We're so excited to share today's dynamic duo! Amanda and Joseph started their business, Lexicontent, around the same time that we started Four Oh Seven 2 years ago, and we have loved watching them grow.
Lexicontent is a his and hers business, born out of complementary strengths and nourished by a shared love for the story unfolding. Before starting their business, they were both frustrated by agencies that produce beautiful designs and user experiences, and then stuff them with content that has no heart and soul. Now, they partner with designers and developers that know this is a proble for their clients and want to do something about it.
We always preach that content is king, so we LOVE the work these two are doing together. Now, let's hear what they have to say!
How do you collaborate together?
Amanda: It's always been a mix, but from the beginning, we've focused on working from a place of complementary strengths. Joe is a skilled editor, able to turn my phrases into concise one-liners. On the other hand, I find my talent is evoking emotion through content, so Joe will sometimes ask me to proofread something he's written to make sure it's got the right amount of "heart" and on-brand messaging that aligns with the client's voice and tone. Sometimes, collaboration means reviewing one of our clients Emotional Targeting Workbooks together and making notes about certain phrases or ideas to use in the content. Other times, it means working separately, and then meeting up to get each other's feedback. When you write content like we do, it requires constant communication and getting on the same page about what the client needs from us. That's why we always work within arm's reach of each other, and if we're not within arm's reach, we're always messaging each other for clarification about messaging, to ask questions about the project scope or timeline, or to rephrase something that one of us has written.
Joseph: We're two years in and the answer to that question is still a work in progress. We try very hard to notice what we can change in our process to make things easier, or give us more information to work with, or make things less stressful in some way. Sometimes that means changing the way we schedule projects, or creating some "rules of thumb" for some part of our process, or making a template that we can use as a jumping off point for something we do all the time, or creating a new worksheet to help us uncover new information about a client.
Why did you decide to do what you do as a duo versus going solo?
Amanda: When I worked at an agency, I would leave in the mornings and always joke, "We should totally start a business together!" For us, there was really no better alternative than that, and we knew we would be unhappy working in silos at separate companies all day long. One of the frustrations of working at said agency was the lack of communication, and the hoops you'd have to jump through to talk to your team. Projects were delayed, people were frustrated, and the client would have to endure several revisions until they were happy with the final deliverable. Now that Joe and I work together, that kind of communication "friction" is gone. In addition to that, Joe and I have an ability to be 'in each other's head', but we also have our own bold opinions, which makes the work we do that much richer. I'm more of a hybrid content strategist, a user experience strategist, and a journalist, while Joe is a hybrid new business manager, project manager, and creative Swiss Army Knife. Because we both bring something different to the table, we're able to pour our unique – yet overlapping – skill sets into every project that we do. One of the phrases Joe often uses is "changing focal lengths" which means zooming into one particular topic, while also zooming out to see how that affects the larger picture. In this way, we're able to change focal lengths to view the entire project together, rather than parts and pieces of it like you would in an agency setting.
Joseph: We do everything together, so it wouldn't have made any sense for either of us to go it alone.
What’s one challenge you have you faced in collaborating?
Amanda: Since I'm usually the one that begins the writing process from scratch, I'd say one challenge I've run into is communicating with Joe about how long that process takes. It's taken us some tweaking to make sure that we have a healthy number of projects on our bandwidth without feeling overwhelmed by the number of projects I need to work on at any given time. In our first year, we had several projects with checkpoints that piled up all at once, which forced me to stretch my energy in many different directions and take on many different client voices. Now that I've shared with him how much time and space I need, Joe is better able to budget for time, and communicate those expectations with our clients.
Joseph: It takes a lot of work for both of us to have a clear picture of what's happening with every single project, when it's happening, who's doing what, what we're waiting on, what's late, what deadlines we'll have to shift in response, and probably a dozen other things I'm forgetting. There are a lot of moving parts even for very small projects, and I feel like we're always noticing new things we should be taking into consideration when we're starting a project.
What's surprised you the most about your collaboration?
Amanda: I'm always surprised by how much we can get done together! We've worked on over 50 projects in our last two years of business, and because we're able to communicate so honestly, openly, and quickly, projects tend to move at the same speed. Our agility is our greatest asset, and being able to collaborate at the drop of a dime – whether it be after a prospective client call, while writing, or when reviewing a deliverable together – means that we're able to turn projects around in half the time it would take a larger agency.
Joseph: I'm always surprised by the ease with which our clients trust us, the excitement and confidence they express after a single conversation, and the overwhelmingly positive reactions to the work itself.
Who’s your favorite dynamic duo? Fiction or nonfiction. Why?
Amanda: Oh, so many to choose from! We reference quite a few on our About page (Lewis and Clark, Fred and Carrie, Sonny and Cher), but I'd have to say my favorite dynamic duo is Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, specifically from the BBC show. They have such a different approach; one is intense, the other is more muted, one is inquisitive, the other is skeptical. There's such a great contrast between the two of them, and because they have such different yet overlapping strengths, they're able to solve Britain's crimes in ways that are much more agile and adventurous than the police ever could. In many ways, I feel like Joe and I are very much Sherlock and Watson because it's just the two of us questioning, communicating, and collaborating directly with each other and with our clients.
Joseph: No other dynamic duo gives me the belly laughs and memories that I get from working with Amanda every day, so I think we're my favorite. Sorry I'm not sorry, Batman and Robin.