Treat your freezer (and your website) like temporary storage.

April 20, 2020

Today's writing is brought to you by a flimsy home management analogy.

I think it's a more of reflection of my state of my life than anything else. If I were to talk about the thing that's been taking up most of my time, you'd all be enjoying a blow-by-blow of every single episode of food it is!

I love the basically emails.

They brighten my inbox.

They're well designed, and straight to the point.

Once a week, I get a recipe picture, introduction and a shopping list - with pictures so I know exactly what I need.

Then, once a week, I get an article/recipe round up. The lead article is always new, and the newsletter also includes a list of similar recipes. Maybe they suit the same season, maybe they have the same ingredients, maybe they're all 4 ingredients or less.

They are masters of repurposing - without it feeling regurgitated. It's purposeful, useful and within the bounds of their 'content mission'.

They know their audience well. Their recent emails have been a mix of clever ways with pantry staples and simile comfort baking options. I've loved watching them adjust their approach to this new normal, while totally living within their usual editorial boundaries.

It shows that they have a strong editorial mission - and that they stick to it.

This boundary hasn't restricted them. If anything, it seems to have given them more power to respond in a useful way.

Of course - it is a Condé Nast publication - and I think they know a thing or two about publishing to suit their audience.

Of course, even though I love to help businesses think more like publishers, this love letter to basically is not the point of this email.

No. Treating your freezer like temporary storage is.

At my mum's house there is a standing freezer in the kitchen and a chest freezer in a back room. Over time, the sole purpose of this room has become holding the chest freezer and a beer fridge (that also has a freezer).

This means that things for quick use get frozen in the kitchen - crumbed fish, frozen peas, ice cream berries and - if you're lucky - the best caramel slice I've ever eaten. The chest freezer is for bulk food - extra loaves of bread, whole pasta bakes, whole cakes, whole (butchered) animals.

Being asked to get something out of the freezer could send you on a 30 minute sorting spree if you don't ask follow up questions: which freezer? Do you know what kind of container it's in? Any idea which side?

Freezers are handy. But, they're also a deep dark black hole where food disappears.

I don't have a huge freezer in my house, but the same thing happens. But I'm calling it to a halt. I've decided that my freezer is a temporary food hotel, not it's permanent residence.

So what have we learnt?

The longer you go without cleaning out the corners, taking out every suspect tupperware container and questioning the contents, the harder it will be to find the things you need to find. The more complex the organisational system, the less likely you'll delve deeper regularly.

The fuller the freezer, the more likely you are to just take the first item on top out to eat - and you might miss the incredible caramel slice (filled with walnuts and scotch fingers and coated in white chocolate) hiding in the bottom.

Are you starting to see how this might just apply to a website?

A neglected site will either:

- Have things added to it - with no strategy or plan - and grow out of control or,

- Sit stagnant and become inedible...I mean outdated.

If it's not permanent, it doesn't need to be perfect.

I've seen content projects where the content was never perfect. Fussing over full stops meant that by the time all parties were happy, the content was out of date. And so we would have to start again.

The internet is never finished. Like your fridge or freezer it's constantly being replenished. It's also got a few limp carrots handing around in its crisper. And that's ok. We just want to walk the line between bare shelves and food poisoning.


That was a wild ride.

I'd say sorry...but I'm really not.

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