It’s much easier to get a group together to ogle, think, and work on a strategy about a problem than it is to start taking concrete steps to make a problem go away.
As someone prone to overthinking, I’m well too aware of this.
As I was working on a cybersecurity blog post for a client, one piece of advice common to cybersecurity writing jumped out at me.
It’s the same advice for the beginning of any project — from cybersecurity strategy to lifestyle change — just pick one thing and do it. The thinking is: 100% of something is better than 0% of something perfect.
When looking at a huge problem like cybersecurity (and, really, hackers ARE out there trying to steal your data — practice good password hygiene and turn on two-factor authentication wherever possible), it’s easy to want to plan for perfection.
Perfection doesn’t exist. Any IT system can be hacked. Any content marketing plan could float as well as a lead balloon.
When starting to roll out a new content marketing strategy, it’s easy to begin to overthink and overplan because there is ALWAYS GOING TO BE A NEW IDEA TO TRY and under-act.
Of course we should do our research and due diligence in planning, but at some point you have to pull yourself out of the downward spiral of not doing anything.
The Virtuous Spiral of Doom
Whatever the root cause, many of us contemplate our navels (excuse me, work on a plan) for far too long as we read one more book/article, watch one more video, take one more course, take just one more day before we do something. Is it imposter syndrome? Inertia? Fear of doing the wrong thing (even as you do NO thing)?
If you look back at my blogging pattern, you’ll see the contemplating my navel pattern intersecting with that little voice in my head saying “no one cares, dude.”
In a site like this, which started as funsies and is beginning to morph into something more serious, that’s not a huge issue.
When you’re responsible for delivering results with content marketing — huge issue.
Over-thinking is deadly to momentum. At some point, you just have to leap and trust that you’ll stick the landing or know that if you break your ankle it’ll heal.
Years ago, after a round of over-strategerizing, I took out a Post-It and wrote “GO” on it.
Make a Decision to Start
I love the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, those four books launched a lifelong love of fantasy literature. During the Council of Elrond in the Fellowship of the Ring, arguments erupt on what to do with the One Ring – hide, use, or destroy it; and how.
Frodo steps forward and says, “I will take the ring, though I do not know the way.”
While not as momentous as a quest to destroy the One Ring and, with it, Sauron’s power, we all have audacious content marketing goals.
It IS Important to Know the Way
Before I stop this mini-rant, let me just say that I’m not saying “ignore creating a strategy.” It is important to know the way, and we could all use a faithful Samwise Gamgee at our side in our journey (but that’s probably a different post).
You do need an overall strategy — with goals and metrics and calendars and workflows and all that good shit we love as content marketing.
But there are small things we could do daily with little effort that can get us closer to our own Mount Dooms.
What is one thing you could do today that would start to make a difference in your marketing, outside of or despite not having a settled strategy?
- A few minutes each morning sharing interesting content on your social platform o’ choice
- A quick blog (like this one) that doesn’t really fit your overall strategy, but you hope might be interesting for folks (or, like this one, I had to just get out of my head so I could go to sleep)
- 30 minutes each day reading, but with a kitchen timer to cut yourself off to avoid the Internet rabbit hole
- 5 minutes per day to create one blog title/topic
- Create a new CTA
- A/B test that landing page you always wanted to
- A/B test an email subject line or email design
- HubSpot user, turn on those pop-ups and see what happens
I’m sure you could sit down for 20 or 30 minutes and brainstorm dozens of ideas, many of them simple that take minimal effort.
Write down that list. Organize it and toss aside anything that takes longer than 30 minutes. Do one a day or one every other day or one each week.
Make these small improvements while you think through your overall strategy. The more you do, the more ideas you’ll have. And the sooner you get started, the more data you’ll have to evaluate the ideas that work from the ones that don’t.
Find your way.