environment where they can keep up with us and we can give feedback and we can say, “Hey, we need X, Y, Z by X, Y, Z.” And they have their episodes and everything ready to go in advance so that they can listen if they want to and they can check things out. We’ve never ever, ever had an instance where we had to go in and change something on the podcast production side, but you never know, it might happen. So we create an environment that makes it really, really simple for us to stay in communication so that we’re staying really clear on all parts of the process, regardless of the kind of thing we’re producing for them.
The third thing I want to touch on is being really clear in these relationships around what you own and what the contractor owns.
So when clients hire us and we bring in a graphic designer to build templates for social media graphics, I pay the graphic designer. So in theory, and I don’t pass that cost along to our clients, it’s factored into their cost already, I don’t nickel and dime big on that. Anyways, so when I do that, it would be easy for me when they leave to be like, “Okay, so I own these templates, deuces,” but that’s not the way we operate.
When we off-board a client, which we’ve done a few times that we’ve built in templates, we’ve built templates for, we send them with those. We send them with every podcast edit as well as the raw file they sent us. Any intros and outros we created for them, any mid-roll commercials we created for them, every bit of copy we’ve ever written, it’s all in Google Drive folders and we save an obscene amount of it, all of it, in fact. And so when a client off-boards, they take all of that. We say, “Hey, here’s everything.”
And I highly recommend you being really clear when you go into a relationship with a marketing agency or a contractor of any kind, what you own if you walk away. I say this because I’ve seen people get burned by this, assuming that they would get to walk away with all the assets created and then the contractor being like, “Yep, no, that’s ourself. Those are our templates. If you want graphic design templates, you can pay X, Y, Z for them.” Again, I’m not saying this to scare you or even to disparage marketing agencies that make that choice. The great thing is is we all get to decide how we run our businesses. It doesn’t make one good, one bad, one right, one wrong, but this is where clarity is really key going into it. If I were to walk away, what would I walk away with?
Think of it as like before you get married and you sign a pre-nup and you’re like, “I just want to make sure I’m walking away with everything I came in with no more, no less.” And so maybe your pre-nup needs to say, “I want to come away with whatever was created while we were in this relationship, is also mine.” Just think about that way and maybe it’ll help. That for me is really, really, really critical.
All right, so we’ve got security from an access standpoint. We’ve got protecting from a communications and a checking in check point and we’ve got what do I own, what do they own? That’s pretty much it. These are the things that I want you to go into your marketing relationships, your partnerships with marketing agencies or contractors or whatever knowing, because when they’re not like a straight up employee it can feel a little weird. It can feel a little muddy, especially if this is something you’re stretching into for the first time. Cool. By the way, most of this is applicable for VAs and stuff too. Most of this is applicable for every part of contractors. Also I didn’t mention it but contracts et cetera, have those things. Anyways, that’s it.
If you would like to learn more about what it actually looks like to partner with my team and our agency, we would love to have that conversation. Right now we are really, really excited as we put together some new assets and some new resources for podcasters. I love our new podcast production. Well, it’s not really that new because we’ve been doing it, but the doors are open now, you’re able to join us for podcasts, production services specifically. We’re actually working behind the scenes on a very cool resource for podcasters. We’ve got one coming out for people who are thinking about starting a show. We’ve got another one coming out for people who have an established show and want to up-level it. So those are going to be really cool resources coming out at the end of March, early April. So stay tuned for that.
But if you want to get ahead of it and you’re like, “I’m ready to go pro with podcasting or with your marketing as a whole, we do have openings for strategies in April and May. We’re booked up for March, but April and May are open for strategies and we can start podcast production clients as soon as right now. We’ve got current spaces opening.
So much good stuff. Head over at Uncommonly More to learn all about that. I will stop rambling and I will see you next week. Be sure to head over to Instagram and let me know what you thought about this episode. And you know what? You’d like to hear coming up. We’re getting ready to batch record Q2 so be sure to let me know how we can support you. All right, I’ll see you next week.
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