I may be a cradle Catholic, but I’m a heretic when it comes to content marketing. Who came up with all of these rules, anyway? And who’s wandering around slapping wrists with rulers for breaking them? (In my head, they’re all wearing nun habits.)
There are, of course, “best practices.” But they are exactly that — BEST. They’re the way you would do things in an ideal world. Do you live in an ideal world? I sure don’t. But there’s a lot of room to maneuver between following best practices and doing nothing. Somewhere in the middle is what I call “good enough” practices. Or, as Voltaire put it, “Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”
Specifically, I’m talking about the notion that you need a full-fledged content strategy, complete with an editorial calendar and a whole slew of metrics, before you start. I call BS. Sure, that’s the “right” way to do it. I don’t dispute that. But if you keep waiting to get every single detail in place, you’ll never start. That’s especially true for startups and small businesses, because everybody is too busy getting things done to give a lot of thought to SEO, readability, and metrics. In the meantime, your competitors are already out of the “newbie” stage and working on perfecting their craft.
I’m not suggesting posting an unending stream of funny puppy videos. Nor am I suggesting spending a big chunk of money without even knowing why you’re doing it. You do need a strategy. But you also need to start. If a fully developed, 12-month editorial calendar is more than you can pull off right now, skip it. Your content strategy can start with a single blog post. Ask yourself, “What do I want people to think, feel, or do after reading this?” Next, ask, “Why is that important?” And be prepared to keep asking that “Why?” question until you get to the bottom of it…the real purpose of that one piece of content.
Best practices are great for setting goals, but real life is where you make things happen with the resources you have. And, in real life, that first, focused, expertly crafted blog post will jump start your content marketing much more effectively than a calendar filled with 12 months of fluff.
Just one blog post. That’s all. And today is as good a day as any to do it.