As Benjamin Franklin once said, there should be “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Organization is a key driver of success. For his part, Franklin proved this to be true as one of the most diversely successful individuals in American history.
A major part of staying organized is keeping to a schedule, and this holds true for content marketers, too. But when it comes to planning your content marketing strategy, being too strict about best practices and rules can sometimes hinder success. Here are a few instances where it’s actually OK to break the rules and take a more relaxed approach.
Don’t Let Your Schedule Box You In
Having a well-thought-out content marketing strategy is crucial to executing an effective campaign, but if your schedule is so tight that it becomes inflexible, it’s going to become a problem. Schedules have the benefit of outlining plans and providing a path for what needs to be done, but they should never become restrictive.
As fellow Relevance contributor, Michael Ferrari suggests, “Communicate with your team to get a better idea of just how much time each player needs to create their absolute best work. Once you have that time estimation, increase it by 25 percent to cover any incidents or revisions that will inevitably occur.”
It’s OK To Deviate From the Plan
It’s good to have certain themes planned for your editorial calendar, but it’s also perfectly fine to deviate from them into other, unplanned areas of coverage, too. In fact, there are instances where deviating may even be necessary.
Sometimes you have to respond to a relevant industry news piece that just broke. Other times you may be unexpectedly inspired to write on a topic that you are personally passionate about. The content that results from these efforts might not have been part of your original editorial calendar, but they can have substantial influence.
Remember—content should be what drives your marketing strategy, not the other way around. If you only allow content that fits within specific, pre-determined parameters, you end up restricting your message and minimizing the potential impact it can have on customers. When the content is right, the calendar will make room for it.
Avoid the Temptation Of Repetition
The worst thing that can happen to a content marketing campaign is to let the message become stale and redundant. Consciously avoiding repetitive content allows your content to have a much more organic feel, letting your messages and themes strengthen and grow with the passage of time.
It’s human nature to look for patterns, and all too often when your schedule becomes cyclical, so does your content. The spark of creativity begins to wean and suddenly you’re churning out the same message over and over again with a slightly different face.
If on the other hand, you treat your content marketing strategy as an open path instead of a fenced-in one, your content will reflect the passion and intrigue needed to spur real engagement from readers. They might even feel inspired and come back for more on a recurring basis, resulting in greater readership loyalty and more successful campaigns down the road.
Don’t Set Limits; Set Goals
Think of content as a plant. If you put it inside a plastic case, it might grow, but it will be small and scrawny. If you plant it in a large bed of soil, with a stick to provide support and growth direction, however, the plant will grow tall and thrive.
Similarly, if you restrict your content and make all decisions “by the rules,” it can limit the content from reaching its full potential. But if you give your content direction and let your creative teams express themes and messages in an organic way, it will ultimately connect with a much greater audience.