When Perfection is Frowned Upon
A perfect “10.” For some women, this might elicit memories of the ultimate perfect score: Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. For men, the ultimate example of perfection might be the never repeated 17-0 season that the Miami Dolphins had in 1972 – which included their path to Super Bowl glory.
In sports, perfection is desired. In baking, you need to be precise with measurements. In teaching, you can’t really be “perfect” in the sense of everything always happening in the exact same way. But you do need to be perfect in your approach – meeting every student at his or her level with all the information you can obtain beforehand.
So, where is perfection actually frowned upon? Consider the content you produce in marketing. The ebb and flow of this industry means you are always adjusting, removing, and expanding upon ideas. Sometimes you simply don’t want everything to be absolutely just so – maybe because you don’t quite know what just so is…not yet anyway.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
As the adage goes, doing well often comes back to haunt you. Tasked with developing the perfect campaign, a marketer will try to include every possible source of exposure in one fell swoop – to maximize results they might say. But doing so neglects the whole picture and subsequently misses out on critical elements that only come after you have reached your audience in various stages.
What is Perfection Anyway?
Perfection is the end of something – where there is no reason to continue because the pinnacle has been reached. As a creator of content, is that really the path you want to be on? Do you really wish to say everything about your product, brand, or company? You must always have some differentiation. Blending in with your competitors gets you nowhere fast. And stale content is the surest way to nowhere.
It means publishing your content at the time you’ve researched as appropriate and then using the response to tweak and test and re-release after you have supplemented it with the knowledge you gained in the interim. You don’t need perfection. You need content that is evergreen, that can educate and evolve.
If Perfection is Not the Goal, then What is?
Relevance and consistency. The goal is to actually contribute to the conversation and to do this, you need to be consistent in your content marketing approach. And you need to create this quality content consistently. But true consistency requires a system. The right series of steps bring you to the cusp of perfection but only close enough to ensure you have additional expertise to share.
Now on to the Plan
Creating your content takes effort. But it shouldn’t be a frustrating chore. Streamline your content with the following method.
Like a building with shoddy structural supports, there is very little that can be successful without a strong foundation. You might think you want basically anyone to be your audience – the more the merrier. But remember that even when the best products lack a focused audience, they too fade into oblivion. You also shouldn’t just focus on new people. Customer retention is also a priority because it safeguards an already proven successful relationship.
Your current audience won’t be so loyal if your content dries up. You have to keep churning it out in order to show your audience your relevance. But remember that releasing more only counts if the content is useful. And even though YOU are aware of your brand’s relevance, you still have to constantly prove it. Work with your customers to help craft and guide your content. Remember that all those in-your-face companies you think are at the top of the market are doing a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes marketing.
- Have a Plan
A boilerplate for content is like a well-oiled machine. It almost drives itself and serves as a continuous source of energy on your path to imperfection. (Remember that you don’t want perfection because it implies you’re done). This doesn’t mean you use the same content. Instead, you use the boilerplate as your content design and flow. The point is that having a plan means you don’t have to start from scratch each time. You can easily take previously released pieces and pick up something in the middle. Voila, you’ve got a brand-new piece of content. It also means that when certain content hits a wall, you will be better able to test out at what point it might have gone wrong.
- Set of Steps
A process is a process because it has a clear set of steps that can be replicated over and over again. These steps are not necessarily always in the same sequence though. You may have steps you do to streamline your content, but you also don’t get the same response each time. And also remember that your system builds upon itself during production. Meaning, that, you may add or detract according to customer response. Thus, your process becomes a living set of instructions.
Shift from Perfecting to Tweaking
Content marketing needs to shift from seeking perfection to tweaking. You don’t want to be perfect because your smoothly operating content machine is primed and ready to shift to meet the needs of your audience. When opportunities arise, you are then ready to adjust your approach. But it all stems from a strong foundation – ever-evolving work that isn’t perfect because a perfect “10” isn’t the path to success.
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