As Benjamin Franklin once said, there should be “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Organization is a key success factor. For his part, Franklin proved that to be true as one of the most diverse individuals in American history.
A big part of staying organized is sticking to a schedule, and that goes for content marketers too. But when it comes to planning your content marketing strategy, sometimes being too strict about best practices and rules can get in the way of success. Here are a few instances where it’s actually okay to break the rules and take a more relaxed approach.
Don’t let your schedule lock you in
Having a well-thought-out content marketing strategy is crucial to running an effective campaign, but if your schedule is so tight that it becomes inflexible, that’s going to become a problem. Schedules have the advantage of setting plans and providing a path for what needs to be done, but they should never become restrictive.
As fellow Relevance contributor Michael Ferrari suggests, “Connect with your team to get a better idea of how much time each player needs to create their absolute best work. Once you have this time estimate, increase it by 25% to cover any incident or revision that will inevitably occur.
It’s okay to deviate from the plan
It’s good to have certain topics planned for your editorial calendar, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to deviate from it to other unplanned areas of coverage. In fact, there are cases where a deviation may even be necessary.
Sometimes you need to respond to relevant industry news that just broke. Other times, you might be unexpectedly inspired to write about a topic that you are personally passionate about. The content that results from these efforts may not have been part of your original editorial calendar, but it can be hugely influential.
Remember that content should drive your marketing strategy, not the other way around. If you only allow content that fits specific, pre-determined parameters, you end up restricting your message and minimizing the potential impact it can have on customers. When the content is correct, the calendar will make room for it.
Avoid the temptation to repeat
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 over 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 fade and suddenly you repeat 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 road instead of a closed road, your content will reflect the passion and intrigue needed to drive genuine reader engagement. 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; Setting goals
Think of content as a plant. If you put it in a plastic case, it might grow bigger, but it will be small and skinny. If you plant it in a large bed of soil, with a stick to provide support and direction for growth, the plant will grow and thrive.
Likewise, if you limit your content and make all decisions “by the book,” it can prevent the content from reaching its full potential. But if you give direction to your content and let your creative teams express themes and messages organically, it will ultimately reach a much wider audience.